A Multi-level Analysis on Implementation of Low-Cost IVF in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Case Study of Uganda.
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Introduction: Globally, infertility is a major reproductive disease that affects an estimated 186 million people worldwide. In Sub-Saharan Africa, the burden of infertility is considerably high, affecting one in every four couples of reproductive age. Furthermore, infertility in this context has severe psychosocial, emotional, economic and health consequences. Absence of affordable fertility services in Sub-Saharan Africa has been justified by overpopulation and limited resources, resulting in inequitable access to infertility treatment compared to developed countries. Therefore, low-cost IVF (LCIVF) initiatives have been developed to simplify IVF-related treatment, reduce costs, and improve access to treatment for individuals in low-resource contexts. However, there is a gap between the development of LCIVF initiatives and their implementation in Sub-Saharan Africa. Uganda is the first country in East and Central Africa to undergo implementation of LCIVF initiatives within its public health system at Mulago Women’s Hospital. Methods: This was an exploratory, qualitative, single, case study conducted at Mulago Women’s Hospital in Kampala, Uganda. The objective of this study was to explore how LCIVF initiatives have been implemented within the public health system of Uganda at the macro-, meso- and micro-level. Primary qualitative data was collected using semi-structured interviews, hospital observations informal conversations, and document review. Using purposive and snowball sampling, a total of twenty-three key informants were interviewed including government officials, clinicians (doctors, nurses, technicians), hospital management, implementers, patient advocacy representatives, private sector practitioners, international organizational representatives, educational institution, and professional medical associations. Sources of secondary data included government and non-government reports, hospital records, organizational briefs, and press outputs. Using a multi-level data analysis approach, this study undertook a hybrid inductive/deductive thematic analysis, with the deductive analysis guided by the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research (CFIR). Findings: Factors facilitating implementation included international recognition of infertility as a reproductive disease, strong political advocacy and oversight, patient needs & advocacy, government funding, inter-organizational collaboration, tension to change, competition in the private sector, intervention adaptability & trialability, relative priority, motivation &advocacy of fertility providers and specialist training. While barriers included scarcity of embryologists, intervention complexity, insufficient knowledge, evidence strength & quality of intervention, inadequate leadership engagement & hospital autonomy, poor public knowledge, limited engagement with traditional, cultural, and religious leaders, lack of salary incentives and concerns of revenue loss associated with low-cost options. Research contributions: This study contributes to knowledge of factors salient to implementation of LCIVF initiatives in a Sub-Saharan context. Effective implementation of these initiatives requires (1) sustained political support and favourable policy & legislation, (2) public sensitization and engagement of traditional, cultural, and religious leaders (3) strengthening local innovation and capacity building of fertility health workers, in particular embryologists (4) sustained implementor leadership engagement and inter-organizational collaboration and (5) proven clinical evidence and utilization of LCIVF initiatives in innovator countries. It also adds to the literature on the applicability of the CFIR framework in explaining factors that influence successful implementation in developing countries and offer opportunities for comparisons across studies.
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Margaret Joanita Mutumba Nakalembe (2023). A Multi-level Analysis on Implementation of Low-Cost IVF in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Case Study of Uganda.. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/19239