Hala Community Management of Pneumonia Study (HACOMP)

Project Description

Acute respiratory infection is one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in children less than five years of age, and is responsible for over 2 million child deaths per year. Of 10.8 million global child deaths in 2000, 34% were in South Asia and 21% of the total deaths were attributed to pneumonia. The region of the world with the highest incidence of pneumonia is South and South East Asia, with an estimated 55.2 million episodes occurring in children under five years of age.

The goal of the Hala Community Management of Pneumonia Study (HACOMP) is to demonstrate that community case management of pneumonia is safe and effective through the use of female community health workers known as Lady Health Workers (LHWs). In the study, these LHWs were trained to identify and treat severe cases of pneumonia in patients’ homes, rather than sending them to the nearest health facility for treatment as the current standard of care indicates. The study’s aim is to find out whether these community health workers can treat severe pneumonia, specifically among young children, as effectively and safely as these health facilities.

The study utilized Pakistan’s well-established national network of over 92,000 Lady Health Workers. These LHWs provide a variety of basic health care services in their home villages. In the past, they treated only mild cases of pneumonia and referred more severe cases to local clinics. However, for many patients, seeking treatment at these clinics is difficult or impossible, due to their distant locations, transportation problems, or other household circumstances.

In the HACOMP study, Lady Health Workers within each Union Council in Hala were randomly placed into two groups. The first group received training in the management of severe pneumonia and the administration of the antibiotic amoxicillin. The second group referred their patients to the nearest clinic for treatment. The focus of the study is to gauge the effectiveness of Lady Health Workers in treating children between the ages of 2 and 60 months. We expect to establish that the diagnosis and management of severe pneumonia among young children by Lady Health Workers is as safe and effective as treatment in local health facilities.

This project is one activity of the CGHD’s Child and Family Applied Research project (CFAR).

Project Details

Principal Investigator Donald Thea
Boston University Co-Investigators Matthew FoxWilliam MacLeod
  • Zulfiqar Bhutta, Aga Khan University
  • Shamin Qazi, World Health Organization
Country(ies) Pakistan
Dates of Research 2008–2009
Donor/Funder USAID logo United States Agency for International Development (USAID)