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Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews

Implementation strategies for health systems in low‐income countries: an overview of systematic reviews

Overview of attention for article published in Cochrane database of systematic reviews, September 2017
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  • In the top 5% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (92nd percentile)
  • Good Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (66th percentile)

Mentioned by

2 policy sources
44 X users
3 Facebook pages
1 Google+ user


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1381 Mendeley
1 CiteULike
Implementation strategies for health systems in low‐income countries: an overview of systematic reviews
Published in
Cochrane database of systematic reviews, September 2017
DOI 10.1002/14651858.cd011086.pub2
Pubmed ID

Tomas Pantoja, Newton Opiyo, Simon Lewin, Elizabeth Paulsen, Agustín Ciapponi, Charles S Wiysonge, Cristian A Herrera, Gabriel Rada, Blanca Peñaloza, Lilian Dudley, Marie‐Pierre Gagnon, Sebastian Garcia Marti, Andrew D Oxman


A key function of health systems is implementing interventions to improve health, but coverage of essential health interventions remains low in low-income countries. Implementing interventions can be challenging, particularly if it entails complex changes in clinical routines; in collaborative patterns among different healthcare providers and disciplines; in the behaviour of providers, patients or other stakeholders; or in the organisation of care. Decision-makers may use a range of strategies to implement health interventions, and these choices should be based on evidence of the strategies' effectiveness. To provide an overview of the available evidence from up-to-date systematic reviews about the effects of implementation strategies for health systems in low-income countries. Secondary objectives include identifying needs and priorities for future evaluations and systematic reviews on alternative implementation strategies and informing refinements of the framework for implementation strategies presented in the overview. We searched Health Systems Evidence in November 2010 and PDQ-Evidence up to December 2016 for systematic reviews. We did not apply any date, language or publication status limitations in the searches. We included well-conducted systematic reviews of studies that assessed the effects of implementation strategies on professional practice and patient outcomes and that were published after April 2005. We excluded reviews with limitations important enough to compromise the reliability of the review findings. Two overview authors independently screened reviews, extracted data and assessed the certainty of evidence using GRADE. We prepared SUPPORT Summaries for eligible reviews, including key messages, 'Summary of findings' tables (using GRADE to assess the certainty of the evidence) and assessments of the relevance of findings to low-income countries. We identified 7272 systematic reviews and included 39 of them in this overview. An additional four reviews provided supplementary information. Of the 39 reviews, 32 had only minor limitations and 7 had important methodological limitations. Most studies in the reviews were from high-income countries. There were no studies from low-income countries in eight reviews.Implementation strategies addressed in the reviews were grouped into four categories - strategies targeting:1. healthcare organisations (e.g. strategies to change organisational culture; 1 review);2. healthcare workers by type of intervention (e.g. printed educational materials; 14 reviews);3. healthcare workers to address a specific problem (e.g. unnecessary antibiotic prescription; 9 reviews);4. healthcare recipients (e.g. medication adherence; 15 reviews).Overall, we found the following interventions to have desirable effects on at least one outcome with moderate- or high-certainty evidence and no moderate- or high-certainty evidence of undesirable effects.1.Strategies targeted at healthcare workers: educational meetings, nutrition training of health workers, educational outreach, practice facilitation, local opinion leaders, audit and feedback, and tailored interventions.2.Strategies targeted at healthcare workers for specific types of problems: training healthcare workers to be more patient-centred in clinical consultations, use of birth kits, strategies such as clinician education and patient education to reduce antibiotic prescribing in ambulatory care settings, and in-service neonatal emergency care training.3. Strategies targeted at healthcare recipients: mass media interventions to increase uptake of HIV testing; intensive self-management and adherence, intensive disease management programmes to improve health literacy; behavioural interventions and mobile phone text messages for adherence to antiretroviral therapy; a one time incentive to start or continue tuberculosis prophylaxis; default reminders for patients being treated for active tuberculosis; use of sectioned polythene bags for adherence to malaria medication; community-based health education, and reminders and recall strategies to increase vaccination uptake; interventions to increase uptake of cervical screening (invitations, education, counselling, access to health promotion nurse and intensive recruitment); health insurance information and application support. Reliable systematic reviews have evaluated a wide range of strategies for implementing evidence-based interventions in low-income countries. Most of the available evidence is focused on strategies targeted at healthcare workers and healthcare recipients and relates to process-based outcomes. Evidence of the effects of strategies targeting healthcare organisations is scarce.

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X Demographics

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Mendeley readers

Mendeley readers

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Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Unknown 1381 100%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Master 226 16%
Researcher 151 11%
Student > Bachelor 125 9%
Student > Ph. D. Student 124 9%
Student > Postgraduate 67 5%
Other 231 17%
Unknown 457 33%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Medicine and Dentistry 315 23%
Nursing and Health Professions 213 15%
Social Sciences 69 5%
Psychology 56 4%
Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutical Science 28 2%
Other 184 13%
Unknown 516 37%
Attention Score in Context

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 34. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 14 December 2022.
All research outputs
of 25,461,852 outputs
Outputs from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 12,090 outputs
Outputs of similar age
of 323,710 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 198 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 25,461,852 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 95th percentile: it's in the top 5% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 12,090 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 38.2. This one has done well, scoring higher than 80% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 323,710 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 92% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 198 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has gotten more attention than average, scoring higher than 66% of its contemporaries.