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Task sharing to improve the prevention, diagnosis and management of rheumatic heart disease: a systematic review protocol

14 Feb 2018


Rheumatic heart disease (RHD) remains an important cause of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality globally due to weak health systems in many countries. RHD can be effectively prevented and managed; however, RHD-related interventions have not been widely adopted in countries with severe human resource constraints. Task sharing is a recognised approach to personnel shortages that could prove effective for RHD and has, anecdotally, been attempted in a few settings. We propose a systematic review and meta-analysis protocol to assess models that use non-physician workers to expand access to, and quality of, RHD-related healthcare.


We will include randomised controlled trials (RCT), cluster RCTs, quasi-experimental and controlled before and after studies providing information on the effectiveness of non-physician workers in providing care for streptoccocal pharyngitis, rheumatic fever and RHD. We will search relevant electronic databases and grey literature using medical subject headings. Standardised data extraction forms will be used to collect effect sizes that will be pooled in random-effects models. We will also conduct subgroup analyses and note other important quantitative findings, such as cost reduction, and qualitative findings, such as patient satisfaction. We will also assess study quality and risk of bias and metabias.

Ethics and dissemination

Ethics approval is not required for this systematic review of previously published literature. The results of the systematic review will be broadly disseminated via conference presentations, multidisciplinary workshops and peer-reviewed publications.

PROSPERO registration number


Click here to view the full article which appeared in BMJ Open

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