Using the Implementation Research Logic Model to design and implement community-based management of possible serious bacterial infection during COVID-19 pandemic in Ethiopia

Gizachew Tadele Tiruneh*, Tsinuel Girma Nigatu, Hema Magge, Lisa Ruth Hirschhorn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: Community-based treatment of possible serious bacterial infection (PSBI) in young infants, when referral to a hospital is not possible, can result in high treatment coverage and low case fatality. However, in Ethiopia, the coverage of PSBI treatment remains low, worsened by COVID-19. To understand the challenges of delivery of PSBI treatment and design and test adaptative strategies to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on neonatal mortality, we did implementation research (IR) employing Implementation Research Logic Model (IRLM). In this paper, we describe IRLM application experiences in designing, implementing, and evaluating strategies to improve community-based treatment of PSBI during the COVID-19 pandemic in Ethiopia. Methods: This IR was conducted between November 2020-April 2022 at Dembecha and Lume woredas of Amhara and Oromia regions, respectively. We employed narrative reviews, formative assessment and facilitated stakeholder engagement to develop the PSBI treatment IRLM to identify barriers, understand the conceptual linkages among determinants, choose implementation strategies, elicit mechanisms, and link to implementation outcomes. In addition, we used the IRLM to structure the capture of emerging implementation challenges and resulting strategy adaptations throughout implementation. Results: This IR identified COVID-19 and multiple pre-existing contextual factors. We designed and implemented implementation strategies to address these challenges. These adaptive strategies were implemented with sufficient strength to maintain the delivery of PSBI services and improve mothers’ care-seeking behavior for their sick young infants. The IRLM offers us a clear process and path to prioritize implementation challenges, choose strategies informed by mechanisms of action, and where the adaptive implementation of community-based management of PSBI would lead to high-implementation fidelity and change in mother behavior to seek care for their sick young infants. The IRLM was also an effective tool for stakeholder engagement, easily explained and used to structure discussion and decision-making during co-design meetings. Conclusions: The use of the IRLM helps us to specify the conceptual links between the implementation challenges, strategies, mechanisms of action, and outcomes to explore the complex community-based management of PSBI during complex contexts to improve high-fidelity implementation and integration of PSBI treatment in the primary healthcare delivery systems through active engagement of stakeholders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1515
JournalBMC health services research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • COVID-19
  • Ethiopia
  • Implementation challenges
  • Implementation research logic model
  • Implementation science
  • Implementation strategies
  • Neonatal sepsis
  • Newborn
  • Possible serious bacterial infection
  • Young infants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy


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