Scale-up of a novel vital signs alert device to improve maternity care in Sierra Leone: a mixed methods evaluation of adoption

Sophie Bright, Francis Moses*, Alex Ridout, Betty Sam, Mariama Momoh, Venetia Goodhart, Francis Smart, Margaret Mannah, Sattu Issa, Simren Herm-Singh, Fiona Reid, Paul T. Seed, James Bunn, Andrew Shennan, Katrin Augustin, Jane Sandall

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The CRADLE (Community blood pressure monitoring in Rural Africa: Detection of underLying pre-Eclampsia) Vital Signs Alert device—designed specifically to improve maternity care in low resource settings—had varying impact when trialled in different countries. To better understand the contextual factors that may contribute to this variation, this study retrospectively evaluated the adoption of CRADLE, during scale-up in Sierra Leone. Methods: This was a mixed methods study. A quantitative indicator of adoption (the proportion of facilities trained per district) was calculated from existing training records, then focus groups were held with ‘CRADLE Champions’ in each district (n = 32), to explore adoption qualitatively. Template Analysis was used to deductively interpret qualitative data, guided by the NASSS (non-adoption, abandonment, scale-up, spread, sustainability) Framework. Findings: Substantial but non-significant variation was found in the proportion of facilities trained in each district (range 59–90%) [X2 (7, N = 8) = 10.419, p = 0.166]. Qualitative data identified complexity in two NASSS domains that may have contributed to this variation: ‘the technology’ (for example, charging issues, difficulty interpreting device output and concerns about ongoing procurement) and ‘the organisation’ (for example, logistical barriers to implementing training, infighting and high staff turnover). Key strategies mentioned to mitigate against these issues included: transparent communication at all levels; encouraging localised adaptations during implementation (including the involvement of community leaders); and selecting Champions with strong soft skills (particularly conflict resolution and problem solving). Conclusions: Complexity related to the technology and the organisational context were found to influence the adoption of CRADLE in Sierra Leone, with substantial inter-district variation. These findings emphasise the importance of gaining an in-depth understanding of the specific system and context in which a new healthcare technology is being implemented. This study has implications for the ongoing scale-up of CRADLE, and for those implementing or evaluating other health technologies in similar contexts.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6
Number of pages11
JournalReproductive Health
Issue number1
Early online date6 Jan 2023
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023


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