Congratulations Bridget Wills, Professor of Tropical Medicine at our OUCRU unit in vietnam, awarded RSTMH Sir Rickard Christophers Medal. The Sir Rickard Christophers Medal is awarded triennially for work in tropical medicine and hygiene in its broadest sense and in particular for practical and field applications.
Posted 05/04/2021. On the Thailand-Myanmar border, 39% of migrant women and 47% of refugee women experience maternal depression. Gracia Fellmeth and colleagues show that among migrant women, higher levels of social support are associated with lower depression. The perinatal period offers a valuable opportunity to ask women about depression and support networks and offer help to those who need it.
Posted 21/04/2021. Tobias Brummaier and colleagues report a high burden of soil-transmitted helminth infections and an association with maternal anaemia in pregnant migrant and refugee women on the Thai-Myanmar border. Whether the protective effect of Ascaris lumbricoides infection against miscarriage observed in this retrospective dataset results from helminth immune modulation remains to be determined.
Posted 14/04/2021. Germana Bancone and Cindy Chu review the current knowledge about drug-induced haemolysis in G6PD deficiency, and discuss new clinical and laboratory approaches to understand haemolytic risk in G6PD variants. A more comprehensive genotypic and phenotypic characterization, together with haematologic responses upon exposure to different drugs, will help define a clinically useful classification of G6PD variants
Posted 26/03/2021. Ketamine is an essential drug widely used in low-resource settings, but there was no data on its safety in lactating women until this report. In this study by Mary Ellen Gilder and SMRU colleagues, outcomes for breastfeeding infants whose mothers received ketamine are good, and not affected by ketamine dose. In contrast, high dose maternal intravenous diazepam may be harmful.
Posted 19/03/2021. Tobias Brummaier reports that collaborative research efforts with SMRU and SIDRA have demonstrated that vaginal microbial composition and local vaginal immune environment are associated with preterm birth in Asian women from a low-resource setting, possibly providing an avenue towards an early predictive tool for preterm birth
Posted 16/03/2021. Many women in Southeast Asia are smaller than their Western counterparts. How might this affect an otherwise healthy pregnancy? A recent study from the Thai-Myanmar border by Sue J Lee, Ahmar Hashmi and colleagues suggests that maternal height should be considered when providing advice regarding weight gain during pregnancy.
Posted 05/03/2021. Prevention of mother to child transmission of Hepatitis B can be challenging in resource limited settings. Marieke Bierhoff and colleagues look at strategies that might be more feasible in these settings. TDF (tenofovir disoproxil fumarate) after rapid diagnostic test may be a more feasible strategy to implement in resource limited settings, TDF after hepatitis B e-antigen test is a cheaper option.
Posted 02/07/2019. Highly efficacious treatment can limit the cumulative deleterious impact of malaria during pregnancy on the mother and fetus. Correct assessment of treatment efficacy with an adequate length of follow up is required. Makoto Saito and colleagues at the Shoklo Malaria Research Unit (SMRU) on the Thailand-Myanmar border suggest that pregnant women need to be followed up longer than the currently recommended duration of follow-up to assess antimalarial drug efficacy.
Posted 20/11/18. Malaria in pregnancy affects both mothers and fetuses. Safe and efficacious antimalarials are needed for treating pregnant and breastfeeding mothers to protect them from devastating outcomes due to malaria. Dr Makoto Saito, Professor François Nosten and colleagues at the Shoklo Malaria Research Unit have reviewed and summarised the maternal and fetal safety of the currently available antimalarials in pregnancy and postpartum, spotlighting this neglected and vulnerable population.
Posted 01/12/2020. This paper confirms that research is important to inform evidence-based medical care in LMICs settings. Napat Khirikoekkong, Phaik Yeong Cheah and colleagues found that migrants living along the Thai-Myanmar border, who were traditionally deemed vulnerable, exercise their agency and resourcefulness when navigating through their daily challenges, and participating in important health research
Posted 27/11/2020. The migrant-friendly residential TB program of SMRU on the Thailand-Myanmar border has achieved high treatment success rate. However, many TB patients admitted to the centers are in advanced stage of disease. Win Pa Pa Htun and colleagues show that early TB death (in the first month of treatment) is highest among pulmonary TB cases and in particular in HIV co-infected patients and in those with co-morbidity. Early detection and treatment for both TB and HIV are crucial for migrants, if the case fatality rate is to be reduced in this marginalized population.
Posted 06/11/20. Victor Chaumeau and colleagues assessed the impact of outdoor residual spraying on the biting rate of malaria mosquitoes in four villages in Kayin state, Myanmar. They reported a 10-fold decrease in mosquito biting rate immediately after the intervention and concluded that outdoor residual spraying can be used to control malaria mosquitoes in this area.
Posted 25/09/2020. Prevention of mother to child transmission of hepatitis B with maternal tenofovir DF is one option to reach elimination of this infection. However, implementing this in a resource limited setting is challenging. Marieke Bierhoff and colleagues describe the most common challenges and possible solutions like transport assistance and local agreements to facilitate access.
Posted 27/08/2020. Germana Bancone and colleagues from EDCD (Nepal) and SMRU conducted this study in malaria endemic districts of Nepal, showing that G6PD deficiency is prevalent among most ethnic groups across the region. G6PD testing will be necessary for safe deployment of 8-aminoquinolines in order to eliminate Plasmodium vivax malaria in Nepal.
Posted 17/10/2016. Training local Karen and Burman women as skilled birth attendants in refugee settings resulted in no adverse perinatal outcomes and many positive outcomes such as a drop in stillbirths and infant deaths and more babies being born in clinics rather than at home, says a new study, led by Professor Rose McGready and published in PLOS ONE.
Posted 22/10/2019. Rose McGready and SMRU colleagues contributed RCT data from the Thailand-Myanmar border to this large review on low- and middle-income countries (21 studies in 20 882 children). The results suggests targeting parental, environmental and nutritional factors from pre-pregnancy through childhood, as a way forward to improve health and development of children in such settings.
Posted 16/07/2019. Worrying nutritional trends in possibly the longest and largest cohort of nearly 50,000 refugee and migrant pregnant women in a LMIC setting. Ahmar Hashmi and colleagues at SMRU summarise trends in under- and over-nutrition among pregnant women, and show a double burden of malnutrition in these marginalised and vulnerable communities from the Myanmar-Thailand border.
Posted 25/04/2018. Mary-Ellen Gilder and colleagues at SMRU demonstrate low levels of primaquine in breast milk, findings that should change treatment policy allowing more breastfeeding women to be cured of P.vivax. This will potentially reduce the global burden of this infection which has significant negative consequences for pregnant mothers and infants.
Posted 17/10/2017. Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax malaria in pregnancy both increase stillbirth risk, which is likely to increase as endemicity declines. A study by SMRU and University of Melbourne researchers shows that better P. falciparum malaria control efforts could prevent up to 1 in 5 to 8 stillbirths in sub-Saharan Africa.
Posted 05/07/2019. Health information can be life-saving, but how can it be conveyed to those who could benefit most? Through analysis of an unsuccessful public health campaign, Mary Ellen Gilder and SMRU colleagues learned from migrant women valuable lessons about health messaging in communities where most women do not complete the fourth grade.
Nepal is seeing a COVID surge that is proportionately similar to India. While we try to treat the sick by increasing hospital space and ensuring oxygen supply, we must also plan for an exit strategy. Over-preparation rather than under-preparedness needs to be our mantra, with widespread vaccination the key to get us out of this pandemic, by Professor Buddha Basnyat
Anuraj Shankar from our EOCRU unit in Jakarta, Indonesia, with Elizabeth Prado and Leila Larson describe a meta-analysis showing that responsive caregiving boosts infants’ brain development. Parenting group sessions and home visits improve cognitive, language, and motor skills. And nutrition-only programmes have much less effect than comprehensive interventions.
The Randomised Evaluation of COVID-19 Therapy (RECOVERY) Trial, the world’s largest clinical trial for COVID-19 treatments, has now expanded internationally with Indonesia and Nepal among the first countries to join. The first patients have been recruited to RECOVERY International.
The Indonesian government policy to exclude the elderly in the first phase of the COVID-19 vaccination program could hinder the vaccine’s impact in lowering mortality rates. COVID-19 mortality rates in Indonesia, the highest in Southeast Asia, are dominated by those in the 60 years and above age bracket. In this article published in The Conversation, Kartika Saraswati and fellow DPhil students elaborate how, by prioritising vaccination for elderly, Indonesia may optimally reduce the hospital burden and COVID-19 deaths amidst a limited vaccine supply during the first vaccination phase.
Congratulations to Pearl Gan, OUCRU Photographer in Residence, for her winning image selected for the Lancet Highlights 2020: Framing Health Stories. Despite the difficulties of this pandemic year, The Lancet received fascinating and varied entries for our Highlights 2020 photography competition. 15 striking photographs were selected. Each picture captures a unique moment, highlighting a health story.
Susie Dunachie joins a prestigious group of leading health researchers in the latest cohort of NIHR Global Research Professors. These awards fund research leaders of the future to promote effective translation of research and to strengthen health, public health and care research leadership at the highest academic levels. Research conducted by Global Research Professors directly benefits people in LMICs. A Consultant in Infectious Diseases and Medical Microbiology, Susie works on the development of a vaccine to prevent death from melioidosis in people with type 2 diabetes mellitus in LMICs, and supports vaccine research in Thailand. Congratulations!