On Thur 21 July, the University of Health Sciences, Ministry of Health in collaboration with LOMWRU held the first Vientiane Science Café event in Laos. More than 50 students and staff of the Faculties of Medicine, Pharmacy, Dentistry, Nursing Sciences, Medical Technology, Basic Sciences, and Public Health attended the two hour-long event.
Posted 31/03/2021. Patient safety is a key goal of WHO but identifying harms and developing strategies to deliver safe care has been given little attention. Mike English and colleague describe a ‘portfolio’ approach to safety improvement in four broad categories: prioritising critical processes, improving the organisation of care, control of risks and enhancing responses to hazardous situations that we believe is relevant to low resource settings. We focus attention on the possible roles of practitioner groups and professional associations as key to advancing patient safety through collaboration and skill development in this field
Posted 26/02/2021. Malaria and iron deficiency are common in Africa and malaria may cause iron deficiency through a hepcidin-mediated block in iron absorption. Using sickle cell trait to proxy malaria exposure, John Muriuki, Sarah Atkinson and colleagues found that an intervention that halves malaria incidence would also reduce iron deficiency by approximately 50% in African children.
Posted 22/02/2021. Paper continues to be an important medium for recording inpatient care in low‐ and middle‐income countries. Naomi Muinga and colleagues synthesise evidence on how paper‐based nursing records have been developed within inpatient settings to support documentation of nursing care, and that a human‐centred design approach might better meet users' needs
Posted 12/02/2021. The majority of digital health projects have failed to translate into scaled, routine services, leaving many health leaders cautious and uncertain of how to proceed. Chris Paton and colleagues identify factors that can influence successful and sustainable integration of digital health within local health systems in low resource settings.
Posted 08/01/2021. Patient safety is much less well studied in low-resource settings than in higher income settings. Mike English and colleagues suggest how concepts being employed to advance patient safety thinking in higher income settings could be usefully applied by practitioners in low-resource settings. The ability to diagnose system weaknesses should become a core skill for those leading teams, wards, departments or facilities in low-resource settings
Posted 07/07/2020. In a country with 25 million newborns, children and adolescents, how many paediatricians are there and where are they? This paper by Mike English and colleagues seeks to start a debate on how to deliver paediatric services in LMIC in the future.
Posted 10/01/2020. Our ethnography aimed to describe Nairobi’s inpatient newborn wards and the busy lives of the nurses who work there. They work long hours with little supervision in ill-designed wards, staffed by far too few nurses given the pressing need. Under these difficult conditions, the collective model of nursing that develops reduces nurses’ exposure to stress and anxiety. Jacob McKnight and colleagues describe how these coping methods have implications for the quality of care and limit the potential for a patient-centred approach.
Posted 26/01/2021. Appropriate and well-resourced medical internship training is important to ensure psychological health and well-being of doctors in training and also to recruit and retain these doctors. Yingxi Zhao and colleagues identified and described a large number of tools designed for measuring medical internship experience, to help medical educators and human resource managers make an evidence-based decision on designing surveys to understand interns’ experience of training.
Posted 03/09/2020. Cian Wade, Mike English and colleagues brought together a large body of evidence to inform recommendations for Kenya on neonatal analgesic guidelines for routine procedures. They describe the process by which a group of local experts translated systematic review and meta-analysis findings into context-specific clinical guidelines. The work emphasises the value of breastfeeding or breast milk as an important and feasible therapeutic strategy for alleviating neonatal pain.
Posted 05/02/2021. Measles immunity gaps have widened following disruptions of routine immunisation and supplementary activities due to COVID-19 pandemic in Kenya. While COVID-19 restrictions temporarily reduced the risk of a measles outbreak, Caroline Mburu, Ifedayo Adetifa and colleagues estimate that this risk will rapidly rise once the restrictions are lifted. Implementing delayed supplementary immunisation activities will be critical for prevention of measles outbreaks.
Posted 15/01/2021. Yellow Fever is a re-emerging disease whose incidence has increased globally in the last three decades. Although very successful, the stocks of the YF vaccine are often insufficient. Derick Kimathi, George Warimwe and colleagues assessed the immunogenicity and safety of fractional (1/5th) doses. Our results support fractional dosing of all four WHO-prequalified YF vaccines in general adult population as a dose-sparing strategy.
Posted 03/07/2020. Under declining malaria transmission on the Kenyan coast Kilifi, Alice Kamau, Bob Snow and colleagues show that children continue to bear the brunt of mild and severe disease. There was no significant malaria disease or mortality burden in adults. This is contrary to current modelled approaches to malaria disease burden among African adults.
Posted 31/10/2020. Existing neonatal prognostic models are suited for advanced care settings; however, they use parameters that are not available in low-resource settings. Jalemba Aluvaala and colleagues demonstrate that two novel models - NETS and SENSS - using basic routine data can accurately predict in-hospital mortality which may allow us to better understand neonatal mortality.
Posted 09/10/2020. Children with severe anaemia are more likely to get bacterial infections. Kelvin Mokaya, Sarah Atkinson and colleagues discuss how severe anaemia interferes with iron regulation, and how this promotes bacterial growth in blood and dampens immune responses to these bacteria. The authors also suggest possible studies that can be used to explore their hypothesis.
Posted 29/09/2020. In a collaborative effort to investigate the mechanism of protection conferred by the rare Dantu blood group variant, found at highest frequency in East Africa, Silvia Kariuki and colleagues found a strong correlation between red blood cell membrane tension and parasite invasion ability. Increased membrane tension led to resistance to parasite invasion, and Dantu red blood cells had higher average membrane tension, meaning that a greater proportion resisted invasion. The findings from this study could inform the design of drugs that imitate this increased membrane tension to prevent or treat malaria.
Posted 18/08/2020. In November 2018 twenty-nine participants, representing 21 institutions from 11 countries, participated in a first international “school engagement” workshop hosted by the KEMRI-Wellcome Research Programme in Kilifi, Kenya. Alun Davies and colleagues report on the broad range of goals and approaches for engagement between health researchers and school students.
Posted 17/07/2020. In this editorial, Sam Kinyanjui and colleagues argue that establishing science preparedness, which is an integral component of emergency preparedness, should be embedded within long-term investment in research capacity. They illustrate how African-led research capacity building consortia including IDeAL have contributed to Africa’s preparedness for the COVID-19 pandemic.
Posted 30/06/2020. Interferon-gamma (IFN-g) is upregulated during malaria infection and influences erythropoiesis and iron status. Kelvin Mokaya, Sarah Atkinson and colleagues found that children carrying the IFNG+2200C allele, a variant previously associated with higher IFN-g levels, had a modestly increased risk of anaemia and iron deficiency after the malaria season. Larger studies are needed to validate this finding.
Posted 23/06/2020. As the COVID-19 global pandemic escalates in low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs), locally tailored responses addressing socio-economic and health inequities are essential. Edwine Barasa, Sassy Molyneux and colleagues offer five key considerations grounded in principles of social justice to inform decision making, and call for countries to act together, in cooperation, to build resilience.
Posted 19/06/2020. The true burden of malaria in sub-Saharan Africa remains challenging to measure. In Africa, there is increasing use of routine surveillance data to define national strategic targets, estimate malaria case burdens and measure control progress to identify financing priorities. Victor Alegana and colleagues address some of the challenges and prospects related to using routine data which equally apply to other disease surveillance.
The Medicine Quality Research Group has published a new Medical Product Quality Report focussing on increasing issues around substandard and falsified (SF) COVID-19 vaccines. With the implementation of the key innovations of COVID-19 vaccines, there have been growing numbers of reports of SF vaccines in the public domain. Given the vital role they will play in ending the pandemic and protecting the global population but severe issues with equitable access, SF vaccines are highly likely to be a growing problem.
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.
KWTRP initial community and public engagement strategy was developed in 2005 with three goals: build understanding and trust between researchers and communities, enhance ethical conduct of research, and disseminate research findings to promote uptake into policy. Our programme has since developed and now includes engagement with media, radio programme, media engagement workshops, various meetings and forums, and a fully-fledged school engagement programme that was awarded the 2019 Oxford VC Public Engagement with Research Award.
A study to explore the variations of how microscopy methods are reported in published malaria studies has recommended standardised procedures should be implemented for methodological consistency and comparability of clinical trial outcomes.
Blog by Rima Shretta. Preliminary efficacy results from three vaccine candidates currently in Phase 3 trials have shown an efficacy of more than 90% against the development of symptomatic COVID-19. While these results are promising, all vaccines are in relatively early stages of testing. A comprehensive and transparent roadmap is urgently needed, to determine how limited doses of the first vaccines to be licensed will be distributed, together with which groups will initially be prioritized.
A new study quantifying the high risk of Plasmodium vivax parasitaemia after treatment of Plasmodium falciparum malaria aims to identify populations in which a policy of universal radical cure, combining artemisinin-based combination therapy with a hypnozoitocidal antimalarial drug, would be most beneficial.