The fast spread of mobile phones across low-income countries like India can make it harder for poorer people without phones to access essential health services, new research by Dr Marco Haenssgen suggests.
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.
Posted 15/06/2020. Iron deficiency and malaria are common among African children and studies suggest that iron may be critical for the development of humoral immunity. Sarah Atkinson and colleagues found that in 1,794 community-based children in Kenya and Uganda, iron-deficiency was associated with lower levels of P. falciparum-specific antibodies even after adjusting for malaria exposure.
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 Randomised Evaluation of COVID-19 Therapy (RECOVERY) trial has demonstrated that tocilizumab, an anti-inflammatory treatment, reduces the risk of death when given to hospitalised patients with severe COVID-19. The study also showed that tocilizumab shortens the time until patients are successfully discharged from hospital and reduces the need for a mechanical ventilator.
Evidence from a new study, initiated by the Primaquine Roll Out Group and conducted at WWARN, supports the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendation for use of 0.25mg/kg dose of primaquine (PQ) combined with artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACT) to block Plasmodium falciparum transmission.
The WHO 2030 NTD Roadmap has just been launched, and a recent Geneva Health Forum panel took that as its starting point to discuss the possibility of eliminating neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). Professor Philippe Guérin, IDDO’s Director, joined co-panellists Dr Amy Fall, the Global Health Medical for Africa Region Lead at Sanofi, Dr Mwele Malecela, Director of the Department of Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases at the WHO, and Dr Nathalie Strub-Wourgaft, Medical Director at Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) back in November 2020.
Baricitinib – an anti-inflammatory treatment for rheumatoid arthritis– is being investigated in the RECOVERY trial, the world’s largest clinical trial of treatments for patients hospitalised with COVID-19, taking place in 177 hospital sites across the UK and with over 33,000 patients recruited so far. As an anti-inflammatory, baricitinib may block the signalling activity of cytokine molecules which contribute to the hyper-inflammatory state seen in severe COVID-19. It is thought that baricitinib may act also have some anti-viral activity. The other treatments currently being investigated in the RECOVERY trial are Regeneron’s antibody cocktail, Aspirin and Colchicine.
Convalescent plasma has been widely used as a treatment for COVID-19 but to date there has been no convincing evidence of the effect of convalescent plasma on clinical outcomes in patients admitted to hospital with COVID-19. Recruitment to the convalescent plasma arm of the RECOVERY trial has now closed. The preliminary analysis based on 1873 reported deaths among 10,406 randomised patients shows no significant difference in the primary endpoint of 28-day mortality. Recruitment to all other treatment arms – tocilizumab, aspirin, colchicine, and Regeneron’s antibody cocktail – continues as planned.