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Our alumni Emilia Sitsofe Antonio and Sopuruchukwu Obiesie ( 2019-2020 cohort) as well as our alumni Zineb Bentounsi and Vitalis Fambombi Feteh (2018-2019 cohort), Gerald Jamberi Makuka and Roland Ngu (2017-2018 cohort) have contributed to this systematic review on independent trials aiming to answer similar questions.
Expanding health insurance scheme in the informal sector in Nigeria: awareness as a potential demand-side tool
The implementation and expansion of a health insurance scheme in the informal sector, particularly in developing countries, is a challenge. With the aid of an innovative Information-Education and Communication model, titled 'Understanding the concept of health insurance: An innovative social marketing tool', an assessment of the awareness and perception of the scheme among market women was carried out.
Treatment outcomes among children treated for uncomplicated severe acute malnutrition: a retrospective study in Accra, Ghana
The objectives of the study were to describe outcomes of children with uncomplicated severe acute malnutrition (SAM) attending community-based management of acute malnutrition (CMAM) treatment centres in Accra Metropolitan Area (AMA) and explore factors associated with non-adherence to clinic visits and defaulting from the treatment programme.
A Competing-Risk Approach for Modeling Length of Stay in Severe Malaria Patients in South-East Asia and the Implications for Planning of Hospital Services
Management of severe malaria with limited resources requires comprehensive planning. Expected length of stay (LOS) and the factors influencing it are useful in the planning and optimisation of service delivery.
Emerging data from Africa indicates remarkably low numbers of reported COVID-19 deaths despite high levels of disease transmission. However, evolution of these trends as the pandemic progresses remains unknown. More certain are the devastating long-term impacts of the pandemic on health and development evident globally. Research tailored to the unique needs of African countries is crucial. UKCDR and GloPID-R have launched a tracker of funded COVID-19 projects mapped to the WHO research priorities and research priorities of Africa and less-resourced countries and published a baseline analysis of a living systematic review (LSR) of these projects.
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has resulted in an unprecedented research response, demonstrating exceptional examples of rapid research and collaboration. There is however a need for greater coordination, with limited resources and the shifting global nature of the pandemic resulting in a proliferation of research projects underpowered and unable to achieve their aims.
The remaining unknowns: A mixed methods study of the current and global health research priorities for COVID-19
In March 2020, the WHO released a Global Research Roadmap in an effort to coordinate and accelerate the global research response to combat COVID-19 based on deliberations of 400 experts across the world. Three months on, the disease and our understanding have both evolved significantly. As we now tackle a pandemic in very different contexts and with increased knowledge, we sought to build on the work of the WHO to gain a more current and global perspective on these initial priorities.
In the absence of proper guidelines and algorithms, available rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) for common acute undifferentiated febrile illnesses are often used inappropriately.
Identifying prognostic factors of severe metabolic acidosis and uraemia in African children with severe falciparum malaria: a secondary analysis of a randomized trial
Severe metabolic acidosis and acute kidney injury are major causes of mortality in children with severe malaria but are often underdiagnosed in low resource settings.
MVSE: an R‐package that estimates a climate‐driven mosquito‐borne viral suitability index. Methods in Ecology and Evolution
Viruses, such as dengue, Zika, yellow fever and chikungunya, depend on mosquitoes for transmission. Their epidemics typically present periodic patterns, linked to the underlying mosquito population dynamics, which are known to be driven by natural climate fluctuations. Understanding how climate dictates the timing and potential of viral transmission is essential for preparedness of public health systems and design of control strategies. While various alternative approaches have been proposed to estimate local transmission potential of such viruses, few open-source, ready to use and freely available software tools exist.
A 2007 to 2008 measles outbreak in Antwerp, Belgium, identified the orthodox Jewish communities as a new risk group. This study analyzes vaccination data of 949 school children of 4 belief systems to assess the completeness and timeliness of their measles-mumps-rubella vaccination. Orthodox Jewish children show a 4-fold lower chance of complete vaccination, a delayed start, and increased temporal spacing of childhood vaccinations. Not only belief issues but difficulties to access the regular vaccination program also seem to be the main reason.
BackgroundSignificant progress has been made addressing adolescent health needs in New Zealand, but some areas, such as mental health issues remain, particularly for rangatahi Māori (indigenous Māori young people). Little is known about how contemporary Māori whānau (families) and communities influence health outcomes, health literacy and access to services. Previous nationally representative secondary school surveys were conducted in New Zealand in 2001, 2007 and 2012, as part of the Youth2000 survey series. This paper focuses on a fourth survey conducted in 2019 (https://www.youth19.ac.nz/). In 2019, the survey also included kura kaupapa Māori schools (Māori language immersion schools), and questions exploring the role of family connections in health and wellbeing. This paper presents the overall study methodology, and a weighting and calibration framework in order to provide estimates that reflect the national student population, and enable comparisons with the previous surveys to monitor trends.MethodsYouth19 was a cross sectional, self-administered health and wellbeing survey of New Zealand high school students. The target population was the adolescent population of New Zealand (school years 9-13). The study population was drawn from three education regions: Auckland, Tai Tokerau (Northland) and Waikato. These are the most ethnically diverse regions in New Zealand. The sampling design was two-stage clustered stratified, where schools were the clusters, and strata were defined by kura schools and educational regions. There were four strata, formed as follows: kura schools (Tai Tokerau, Auckland and Waikato regions combined), mainstream-Auckland, mainstream-Tai Tokerau and mainstream-Waikato. From each stratum, 50% of the schools were randomly sampled and then 30% of students from the selected schools were invited to participate. All students in the kura kaupapa schools were invited to participate. In order to make more precise estimates and adjust for differential non-response, as well as to make nationally relevant estimates and allow comparisons with the previous national surveys, we calibrated the sampling weights to reflect the national secondary school student population.ResultsThere were 45 mainstream and 4 kura schools included in the final sample, and 7,374 mainstream and 347 kura students participated in the survey. There were differences between the sampled population and the national secondary school student population, particularly in terms of sex and ethnicity, with a higher proportion of females and Asian students in the study sample than in the national student population. We calculated estimates of the totals and proportions for key variables that describe risk and protective factors or health and wellbeing factors. Rates of risk-taking behaviours were lower in the sampled population than what would be expected nationally, based on the demographic profile of the national student population. For the regional estimates, calibrated weights yield standard errors lower than those obtained with the unadjusted sampling weights. This leads to significantly narrower confidence intervals for all the variables in the analysis. The calibrated estimates of national quantities provide similar results. Additionally, the national estimates for 2019 serve as a tool to compare to previous surveys, where the sampling population was national.ConclusionsOne of the main goals of this paper is to improve the estimates at the regional level using calibrated weights to adjust for oversampling of some groups, or non-response bias. Additionally, we also recommend the use of calibrated estimators as they provide nationally adjusted estimates, which allow inferences about the whole adolescent population of New Zealand. They also yield confidence intervals that are significantly narrower than those obtained using the original sampling weights.
Exclusive breastfeeding (EBF)—giving infants only breast-milk for the first 6 months of life—is a component of optimal breastfeeding practices effective in preventing child morbidity and mortality. EBF practices are known to vary by population and comparable subnational estimates of prevalence and progress across low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) are required for planning policy and interventions. Here we present a geospatial analysis of EBF prevalence estimates from 2000 to 2018 across 94 LMICs mapped to policy-relevant administrative units (for example, districts), quantify subnational inequalities and their changes over time, and estimate probabilities of meeting the World Health Organization’s Global Nutrition Target (WHO GNT) of ≥70% EBF prevalence by 2030. While six LMICs are projected to meet the WHO GNT of ≥70% EBF prevalence at a national scale, only three are predicted to meet the target in all their district-level units by 2030.
Deploying triple artemisinin-based combination therapy (TACT) for malaria treatment in Africa: ethical and practical considerations.
Malaria remains a major cause of morbidity and mortality in Africa, particularly in children under five years of age. Availability of effective anti-malarial drug treatment is a cornerstone for malaria control and eventual malaria elimination. Artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) is worldwide the first-line treatment for uncomplicated falciparum malaria, but the ACT drugs are starting to fail in Southeast Asia because of drug resistance. Resistance to artemisinins and their partner drugs could spread from Southeast Asia to Africa or emerge locally, jeopardizing the progress made in malaria control with the increasing deployment of ACT in Africa. The development of triple artemisinin-based combination therapy (TACT) could contribute to mitigating the risks of artemisinin and partner drug resistance on the African continent. However, there are pertinent ethical and practical issues that ought to be taken into consideration. In this paper, the most important ethical tensions, some implementation practicalities and preliminary thoughts on addressing them are discussed. The discussion draws upon data from randomized clinical studies using TACT combined with ethical principles, published literature and lessons learned from the introduction of artemisinin-based combinations in African markets.
Research ethics in context: understanding the vulnerabilities, agency and resourcefulness of research participants living along the Thai–Myanmar border
Abstract Background Research ethics guidelines set a high bar for conducting research with vulnerable populations, often resulting in their exclusion from beneficial research. Our study aims to better characterise participants’ vulnerabilities, agency, resourcefulness and sources of support. Methods We undertook qualitative research around two clinical studies involving migrant women living along the Thai–Myanmar border. We conducted 32 in-depth interviews and 10 focus group discussions with research participants, families, researchers and key informants. Results We found that being ‘undocumented’ is at the core of many structural vulnerabilities, reflecting political, economic, social and health needs. Although migrant women lead challenging lives, they have a support network that includes family, employers, community leaders, non-governmental organisations and research networks. Migrant women choose to participate in research to access quality healthcare, gain knowledge and obtain extra money. However, research has the potential to exacerbate existing vulnerabilities, such as the burdens of cross-border travel, foregoing work and being more visible as migrants. Conclusions Our study confirms that research is important to provide evidence-based care and was viewed by participants as offering many benefits, but it also has hidden burdens. Migrant women exercised agency and resourcefulness when navigating challenges in their lives and research participation.
Why do people purchase antibiotics over-the-counter? A qualitative study with patients, clinicians and dispensers in central, eastern and western Nepal.
IntroductionOver-the-counter (OTC) use of antibiotics contributes to the burgeoning rise in antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Drawing on qualitative research methods, this article explores the characteristics of OTC sales of antibiotic in Nepal, its drivers and implications for policy.MethodsData were collected in and around three tertiary hospitals in eastern, western and central Nepal. Using pre-defined guides, a mix of semi-structured interviews and focus group discussions were conducted with dispensers at drug stores, patients attending a hospital and clinicians. Interviews were audio-recorded, translated and transcribed into English and coded using a combination of an inductive and deductive approach.ResultsDrug shops were the primary location where patients engaged with health services. Interactions were brief and transactional: symptoms were described or explicit requests for specific medicine made, and money was exchanged. There were economic incentives for clients and drug stores: patients were able to save money by bypassing the formal healthcare services. Clinicians described antibiotics as easily available OTC at drug shops. Dispensing included the empirical use of broad-spectrum antibiotics, often combining multiple antibiotics, without laboratory diagnostic and drug susceptibility testing. Inappropriately short regimens (2-3 days) were also offered without follow-up. Respondents viewed OTC antibiotic as a convenient alternative to formal healthcare, the access to which was influenced by distance, time and money. Respondents also described the complexities of navigating various departments in hospitals and little confidence in the quality of formal healthcare. Clinicians and a few dispensers expressed concerns about AMR and referred to evadable policies around antibiotics use and poor enforcement of regulation.ConclusionsThe findings point to the need for clear policy guidance and rigorous implementation of prescription-only antibiotics.
BackgroundIn men with chronic prostatitis-chronic pelvic pain syndrome, treatment with alpha-adrenergic receptor blockers early in the course of the disorder has been reported to be effective in some, but not all, relatively small randomized trials.MethodsWe conducted a multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial to evaluate the efficacy of alfuzosin, an alpha-adrenergic receptor blocker, in reducing symptoms in men with chronic prostatitis-chronic pelvic pain syndrome. Participation in the study required diagnosis of the condition within the preceding 2 years and no previous treatment with an alpha-adrenergic receptor blocker. Men were randomly assigned to treatment for 12 weeks with either 10 mg of alfuzosin per day or placebo. The primary outcome was a reduction of at least 4 points (from baseline to 12 weeks) in the score on the National Institutes of Health Chronic Prostatitis Symptom Index (NIH-CPSI) (range, 0 to 43; higher scores indicate more severe symptoms). A 4-point decrease is the minimal clinically significant difference in the score.ResultsA total of 272 eligible participants underwent randomization, and in both study groups, 49.3% of participants had a decrease of at least 4 points in their total NIH-CPSI score (rate difference associated with alfuzosin, 0.1%; 95% confidence interval, -11.2 to 11.0; P=0.99). In addition, a global response assessment showed similar response rates at 12 weeks: 33.6% in the placebo group and 34.8% in the alfuzosin group (P=0.90). The rates of adverse events in the two groups were also similar.ConclusionsOur findings do not support the use of alfuzosin to reduce the symptoms of chronic prostatitis-chronic pelvic pain syndrome in men who have not received prior treatment with an alpha-blocker. (ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00103402.)
BackgroundThis feasibility pilot of the Parenting for Lifelong Health for Young Children program in Thailand aimed to: 1) explore the feasibility of study evaluation approaches; 2) assess the feasibility of delivering an adapted program; 3) report indicative effects on child maltreatment and related outcomes; and 4) examine intervention content associated with key mechanisms of change perceived by caregivers and facilitators.MethodSixty primary caregivers of children aged 2-9 years were recruited for an 8-week parenting program embedded within the local health system. Mixed-methods approaches included quantitative caregiver-report and observational data from standardized instruments, and qualitative data from individual and group interviews with caregivers and program facilitators. Analyses involved Wilcoxon signed-rank tests, paired t-tests, Friedman's ANOVA, and thematic analysis.ResultsParticipants reported that most (65%) were grandparents or great-grandparents. Study retention and response rates were high, and enrolled caregivers attended an average of 93% of sessions. Primary outcomes showed caregiver-reported pre-post reductions in overall child maltreatment (d = - 0.58, p ConclusionsThis study represents one of few evaluations to test the feasibility of an evidence-based parenting program embedded within routine public health service delivery in a low- or middle-income country. Findings show preliminary effectiveness in reducing child maltreatment, improvements on 22 of 24 secondary outcomes, and perceived mechanisms of change that support quantitative findings. Prospects are promising for program scalability, pending randomized controlled trial results.Trial registration11/01/2019, ClinicalTrials.gov, ID# NCT03539341 .