The power of touch
Learning from a massive epidemic: measles in DRC.
Ducomble, T; Gignoux, E
Implementation of community and facility-based HIV self-testing under routine conditions in southern Eswatini
Pasipamire, L; Nesbitt, R; Dube, L; Mabena, E; Nzima, M; Dlamini, M; Rugongo, N; Maphalala, N; Obulutsa, TA; Ciglenecki, I; Kerschberger, B
WHO recommends HIV self-testing (HIVST) as an additional approach to HIV testing services. The study describes the strategies used during phase-in of HIVST under routine conditions in Eswatini (formerly Swaziland).
Between May 2017 and January 2018, assisted and unassisted oral HIVST was offered at HIV testing services (HTS) sites to people aged ≥ 16 years. Additional support tools were available, including a telephone hotline answered 24/7, HIVST demonstration videos and printed educational information about HIV prevention and care services. Demographic characteristics of HIVST users were described and compared with standard blood-based HTS in the community. HIVST results were monitored with follow-up phone calls and the hotline.
During the 9-month period, 1895 people accessed HIVST and 2415 HIVST kits were distributed. More people accessed HIVST kits in the community (n = 1365, 72.0%) than at health facilities (n = 530, 28.0%). The proportion of males and median age among those accessing HIVST and standard HTS in the community were similar (49.3%, 29 years HIVST vs. 48.7%, 27 years standard HTS). In total, 34 (3.9%) reactive results were reported from 938 people with known HIVST results; 32.4% were males, and median age was 30 years (interquartile range 25-36). Twenty-one (62%) patients were known to have received confirmatory blood-based HTS; of these, 20 (95%) had concordant reactive results and 19 (95%) were linked to HIV care at a clinic.
Integration of HIVST into existing HIV facility- and community-based testing strategies in Eswatini was found to be feasible, and HIVST has been adopted by national testing bodies in Eswatini.
Europe's migrant containment policies threaten the response to COVID-19
Hargreaves, S; Kumar, BN; McKee, M; Jones, L; Veizis, A
Drug-associated adverse events in the treatment of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis: an individual patient data meta-analysis
Lan, Z; Ahmad, N; Baghaei, P; Barkane, L; Benedetti, A; Brode, SK; Brust, JCM; Campbell, JR; Chang, VWL; Falzon, D; Guglielmetti, L; Isaakidis, P; Kempker, RR; Kipiani, M; Kuksa, L; Lange, C; Laniado-Laborín, R; Nahid, P; Rodrigues, D; Singla, R; Udwadia, ZF; Menzies, D
Treatment of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis requires long-term therapy with a combination of multiple second-line drugs. These drugs are associated with numerous adverse events that can cause severe morbidity, such as deafness, and in some instances can lead to death. Our aim was to estimate the absolute and relative frequency of adverse events associated with different tuberculosis drugs to provide useful information for clinicians and tuberculosis programmes in selecting optimal treatment regimens.
We did a meta-analysis using individual-level patient data that were obtained from studies that reported adverse events that resulted in permanent discontinuation of anti-tuberculosis medications. We used a database created for our previous meta-analysis of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis treatment and outcomes, for which we did a systematic review of literature published between Jan 1, 2009, and Aug 31, 2015 (updated April 15, 2016), and requested individual patient-level information from authors. We also considered for this analysis studies contributing patient-level data in response to a public call made by WHO in 2018. Meta-analysis for proportions and arm-based network meta-analysis were done to estimate the incidence of adverse events for each tuberculosis drug.
58 studies were identified, including 50 studies from the updated individual patient data meta-analysis for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis treatment. 35 of these studies, with 9178 patients, were included in our analysis. Using meta-analysis of proportions, drugs with low risks of adverse event occurrence leading to permanent discontinuation included levofloxacin (1·3% [95% CI 0·3-5·0]), moxifloxacin (2·9% [1·6-5·0]), bedaquiline (1·7% [0·7-4·2]), and clofazimine (1·6% [0·5-5·3]). Relatively high incidence of adverse events leading to permanent discontinuation was seen with three second-line injectable drugs (amikacin: 10·2% [6·3-16·0]; kanamycin: 7·5% [4·6-11·9]; capreomycin: 8·2% [6·3-10·7]), aminosalicylic acid (11·6% [7·1-18·3]), and linezolid (14·1% [9·9-19·6]). Risk of bias in selection of studies was judged to be low because there were no important differences between included and excluded studies. Variability between studies was significant for most outcomes analysed.
Fluoroquinolones, clofazimine, and bedaquiline had the lowest incidence of adverse events leading to permanent drug discontinuation, whereas second-line injectable drugs, aminosalicylic acid, and linezolid had the highest incidence. These results suggest that close monitoring of adverse events is important for patients being treated for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis. Our results also underscore the urgent need for safer and better-tolerated drugs to reduce morbidity from treatment itself for patients with multidrug-resistant tuberculosis.
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The duration of chemoprophylaxis against malaria after treatment with artesunate-amodiaquine and artemether-lumefantrine and the effects of pfmdr1 86Y and pfcrt 76T: a meta-analysis of individual patient data
Bretscher, M; Dahal, P; Griffin, J; Bassat, Q; Baudin, E; D'Alessandro, U; Djimde, AA; Dorsey, G; Espié, E; Fofana, B; González, R; Juma, E; Karema, C; Lasry, E; Lell, B; Lima, N; Menéndez, C; Mombo-Ngoma, G; Moreira, C; Nikiema, F; Ouédraogo, JB; Staedke, SG; Tinto, H; Valea, I; Yeka, A; Ghani, AC; Guerin, PJ; Okell, LC
The majority of Plasmodium falciparum malaria cases in Africa are treated with the artemisinin combination therapies artemether-lumefantrine (AL) and artesunate-amodiaquine (AS-AQ), with amodiaquine being also widely used as part of seasonal malaria chemoprevention programs combined with sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine. While artemisinin derivatives have a short half-life, lumefantrine and amodiaquine may give rise to differing durations of post-treatment prophylaxis, an important additional benefit to patients in higher transmission areas.
We analyzed individual patient data from 8 clinical trials of AL versus AS-AQ in 12 sites in Africa (n = 4214 individuals). The time to PCR-confirmed reinfection after treatment was used to estimate the duration of post-treatment protection, accounting for variation in transmission intensity between settings using hidden semi-Markov models. Accelerated failure-time models were used to identify potential effects of covariates on the time to reinfection. The estimated duration of chemoprophylaxis was then used in a mathematical model of malaria transmission to determine the potential public health impact of each drug when used for first-line treatment.
We estimated a mean duration of post-treatment protection of 13.0 days (95% CI 10.7-15.7) for AL and 15.2 days (95% CI 12.8-18.4) for AS-AQ overall. However, the duration varied significantly between trial sites, from 8.7-18.6 days for AL and 10.2-18.7 days for AS-AQ. Significant predictors of time to reinfection in multivariable models were transmission intensity, age, drug, and parasite genotype. Where wild type pfmdr1 and pfcrt parasite genotypes predominated (<=20% 86Y and 76T mutants, respectively), AS-AQ provided ~ 2-fold longer protection than AL. Conversely, at a higher prevalence of 86Y and 76T mutant parasites (> 80%), AL provided up to 1.5-fold longer protection than AS-AQ. Our simulations found that these differences in the duration of protection could alter population-level clinical incidence of malaria by up to 14% in under-5-year-old children when the drugs were used as first-line treatments in areas with high, seasonal transmission.
Choosing a first-line treatment which provides optimal post-treatment prophylaxis given the local prevalence of resistance-associated markers could make a significant contribution to reducing malaria morbidity.
Field challenges to measles elimination in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Coulborn, RM; Nackers, F; Bachy, C; Porten, K; Vochten, H; Ndele, E; Van Herp, M; Bibala-Faray, E; Cohuet, S; Panunzi, I
During a measles epidemic, the Ministry of Public Health (MOH) of the Democratic Republic of the Congo conducted supplementary immunization activities (2016-SIA) from August 28-September 3, 2016 throughout Maniema Province. From October 29-November 4, 2016, Médecins Sans Frontières and the MOH conducted a reactive measles vaccination campaign (2016-RVC) targeting children six months to 14 years old in seven health areas with heavy ongoing transmission despite inclusion in the 2016-SIA, and a post-vaccination survey. We report the measles vaccine coverage (VC) and effectiveness (VE) of the 2016-SIA and VC of the 2016-RVC.
A cross-sectional VC cluster survey stratified by semi-urban/rural health area and age was conducted. A retrospective cohort analysis of measles reported by the parent/guardian allowed calculation of the cumulative measles incidence according to vaccination status after the 2016-SIA for an estimation of crude and adjusted VE.
In November 2016, 1145 children (6-59 months old) in the semi-urban and 1158 in the rural areas were surveyed. Post-2016-SIA VC (documentation/declaration) was 81.6% (95%CI: 76.5-85.7) in the semi-urban and 91.0% (95%CI: 84.9-94.7) in the rural areas. The reported measles incidence in October among children less than 5 years old was 5.0% for 2016-SIA-vaccinated and 11.2% for 2016-SIA-non-vaccinated in the semi-urban area, and 0.7% for 2016-SIA-vaccinated and 4.0% for 2016-SIA-non-vaccinated in the rural area. Post-2016-SIA VE (adjusted for age, sex) was 53.9% (95%CI: 2.9-78.8) in the semi-urban and 78.7% (95%CI: 0-97.1) in the rural areas. Post 2016-RVC VC (documentation/declaration) was 99.1% (95%CI: 98.2-99.6) in the semi-urban and 98.8% (95%CI: 96.5-99.6) in the rural areas.
Although our VE estimates could be underestimated due to misclassification of measles status, the VC and VE point estimates of the 2016-SIA in the semi-urban area appear suboptimal, and in combination, could not limit the epidemic. Further research is needed on vaccination strategies adapted to urban contexts.
Behind the Scenes of South Africa’s Asylum Procedure: A Qualitative Study on Long-term Asylum-Seekers from the Democratic Republic of Congo
Schockaert, L; Venables, E; Gil-Bazo, MT; Barnwell, G; Gerstenhaber, R; Whitehouse, K
Despite the difficulties experienced by asylum-seekers in South Africa, little research has explored long-term asylum applicants. This exploratory qualitative study describes how protracted asylum procedures and associated conditions are experienced by Congolese asylum-seekers in Tshwane, South Africa. Eighteen asylum-seekers and eight key informants participated in the study. All asylum-seekers had arrived in South Africa between 2003 and 2013, applied for asylum within a year of arrival in Tshwane, and were still in the asylum procedure at the time of the interview, with an average of 9 years since their application. Thematic analysis was used to analyse the data. The findings presented focus on the process of leaving the Democratic Republic of Congo, applying for asylum and aspirations of positive outcomes for one’s life. Subsequently, it describes the reality of prolonged periods of unfulfilled expectations and how protracted asylum procedures contribute to poor mental health. Furthermore, coping mechanisms to mitigate these negative effects are described. The findings suggest that protracted asylum procedures in South Africa cause undue psychological distress. Thus, there is both a need for adapted provision of mental health services to support asylum-seekers on arrival and during the asylum process, and systemic remediation of the implementation of asylum procedures.
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