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Characteristics, utilisation and influence of viewpoint articles from the Structured Operational Research and Training Initiative (SORT IT) – 2009-2020
Khogali, M; Tayler-Smith, K; Harries, AD; Zachariah, R; Kumar, A; Davtyan, H; Satyanarayana, S; Denisiuk, O; van Griensven, J; Reid, A; Saw, S; Berger, SD; Hermans, V; Aseffa, A; Reeder, JC
Background: The Structured Operational Research and Training Initiative (SORT IT) teaches the practical skills of conducting and publishing operational research (OR) to influence health policy and/or practice. In addition to original research articles, viewpoint articles are also produced and published as secondary outputs of SORT IT courses. We assessed the characteristics, use and influence of viewpoint articles derived from all SORT IT courses.
Methods: This was a cross-sectional study involving all published viewpoint articles derived from the SORT IT courses held from August 2009 - March 2020. Characteristics of these papers were sourced from the papers themselves and from SORT-IT members involved in writing the papers. Data on use were sourced from the metrics provided on the online publishing platforms and from Google Scholar. Influence on policy and practice was self-assessed by the authors of the papers and was performed only for papers deemed to be ‘calls for action’.
Results: A total of 41 viewpoint papers were published. Of these, 15 (37%) were ‘calls for action’. In total, 31 (76%) were published in open-access journals and the remaining 10 in delayed access journals. In 12 (29%) of the papers, first authors were from low and middle-income countries (LMICs). Female authors (54%) were included in 22, but only four (10%) and two (5%) of first and last authors respectively, were female. Only seven (17%) papers had available data regarding online views and downloads. The median citation score for the papers was four (IQR 1-9). Of the 15 ‘call for action’ papers, six influenced OR capacity building, two influenced policy and practice, and three influenced both OR capacity building within SORT IT and policy and practice.
Conclusion: Viewpoint articles generated during SORT IT courses appear to complement original OR studies and are valued contributors to the dissemination of OR practices in LMICs.
Impact of systematic early tuberculosis detection using Xpert MTB/RIF Ultra in children with severe pneumonia in high tuberculosis burden countries (TB-Speed pneumonia): a stepped wedge cluster randomized trial.
Vessiere, A; Font, H; Gabillard, D; Adonis-Koffi, L; Borand, L; Chabala, C; Khosa, C; Mavale, S; Moh, R; Mulenga, V; Mwanga-Amumpaire, J; Taguebue, JV; Eang, MT; Delacourt, C; Seddon, JA; Lounnas, M; Godreuil, S; Wobudeya, E; Bonnet, M; Marcy, O
Background: In high tuberculosis (TB) burden settings, there is growing evidence that TB is common in children with pneumonia, the leading cause of death in children under 5 years worldwide. The current WHO standard of care (SOC) for young children with pneumonia considers a diagnosis of TB only if the child has a history of prolonged symptoms or fails to respond to antibiotic treatments. As a result, many children with TB-associated severe pneumonia are currently missed or diagnosed too late. We therefore propose a diagnostic trial to assess the impact on mortality of adding the systematic early detection of TB using Xpert MTB/RIF Ultra (Ultra) performed on nasopharyngeal aspirates (NPA) and stool samples to the WHO SOC for children with severe pneumonia, followed by immediate initiation of anti-TB treatment in children testing positive on any of the samples.
Methods: TB-Speed Pneumonia is a pragmatic stepped-wedge cluster randomized controlled trial conducted in six countries with high TB incidence rate (Côte d'Ivoire, Cameroon, Uganda, Mozambique, Zambia and Cambodia). We will enrol 3780 children under 5 years presenting with WHO-defined severe pneumonia across 15 hospitals over 18 months. All hospitals will start managing children using the WHO SOC for severe pneumonia; one hospital will be randomly selected to switch to the intervention every 5 weeks. The intervention consists of the WHO SOC plus rapid TB detection on the day of admission using Ultra performed on 1 nasopharyngeal aspirate and 1 stool sample. All children will be followed for 3 months, with systematic trial visits at day 3, discharge, 2 weeks post-discharge, and week 12. The primary endpoint is all-cause mortality 12 weeks after inclusion. Qualitative and health economic evaluations are embedded in the trial.
Discussion: In addition to testing the main hypothesis that molecular detection and early treatment will reduce TB mortality in children, the strength of such pragmatic research is that it provides some evidence regarding the feasibility of the intervention as part of routine care. Should this intervention be successful, safe and well tolerated, it could be systematically implemented at district hospital level where children with severe pneumonia are referred.
Decentralised hepatitis C testing and treatment in rural Cambodia: evaluation of a simplified service model integrated in an existing public health system.
Zhang, M; O'Keefe, D; Craig, J; Samley, K; Bunreth, V; Jolivet, P; Balkan, S; Marquardt, T; Dousset, JP; Le Paih, M
Background: Direct-acting antiviral treatment for hepatitis C virus (HCV) has provided the opportunity for simplified models of care delivered in decentralised settings by non-specialist clinical personnel. However, in low-income and middle-income countries, increasing overall access to HCV care remains an ongoing issue, particularly for populations outside of urban centres. We therefore aimed to implement a simplified model of HCV care via decentralised health services within a rural health operational district in Battambang province, Cambodia.
Methods: The study cohort included adult residents (≥18 years) of the health operational district of Moung Russei who were voluntarily screened at 13 local health centres. Serology testing was done by a rapid diagnostic test using SD Bioline HCV (SD Bioline HCV, Standard Diagnostics, South Korea) with capillary blood. HCV viral load testing was done by GeneXpert (Cepheid, Sunnyvale, CA, USA). Viraemic patients (HCV viral load ≥10 IU/mL) received pretreatment assessment by a general physician and minimal treatment evaluation tests at the health operational district referral hospital. Viraemic patients who did not have additional complications received all HCV care follow-up at the local health centres, provided by nursing staff, and patients who had decompensated cirrhosis, previously treated with a direct-acting antiviral, HBV co-infection, or other comorbidities requiring observation continued receiving care at the referral hospital with a general physician. Patients deemed eligible for treatment were prescribed oral sofosbuvir (400 mg) and daclatasvir (60 mg) once a day for 12 weeks, or 24 weeks for patients with decompensated cirrhosis or those previously treated with a direct-acting antiviral. HCV cure was defined as sustained virological response at 12 weeks after treatment (HCV viral load <10 IU/mL). Patients were assessed for serious and non-serious adverse events at any time between treatment initiation and 12 weeks post-treatment testing.
Findings: Between March 12, 2018, and Jan 18, 2019, 10 425 residents (ie, 7·6% of the estimated 136 571 adults in the health operational district of Moung Russei) were screened. Of those patients screened, the median age was 44 years (IQR 31-55) and 778 (7·5%) were HCV-antibody positive. 761 (97·8%) of 778 antibody-positive patients received HCV viral load testing, and 540 (71·0%) of those tested were HCV viraemic. Among these 540 patients, linkage to treatment and follow-up care was high, with 533 (98·7%) attending a baseline consultation at the HCV clinic, of whom 530 (99·4%) initiated treatment. 485 (91·5%) of 530 patients who initiated treatment received follow-up at a health centre and 45 (8·5%) were followed up at the referral hospital. Of the 530 patients who initiated direct-acting antiviral therapy, 515 (97·2%) completed treatment. Subsequently, 466 (90·5%) of 515 patients completed follow-up, and 459 (98·5%) of 466 achieved a sustained virological response at 12 weeks after treatment. Two (0·4%) adverse events (fatigue [n=1] and stomach upset [n=1]) and five (0·9%) serious adverse events (infection [n=2], cardiovascular disease [n=1], and panic attack [n=1], with data missing for one of the causes of serious adverse events) were reported among patients who initiated treatment. All serious adverse events were deemed to be unrelated to therapy.
Interpretation: This pilot project showed that a highly simplified, decentralised model of HCV care can be integrated within a rural public health system in a low-income or middle-income country, while maintaining high patient retention, treatment efficacy, and safety. The project delivered care via accessible, decentralised primary health centres, using non-specialist clinical staff, thereby enhancing the efficient use of limited resources and maximising the potential to test and treat individuals living with HCV infection.
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Thin layer agar-based direct phenotypic drug-susceptibility testing on sputum in Eswatini rapidly detects growth and rifampicin resistance, otherwise missed by WHO endorsed diagnostic tests.
Ardizzoni, E; Ariza, E; Mulengwa, D; Mpala, Q; de la Tour, R; Maphalala, G; Varaine, F; Kerschberger, B; Graulus, P; Page, A L; Nieman, S; Dreyer, V; Van Deun, A; Decroo, T; Rigouts, L; de Jong, B C
BACKGROUND: Xpert®MTB/RIF rapidly detects resistance to rifampicin (RR), however this test misses the I491F-RR conferring rpoB mutation, common in Southern Africa. In addition, Xpert®MTB/RIF does not distinguish between viable and dead Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB).
OBJECTIVE: To investigate the ability of thin layer agar (TLA) direct drug-susceptibility testing (DST) to detect MTB and its drug-resistance profiles in field conditions in Eswatini.
DESIGN: Consecutive samples were tested in parallel with Xpert®MTB/RIF and TLA for rifampicin (1.0 μg/ml) and ofloxacin (2.0 μg/ml). TLA results were compared at the Reference Laboratory in Antwerp with indirect DST on Löwenstein-Jensen or 7H11 solid media and additional phenotypic and genotypic testing to resolve discordance.
RESULTS: TLA showed a positivity rate for MTB detection of 7.1% versus 10.0% for Xpert®MTB/RIF. Of a total of 4547 samples included in the study, 200 isolates were available for comparison to the composite reference. Within a median of 18.4 days, TLA detected RR with 93.0% sensitivity (CI-77.4-98.0) and 99.4% specificity (CI 96.7-99.9), versus 62.5% (CI 42.7-78.8) and 99.3% (CI 96.2-99.9) for Xpert®MTB/RIF. Eight isolates, 28.6% of all RR confirmed isolates, carried the I491F mutation, all detected by TLA. TLA also correctly identified 183 of the 184 ofloxacin-S isolates (99.5% specificity, CI 97.0-99.9).
CONCLUSIONS: In field conditions, TLA rapidly detects RR, and in this specific setting contributed to detection of additional RR patients over Xpert®MTB/RIF, mainly but not exclusively due to I491F. TLA also accurately excluded fluoroquinolones resistance.
Coding-Complete Genome Sequence and Phylogenetic Relatedness of a SARS-CoV-2 Strain Detected in March 2020 in Cameroon.
Njouom, R; Sadueh-Mba, SA; Tchatchueng, J; Diagne, MM; Dia, N; Tagnouokam, PAN; Boum, Y; Hamadou, A; Esso, L; Faye, O; Tejiokem, MC; Okomo, MC; Etoundi, A; Carniel, E; Eyangoh, S
We describe the coding-complete genome sequence of a severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) strain obtained in Cameroon from a 58-year-old French patient who arrived from France on 24 February 2020. Phylogenetic analysis showed that this virus, named hCoV-19/Cameroon/1958-CMR-YAO/2020, belongs to lineage B.1.5 and is closely related to an isolate from France.
Cardiac point of care ultrasound in resource limited settings to manage children with congenital and acquired heart disease.
Muhame, RM; Dragulescu, A; Nadimpalli, A; Martinez, D; Bottineau, MC; Venugopal, R; Runeckles, K; Manlhiot, C; Nield, LE
Background: In resource limited settings, children with cardiac disease present late, have poor outcomes and access to paediatric cardiology programmes is limited. Cardiac point of care ultrasound was introduced at several Médecins Sans Frontières sites to facilitate cardiopulmonary assessment. We describe the spectrum of disease, case management and outcomes of cases reviewed over the Telemedicine platform.
Methods: Previously ultrasound naïve, remotely placed clinical teams received ultrasound training on focussed image acquisition. The Médecins Sans Frontières Telemedicine platform was utilised for remote case and imaging review to diagnose congenital and acquired heart disease and guide management supported by a remotely situated paediatric cardiologist.
Results: Two-hundred thirty-three cases were reviewed between 2016 and 2018. Of 191 who underwent focussed cardiac ultrasound, diagnoses included atrial and ventricular septal defects 11%, atrioventricular septal defects 7%, Tetralogy of Fallot 9%, cardiomyopathy/myocarditis 8%, rheumatic heart disease 8%, isolated pericardiac effusion 6%, complex congenital heart disease 4% and multiple other diagnoses in 15%. In 17%, there was no identifiable abnormality while 15% had inadequate imaging to make a diagnosis. Cardiologist involvement led to management changes in 75% of cases with a diagnosis. Mortality in the entire group was disproportionately higher among neonates (38%, 11/29) and infants (20%, 16/81). There was good agreement on independent review of selected cases between two independent paediatric cardiologists.
Conclusion: Cardiac point of care ultrasound performed by remote clinical teams facilitated diagnosis and influenced management in cases reviewed over a Telemedicine platform. This is a feasible method to support clinical care in resource limited settings.
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Correcting COVID-19 vaccine misinformation: Lancet Commission on COVID-19 Vaccines and Therapeutics Task Force Members.
Hotez, P; Batista, C; Ergonul, O; Figueroa, JP; Gilbert, S; Gursel, M; Hassanain, M; Kang, G; Kim, JH; Lall, B; Larson, H; Naniche, D; Sheahan, T; Shoham, S; Wilder-Smith, A; Strub-Wourgaft, N; Yadav, P; Bottazzi, ME
Failing to address access to insulin in its centenary year would be a catastrophic moral failure.
Beran, D; Colagiuri, S; Ernoult, N; Ewen, M; Fleury, C; Lepeska, M; Londeix, P; Pfiester, E; Yudkin, JS; Besançon, S
This comment is available free of charge at the following link: https://www.thelancet.com/journals/landia/article/PIIS2213-8587(21)00048-6/fulltext.
Improving estimates of the burden of severe wasting: analysis of secondary prevalence and incidence data from 352 sites.
Isanaka, S; Andersen, CT; Cousens, S; Myatt, M; Briend, A; Krasevec, J; Hayashi, C; Mayberry, A; Mwirigi, L; Guerrero, S
Introduction Estimates of incident cases of severe wasting among young children are not available for most settings but are needed for optimal planning of treatment programmes and burden estimation. To improve programme planning, global guidance recommends a single ‘incidence correction factor’ of 1.6 be applied to available prevalence estimates to account for incident cases. This study aimed to update estimates of the incidence correction factor to improve programme planning and inform the approach to burden estimation for severe wasting.
Methods A global call was issued for secondary data from severe wasting treatment programmes including prevalence, population size, programme admission and programme coverage through a UNICEF-led effort. Site-specific incidence correction factors were calculated as the number of incident cases (annual programme admissions/programme coverage) divided by the number of prevalent cases (prevalence*population size). Estimates were aggregated by country, region and overall using inverse-variance weighted random-effects meta-analysis.
Results We estimated incidence correction factors from 352 sites in 20 countries. Estimates aggregated by country ranged from 1.3 (Nigeria) to 30.1 (Burundi). Excluding implausible values, the overall incidence correction factor was 3.6 (95% CI 3.4 to 3.9).
Conclusion Our results suggest that incidence correction factors vary between sites and that the burden of severe wasting will often be underestimated using the currently recommended incidence correction factor of 1.6. Application of updated incidence correction factors represents a simple way to improve programme planning when incidence data are not available and could inform the approach to burden estimation.
A positive COVID-19 test is associated with high mortality in RR-TB-HIV patients
Mohr-Holland, E; Daniels, J; Douglas-Jones, B; Mema, N; Scott, V; Trivino Duran, L; Pfaff, C; Furin, J; Isaakidis, P
Roles and responsibilities of cultural mediators
Venables, E; Whitehouse, K; Spissu, C; Pizzi, L; Al Rousan, A; di Carlo, S
Hepatitis C viraemic and seroprevalence and risk factors for positivity in Northwest Cambodia: a household cross-sectional serosurvey.
Lynch, E; Falq, G; Sun, C; Bunchhoeung, PDT; Huerga, H; Loarec, A; Dousset, JP; Marquardt, T; Le Paih, M; Maman, D
Background: Despite a dramatic reduction in HCV drug costs and simplified models of care, many countries lack important information on prevalence and risk factors to structure effective HCV services.
Methods: A cross-sectional, multi-stage cluster survey of HCV seroprevalence in adults 18 years and above was conducted, with an oversampling of those 45 years and above. One hundred forty-seven clusters of 25 households were randomly selected in two sets (set 1=24 clusters ≥18; set 2=123 clusters, ≥45). A multi-variable analysis assessed risk factors for sero-positivity among participants ≥45. The study occurred in rural Moung Ruessei Health Operational District, Battambang Province, Western Cambodia.
Results: A total of 5098 individuals and 3616 households participated in the survey. The overall seroprevalence was 2.6% (CI95% 2.3-3.0) for those ≥18 years, 5.1% (CI95% 4.6-5.7) for adults ≥ 45 years, and 0.6% (CI95% 0.3-0.9) for adults 18-44. Viraemic prevalence was 1.9% (CI95% 1.6-2.1), 3.6% (CI95% 3.2-4.0), and 0.5% (CI95% 0.2-0.8), respectively. Men had higher prevalence than women: ≥18 years male seroprevalence was 3.0 (CI95% 2.5-3.5) versus 2.3 (CI95% 1.9-2.7) for women. Knowledge of HCV was poor: 64.7% of all respondents and 57.0% of seropositive participants reported never having heard of HCV. Risk factor characteristics for the population ≥45 years included: advancing age (p< 0.001), low education (higher than secondary school OR 0.7 [95% CI 0.6-0.8]), any dental or gum treatment (OR 1.6 [95% CI 1.3-1.8]), historical routine medical care (medical injection after 1990 OR 0.7 [95% CI 0.6-0.9]; surgery after 1990 OR 0.7 [95% CI0.5-0.9]), and historical blood donation or transfusion (blood donation after 1980 OR 0.4 [95% CI 0.2-0.8]); blood transfusion after 1990 OR 0.7 [95% CI 0.4-1.1]).
Conclusions: This study provides the first large-scale general adult population prevalence data on HCV infection in Cambodia. The results confirm the link between high prevalence and age ≥45 years, lower socio-economic status and past routine medical interventions (particularly those received before 1990 and 1980). This survey suggests high HCV prevalence in certain populations in Cambodia and can be used to guide national and local HCV policy discussion.
Concomitant treatment of chronic hepatitis C with direct acting antivirals and multidrug-resistant tuberculosis is effective and safe
Melikyan, N; Huerga, H; Atshemyan, H; Kirakosyan, O; Sargsyants, N; Aydinyan, T; Saribekyan, N; Khachatryan, N; Oganezova, I; Falcao, J; Balkan, S; Hewison, C
We assessed effectiveness and safety of concomitant chronic hepatitis C (HCV) treatment with direct acting antivirals (DAAs) and multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB). Of 322 MDR-TB patients (19.4% HCV), 30 were treated concomitantly (23.3% HIV-positive). Overall, 76.7% achieved HCV treatment success (95.8% among tested). One patient (3.3%) experienced a serious adverse event.
Operational considerations for the management of non-communicable diseases in humanitarian emergencies.
Beran, D; Hering, H; Boulle, P; Chappuis, F; Dromer, C; Saaristo, P; Perone, S Aebischer
Non-communicable diseases (NCD) represent an increasing global challenge with the majority of mortality occurring in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Concurrently, many humanitarian crises occur in these countries and the number of displaced persons, either refugees or internally displaced, has reached the highest level in history. Until recently NCDs in humanitarian contexts were a neglected issue, but this is changing. Humanitarian actors are now increasingly integrating NCD care in their activities and recognizing the need to harmonize and enhance NCD management in humanitarian crises. However, there is a lack of a standardized response during operations as well as a lack of evidence-based NCD management guidelines in humanitarian settings. An informal working group on NCDs in humanitarian settings, formed by members of the World Health Organization, Médecins Sans Frontières, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the International Federation of the Red Cross and others, and led by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, teamed up with the University of Geneva and Geneva University Hospitals to develop operational considerations for NCDs in humanitarian settings. This paper presents these considerations, aiming at ensuring appropriate planning, management and care for NCD-affected persons during the different stages of humanitarian emergencies. Key components include access to treatment, continuity of care including referral pathways, therapeutic patient education/patient self-management, community engagement and health promotion. In order to implement these components, a standardized approach will support a consistent response, and should be based on an ethical foundation to ensure that the "do no harm" principle is upheld. Advocacy supported by evidence is important to generate visibility and resource allocation for NCDs. Only a collaborative approach of all actors involved in NCD management will allow the spectrum of needs and continuum of care for persons affected by NCDs to be properly addressed in humanitarian programmes.
Clinical profile and factors associated with COVID-19 in Cameroon: a prospective cohort study
Mbarga, NF; Emilienne, E; Mbarga, M; Ouamba, P; Nanda, H; Kengni, A; Joseph, G; Eyong, J; Tossoukpe, S; Sosso, NS; Engelbert, NN; Lazare, MN; Landry, B; Patrick, T; Vogue, N; Metomb, S; Ale, F; Ousman, M; Job, D; Charlotte, M; Tamakloe, M; Haberer, JE; Atanga, N; Halle-Ekane, G; Boum, Y
Objectives This study explores the clinical profiles and factors associated with COVID-19 in Cameroon.
Research design and methods In this prospective cohort study, we followed patients admitted for suspicion of COVID-19 at Djoungolo Hospital between 01st April and 31st July 2020. Patients were categorised by age groups and disease severity: mild (symptomatic without clinical signs of pneumonia pneumonia), moderate (with clinical signs of pneumonia without respiratory distress) and severe cases (clinical signs of pneumonia and respiratory distress not requiring invasive ventilation). Demographic information and clinical features were summarised. Multivariable analysis was performed to predict risk.
Results A total of 323 patients were admitted during the study period; 262 were confirmed cases of COVID-19 by Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR). Among the confirmed cases, the male group aged 40 to 49 years (13.9%) was predominant. Disease severity ranged from mild (77%; N=204) to moderate (15%; N=40) to severe (7%; N=18); the case fatality rate was 1% (N=4). Dysgusia (46%; N=111) and hyposmia/anosmia (39%; N=89) were common features of COVID-19. Nearly one-third of patients had comorbidities (29%; N=53), of which hypertension was the most common (20%; N=48). Participation in a mass gathering (OR=5.47; P=0.03) was a risk factor for COVID-19. Age groups 60 to 69 (OR=7.41; P=0.0001), 50 to 59 (OR=4.09; P=0.03), 40 to 49 (OR=4.54; P=0.01), male gender (OR=2.53; P=0.04), diabetes (OR= 4.05; P= 0.01), HIV infection (OR=5.57; P=0.03), lung disease (OR= 6.29; P=0.01), dyspnoea (OR=3.70; P=0.008) and fatigue (OR=3.35; P=0.02) significantly predicted COVID-19 severity.
Conclusion Unlike many high-income settings, most COVID-19 cases in this study were benign with low fatality. Such findings may guide public health decision-making.
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