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Despite substantial improvement in the control of malaria and decreased prevalence of malnutrition over the past two decades, both conditions remain heavy burdens that cause hundreds of thousands of deaths in children in resource-poor countries every year. Better understanding of the complex interactions between malaria and malnutrition is crucial for optimally targeting interventions where both conditions co-exist. This systematic review aimed to assess the evidence of the interplay between malaria and malnutrition.
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Lesotho has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world. While at primary health care (PHC) level maternity care is free, at hospital level co-payments are required from patients. We describe service utilisation and delivery outcomes before and after removal of user fees and quality of delivery care, and associated costs, at St Joseph's Hospital (SJH) in Roma, Lesotho.
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Cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) is the most frequent form of leishmaniasis, with 0.7 to 1.2 million cases per year globally. However, the burden of CL is poorly documented in some regions. We carried out this review to synthesize knowledge on the epidemiological burden of CL in sub-Saharan Africa.
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Snakebite has only recently been recognized as a neglected tropical disease by the WHO. Knowledge regarding snakebites and its care is poor both at the population level, and at the health care staff level. The goal of this study was to describe the level of knowledge and clinical practice regarding snakebite among health care staff from Cameroon.
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In 2010, WHO recommended the use of new short-course treatment regimens in kala-azar elimination efforts for the Indian subcontinent. Although phase 3 studies have shown excellent results, there remains a lack of evidence on a wider treatment population and the safety and effectiveness of these regimens under field conditions.
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As antiretroviral therapy (ART) is scaled up, more patients become eligible for routine viral load (VL) monitoring, the most important tool for monitoring ART efficacy. For HIV programmes to become effective, leakages along the VL cascade need to be minimized and treatment switching needs to be optimized. However, many HIV programmes in resource-constrained settings report significant shortfalls.
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A high incidence of bacterial meningitis was observed in the Central African Republic (CAR) from December 2015 to May 2017 in three hospitals in the northwest of the country that are within the African meningitis belt. The majority of cases were caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae (249/328; 75.9%), which occurred disproportionately during the dry season (November-April) with a high case-fatality ratio of 41.6% (95% confidence interval [CI] 33.0, 50.8%). High rates of bacterial meningitis during the dry season in the meningitis belt are typically caused by Neisseria meningitidis (meningococcal meningitis), and our observations suggest that the risk of contracting S. pneumoniae (pneumococcal) meningitis is increased by the same environmental factors. Cases of meningococcal meningitis (67/328; 20.4%) observed over the same period were predominantly type W and had a lower case fatality rate of 9.6% (95% CI 3.6, 21.8%). Due to conflict and difficulties in accessing medical facilities, it is likely that the reported cases represented only a small proportion of the overall burden and that there is high underlying prevalence of S. pneumoniae carriage in the community. Nationwide vaccination campaigns in the CAR against meningitis have been limited to the use of MenAfriVac, which targets only meningococcal meningitis type A. We therefore highlight the need for expanded vaccine coverage to prevent additional causes of seasonal outbreaks.
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In 2018, WHO issued guidelines for the diagnosis, prevention, and management of HIV-related cryptococcal disease. Two strategies are recommended to reduce the high mortality associated with HIV-related cryptococcal meningitis in low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs): optimised combination therapies for confirmed meningitis cases and cryptococcal antigen screening programmes for ambulatory people living with HIV who access care. WHO's preferred therapy for the treatment of HIV-related cryptococcal meningitis in LMICs is 1 week of amphotericin B plus flucytosine, and the alternative therapy is 2 weeks of fluconazole plus flucytosine. In the ACTA trial, 1-week (short course) amphotericin B plus flucytosine resulted in a 10-week mortality of 24% (95% CI -16 to 32) and 2 weeks of fluconazole and flucytosine resulted in a 10-week mortality of 35% (95% CI -29 to 41). However, with widely used fluconazole monotherapy, mortality because of HIV-related cryptococcal meningitis is approximately 70% in many African LMIC settings. Therefore, the potential to transform the management of HIV-related cryptococcal meningitis in resource-limited settings is substantial. Sustainable access to essential medicines, including flucytosine and amphotericin B, in LMICs is paramount and the focus of this Personal View.
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