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Improvements in geospatial health data and tailored human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) testing, prevention and treatment have led to greater microtargeting of the HIV response, based on location, risk, clinical status and disease burden. These approaches show promise for achieving control of the HIV epidemic. At the same time, United Nations Member States have committed to achieving broader health and development goals by 2030, including universal health coverage (UHC). HIV epidemic control will facilitate UHC by averting the need to commit ever-increasing resources to HIV services. Yet an overly targeted HIV response could also distort health systems, impede integration and potentially threaten broader health goals. We discuss current approaches to achieving both UHC and HIV epidemic control, noting potential areas of friction between disease-specific microtargeting and integrated health systems, and highlighting opportunities for convergence that could enhance both initiatives. Examples of these programmatic elements that could be better aligned include: improved information systems with unique identifiers to track and monitor individuals across health services and the life course; strengthened subnational data use; more accountable supply chains that supply a broad range of services; and strengthened community-based services and workforces. We argue that the response both to HIV and to broader health threats should use these areas of convergence to increase health systems efficiency and mitigate the harm of any potential decrease in health funding. Further investments in implementation and monitoring of these programme elements will be needed to make progress towards both UHC and HIV epidemic control.
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The continuous flow of new research articles on MDR-TB diagnosis, treatment, prevention and rehabilitation requires frequent update of existing guidelines. This review is aimed at providing clinicians and public health staff with an updated and easy-to-consult document arising from consensus of Global Tuberculosis Network (GTN) experts. The core published documents and guidelines have been reviewed including the recently published MDR-TB WHO rapid advice and ATS/CDC/ERS/IDSA guidelines. After a rapid review of epidemiology and risk factors, the clinical priorities on MDR-TB diagnosis (including whole genome sequencing and drug-susceptibility testing interpretations) and treatment (treatment design and management, TB in children) are discussed. Furthermore, the review comprehensively describes the latest information on contact tracing and LTBI management in MDR-TB contacts, while providing guidance on post-treatment functional evaluation and rehabilitation of TB sequelae, infection control and other public health priorities.
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Measles outbreaks occur periodically in remote and difficult to reach areas in countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo. The possibility to keep measles vaccines at temperatures outside the cold chain for a limited period prior to administration would be an advantage for organizations such as Médecins Sans Frontières, which repeatedly respond to measles outbreaks in difficult contexts. Using stability data at 37 °C and 40 °C provided by Serum Institute of India Private Limited we applied the product release model for Extended Controlled Temperature Conditions (ECTC) to evaluate the possibility of an out of the cold chain excursion. Measles vaccine in the lyophilized form remains above the minimum required potency at the end of the shelf-life for up to 6 days at 37 °C or for 2 days at 40 °C. This evaluation supports the use of a monodose presentation of measles vaccine in ECTC. This could be an advantage for outbreak response in isolated and difficult to reach areas. However the operational advantages of this approach need to be established.
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OBJECTIVES: HIV prevalence and incidence are higher among key populations including Men who have Sex with Men (MSM) and transgender women in low and middle income countries, when compared to the general population. Despite World Health Organisation guidelines on the provision of services to key populations recommending an evidence-based, culturally relevant and rights-based approach, uptake of HIV services in many resource-limited and rights-constrained settings remains low. Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has been offering health services for MSM and transgender women in Beira, Mozambique since 2014 using a peer-educator driven model, but uptake of services has not been as high as expected. This qualitative study aimed to learn more about these key populations in Beira, their experiences of accessing MSM- and transgender-friendly services and their use of face-to-face and virtual networks, including social media, for engagement with health care. METHODS: In-depth interviews were carried out with MSM and transgender women who were 1) enrolled in, 2) disengaged from or 3) never engaged in MSF's programme. Purposive and snowball sampling were used to recruit the different groups of interviewees. Interviews were conducted in Portuguese, transcribed and translated into English before being coded and manually analysed using a thematic network framework. RESULTS: Nine transgender women and 18 cisgender MSM participated in the study. Interviewees ranged in age from 19 to 47 years, with a median age of 29. Three main themes emerged from the data: perceptions of stigma and discrimination, experiences of the peer-educator driven model and the use of face-to-face and virtual platforms for communication and engagement, including social media. Interviewees reported experiencing stigma and discrimination because of their gender or sexual identity. HIV-related stigma and health-care setting discrimination, including gossip and breach of confidentiality, were also reported. Although the presence of the peer-educators and their outreach activities were appreciated, they had limited visibility and an over-focus on health and HIV. The face-to-face networks of MSM and transgender women were small and fragmented. Virtual networks such as Facebook were mainly used for flirting, dating and informal communication. Most interviewees were at ease using social media and would consider it as a means of engaging with health messaging. CONCLUSIONS: MSM and transgender women have challenges in accessing health services due to being stigmatised because of their gender identity and their sexual behaviour, and often experience stigma at home, in health-care facilities and in their communities. Peer-driven models of engagement were appreciated but have limitations. There is an untapped potential for further expansion and engagement with face-to-face and virtual platforms to reach MSM and transgender women in settings with a high HIV burden, and to provide them with essential information about HIV and their health.
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INTRODUCTION: Visceral leishmaniasis (VL) is endemic in South Sudan, where outbreaks occur frequently. Because of changes in the immune system during pregnancy, pregnant women are considered particularly vulnerable for developing complications of VL disease, including opportunistic infections. There is limited evidence available about clinical aspects and treatment outcomes of VL in pregnancy. We describe characteristics, maternal and pregnancy outcomes from a cohort of pregnant women with VL. METHODS: We conducted a retrospective analysis using routine programme data from a MSF health facility in Lankien, Jonglei State, South Sudan, between Oct 2014 and April 2018. Records were extracted of women diagnosed with VL while pregnant, and those symptomatic during pregnancy but diagnosed during the first two weeks postpartum. Records were matched with a random sample of non-pregnant women of reproductive age (15-45 years) with VL from the same period. RESULTS: We included 113 women with VL in pregnancy, and 223 non-pregnant women with VL. Women with VL in pregnancy presented with more severe anaemia, were more likely to need blood transfusion (OR 9.3; 95%CI 2.5-34.2) and were more often prescribed antibiotics (OR 6.0; 95%CI 3.4-10.6), as compared to non-pregnant women with VL. Adverse pregnancy outcomes, including miscarriage and premature delivery, were reported in 20% (16/81) where VL was diagnosed in pregnancy, and 50% 13/26) where VL was diagnosed postpartum. Postpartum haemorrhage was common. Pregnant women were more likely to require extension of treatment to achieve cure (OR 10.0; 95%CI 4.8-20.9), as compared to non-pregnant women with VL. Nevertheless, overall initial cure rates were high (96.5%) and mortality was low (1.8%) in this cohort of pregnant women with VL. CONCLUSION: This is the largest cohort in the literature of VL in pregnancy. Our data suggest that good maternal survival rates are possible in resource-limited settings, despite the high incidence of complications.
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BACKGROUND: Tuberculosis (TB) non-disclosure by adult patients to all household members is a setback to TB control efforts. It reduces the likelihood that household contacts will seek early TB screening, initiation on preventive or curative treatment, but also hinders the implementation of infection controls and home-based directly observed treatment. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to determine the level of TB non-disclosure, its predictors and the effects of disclosure among adult TB patients in Uganda. METHODS: We conducted a cross-sectional study at a large regional referral hospital in Mbarara, south-western Uganda. Questionnaires were administered to collect patients' sociodemographic and their TB disclosure data. Non-disclosure was considered if a patient did not reveal their TB diagnosis to all household members within 2 weeks post-treatment initiation. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression models were fitted for predictors of non-disclosure. RESULTS: We enrolled 62 patients, 74% males, mean age of 32 years, and median of five people per household. Non-disclosure rate was 30.6%. Post-disclosure experiences were positive in 98.3% of patients, while negative experiences suggestive of severe stigma occurred in 12.3% of patients. Being female (OR 6.5, 95% CI: 1.4-29.3) and belonging to Muslim faith (OR 12.4, 95% CI: 1.42-109.1) were significantly associated with TB non-disclosure to household members. CONCLUSIONS: There is a high rate of TB non-disclosure to all household members by adult patients in rural Uganda, particularly among women and muslim patients. Interventions enhancing TB disclosure at household level while minimizing negative effects of stigma should be developed and prioritized.
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In recent years, there has been increasing pressure on public health systems in high-income countries due to high medicines prices, one of the underlying causes of which are the market monopolies granted to pharmaceutical undertakings. These monopolies have been facilitated by expanded forms of intellectual property protections, including the extension of the exclusivity period after the expiration of the patent term concerning medicinal products. In the European Union such an approach lies in the Supplementary Protection Certificate, a mechanism formally introduced under Regulation 1768/92/EEC (now: Regulation 469/2009/EC, amended). After more than 20 years of implementation since it was first introduced, the common justifications for SPCs are being challenged by recent findings as to their functioning and impact. Similarly, legitimate questions have been voiced as to the negative impact of SPCs on timely access to affordable medicines. On the basis of an analysis of three medicines for hepatitis C and cancer treatments, the present article critically engages with the policy justifications underlying SPCs. It then analyses access challenges to a hepatitis C medicine and an HIV treatment in Europe, highlighting the social cost of the introduction of SPCs. Both the normative and empirical analyses have demonstrated that the common justifications supporting the SPC regime are deeply questionable. The addition of SPC exclusivity has also heavily delayed competition and maintained high medicines prices in European countries. Ultimately, the granting of such extended exclusive private rights on medicines may result in unnecessary suffering and be a factor in the erosion of access to medicines for all.
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Point-of-care urine-lipoarabinomannan (LAM) Alere Determine TB-LAM assay has shown utility diagnosing tuberculosis (TB) in HIV-positive, severely immunocompromised, TB-symptomatic patients. We assessed LAM results in severely immunocompromised patients, who had LAM systematically performed at new or follow-up HIV consultations. This was a prospective, observational study on consecutive ambulatory, > 15-year-old HIV-positive patients with CD4 < 100 cells/µL in Mozambique. Clinical assessments and LAM were performed for all and microscopy, Xpert, sputum culture, and chest X-ray for LAM-positive participants. Patients were followed up for 6 months. Of 360 patients, half were ART-naive. Lipoarabinomannan positivity was 11.9% (43/360), higher among symptomatic patients compared with asymptomatic: 18.5% (30/162), and 6.6% (13/198), respectively, P = 0.001. Tuberculosis was bacteriologically confirmed in 6/35 LAM-positive patients (2 of them asymptomatic). Lipoarabinomannan positivity was associated with higher risk of mortality (aOR:4.48, 95% CI: 1.24-16.23, P = 0.022). Systematic urine-LAM allows for rapid TB treatment initiation in severely immunocompromised HIV ambulatory patients and identifies patients at a higher risk of death.
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Introduction: Dengue is an endemic disease in India. Epidemics occur every year with incidence rising every year. Since 2010, Chandigarh has seen Dengue epidemics every year but the toll of reported confirmed cases has been very low. A study was undertaken to assess knowledge, awareness and practices among those who had already been diagnosed with dengue and followed up multiple times by Multipurpose Health Workers (MPHWs) at their homes. This study was conducted when both authors were post-graduate scholars at the Department of Public Health at Manipal Academy of Higher Education.Objective: To ascertain knowledge, awareness and practices regarding dengue among incident dengue cases of 2016 in Chandigarh. Methods: Retrospective Cohort study was conducted among the incident cases of dengue reported in 2016. The line list of cases was obtained from health department. Each household was visited once and face to face interviews were conducted with those willing to participate from January 2017 to March 2017. Using a modified WHO (World Health Organisation) questionnaire, 149 interviews were completed and analysed using descriptive analytical tools. Results: Data from the 149 interviews (57 males and 92 females) was used for primary analysis. Only 58.4% respondents were aware about dengue before diagnosis and 63.1% knew of its vector while only 10.1% were aware of the national programme and services available to them. Use of mosquito net was negligible (3.4%), even in rural areas. Screens on doors and windows were more common in urban area of Chandigarh. Conclusion: Since the study was conducted among incident cases, even after multiple visits conducted by MPHWs to the houses of these respondents, the knowledge regarding dengue was lower than expected.
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