This section contains articles written by MSF staff and MSF partners published in peer-reviewed journals. It contains research articles, reviews, editorials and letters. In all cases, the full text is available for free. Some articles are listed under more than one topic. The box on the right lists all the topics.

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  • Accelerating the Elimination of Viral Hepatitis: a Lancet Gastroenterology & Hepatology Commission.

    Cooke, GS; Andrieux-Meyer, I; Applegate, TL; Atun, R; Burry, JR; Cheinquer, H; Dusheiko, G; Feld, JJ; Gore, C; Griswold, MG; Hamid, S; Hellard, ME; Hou, J; Howell, J; Jia, J; Kravchenko, N; Lazarus, JV; Lemoine, M; Lesi, OA; Maistat, L; McMahon, BJ; Razavi, H; Roberts, TR; Simmons, B; Sonderup, MW; Spearman, WC; Taylor, BE; Thomas, DL; Waked, I; Ward, JW; Wiktor, SZ (Elsevier, 2019-02-01)
    Viral hepatitis is a major public health threat and a leading cause of death worldwide. Annual mortality from viral hepatitis is similar to that of other major infectious diseases such as HIV and tuberculosis. Highly effective prevention measures and treatments have made the global elimination of viral hepatitis a realistic goal, endorsed by all WHO member states. Ambitious targets call for a global reduction in hepatitis-related mortality of 65% and a 90% reduction in new infections by 2030. This Commission draws together a wide range of expertise to appraise the current global situation and to identify priorities globally, regionally, and nationally needed to accelerate progress. We identify 20 heavily burdened countries that account for over 75% of the global burden of viral hepatitis. Key recommendations include a greater focus on national progress towards elimination with support given, if necessary, through innovative financing measures to ensure elimination programmes are fully funded by 2020. In addition to further measures to improve access to vaccination and treatment, greater attention needs to be paid to access to affordable, high-quality diagnostics if testing is to reach the levels needed to achieve elimination goals. Simplified, decentralised models of care removing requirements for specialised prescribing will be required to reach those in need, together with sustained efforts to tackle stigma and discrimination. We identify key examples of the progress that has already been made in many countries throughout the world, demonstrating that sustained and coordinated efforts can be successful in achieving the WHO elimination goals.
  • Demonstration of the Diagnostic Agreement of Capillary and Venous Blood Samples, Using Hepatitis-C Virus SD Bioline© Rapid Test: A Clinic-based Study

    Sun, C; Iwamoto, M; Calzia, A; Sreng, B; Yann, S; Pin, S; Lastrucci, C; Kimchamroeun, S; Dimanche, C; Dousset, JP; Le Paih, M; Balkan, S; Marquardt, T; Carnimeo, V; Lissouba, P; Maman, D; Loarec, A (Elsevier, 2019-02)
    Simplifying hepatitis C virus (HCV) screening is a key step in achieving the elimination of HCV as a global public health threat by 2030.
  • Post-traumatic osteomyelitis in Middle East war-wounded civilians: resistance to first-line antibiotics in selected bacteria over the decade 2006-2016.

    Fily, F; Ronat, JB; Malou, N; Kanapathipillai, R; Seguin, C; Hussein, N; Fakhri, RM; Langendorf, C (BioMed Central, 2019-01-31)
    War-wounded civilians in Middle East countries are at risk of post-traumatic osteomyelitis (PTO). We aimed to describe and compare the bacterial etiology and proportion of first-line antibiotics resistant bacteria (FLAR) among PTO cases in civilians from Syria, Iraq and Yemen admitted to the reconstructive surgical program of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in Amman, Jordan, and to identify risk factors for developing PTO with FLAR bacteria.
  • A Randomized Trial of AmBisome Monotherapy and AmBisome and Miltefosine Combination to Treat Visceral leishmaniasis in HIV Co-infected Patients in Ethiopia

    Diro, E; Blesson, S; Edwards, T; Ritmeijer, K; Fikre, H; Admassu, H; Kibret, A; Ellis, SJ; Bardonneau, C; Zijlstra, EE; Soipei, P; Mutinda, B; Omollo, R; Kimutai, R; Omwalo, G; Wasunna, M; Tadesse, F; Alves, F; Strub-Wourgaft, N; Hailu, A; Alexander, N; Alvar, J (Public Library of Science, 2019-01-17)
    Visceral leishmaniasis (VL) in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) co-infected patients requires special case management. AmBisome monotherapy at 40 mg/kg is recommended by the World Health Organization. The objective of the study was to assess if a combination of a lower dose of AmBisome with miltefosine would show acceptable efficacy at the end of treatment.
  • 'I saw it as a second chance': A qualitative exploration of experiences of treatment failure and regimen change among people living with HIV on second- and third-line antiretroviral therapy in Kenya, Malawi and Mozambique

    Burns, R; Borges, J; Blasco, P; Vandenbulcke, A; Mukui, I; Magalasi, D; Molfino, L; Manuel, R; Schramm, B; Wringe, A (Taylor & Francis, 2019-01-11)
    Increasing numbers of people living with HIV (PLHIV) in sub-Saharan Africa are experiencing failure of first-line antiretroviral therapy and transitioning onto second-line regimens. However, there is a dearth of research on their treatment experiences. We conducted in-depth interviews with 43 PLHIV on second- or third-line antiretroviral therapy and 15 HIV health workers in Kenya, Malawi and Mozambique to explore patients' and health workers' perspectives on these transitions. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed and translated into English. Data were coded inductively and analysed thematically. In all settings, experiences of treatment failure and associated episodes of ill-health disrupted daily social and economic activities, and recalled earlier fears of dying from HIV. Transitioning onto more effective regimens often represented a second (or third) chance to (re-)engage with HIV care, with patients prioritising their health over other aspects of their lives. However, many patients struggled to maintain these transformations, particularly when faced with persistent social challenges to pill-taking, alongside the burden of more complex regimens and an inability to mobilise sufficient resources to accommodate change. Efforts to identify treatment failure and support regimen change must account for these patients' unique illness and treatment histories, and interventions should incorporate tailored counselling and social and economic support. Abbreviations: ART: Antiretroviral therapy; HIV: Human immunodeficiency virus; IDI: In-depth interview; MSF: Médecins Sans Frontières; PLHIV: People living with HIV.
  • Beyond 'cure' and 'treatment success': quality of life of patients with multidrug-resistant tuberculosis

    Laxmeshwar, C; Stewart, A G; Dalal, A; Kumar, A M V; Kalaiselvi, S; Das, M; Gawde, N; Thi, S S; Isaakidis, P (International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, 2019-01-01)
    Two drug-resistant tuberculosis (DR-TB) sites (MSF Clinic, Jupiter Hospital) in Mumbai, India.
  • "Is it making any difference?" A qualitative study examining the treatment-taking experiences of asymptomatic people living with HIV in the context of Treat-all in Eswatini

    Horter, S; Wringe, A; Thabede, Z; Dlamini, V; Kerschberger, B; Pasipamire, M; Lukhele, N; Rusch, B; Seeley, J (International AIDS Society, 2019-01)
    Treat-all is being implemented in several African settings, in accordance with 2015 World Health Organisation guidelines. The factors known to undermine adherence to antiretroviral therapy (ART) may change in the context of Treat-all, where people living with HIV (PLHIV) increasingly initiate ART at earlier, asymptomatic stages of disease, soon after diagnosis. This paper aimed to examine the asymptomatic PLHIV's experiences engaging with early ART initiation under the Treat-all policy, including how they navigate treatment-taking over the longer term.
  • Access to Care for Non-Communicable Diseases in Mosul, Iraq Between 2014 and 2017: A Rapid Qualitative Study.

    Baxter, LM; Eldin, MS; Al Mohammed, A; Saim, M; Checchi, F (BioMed Central, 2018-12-29)
    During June 2014 to April 2017, the population of Mosul, Iraq lived in a state of increasing isolation from the rest of Iraq due to the city's occupation by the Islamic State group. As part of a study to develop a generalisable method for estimating the excess burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in conflict-affected settings, in April-May 2017 we conducted a brief qualitative study of self-reported care for NCDs among 15 adult patients who had fled Mosul and presented to Médecins Sans Frontières clinics in the Kurdistan region with hypertension and/or diabetes. Participants reported consistent barriers to NCD care during the so-called Islamic State period, including drug shortages, insecurity and inability to afford privately sold medication. Coping strategies included drug rationing. By 2016, all patients had completely or partially lost access to care. Though limited, this study suggests a profound effect of the conflict on NCD burden.
  • From Risk to Care: The Hepatitis C Screening and Diagnostic Cascade in a Primary Health Care Clinic in Karachi, Pakistan—a Cohort Study

    Khalid, GG; Kyaw, KWY; Bousquet, C; Auat, R; Donchuk, D; Trickey, A; Hamid, S; Qureshi, H; Mazzeo, V; Aslam, K; Khowaja, S; Van den Bergh, R; Operational Center Brussels, Médecins Sans Frontières, Islamabad, Pakistan; Department of Operational Research, International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, Mandalay, Myanmar; Operational Center Brussels, Médecins Sans Frontières, Islamabad, Pakistan; Operational Center Brussels, Brussels, Belgium; Operational Center Brussels, Brussels, Belgium; School of Social and Population Sciences, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK; Department of Medicine, Agha Khan Medical University, Karachi, Pakistan; Pakistan Health Research Council, Islamabad, Pakistan; Operational Center Brussels, Médecins Sans Frontières, Islamabad, Pakistan; Operational Center Brussels, Médecins Sans Frontières, Islamabad, Pakistan; Operational Center Brussels, Médecins Sans Frontières, Islamabad, Pakistan; Operational Center Brussels, Brussels, Belgium (Oxford University Press, 2018-12-28)
    Background In the high-prevalence setting of Pakistan, screening, diagnosis and treatment services for chronic hepatitis C (CHC) patients are commonly offered in specialized facilities. We aimed to describe the cascade of care in a Médecins Sans Frontières primary health care clinic offering CHC care in an informal settlement in Karachi, Pakistan. Methods This was a retrospective cohort analysis using routinely collected data. Three different screening algorithms were assessed among patients with one or more CHC risk factors. Results Among the 87 348 patients attending the outpatient clinic, 5003 (6%) presented with one or more risk factors. Rapid diagnostic test (RDT) positivity was 38% overall. Approximately 60% of the CHC patients across all risk categories were in the early stage of the disease, with an aspartate aminotransferase:platelet ratio index score <1. The sequential delays in the cascade differed between the three groups, with the interval between screening and treatment initiation being the shortest in the cohort tested with GeneXpert onsite. Conclusions Delays between screening and treatment can be reduced by putting in place more patient-centric testing algorithms. New strategies, to better identify and treat the hidden at-risk populations, should be developed and implemented.
  • Field Evaluation of Near Point of Care Cepheid GeneXpert HIV-1 Qual for Early Infant Diagnosis

    Opollo, VS; Nikuze, A; Ben-Farhat, J; Anyango, E; Humwa, F; Oyaro, B; Wanjala, S; Omwoyo, W; Majiwa, M; Akelo, V; Zeh, C; Maman, D (Public Library of Science, 2018-12-27)
    Access to point-of-care HIV testing shortens turn-around times, time to diagnosis and reduces loss to follow-up hence minimizing barriers to early linkage to care and treatment among HIV infected infants. Currently samples for early infant HIV diagnosis are sent to centralized testing facilities which are few and located only at specific regions in Kenya. However, there are Point of Care (POC) early infant diagnosis [EID] technologies elsewhere such as SAMBA and ALERE-Q that are yet to be evaluated in Kenya despite the urgent need for data to inform policy formulation regarding EID. The Cepheid GeneXpert HIV-1 Qual (GeneXpert) technology for POC EID offers a great opportunity to minimize HIV associated morbidity, mortality and loss to follow-up through decentralization of early infant HIV testing to the clinics. This technology also allows for same-day results thus facilitating prompt linkage to care.
  • Dual Screen and Confirm Rapid Test Does Not Reduce Overtreatment of Syphilis in Pregnant Women Living in a Non-venereal treponematoses Endemic Region: a Field Evaluation Among Antenatal Care Attendees in Burkina Faso

    Langendorf, C; Lastrucci, C; Sanou-Bicaba, I; Blackburn, K; Koudika, MH; Crucitti, T (BMJ Publishing Group, 2018-12-22)
    In resource-limited settings, screening pregnant women for syphilis using rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) is a key tool in the prevention of congenital syphilis. However, most syphilis RDTs detect only treponemal antibodies (T-RDT), meaning antibiotics may be provided unnecessarily to previously treated pregnant women, particularly in non-venereal treponematoses endemic regions. We estimated the potential reduction in overtreatment when comparing T-RDT (SD Bioline) to a newer rapid test (Dual Path Platform (DPP) Screen and Confirm Assay, Chembio) detecting both treponemal and non-treponemal antibodies.
  • Increased Hepatitis C Virus Co-infection and Injection Drug Use in HIV-infected Fishermen in Myanmar

    Ousley, J; Nesbitt, R; Kyaw, NTT; Bermudez, E; Soe, KP; Anicete, R; Mon, PE; Le Shwe Sin Ei, W; Christofani, S; Fernandez, M; Ciglenecki, I (BioMed Central, 2018-12-14)
    In Southeast Asia, though fishermen are known to be a key population at high risk of HIV, little is known about their co-infection rates with Hepatitis C virus (HCV), or how illness and risk behaviors vary by occupation or type of fishermen. In Myanmar, this lack of knowledge is particularly acute, despite the fact that much of the country's border is coastline.
  • High Prevalence of Infection and Low Incidence of Disease in Child Contacts of Patients with Drug-resistant Tuberculosis: a Prospective Cohort Study

    Huerga, H; Sanchez-Padilla, E; Melikyan, N; Atshemyan, H; Hayrapetyan, A; Ulumyan, A; Bastard, M; Khachatryan, N; Hewison, C; Varaine, F; Bonnet, M (BMJ, 2018-12-06)
    We aimed to measure the prevalence and incidence of latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) and tuberculosis (TB) disease in children in close contact with patients with drug-resistant TB (DR-TB) in a country with high DR-TB prevalence.
  • Real-Time PCR for the Evaluation of Treatment Response in Clinical Trials of Adult Chronic Chagas Disease: Usefulness of Serial Blood Sampling and qPCR Replicates

    Parrado, R; Ramirez, JC; de la Barra, A; Alonso-Vega, C; Juiz, N; Ortiz, L; Illanes, D; Torrico, F; Gascon, J; Alves, F; Flevaud, L; Garcia, L; Schijman, AG; Ribeiro, I (American Society for Microbiology, 2018-12-03)
    This work evaluated a serial blood sampling procedure to enhance the sensitivity of duplex real-time PCR (qPCR) for baseline detection and quantification of parasitic loads and post-treatment identification of failure in the context of clinical trials for treatment of chronic Chagas disease, namely DNDi-CH-E1224-001 (NCT01489228) and MSF-DNDi PCR sampling optimization study (NCT01678599). Patients from Cochabamba (N= 294), Tarija (N= 257), and Aiquile (N= 220) were enrolled. Three serial blood samples were collected at each time-point and qPCR triplicates were tested per sample. The first two samples were collected during the same day and the third one seven days later.A patient was considered PCR positive if at least one qPCR replicate was detectable. Cumulative results of multiple samples and qPCR replicates enhanced the proportion of pre-treatment sample positivity from 54.8 to 76.2%, 59.5 to 77.8%, and 73.5 to 90.2% in Cochabamba, Tarija, and Aiquile cohorts, respectively. This strategy increased the detection of treatment failure from 72.9 to 91.7%, 77.8 to 88.9%, and 42.9 to 69.1% for E1224 low, short, and high dosage regimens, respectively; and from 4.6 to 15.9% and 9.5 to 32.1% for the benznidazole arm in the DNDi-CH-E1224-001 and MSF-DNDi studies, respectively. The addition of the third blood sample and third qPCR replicate in patients with non-detectable PCR results in the first two samples, gave a small, non-statistically significant improvement in qPCR positivity. No change in clinical sensitivity was seen with a blood volume increase from 5 to 10 ml. The monitoring of patients treated with placebo in the DNDi-CH-E1224-001 trial revealed fluctuations in parasitic loads and occasional non-detectable results. In conclusion, serial sampling strategy enhanced PCR sensitivity to detecting treatment failure during follow-up and has the potential for improving recruitment capacity in Chagas disease trials, which require an initial positive qPCR result for patient admission.
  • Perceptions of Healthcare-Associated Infection and Antibiotic Resistance among Physicians Treating Syrian Patients with War-Related Injuries

    Älgå, A; Karlow Herzog, K; Alrawashdeh, M; Wong, S; Khankeh, H; Stålsby Lundborg, C (MDPI, 2018-12-01)
    Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) constitute a major contributor to morbidity and mortality worldwide, with a greater burden on low- and middle-income countries. War-related injuries generally lead to large tissue defects, with a high risk of infection. The aim of this study was to explore how physicians in a middle-income country in an emergency setting perceive HAI and antibiotic resistance (ABR). Ten physicians at a Jordanian hospital supported by Médecins Sans Frontières were interviewed face-to-face. The recorded interviews were transcribed verbatim and analyzed by qualitative content analysis with an inductive and deductive approach. The participants acknowledged risk factors of HAI and ABR development, such as patient behavior, high numbers of injured patients, limited space, and non-compliance with hygiene protocols, but did not express a sense of urgency or any course of action. Overuse and misuse of antibiotics were reported as main contributors to ABR development, but participants expressed no direct interrelationship between ABR and HAI. We conclude that due to high patient load and limited resources, physicians do not see HAI as a problem they can prioritize. The knowledge gained by this study could provide insights for the allocation of resources and development of hygiene and wound treatment protocols in resource-limited settings.
  • Oral cholera vaccination in hard-to-reach communities, Lake Chilwa, Malawi

    Grandesso, F; Rafael, F; Chipeta, S; Alley, I; Saussier, C; Nogareda, F; Burns, M; Lechevalier, P; Page, AL; Salumu, L; Pezzoli, L; Mwesawina, M; Cavailler, P; Mengel, M; Luquero, FJ; Cohuet, S (The World Health Organization, 2018-12-01)
    To evaluate vaccination coverage, identify reasons for non-vaccination and assess satisfaction with two innovative strategies for distributing second doses in an oral cholera vaccine campaign in 2016 in Lake Chilwa, Malawi, in response to a cholera outbreak.
  • Defining priority medical devices for cancer management: a WHO initiative

    Velazquez Berumen, A; Jimenez Moyao, G; Rodriguez, NM; Ilbawi, AM; Migliore, A; Shulman, LN (The Lancet, 2018-12)
  • The role of pediatric nursing in the provision of quality care in humanitarian settings: a qualitative study in Tonkolili District, Sierra Leone

    Gilday, J; Chantler, T; Gray, N; Treacy-Wong, V; Yillia, J; Pascal Gbla, A; Howard, N; Stringer, B (Innovational Publishers, 2018-12)
  • Assessing the performance of real-time epidemic forecasts: A case study of Ebola in the Western Area Region of Sierra Leone, 2014-15

    Funk, S; Camacho, A; Kucharski, AJ; Lowe, R; Eggo, RM; Edmunds, WJ (London School Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, 2018-11-23)
  • Extremely Low Hepatitis C prevalence among HIV co-infected individuals in 4 countries in sub-Saharan Africa

    Loarec, A; Carnimeo, V; Molfino, L; Kizito, W; Muyindike, W; Andrieux-Meyer, I; Balkan, S; Nzomukunda, Y; Mwanga-Amumpaire, J; Ousley, J; Bygrave, H; Maman, D (Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins, 2018-11-16)
    : A multicentric, retrospective case-series analysis (facility-based) in five sites across Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, and Uganda screened HIV-positive adults for hepatitis C virus (HCV) antibodies using Oraquick rapid testing and viral confirmation (in three sites). Results found substantially lower prevalence than previously reported for these countries compared with previous reports, suggesting that targeted integration of HCV screening in African HIV programs may be more impactful than routine screening.This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives License 4.0 (CCBY-NC-ND), where it is permissible to download and share the work provided it is properly cited. The work cannot be changed in any way or used commercially without permission from the journal. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0.

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