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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  • Measuring the unknown: an estimator and simulation study for assessing case reporting during epidemics

    Jarvis, CI; Gimma, A; Finger, F; Morris, TP; Thompson, JA; de Waroux, OlP; Edmunds, WJ; Funk, S; Jombart, T (bioRxiv, 2021-12-17)
    The fraction of cases reported, known as ‘reporting’, is a key performance indicator in an outbreak response, and an essential factor to consider when modelling epidemics and assessing their impact on populations. Unfortunately, its estimation is inherently difficult, as it relates to the part of an epidemic which is, by definition, not observed. We introduce a simple statistical method for estimating reporting, initially developed for the response to Ebola in Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), 2018-2020. This approach uses transmission chain data typically gathered through case investigation and contact tracing, and uses the proportion of investigated cases with a known, reported infector as a proxy for reporting. Using simulated epidemics, we study how this method performs for different outbreak sizes and reporting levels. Results suggest that our method has low bias, reasonable precision, and despite sub-optimal coverage, usually provides estimates within close range (5-10%) of the true value. Being fast and simple, this method could be useful for estimating reporting in real-time in settings where person-to-person transmission is the main driver of the epidemic, and where case investigation is routinely performed as part of surveillance and contact tracing activities.
  • The socioeconomic burden of antibiotic resistance in conflict-affected settings and refugee hosting countries: a systematic scoping review.

    Kobeissi, E; Menassa, M; Moussally, K; Repetto, E; Soboh, I; Hajjar, M; Saleh, S; Abu-Sittah, G (BMC, 2021-04-06)
    Background Antibiotic resistance (ABR) is a major global threat. Armed and protracted conflicts act as multipliers of infection and ABR, thus leading to increased healthcare and societal costs. We aimed to understand and describe the socioeconomic burden of ABR in conflict-affected settings and refugee hosting countries by conducting a systematic scoping review. Methods A systematic search of PubMed, Medline (Ovid), Embase, Web of Science, SCOPUS and Open Grey databases was conducted to identify all relevant human studies published between January 1990 and August 2019. An updated search was also conducted in April 2020 using Medline/Ovid. Independent screenings of titles/abstracts followed by full texts were performed using pre-defined criteria. The Newcastle-Ottawa Scale was used to assess study quality. Data extraction and analysis were based on the PICOS framework and following the PRISMA-ScR guideline. Results The search yielded 8 studies (7 publications), most of which were single-country, mono-center and retrospective studies. The studies were conducted in Lebanon (n = 3), Iraq (n = 2), Jordan (n = 1), Palestine (n = 1) and Yemen (n = 1). Most of the studies did not have a primary aim to assess the socioeconomic impact of ABR and were small studies with limited statistical power that could not demonstrate significant associations. The included studies lacked sufficient information for the accurate evaluation of the cost incurred by antibiotic resistant infections in conflict-affected countries. Conclusion This review highlights the scarcity of research on the socioeconomic burden of ABR on general populations in conflict-affected settings and on refugees and migrants in host countries, and lists recommendations for consideration in future studies. Further studies are needed to understand the cost of ABR in these settings to develop and implement adaptable policies.
  • Epidemiological, clinical, and public health response characteristics of a large outbreak of diphtheria among the Rohingya population in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, 2017 to 2019: A retrospective study.

    Polonsky, JA; Ivey, M; Mazhar, MKA; Rahman, Z; le Polain de Waroux, O; Karo, B; Jalava, K; Vong, S; Baidjoe, A; Diaz, J; et al. (Public Library of Science, 2021-04-01)
    Background Unrest in Myanmar in August 2017 resulted in the movement of over 700,000 Rohingya refugees to overcrowded camps in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. A large outbreak of diphtheria subsequently began in this population. Methods and findings Data were collected during mass vaccination campaigns (MVCs), contact tracing activities, and from 9 Diphtheria Treatment Centers (DTCs) operated by national and international organizations. These data were used to describe the epidemiological and clinical features and the control measures to prevent transmission, during the first 2 years of the outbreak. Between November 10, 2017 and November 9, 2019, 7,064 cases were reported: 285 (4.0%) laboratory-confirmed, 3,610 (51.1%) probable, and 3,169 (44.9%) suspected cases. The crude attack rate was 51.5 cases per 10,000 person-years, and epidemic doubling time was 4.4 days (95% confidence interval [CI] 4.2–4.7) during the exponential growth phase. The median age was 10 years (range 0–85), and 3,126 (44.3%) were male. The typical symptoms were sore throat (93.5%), fever (86.0%), pseudomembrane (34.7%), and gross cervical lymphadenopathy (GCL; 30.6%). Diphtheria antitoxin (DAT) was administered to 1,062 (89.0%) out of 1,193 eligible patients, with adverse reactions following among 229 (21.6%). There were 45 deaths (case fatality ratio [CFR] 0.6%). Household contacts for 5,702 (80.7%) of 7,064 cases were successfully traced. A total of 41,452 contacts were identified, of whom 40,364 (97.4%) consented to begin chemoprophylaxis; adherence was 55.0% (N = 22,218) at 3-day follow-up. Unvaccinated household contacts were vaccinated with 3 doses (with 4-week interval), while a booster dose was administered if the primary vaccination schedule had been completed. The proportion of contacts vaccinated was 64.7% overall. Three MVC rounds were conducted, with administrative coverage varying between 88.5% and 110.4%. Pentavalent vaccine was administered to those aged 6 weeks to 6 years, while tetanus and diphtheria (Td) vaccine was administered to those aged 7 years and older. Lack of adequate diagnostic capacity to confirm cases was the main limitation, with a majority of cases unconfirmed and the proportion of true diphtheria cases unknown. Conclusions To our knowledge, this is the largest reported diphtheria outbreak in refugee settings. We observed that high population density, poor living conditions, and fast growth rate were associated with explosive expansion of the outbreak during the initial exponential growth phase. Three rounds of mass vaccinations targeting those aged 6 weeks to 14 years were associated with only modestly reduced transmission, and additional public health measures were necessary to end the outbreak. This outbreak has a long-lasting tail, with Rt oscillating at around 1 for an extended period. An adequate global DAT stockpile needs to be maintained. All populations must have access to health services and routine vaccination, and this access must be maintained during humanitarian crises.
  • 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; et al. (F1000Research, 2021-03-21)
    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; et al. (BMC, 2021-03-20)
    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 (Elsevier, 2021-03-18)
    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.
  • Decentralized 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 (Elsevier, 2021-03-18)
    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.
  • Beyond knowledge: Evaluating the practices and precautionary measures towards COVID-19 amongst medical doctors in Jordan.

    Ramadan, M; Hasan, Z; Saleh, T; Jaradat, M; Al-Hazaimeh, M; Bani Hani, O; Al-Tammemi, AB; Shorman, E; Al-Mistarehi, AH; Kheirallah, K (Wiley, 2021-03-17)
    Background Health Care Workers (HCWs), including medical doctors, played a pivotal role as a first-line defence against the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of high exposure, HCWs are at an increased risk of contracting the disease. Aims This study aims to assess the level of precautionary measures, both at home and the workplace, amongst medical doctors who were on duty during the national lockdown in Jordan. Methods A cross-sectional study was conducted between March 23 and May 1, 2020, utilising a self-administered web-based questionnaire to examine a sample of medical doctors (n = 270) working at different healthcare institutions in Jordan. Likert scale was used to code the data and generate means and percentages. Results The most practiced on-duty precautionary measures were cleaning hands with water and disinfectant for more than 20 seconds (47.4%), followed by proper hygiene before and during meals (38.9%). The most practiced off-duty measures were taking off clothes before entering the residential place (65.9%) and prohibiting visitors (58.1%). Overall, the mean work protection percentage score was 73.8% (range: 28%-100%), while the mean home safety percentage score was 71.3% (range: 25%-100%). Work protection score was positively correlated with the home safety score. Female doctors were found to be more precautious at home than males. Doctors with chronic illness(es) were found to be less precautious than their healthier counterparts. Participants who isolated themselves expressed the highest level of home safety practice. Doctors who reported to smoke were found more precautious at home and doctors who preferred to work during lockdowns were more precautious at the workplace. Conclusion The level of precautionary behaviour of medical doctors in Jordan was not optimal. More attention and efforts are needed to enhance the adherence of doctors to precautionary guidance. Strengthening the role of infectious disease and infection control units within healthcare settings remains a necessity.
  • 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; et al. (American Society for Microbiology, 2021-03-15)
    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; et al. (American Society for Microbiology, 2021-03-11)
    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.
  • Visceral Leishmaniasis-HIV Coinfection as a Predictor of Increased Transmission at the Village Level in Bihar, India.

    Cloots, K; Marino, P; Burza, S; Gill, N; Boelaert, M; Hasker, E (Frontiers Media, 2021-03-11)
    These findings indicate the importance of VL-HIV+ patients as infectious reservoirs for Leishmania, and suggest that they represent a threat equivalent to PKDL patients towards the VL elimination initiative on the Indian subcontinent, therefore warranting a similar focus.
  • Challenging drug-resistant TB treatment journey for children, adolescents and their care-givers: A qualitative study.

    Das, M; Mathur, T; Ravi, S; Meneguim, AC; Iyer, A; Mansoor, H; Kalon, S; Hossain, FN; Acharya, S; Ferlazzo, G; et al. (Public Library of Science, 2021-03-10)
    Background: Childhood multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) still affects around 25000 children every year across the globe. Though the treatment success rates for drug-resistant TB (DR-TB) in children are better than adults, children and adolescents face unique hurdles during DR-TB (MDR-TB, Pre-XDR TB and XDR-TB) treatment. This study aimed to understand the patients, guardians and healthcare providers' perspectives about DR-TB treatment journey of patients and caregivers. Methods: This is a qualitative study involving in depth-interviews of purposively selected adolescents (n = 6), patients guardians (for children and adolescents, n = 5) and health care providers (n = 8) of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) clinic, Mumbai, India. In-depth face to face interviews were conducted in English or Hindi language using interview guides during September-November 2019. The interviews were audio-recorded after consent. Thematic network analysis was used to summarize textual data. ATLAS.ti (version 7) was used for analysis. Result: The age of adolescent patients ranged from 15-19 years and four were female. Five guardians (of three child and two adolescent patients) and eight healthcare providers (including clinicians- 2, DOT providers-2, counselors-2 and programme managers-2) were interviewed. The overarching theme of the analysis was: Challenging DR-TB treatment journey which consisted of four sub-themes: 1) physical-trauma, 2) emotional-trauma, 3) unavailable social-support and 4) non-adapted healthcare services. Difficulties in compounding of drugs were noted for children while adolescents shared experiences around disruption in social life due to disease and treatment. Most of the patients and caregivers experienced treatment fatigue and burnout during the DR-TB treatment. Participants during interviews gave recommendations to improve care. Discussion: The TB programmes must consider the patient and family as one unit when designing the package of care for paediatric DR-TB. Child and adolescent friendly services (paediatric-formulations, age-specific counselling tools and regular interaction with patients and caregivers) will help minimizing burnout in patients and caregivers.
  • 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 (Cambridge University Press, 2021-03-08)
    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.
  • Early onset of neurological features differentiates two outbreaks of Lassa fever in Ebonyi state, Nigeria during 2017-2018.

    Chika-Igwenyi, NM; Harrison, RE; Psarra, C; Gil Cuesta, J; Gulamhusein, M; Onwe, EO; Onoh, RC; Unigwe, US; Ajayi, NA; Nndadozie, UU; et al. (Public Library of Science, 2021-03-08)
    Lassa fever (LF) is an acute viral haemorrhagic illness with various non-specific clinical manifestations. Neurological symptoms are rare at the early stage of the disease, but may be seen in late stages, in severely ill patients.The aim of this study was to describe the epidemiological evolution, socio-demographic profiles, clinical characteristics, and outcomes of patients seen during two Lassa fever outbreaks in Ebonyi State, between December 2017 and December 2018. Routinely collected clinical data from all patients admitted to the Virology Centre of the hospital during the period were analysed retrospectively. Out of a total of 83 cases, 70(84.3%) were RT-PCR confirmed while 13 (15.7%) were probable cases. Sixty-nine (83.1%) patients were seen in outbreak 1 of whom 53.6% were urban residents, while 19%, 15%, and 10% were farmers, students and health workers respectively. There were 14 (16.8%) patients, seen in second outbreak with 92.9% rural residents. There were differences in clinical symptoms, signs and laboratory findings between the two outbreaks. The case fatality rates were 29.9% in outbreak 1 and 85.7% for outbreak 2. Neurological features and abnormal laboratory test results were associated with higher mortality rate, seen in outbreak 2. This study revealed significant differences between the two outbreaks. Of particular concern was the higher case fatality during the outbreak 2 which may be from a more virulent strain of the Lassa virus. This has important public health implications and further molecular studies are needed to better define its characteristics.
  • 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; et al. (Elsevier, 2021-03-06)
  • 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 (Elsevier, 2021-03-03)
  • Roles and responsibilities of cultural mediators

    Venables, E; Whitehouse, K; Spissu, C; Pizzi, L; Al Rousan, A; di Carlo, S (Oxford University Press, 2021-03-01)
  • Measles: the long walk to elimination drawn out by COVID-19.

    Gignoux, E; Esso, L; Boum, Y (Elsevier, 2021-03-01)
  • Tuberculosis preventive therapy for children and adolescents: an emergency response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Mohr-Holland, E; Douglas-Jones, B; Apolisi, I; Ngambu, N; Mathee, S; Cariem, R; Mudaly, V; Pfaff, C; Isaakidis, P; Furin, J; et al. (Elsevier, 2021-03-01)
  • 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 (International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, 2021-03)

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