• Delays in arrival and treatment in emergency departments: Women, children and non-trauma consultations the most at risk in humanitarian settings

      Guzman, IB; Cuesta, JG; Trelles, M; Jaweed, O; Cherestal, S; van Loenhout, JAF; Guha-Sapir, D (Public Library of Science, 2019-03-05)
      Introduction Delays in arrival and treatment at health facilities lead to negative health outcomes. Individual and external factors could be associated with these delays. This study aimed to assess common factors associated with arrival and treatment delays in the emergency departments (ED) of three hospitals in humanitarian settings. Methodology This was a cross-sectional study based on routine data collected from three MSF-supported hospitals in Afghanistan, Haiti and Sierra Leone. We calculated the proportion of consultations with delay in arrival (>24 hours) and in treatment (based on target time according to triage categories). We used a multinomial logistic regression model (MLR) to analyse the association between age, sex, hospital and diagnosis (trauma and non-trauma) with these delays. Results We included 95,025 consultations. Males represented 65.2%, Delay in arrival was present in 27.8% of cases and delay in treatment in 27.2%. The MLR showed higher risk of delay in arrival for females (OR 1.2, 95% CI 1.2–1.3), children <5 (OR 1.4, 95% CI 1.4–1.5), patients attending to Gondama (OR 30.0, 95% CI 25.6–35.3) and non-trauma cases (OR 4.7, 95% CI 4.4–4.8). A higher risk of delay in treatment was observed for females (OR 1.1, 95% CI 1.0–1.1), children <5 (OR 2.0, 95% CI 1.9–2.1), patients attending to Martissant (OR 14.6, 95% CI 13.9–15.4) and non-trauma cases (OR 1.6, 95% CI 1.5–1.7). Conclusions Women, children <5 and non-trauma cases suffered most from delays. These delays could relate to educational and cultural barriers, and severity perception of the disease. Treatment delay could be due to insufficient resources with consequent overcrowding, and severity perception from medical staff for non-trauma patients. Extended community outreach, health promotion and support to community health workers could improve emergency care in humanitarian settings.
    • Diphtheria Antitoxin Administration, Outcomes, and Safety: Response to a Diphtheria Outbreak in Cox’s Bazar Bangladesh

      Eisenberg, N; Panunzi, I; Wolz, A; Burzio, C; Cilliers, A; Islam, MA; Noor, WM; Jalon, O; Jannat-Khah, D; Cuesta, JG (Oxford University Press, 2020-11-27)
      Background Diphtheria has re-emerged over the past several years. There is a paucity of data on the administration and safety of diphtheria antitoxin (DAT), the standard treatment for diphtheria. The 2017-2018 outbreak among Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh was the largest in decades. We determined the outcomes of DAT-treated patients and describe the occurrence and risk factors associated with adverse reactions to DAT. Methods We conducted a retrospective study at the Médecins Sans Frontières Rubber Garden Diphtheria Treatment Center from December 2017-September 2018. Diphtheria was diagnosed based on the WHO clinical case criteria. High-acuity patients were eligible for DAT. Safety precautions were meticulously maintained. We calculated the presence of adverse events by age, duration of illness, and DAT dosage using bivariate comparisons. Results We treated 709 patients with DAT. Ninety-eight percent (n=696) recovered and were discharged. One-fourth (n=170) had at least one adverse reaction. Common reactions included cough (n=115, 16%), rash (n=66, 9%), and itching (n=37, 5%). Three percent (n=18) had severe hypersensitivity reactions. Five patients died during their DAT infusion or soon afterwards, but no deaths were attributed to DAT. Conclusions The outcomes for DAT-treated patients were excellent; mortality was less than 1%. Adverse reactions occurred in a quarter of all patients, but most reactions were mild and resolved quickly. DAT can be safely administered in a setting with basic critical care, provided that there is a continuous patient monitoring during the infusion, staff training on management of adverse effects, and attention to safety precautions.
    • Gaps in Hepatitis B Vaccination Completion and Sero-Protection for People Who Inject Drugs in Hpakant, Myanmar, 2015-2018

      Yee, NS; Naing, AY; Cuesta, JG; Das, M; Dave, K (MDPI, 2020-05-12)
      Hepatitis B vaccination (HBV) is recommended for high-risk groups, such as people who inject drugs (PWIDs). As part of a harm reduction program by a non-governmental organization, hepatitis B screening, vaccination and antibody (HBAb) testing after completion of the vaccination schedule were offered to PWIDS in Myanmar. We determined the proportions of HBV non-completion and sero-unprotection among PWIDs enrolled in the program and their association with socio-demographic and clinical characteristics. We conducted a descriptive study based on routine program data in five selected clinics in Hpakant Township, Myanmar. PWIDs who were Hepatitis B antigen negative at screening during January 2015-December 2018 were included. Among 5386 participants eligible for HBV, 9% refused vaccination. Among those who accepted vaccination (n = 3177 individuals), 65% completed vaccination. Of those tested for HBsAb (n = 2202), 30% were sero-unprotected. Young-adults (aged 18-44 years) and migrant workers had a higher risk of incomplete vaccination. However, participants who used methadone had a lower risk of incomplete vaccination. Migrant workers had higher risk of not returning for HBsAb testing and HIV-positive participants had a higher risk of being HBV sero-unprotected. Efforts to increase HBV vaccination in PWIDs for young adults and clients during methadone and anti-retroviral services should be prioritized.
    • Impact of mass vaccination campaigns on measles transmission during an outbreak in Guinea, 2017

      Linton, NM; Keita, M; De Almeida, MM; Cuesta, JG; Guha-Sapir, D; Nishiura, H; van Loenhout, JA (Elsevier, 2020-01-17)
      OBJECTIVE: To estimate the time-dependent measles effective reproduction number (Rt) as an indicator of the impact of three outbreak response vaccination (ORV) campaigns on measles transmission during a nationwide outbreak in Guinea. METHODS: Rt represents the average number of secondary cases generated by a single primary case in a partially immune population during a given time period. Measles Rt was estimated using daily incidence data for 3,952 outbreak-associated measles cases in Guinea in 2017 for the time periods prior to, between, and following each of three ORV campaigns using a simple and extensible mathematical model. RESULTS: Rt was estimated to be above the threshold value of 1 during the initial growth period of the outbreak until the first ORV campaign began on March 13 (Rt =1.60, 95% CI: 1.55-1.67). It subsequently dropped below 1 and remained < 1 through the end of the year (range: 0.71-0.91), although low levels of transmission persisted. CONCLUSIONS: Reduction in Rt coincided with implementation of the ORV campaigns, indicating success of the campaigns at maintaining measles transmission intensity below epidemic growth levels. However, persistent measles transmission remains an issue in Guinea due to insufficient levels of herd immunity. Estimation of Rt should be further leveraged to help decision makers and field staff understand outbreak progress and the timing and type of vaccination efforts needed to halt transmission.
    • Outcomes of cholera and measles outbreak alerts in the Democratic Republic of Congo

      Makelele, JPK; Ade, S; Takarinda, KC; Manzi, M; Cuesta, JG; Acma, A; Yepez, MM; Mashak, M (International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, 2020-09-21)
      Setting: In 1995, a rapid response project for humanitarian and medical emergencies, including outbreak responses, named ‘Pool d’Urgence Congo’ (PUC), was implemented in the Democratic Republic of Congo by Médecins Sans Frontières. Objective: To assess the outcomes of cholera and measles outbreak alerts that were received in the PUC surveillance system between 2016 and 2018. Design: This was a retrospective cross-sectional study. Results: Overall, 459 outbreak alerts were detected, respectively 69% and 31% for cholera and measles. Of these, 32% were actively detected and 68% passively detected. Most alerts (90%) required no intervention and 10% of alerts had an intervention. There were 25% investigations that were not carried out despite thresholds being met; 17% interventions were not performed, the main reported reason being PUC operational capacity was exceeded. Confirmed cholera and measles outbreaks that met an investigation threshold comprised respectively 90% and 76% of alerts; 59% of measles investigations were followed by a delayed outbreak response of 14 days (n = 10 outbreaks). Conclusion: Some alerts for cholera and measles outbreaks that were detected in the PUC system did not lead to a response even when required; the main reported reason was limited operational capacity to respond to all of them.