• Against the Odds: Psychomotor Development of Children Under 2 years in a Sudanese Orphanage.

      Espié, E; Ouss, L; Gaboulaud, V; Candilis, D; Ahmed, K; Cohuet, S; Baubet, T; Grais, R; Moro, M-R; Epicentre, Paris, France. (Oxford Journals, 2011-01-06)
      Providing abandoned children the necessary medical and psychological care as possible after their institutionalization may minimize developmental delays. We describe psychomotor development in infants admitted to an orphanage in Khartoum, Sudan, assessed at admission and over an 18-month follow-up. Psychological state and psychomotor quotients were determined using a simplified Neonatal Behavior Assessment Scale (NBAS), the Brunet-Lezine and Alarm distress baby (ADBB) scale. From May-September 2005, 151 children were evaluated 2, 4, 9, 12 and 18 months after inclusion. At admission, ∼15% of children ≤1 month had a regulation impairment according to the NBAS, and 33.8% presented a distress state (ADBB score >5). More than 85% (129/151) recovered normal psychomotor development. The results of the program reinforce the importance of early detection of psychological disorders followed by rapid implementation of psychological case management to improve the development of young children in similar institutions and circumstances.
    • Antimalarial efficacy of chloroquine, amodiaquine, sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine, and the combinations of amodiaquine + artesunate and sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine + artesunate in Huambo and Bie provinces, central Angola.

      Guthmann, J P; Ampuero, J; Fortes, F; Van Overmeir, C; Gaboulaud, V; Tobback, S; Dunand, J; Saraiva, N; Gillet, P; Franco, J; et al. (Elsevier, 2005-07)
      We studied three antimalarial treatments in Caala and Kuito, Angola, in 2002 and 2003. We tested chloroquine (CQ), amodiaquine (AQ) and sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) in Caala, and AQ, SP and the combinations AQ+artesunate (AQ+AS) and SP+artesunate (SP+AS) in Kuito. A total of 619 children (240 in Caala, 379 in Kuito) with uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria were followed-up for 28 days, with PCR genotyping to distinguish recrudescence from reinfection. PCR-corrected failure proportions at day 28 were very high in the CQ group (83.5%, 95% CI 74.1-90.5), high in the SP groups (Caala: 25.3%, 95% CI 16.7-35.8; Kuito: 38.8%, 95% CI 28.4-50.0), around 20% in the AQ groups (Caala: 17.3%, 95% CI 10.0-27.2; Kuito: 21.6%, 95% CI 14.3-30.6) and very low in the artemisinin-based combination groups (1.2%, 95% CI 0.0-6.4 for each combination AQ+AS and SP+AS). These results show that CQ and SP are no longer efficacious in Caala and Kuito and that the moderate efficacy of AQ is likely to be compromised in the short term if used as monotherapy. We recommend the use of AQ with AS, though this combination might not have a long useful therapeutic life because of AQ resistance.
    • Antimicrobial susceptibility of Neisseria gonorrheae strains in three regions of Armenia

      Hovhannisyan, G; von Schoen-Angerer, T; Babayan, K; Fenichiu, O; Gaboulaud, V; Princess Margaret Hospital, Toronto, Canada; Medecins sans frontieres, Geneva, Switzerland; Medical-Scientific Center for Dermatology and STI, Yerevan, Armenia; Medecins sans frontieres, Brussels, Belgium; Epicentre, Paris, France (2007-09-01)
      OBJECTIVE: There are no data available on gonococcal susceptibility in the Caucasus region. We aimed to determine in vitro antimicrobial susceptibility of Neisseria gonorrheae in Armenia in order to update the national treatment protocol. METHODS: Isolates from men with urethral discharge presenting at 3 STI clinics in 3 different sites of Armenia were used to determine susceptibility of N. gonorrheae strains for 11 antimicrobials using the disc diffusion technique. RESULTS: Among the 101 isolates tested the susceptibility rate for penicillin, doxycycline, and kanamycin were 37.6, 25.7, and 80.2%, respectively. Sensitivity to quinolones was 95% for both ofloxacin and ciprofloxacin. All strains were susceptible to third-generation cephalosporins and to spectinomycin. Only 11% of strains were susceptible to all antibiotics tested. CONCLUSION: Third-generation cephalosporines and spectinomycin are suitable first-line regimens. Quinolones are not advisable as first-line treatment given current borderline susceptibility, known tendency for rapid resistance development in this class, and frequent over-the-counter use of this antibiotic in Armenia.
    • Could Nutritional Rehabilitation at Home Complement or Replace Centre-based Therapeutic Feeding Programmes for Severe Malnutrition?

      Gaboulaud, V; Dan-Bouzoua, N; Brasher, C; Fedida, G; Gergonne, B; Brown, V; Epicentre, Paris, France. vgaboulaud@epicentre.msf.org (Published by Oxford University Press, 2007-02)
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    • Effect of preventive supplementation with ready-to-use therapeutic food on the nutritional status, mortality, and morbidity of children aged 6 to 60 months in Niger: a cluster randomized trial

      Isanaka, S; Nombela, N; Djibo, A; Poupard, M; Van Beckhoven, D; Gaboulaud, V; Guerin, P J; Grais, R; Departments of Epidemiology and Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA; Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland; Ministry of Health, Niamey, Niger; Infectious and Tropical Disease Service, Hospital Delafontaine, Saint Denis, France; Epidemiology Section, Scientific Institute of Public Health, Brussels, Belgium; Department of Psychiatry, Hôpital Avicenne, Bobigny, France; Epicentre, Paris, France; Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, Cambridge, MA (2009-01-21)
      CONTEXT: Ready-to-use therapeutic foods (RUTFs) are an important component of effective outpatient treatment of severe wasting. However, their effectiveness in the population-based prevention of moderate and severe wasting has not been evaluated. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the effect of a 3-month distribution of RUTF on the nutritional status, mortality, and morbidity of children aged 6 to 60 months in Niger. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: A cluster randomized trial of 12 villages in Maradi, Niger. Six villages were randomized to intervention and 6 to no intervention. All children in the study villages aged 6 to 60 months were eligible for recruitment. INTERVENTION: Children with weight-for-height 80% or more of the National Center for Health Statistics reference median in the 6 intervention villages received a monthly distribution of 1 packet per day of RUTF (92 g [500 kcal/d]) from August to October 2006. Children in the 6 nonintervention villages received no preventive supplementation. Active surveillance for conditions requiring medical or nutritional treatment was conducted monthly in all 12 study villages from August 2006 to March 2007. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Changes in weight-for-height z score (WHZ) according to the World Health Organization Child Growth Standards and incidence of wasting (WHZ <-2) over 8 months of follow-up. RESULTS: The number of children with height and weight measurements in August, October, December, and February was 3166, 3110, 2936, and 3026, respectively. The WHZ difference between the intervention and nonintervention groups was -0.10 z (95% confidence interval [CI], -0.23 to 0.03) at baseline and 0.12 z (95% CI, 0.02 to 0.21) after 8 months of follow-up. The adjusted effect of the intervention on WHZ from baseline to the end of follow-up was thus 0.22 z (95% CI, 0.13 to 0.30). The absolute rate of wasting and severe wasting, respectively, was 0.17 events per child-year (140 events/841 child-years) and 0.03 events per child-year (29 events/943 child-years) in the intervention villages, compared with 0.26 events per child-year (233 events/895 child-years) and 0.07 events per child-year (71 events/1029 child-years) in the nonintervention villages. The intervention thus resulted in a 36% (95% CI, 17% to 50%; P < .001) reduction in the incidence of wasting and a 58% (95% CI, 43% to 68%; P < .001) reduction in the incidence of severe wasting. There was no reduction in mortality, with a mortality rate of 0.007 deaths per child-year (7 deaths/986 child-years) in the intervention villages and 0.016 deaths per child-year (18 deaths/1099 child-years) in the nonintervention villages (adjusted hazard ratio, 0.51; 95% CI, 0.25 to 1.05). CONCLUSION: Short-term supplementation of nonmalnourished children with RUTF reduced the decline in WHZ and the incidence of wasting and severe wasting over 8 months. TRIAL REGISTRATION: clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT00682708.
    • Effectiveness of ready-to-use therapeutic food compared to a corn/soy-blend-based pre-mix for the treatment of childhood moderate acute malnutrition in Niger.

      Nackers, F; Broillet, F; Oumarou, D; Djibo, A; Gaboulaud, V; Guerin, P J; Rusch, B; Grais, R; Captier, V; Epicentre, Paris, France; Medecins San Frontieres, Switzerland; Ministry of Health, Niger; Hopital Avicenne, Assistance Publique Hopitaux de Paris, France (2010-03-23)
      Standard nutritional treatment of moderate acute malnutrition (MAM) relies on fortified blended flours though their importance to treat this condition is a matter of discussion. With the newly introduced World Health Organization growth standards, more children at an early stage of malnutrition will be treated following the dietary protocols as for severe acute malnutrition, including ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF). We compared the effectiveness of RUTF and a corn/soy-blend (CSB)-based pre-mix for the treatment of MAM in the supplementary feeding programmes (SFPs) supported by Médecins Sans Frontières, located in the Zinder region (south of Niger). Children measuring 65 to <110 cm, newly admitted with MAM [weight-for-height (WHM%) between 70% and <80% of the NCHS median] were randomly allocated to receive either RUTF (Plumpy'Nut®, 1000 kcal day(-1)) or a CSB pre-mix (1231 kcal day(-1)). Other interventions were similar in both groups (e.g. weekly family ration and ration at discharge). Children were followed weekly up to recovery (WHM% ≥ 85% for 2 consecutive weeks). In total, 215 children were recruited in the RUTF group and 236 children in the CSB pre-mix group with an overall recovery rate of 79.1 and 64.4%, respectively (p < 0.001). There was no evidence for a difference between death, defaulter and non-responder rates. More transfers to the inpatient Therapeutic Feeding Centre (I-TFC) were observed in the CSB pre-mix group (19.1%) compared to the RUTF group (9.3%) (p = 0.003). The average weight gain up to discharge was 1.08 g kg(-1) day(-1) higher in the RUTF group [95% confidence interval: 0.46-1.70] and the length of stay was 2 weeks shorter in the RUTF group (p < 0.001). For the treatment of childhood MAM in Niger, RUTF resulted in a higher weight gain, a higher recovery rate, a shorter length of stay and a lower transfer rate to the I-TFC compared to a CSB pre-mix. This might have important implications on the efficacy and the quality of SFPs.
    • Evaluation of psychological support for victims of sexual violence in a conflict setting: results from Brazzaville, Congo

      Hustache, S; Moro, M R; Roptin, J; Souza, R; Gansou, G M; Mbemba, A; Roederer, T; Grais, R; Gaboulaud, V; Baubet, T; et al. (2009-04-01)
      ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Little is known about the impact of psychological support in war and transcultural contexts and in particular, whether there are lasting benefits. Here, we present an evaluation of the late effect of post-rape psychological support provided to women in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo. METHODS: Women who attended the Médecins Sans Frontières program for sexual violence in Brazzaville during the conflict were selected to evaluate the psychological consequences of rape and the late effect of post-rape psychological support. A total of 178 patients met the eligibility criteria: 1) Women aged more than 15 years; 2) raped by unknown person(s) wearing military clothes; 3) admitted to the program between the 1/1/2002 and the 30/4/2003; and 4) living in Brazzaville. RESULTS: The initial diagnosis according to DSM criteria showed a predominance of anxious disorders (54.1%) and acute stress disorders (24.6%). One to two years after the initial psychological care, 64 women were evaluated using the Trauma Screening Questionnaire (TSQ), the Global Assessment of Functioning scale (GAF) and an assessment scale to address medico-psychological care in emergencies (EUMP). Two patients (3.1%) met the needed criteria for PTSD diagnosis from the TSQ. Among the 56 women evaluated using GAF both as pre and post-test, global functioning was significantly improved by initial post-rape support (50 women (89.3%) had extreme or medium impairment at first post-rape evaluation, and 16 (28.6%) after psychological care; p = 0.04). When interviewed one to two years later, the benefit was fully maintained (16 women (28.6%) presenting extreme or medium impairment). CONCLUSION: We found the benefits of post-rape psychological support to be present and lasting in this conflict situation. However, we were unable to evaluate all women for the long-term impact, underscoring the difficulty of leading evaluation studies in unstable contexts. Future research is needed to validate these findings in other settings.
    • Mortality risk among children admitted in a large-scale nutritional program in Niger, 2006

      Lapidus, N; Minetti, A; Djibo, A; Guerin, P J; Hustache, S; Gaboulaud, V; Grais, R; Epicentre, Paris, France; Ministry of Health, Niamey, Niger (Public Library of Science (PLoS), 2009-01-29)
      BACKGROUND: In 2006, the Médecins sans Frontières nutritional program in the region of Maradi (Niger) included 68,001 children 6-59 months of age with either moderate or severe malnutrition, according to the NCHS reference (weight-for-height<80% of the NCHS median, and/or mid-upper arm circumference<110 mm for children taller than 65 cm and/or presence of bipedal edema). Our objective was to identify baseline risk factors for death among children diagnosed with severe malnutrition using the newly introduced WHO growth standards. As the release of WHO growth standards changed the definition of severe malnutrition, which now includes many children formerly identified as moderately malnourished with the NCHS reference, studying this new category of children is crucial. METHODOLOGY: Program monitoring data were collected from the medical records of all children admitted in the program. Data included age, sex, height, weight, MUAC, clinical signs on admission including edema, and type of discharge (recovery, death, and default/loss to follow up). Additional data included results of a malaria rapid diagnostic test due to Plasmodium falciparum (Paracheck) and whether the child was a resident of the region of Maradi or came from bordering Nigeria to seek treatment. Multivariate logistic regression was performed on a subset of 27,687 children meeting the new WHO growth standards criteria for severe malnutrition (weight-for-height<-3 Z score, mid-upper arm circumference<110 mm for children taller than 65 cm or presence of bipedal edema). We explored two different models: one with only basic anthropometric data and a second model that included perfunctory clinical signs. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: In the first model including only weight, height, sex and presence of edema, the risk factors retained were the weight/height(1.84) ratio (OR: 5,774; 95% CI: [2,284; 14,594]) and presence of edema (7.51 [5.12; 11.0]). A second model, taking into account supplementary data from perfunctory clinical examination, identified other risk factors for death: apathy (9.71 [6.92; 13.6]), pallor (2.25 [1.25; 4.05]), anorexia (1.89 [1.35; 2.66]), fever>38.5 degrees C (1.83 [1.25; 2.69]), and age below 1 year (1.42 [1.01; 1.99]). CONCLUSIONS: Although clinicians will continue to perform screening using clinical signs and anthropometry, these risk indicators may provide additional criteria for the assessment of absolute and relative risk of death. Better appraisal of the child's risk of death may help orientate the child towards either hospitalization or ambulatory care. As the transition from the NCHS growth reference to the WHO standards will increase the number of children classified as severely malnourished, further studies should explore means to identify children at highest risk of death within this group using simple and standardized indicators.
    • Prognostic accuracy of WHO growth standards to predict mortality in a large-scale nutritional program in Niger

      Lapidus, N; Luquero, F J; Gaboulaud, V; Shepherd, S; Grais, R; Epicentre, Paris, France; European Programme for Intervention Epidemiology Training (EPIET), European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), Stockholm, Sweden; Médecins Sans Frontières, Paris, France (Public Library of Science (PLoS), 2009-03-03)
      BACKGROUND: Important differences exist in the diagnosis of malnutrition when comparing the 2006 World Health Organization (WHO) Child Growth Standards and the 1977 National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) reference. However, their relationship with mortality has not been studied. Here, we assessed the accuracy of the WHO standards and the NCHS reference in predicting death in a population of malnourished children in a large nutritional program in Niger. METHODS AND FINDINGS: We analyzed data from 64,484 children aged 6-59 mo admitted with malnutrition (<80% weight-for-height percentage of the median [WH]% [NCHS] and/or mid-upper arm circumference [MUAC] <110 mm and/or presence of edema) in 2006 into the Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) nutritional program in Maradi, Niger. Sensitivity and specificity of weight-for-height in terms of Z score (WHZ) and WH% for both WHO standards and NCHS reference were calculated using mortality as the gold standard. Sensitivity and specificity of MUAC were also calculated. The receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve was traced for these cutoffs and its area under curve (AUC) estimated. In predicting mortality, WHZ (NCHS) and WH% (NCHS) showed AUC values of 0.63 (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.60-0.66) and 0.71 (CI 0.68-0.74), respectively. WHZ (WHO) and WH% (WHO) appeared to provide higher accuracy with AUC values of 0.76 (CI 0.75-0.80) and 0.77 (CI 0.75-0.80), respectively. The relationship between MUAC and mortality risk appeared to be relatively weak, with AUC = 0.63 (CI 0.60-0.67). Analyses stratified by sex and age yielded similar results. CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that in this population of children being treated for malnutrition, WH indicators calculated using WHO standards were more accurate for predicting mortality risk than those calculated using the NCHS reference. The findings are valid for a population of already malnourished children and are not necessarily generalizable to a population of children being screened for malnutrition. Future work is needed to assess which criteria are best for admission purposes to identify children most likely to benefit from therapeutic or supplementary feeding programs.
    • Trauma-related psychological disorders among Palestinian children and adults in Gaza and West Bank, 2005-2008

      Espié, E; Gaboulaud, V; Baubet, T; Casas, G; Mouchenik, Y; Yun, O; Grais, R; Moro, M R; Epicentre, Paris, France; Hôpital Avicenne, Assistance Publique Hôpitaux de Paris, Bobigny, France; Médecins Sans Frontières, Paris, France; Université Toulouse Le Mirail, Toulouse, France; Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders, New York, USA; Hôpital Cochin, Maison des adolescents, Université Paris Descartes, AP-HP, France (2009-09-23)
      BACKGROUND: Trauma from war and violence has led to psychological disorders in individuals living in the Gaza strip and West Bank. Few reports are available on the psychiatric disorders seen in children and adolescents or the treatment of affected populations. This study was conducted in order to describe the occurrence and treatment of psychiatric disorders in the Palestinian populations of the Gaza strip and Nablus district in the West Bank. METHODS: From 2005 to 2008, 1369 patients aged more than 1 year were identified through a local mental health and counseling health network. All were clinically assessed using a semi-structured interview based on the DSM-IV-TR criteria. RESULTS: Among 1254 patients, 23.2% reported post-traumatic stress disorder [PTSD], 17.3% anxiety disorder (other than PTSD or acute stress disorder), and 15.3% depression. PTSD was more frequently identified in children < or = 15 years old, while depression was the main symptom observed in adults. Among children < or = 15 years old, factors significantly associated with PTSD included being witness to murder or physical abuse, receiving threats, and property destruction or loss (p < 0.03). Psychological care, primarily in the form of individual, short-term psychotherapy, was provided to 65.1% of patients, with about 30.6% required psychotropic medication. Duration of therapy sessions was higher for children < or = 15 years old compared with adults (p = 0.05). Following psychotherapy, 79.0% had improved symptoms, and this improvement was significantly higher in children < or = 15 years old (82.8%) compared with adults (75.3%; p = 0.001). CONCLUSION: These observations suggest that short-term psychotherapy could be an effective treatment for specific psychiatric disorders occurring in vulnerable populations, including children, living in violent conflict zones, such as in Gaza strip and the West Bank.