• Community-based management of severe acute malnutrition in India: new evidence from Bihar

      Burza, S; Mahajan, R; Marino, E; Sunyoto, T; Shandilya, C; Tabrez, M; Kumari, K; Mathew, P; Jha, A; Salse, N; et al. (American Society for Nutrition, 2015-04)
      An estimated one-third of the world's children who are wasted live in India. In Bihar state, of children <5 y old, 27.1% are wasted and 8.3% have severe acute malnutrition (SAM). In 2009, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) initiated a community-based management of acute malnutrition (CMAM) program for children aged 6-59 mo with SAM.
    • Exploring global and country-level barriers to an effective supply of leishmaniasis medicines and diagnostics in eastern Africa: a qualitative study.

      Sunyoto, T; Potet, J; den Boer, M; Ritmeijer, K; Postigo, JAR; Ravinetto, R; Alves, F; Picado, A; Boelaert, M (BMJ Publishing Group, 2019-05-30)
      OBJECTIVES: To understand stakeholders' perceptions of the access barriers to quality-assured diagnostics and medicines for leishmaniasis in the high-burden region of eastern Africa, and to identify key bottlenecks to improve the supply of commodities for neglected tropical diseases. DESIGN: Desk reviews and qualitative in-depth interview study with purposive sampling. METHODS: A landscape analysis through literature and desk review was performed. Next, 29 representatives from international organisations, non-governmental agencies, national control programmes from six countries (Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda) and manufacturers were interviewed between May and July 2018. Participants were selected purposively and expanded through a snowballing technique.Data analysis was aided by NVivo, applying the framework method as a part of the thematic content analysis approach. RESULTS: The barriers along the visceral leishmaniasis (VL) supply chain were identified as emerging themes, grouped across supply chain activities and health systems component(s). Stakeholders expressed the perception of progress, but bottlenecks persist. VL medicines, in general, lack multisource production capacity and with small market volume, expansion of suppliers is difficult. Procurement is plagued by forecasting difficulties, complex regulatory policies and procedures, and distribution challenges. Weak communication and coordination across different levels resulted in shortages and loss of trust among different actors. Cross-cutting issues spanned from limited political and resource commitment due to low awareness and limited in-country capacity. However, study respondents were optimistic to pursue several remedies, most importantly to build bridges between supply and demand sides through continued dialogue and collaborations. Diagnostics supply has mostly been overlooked; thus, improved investment in this area is needed. CONCLUSIONS: Addressing supply barriers in eastern Africa requires consistent, specific efforts at the global and national levels, progressing from current partnerships and agreements. Priority actions include pooled procurement, improved forecast, and increased commitment and resources. Sustainability remains an elusive goal, yet to be integrated into discussions moving forward.
    • Field effectiveness of new visceral leishmaniasis regimens after 1 year following treatment within public health facilities in Bihar, India

      Goyal, V; Burza, S; Pandey, K; Singh, SN; Singh, RS; Strub-Wourgaft, N; Das, VNR; Bern, C; Hightower, A; Rijal, S; et al. (The Public Library of Science, 2019-09-26)
      BACKGROUND: An earlier open label, prospective, non-randomized, non-comparative, multi-centric study conducted within public health facilities in Bihar, India (CTRI/2012/08/002891) measured the field effectiveness of three new treatment regimens for visceral leishmaniasis (VL): single dose AmBisome (SDA), and combination therapies of AmBisome and miltefosine (AmB+Milt) and miltefosine and paromomycin (Milt+PM) up to 6 months follow-up. The National Vector Borne Disease Control Program (NVBDCP) recommended an extended follow up at 12 months post-treatment of the original study cohort to quantify late relapses. METHODS: The 1,761 patients enrolled in the original study with the three new regimens were contacted and traced between 10 and 36 months following completion of treatment to determine their health status and any occurrence of VL relapse. RESULTS: Of 1,761 patients enrolled in the original study, 1,368 were traced at the extended follow-up visit: 711 (80.5%), 295 (83.2%) and 362 (71.5%) patients treated with SDA, AmB+Milt and Milt+PM respectively. Of those traced, a total of 75 patients were reported to have relapsed by the extended follow-up; 45 (6.3%) in the SDA, 25 (8.5%) in the AmB+Milt and 5 (1.4%) in the Milt+PM arms. Of the 75 relapse cases, 55 had already been identified in the 6-months follow-up and 20 were identified as new cases of relapse at extended follow-up; 7 in the SDA, 10 in the AmB+Milt and 3 in the Milt+PM arms. CONCLUSION: Extending follow-up beyond the standard 6 months identified additional relapses, suggesting that 12-month sentinel follow-up may be useful as a programmatic tool to better identify and quantify relapses. With limited drug options, there remains an urgent need to develop effective new chemical entities (NCEs) for VL.
    • Field safety and effectiveness of new visceral leishmaniasis treatment regimens within public health facilities in Bihar, India

      Goyal, Vi; Mahajan, R; Pandey, K; Singh, SN; Singh, RS; Strub-Wourgaft, N; Alves, F; Rabi Das, VN; Topno, RK; Sharma, B; et al. (Public Library of Science, 2018-10-22)
      In 2010, WHO recommended the use of new short-course treatment regimens in kala-azar elimination efforts for the Indian subcontinent. Although phase 3 studies have shown excellent results, there remains a lack of evidence on a wider treatment population and the safety and effectiveness of these regimens under field conditions.
    • "Kala-Azar is a Dishonest Disease": Community Perspectives on Access Barriers to Visceral Leishmaniasis (Kala-Azar) Diagnosis and Care in Southern Gadarif, Sudan

      Sunyoto, T; Adam, GK; Atia, AM; Hamid, Y; Babiker, RA; Abdelrahman, N; Vander Kelen, C; Ritmeijer, K; Alcoba, G; den Boer, M; et al. (American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 2018-04-13)
      Early diagnosis and treatment is the principal strategy to control visceral leishmaniasis (VL), or kala-azar in East Africa. As VL strikes remote rural, sparsely populated areas, kala-azar care might not be accessed optimally or timely. We conducted a qualitative study to explore access barriers in a longstanding kala-azar endemic area in southern Gadarif, Sudan. Former kala-azar patients or caretakers, community leaders, and health-care providers were purposively sampled and thematic data analysis was used. Our study participants revealed the multitude of difficulties faced when seeking care. The disease is well known in the area, yet misconceptions about causes and transmission persist. The care-seeking itineraries were not always straightforward: "shopping around" for treatments are common, partly linked to difficulties in diagnosing kala-azar. Kala-azar is perceived to be "hiding," requiring multiple tests and other diseases must be treated first. Negative perceptions on quality of care in the public hospitals prevail, with the unavailability of drugs or staff as the main concern. Delay to seek care remains predominantly linked to economic constraint: albeit treatment is for free, patients have to pay out of pocket for everything else, pushing families further into poverty. Despite increased efforts to tackle the disease over the years, access to quality kala-azar care in this rural Sudanese context remains problematic. The barriers explored in this study are a compelling reminder of the need to boost efforts to address these barriers.
    • Providing emergency care and assessing a patient triage system in a referral hospital in Somaliland: a cross-sectional study

      Sunyoto, T; Van den Bergh, R; Valles, P; Gutierrez, R; Ayada, L; Zachariah, R; Yassin, A; Hinderaker, S; Harries, A D (2014-11-06)
      BackgroundIn resource-poor settings, where health systems are frequently stretched to their capacity, access to emergency care is often limited. Triage systems have been proposed as a tool to ensure efficiency and optimal use of emergency resources in such contexts. However, evidence on the practice of emergency care and the implementation of triage systems in such settings, is scarce. This study aimed to assess emergency care provision in the Burao district hospital in Somaliland, including the application of the South African Triage Scale (SATS) tool.MethodsA cross-sectional descriptive study was undertaken. Routine programme data of all patients presenting at the Emergency Department (ED) of Burao Hospital during its first year of service (January to December 2012) were analysed. The American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma (ACSCOT) indicators were used as SATS targets for high priority emergency cases (¿high acuity¿ proportion), overtriage and undertriage (with thresholds of >25%, <50% and <10%, respectively).ResultsIn 2012, among 7212 patients presented to the ED, 41% were female, and 18% were aged less than five. Only 21% of these patients sought care at the ED within 24 hours of developing symptoms. The high acuity proportion was 22.3%, while the overtriage (40%) and undertriage (9%) rates were below the pre-set thresholds. The overall mortality rate was 1.3% and the abandon rate 2.0%. The outcomes of patients corresponds well with the color code assigned using SATS.ConclusionThis is the first study assessing the implementation of SATS in a post-conflict and resource-limited African setting showing that most indicators met the expected standards. In particular, specific attention is needed to improve the relatively low rate of true emergency cases, delays in patient presentation and in timely provision of care within the ED. This study also highlights the need for development of emergency care thresholds that are more adapted to resource-poor contexts. These issues are discussed.
    • Uncharted territory of the epidemiological burden of cutaneous leishmaniasis in sub-Saharan Africa-A systematic review

      Sunyoto, T; Verdonck, K; El Safi, S; Potet, J; Picado, A; Boelaert, M (Public Library of Science, 2018-10-25)
      Cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) is the most frequent form of leishmaniasis, with 0.7 to 1.2 million cases per year globally. However, the burden of CL is poorly documented in some regions. We carried out this review to synthesize knowledge on the epidemiological burden of CL in sub-Saharan Africa.
    • Visceral Leishmaniasis in Somalia: A Review of Epidemiology and Access to Care

      Sunyoto, T; Potet, J; Boelaert, M (Public Library of Science, 2017-03-09)
      Somalia, ravaged by conflict since 1991, has areas endemic for visceral leishmaniasis (VL), a deadly parasitic disease affecting the rural poor, internally displaced, and pastoralists. Very little is known about VL burden in Somalia, where the protracted crisis hampers access to health care. We reviewed evidence about VL epidemiology in Somalia and appraised control options within the context of this fragile state's health system. VL has been reported in Somalia since 1934 and has persisted ever since in foci in the southern parts of the country. The only feasible VL control option is early diagnosis and treatment, currently mostly provided by nonstate actors. The availability of VL care in Somalia is limited and insufficient at best, both in coverage and quality. Precarious security remains a major obstacle to reach VL patients in the endemic areas, and the true VL burden and its impact remain unknown. Locally adjusted, innovative approaches in VL care provision should be explored, without undermining ongoing health system development in Somalia. Ensuring VL care is accessible is a moral imperative, and the limitations of the current VL diagnostic and treatment tools in Somalia and other endemic settings affected by conflict should be overcome.
    • Why miltefosine-a life-saving drug for leishmaniasis-is unavailable to people who need it the most

      Sunyoto, T; Potet, J; Boelaert, M (BMJ Publishing Group, 2018-05-03)
      Miltefosine, the only oral drug approved for the treatment of leishmaniasis-a parasitic disease transmitted by sandflies-is considered as a success story of research and development (R&D) by a public-private partnership (PPP). It epitomises the multiple market failures faced by a neglected disease drug: patients with low ability to pay, neglect by authorities and uncertain market size. Originally developed as an anticancer agent in the 1990s, the drug was registered in India in 2002 to treat the fatal visceral leishmaniasis. At the time, miltefosine was considered a breakthrough in the treatment, making it feasible to eliminate a regional disease. Today, access to miltefosine remains far from secure. The initial PPP agreement which includes access to the public sector is not enforced. The reality on the ground has been challenging: shortages due to inefficient supply chains, and use of a substandard product which led to a high number of treatment failures and deaths. Miltefosine received orphan drug status in the USA; when it was registered there in 2014, a priority review voucher (PRV) was awarded. The PRV, meant to facilitate drug development for neglected disease, was subsequently sold to another company for US$125 million without, to date, any apparent impact on drug access. At the heart of these concerns are questions on how to protect societal benefit of a drug developed with public investment, while clinicians worldwide struggle with its lack of affordability, limited availability and sustainability of access. This article analyses the reasons behind the postregistration access failure of miltefosine and provides the lessons learnt.