• Beyond the bedside

      Thomson, J (John Wiley & Sons, 2017-12)
    • Decreased risk of HIV-associated TB during antiretroviral therapy expansion in rural Eswatini from 2009 to 2016: a cohort and population-based analysis

      Kerschberger, B; Schomaker, M; Telnov, A; Vambe, D; Kisyeri, N; Sikhondze, W; Pasipamire, L; Ngwenya, SM; Rusch, B; Ciglenecki, I; et al. (John Wiley & Sons, 2019-07-16)
      This paper assesses patient- and population-level trends in TB notifications during rapid expansion of antiretroviral therapy in Eswatini which has an extremely high incidence of both TB and HIV. METHODS: Patient- and population-level predictors and rates of HIV-associated TB were examined in the Shiselweni region in Eswatini from 2009 to 2016. Annual population-level denominators obtained from projected census data and prevalence estimates obtained from population-based surveys were combined with individual-level TB treatment data. Patient- and population-level predictors of HIV-associated TB were assessed with multivariate logistic and multivariate negative binomial regression models. RESULTS: Of 11 328 TB cases, 71.4% were HIV co-infected and 51.8% were women. TB notifications decreased fivefold between 2009 and 2016, from 1341 to 269 cases per 100 000 person-years. The decline was sixfold in PLHIV vs. threefold in the HIV-negative population. Main patient-level predictors of HIV-associated TB were recurrent TB treatment (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 1.40, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.19-1.65), negative (aOR 1.31, 1.15-1.49) and missing (aOR 1.30, 1.11-1.53) bacteriological status and diagnosis at secondary healthcare level (aOR 1.18, 1.06-1.33). Compared with 2009, the probability of TB decreased for all years from 2011 (aOR 0.69, 0.58-0.83) to 2016 (aOR 0.54, 0.43-0.69). The most pronounced population-level predictor of TB was HIV-positive status (adjusted incidence risk ratio 19.47, 14.89-25.46). CONCLUSIONS: This high HIV-TB prevalence setting experienced a rapid decline in TB notifications, most pronounced in PLHIV. Achievements in HIV-TB programming were likely contributing factors.
    • Feasibility of engaging caregivers in at‐home surveillance of children with uncomplicated severe acute malnutrition

      Isanaka, S; Berthe, F; Nackers, F; Tang, K; Hanson, KE; Grais, RF (John Wiley & Sons, 2019-07-23)
      Many factors can contribute to low coverage of treatment for severe acute malnutrition (SAM), and a limited number of health facilities and trained personnel can constrain the number of children that receive treatment. Alternative models of care that shift the responsibility for routine clinical and anthropometric surveillance from the health facility to the household could reduce the burden of care associated with frequent facility-based visits for both healthcare providers and caregivers. To assess the feasibility of shifting clinical surveillance to caregivers in the outpatient management of SAM, we conducted a pilot study to assess caregivers' understanding and retention of key concepts related to the surveillance of clinical danger signs and anthropometric measurement over a 28-day period. At the time of a child's admission to nutritional treatment, a study nurse provided a short training to groups of caregivers on two topics: (a) clinical danger signs in children with SAM that warrant facility-based care and (b) methods to measure and monitor their child's mid-upper arm circumference. Caregiver understanding was assessed using standardized questionnaires before training, immediately after training, and 28 days after training. Knowledge of most clinical danger signs (e.g., convulsions, edema, poor appetite, respiratory distress, and lethargy) was low (0-45%) before training but increased immediately after and was retained 28 days after training. Agreement between nurse-caregiver mid-upper arm circumference colour classifications was 77% (98/128) immediately after training and 80% after 28 days. These findings lend preliminary support to pursue further study of alternative models of care that allow for greater engagement of caregivers in the clinical and anthropometric surveillance of children with SAM.
    • Point-of-care viral load monitoring: outcomes from a decentralized HIV programme in Malawi.

      Nicholas, S; Poulet, E; Wolters, L; Wapling, J; Rakesh, A; Amoros, I; Szumilin, E; Gueguen, M; Schramm, B (John Wiley & Sons, 2019-08-01)
      INTRODUCTION: Routinely monitoring the HIV viral load (VL) of people living with HIV (PLHIV) on anti-retroviral therapy (ART) facilitates intensive adherence counselling and faster ART regimen switch when treatment failure is indicated. Yet standard VL-testing in centralized laboratories can be time-intensive and logistically difficult in low-resource settings. This paper evaluates the outcomes of the first four years of routine VL-monitoring using Point-of-Care technology, implemented by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in rural clinics in Malawi. METHODS: We conducted a retrospective cohort analysis of patients eligible for routine VL- testing between 2013 and 2017 in four decentralized ART-clinics and the district hospital in Chiradzulu, Malawi. We assessed VL-testing coverage and the treatment failure cascade (from suspected failure (first VL>1000 copies/mL) to VL suppression post regimen switch). We used descriptive statistics and multivariate logistic regression to assess factors associated with suspected failure. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION: Among 21,400 eligible patients, VL-testing coverage was 85% and VL suppression was found in 89% of those tested. In the decentralized clinics, 88% of test results were reviewed on the same day as blood collection, whereas in the district hospital the median turnaround-time for results was 85 days. Among first-line ART patients with suspected failure (N = 1544), 30% suppressed (VL<1000 copies/mL), 35% were treatment failures (confirmed by subsequent VL-testing) and 35% had incomplete VL follow-up. Among treatment failures, 80% (N = 540) were switched to a second-line regimen, with a higher switching rate in the decentralized clinics than in the district hospital (86% vs. 67%, p < 0.01) and a shorter median time-to-switch (6.8 months vs. 9.7 months, p < 0.01). Similarly, the post-switch VL-testing rate was markedly higher in the decentralized clinics (61% vs. 26%, p < 0.01). Overall, 79% of patients with a post-switch VL-test were suppressed. CONCLUSIONS: Viral load testing at the point-of-care in Chiradzulu, Malawi achieved high coverage and good drug regimen switch rates among those identified as treatment failures. In decentralized clinics, same-day test results and shorter time-to-switch illustrated the game-changing potential of POC-based VL-testing. Nevertheless, gaps were identified along all steps of the failure cascade. Regular staff training, continuous monitoring and creating demand are essential to the success of routine VL-testing.
    • Programmatic outcomes and impact of rapid public sector antiretroviral therapy expansion in adults prior to introduction of the WHO treat-all approach in rural Eswatini.

      Boulle, A; Teck, R; Lukhele, N; Rusch, B; Telnov, A; Mabhena, E; Pasipamire, L; Ciglenecki, I; Schomaker, M; Kerschberger, B (John Wiley & Sons, 2019-04-01)
      To assess long-term antiretroviral therapy (ART) outcomes during rapid HIV programme expansion in the public sector of Eswatini (formerly Swaziland). This is a retrospectively established cohort of HIV-positive adults (≥16 years) who started first-line ART in 25 health facilities in Shiselweni (Eswatini) between 01/2006 and 12/2014. Temporal trends in ART attrition, treatment expansion and ART coverage were described over 9 years. We used flexible parametric survival models to assess the relationship between time to ART attrition and covariates. Of 24 772 ART initiations, 6% (n = 1488) occurred in 2006, vs. 13% (n = 3192) in 2014. Between these years, median CD4 cell count at ART initiation increased (113-265 cells/mm Programmatic outcomes improved during large expansion of the treatment cohort and increased ART coverage. Changes in ART programming may have contributed to better outcomes.