• Acceptability and technical problems of the female condom amongst commercial sex workers in a rural district of Malawi.

      Zachariah, R; Harries, A D; Buhendwa, L; Spielmann, M P; Chantulo, A; Bakali, E; Médecins Sans Frontières - Luxembourg, Thyolo district, Thyolo, Malawi. zachariah@internet.lu (2003-10)
      A study was conducted among commercial sex workers (CSWs) in rural southern Malawi, in order to (a) assess the acceptability of the female condom and (b) identify common technical problems and discomforts associated with its use. There were 88 CSWs who were entered into the study with a total of 272 female condom utilizations. Eighty-six (98%) were satisfied with the female condom, 80% preferred it to the male condom and 92% were ready to use the device routinely. Of all the utilizations, the most common technical problem was reuse of the device with consecutive clients, 6% after having washed it, and 2% without any washing or rinsing. The most common discomfort that were reported included too much lubrication (32%), device being too large (16%), and noise during sex (11%). This study would be useful in preparing the introduction of the female condom within known commercial sex establishments in Malawi.
    • Assessing the quality of data aggregated by antiretroviral treatment clinics in Malawi.

      Makombe, S D; Hochgesang, M; Jahn, A; Tweya, H; Hedt, B; Chuka, S; Yu, J K L; Aberle-Grasse, J; Pasulani, O; Bailey, C; et al. (2008-04)
      PROBLEM: As national antiretroviral treatment (ART) programmes scale-up, it is essential that information is complete, timely and accurate for site monitoring and national planning. The accuracy and completeness of reports independently compiled by ART facilities, however, is often not known. APPROACH: This study assessed the quality of quarterly aggregate summary data for April to June 2006 compiled and reported by ART facilities ("site report") as compared to the "gold standard" facility summary data compiled independently by the Ministry of Health supervision team ("supervision report"). Completeness and accuracy of key case registration and outcome variables were compared. Data were considered inaccurate if variables from the site reports were missing or differed by more than 5% from the supervision reports. Additionally, we compared the national summaries obtained from the two data sources. LOCAL SETTING: Monitoring and evaluation of Malawi's national ART programme is based on WHO's recommended tools for ART monitoring. It includes one master card for each ART patient and one patient register at each ART facility. Each quarter, sites complete cumulative cohort analyses and teams from the Ministry of Health conduct supervisory visits to all public sector ART sites to ensure the quality of reported data. RELEVANT CHANGES: Most sites had complete case registration and outcome data; however many sites did not report accurate data for several critical data fields, including reason for starting, outcome and regimen. The national summary using the site reports resulted in a 12% undercount in the national total number of persons on first-line treatment. Several facility-level characteristics were associated with data quality. LESSONS LEARNED: While many sites are able to generate complete data summaries, the accuracy of facility reports is not yet adequate for national monitoring. The Ministry of Health and its partners should continue to identify and support interventions such as supportive supervision to build sites' capacity to maintain and compile quality data to ensure that accurate information is available for site monitoring and national planning.
    • Behavioural characteristics, prevalence of Chlamydia trachomatis and antibiotic susceptibility of Neisseria gonorrhoeae in men with urethral discharge in Thyolo, Malawi.

      Zachariah, R; Harries, A D; Nkhoma, W; Arendt, V; Nchingula, D; Chantulo, A; Chimtulo, F; Kirpach, P; Médecins sans Frontières-Luxembourg, Thyolo District, Malawi. zachariah@internet.lu (Elsevier, 2008-01-25)
      A study was carried out in 2000/2001 in a rural district of Malawi among men presenting with urethral discharge, in order to (a) describe their health-seeking and sexual behaviour, (b) determine the prevalence of Neisseria gonorrhoeae and Chlamydia trachomatis, and (c) verify the antibiotic susceptibility of N. gonorrhoeae. A total of 114 patients were entered into the study; 61% reported having taken some form of medication before coming to the sexually transmitted infections clinic. The most frequent alternative source of care was traditional healers. Sixty-eight (60%) patients reported sexual encounters during the symptomatic period, the majority (84%) not using condoms. Using ligase chain reaction on urine, N. gonorrhoeae was detected in 91 (80%) and C. trachomatis in 2 (2%) urine specimens. Forty five of 47 N. gonorrhoeae isolates produced penicillinase, 89% showing multi-antimicrobial resistance. This study emphasizes the need to integrate alternative care providers and particularly traditional healers in control activities, and to encourage their role in promoting safer sexual behaviour. In patients presenting with urethral discharge in our rural setting, C. trachomatis was not found to be a major pathogen. Antimicrobial susceptibility surveillance of N. gonorrhoeae is essential in order to prevent treatment failures and control the spread of resistant strains.
    • Burden, characteristics, management and outcomes of HIV-infected patients with Kaposi's sarcoma in Zomba, Malawi

      Mwinjiwa, E.; Isaakidis, P.; Van den Bergh, R.; Harries, A. D.; Bezanson, K. D.; Beyene, T.; Thompson, C.; Joshua, M.; Akello, H.; van Lettow, M. (Public Health Action, 2013-06-21)
    • Can We Get More HIV-Positive Tuberculosis Patients on Antiretroviral Treatment in a Rural District of Malawi?

      Zachariah, R; Teck, R; Ascurra, O; Gomani, P; Manzi, M; Humblet, P; Nunn, P; Salaniponi, F M L; Harries, A D; Medical Department (HIV-TB Operational Research), Brussels Operational Centre, Médecins sans Frontières, Brussels, Belgium. zachariah@internet.lu (International Union Against TB and Lung Disease, 2005-03)
      The World Health Organization (WHO) has set a target of treating 3 million people with antiretroviral treatment (ART) by 2005. In sub-Saharan Africa, HIV-positive tuberculosis (TB) patients could significantly contribute to this target. ART (stavudine/lamivudine/nevirapine) was initiated in Thyolo district, Malawi, in April 2003, and all HIV-positive TB patients were considered eligible and offered ART. Despite this, only 44 (13%) of 352 TB patients were eventually started on ART by the end of November 2003. Most TB patients leave hospital after 2 weeks to complete the initial phase of anti-tuberculosis treatment (rifampicin-based) in the community, and ART is offered to HIV-positive TB patients after they have started the continuation phase of treatment (isoniazid/ ethambutol). ART is only offered at hospital, while the majority of TB patients take their continuation phase of anti-tuberculosis treatment from health centres. HIV-positive TB patients therefore find it difficult to access ART. In this paper, we discuss a series of options to increase the uptake of ART among HIV-positive TB patients. The main options are: 1) to hospitalise HIV-positive TB patients with a view to starting ART in the continuation phase in hospital; 2) to decentralise ART delivery so ART can be delivered at health centres; 3) to replace nevirapine with efavirenz so ART can be started earlier in the initial phase of anti-tuberculosis treatment. Decentralisation of ART from hospitals to health centres would greatly improve ART access.
    • CD4 Testing at Clinics to Assess Eligibility for Antiretroviral Therapy

      Lumala, R; van den Akker, T; Metcalf, CA; Diggle, E; Zamadenga, B; Mbewa, K; Akkeson, A (College of Medicine, University of Malawi, 2012-06-01)
      In 2011, the Ministry of Health raised the CD4 threshold for antiretroviral therapy (ART) eligibility from <250 cells/µl and <350 cells/µl, but at the same time only 8.8% of facilities in Malawi with HIV services provided CD4 testing. We conducted a record review at 10 rural clinics in Thyolo District to assess the impact of introducing CD4 testing on identifying patients eligible for ART.
    • Community support is associated with better antiretroviral treatment outcomes in a resource-limited rural district in Malawi.

      Zachariah, R; Teck, R; Buhendwa, L; Fitzgerald, M; Labana, S; Chinji, C; Humblet, P; Harries, A D; Médecins Sans Frontières, Medical Department (Operational Research), Brussels Operational Center, 68 Rue de Gasperich, L-1617, Luxembourg, Belgium. zachariah@internet.lu (Elsevier, 2007-01)
      A study was carried in a rural district in Malawi among HIV-positive individuals placed on antiretroviral treatment (ART) in order to verify if community support influences ART outcomes. Standardized ART outcomes in areas of the district with and without community support were compared. Between April 2003 (when ART was started) and December 2004 a total of 1634 individuals had been placed on ART. Eight hundred and ninety-five (55%) individuals were offered community support, while 739 received no such support. For all patients placed on ART with and without community support, those who were alive and continuing ART were 96 and 76%, respectively (P<0.001); death was 3.5 and 15.5% (P<0.001); loss to follow-up was 0.1 and 5.2% (P<0.001); and stopped ART was 0.8 and 3.3% (P<0.001). The relative risks (with 95% CI) for alive and on ART [1.26 (1.21-1.32)], death [0.22 (0.15-0.33)], loss to follow-up [0.02 (0-0.12)] and stopped ART [0.23 (0.08-0.54)] were all significantly better in those offered community support (P<0.001). Community support is associated with a considerably lower death rate and better overall ART outcomes. The community might be an unrecognized and largely 'unexploited resource' that could play an important contributory role in countries desperately trying to scale up ART with limited resources.
    • Compliance with Cotrimoxazole Prophylaxis for the Prevention of Opportunistic Infections in HIV-Positive Tuberculosis Patients in Thyolo District, Malawi.

      Zachariah, R; Harries, A D; Arendt, V; Wennig, R; Schneider, S; Spielmann M P; Panarotto, E; Gomani, P; Salaniponi, F M L; Medecins sans Frontieres-Luxembourg, Thyolo District, Malawi. msflblantyre@malawi.net (International Union Against TB and Lung Disease, 2001-09)
      OBJECTIVE: To verify compliance with cotrimoxazole prophylaxis in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infected tuberculosis (TB) patients during the continuation phase of anti-tuberculosis treatment, and to assess the sensitivity, specificity and positive predictive values of verbal verification and pill counts as methods of checking compliance. DESIGN: Cross-sectional study. METHODS: Cotrimoxazole compliance was assessed in a cohort of TB patients who were attending four TB follow-up centres during the continuation phase of anti-TB treatment between months 4 and 6. Verbal verification of drug intake, physical verification of pill count balance, and urine trimethoprim detection by gas chromatography and mass spectrometry were used for assessing compliance. RESULTS: Using urine trimethoprim detection as the gold standard for compliance, trimethoprim was detected in 82 (94%) of 87 patients in the cohort. Verbal verification of cotrimoxazole intake and objective pill count balances showed high sensitivity and positive predictive values compared with the gold standard of urine trimethoprim detection. CONCLUSIONS: In a rural district in Malawi, compliance with cotrimoxazole as an adjunct to anti-tuberculosis treatment in HIV-infected TB patients was good, and can be assessed simply and practically by verbal verification and pill counts.
    • Cotrimoxazole prophylaxis in HIV-infected individuals after completing anti-tuberculosis treatment in Thyolo, Malawi.

      Zachariah, R; Spielmann M P; Harries, A D; Gomani, P; Bakali, E; Médecins Sans Frontières-Luxembourg, Thyolo, Thyolo District, Malawi. zachariah@internet.lu (2002-12)
      SETTING: Thyolo, rural southern Malawi. OBJECTIVES: To determine 1) the proportion who continue with cotrimoxazole prophylaxis for the prevention of opportunistic infections, and 2) the reasons for continuing or stopping prophylaxis, in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infected individuals with tuberculosis (TB) who complete anti-tuberculosis treatment. DESIGN: A cross-sectional study. METHODS: A questionnaire study of all HIV-infected TB patients who had been registered over a 3-month period to receive anti-tuberculosis treatment and cotrimoxazole prophylaxis and who had completed antituberculosis treatment 3-6 months earlier. RESULTS: Of 82 HIV-infected individuals who were alive at the time of interview, 76 (93%) were continuing with cotrimoxazole and wished to do so indefinitely. The most common reason for continuing the drug was to prevent illness associated with HIV, while the most common reason for stopping was long distances to the health facility. Ninety-six percent of patients received cotrimoxazole free of charge from a health centre. Of those who wished to continue indefinitely, the majority (63%) could not afford to pay for the drug. CONCLUSIONS: In a rural setting, the great majority of HIV-infected individuals continued with cotrimoxazole after completing anti-tuberculosis treatment. Making the drug available and providing it free of charge is essential if it is to remain accessible for longer term prevention.
    • Effectiveness of oral cholera vaccine in preventing cholera among fishermen in Lake Chilwa, Malawi: A case-control study

      Grandesso, F; Kasambara, W; Page, AL; Debes, AK; M'bang'ombe, M; Palomares, A; Lechevalier, P; Pezzoli, L; Alley, I; Salumu, L; et al. (Elsevier, 2019-06-19)
      Background: In response to a cholera outbreak among mobile, difficult-to-reach fishermen on Lake Chilwa, Malawi in 2016, a novel vaccine distribution strategy exploited the proven vaccine thermostability. Fishermen, while taking the first vaccine dose under supervision, received the second dose in a sealed bag, and were told to drink it two weeks later. This study assessed short-term vaccine protection of this strategy. Methods: Patients with diarrhoea admitted to health facilities around lake were interviewed and a stool sample collected for PCR testing. Vaccine effectiveness was assessed in a case-control test-negative design by comparing cases (PCR-positive for V. cholerae O1) and controls (patients with diarrhoea but PCR-negative) and with the screening method that compared the proportions of vaccinated among cholera cases versus the general fishermen population. Results: Of 145 study participants, 120 were fishermen living on the lake. Vaccine effectiveness at three-months was 90.0% [95%CI:38.8;98.4] among fishermen and 83.3% [95%CI: 20.8; 96.5] among all participants in the case-control test-negative design, and 97.5% [95%CI: 90.9;99.3] with the screening method. Conclusion: This strategy was effective in providing short-term protection in fishermen against cholera. Further research is needed to determine the adding value of the second dose and to identify the optimal vaccination strategies for different contexts.
    • Estimating antimalarial drugs consumption in Africa before the switch to artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs)

      Kindermans, Jean-Marie; Vandenbergh, Daniel; Vreeke, Ed; Olliaro, Piero; D'Altilia, Jean-Pierre; AEDES Foundation, Brussels, Belgium; Médecins Sans Frontières, Brussels, Belgium; UNICEF/UNDP/WB/WHO Special Programme for Research & Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR), Geneva, Switzerland (2007-07-10)
      BACKGROUND: Having reliable forecasts is critical now for producers, malaria-endemic countries and agencies in order to adapt production and procurement of the artemisinin-based combination treatments (ACTs), the new first-line treatments of malaria. There is no ideal method to quantify drug requirements for malaria. Morbidity data give uncertain estimations. This study uses drug consumption to provide elements to help estimate quantities and financial requirements of ACTs. METHODS: The consumption of chloroquine, sulphadoxine/pyrimethamine and quinine both through the private and public sector was assessed in five sub-Saharan Africa countries with different epidemiological patterns (Senegal, Rwanda, Tanzania, Malawi, Zimbabwe). From these data the number of adult treatments per capita was calculated and the volumes and financial implications derived for the whole of Africa. RESULTS: Identifying and obtaining data from the private sector was difficult. The quality of information on drug supply and distribution in countries must be improved. The number of adult treatments per capita and per year in the five countries ranged from 0.18 to 0.50. Current adult treatment prices for ACTs range US$ 1-1.8. Taking the upper range for both volumes and costs, the highest number of adult treatments consumed for Africa was estimated at 314.5 million, corresponding to an overall maximum annual need for financing ACT procurement of US$ 566.1 million. In reality, both the number of cases treated and the cost of treatment are likely to be lower (projections for the lowest consumption estimate with the least expensive ACT would require US $ 113 million per annum). There were substantial variations in the market share between public and private sources among these countries (the public sector share ranging from 98% in Rwanda to 33% in Tanzania). CONCLUSION: Additional studies are required to build a more robust methodology, and to assess current consumptions more accurately in order to better quantify volumes and finances for production and procurement of ACTs.
    • High acceptability of voluntary counselling and HIV-testing but unacceptable loss to follow up in a prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission programme in rural Malawi: scaling-up requires a different way of acting.

      Manzi, M; Zachariah, R; Teck, R; Buhendwa, L; Kazima, J; Bakali, E; Firmenich, P; Humblet, P; Médecins sans Frontières-Luxembourg, Thyolo district, Luxembourg, Malawi. m.manzi@belgacom.net (Wiley-Blackwell, 2005-12)
      SETTING: Thyolo District Hospital, rural Malawi. OBJECTIVES: In a prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission (PMTCT) programme, to determine: the acceptability of offering 'opt-out' voluntary counselling and HIV-testing (VCT); the progressive loss to follow up of HIV-positive mothers during the antenatal period, at delivery and to the 6-month postnatal visit; and the proportion of missed deliveries in the district. DESIGN: Cohort study. METHODS: Review of routine antenatal, VCT and PMTCT registers. RESULTS: Of 3136 new antenatal mothers, 2996 [96%, 95% confidence interval (CI): 95-97] were pre-test counselled, 2965 (95%, CI: 94-96) underwent HIV-testing, all of whom were post-test counselled. Thirty-one (1%) mothers refused HIV-testing. A total of 646 (22%) individuals were HIV-positive, and were included in the PMTCT programme. Two hundred and eighty-eight (45%) mothers and 222 (34%) babies received nevirapine. The cumulative loss to follow up (n=646) was 358 (55%, CI: 51-59) by the 36-week antenatal visit, 440 (68%, CI: 64-71) by delivery, 450 (70%, CI: 66-73) by the first postnatal visit and 524 (81%, CI: 78-84) by the 6-month postnatal visit. This left just 122 (19%, CI: 16-22) of the initial cohort still in the programme. The great majority (87%) of deliveries occurred at peripheral sites where PMTCT was not available. CONCLUSIONS: In a rural district hospital setting, at least 9 out of every 10 mothers attending antenatal services accepted VCT, of whom approximately one-quarter were HIV-positive and included in the PMTCT programme. The progressive loss to follow up of more than three-quarters of this cohort by the 6-month postnatal visit demands a 'different way of acting' if PMTCT is to be scaled up in our setting.
    • HIV Prevalence and Demographic Risk Factors in Blood Donors.

      Zachariah, R; Harries, A D; Nkhoma, W; Arendt, V; Spielmann M P; Buhendwa, L; Chingi, C; Mossong, J; Medecins Sans Frontieres, Luxembourg, Blantyre, Malawi. (2002-02)
      OBJECTIVES: To estimate HIV prevalence in various blood donor populations, to identity sociodemographic risk factors associated with prevalent HIV and to assess the feasibility of offering routine voluntary counselling services to blood donors. DESIGN: Cross-sectional study. SETTING: Thyolo district, Malawi. METHODS: Data analysis involving blood donors who underwent voluntary counselling and HIV testing between January 1998 and July 2000. RESULTS: Crude HIV prevalence was 22%, while the age standardised prevalence (>15 years) was 17%. Prevalence was lowest among rural donors, students and in males of the age group 15-19 years. There was a highly significant positive association of HIV prevalence with increasing urbanisation. Significant risk factors associated with prevalence for both male and female donors included having a business-related occupation, living in a semi-urban or urban area and being in the age group 25-29 years for females and 30-34 years for males. All blood donors were pre-test counselled and 90% were post test counselled in 2000. CONCLUSIONS: HIV prevalence in blood donors was alarmingly high, raising important concerns on the potential dangers of HIV transmission through blood transfusions. Limiting blood transfusions, use of a highly sensitive screening test, and pre-donation selection of donors is important. The experience also shows that it is feasible to offer pre and post test counselling services for blood donors as an entry point for early diagnosis of asymptomatic HIV infection and, broader preventive strategies including the potential of early access to drugs, for the prevention of opportunistic infections.
    • How can the community contribute in the fight against HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis? An example from a rural district in Malawi.

      Zachariah, R; Teck, R; Buhendwa, L; Labana, S; Chinji, C; Humblet, P; Harries, A D; Médecins sans Frontières, Medical Department (Operational Research), Brussels Operational Center, Belgium. zachariah@internet.lu (Elsevier, 2006-02)
      This paper describes (a) the experience of initiating community involvement in HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis (TB) activities in a rural district in Malawi and (b) some of the different ways in which the community is contributing in the fight against these two diseases and the outcomes of their involvement. During a 2-year period, a total of 21,358 (41%) of 52,510 HIV tests performed at voluntary counselling and HIV testing (VCT) sites in the district were conducted by lay community counsellors. A team of 465 community volunteers, 1,362 trained family caregivers and 9 community nurses provided care and support to 5,106 HIV-positive individuals, of whom 2,006 (39%) were in WHO stage III or IV. All those in WHO stage III or IV were on co-trimoxazole prophylaxis and 895 (45%) of these were also on antiretroviral treatment. A total of 2,714 TB patients, of whom 1627 (60%) were HIV-positive, also received care and support. A total of 1,694 orphans were trained in vocational skills. Twelve vegetable gardens and three maize farms were set up, and pre-school activities were organised for 900 orphans. Communities can play an important contributory role in reducing the burden of HIV/AIDS and TB and in mitigating its impact. Despite this, community resources in most settings are often under-exploited and their role remains undefined.
    • Human resources for control of tuberculosis and HIV-associated tuberculosis.

      Harries, A D; Zachariah, R; Bergström, K; Blanc, L; Salaniponi, F; Elzinga, G; National Tuberculosis Control Programme, Lilongwe, Malawi. adharries@malawi.net (2005-02)
      The global targets for tuberculosis (TB) control were postponed from 2000 to 2005, but on current evidence a further postponement may be necessary. Of the constraints preventing these targets being met, the primary one appears to be the lack of adequately trained and qualified staff. This paper outlines: 1) the human resources and skills for global TB and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) TB control, including the human resources for implementing the DOTS strategy, the additional human resources for implementing joint HIV-TB control strategies and what is known about human resource gaps at global level; 2) the attempts to quantify human resource gaps by focusing on a small country in sub-Saharan Africa, Malawi; and 3) the main constraints to human resources and their possible solutions, under six main headings: human resource planning; production of human resources; distribution of the work-force; motivation and staff retention; quality of existing staff; and the effect of HIV/AIDS. We recommend an urgent shift in thinking about the human resource paradigm, and exhort international policy makers and the donor community to make a concerted effort to bridge the current gaps by investing for real change.
    • Implementing Joint TB and HIV Interventions in a Rural District of Malawi: Is There a Role for an International Non-Governmental Organisation?

      Zachariah, R; Teck, R; Harries, A D; Humblet, P; Operational Research (HIV-TB), Médecins Sans Frontières, Medical Department, Brussels Operational Centre, Brussels, Belgium. zachariah@internet.lu (International Union Against TB and Lung Disease, 2004-09)
      In a rural district in Malawi, poorly motivated health personnel, shortages of human and financial resources, weak dialogue between existing tuberculosis (TB) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) programmes and poor community involvement are constraints to establishing joint TB-HIV interventions. The presence of a non-governmental organisation (NGO), Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), in the health care delivery system provided an opportunity to bridge some of these gaps. The main inputs provided by MSF included additional staff, supplementary drugs including antiretroviral drugs, technical assistance and infrastructure development. The introduction of a scheme of monthly performance-linked incentives for health personnel proved successful in improving their performance, as judged by attendance rates as well as the quality and quantity of activities. This initiative also provided the district management with a tool for exerting pressure on health staff to improve their performance. The availability of independent NGO funds and a logistics team for construction of new infrastructure allowed the rapid initiation of new interventions at the district level without having to wait for disbursements of funds from the central level. This introduced a new dynamic of decentralised operational flexibility at the district level which improved access to care and support for people with TB-HIV.
    • Malawi's contribution to "3 by 5": achievements and challenges

      Libamba, Edwin; Makombe, Simon D; Harries, Anthony D; Schouten, Erik J; Yu, Joseph Kwong-Leung; Pasulani, Olesi; Mhango, Eustice; Aberle-Grasse, John; Hochgesang, Mindy; Limbambala, Eddie; et al. (2007-02-01)
      PROBLEM: Many resource-poor countries have started scaling up antiretroviral therapy (ART). While reports from individual clinics point to successful implementation, there is limited information about progress in government institutions at a national level. APPROACH: Malawi started national ART scale-up in 2004 using a structured approach. There is a focus on one generic, fixed-dose combination treatment with stavudine, lamivudine and nevirapine. Treatment is delivered free of charge to eligible patients with HIV and there is a standardized system for recruiting patients, monthly follow-up, registration, monitoring and reporting of cases and outcomes. All treatment sites receive quarterly supervision and evaluation. LOCAL SETTING: In January 2004, there were nine public sector facilities delivering ART to an estimated 4 000 patients. By December 2005, there were 60 public sector facilities providing free ART to 37,840 patients using national standardized systems. Analysis of quarterly cohort treatment outcomes at 12 months showed 80% of patients were alive, 10% dead, 9% lost to follow-up and 1% had stopped treatment. LESSONS LEARNED: Achievements were the result of clear national ART guidelines, implementing partners working together, an intensive training schedule focused on clinical officers and nurses, a structured system of accrediting facilities for ART delivery, quarterly supervision and monitoring, and no stock-outs of antiretroviral drugs. The main challenges are to increase the numbers of children, pregnant women and patients with tuberculosis being started on ART, and to avert high early mortality and losses to follow-up. The capacity of the health sector to cope with escalating case loads and to scale up prevention alongside treatment will determine the future success of ART delivery in Malawi.
    • Maternal common mental disorder and infant growth--a cross-sectional study from Malawi

      Stewart, R C; Umar, E; Kauye, F; Bunn, J; Vokhiwa, M; Fitzgerald, M; Tomenson, B; Rahman, A; Creed, F; Department of Community Health, College of Medicine, Blantyre, Malawi; Zomba Mental Hospital, Zomba, Malawi; Médecins Sans Frontières, Thyolo, Malawi; Population Health Service Executive, Dr Stevens Hospital, Dublin, Ireland; Department of Psychiatry, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK (2008-07-01)
      The objective of the study was to investigate the association between maternal common mental disorder (CMD) and infant growth in rural Malawi. A cross-sectional study was conducted at a district hospital child health clinic. Participants were consecutive infants due for measles vaccination, and their mothers. Mean infant weight-for-age and length-for-age z-scores were compared between infants of mothers with and without CMD as measured using the self-reporting questionnaire (SRQ). Of 519 eligible infants/mothers, 501 were included in the analysis. Median infant age was 9.9 months. 29.9% of mothers scored 8 or above on the SRQ indicating CMD. Mean length-for-age z-score for infants of mothers with CMD (-1.50 SD 1.24) was significantly lower than for infants of mothers without CMD (-1.11 SD 1.12) Student's t-test: P = 0.001. This association was confirmed in multivariate analysis. Mean weight-for-age z-score for infants of mothers with CMD (-1.77 SD 1.16) was lower than for infants of mothers without CMD (-1.59 SD 1.09) but this difference was not significant on univariate (Student's t-test: P = 0.097) or multivariate analysis. The study demonstrates an association between maternal CMD and infant growth impairment in rural sub-Saharan Africa.
    • Measles outbreaks in the Mozambican refugee camps in Malawi: the continued need for an effective vaccine.

      Porter, J D; Gastellu-Etchegorry, M; Navarre, I; Lungu, G; Moren, A; Epicentre, Paris, France. (Oxford University Press, 1990-12)
      Between November 1988 and January 1989, measles outbreaks occurred in 11 Mozambican refugee camps in Malawi with five camps principally affected. A total of 1214 cases were reported. Despite the reduction of the age of measles vaccination to six months in 1987, attack rates were highest in children aged 6-9 months (10-26%); rates were also high in the 0-5 month age group (3-21%). The case-fatality rate was high among children less than five years old (15-21%). Children were being inappropriately vaccinated, either being vaccinated at less than six months of age (2-29%) or failing to receive a second dose if vaccinated at six months (0-25%). With vaccine coverage between 66-87%, vaccine efficacy in children less than five years old was estimated to be more than 90% in the camps principally affected. Reduction of the age of vaccination leads to logistical problems in vaccine delivery in refugee situations. These outbreaks again indicate the need to improve vaccine coverage with the existing Schwarz vaccine, and also highlight the urgent need for an effective single dose measles vaccine for children less than nine months of age.
    • Medicines without doctors: why the Global Fund must fund salaries of health workers to expand AIDS treatment.

      Ooms, G; Van Damme, W; Temmerman, M; Belgian section of Médecins Sans Frontières, Brussels, Belgium. gorik.ooms@brussels.msf.org (Public Library of Science, 2007-04)