• 10-year assessment of treatment outcome among Cambodian refugees with sputum smear-positive tuberculosis in Khao-I-Dang, Thailand.

      Sukrakanchana-Trikham, P; Puéchal, X; Rigal, J; Rieder, H L; Médecins sans Frontières Tuberculosis Programme, Khao-I-Dang, Prachinburi, Thailand. (International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, 1992-12)
      Tuberculosis control among displaced persons is fraught with difficulties to ensure adherence of patients to treatment for a prolonged period of time. In the Khao-I-Dang camp for Cambodian refugees an approach with daily, directly observed treatment throughout the course of 6 months duration was chosen to address the problem. Of a total 929 patients with sputum smear-positive tuberculosis who were enrolled from 1981 to 1990, 5.0% died, 75.5% completed treatment and were bacteriologically cured with a day-to-day adherence of more than 98%, none failed bacteriologically, 19.2% were transferred to another camp where continuation of treatment was guaranteed, and only 0.4% absconded from treatment. These data suggest that the approach to tuberculosis control in this refugee camp was very effective in cutting the chain of transmission of tuberculosis in a highly mobile population and in reducing substantially unnecessary morbidity and mortality.
    • A Drug Dosage Table is a Useful Tool to Facilitate Prescriptions of Antiretroviral Drugs for Children in Thailand.

      Ponnet, M; Frederix, K; Petdachai, W; Wilson, D; Eksaengsri, A; Zachariah, R; Médecins Sans Frontières, Bangkok, Thailand. (2005-06)
      Scaling up of antiretroviral treatment (ART) for children in countries like Thailand will require decentralization and management by non-specialist doctors. We describe (a) the formulation of a standardized drug dosage table to facilitate antiretroviral drug (ARV) prescriptions for children, (b) the acceptability of such a table among doctors and (c) the safety and efficacy of drug doses in the table. Acceptability was assessed using a questionnaire. Safety and efficacy were assessed on the basis of incidence of adverse effects and virological response to treatment, respectively. Of all doctors (n=18), 17 (94%) found that the table was practical to use, avoided miscalculations and made them more confident with prescriptions. Of 49 children prescribed ARVs, less than 5% had adverse side-effects. All ARV-naïve children achieved undetectable viral loads within six months of ART. In our setting, a standardized drug dosage table provided a simple and reliable tool that facilitated ARV prescriptions for children.
    • Access to drugs: the case of Abbott in Thailand.

      Cawthorne, P; Ford, N; Wilson, D; Kijtiwatchakul, K; Purahong, W; Tianudom, N; Nacapew, S; Médecins Sans Frontières, 533 Mooban Nakorn Thai 14, Ladprao (2007-06)
    • Challenge and co-operation: civil society activism for access to HIV treatment in Thailand.

      Ford, N; Wilson, D; Cawthorne, P; Kumphitak, A; Kasi-Sedapan, S; Kaetkaew, S; Teemanka, S; Donmon, B; Preuanbuapan, C; Médecins Sans Frontières, Bangkok, Thailand. david.wilson.thai@gmail.com (Published by Wiley-Blackwell, 2009-03)
      Civil society has been a driving force behind efforts to increase access to treatment in Thailand. A focus on HIV medicines brought civil society and non-governmental and government actors together to fight for a single cause, creating a platform for joint action on practical issues to improve care for people with HIV/AIDS (PHA) within the public health system. The Thai Network of People with HIV/AIDS, in partnership with other actors, has provided concrete support for patients and for the health system as a whole; its efforts have contributed significantly to the availability of affordable generic medicines, early treatment for opportunistic infections, and an informed and responsible approach towards antiretroviral treatment that is critical to good adherence and treatment success. This change in perception of PHA from 'passive receiver' to 'co-provider' of health care has led to improved acceptance and support within the healthcare system. Today, most PHA in Thailand can access treatment, and efforts have shifted to supporting care for excluded populations.
    • Consequences of armed conflict for an ethnic Karen population.

      Checchi, F; Elder, G; Schäfer, M; Drouhin, E; Legros, D; Epicentre, 8 rue Saint Sabin, 75011, Paris, France. fchecchi@epicentre.msf.org (Elsevier, 2003-07-05)
    • Global trade and access to medicines: AIDS treatments in Thailand.

      Wilson, D; Cawthorne, P; Ford, N; Aongsonwang, S; Médecins Sans Frontières, Bangkok, Thailand. msfbthai@asianet.co.th (Elsevier, 1999-11-27)
    • HIV and cytomegalovirus in Thailand.

      Chua, A; Wilson, D; Ford, N (Elsevier, 2005-06)
    • HIV prevention, care, and treatment in two prisons in Thailand.

      Wilson, D; Ford, N; Ngammee, V; Chua, A; Kyaw, M K K; Médecins Sans Frontières, Bangkapi, Bangkok, Thailand. (Public Library of Science, 2007-06)
    • Internal quality control of the malaria microscopy diagnosis for 10 laboratories on the Thai-Myanmar border.

      Hemme, F; Gay, F; Medecins Sans Frontières, French Section, Mae Sot, Thailand. (1998-09)
      On the Thai-Myanmar border, where multidrug resistance to anti-malaria medications is a major problem, a quality control program for diagnostic laboratories has been set up. This study examines the "passive" screening performed in 10 laboratories. Monthly evaluation of the quality of thick and thin smear practice, Giemsa staining and microscopy took place during the year 1994. Considering the general context and the methodology applied, the evaluation of performance and strategy of the malaria diagnostic test showed satisfactory results for all 10 laboratories. Performance of technics = 64% (62-66) to 96% (95-97); Sensitivity = 92.6 (91.5-95.5) to 96.6% (95.8-99.0); Specificity = 93.5% (91.4-95.5) to 98.3% (97.6-99.0); Predictive Positive Value = 92.0% (90.9-93.1) to 98.3% (97.6-99.0); Predictive Negative Value = 94.3% (93.0-95.6) to 98.5% (98.0-99.0). The study underlines the importance of a reliable quality control method for microscopy diagnosis of malaria in hyperendemic areas, with Plasmodium falciparum as the main species. A high level of input from the international laboratory technician, performing training, follow-up and evaluation was required. The need for adequate training of national technicians and supervisors, especially regarding long-term sustainability, is stressed. The type of program presented can be used as a model for similar projects in developing countries.
    • Malaria surveillance among the displaced Karen population in Thailand April 1984 to February 1989, Mae Sot, Thailand.

      Decludt, B; Pecoul, B; Biberson, P; Lang, R; Imivithaya, S; Medecins sans Frontieres, Paris, France. (1991-12)
      Right from the arrival of the displaced Karen people in Thailand, Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) identified malaria as the top priority problem. A program of patient care based on the coupled laboratory/dispensary was set up in April 1984. Immediately a system of surveillance of morbidity and mortality from malaria was set up. This study consisted of analysing data gathered over a period of five years. During this time, the displaced population increased from 9,000 to 20,000. Analysis of the trends shows a hyperendemic situation with an annual incidence rate of 1,067 per thousand in 1984. This figure was 600 per thousand in 1988. 1,500 blood smears were checked each month and the positive predictive value of clinical suspicion was 45% on average. Plasmodium falciparum represented 80% of infections. The malaria case fatality ratio over the course of the last two years of surveillance was 0.3%. Five years observation show that the fight against malaria in this region can be based on the development of curative services and laboratories.
    • Meeting the health needs of migrant workers affected by the tsunami.

      Wilson, D; Médecins Sans Frontières, Bangkok, Thailand. msfb-bangkok@brussels.msf.org (Public Library of Science, 2005-06)
    • Relapses of Plasmodium vivax infection usually result from activation of heterologous hypnozoites.

      Imwong, M; Snounou, G; Pukrittayakamee, S; Tanomsing, N; Kim, J R; Nandy, A; Guthmann, J P; Nosten, F; Carlton, J; Looareesuwan, S; et al. (Infectious Diseases Society of America and University of Chicago Press, 2007-04-01)
      BACKGROUND: Relapses originating from hypnozoites are characteristic of Plasmodium vivax infections. Thus, reappearance of parasitemia after treatment can result from relapse, recrudescence, or reinfection. It has been assumed that parasites causing relapse would be a subset of the parasites that caused the primary infection. METHODS: Paired samples were collected before initiation of antimalarial treatment and at recurrence of parasitemia from 149 patients with vivax malaria in Thailand (n=36), where reinfection could be excluded, and during field studies in Myanmar (n=75) and India (n=38). RESULTS: Combined genetic data from 2 genotyping approaches showed that novel P. vivax populations were present in the majority of patients with recurrent infection (107 [72%] of 149 patients overall [78% of patients in Thailand, 75% of patients in Myanmar {Burma}, and 63% of patients in India]). In 61% of the Thai and Burmese patients and in 55% of the Indian patients, the recurrent infections contained none of the parasite genotypes that caused the acute infection. CONCLUSIONS: The P. vivax populations emerging from hypnozoites commonly differ from the populations that caused the acute episode. Activation of heterologous hypnozoite populations is the most common cause of first relapse in patients with vivax malaria.
    • The role of civil society in protecting public health over commercial interests: lessons from Thailand.

      Ford, N; Wilson, D; Bunjumnong, O; von Schoen-Angerer, T; Médecins Sans Frontières, Ladphrao, Klongchan Bangkapi, Bangkok, Thailand. Nathan.Ford@London.msf.org (Elsevier, 2004-02-14)
    • Selection strength and hitchhiking around two anti-malarial resistance genes.

      Nash, D; Nair, S; Mayxay, M; Newton, P N; Guthmann, J P; Nosten, F; Anderson, T J C; Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research (SFBR), San Antonio, TX 78245, USA. (2005-06-07)
      Neutral mutations may hitchhike to high frequency when they are situated close to sites under positive selection, generating local reductions in genetic diversity. This process is thought to be an important determinant of levels of genomic variation in natural populations. The size of genome regions affected by genetic hitchhiking is expected to be dependent on the strength of selection, but there is little empirical data supporting this prediction. Here, we compare microsatellite variation around two drug resistance genes (chloroquine resistance transporter (pfcrt), chromosome 7, and dihydrofolate reductase (dhfr), chromosome 4) in malaria parasite populations exposed to strong (Thailand) or weak selection (Laos) by anti-malarial drugs. In each population, we examined the point mutations underlying resistance and length variation at 22 (chromosome 4) or 25 (chromosome 7) microsatellite markers across these chromosomes. All parasites from Thailand carried the K76T mutation in pfcrt conferring resistance to chloroquine (CQ) and 2-4 mutations in dhfr conferring resistance to pyrimethamine. By contrast, we found both wild-type and resistant alleles at both genes in Laos. There were dramatic differences in the extent of hitchhiking in the two countries. The size of genome regions affected was smaller in Laos than in Thailand. We observed significant reduction in variation relative to sensitive parasites for 34-64 kb (2-4 cM) in Laos on chromosome 4, compared with 98-137 kb (6-8 cM) in Thailand. Similarly, on chromosome 7, we observed reduced variation for 34-69 kb (2-4 cM) around pfcrt in Laos, but for 195-268 kb (11-16 cM) in Thailand. Reduction in genetic variation was also less extreme in Laos than in Thailand. Most loci were monomorphic in a 12 kb region surrounding both genes on resistant chromosomes from Thailand, whereas in Laos, even loci immediately proximal to selective sites showed some variation on resistant chromosomes. Finally, linkage disequilibrium (LD) decayed more rapidly around resistant pfcrt and dhfr alleles from Laos than from Thailand. These results demonstrate that different realizations of the same selective sweeps may vary considerably in size and shape, in a manner broadly consistent with selection history. From a practical perspective, genomic regions containing resistance genes may be most effectively located by genome-wide association in populations exposed to strong drug selection. However, the lower levels of LD surrounding resistance alleles in populations under weak selection may simplify identification of functional mutations.
    • Sustaining Access to Antiretroviral Therapy in the Less-Developed World: Lessons from Brazil and Thailand.

      Ford, N; Wilson, D; Costa Chaves, G; Lotrowska, M; Kijtiwatchakul, K; Médecins Sans Frontières, 522 Mooban Nakorn Thai 14, Ladphrao Soi 101/1, Bangkok 10240, Thailand. nathan.ford@london.msf.org (2007-07)
      ANTIRETROVIRAL ROLLOUT IN BRAZIL AND THAILAND: Brazil and Thailand are among few developing countries to achieve universal access to antiretroviral therapy. Three factors were critical to this success: legislation for free access to treatment; public sector capacity to manufacture medicines; and strong civil society action to support government initiatives to improve access. LOCAL PRODUCTION OF AFFORDABLE, NON-PATENTED DRUGS: Many older antiretroviral drugs are not patented in either country and affordable generic versions are manufactured by local pharmaceutical institutes. EFFORTS TO ENSURE ACCESS TO EXPENSIVE, PATENTED DRUGS: Developing countries were not required to grant patents on medicines until 2005, but under US government threats of trade sanctions, Thailand and Brazil began doing so at least ten years prior to this date. Brazil has used price negotiations with multi-national pharmaceutical companies to lower the price of newer patented antiretrovirals. However, the prices obtained by this approach remain unaffordable. Thailand recently employed compulsory licensing for two antiretrovirals, obtaining substantial price reductions, both for generic and brand products. Following Thailand's example, Brazil has issued its first compulsory license. LESSONS LEARNED: Middle-income countries are unable to pay the high prices of multinational pharmaceutical companies. By relying on negotiations with companies, Brazil pays up to four times more for some drugs compared with prices available internationally. Compulsory licensing has brought treatment with newer antiretrovirals within reach in Thailand, but has resulted in pressure from industry and the US government. An informed and engaged civil society is essential to support governments in putting health before trade.
    • Tuberculosis After HAART Initiation in HIV-Positive Patients from Five Countries with a High Tuberculosis Burden.

      Bonnet, M; Pinoges, L; Varaine, F; Oberhauser, B O; O'Brien, D P; Kebede, Y; Hewison, C; Zachariah, R; Ferradini, L; MSF Epicentre, Médecins Sans Frontieres, Paris, France. maryline.bonnet@geneva.msf.org (2006-06-12)
      BACKGROUND: HAART reduces tuberculosis (TB) incidence in people living with HIV/AIDS but those starting HAART may develop active TB or subclinical TB may become apparent in the immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome. OBJECTIVE: To measure the incidence rate of notified TB in people receiving HAART in five HIV programmes occurring in low-resource countries with a high TB/HIV burden. METHODS: A retrospective review in five Médecins Sans Frontières programmes (Cambodia, Thailand, Kenya, Malawi and Cameroon) allowed incidence rates of notified TB to be calculated based on follow-up time after HAART initiation. RESULT: Among 3151 patients analysed, 90% had a CD4 cell count of < 200 cells/mul. Median follow-up time ranged from 3.7 months in Thailand or Kenya to 11.1 months in Cambodia. Incidence rates were 7.6, 10.4, 17.6, 14.3 and 4.8/100 person-years for pulmonary TB and 12.7, 4.3, 6.9, 2.1 and 0/100 person-years for extra-pulmonary TB in the programmes in Cambodia, Thailand, Kenya, Malawi and Cameroon, respectively. Overall, 62.3% of pulmonary TB and 54.9% of extra-pulmonary TB were diagnosed within 3 months after HAART initiation. CONCLUSION: High incidence rates of notified TB under HAART in programmes held in poor-resource countries were observed; these were likely to include both undiagnosed prevalent TB at HAART initiation and subclinical TB developing during the immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome. This raises operational issues concerning TB diagnosis and treatment of TB/HIV-coinfected patients and prompts for urgent TB and HIV care integration.
    • WHO Must Defend Patients' Interests, Not Industry.

      Cawthorne, P; Ford, N; Limpananont, J; Tienudom, N; Purahong, W; Médecins Sans Frontières, Bangkok 10240, Thailand. msfb-bangkok@brussels.msf.org (Published by: Elsevier, 2007-03-24)
    • Zidovudine to prevent mother-to-infant HIV transmission in developing countries: a view from Thailand.

      Kumphitak, A; Cawthorne, P; Lakhonphol, S; Kasi-Sedapan, S; Sanaeha, S; Unchit, N; Wilson, D (1999-03)