• Access to healthcare for the most vulnerable migrants: a humanitarian crisis

      Pottie, Kevin; Martin, Jorge Pedro; Cornish, Stephen; Biorklund, Linn Maria; Gayton, Ivan; Doerner, Frank; Schneider, Fabien (BioMed Central (Springer Science), 2015-05-07)
      A series of Médecins Sans Frontières projects for irregular migrants over the past decade have consistently documented high rates of 14 physical and sexual trauma, extortion and mental illness amidst severe healthcare, food, and housing limitations. Complex interventions were needed to begin to address illness and barriers to healthcare and to help restore dignity to the most vulnerable women, children and men. Promising interventions included mobile clinics, use of cultural mediators, coordination with migrant-friendly entities and NGOs and integrating advocacy programs and mental health care with medical services. Ongoing interventions, research and coordination are needed to address this neglected humanitarian crisis.
    • Access to liposomal generic formulations: beyond AmBisome and Doxil/Caelyx

      Gaspani, Sara (Pro Pharma Communications International, 2014-04-18)
      The lack of clear regulatory guidance remains a key bottleneck for securing a second quality-assured source of liposomal amphotericin B (LAmB), the WHO-recommended drug for visceral leishmaniasis. The approval of the first generic liposomal product by the US Food and Drug Administration in February 2013 could be a turning point, and serve as a basis for WHO to develop guidance for the evaluation of generic liposomal formulations.
    • Accessibility of diagnostic and treatment centres for visceral leishmaniasis in Gedaref State, northern Sudan.

      Gerstl, S; Amsalu, R; Ritmeijer, K; Médecins Sans Frontières Holland, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. sgerstl@aol.com (Wiley-Blackwell, 2006-02)
      OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the accessibility of visceral leishmaniasis (VL) treatment. METHOD: Community-based study using in-depth qualitative interviews and focus group discussions with key informants, as well as quantitative questionnaires with 448 randomly selected heads of households in nine representative villages in three geographical sub-regions. RESULTS: Despite the high incidence of the disease, most people in Gedaref State know little about VL, and help at a treatment centre is usually sought only after traditional remedies and basic allopathic drugs have failed. Factors barring access to treatment are: lack of money for treatment and transport, impassability of roads, work priorities, severe cultural restrictions of women's decision-making power and distance to the next health center. CONCLUSIONS: To provide more VL patients with access to treatment in this highly endemic area, diagnostic and treatment services should be decentralized. Health education would be a useful tool to rationalise people's health-seeking behaviour.
    • Accounting for False Positive HIV Tests: Is Visceral Leishmaniasis Responsible?

      Shanks, Leslie; Ritmeijer, Koert; Piriou, Erwan; Siddiqui, M Ruby; Kliescikova, Jarmila; Pearce, Neil; Ariti, Cono; Muluneh, Libsework; Masiga, Johnson; Abebe, Almaz (Public Library of Science, 2015-07-10)
      Co-infection with HIV and visceral leishmaniasis is an important consideration in treatment of either disease in endemic areas. Diagnosis of HIV in resource-limited settings relies on rapid diagnostic tests used together in an algorithm. A limitation of the HIV diagnostic algorithm is that it is vulnerable to falsely positive reactions due to cross reactivity. It has been postulated that visceral leishmaniasis (VL) infection can increase this risk of false positive HIV results. This cross sectional study compared the risk of false positive HIV results in VL patients with non-VL individuals.
    • Accuracy of five algorithms to diagnose gambiense human African trypanosomiasis.

      Checchi, F; Chappuis, F; Karunakara, U; Priotto, G; Chandramohan, D; London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, United Kingdom. Francesco.checchi@lshtm.ac.uk (2011-07)
      Algorithms to diagnose gambiense human African trypanosomiasis (HAT, sleeping sickness) are often complex due to the unsatisfactory sensitivity and/or specificity of available tests, and typically include a screening (serological), confirmation (parasitological) and staging component. There is insufficient evidence on the relative accuracy of these algorithms. This paper presents estimates of the accuracy of five algorithms used by past Médecins Sans Frontières programmes in the Republic of Congo, Southern Sudan and Uganda.
    • Accuracy of immunological criteria for identifying virological failure in children on antiretroviral therapy - The IeDEA Southern Africa Collaboration.

      Davies, Mary-Ann; Boulle, Andrew; Eley, Brian; Moultrie, Harry; Technau, Karl; Rabie, Helena; van Cutsem, Gilles; Giddy, Janet; Wood, Robin; Egger, Matthias; et al. (2011-08-11)
      Objectives  To determine the diagnostic accuracy of World Health Organization (WHO) 2010 and 2006 as well as United States Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) 2008 definitions of immunological failure for identifying virological failure (VF) in children on antiretroviral therapy (ART). Methods  Analysis of data from children (<16 years at ART initiation) at South African ART sites at which CD4 count/per cent and HIV-RNA monitoring are performed 6-monthly. Incomplete virological suppression (IVS) was defined as failure to achieve ≥1 HIV-RNA ≤400 copies/ml between 6 and 15 months on ART and viral rebound (VR) as confirmed HIV-RNA ≥5000 copies/ml in a child on ART for ≥18 months who had achieved suppression during the first year on treatment. Results  Among 3115 children [median (interquartile range) age 48 (20-84) months at ART initiation] on treatment for ≥1 year, sensitivity of immunological criteria for IVS was 10%, 6% and 26% for WHO 2006, WHO 2010 and DHHS 2008 criteria, respectively. The corresponding positive predictive values (PPV) were 31%, 20% and 20%. Diagnostic accuracy for VR was determined in 2513 children with ≥18 months of follow-up and virological suppression during the first year on ART with sensitivity of 5% (WHO 2006/2010) and 27% (DHHS 2008). PPV results were 42% (WHO 2010), 43% (WHO 2006) and 20% (DHHS 2008). Conclusion  Current immunological criteria are unable to correctly identify children failing ART virologically. Improved access to viral load testing is needed to reliably identify VF in children.
    • Accuracy of MUAC in the detection of severe wasting with the new WHO growth standards.

      Fernández, M A L; Delchevalerie, P; Van Herp, M; Medical Department, Brussels Operational Center, Doctors Without Borders, Brussels, Belgium. miguel.angel.luque@brussels.msf.org (2010-07)
      OBJECTIVES: The objectives of this study were to estimate the accuracy of using mid-upper-arm circumference (MUAC) measurements to diagnose severe wasting by comparing the new standards from the World Health Organization (WHO) with those from the US National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) and to analyze the age independence of the MUAC cutoff values for both curves. METHODS: We used cross-sectional anthropometric data for 34,937 children between the ages of 6 and 59 months, from 39 nutritional surveys conducted by Doctors Without Borders. Receiver operating characteristic curves were used to examine the accuracy of MUAC diagnoses. MUAC age independence was analyzed with logistic regression models. RESULTS: With the new WHO curve, the performance of MUAC measurements, in terms of sensitivity and specificity, deteriorated. With different cutoff values, however, the WHO standards significantly improved the predictive value of MUAC measurements over the NCHS standards. The sensitivity and specificity of MUAC measurements were the most age independent when the WHO curve, rather than the NCHS curve, was used. CONCLUSIONS: This study confirms the need to change the MUAC cutoff value from <110 mm to <115 mm. This increase of 5 mm produces a large change in sensitivity (from 16% to 25%) with little loss in specificity, improves the probability of diagnosing severe wasting, and reduces false-negative results by 12%. This change is needed to maintain the same diagnostic accuracy as the old curve and to identify the children at greatest risk of death resulting from severe wasting.
    • Achieving the Millennium Development Goal of reducing maternal mortality in rural Africa: an experience from Burundi.

      Tayler-Smith, K; Zachariah, R; Manzi, M; Van den Boogaard, W; Nyandwi, G; Reid, T; Van den Bergh, R; De Plecker, E; Lambert, V; Nicolai, M; et al. (2012-11-20)
      OBJECTIVES: To estimate the reduction in maternal mortality associated with the emergency obstetric care provided by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and to compare this to the fifth Millennium Development Goal of reducing maternal mortality. METHODS: The impact of MSF's intervention was approximated by estimating how many deaths were averted among women transferred to and treated at MSF's emergency obstetric care facility in Kabezi, Burundi, with a severe acute maternal morbidity. Using this estimate, the resulting theoretical maternal mortality ratio in Kabezi was calculated and compared to the Millennium Development Goal for Burundi. RESULTS: In 2011, 1385 women from Kabezi were transferred to the MSF facility, of whom 55% had a severe acute maternal morbidity. We estimated that the MSF intervention averted 74% (range 55-99%) of maternal deaths in Kabezi district, equating to a district maternal mortality rate of 208 (range 8-360) deaths/100 000 live births. This lies very near to the 2015 MDG 5 target for Burundi (285 deaths/100 000 live births). CONCLUSION: Provision of quality emergency obstetric care combined with a functional patient transfer system can be associated with a rapid and substantial reduction in maternal mortality, and may thus be a possible way to achieve Millennium Development Goal 5 in rural Africa.
    • Acquisition of virulence genes by a carrier strain gave rise to the ongoing epidemics of meningococcal disease in West Africa

      Brynildsrud, OB; Eldholm, V; Bohlin, J; Uadiale, K; Obaro, S; Caugant, DA (National Academy of Sciences, 2018-05-07)
      In the African meningitis belt, a region of sub-Saharan Africa comprising 22 countries from Senegal in the west to Ethiopia in the east, large epidemics of serogroup A meningococcal meningitis have occurred periodically. After gradual introduction from 2010 of mass vaccination with a monovalent meningococcal A conjugate vaccine, serogroup A epidemics have been eliminated. Starting in 2013, the northwestern part of Nigeria has been affected by yearly outbreaks of meningitis caused by a novel strain of serogroup C Neisseria meningitidis (NmC). In 2015, the strain spread to the neighboring country Niger, where it caused a severe epidemic. Following a relative calm in 2016, the largest ever recorded epidemic of NmC broke out in Nigeria in 2017. Here, we describe the recent evolution of this new outbreak strain and show how the acquisition of capsule genes and virulence factors by a strain previously circulating asymptomatically in the African population led to the emergence of a virulent pathogen. This study illustrates the power of long-read whole-genome sequencing, combined with Illumina sequencing, for high-resolution epidemiological investigations.
    • Acting on an Environmental Health Disaster: The Case of the Aral Sea.

      Small, I; van der Meer, J; Upshur, R; Uzbekistan/Turkmenistan and the Aral Sea Area Program, Medecins Sans Frontieres, Tashkent, Uzbekistan. msfh-tashkent@amsterdam.msf.org (Published by National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, 2001-06)
      The Aral Sea area in Central Asia has been encountering one of the world's greatest environmental disasters for more than 15 years. During that time, despite many assessments and millions of dollars spent by large, multinational organizations, little has changed. The 5 million people living in this neglected and virtually unknown part of the world are suffering not only from an environmental catastrophe that has no easy solutions but also from a litany of health problems. The region is often dismissed as a chronic problem where nothing positive can be achieved. Within this complicated context, Medecins Sans Frontieres, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1999, is actively trying to assess the impact of the environmental disaster on human health to help the people who live in the Aral Sea area cope with their environment. Medecins Sans Frontieres has combined a direct medical program to improve the health of the population while conducting operational research to gain a better understanding of the relationship between the environmental disaster and human health outcomes. In this paper we explore the health situation of the region and the broader policy context in which it is situated, and present some ideas that could potentially be applied to many other places in the world that are caught up in environmental and human health disasters.
    • Active and adaptive case finding to estimate therapeutic program coverage for severe acute malnutrition: a capture-recapture study

      Isanaka, S; Salou, H; Hedt-Guathier, B; Grais, R; Allen, B; Berthé, F; Salou, H (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2019-12-16)
      Background: Coverage is an important indicator to assess both the performance and effectiveness of public health programs. Recommended methods for coverage estimation for the treatment of severe acute malnutrition (SAM) can involve active and adaptive case finding (AACF), an informant-driven sampling procedure, for the identification of cases. However, as this procedure can yield a non-representative sample, exhaustive or near exhaustive case identification is needed for valid coverage estimation with AACF. Important uncertainty remains as to whether an adequate level of exhaustivity for valid coverage estimation can be ensured by AACF. Methods: We assessed the sensitivity of AACF and a census method using a capture-recapture design in northwestern Nigeria. Program coverage was estimated for each case finding procedure. Results: The sensitivity of AACF was 69.5% (95% CI: 59.8, 79.2) and 91.9% (95% CI: 85.1, 98.8) with census case finding. Program coverage was estimated to be 40.3% (95% CI 28.6, 52.0) using AACF, compared to 34.9% (95% CI 24.7, 45.2) using the census. Depending on the distribution of coverage among missed cases, AACF sensitivity of at least ≥70% was generally required for coverage estimation to remain within ±10% of the census estimate. Conclusion: Given the impact incomplete case finding and low sensitivity can have on coverage estimation in potentially non-representative samples, adequate attention and resources should be committed to ensure exhaustive or near exhaustive case finding
    • Active and passive case detection strategies for the control of leishmaniasis in Bangladesh

      Das, A. K.; Harries, A. D.; Hinderaker, S. G.; Zachariah, R; Ahmad, B; Shah, G. N.; Khogali, M. A.; Das, G. I.; Ahmed, E. M.; Ritmeijer, K (The Union, 2014-03-21)
    • Active Case-Finding for Tuberculosis by Mobile Teams in Myanmar: Yield and Treatment Outcomes

      Myint, O; Saw, S; Isaakidis, P; Khogali, M; Reid, A; Hoa, N; Kyaw, T; Zaw, K; Khaing, T; Aung, S (BioMed Central, 2017-06-02)
      Since 2005, the Myanmar National Tuberculosis Programme (NTP) has been implementing active case finding (ACF) activities involving mobile teams in hard-to-reach areas. This study revealed the contribution of mobile team activities to total tuberculosis (TB) case detection, characteristics of TB patients detected by mobile teams and their treatment outcomes.
    • Acute Malnutrition and Under-5 Mortality, Northeastern Part of India.

      Espié, E; Roure Pujol, C; Masferrer, M; Saint-Sauveur, J-F; Palma Urrutia, P P; Grais, R; Epicentre, Paris, France; Medecins Sans Frontieres, OCB, Belgium (2010-11-23)
      We assessed the prevalence of childhood acute malnutrition and under-five mortality rate (U5MR) in Darbhanga district, India, using a two-stage 49-cluster household survey. A total of 1379 households comprising 8473 people were interviewed. During a 90-day recall period, U5MR was 0.5 [95% confidence interval (CI), 0.2-1.4] per 10 000 per day. The prevalence of global acute malnutrition among 1405 children aged 6-59 months was 15.4% (NCHS) and 19.4% (2006 WHO references). This survey suggests that in Darbhanga district, the population is in a borderline food crisis with few food resources. Appropriate strategies should be developed to improve the overall nutritional and health status of children.
    • Adapting a community-based ART delivery model to the patients' needs: a mixed methods research in Tete, Mozambique

      Rasschaert, Freya; Decroo, Tom; Remartinez, Daniel; Telfer, Barbara; Lessitala, Faustino; Biot, Marc; Candrinho, Baltazar; Van Damme, Wim (BioMed Central, 2014-04)
      To improve retention in antiretroviral therapy (ART), lessons learned from chronic disease care were applied to HIV care, providing more responsibilities to patients in the care of their chronic disease. In Tete--Mozambique, patients stable on ART participate in the ART provision and peer support through Community ART Groups (CAG). This article analyses the evolution of the CAG-model during its implementation process.
    • Adapting Reactive Case Detection Strategies for falciparum Malaria in a Low-Transmission Area in Cambodia.

      Rossi, G; Van den Bergh, R; Nguon, C; Debackere, M; Vernaeve, L; Khim, N; Kim, S; Menard, D; De Smet, M; Kindermans, JM (Oxford University Press, 2018-01-06)
      Reactive case detection around falciparum malaria cases in Cambodia presents a low output. We improved it by including individuals occupationally coexposed with index case patients and using polymerase chain reaction-based diagnosis. The positivity rate increased from 0.16% to 3.9%.
    • Adapting the DOTS framework for tuberculosis control to the management of non-communicable diseases in sub-Saharan Africa

      Harries, A D; Jahn, A; Zachariah, R; Enarson, D; Clinical HIV Unit, Ministry of Health, Lilongwe, Malawi; Family Health International, Malawi Country Office, Lilongwe, Malawi; London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, United Kingdom; Lighthouse Trust, Lilongwe, Malawi; International Training and Education Center on HIV, University of Washington, Seattle, WA; Médecins Sans Frontières, Operational Research Medical Department, Luxembourg; International Union against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, Paris, France (Public Library of Science (PLoS), 2008-06-10)
    • Adapting to the Global Shortage of Cholera Vaccines: Targeted Single Dose Cholera Vaccine in Response to an Outbreak in South Sudan

      Parker, LA; Rumunu, J; Jamet, C; Kenyi, Y; Lino, RL; Wamala, JF; Mpairwe, AM; Ciglenecki, I; Luquero, FJ; Azman, AS; et al. (Elsevier, 2017-01-18)
      Shortages of vaccines for epidemic diseases, such as cholera, meningitis, and yellow fever, have become common over the past decade, hampering efforts to control outbreaks through mass reactive vaccination campaigns. Additionally, various epidemiological, political, and logistical challenges, which are poorly documented in the literature, often lead to delays in reactive campaigns, ultimately reducing the effect of vaccination. In June 2015, a cholera outbreak occurred in Juba, South Sudan, and because of the global shortage of oral cholera vaccine, authorities were unable to secure sufficient doses to vaccinate the entire at-risk population-approximately 1 million people. In this Personal View, we document the first public health use of a reduced, single-dose regimen of oral cholera vaccine, and show the details of the decision-making process and timeline. We also make recommendations to help improve reactive vaccination campaigns against cholera, and discuss the importance of new and flexible context-specific dose regimens and vaccination strategies.
    • Added value of bleach sedimentation microscopy for diagnosis of tuberculosis: a cost-effectiveness study.

      Bonnet, M; Tajahmady, A; Hepple, P; Ramsay, A; Githui, W; Gagdnidze, L; Guérin, P J; Varaine, F; Epicentre, Paris, France; Mission Nationale d’Expertise et d’Audit Hospitaliers, Paris, France; Manson Unit, Médecins Sans Frontières, London, UK; Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Liverpool, UK; United Nation’s Children’s Fund/United Nations Development Programme/World Bank/World Health Organization Special Programme for Research and Training for Tropical Diseases, Geneva, Switzerland; Centre for Respiratory Diseases Research, Kenya Medical Research Institute, Nairobi, Kenya; Médecins Sans Frontières, Paris, France (2010-04-09)
      SETTING: Bleach sedimentation is a method used to increase the diagnostic yield of sputum microscopy for countries with a high prevalence of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection and limited resources. OBJECTIVES: To compare the relative cost-effectiveness of different microscopy approaches in diagnosing tuberculosis (TB) in Kenya. METHODS: An analytical decision tree model including cost and effectiveness measures of 10 combinations of direct (D) and overnight bleach (B) sedimentation microscopy was constructed. Data were drawn from the evaluation of the bleach sedimentation method on two specimens (first on the spot [1] and second morning [2]) from 644 TB suspects in a peripheral health clinic. Incremental cost per smear-positive detected case was measured. Costs included human resources and materials using a micro-costing evaluation. RESULTS: All bleach-based microscopy approaches detected significantly more cases (between 23.3% for B1 and 25.9% for B1+B2) than the conventional D1+D2 approach (21.0%). Cost per tested case ranged between respectively euro 2.7 and euro 4.5 for B1 and B1+D2+B2. B1 and B1+B2 were the most cost-effective approaches. D1+B2 and D1+B1 were good alternatives to avoid using approaches exclusively based on bleach sedimentation microscopy. CONCLUSIONS: Among several effective microscopy approaches used, including sodium hypochlorite sedimentation, only some resulted in a limited increase in the laboratory workload and would be most suitable for programmatic implementation.
    • Addressing Diabetes Mellitus as Part of the Strategy for Ending TB

      Harries, A D; Kumar, A M; Satyanarayana, S; Lin, Y; Zachariah, R; Lönnroth, K; Kapur, A (Oxford University Press, 2016-03-01)
      As we enter the new era of Sustainable Development Goals, the international community has committed to ending the TB epidemic by 2030 through implementation of an ambitious strategy to reduce TB-incidence and TB-related mortality and avoiding catastrophic costs for TB-affected families. Diabetes mellitus (DM) triples the risk of TB and increases the probability of adverse TB treatment outcomes such as failure, death and recurrent TB. The rapidly escalating global epidemic of DM means that DM needs to be addressed if TB-related milestones and targets are to be achieved. WHO and the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease's Collaborative Framework for Care and Control of Tuberculosis and Diabetes, launched in 2011, provides a template to guide policy makers and implementers to combat the epidemics of both diseases. However, more evidence is required to answer important questions about bi-directional screening, optimal ways of delivering treatment, integration of DM and TB services, and infection control. This should in turn contribute to better and earlier TB case detection, and improved TB treatment outcomes and prevention. DM and TB collaborative care can also help guide the development of a more effective and integrated public health approach for managing non-communicable diseases.