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  • Early detection of cholera epidemics to support control in fragile states: estimation of delays and potential epidemic sizes

    Ratnayake, R; Finger, F; Edmunds, WJ; Checchi, F (BMC, 2020-12-15)
    Background Cholera epidemics continue to challenge disease control, particularly in fragile and conflict-affected states. Rapid detection and response to small cholera clusters is key for efficient control before an epidemic propagates. To understand the capacity for early response in fragile states, we investigated delays in outbreak detection, investigation, response, and laboratory confirmation, and we estimated epidemic sizes. We assessed predictors of delays, and annual changes in response time. Methods We compiled a list of cholera outbreaks in fragile and conflict-affected states from 2008 to 2019. We searched for peer-reviewed articles and epidemiological reports. We evaluated delays from the dates of symptom onset of the primary case, and the earliest dates of outbreak detection, investigation, response, and confirmation. Information on how the outbreak was alerted was summarized. A branching process model was used to estimate epidemic size at each delay. Regression models were used to investigate the association between predictors and delays to response. Results Seventy-six outbreaks from 34 countries were included. Median delays spanned 1–2 weeks: from symptom onset of the primary case to presentation at the health facility (5 days, IQR 5–5), detection (5 days, IQR 5–6), investigation (7 days, IQR 5.8–13.3), response (10 days, IQR 7–18), and confirmation (11 days, IQR 7–16). In the model simulation, the median delay to response (10 days) with 3 seed cases led to a median epidemic size of 12 cases (upper range, 47) and 8% of outbreaks ≥ 20 cases (increasing to 32% with a 30-day delay to response). Increased outbreak size at detection (10 seed cases) and a 10-day median delay to response resulted in an epidemic size of 34 cases (upper range 67 cases) and < 1% of outbreaks < 20 cases. We estimated an annual global decrease in delay to response of 5.2% (95% CI 0.5–9.6, p = 0.03). Outbreaks signaled by immediate alerts were associated with a reduction in delay to response of 39.3% (95% CI 5.7–61.0, p = 0.03). Conclusions From 2008 to 2019, median delays from symptom onset of the primary case to case presentation and to response were 5 days and 10 days, respectively. Our model simulations suggest that depending on the outbreak size (3 versus 10 seed cases), in 8 to 99% of scenarios, a 10-day delay to response would result in large clusters that would be difficult to contain. Improving the delay to response involves rethinking the integration at local levels of event-based detection, rapid diagnostic testing for cluster validation, and integrated alert, investigation, and response.
  • Successive epidemic waves of cholera in South Sudan between 2014 and 2017: a descriptive epidemiological study

    Jones, FK; Wamala, JF; Rumunu, J; Mawien, PN; Kol, MT; Wohl, S; Deng, L; Pezzoli, L; Omar, LH; Lessler, J; et al. (Elsevier, 2020-12-01)
    Background Between 2014 and 2017, successive cholera epidemics occurred in South Sudan within the context of civil war, population displacement, flooding, and drought. We aim to describe the spatiotemporal and molecular features of the three distinct epidemic waves and explore the role of vaccination campaigns, precipitation, and population movement in shaping cholera spread in this complex setting. Methods In this descriptive epidemiological study, we analysed cholera linelist data to describe the spatiotemporal progression of the epidemics. We placed whole-genome sequence data from pandemic Vibrio cholerae collected throughout these epidemics into the global phylogenetic context. Using whole-genome sequence data in combination with other molecular attributes, we characterise the relatedness of strains circulating in each wave and the region. We investigated the association of rainfall and the instantaneous basic reproduction number using distributed lag non-linear models, compared county-level attack rates between those with early and late reactive vaccination campaigns, and explored the consistency of the spatial patterns of displacement and suspected cholera case reports. Findings The 2014 (6389 cases) and 2015 (1818 cases) cholera epidemics in South Sudan remained spatially limited whereas the 2016–17 epidemic (20 438 cases) spread among settlements along the Nile river. Initial cases of each epidemic were reported in or around Juba soon after the start of the rainy season, but we found no evidence that rainfall modulated transmission during each epidemic. All isolates analysed had similar genotypic and phenotypic characteristics, closely related to sequences from Uganda and Democratic Republic of the Congo. Large-scale population movements between counties of South Sudan with cholera outbreaks were consistent with the spatial distribution of cases. 21 of 26 vaccination campaigns occurred during or after the county-level epidemic peak. Counties vaccinated on or after the peak incidence week had 2·2 times (95% CI 2·1–2·3) higher attack rates than those where vaccination occurred before the peak. Interpretation Pandemic V cholerae of the same clonal origin was isolated throughout the study period despite interepidemic periods of no reported cases. Although the complex emergency in South Sudan probably shaped some of the observed spatial and temporal patterns of cases, the full scope of transmission determinants remains unclear. Timely and well targeted use of vaccines can reduce the burden of cholera; however, rapid vaccine deployment in complex emergencies remains challenging.
  • Evidence-based chlorination targets for household water safety in humanitarian settings: Recommendations from a multi-site study in refugee camps in South Sudan, Jordan, and Rwanda.

    Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health Research, York University, 88 The Pond Road, M3J 1P3, Toronto, Canada; Médecins sans Frontières, Plantage Middenlaan 14, 1018 DD Amsterdam, Netherlands; Development Impact Lab, University of California, Berkeley, Blum Hall #5570, Berkeley, CA, USA. Electronic address: siali@yorku.ca. 2Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health Research, York University, 88 The Pond Road, M3J 1P3, Toronto, Canada. 3Médecins sans Frontières, Plantage Middenlaan 14, 1018 DD Amsterdam, Netherland (2020-11-16)
    The current Sphere guideline for water chlorination in humanitarian emergencies fails to reliably ensure household water safety in refugee camps. We investigated post-distribution chlorine decay and household water safety in refugee camps in South Sudan, Jordan, and Rwanda between 2013-2015 with the goal of demonstrating an approach for generating site-specific and evidence-based chlorination targets that better ensure household water safety than the status quo Sphere guideline. In each of four field studies we conducted, we observed how water quality changed between distribution and point of consumption. We implemented a nonlinear optimization approach for the novel technical challenge of modelling post-distribution chlorine decay in order to generate estimates on what free residual chlorine (FRC) levels must be at water distribution points, in order to provide adequate FRC protection up to the point of consumption in households many hours later at each site. The site-specific FRC targets developed through this modelling approach improved the proportion of households having sufficient chlorine residual (i.e., ≥0.2 mg/L FRC) at the point of consumption in three out of four field studies (South Sudan 2013, Jordan 2014, and Rwanda 2015). These sites tended to be hotter (i.e., average mid-afternoon air temperatures >30°C) and/or had poorer water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) conditions, contributing to considerable chlorine decay between distribution and consumption. Our modelling approach did not work as well where chlorine decay was small in absolute terms (Jordan 2015). In such settings, which were cooler (20 to 30°C) and had better WASH conditions, we found that the upper range of the current Sphere chlorination guideline (i.e., 0.5 mg/L FRC) provided sufficient residual chlorine for ensuring household water safety up to 24 hours post-distribution. Site-specific and evidence-based chlorination targets generated from post-distribution chlorine decay modelling could help improve household water safety and public health outcomes in refugee camp settings where the current Sphere chlorination guideline does not provide adequate residual protection. Water quality monitoring in refugee/IDP camps should shift focus from distribution points to household points of consumption in order to monitor if the intended public health goal of safe water at the point of consumption is being achieved.
  • Evidence-based chlorination targets for household water safety in humanitarian settings: Recommendations from a multi-site study in refugee camps in South Sudan, Jordan, and Rwanda

    Ali, SI; Ali, SS; Fesselet, JF (Elsevier, 2020-11-16)
    The current Sphere guideline for water chlorination in humanitarian emergencies fails to reliably ensure household water safety in refugee camps. We investigated post-distribution chlorine decay and household water safety in refugee camps in South Sudan, Jordan, and Rwanda between 2013-2015 with the goal of demonstrating an approach for generating site-specific and evidence-based chlorination targets that better ensure household water safety than the status quo Sphere guideline. In each of four field studies we conducted, we observed how water quality changed between distribution and point of consumption. We implemented a nonlinear optimization approach for the novel technical challenge of modelling post-distribution chlorine decay in order to generate estimates on what free residual chlorine (FRC) levels must be at water distribution points, in order to provide adequate FRC protection up to the point of consumption in households many hours later at each site. The site-specific FRC targets developed through this modelling approach improved the proportion of households having sufficient chlorine residual (i.e., ≥0.2 mg/L FRC) at the point of consumption in three out of four field studies (South Sudan 2013, Jordan 2014, and Rwanda 2015). These sites tended to be hotter (i.e., average mid-afternoon air temperatures >30°C) and/or had poorer water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) conditions, contributing to considerable chlorine decay between distribution and consumption. Our modelling approach did not work as well where chlorine decay was small in absolute terms (Jordan 2015). In such settings, which were cooler (20 to 30°C) and had better WASH conditions, we found that the upper range of the current Sphere chlorination guideline (i.e., 0.5 mg/L FRC) provided sufficient residual chlorine for ensuring household water safety up to 24 hours post-distribution. Site-specific and evidence-based chlorination targets generated from post-distribution chlorine decay modelling could help improve household water safety and public health outcomes in refugee camp settings where the current Sphere chlorination guideline does not provide adequate residual protection. Water quality monitoring in refugee/IDP camps should shift focus from distribution points to household points of consumption in order to monitor if the intended public health goal of safe water at the point of consumption is being achieved.
  • Highly targeted spatiotemporal interventions against cholera epidemics, 2000–19: a scoping review

    Ratnayake, R; Finger, F; Azman, AS; Lantagne, D; Funk, S; Edmunds, WJ; Checchi, F (Elsevier, 2020-10-20)
    Globally, cholera epidemics continue to challenge disease control. Although mass campaigns covering large populations are commonly used to control cholera, spatial targeting of case households and their radius is emerging as a potentially efficient strategy. We did a Scoping Review to investigate the effectiveness of interventions delivered through case-area targeted intervention, its optimal spatiotemporal scale, and its effectiveness in reducing transmission. 53 articles were retrieved. We found that antibiotic chemoprophylaxis, point-of-use water treatment, and hygiene promotion can rapidly reduce household transmission, and single-dose vaccination can extend the duration of protection within the radius of households. Evidence supports a high-risk spatiotemporal zone of 100 m around case households, for 7 days. Two evaluations separately showed reductions in household transmission when targeting case households, and in size and duration of case clusters when targeting radii. Although case-area targeted intervention shows promise for outbreak control, it is critically dependent on early detection capacity and requires prospective evaluation of intervention packages.
  • Distribution of hygiene kits during a cholera outbreak in Kasaï-Oriental, Democratic Republic of Congo: a process evaluation.

    D'Mello-Guyett, L; Greenland, K; Bonneville, S; D'hondt, R; Mashako, M; Gorski, A; Verheyen, D; Van den Bergh, R; Maes, P; Checchi, F; et al. (BioMed Central, 2020-07-24)
    Background: Cholera remains a leading cause of infectious disease outbreaks globally, and a major public health threat in complex emergencies. Hygiene kits distributed to cholera case-households have previously shown an effect in reducing cholera incidence and are recommended by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) for distribution to admitted patients and accompanying household members upon admission to health care facilities (HCFs). Methods: This process evaluation documented the implementation, participant response and context of hygiene kit distribution by MSF during a 2018 cholera outbreak in Kasaï-Oriental, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The study population comprised key informant interviews with seven MSF staff, 17 staff from other organisations and a random sample of 27 hygiene kit recipients. Structured observations were conducted of hygiene kit demonstrations and health promotion, and programme reports were analysed to triangulate data. Results and conclusions: Between Week (W) 28-48 of the 2018 cholera outbreak in Kasaï-Oriental, there were 667 suspected cholera cases with a 5% case fatality rate (CFR). Across seven HCFs supported by MSF, 196 patients were admitted with suspected cholera between W43-W47 and hygiene kit were provided to patients upon admission and health promotion at the HCF was conducted to accompanying household contacts 5-6 times per day. Distribution of hygiene kits was limited and only 52% of admitted suspected cholera cases received a hygiene kit. The delay of the overall response, delayed supply and insufficient quantities of hygiene kits available limited the coverage and utility of the hygiene kits, and may have diminished the effectiveness of the intervention. The integration of a WASH intervention for cholera control at the point of patient admission is a growing trend and promising intervention for case-targeted cholera responses. However, the barriers identified in this study warrant consideration in subsequent cholera responses and further research is required to identify ways to improve implementation and delivery of this intervention.
  • Does community-wide water chlorination reduce hepatitis E virus infections during an outbreak? A geospatial analysis of data from an outbreak in Am Timan, Chad (2016–2017)

    Lenglet, A; Ehlkes, L; Taylor, D; Fesselet, J-F; Nassariman, JN; Ahamat, A; Chen, A; Noh, I; Moustapha, A; Spina, A (IWA Publishing, 2020-06-02)
    Hepatitis E Virus (HEV) genotype 1 and 2 infect an estimated 20 million people each year, via the faecal-oral transmission route. An urban outbreak of HEV occurred in Am Timan, Chad, between September 2016 and April 2017. As part of the outbreak response, Médecins Sans Frontières and the Ministry of Health implemented water and hygiene interventions, including the chlorination of town water sources. We aimed to understand whether these water treatment activities had any impact on the number of HEV infections, using geospatial analysis of epidemiological and water treatment monitoring data. By conducting cluster analysis we investigated whether there were areas of particularly high and low infection risk during the outbreak and explored the reasons for this. We observed two high-risk spatial clusters of suspected cases and one high-risk cluster of confirmed cases. Our main finding was that confirmed HEV cases had a higher median number of days of exposure to unsafe water compared to suspected and non-confirmed cases (Kruskal-Wallis Chi Square: 15.5; p < 0.001). Our study confirms the mixed, but shifting, transmission routes during this outbreak. It also highlights the spatial and temporal analytical methods, which can be employed in future outbreaks to improve understanding of HEV transmission.
  • Does community-wide water chlorination reduce hepatitis E virus infections during an outbreak? a geospatial analysis of data from an outbreak in Am Timan, Chad (2016–2017)

    Lenglet, A; Ehlkes, L; Taylor, D; Fesselet, JF; Nassariman, JN; Ahamat, A; Chen, A; Noh, I; Moustapha, A; Spina, A; et al. (IWA Publishing, 2020-06-02)
    Hepatitis E Virus (HEV) genotype 1 and 2 infect an estimated 20 million people each year, via the faecal-oral transmission route. An urban outbreak of HEV occurred in Am Timan, Chad, between September 2016 and April 2017. As part of the outbreak response, Médecins Sans Frontières and the Ministry of Health implemented water and hygiene interventions, including the chlorination of town water sources. We aimed to understand whether these water treatment activities had any impact on the number of HEV infections, using geospatial analysis of epidemiological and water treatment monitoring data. By conducting cluster analysis we investigated whether there were areas of particularly high and low infection risk during the outbreak and explored the reasons for this. We observed two high-risk spatial clusters of suspected cases and one high-risk cluster of confirmed cases. Our main finding was that confirmed HEV cases had a higher median number of days of exposure to unsafe water compared to suspected and non-confirmed cases (Kruskal-Wallis Chi Square: 15.5; p < 0.001). Our study confirms the mixed, but shifting, transmission routes during this outbreak. It also highlights the spatial and temporal analytical methods, which can be employed in future outbreaks to improve understanding of HEV transmission.
  • Prevention and control of cholera with household and community water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) interventions: A scoping review of current international guidelines.

    D'Mello-Guyett, L; Gallandat, K; Van den Bergh, R; Taylor, D; Bulit, G; Legros, D; Maes, P; Checchi, F; Cumming, O (Public Library of Science, 2020-01-08)
    INTRODUCTION: Cholera remains a frequent cause of outbreaks globally, particularly in areas with inadequate water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services. Cholera is spread through faecal-oral routes, and studies demonstrate that ingestion of Vibrio cholerae occurs from consuming contaminated food and water, contact with cholera cases and transmission from contaminated environmental point sources. WASH guidelines recommending interventions for the prevention and control of cholera are numerous and vary considerably in their recommendations. To date, there has been no review of practice guidelines used in cholera prevention and control programmes. METHODS: We systematically searched international agency websites to identify WASH intervention guidelines used in cholera programmes in endemic and epidemic settings. Recommendations listed in the guidelines were extracted, categorised and analysed. Analysis was based on consistency, concordance and recommendations were classified on the basis of whether the interventions targeted within-household or community-level transmission. RESULTS: Eight international guidelines were included in this review: three by non-governmental organisations (NGOs), one from a non-profit organisation (NPO), three from multilateral organisations and one from a research institution. There were 95 distinct recommendations identified, and concordance among guidelines was poor to fair. All categories of WASH interventions were featured in the guidelines. The majority of recommendations targeted community-level transmission (45%), 35% targeted within-household transmission and 20% both. CONCLUSIONS: Recent evidence suggests that interventions for effective cholera control and response to epidemics should focus on case-centred approaches and within-household transmission. Guidelines did consistently propose interventions targeting transmission within households. However, the majority of recommendations listed in guidelines targeted community-level transmission and tended to be more focused on preventing contamination of the environment by cases or recurrent outbreaks, and the level of service required to interrupt community-level transmission was often not specified. The guidelines in current use were varied and interpretation may be difficult when conflicting recommendations are provided. Future editions of guidelines should reflect on the inclusion of evidence-based approaches, cholera transmission models and resource-efficient strategies.
  • Hand hygiene compliance and environmental contamination with gram-negative bacilli in a rural hospital in Madarounfa, Niger

    Tang, K; Berthe, F; Nackers, F; Hanson, K; Mambula, C; Langendorf, C; Marquer, C; Isanaka, S (Oxford University Press, 2019-10-14)
    Background Healthcare-associated infections pose a major, yet often preventable risk to patient safety. Poor hand hygiene among healthcare personnel and unsanitary hospital environments may contribute to this risk in low-income settings. We aimed to describe hand hygiene behaviour and environmental contamination by season in a rural, sub-Saharan African hospital setting. Methods We conducted a concurrent triangulation mixed-methods study combining three types of data at a hospital in Madarounfa, Niger. Hand hygiene observations among healthcare personnel during two seasons contributed quantitative data describing hand hygiene frequency and its variability in relation to seasonal changes in caseload. Semistructured interviews with healthcare personnel contributed qualitative data on knowledge, attitudes and barriers to hand hygiene. Biweekly environmental samples evaluated microbial contamination from October 2016 to December 2017. Triangulation identified convergences, complements and contradictions across results. Results Hand hygiene compliance, or the proportion of actions (handrubbing or handwashing) performed out of all actions required, was low (11% during non-peak and 36% during peak caseload seasons). Interviews with healthcare personnel suggesting good general knowledge of hand hygiene contradicted the low hand hygiene compliance. However, compliance by healthcare activity was convergent with poor knowledge of precise hand hygiene steps and the motivation to prevent personal acquisition of infection identified during interviews. Contamination of environmental samples with gram-negative bacilli was high (45%), with the highest rates of contamination observed during the peak caseload season. Conclusion Low hand hygiene compliance coupled with high contamination rates of hospital environments may increase the risk of hospital-acquired infections in sub-Saharan African settings.
  • Inclusion of Real-Time Hand Hygiene Observation and Feedback in a Multimodal Hand Hygiene Improvement Strategy in Low-Resource Settings.

    Lenglet, A; van Deursen, B; Viana, R; Abubakar, N; Hoare, S; Murtala, A; Okanlawon, M; Osatogbe, J; Emeh, V; Gray, N; et al. (JAMA, 2019-08-02)
    IMPORTANCE: Hand hygiene adherence monitoring and feedback can reduce health care-acquired infections in hospitals. Few low-cost hand hygiene adherence monitoring tools exist in low-resource settings. OBJECTIVE: To pilot an open-source application for mobile devices and an interactive analytical dashboard for the collection and visualization of health care workers' hand hygiene adherence data. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: This prospective multicenter quality improvement study evaluated preintervention and postintervention adherence with the 5 Moments for Hand Hygiene, as suggested by the World Health Organization, among health care workers from April 23 to May 25, 2018. A novel data collection form, the Hand Hygiene Observation Tool, was developed in open-source software and used to measure adherence with hand hygiene guidelines among health care workers in the inpatient therapeutic feeding center and pediatric ward of Anka General Hospital, Anka, Nigeria, and the postoperative ward of Noma Children's Hospital, Sokoto, Nigeria. Qualitative data were analyzed throughout data collection and used for immediate feedback to staff. A more formal analysis of the data was conducted during October 2018. EXPOSURES: Multimodal hand hygiene improvement strategy with increased availability and accessibility of alcohol-based hand sanitizer, staff training and education, and evaluation and feedback in near real-time. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Hand hygiene adherence before and after the intervention in 3 hospital wards, stratified by health care worker role, ward, and moment of hand hygiene. RESULTS: A total of 686 preintervention adherence observations and 673 postintervention adherence observations were conducted. After the intervention, overall hand hygiene adherence increased from 32.4% to 57.4%. Adherence increased in both wards in Anka General Hospital (inpatient therapeutic feeding center, 24.3% [54 of 222 moments] to 63.7% [163 of 256 moments]; P < .001; pediatric ward, 50.9% [132 of 259 moments] to 68.8% [135 of 196 moments]; P < .001). Adherence among nurses in Anka General Hospital also increased in both wards (inpatient therapeutic feeding center, 17.7% [28 of 158 moments] to 71.2% [79 of 111 moments]; P < .001; pediatric ward, 45.9% [68 of 148 moments] to 68.4% [78 of 114 moments]; P < .001). In Noma Children's Hospital, the overall adherence increased from 17.6% (36 of 205 moments) to 39.8% (88 of 221 moments) (P < .001). Adherence among nurses in Noma Children's Hospital increased from 11.5% (14 of 122 moments) to 61.4% (78 of 126 moments) (P < .001). Adherence among Noma Children's Hospital physicians decreased from 34.2% (13 of 38 moments) to 8.6% (7 of 81 moments). Lowest overall adherence after the intervention occurred before patient contact (53.1% [85 of 160 moments]), before aseptic procedure (58.3% [21 of 36 moments]), and after touching a patient's surroundings (47.1% [124 of 263 moments]). CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: This study suggests that tools for the collection and rapid visualization of hand hygiene adherence data are feasible in low-resource settings. The novel tool used in this study may contribute to comprehensive infection prevention and control strategies and strengthening of hand hygiene behavior among all health care workers in health care facilities in humanitarian and low-resource settings.
  • Setting priorities for humanitarian water, sanitation and hygiene research: a meeting report

    D’Mello-Guyett, L; Yates, T; Bastable, A; Dahab, M; Deola, C; Dorea, C; Dreibelbis, R; Grieve, T; Handzel, T; Harmer, A; et al. (BioMed Central, 2018-06-15)
  • Learning from water treatment and hygiene interventions in response to a hepatitis E outbreak in an open setting in Chad

    Spina, A; Beversluis, D; Irwin, A; Chen, A; Nassariman, JN; Ahamat, A; Noh, I; Oosterloo, J; Alfani, P; Sang, S; et al. (IWA Publishing, 2018-04)
    In September 2016, Médecins Sans Frontières responded to a hepatitis E (HEV) outbreak in Chad by implementing water treatment and hygiene interventions. To evaluate the coverage and use of these interventions, we conducted a cross-sectional study in the community. Our results showed that 99% of households interviewed had received a hygiene kit from us, aimed at improving water handling practice and personal hygiene and almost all respondents had heard messages about preventing jaundice and handwashing. Acceptance of chlorination of drinking water was also very high, although at the time of interview, we were only able to measure a safe free residual chlorine level (free chlorine residual (FRC) ≥0.2 mg/L) in 43% of households. Households which had refilled water containers within the last 18 hours, had sourced water from private wells or had poured water into a previously empty container, were all more likely to have a safe FRC level. In this open setting, we were able to achieve high coverage for chlorination, hygiene messaging and hygiene kit ownership; however, a review of our technical practice is needed in order to maintain safe FRC levels in drinking water in households, particularly when water is collected from multiple sources, stored and mixed with older water.
  • Using Lot Quality Assurance Sampling to Assess Access to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Services in a Refugee Camp Setting in South Sudan: A Feasibility Study

    Harding, E; Beckworth, C; Fesselet, J; Lenglet, A; Lako, R; Valadez, J (BioMed Central, 2017-08-08)
    Humanitarian agencies working in refugee camp settings require rapid assessment methods to measure the needs of the populations they serve. Due to the high level of dependency of refugees, agencies need to carry out these assessments. Lot Quality Assurance Sampling (LQAS) is a method commonly used in development settings to assess populations living in a project catchment area to identify their greatest needs. LQAS could be well suited to serve the needs of refugee populations, but it has rarely been used in humanitarian settings. We adapted and implemented an LQAS survey design in Batil refugee camp, South Sudan in May 2013 to measure the added value of using it for sub-camp level assessment.
  • Effectiveness of Emergency Water Treatment Practices in Refugee Camps in South Sudan

    Ali, SI; Ali, SS; Fesselet, JF (World Health Organization, 2015-08-01)
    To investigate the concentration of residual chlorine in drinking water supplies in refugee camps, South Sudan, March-April 2013.
  • Minimizing the Risk of Disease Transmission in Emergency Settings: Novel In Situ Physico-Chemical Disinfection of Pathogen-Laden Hospital Wastewaters

    Sozzi, E; Fabre, K; Fesselet, J-F; Ebdon, J E; Taylor, H (Public Library of Science, 2015-06-25)
    The operation of a health care facility, such as a cholera or Ebola treatment center in an emergency setting, results in the production of pathogen-laden wastewaters that may potentially lead to onward transmission of the disease. The research presented here evaluated the design and operation of a novel treatment system, successfully used by Médecins Sans Frontières in Haiti to disinfect CTC wastewaters in situ, eliminating the need for road haulage and disposal of the waste to a poorly-managed hazardous waste facility, thereby providing an effective barrier to disease transmission through a novel but simple sanitary intervention. The physico-chemical protocols eventually successfully treated over 600 m3 of wastewater, achieving coagulation/flocculation and disinfection by exposure to high pH (Protocol A) and low pH (Protocol B) environments, using thermotolerant coliforms as a disinfection efficacy index. In Protocol A, the addition of hydrated lime resulted in wastewater disinfection and coagulation/flocculation of suspended solids. In Protocol B, disinfection was achieved by the addition of hydrochloric acid, followed by pH neutralization and coagulation/flocculation of suspended solids using aluminum sulfate. Removal rates achieved were: COD >99%; suspended solids >90%; turbidity >90% and thermotolerant coliforms >99.9%. The proposed approach is the first known successful attempt to disinfect wastewater in a disease outbreak setting without resorting to the alternative, untested, approach of 'super chlorination' which, it has been suggested, may not consistently achieve adequate disinfection. A basic analysis of costs demonstrated a significant saving in reagent costs compared with the less reliable approach of super-chlorination. The proposed approach to in situ sanitation in cholera treatment centers and other disease outbreak settings represents a timely response to a UN call for onsite disinfection of wastewaters generated in such emergencies, and the 'Coalition for Cholera Prevention and Control' recently highlighted the research as meriting serious consideration and further study. Further applications of the method to other emergency settings are being actively explored by the authors through discussion with the World Health Organization with regards to the ongoing Ebola outbreak in West Africa, and with the UK-based NGO Oxfam with regards to excreta-borne disease management in the Philippines and Myanmar, as a component of post-disaster incremental improvements to local sanitation chains.
  • Uptake of household disinfection kits as an additional measure in response to a cholera outbreak in urban areas of Haiti

    Gartley, M; Valeh, P; de Lange, R; DiCarlo, S; Viscusi, A; Lenglet, A; Fesselet, J F (IWA Publishing, 2013-12)
    Médecins Sans Frontières-Operational Centre Amsterdam piloted the distribution of household disinfection kits (HDKs) and health promotion sessions for cholera prevention in households of patients admitted to their cholera treatment centres in Carrefour, Port au Prince, Haiti, between December 2010 and February 2011. We conducted a follow-up survey with 208 recipient households to determine the uptake and use of the kits and understanding of the health promotion messages. In 61% of surveyed households, a caregiver had been the recipient of the HDK and 57.7% of households had received the HDKs after the discharge of the patient. Among surveyed households, 97.6% stated they had used the contents of the HDK after receiving it, with 75% of these reporting using five or more items, with the two most popular items being chlorine and soap. A significant (p < 0.05) increase in self-reported use items in the HDK was observed in households that received kits after 24 January 2011 when the education messages were strengthened. To our knowledge, this is the first time it has been demonstrated that during a large-scale cholera outbreak, the distribution of simple kits, with readily available cleaning products and materials, combined with health promotion is easy, feasible, and valued by the target population.
  • Risk factors for cholera transmission in Haiti during inter-peak periods: insights to improve current control strategies from two case-control studies

    Grandesso, F; Allan, M; Jean-Simon, P S J; Boncy, J; Blake, A; Pierre, R; Alberti, K P; Munger, A; Elder, G; Olson, D; et al. (Cambridge University Press, 2013-10-11)
    SUMMARY Two community-based density case-control studies were performed to assess risk factors for cholera transmission during inter-peak periods of the ongoing epidemic in two Haitian urban settings, Gonaives and Carrefour. The strongest associations were: close contact with cholera patients (sharing latrines, visiting cholera patients, helping someone with diarrhoea), eating food from street vendors and washing dishes with untreated water. Protective factors were: drinking chlorinated water, receiving prevention messages via television, church or training sessions, and high household socioeconomic level. These findings suggest that, in addition to contaminated water, factors related to direct and indirect inter-human contact play an important role in cholera transmission during inter-peak periods. In order to reduce cholera transmission in Haiti intensive preventive measures such as hygiene promotion and awareness campaigns should be implemented during inter-peak lulls, when prevention activities are typically scaled back.
  • Does Village Water Supply Affect Children's Length of Stay in a Therapeutic Feeding Program in Niger? Lessons from a Médecins Sans Frontières Program.

    Dorion, C; Hunter, P R; Van den Bergh, R; Roure, C; Delchevalerie, P; Reid, T; Maes, P; Médecins Sans Frontières, Operational Center Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain. (2012-12)
    With an increasing move towards outpatient therapeutic feeding for moderately and severely malnourished children, the home environment has become an increasingly important factor in achieving good program outcomes. Infections, including those water-borne, may significantly delay weight gain in a therapeutic feeding program. This study examined the relationship between adequacy of water supply and children's length of stay in a therapeutic feeding program in Niger.
  • Factors affecting continued use of ceramic water purifiers distributed to Tsunami-affected Communities in Sri Lanka

    Casanova, L M; Walters, A; Naghawatte, A; Sobsey, M D; Institute of Public Health, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA, USA  Medecins Sans Frontieres, New York, NY, USA  Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ruhuna, Galle, Sri Lanka  Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, USA. (2012-09-24)
    Objectives  There is little information about continued use of point-of-use technologies after disaster relief efforts. After the 2004 tsunami, the Red Cross distributed ceramic water filters in Sri Lanka. This study determined factors associated with filter disuse and evaluate the quality of household drinking water. Methods  A cross-sectional survey of water sources and treatment, filter use and household characteristics was administered by in-person oral interview, and household water quality was tested. Multivariable logistic regression was used to model probability of filter non-use. Results  At the time of survey, 24% of households (107/452) did not use filters; the most common reason given was breakage (42%). The most common household water sources were taps and wells. Wells were used by 45% of filter users and 28% of non-users. Of households with taps, 75% had source water Escherichia coli in the lowest World Health Organisation risk category (<1/100 ml), vs. only 30% of households reporting wells did. Tap households were approximately four times more likely to discontinue filter use than well households. Conclusion  After 2 years, 24% of households were non-users. The main factors were breakage and household water source; households with taps were more likely to stop use than households with wells. Tap water users also had higher-quality source water, suggesting that disuse is not necessarily negative and monitoring of water quality can aid decision-making about continued use. To promote continued use, disaster recovery filter distribution efforts must be joined with capacity building for long-term water monitoring, supply chains and local production.

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