• Saving the World, or Saving One Life at a Time?

      Delaunay, S (Springer, 2016-01-11)
    • Scaling up of highly active antiretroviral therapy in a rural district of Malawi: an effectiveness assessment.

      Ferradini, L; Jeannin, A; Pinoges, L; Izopet, J; Odhiambo, D; Mankhambo, L; Karungi, G; Szumilin, E; Balandine, S; Fedida, G; et al. (Elsevier, 2006-04-22)
      BACKGROUND: The recording of outcomes from large-scale, simplified HAART (highly active antiretroviral therapy) programmes in sub-Saharan Africa is critical. We aimed to assess the effectiveness of such a programme held by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in the Chiradzulu district, Malawi. METHODS: We scaled up and simplified HAART in this programme since August, 2002. We analysed survival indicators, CD4 count evolution, virological response, and adherence to treatment. We included adults who all started HAART 6 months or more before the analysis. HIV-1 RNA plasma viral load and self-reported adherence were assessed on a subsample of patients, and antiretroviral resistance mutations were analysed in plasma with viral loads greater than 1000 copies per mL. Analysis was by intention to treat. FINDINGS: Of the 1308 patients who were eligible, 827 (64%) were female, the median age was 34.9 years (IQR 29.9-41.0), and 1023 (78%) received d4T/3TC/NVP (stavudine, lamivudine, and nevirapine) as a fixed-dose combination. At baseline, 1266 individuals (97%) were HAART-naive, 357 (27%) were at WHO stage IV, 311 (33%) had a body-mass index of less than 18.5 kg/m2, and 208 (21%) had a CD4 count lower than 50 cells per muL. At follow-up (median 8.3 months, IQR 5.5-13.1), 967 (74%) were still on HAART, 243 (19%) had died, 91 (7%) were lost to follow-up, and seven (0.5%) discontinued treatment. Low body-mass index, WHO stage IV, male sex, and baseline CD4 count lower than 50 cells per muL were independent determinants of death in the first 6 months. At 12 months, the probability of individuals still in care was 0.76 (95% CI 0.73-0.78) and the median CD4 gain was 165 (IQR 67-259) cells per muL. In the cross-sectional survey (n=398), 334 (84%) had a viral load of less than 400 copies per mL. Of several indicators measuring adherence, self-reported poor adherence (<80%) in the past 4 days was the best predictor of detectable viral load (odds ratio 5.4, 95% CI 1.9-15.6). INTERPRETATION: These data show that large numbers of people can rapidly benefit from antiretroviral therapy in rural resource-poor settings and strongly supports the implementation of such large-scale simplified programmes in Africa.
    • Self-immolation a common suicidal behaviour in eastern Sri Lanka.

      Laloë, V; Ganesan, M; Médecins Sans Frontières, 50 Lady Manning Drive, Batticaloa, Sri Lanka. veronique.laloe@bigfoot.com (Elsevier, 2002-08)
      A high number of self-burning injuries are noted in Batticaloa. The epidemiology, outcome and psychosocial aspects of 87 patients admitted with such burns over a 2-year-period was studied. The patients were compared with accidental burns and patients using other methods of suicide. Seventy nine percent of the victims were females and 72% were in the 15-34 years age-group. Most had marital problems. The majority were Tamils, but Muslims were fairly well represented. The median extent of burn was 48% of total body surface area (TBSA), with the top of the body mainly affected. The use of fire proved to have a high mortality in a group of patients who did not really want to die; 61 (70%) died. Mortality was higher than for accidental burns after matching for age and burn extent. The survivors had long hospital stays and suffered severe disfigurement. The cases where the patient denied self-harm, but in which the injuries were suggestive of this motive, were strikingly similar in age, sex and burn extent to the suicide group. In contrast, poison suicide records showed a male predominance and a gross under-representation of Muslims. Fire is a very significant method of suicide in our area. Social make-up and poor problem-solving ability may be contributing factors.
    • Should active recruitment of health workers from sub-Saharan Africa be viewed as a crime?

      Mills, E; Schabas, W A; Volmink, J; Walker, R; Ford, N; Katabira, E; Anema, A; Joffres, M; Cahn, P; Montaner, J; et al. (Elservier, 2008-06-02)
    • Strengthening the evidence base for health programming in humanitarian crises.

      Ager, A; Burnham, G; Checchi, F; Gayer, M; Grais, R F; Henkens, M; Massaquoi, M B F; Nandy, R; Navarro-Colorado, C; Spiegel, P (High Wire Press, 2014-09-12)
      Given the growing scale and complexity of responses to humanitarian crises, it is important to develop a stronger evidence base for health interventions in such contexts. Humanitarian crises present unique challenges to rigorous and effective research, but there are substantial opportunities for scientific advance. Studies need to focus where the translation of evidence from noncrisis scenarios is not viable and on ethical ways of determining what happens in the absence of an intervention. Robust methodologies suited to crisis settings have to be developed and used to assess interventions with potential for delivery at scale. Strengthening research capacity in the low- to middle-income countries that are vulnerable to crises is also crucial.
    • Stuck in the middle: a systematic review of authorship in collaborative health research in Africa, 2014–2016

      Jeufack, H; Neufeld, N; Alem, A; Sauer, S; Odhiambo, J; Boum, Y; Shuchman, M; Volmink, J (BMJ, 2019-10-18)
      BACKGROUND: Collaborations are often a cornerstone of global health research. Power dynamics can shape if and how local researchers are included in manuscripts. This article investigates how international collaborations affect the representation of local authors, overall and in first and last author positions, in African health research. METHODS: We extracted papers on 'health' in sub-Saharan Africa indexed in PubMed and published between 2014 and 2016. The author's affiliation was used to classify the individual as from the country of the paper's focus, from another African country, from Europe, from the USA/Canada or from another locale. Authors classified as from the USA/Canada were further subclassified if the author was from a top US university. In primary analyses, individuals with multiple affiliations were presumed to be from a high-income country if they contained any affiliation from a high-income country. In sensitivity analyses, these individuals were presumed to be from an African country if they contained any affiliation an African country. Differences in paper characteristics and representation of local coauthors are compared by collaborative type using χ² tests. RESULTS: Of the 7100 articles identified, 68.3% included collaborators from the USA, Canada, Europe and/or another African country. 54.0% of all 43 429 authors and 52.9% of 7100 first authors were from the country of the paper's focus. Representation dropped if any collaborators were from USA, Canada or Europe with the lowest representation for collaborators from top US universities-for these papers, 41.3% of all authors and 23.0% of first authors were from country of paper's focus. Local representation was highest with collaborators from another African country. 13.5% of all papers had no local coauthors. DISCUSSION: Individuals, institutions and funders from high-income countries should challenge persistent power differentials in global health research. South-South collaborations can help African researchers expand technical expertise while maintaining presence on the resulting research.
    • Stuck in the middle: a systematic review of authorship in collaborative health research in Africa, 2014–2016

      Hedt-Gauthier, BL; Jeufack, HM; Neufeld, NH; Alem, A; Sauer, S; Odhiambo, J; Boum, Y; Shuchman, M; Volmink, J (BMJ Publishing Group, 2019-10-01)
      Background Collaborations are often a cornerstone of global health research. Power dynamics can shape if and how local researchers are included in manuscripts. This article investigates how international collaborations affect the representation of local authors, overall and in first and last author positions, in African health research. Methods We extracted papers on ‘health’ in sub-Saharan Africa indexed in PubMed and published between 2014 and 2016. The author’s affiliation was used to classify the individual as from the country of the paper’s focus, from another African country, from Europe, from the USA/Canada or from another locale. Authors classified as from the USA/Canada were further subclassified if the author was from a top US university. In primary analyses, individuals with multiple affiliations were presumed to be from a high-income country if they contained any affiliation from a high-income country. In sensitivity analyses, these individuals were presumed to be from an African country if they contained any affiliation an African country. Differences in paper characteristics and representation of local coauthors are compared by collaborative type using χ² tests. Results Of the 7100 articles identified, 68.3% included collaborators from the USA, Canada, Europe and/or another African country. 54.0% of all 43 429 authors and 52.9% of 7100 first authors were from the country of the paper’s focus. Representation dropped if any collaborators were from USA, Canada or Europe with the lowest representation for collaborators from top US universities—for these papers, 41.3% of all authors and 23.0% of first authors were from country of paper’s focus. Local representation was highest with collaborators from another African country. 13.5% of all papers had no local coauthors. Discussion Individuals, institutions and funders from high-income countries should challenge persistent power differentials in global health research. South-South collaborations can help African researchers expand technical expertise while maintaining presence on the resulting research.
    • Sudan: In Through the Back Door.

      Veeken, H; Médecins Sans Frontières, PO Box 10014, 1001 EA Amsterdam, Netherlands. hans_veeken@amsterdam.msf.org (Published by: BMJ Publishing Group Ltd, 1998-05-09)
    • Supplementary protection certificates and their impact on access to medicines in Europe: case studies of sofosbuvir, trastuzumab and imatinib

      Hu, Y; Eynikel, D; Boulet, P; Krikorian, G (BioMed Central, 2020-01-14)
      In recent years, there has been increasing pressure on public health systems in high-income countries due to high medicines prices, one of the underlying causes of which are the market monopolies granted to pharmaceutical undertakings. These monopolies have been facilitated by expanded forms of intellectual property protections, including the extension of the exclusivity period after the expiration of the patent term concerning medicinal products. In the European Union such an approach lies in the Supplementary Protection Certificate, a mechanism formally introduced under Regulation 1768/92/EEC (now: Regulation 469/2009/EC, amended). After more than 20 years of implementation since it was first introduced, the common justifications for SPCs are being challenged by recent findings as to their functioning and impact. Similarly, legitimate questions have been voiced as to the negative impact of SPCs on timely access to affordable medicines. On the basis of an analysis of three medicines for hepatitis C and cancer treatments, the present article critically engages with the policy justifications underlying SPCs. It then analyses access challenges to a hepatitis C medicine and an HIV treatment in Europe, highlighting the social cost of the introduction of SPCs. Both the normative and empirical analyses have demonstrated that the common justifications supporting the SPC regime are deeply questionable. The addition of SPC exclusivity has also heavily delayed competition and maintained high medicines prices in European countries. Ultimately, the granting of such extended exclusive private rights on medicines may result in unnecessary suffering and be a factor in the erosion of access to medicines for all.
    • Survivors' Perceptions of Public Health Messages During an Ebola Crisis in Liberia and Sierra Leone: An Exploratory Study

      Schwerdtle, P; De Clerck, V; Plummer, V (Wiley-Blackwell, 2017-09-20)
      The outbreak of Ebola virus disease in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone was the largest epidemic of Ebola ever recorded. The healthcare workforce was diminished and exhausted as the region emerged from civil war. Few qualitative, descriptive studies have been conducted to date that concentrate on the voices of Ebola survivors and their perceptions of health messages. In this study, we employed an interpretive, qualitative design to explore participant experiences. Twenty five survivors who had recovered from Ebola were recruited from three villages in Liberia and Sierra Leone in August 2015. Data were collected using semistructured interviews. Data analysis revealed four themes: (i) degrees of mistrust; (ii) messages conflicting with life and culture; (iii) seeing is believing; and (iv) recovery inspires hope. The findings were explored in the context of the relevant literature. The themes highlight the need to develop culturally-appropriate messages, underpinned by a sound understanding of the community and a willingness to work with the culture and trusted leaders.
    • 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.
    • A systematic review of task- shifting for HIV treatment and care in Africa.

      Callaghan, Mike; Ford, Nathan; Schneider, Helen; Department of Anthropology, University of Toronto, Canada. mike.callaghan@utoronto.ca. (2010-08)
      BACKGROUND: Shortages of human resources for health (HRH) have severely hampered the rollout of antiretroviral therapy (ART) in sub-Saharan Africa. Current rollout models are hospital- and physician-intensive. Task shifting, or delegating tasks performed by physicians to staff with lower-level qualifications, is considered a means of expanding rollout in resource-poor or HRH-limited settings. METHODS: We conducted a systematic literature review. Medline, the Cochrane library, the Social Science Citation Index, and the South African National Health Research Database were searched with the following terms: task shift*, balance of care, non-physician clinicians, substitute health care worker, community care givers, primary healthcare teams, cadres, and nurs* HIV. We mined bibliographies and corresponded with authors for further results. Grey literature was searched online, and conference proceedings searched for abstracts. RESULTS: We found 2960 articles, of which 84 were included in the core review. 51 reported outcomes, including research from 10 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. The most common intervention studied was the delegation of tasks (especially initiating and monitoring HAART) from doctors to nurses and other non-physician clinicians. Five studies showed increased access to HAART through expanded clinical capacity; two concluded task shifting is cost effective; 9 showed staff equal or better quality of care; studies on non-physician clinician agreement with physician decisions was mixed, with the majority showing good agreement. CONCLUSIONS: Task shifting is an effective strategy for addressing shortages of HRH in HIV treatment and care. Task shifting offers high-quality, cost-effective care to more patients than a physician-centered model. The main challenges to implementation include adequate and sustainable training, support and pay for staff in new roles, the integration of new members into healthcare teams, and the compliance of regulatory bodies. Task shifting should be considered for careful implementation where HRH shortages threaten rollout programmes.
    • Task shifting for antiretroviral treatment delivery in sub-Saharan Africa: not a panacea.

      Philips, M; Zachariah, R; Venis, S; Analysis and Advocacy Unit, Médecins Sans Frontières, Brussels Operational Centre, Belgium. (Elsevier, 2008-02-23)
    • Teleradiology usage and user satisfaction with the telemedicine system operated by Médecins Sans Frontières

      Halton, Jarred; Kosack, Cara; Spijker, Saskia; Joekes, Elizabeth; Andronikou, Savvas; Chetcuti, Karen; Brant, William E; Bonnardot, Laurent; Wootton, Richard (Frontiers Media, 2014-10-28)
      Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) began a pilot trial of store-and-forward telemedicine in 2010, initially operating separate networks in English, French, and Spanish; these were merged into a single, multilingual platform in 2013. We reviewed the pattern of teleradiology usage on the MSF telemedicine platform in the 4-year period from April 2010. In total, 564 teleradiology cases were submitted from 22 different countries. A total of 1114 files were uploaded with the 564 cases, the majority being of type JPEG (n = 1081, 97%). The median file size was 938 kb (interquartile range, IQR 163-1659). A panel of 14 radiologists was available to report cases, but most (90%) were reported by only 4 radiologists. The median radiologist response time was 6.1 h (IQR 3.0-20). A user satisfaction survey was sent to 29 users in the last 6 months of the study. There was a 28% response rate. Most respondents found the radiologist's advice helpful and all of them stated that the advice assisted in clarification of a diagnosis. Although some MSF sites made substantial use of the system for teleradiology, there is considerable potential for expansion. More promotion of telemedicine may be needed at different levels of the organization to increase engagement of staff.
    • Ten Tips to Improve the Visibility and Dissemination of Research for Policy Makers and Practitioners

      Tripathy, J; Bhatnagar, A; Shewade, H; Kumar, A; Zachariah, R; Harries, A (International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, 2017-03-21)
      Effective dissemination of evidence is important in bridging the gap between research and policy. In this paper, we list 10 approaches for improving the visibility of research findings, which in turn will hopefully contribute towards changes in policy. Current approaches include using social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn); sharing podcasts and other research outputs such as conference papers, posters, presentations, reports, protocols, preprint copy and research data (figshare, Zenodo, Slideshare, Scribd); and using personal blogs and unique author identifiers (ORCID, ResearcherID). Researchers and funders could consider drawing up a systematic plan for dissemination of research during the stage of protocol development.
    • Tough choices: tenofovir, tenders and treatment

      Ford, N; Gray, A; Venter, F (South African Medical Association, 2008-06-04)
      Scaling up antiretroviral therapy (ART) in developing countries would not have been possible without market competition, which has driven down the price of standard first-line ARV drugs from more than US$12,000 per person per year in 2000 to US$99 today. However, access to new, second-line ARVs remains largely restricted to originator (patented) drugs. This causes significant challenges in countries where access to newer drugs is becoming inceasingly important as programmes mature and face challenges related to drug toxicity and resistance. Toxicity, in particular, has emerged as a major reason for individual drug switches and regimen changes, and is strongly implicated in decreasing adherence.
    • Trade concerns must not be allowed to set the public health agenda.

      Ford, N; 't Hoen, E; McKee, M (Elsevier, 2003-01-04)
    • Trade systems in less-developed countries.

      Kamal, M; 't Hoen, E (Elsevier, 2001-05-19)