• Adherence to the combination of sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine and artesunate in the Maheba refugee settlement, Zambia.

      Depoortere, E; Guthmann, J P; Sipilanyambe, N; Nkandu, E; Fermon, F; Balkan, S; Legros, D; Epicentre, Paris, France. evelyn.depoortere@msf.be (Wiley-Blackwell, 2004-01)
      Artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) is one strategy recommended to increase cure rates in malaria and to contain resistance to Plasmodium falciparum. In the Maheba refugee settlement, children aged 5 years or younger with a confirmed diagnosis of uncomplicated falciparum malaria are treated with the combination of sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine (1 day) and artesunate (3 days). To measure treatment adherence, home visits were carried out the day after the last treatment dose. Patients who had any treatment dose left were considered certainly non-adherent. Other patients' classification was based on the answers to the questionnaire: patients whose caretakers stated the child had received the treatment regimen exactly as prescribed were considered probably adherent; all other patients were considered probably non-adherent. Reasons for non-adherence were assessed. We found 21.2% (95% CI [15.0-28.4]) of the patients to be certainly non-adherent, 39.4% (95% CI [31.6-47.6]) probably non-adherent, and 39.4% (95% CI [31.6-47.6]) probably adherent. Insufficient explanation by the dispenser was identified as an important reason for non-adherence. When considering the use of ACT, the issue of patient adherence remains challenging. However, it should not be used as an argument against the introduction of ACT. For these treatment regimens to remain efficacious on a long-term basis, specific and locally adapted strategies need to be implemented to ensure completion of the treatment.
    • Efficacy and effectiveness of the combination of sulfadoxine/pyrimethamine and a 3-day course of artesunate for the treatment of uncomplicated falciparum malaria in a refugee settlement in Zambia.

      Depoortere, E; Guthmann, J P; Pressé, J; Sipilanyambe, N; Nkandu, E; Balkan, S; de Pécoulas, P E; Legros, D; Epicentre, 8 rue Saint Sabin, 75011 Paris, France. evelyn.depootere@brussels.msf.org (Wiley-Blackwell, 2005-02)
      In the Maheba Refugee Settlement, in the clinics supported by Medecins Sans Frontieres, all children aged up to 5 years with a confirmed diagnosis of uncomplicated falciparum malaria are treated with the combination of sulfadoxine/pyrimethamine (SP) and artesunate (AS). We compared the treatment's efficacy and effectiveness. Patients were randomized in order to receive the treatment supervised (efficacy) or unsupervised (effectiveness). Therapeutic response was determined after 28 days of follow up. The difference between recrudescence and re-infection was ascertained by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). We also assessed genetic markers associated to SP resistance (dhfr and dhps). Eighty-five patients received treatment under supervision and 84 received it unsupervised. On day 28, and after PCR adjustment, efficacy was found to be 83.5% (95% CI: 74.1-90.5), and effectiveness 63.4% (95% CI: 52.6-73.3) (P < 0.01). Point mutations on dhfr (108) and dhps (437) were found for 92.0% and 44.2% respectively of the PCR samples analysed. The significant difference in therapeutic response after supervised and unsupervised treatment intake can only be explained by insufficient patient adherence. When implementing new malaria treatment policies, serious investment in ensuring patient adherence is essential to ascertain the effectiveness of the new treatment schedules.