• Cuba: Plenty of Care, Few Condoms, No Corruption.

      Veeken, H; Médecins Sans Frontières, Amsterdam, Netherlands. (Published by: BMJ Publishing Group Ltd, 1995-10-07)
      The health system in Cuba guarantees accessibility to the entire population, is free of charge, and covers the spectrum from vaccinations to sophisticated interventions. The results are impressive: Cuba's health figures are on a par with developed countries that have 20 times the budget. The country is experiencing a difficult period because of the collapse and loss of support from the Soviet Union; over 30 years' trade embargo by the United States; and the gradual change from a centrally planned economy towards more of a free market system. Shortages are experienced in every sector, and maintaining health care services at the current level is too expensive. Doctors and nurses continue to work towards the goal of health for all Cubans, even though their salaries are minimal. Signs of negligence or corruption, often seen in other socialist countries where incentives for output are lacking, are unknown. Topics such as family planning and AIDS deserve immediate attention.
    • Frequency of sexually transmitted infections and related factors in Pweto, Democratic Republic of Congo, 2004

      Luque Fernández, M A; Bauernfeind, A; Palma, P P; Ruiz Pérez, I; Escuela Andaluza de Salud Pública, Granada, España. watzilei@hotmail.com (2008-07-08)
      OBJECTIVES: To estimate the prevalence of genital ulcer and urethral discharge in Pweto, Democratic Republic of Congo, and to analyze the association between the estimated prevalence and age, marital status, profession, and number of sexual partners. METHODS: We performed a descriptive cross-sectional study through a survey conducted in May 2004 in a representative sample of 106 men in Pweto aged between 15 and 65 years old, with a precision of 9.5%. Questionnaire items about current or previous ulceration and urethral discharge where self-reported and referred to the previous year as of the date of the survey. To study the associations, crude and adjusted odds ratios (OR) were calculated using multivariate logistic regression. RESULTS: The prevalence was 39.6% (95% confidence interval [CI], 30-49) for urethral discharge and 33% (95%CI, 24-42) for genital ulcer. Soldiers were identified as a risk group independently of age, the number of sexual partners during the previous year, and marital status. The multivariate analysis showed an adjusted OR of 3.25 (95%CI, 1.10-9.95) (p < 0.05) for the frequency of urethral discharge in soldiers compared with other professions. CONCLUSIONS: The high prevalence of sexually transmitted infections in Pweto and the associated factors identified prompted the initiation of a controlled condom donation program for soldiers. In conflict situations with a high prevalence of sexually transmitted infections and lack of health services, humanitarian aid organizations should implement prevention activities focused on risk groups.
    • HIV and other sexually transmitted infections among female sex workers in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, in 2002.

      Vandepitte, J M; Malele, F; Kivuvu, D M; Edidi, S; Muwonga, J; Lepira, F; Abdellati, S; Kabamba, J; Van Overloop, C; Buvé, A; et al. (2007-04)
      OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence and risk factors of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among female sex workers (FSWs) in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, in 2002. STUDY DESIGN: A cross-sectional study was conducted among FSWs presenting for the first time at the STI clinic of Matonge, Kinshasa. The women were interviewed about sociodemographic characteristics, type of sex work, and sexual behavior. Blood was taken for HIV, syphilis, and herpes simplex virus type 2 serology. Vaginal secretions were collected on swabs for the diagnosis of gonorrhea, chlamydia, and trichomoniasis. RESULTS: The overall HIV prevalence was 12.4% but varied within the different categories of FSWs: 11.8% in hotel-based, 24.0% in home-based, and 20.0% in street-based FSWs; 10.0% in homeless FSWs; and 6.6% in Masquées (clandestine sex workers). The overall herpes simplex virus type 2 seroprevalence was 58.5%. CONCLUSIONS: The prevalence of HIV and other STIs seems to have stabilized since the beginning of the project in 1988.