• Exploring global and country-level barriers to an effective supply of leishmaniasis medicines and diagnostics in eastern Africa: a qualitative study.

      Sunyoto, T; Potet, J; den Boer, M; Ritmeijer, K; Postigo, JAR; Ravinetto, R; Alves, F; Picado, A; Boelaert, M (BMJ Publishing Group, 2019-05-30)
      OBJECTIVES: To understand stakeholders' perceptions of the access barriers to quality-assured diagnostics and medicines for leishmaniasis in the high-burden region of eastern Africa, and to identify key bottlenecks to improve the supply of commodities for neglected tropical diseases. DESIGN: Desk reviews and qualitative in-depth interview study with purposive sampling. METHODS: A landscape analysis through literature and desk review was performed. Next, 29 representatives from international organisations, non-governmental agencies, national control programmes from six countries (Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda) and manufacturers were interviewed between May and July 2018. Participants were selected purposively and expanded through a snowballing technique.Data analysis was aided by NVivo, applying the framework method as a part of the thematic content analysis approach. RESULTS: The barriers along the visceral leishmaniasis (VL) supply chain were identified as emerging themes, grouped across supply chain activities and health systems component(s). Stakeholders expressed the perception of progress, but bottlenecks persist. VL medicines, in general, lack multisource production capacity and with small market volume, expansion of suppliers is difficult. Procurement is plagued by forecasting difficulties, complex regulatory policies and procedures, and distribution challenges. Weak communication and coordination across different levels resulted in shortages and loss of trust among different actors. Cross-cutting issues spanned from limited political and resource commitment due to low awareness and limited in-country capacity. However, study respondents were optimistic to pursue several remedies, most importantly to build bridges between supply and demand sides through continued dialogue and collaborations. Diagnostics supply has mostly been overlooked; thus, improved investment in this area is needed. CONCLUSIONS: Addressing supply barriers in eastern Africa requires consistent, specific efforts at the global and national levels, progressing from current partnerships and agreements. Priority actions include pooled procurement, improved forecast, and increased commitment and resources. Sustainability remains an elusive goal, yet to be integrated into discussions moving forward.
    • "Kala-Azar is a Dishonest Disease": Community Perspectives on Access Barriers to Visceral Leishmaniasis (Kala-Azar) Diagnosis and Care in Southern Gadarif, Sudan

      Sunyoto, T; Adam, GK; Atia, AM; Hamid, Y; Babiker, RA; Abdelrahman, N; Vander Kelen, C; Ritmeijer, K; Alcoba, G; den Boer, M; et al. (American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 2018-04-13)
      Early diagnosis and treatment is the principal strategy to control visceral leishmaniasis (VL), or kala-azar in East Africa. As VL strikes remote rural, sparsely populated areas, kala-azar care might not be accessed optimally or timely. We conducted a qualitative study to explore access barriers in a longstanding kala-azar endemic area in southern Gadarif, Sudan. Former kala-azar patients or caretakers, community leaders, and health-care providers were purposively sampled and thematic data analysis was used. Our study participants revealed the multitude of difficulties faced when seeking care. The disease is well known in the area, yet misconceptions about causes and transmission persist. The care-seeking itineraries were not always straightforward: "shopping around" for treatments are common, partly linked to difficulties in diagnosing kala-azar. Kala-azar is perceived to be "hiding," requiring multiple tests and other diseases must be treated first. Negative perceptions on quality of care in the public hospitals prevail, with the unavailability of drugs or staff as the main concern. Delay to seek care remains predominantly linked to economic constraint: albeit treatment is for free, patients have to pay out of pocket for everything else, pushing families further into poverty. Despite increased efforts to tackle the disease over the years, access to quality kala-azar care in this rural Sudanese context remains problematic. The barriers explored in this study are a compelling reminder of the need to boost efforts to address these barriers.
    • Low castes have poor access to visceral leishmaniasis treatment in Bihar, India

      Pascual Martínez, F; Picado, A; Roddy, P; Palma, P; Médecins Sans Frontières - Operational Center Barcelona-Athens, Barcelona, Spain; Department of Public Health, Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium; Department of Disease Control, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK (Wiley-Blackwell, 2012-03-05)
      Objectives  Bihar, the poorest state in India, concentrates most of the visceral leishmaniasis (VL) cases in the country. A large proportion of the poor rural communities where VL is endemic are marginalized by their socio-economic status, intrinsically related to the caste system. In this study, we evaluated whether people from low socio-economic strata had difficulties accessing VL treatment in Bihar. As a secondary outcome, we evaluated whether people delaying their VL treatment had poorer clinical indicators at admission. Methods  Data on 2187 patients with VL treated by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in Vaishali district from July 2007 to December 2008 were analysed. Patients who reported having onset of symptoms ≥8 weeks before admission were defined as 'late presenters'. Logistic regression models were used to evaluate whether low castes had higher risk to be 'late presenters' compared to the rest of castes and whether 'late presenters' had poorer indicators at admission (i.e. haemoglobin level, spleen size). Results  After adjusting for age, gender and distance to VL treatment facility, Mushars (the lowest caste in Bihar) had twice the odds to be 'late presenters' compared to the rest of castes (OR 2.05, 95% CI: 1.24-2.38). Subjects that had VL symptoms for ≥8 weeks had a larger spleen and lower haemoglobin level than those that were treated earlier. Conclusion  Low castes have poor access to VL treatment in Bihar, and late presenters have poorer clinical indicators at admission. These findings have implications at individual and community levels and should stimulate targeted VL control programmes to ensure that marginalized communities in Bihar are properly treated.
    • Uncharted territory of the epidemiological burden of cutaneous leishmaniasis in sub-Saharan Africa-A systematic review

      Sunyoto, T; Verdonck, K; El Safi, S; Potet, J; Picado, A; Boelaert, M (Public Library of Science, 2018-10-25)
      Cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) is the most frequent form of leishmaniasis, with 0.7 to 1.2 million cases per year globally. However, the burden of CL is poorly documented in some regions. We carried out this review to synthesize knowledge on the epidemiological burden of CL in sub-Saharan Africa.