• Drug policy for visceral leishmaniasis: a cost-effectiveness analysis.

      Vanlerberghe, V; Diap, G; Guerin, P J; Meheus, F; Gerstl, S; Van der Stuyft, P; Boelaert, M; Epidemiology and Disease Control Unit, Prince Leopold Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium. vvanlerberghe@itg.be (2007-02)
      OBJECTIVE: To facilitate the choice of the best visceral leishmaniasis (VL) treatment strategy for first-line health services in (VL)-endemic areas, we compared in a formal decision analysis the cost and the cost-effectiveness of the different available options. METHODS: We selected four drug regimens for VL on the basis of frequency of use, feasibility and reported efficacy studies. The point estimates and the range of plausible values of effectiveness and cost were retrieved from a literature review. A decision tree was constructed and the strategy minimizing the cost per death averted was selected. RESULTS: Treatment with amphotericin B deoxycholate was the most effective approach in the baseline analysis and averted 87.2% of all deaths attributable to VL. The least expensive and the most cost-effective treatment was the miltefosine regimen, and the most expensive and the least cost-effective was AmBisome treatment. The cost of drug and medical care are the main determinants of the cost-effectiveness ranking of the alternative schemes. Sensitivity analysis showed that antimonial was competitive with miltefosine in the low-resistance regions. CONCLUSION: In areas with >94% response rates to antimonials, generic sodium stibogluconate remains the most cost-effective option for VL treatment, mainly due to low drug cost. In other regions, miltefosine is the most cost-effective option of treatment, but its use as a first-line drug is limited by its teratogenicity and rapid resistance development. AmBisome in mono- or combination therapy is too expensive to compete in cost-effectiveness with the other regimens.
    • Epidemiology and Clinical Features of Patients with Visceral Leishmaniasis Treated by an MSF Clinic in Bakool Region, Somalia, 2004-2006.

      Raguenaud, M E; Jansson, A; Vanlerberghe, V; Van der Auwera, G; Deborggraeve, S; Dujardin, J C C; Orfanos, G; Reid, T; Boelaert, M; Médecins Sans Frontières, Medical Department, Brussels, Belgium. (Public Library of Science, 2007)
      BACKGROUND: There are few reports describing the epidemiology of visceral leishmaniasis (VL) in Somalia. Over the years 2002 to 2005, a yearly average of 140 patients were reported from the Huddur centre in Bakool region, whereas in 2006, this number rose to 1002 patients. Given the limited amount of information on VL and the opportunity to compare features with the studies done in 2000 in this part of Somalia, we describe the epidemiologic and clinical features of patients who presented to the Huddur treatment centre of Bakool region, Somalia, using data routinely collected over a five-year observation period (2002-2006). METHODOLOGY: Methods used included the analysis of routine data on VL cases treated in the Huddur treatment centre, a retrospective study of records of patients admitted between 2004 and 2006, community leaders interviews, and analysis of blood specimens taken for parasite species identification in Antwerp Institute of Tropical Medicine. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: A total of 1671 VL patients were admitted to the Huddur centre from January 2002 until December 2006. Nearly all patients presented spontaneously to the health centre. Since 2002, the average patient load was stable, with an average of 140 admissions per year. By the end of 2005, the number of admissions dramatically increased to reach a 7-fold increase in 2006. The genotype of L. donovani identified in 2006 was similar to the one reported in 2002. 82% of total patients treated for VL originated from two districts of Bakool region, Huddur and Tijelow districts. Clinical recovery rate was 93.2% and case fatality rate 3.9%. CONCLUSIONS: After four years of low but constant VL case findings, a major increase in VL was observed over a 16-month period in the Huddur VL centre. The profile of the patients was pediatric and mortality relatively low. Decentralized treatment centers, targeted active screening, and community sensitization will help decrease morbidity and mortality from VL in this endemic area. The true magnitude of VL in Somalia remains unknown. Further documentation to better understand transmission dynamics and thus define appropriate control measures will depend on the stability of the context and safe access to the Somali population.