Browsing Operational Research Courses by Journal
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Clinical features and treatment outcomes of visceral leishmaniasis patients admitted to three centers in Oromia, EthiopiaIntroduction: In three health care facilities in the Oromia region, the aim of this study is to report on 1) the number of VL cases registered over time (2013-2018) and 2) the clinical profile, type of treatment used and response to treatment. Methodology: A retrospective cohort study was conducted among all VL cases admitted with a diagnosis of VL. Results: A total of 434 VL cases were registered at the three health facilities, but patient files were available for only 188. Most (51.6%) were children and only three presented with VL relapse. 78 (41.5%) of the 188 patients presented within one month of symptom onset. Concurrent severe acute malnutrition (27.1%), tuberculosis (6.4%) and malaria (6.4%) were common. There were only two cases with HIV coinfection. Fourty-three percent were treated with antimonials, 34% with antimonials combined with paromomycin and 23% with AmBisome. Amongst the 188 patients with patient files there were no deaths and one treatment failure. Six months outcome data were however missing for all. Aggregated data from the 434 VL cases reported three deaths, two treatment failures and one relapse. Conclusions: Children were most commonly affected, suggesting long-term endemicity. While short-term outcomes are encouraging, long-term follow-up data are required.
Does training of Health Extension Workers reduce scabies load in district health facilities in rural Ethiopia?Introduction: In 2017, Ethiopia included scabies management within the responsibility of health extension workers. In Kamba (the intervention district) workers were trained on scabies management. Whereas, in Arba Minch Zuria (the control district) there was no such training. This study assesses whether decentralization of scabies management to communities would reduce the load on health facilities and allow earlier scabies treatment access. Methodology: All individuals presenting with scabies before (January - June 2018) and after (August 2018-January 2019) the introduction of training (July 2018) in Kamba district and the Arba Minch Zuria district were included. We compared between the two districts in the period before and after training, the numbers of scabies cases presenting to health facilities, their demography, clinical characteristics and treatment. Results: There were 1,891 scabies cases in the intervention district and 809 in the control district. Scabies cases declined in the intervention district from 7.6 to 1.6 per 1,000 population (a 4.8-fold reduction). In the control district, scabies cases increased from 1.3 to 2.4 per 1,000 population (a 1.8-fold increase). In intervention district, the proportion of scabies patients with secondary skin infections reduced from 1,227 (78%, n = 1,565) to 156 (48%, n = 326, P < 0.001). In the control district the difference was insignificant 39 (14%, n = 288) to 86 (17%, n = 521, P = 0.2). Conclusions: Introducing trained health extension workers at community level were associated with reductions in health facility load for scabies and secondary infections. This is a wider community health benefit.
Is vitiligo associated with wearing plastic shoes in a podoconiosis endemic region of Ethiopia?Introduction: Endemic non-filarial elephantiasis also known as podoconiosis often affects bare footed farmers and is endemic in Ethiopia. The disease is prevented by wearing shoes. We recently observed several patients presenting to a dermatology clinic with skin depigmentation after wearing plastic shoes (“shoe-contact vitiligo”) which may deter shoe-wearing. We report on their sociodemographic and clinical characteristics. Methodology: This is a retrospective study of 17 months at tertiary level Hospital in Ethiopia. Patient data was retrieved from medical record department. We compared sociodemographic and clinical characteristics of patients presenting with idiopathic and shoe-contact vitiligo. Data was presented descriptively. Results: Of 460 vitiligo cases, 190 (41%) were shoe-contact vitiligo and the rest, idiopathic. The former was more common in females (Odds Ratio, OR = 2.5, P < 0.001) and those in rural areas (OR = 4.8, P < 0.001). Fifty-five percent with shoe-contact vitiligo had itching and/or burning sensation, compared to just 2% with idiopathic vitiligo (P < 0.001) and some had ulcerations (8%). Idiopathic vitiligo had no such findings. Skin discoloration occurred within three weeks (on average) after wearing plastic shoes, 91% of lesions were symmetrical and involved areas of the feet covered with plastic shoes. Symmetric lesions were observed in only 11% of idiopathic vitiligo (OR = 81, P < 0.001). Conclusions: Shoe-contact vitiligo was significantly associated with wearing cheap plastic shoes. The exact chemical culprit(s) needs to be identified. This will allow introducing quality control regulations and rigorous monitoring of shoe production sites.
"Stopping the itch": mass drug administration for scabies outbreak control covered for over nine million people in EthiopiaIntroduction: In 2018, the Ethiopian Ministry of Health embarked on a Mass Drug Administration (MDA) campaign that involved over 9 million people in Ethiopia - the largest scabies MDA campaign ever conducted on a global level. We describe its implementation and report on a) numbers screened and identified with scabies, b) treatment category and drug type and c) human resources used, duration, and cost of the campaign. Methodology: The MDA campaign was conducted according to national guidelines and activities including: planning and organization, engagement of local leaders, community mobilisation and advocacy, awareness-raising among health workers, field implementation, and monitoring and evaluation. The campaign was conducted between July and August 2018. Results: The MDA campaign was implemented by about 15,000 people, mostly from the community, over an average of 6 days and reached 9, 057, 427 people. A total of 875,890 (9.7%) scabies cases were detected and 995,471 (11.0%) contacts received treatment. (Contact-to-case ratio = 1.3). Scabies prevalence varied, the highest prevalence was seen in Central Gondar (39.2%), South Gondar (16.7%) and North Gondar (15.0%), these neighbouring zones contributing more than two third of all scabies cases in the region. Of 1,738,304 (93%) who received treatment, 94% received ivermectin, the rest topical permethrin and sulfur. The average coverage capacity of an MDA campaign staff member was 84 people per day. The total cost was 11,696,333 United States Dollars (USD). Cost per 100,000 population = 129,135 USD. Conclusions: This experience of rapid-large scale implementation would be useful to scale up similar interventions and "stop the itch" in other regions of Ethiopia.