• Access to Care for Non-Communicable Diseases in Mosul, Iraq Between 2014 and 2017: A Rapid Qualitative Study.

      Baxter, LM; Eldin, MS; Al Mohammed, A; Saim, M; Checchi, F (BioMed Central, 2018-12-29)
      During June 2014 to April 2017, the population of Mosul, Iraq lived in a state of increasing isolation from the rest of Iraq due to the city's occupation by the Islamic State group. As part of a study to develop a generalisable method for estimating the excess burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in conflict-affected settings, in April-May 2017 we conducted a brief qualitative study of self-reported care for NCDs among 15 adult patients who had fled Mosul and presented to Médecins Sans Frontières clinics in the Kurdistan region with hypertension and/or diabetes. Participants reported consistent barriers to NCD care during the so-called Islamic State period, including drug shortages, insecurity and inability to afford privately sold medication. Coping strategies included drug rationing. By 2016, all patients had completely or partially lost access to care. Though limited, this study suggests a profound effect of the conflict on NCD burden.
    • Association of prevalence of active transport to work and incidence of myocardial infarction: A nationwide ecological study

      Munyombwe, T; Lovelace, R; Green, M; Norman, P; Walpole, S; Hall, M; Timmis, A; Batin, P; Brownlee, A; Brownlee, J; et al. (SAGE Publications, 2020-12-18)
      Background There is a paucity of population-based geospatial data about the association between active transport and myocardial infarction. We investigated the association between active transport to work and incidence of myocardial infarction. Design This ecological study of 325 local authorities in England included 43,077,039 employed individuals aged 25–74 years (UK Census, 2011), and 117,521 individuals with myocardial infarction (Myocardial Ischaemia National Audit Project, 2011–2013). Methods Bayesian negative binomial regression models were used to investigate the association of active transport to work and incidence of myocardial infarction adjusting for local levels of deprivation, obesity, smoking, diabetes and physical activity. Results In 2011, the prevalence of active transportation to work for people in employment in England aged 25–74 years was 11.4% (4,531,182 active transporters; 8.6% walking and 2.8% cycling). Active transport in 2011 was associated with a reduced incidence of myocardial infarction in 2012 amongst men cycling to work (incidence rate ratio (95% credible interval) 0.983 (0.967–0.999); and women walking to work (0.983 (0.967–0.999)) after full adjustments. However, the prevalence of active transport for men and women was not significantly associated with the combined incidence of myocardial infarction between 2011–2013 after adjusting for physical activity, smoking and diabetes. Conclusions In England, the prevalence of active transportation was associated with a reduced incidence of myocardial infarction for women walking and men cycling to work in corresponding local geographic areas. The overall association of active transport with myocardial infarction was, however, explained by local area levels of smoking, diabetes and physical activity.
    • The burden of diabetes and use of diabetes care in humanitarian crises in low-income and middle-income countries

      Kehlenbrink, S; Smith, J; Ansbro, E; Fuhr, D; Cheung, A; Ratnayake, R; Boulle, P; Jobanputra, K; Perel, P; Roberts, B (Elsevier, 2019-03-13)
      Human suffering as a result of natural disasters or conflict includes death and disability from non-communicable diseases, including diabetes, which have largely been neglected in humanitarian crises. The objectives of this Series paper were to examine the evidence on the burden of diabetes, use of health services, and access to care for people with diabetes among populations affected by humanitarian crises in low-income and middle-income countries, and to identify research gaps for future studies. We reviewed the scientific literature on this topic published between 1992 and 2018. The results emphasise that the burden of diabetes in humanitarian settings is not being captured, clinical guidance is insufficient, and diabetes is not being adequately addressed. Crisis-affected populations with diabetes face enormous constraints accessing care, mainly because of high medical costs. Further research is needed to characterise the epidemiology of diabetes in humanitarian settings and to develop simplified, cost-effective models of care to improve the delivery of diabetes care during humanitarian crises.
    • Cardiac point of care ultrasound in resource limited settings to manage children with congenital and acquired heart disease.

      Muhame, RM; Dragulescu, A; Nadimpalli, A; Martinez, D; Bottineau, MC; Venugopal, R; Runeckles, K; Manlhiot, C; Nield, LE (Cambridge University Press, 2021-03-08)
      Background: In resource limited settings, children with cardiac disease present late, have poor outcomes and access to paediatric cardiology programmes is limited. Cardiac point of care ultrasound was introduced at several Médecins Sans Frontières sites to facilitate cardiopulmonary assessment. We describe the spectrum of disease, case management and outcomes of cases reviewed over the Telemedicine platform. Methods: Previously ultrasound naïve, remotely placed clinical teams received ultrasound training on focussed image acquisition. The Médecins Sans Frontières Telemedicine platform was utilised for remote case and imaging review to diagnose congenital and acquired heart disease and guide management supported by a remotely situated paediatric cardiologist. Results: Two-hundred thirty-three cases were reviewed between 2016 and 2018. Of 191 who underwent focussed cardiac ultrasound, diagnoses included atrial and ventricular septal defects 11%, atrioventricular septal defects 7%, Tetralogy of Fallot 9%, cardiomyopathy/myocarditis 8%, rheumatic heart disease 8%, isolated pericardiac effusion 6%, complex congenital heart disease 4% and multiple other diagnoses in 15%. In 17%, there was no identifiable abnormality while 15% had inadequate imaging to make a diagnosis. Cardiologist involvement led to management changes in 75% of cases with a diagnosis. Mortality in the entire group was disproportionately higher among neonates (38%, 11/29) and infants (20%, 16/81). There was good agreement on independent review of selected cases between two independent paediatric cardiologists. Conclusion: Cardiac point of care ultrasound performed by remote clinical teams facilitated diagnosis and influenced management in cases reviewed over a Telemedicine platform. This is a feasible method to support clinical care in resource limited settings.
    • Cardiovascular Disease Risk and Prevention Amongst Syrian Refugees: Mixed Methods Study of Médecins Sans Frontières Programme in Jordan

      Collins, D; Jobanputra, K; Frost, T; Muhammed, S; Ward, A; Shafei, A; Fardous, T; Gabashneh, S; Heneghan, C (BioMed Central, 2017-07-17)
      The growing burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) presented new challenges for medical humanitarian aid and little was known about primary health care approaches for these diseases in humanitarian response. We aimed to evaluate Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF's) use of total CVD risk based prevention strategies amongst Syrian refugees in northern Jordan to identify opportunities to improve total CVD risk based guidance for humanitarian settings.
    • Care of Non-Communicable Diseases in Emergencies

      Slama, S; Kim, HJ; Roglic, G; Boulle, P; Hering, H; Varghese, C; Rasheed, S; Tonelli, M (Elsevier, 2016-09-13)
    • Challenges associated with providing diabetes care in humanitarian settings

      Boulle, P; Kehlenbrink, S; Smith, J; Beran, D; Jobanputra, K (Elsevier, 2019-03-13)
      The humanitarian health landscape is gradually changing, partly as a result of the shift in global epidemiological trends and the rise of non-communicable diseases, including diabetes. Humanitarian actors are progressively incorporating care for diabetes into emergency medical response, but challenges abound. This Series paper discusses contemporary practical challenges associated with diabetes care in humanitarian contexts in low-income and middle-income countries, using the six building blocks of health systems described by WHO (information and research, service delivery, health workforce, medical products and technologies, governance, and financing) as a framework. Challenges include the scarcity of evidence on the management of diabetes and clinical guidelines adapted to humanitarian contexts; unavailability of core indicators for surveillance and monitoring systems; and restricted access to the medicines and diagnostics necessary for adequate clinical care. Policy and system frameworks do not routinely include diabetes and little funding is allocated for diabetes care in humanitarian crises. Humanitarian organisations are increasingly gaining experience delivering diabetes care, and interagency collaboration to coordinate, improve data collection, and analyse available programmes is in progress. However, the needs around all six WHO health system building blocks are immense, and much work needs to be done to improve diabetes care for crisis-affected populations.
    • Clinical outcomes in a primary-level non-communicable disease programme for Syrian refugees and the host population in Jordan: A cohort analysis using routine data

      Ansbro, E; Homan, T; Prieto Merino, D; Jobanputra, K; Qasem, J; Muhammad, S; Fardous, T; Perel, P (Public Library of Science, 2021-01-11)
      Background Little is known about the content or quality of non-communicable disease (NCD) care in humanitarian settings. Since 2014, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has provided primary-level NCD services in Irbid, Jordan, targeting Syrian refugees and vulnerable Jordanians who struggle to access NCD care through the overburdened national health system. This retrospective cohort study explored programme and patient-level patterns in achievement of blood pressure and glycaemic control, patterns in treatment interruption, and the factors associated with these patterns. Methods and findings The MSF multidisciplinary, primary-level NCD programme provided facility-based care for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and chronic respiratory disease using context-adapted guidelines and generic medications. Generalist physicians managed patients with the support of family medicine specialists, nurses, health educators, pharmacists, and psychosocial and home care teams. Among the 5,045 patients enrolled between December 2014 and December 2017, 4,044 eligible adult patients were included in our analysis, of whom 72% (2,913) had hypertension and 63% (2,546) had type II diabetes. Using visits as the unit of analysis, we plotted the following on a monthly basis: mean blood pressure among hypertensive patients, mean fasting blood glucose and HbA1c among type II diabetic patients, the proportion of each group achieving control, mean days of delayed appointment attendance, and the proportion of patients experiencing a treatment interruption. Results are presented from programmatic and patient perspectives (using months since programme initiation and months since cohort entry/diagnosis, respectively). General linear mixed models explored factors associated with clinical control and with treatment interruption. Mean age was 58.5 years, and 60.1% (2,432) were women. Within the programme’s first 6 months, mean systolic blood pressure decreased by 12.4 mm Hg from 143.9 mm Hg (95% CI 140.9 to 146.9) to 131.5 mm Hg (95% CI 130.2 to 132.9) among hypertensive patients, while fasting glucose improved by 1.12 mmol/l, from 10.75 mmol/l (95% CI 10.04 to 11.47) to 9.63 mmol/l (95% CI 9.22 to 10.04), among type II diabetic patients. The probability of achieving treatment target in a visit was 63%–75% by end of 2017, improving with programme maturation but with notable seasonable variation. The probability of experiencing a treatment interruption declined as the programme matured and with patients’ length of time in the programme. Routine operational data proved useful in evaluating a humanitarian programme in a real-world setting, but were somewhat limited in terms of data quality and completeness. We used intermediate clinical outcomes proven to be strongly associated with hard clinical outcomes (such as death), since we had neither the data nor statistical power to measure hard outcomes. Conclusions Good treatment outcomes and reasonable rates of treatment interruption were achieved in a multidisciplinary, primary-level NCD programme in Jordan. Our approach to using continuous programmatic data may be a feasible way for humanitarian organisations to account for the complex and dynamic nature of interventions in unstable humanitarian settings when undertaking routine monitoring and evaluation. We suggest that frequency of patient contact could be reduced without negatively impacting patient outcomes and that season should be taken into account in analysing programme performance.
    • Cost and affordability of non-communicable disease screening, diagnosis and treatment in Kenya: Patient payments in the private and public sectors

      Subramanian, S; Gakunga, R; Kibachio, J; Gathecha, G; Edwards, P; Ogola, E; Yonga, G; Busakhala, N; Munyoro, E; Chakaya, J; et al. (Public Library of Science, 2018-01-05)
      The prevalence of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) is rising in low- and middle-income countries, including Kenya, disproportionately to the rest of the world. Our objective was to quantify patient payments to obtain NCD screening, diagnosis, and treatment services in the public and private sector in Kenya and evaluate patients' ability to pay for the services.
    • Cost of Hospitalization for Non-Communicable Diseases in India: Are We Pro-Poor?

      Tripathy, J P; Prasad, B M; Shewade, H D; Kumar, A M; Zachariah, R; Chadha, S; Tonsing, J; Harries, A D (Wiley-Blackwell, 2016-06-02)
      Objectives: To estimate out-of-pocket (OOP) expenditure due to hospitalization from NCDs and its impact on households in India.
    • Delivering a primary-level non-communicable disease programme for Syrian refugees and the host population in Jordan: a descriptive costing study

      Ansbro, E; Garry, S; Karir, V; Reddy, A; Jobanputra, K; Fardous, T; Sadique, Z (Oxford University Press, 2020-07-04)
      The Syrian conflict has caused enormous displacement of a population with a high non-communicable disease (NCD) burden into surrounding countries, overwhelming health systems’ NCD care capacity. Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) developed a primary-level NCD programme, serving Syrian refugees and the host population in Irbid, Jordan, to assist the response. Cost data, which are currently lacking, may support programme adaptation and system scale up of such NCD services. This descriptive costing study from the provider perspective explored financial costs of the MSF NCD programme. We estimated annual total, per patient and per consultation costs for 2015–17 using a combined ingredients-based and step-down allocation approach. Data were collected via programme budgets, facility records, direct observation and informal interviews. Scenario analyses explored the impact of varying procurement processes, consultation frequency and task sharing. Total annual programme cost ranged from 4 to 6 million International Dollars (INT$), increasing annually from INT$4 206 481 (2015) to INT$6 739 438 (2017), with costs driven mainly by human resources and drugs. Per patient per year cost increased 23% from INT$1424 (2015) to 1751 (2016), and by 9% to 1904 (2017), while cost per consultation increased from INT$209 to 253 (2015–17). Annual cost increases reflected growing patient load and increasing service complexity throughout 2015–17. A scenario importing all medications cut total costs by 31%, while negotiating importation of high-cost items offered 13% savings. Leveraging pooled procurement for local purchasing could save 20%. Staff costs were more sensitive to reducing clinical review frequency than to task sharing review to nurses. Over 1000 extra patients could be enrolled without additional staffing cost if care delivery was restructured. Total costs significantly exceeded costs reported for NCD care in low-income humanitarian contexts. Efficiencies gained by revising procurement and/or restructuring consultation models could confer cost savings or facilitate cohort expansion. Cost effectiveness studies of adapted models are recommended.
    • Diabetes Care in a Complex Humanitarian Emergency Setting: A Qualitative Evaluation

      Murphy, A; Biringanine, M; Roberts, B; Stringer, B; Perel, P; Jobanputra, K (BioMed Central, 2017-06-23)
      Evidence is urgently needed from complex emergency settings to support efforts to respond to the increasing burden of diabetes mellitus (DM). We conducted a qualitative study of a new model of DM health care (Integrated Diabetic Clinic within an Outpatient Department [IDC-OPD]) implemented by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in Mweso Hospital in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). We aimed to explore patient and provider perspectives on the model in order to identify factors that may support or impede it.
    • Diabetes in humanitarian crises: the Boston Declaration.

      Kehlenbrink, S; Jaacks, M; Aebischer Perone, S; Ansbro, E; Ashbourne, E; Atkinson, C; Atkinson, M; Atun, R; Besancon, S; Boulle, P; et al. (Elsevier, 2019-08)
    • Evaluating smartphone strategies for reliability, reproducibility, and quality of VIA for cervical cancer screening in the Shiselweni region of Eswatini: A cohort study

      Asgary, R; Staderini, N; Mthethwa-Hleta, S; Lopez Saavedra, PA; Garca Abrego, L; Rusch, B; Marie Luce, T; Rusike Pasipamire, L; Ndlangamandla, M; Beideck, E; et al. (Public Library of Science, 2020-11-19)
      Background Cervical cancer is among the most common preventable cancers with the highest morbidity and mortality. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends visual inspection of the cervix with acetic acid (VIA) as cervical cancer screening strategy in resource-poor settings. However, there are barriers to the sustainability of VIA programs including declining providers’ VIA competence without mentorship and quality assurances and challenges of integration into primary healthcare. This study seeks to evaluate the impact of smartphone-based strategies in improving reliability, reproducibility, and quality of VIA in humanitarian settings. Methods and findings We implemented smartphone-based VIA that included standard VIA training, adapted refresher, and 6-month mHealth mentorship, sequentially, in the rural Shiselweni region of Eswatini. A remote expert reviewer provided diagnostic and management feedback on patients’ cervical images, which were reviewed weekly by nurses. Program’s outcomes, VIA image agreement rates, and Kappa statistic were compared before, during, and after training. From September 1, 2016 to December 31, 2018, 4,247 patients underwent screening; 247 were reviewed weekly by a VIA diagnostic expert. Of the 247, 128 (49%) were HIV–positive; mean age was 30.80 years (standard deviation [SD]: 7.74 years). Initial VIA positivity of 16% (436/2,637) after standard training gradually increased to 25.1% (293/1,168), dropped to an average of 9.7% (143/1,469) with a lowest of 7% (20/284) after refresher in 2017 (p = 0.001), increased again to an average of 9.6% (240/2,488) with a highest of 17% (17/100) before the start of mentorship, and dropped to an average of 8.3% (134/1,610) in 2018 with an average of 6.3% (37/591) after the start of mentorship (p = 0.019). Overall, 88% were eligible for and 68% received cryotherapy the same day: 10 cases were clinically suspicious for cancer; however, only 5 of those cases were confirmed using punch biopsy. Agreement rates with the expert reviewer for positive and negative cases were 100% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 79.4% to 100%) and 95.7% (95% CI: 92.2% to 97.9%), respectively, with negative predictive value (NPV) (100%), positive predictive value (PPV) (63.5%), and area under the curve of receiver operating characteristics (AUC ROC) (0.978). Kappa statistic was 0.74 (95% CI; 0.58 to 0.89); 0.64 and 0.79 at 3 and 6 months, respectively. In logistic regression, HIV and age were associated with VIA positivity (adjusted Odds Ratio [aOR]: 3.53, 95% CI: 1.10 to 11.29; p = 0.033 and aOR: 1.06, 95% CI: 1.0004 to 1.13; p = 0.048, respectively). We were unable to incorporate a control arm due to logistical constraints in routine humanitarian settings. Conclusions Our findings suggest that smartphone mentorship provided experiential learning to improve nurses’ competencies and VIA reliability and reproducibility, reduced false positive, and introduced peer-to-peer education and quality control services. Local collaboration; extending services to remote populations; decreasing unnecessary burden to screened women, providers, and tertiary centers; and capacity building through low-tech high-yield screening are promising strategies for scale-up of VIA programs.
    • Failing to address access to insulin in its centenary year would be a catastrophic moral failure.

      Beran, D; Colagiuri, S; Ernoult, N; Ewen, M; Fleury, C; Lepeska, M; Londeix, P; Pfiester, E; Yudkin, JS; Besançon, S (Elsevier, 2021-03-03)
    • A First Country-Wide Review of Diabetes Mellitus Care in Bhutan: Time to Do Better

      Zam, K; Kumar, A M; Achanta, S; Bhat, P; Naik, B; Zangpo, K; Dorji, T; Wangdi, Y; Zachariah, R (BMC Public Health, 2015-09-21)
      There is an increasing trend of non-communicable diseases in Bhutan including Diabetes Mellitus (DM). To address this problem, a National Diabetes Control Programme was launched in 1996. There is anecdotal evidence that many patients do not visit the DM clinics regularly, but owing to lack of cohort monitoring, the magnitude of such attrition from care is unknown. Knowledge of the extent of this problem will provide a realistic assessment of the situation on the ground and would be helpful to initiate corrective actions. In this first country-wide audit, we thus aimed to determine among type 2 DM patients registered for care the i) pre-treatment attrition ii) one-year programme outcomes including retention in care, died and Lost-to-follow-up (LTFU, defined as not having visited the clinic at least once within a year of registration) iii) factors associated with attrition from care (death + LTFU) and iv) quality of follow-up care, measured by adherence to recommended patient-monitoring protocols including glycaemic control.
    • Global Burden of Rheumatic Heart Disease

      Rossi, G (Massachusetts Medical Society, 2018-01-04)
    • Language and beliefs in relation to noma: a qualitative study, northwest Nigeria

      Farley, E; Lenglet, A; Abubakar, A; Bil, K; Fotso, A; Oluyide, B; Tirima, S; Mehta, U; Stringer, B (PLoS, 2020-01-23)
      BACKGROUND: Noma is an orofacial gangrene that rapidly disintegrates the tissues of the face. Little is known about noma, as most patients live in underserved and inaccessible regions. We aimed to assess the descriptive language used and beliefs around noma, at the Noma Children's Hospital in Sokoto, Nigeria. Findings will be used to inform prevention programs. METHODS: Five focus group discussions (FGD) were held with caretakers of patients with noma who were admitted to the hospital at the time of interview, and 12 in-depth interviews (IDI) were held with staff at the hospital. Topic guides used for interviews were adapted to encourage the natural flow of conversation. Emergent codes, patterns and themes were deciphered from the data derived from IDI's and FGDs. RESULTS: Our study uncovered two main themes: names, descriptions and explanations for the disease, and risks and consequences of noma. Naming of the disease differed between caretakers and heath care workers. The general names used for noma illustrate the beliefs and social system used to explain the disease. Beliefs were varied; participant responses demonstrate a wide range of understanding of the disease and its causes. Difficulty in accessing care for patients with noma was evident and the findings suggest a variety of actions taking place before reaching a health center or health worker. Patient caretakers mentioned that barriers to care included a lack of knowledge regarding this medical condition, as well as a lack of trust in seeking medical care. Participants in our study spoke of the mental health strain the disease placed on them, particularly due to the stigma that is associated with noma. CONCLUSIONS: Caretaker and practitioner perspectives enhance our understanding of the disease in this context and can be usedto improve treatment and prevention programs, and to better understand barriers to accessing health care. Differences in disease naming illustrate the difference in beliefs about the disease. This has an impact on health seeking behaviours, which for noma cases has important ramifications on outcomes, due to the rapid progression of the disease.
    • Magnitude of screening for gestational diabetes mellitus in an urban setting in Tanzania; a cross-sectional analytic study.

      Mukuve, A; Noorani, M; Sendagire, I; Mgonja, M (BioMed Central, 2020-07-23)
      Background: Medical screening detects risk factors for disease or presence of disease in otherwise well persons in order to intervene early and reduce morbidity and mortality. During antenatal care (ANC) it is important to detect conditions that complicate pregnancy, like gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM). Despite international and local guidelines recommending screening for GDM during ANC, there is evidence to suggest that the practice was not being carried out adequately. A major challenge may be lack of consensus on uniform GDM screening and diagnostic guidelines internationally and locally. The primary objective was to determine the magnitude of screening for GDM among women receiving ANC at the Aga Khan Hospital, Dar es Salaam and Muhimbili National Hospital, Dar es Salaam. Secondary objectives were: to determine the methods used by health practitioners to screen for GDM, to determine the magnitude of undiagnosed gestational diabetes mellitus among women attending ANC and factors associated with screening for GDM among these women. Methods: A cross-sectional analytical study was done. Data collection was done using pre-tested questionnaires and reviewing antenatal care records. The proportion of women attending ANC who were screened for GDM was determined. The 75 g Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT) was offered to women who had not been screened after education and consent. Results: Only 107 out of 358 (29.9%) had been offered some form of GDM screening. Tests used for GDM screening were random blood sugar (56.8%), fasting blood sugar (32.8%), HbA1C (6%) and 75 g OGTT (3.4%). The uptake of the OGTT was 27%. Of these women the prevalence of GDM was 27.9%. Factors associated with screening for GDM were history of big baby, history of pregnancy induced hypertension and participant awareness of GDM (all p: < 0.05). Conclusions: Screening for GDM among women attending ANC was lower than the World Health Organization target. Efforts should be directed towards promoting GDM screening, increasing awareness about GDM and developing more effective screening methods.