Now showing items 1-20 of 30

    • 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.
    • Operational considerations for the management of non-communicable diseases in humanitarian emergencies.

      Beran, D; Hering, H; Boulle, P; Chappuis, F; Dromer, C; Saaristo, P; Perone, S Aebischer (BMC, 2021-02-25)
      Non-communicable diseases (NCD) represent an increasing global challenge with the majority of mortality occurring in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Concurrently, many humanitarian crises occur in these countries and the number of displaced persons, either refugees or internally displaced, has reached the highest level in history. Until recently NCDs in humanitarian contexts were a neglected issue, but this is changing. Humanitarian actors are now increasingly integrating NCD care in their activities and recognizing the need to harmonize and enhance NCD management in humanitarian crises. However, there is a lack of a standardized response during operations as well as a lack of evidence-based NCD management guidelines in humanitarian settings. An informal working group on NCDs in humanitarian settings, formed by members of the World Health Organization, Médecins Sans Frontières, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the International Federation of the Red Cross and others, and led by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, teamed up with the University of Geneva and Geneva University Hospitals to develop operational considerations for NCDs in humanitarian settings. This paper presents these considerations, aiming at ensuring appropriate planning, management and care for NCD-affected persons during the different stages of humanitarian emergencies. Key components include access to treatment, continuity of care including referral pathways, therapeutic patient education/patient self-management, community engagement and health promotion. In order to implement these components, a standardized approach will support a consistent response, and should be based on an ethical foundation to ensure that the "do no harm" principle is upheld. Advocacy supported by evidence is important to generate visibility and resource allocation for NCDs. Only a collaborative approach of all actors involved in NCD management will allow the spectrum of needs and continuum of care for persons affected by NCDs to be properly addressed in humanitarian programmes.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • Report of the WHO independent high-level commission on NCDs: where is the focus on addressing inequalities?

      Perone, SA; Bausch, FJ; Boulle, P; Chappuis, F; Miranda, JJ; Beran, D (BMJ, 2020-06-01)
    • Setting up a nurse-led model of care for management of hypertension and diabetes mellitus in a high HIV prevalence context in rural Zimbabwe: a descriptive study

      Frieden, M; Zamba, B; Mukumbi, N; Mafaune, PT; Makumbe, B; Irungu, E; Moneti, V; Isaakidis, P; Garone, D; Prasai, M (BMC, 2020-06-01)
      Background In the light of the increasing burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) on health systems in low- and middle-income countries, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa, context-adapted, cost-effective service delivery models are now required as a matter of urgency. We describe the experience of setting up and organising a nurse-led Diabetes Mellitus (DM) and Hypertension (HTN) model of care in rural Zimbabwe, a low-income country with unique socio-economic challenges and a dual disease burden of HIV and NCDs. Methods Mirroring the HIV experience, we designed a conceptual framework with 9 key enablers: decentralization of services, integration of care, simplification of management guidelines, mentoring and task-sharing, provision of affordable medicines, quality assured laboratory support, patient empowerment, a dedicated monitoring and evaluation system, and a robust referral system. We selected 9 primary health care clinics (PHC) and two hospitals in Chipinge district and integrated DM and HTN either into the general out-patient department, pre-existing HIV clinics, or an integrated chronic care clinic (ICCC). We provided structured intensive mentoring for staff, using simplified protocols, and disease-specific education for patients. Free medication with differentiated periodic refills and regular monitoring with point of care (POC) glycosylated haemoglobin (HbA1c) were provided. Results Nurses in 7 PHC facilities and one hospital developed sufficient knowledge and skills to diagnose, initiate treatment and monitor DM and HTN patients, and 3094 patients were registered in the programme (188 with DM only, 2473 with HTN only, 433 with both DM and HTN). Major lessons learned from our experience include: the value of POC devices in the management of diabetes; the pressure on services of the added caseload, exacerbated by the availability of free medications in supported health facilities; and the importance of leadership in the successful implementation of care in health facilities. Conclusion Our experience demonstrates a model for nurse-led decentralized integrated DM and HTN care in a high HIV prevalence rural, low-income context. Developing a context-adapted efficient model of care is a dynamic process. We present our lessons learned with the intention of sharing experience which may be of value to other public health programme managers.
    • To fast or not to fast: Lipid measurement and cardiovascular disease risk estimation in rural sub-Saharan Africa

      Yang, IT; Hemphill, LC; Kim, J-H; Bibangambah, P; Sentongo, R; Kakuhire, B; Plutzky, J; Boum II, Y; Tsai, AC; Okello, S; et al. (International Society of Global Health, 2020-03-17)
      Background Cardiovascular disease (CVD) morbidity and mortality are increasing in sub-Saharan Africa (sSA), highlighting the need for tools to enable CVD risk stratification in the region. Although non-HDL-cholesterol (nHDL-C) has been promoted as a method to measure lipids without a requirement for fasting in the USA, its diagnostic validity has not been assessed in sSA. We sought to estimate: 1) the association between LDL-cholesterol (LDL-C) and nHDL-C, 2) the impact of fasting on their measurement, and 3) their correlation with carotid atherosclerosis, within a rural Ugandan population with high HIV prevalence. Methods We collected traditional CVD risk factors, blood for serum lipid levels, self-reported fasting status, and performed carotid ultrasonography in 301 participants in rural Uganda. We fit regression models, stratified by fasting status, to estimate associations between carotid intima media thickness (cIMT), LDL-C, and nHDL-C. Results Median age was 50 years (interquartile range = 46-54), 49% were female, 51% were HIV-positive, and at the time of blood collection, 70% had fasted overnight. Mean LDL-C, nHDL-C, and triglycerides in the non-fasting and fasting groups were 85 vs 88 mg/dL (P = 0.39), 114 vs 114 mg/dL (P = 0.98), and 130 vs 114 mg/dL (P = 0.05) mg/dL, respectively. In unadjusted models, mean cIMT (mm) was associated with both increased LDL-C (β = 0.0078 per 10mg/dL, P < 0.01) and nHDL-C (β = 0.0075, P < 0.01), and these relationships were similar irrespective of fasting status. After adjustment for traditional CVD risk factors, we observed similar associations, albeit with muted effect sizes within the fasting group. Conclusions We found a high correlation between LDL-C and nHDL-C, and both were correlated with cIMT, irrespective of fasting or HIV serostatus in rural Uganda. Our findings support use of either fasting or non-fasting serum lipids for CVD risk estimation in rural sSA.
    • 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.
    • 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)
    • Sickle cell disease in anaemic children in a Sierra Leonean district hospital: a case series.

      Italia, MB; Kirolos, S (Oxford University Press, 2019-07-12)
      Sickle cell disease (SCD) is the most common inherited haemoglobinopathy wordwide, with the highest prevalence in sub-Saharan Africa. Due to the lack of national strategies and scarcity of diagnostic tools in resource-limited settings, the disease may be significantly underdiagnosed. We carried out a 6-month retrospective review of paediatric admissions in a district hospital in northern Sierra Leone. Our aim was to identify patients with severe anaemia, defined as Hb < 7 g/dl, and further analyse the records of those tested for SCD. Of the 273 patients identified, only 24.5% had had an Emmel test, among which 34.3% were positive. Furthermore, only 17% of patients with a positive Emmel test were discharged on prophylactic antibiotics. Our study shows that increased awareness of SCD symptoms is required in high-burden areas without established screening programmes. In addition, the creation or strengthening of follow-up programmes for SCD patients is essential for disease control.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • Prevalence of non-communicable diseases and access to care among non-camp Syrian refugees in northern Jordan

      Rehr, M; Shoaib, M; Ellithy, S; Okour, S; Ariti, C; Ait-Bouziad, I; van den Bosch, P; Deprade, A; Altarawneh, M; Shafei, A; et al. (BioMed Central, 2018-07-11)
      Tackling the high non-communicable disease (NCD) burden among Syrian refugees poses a challenge to humanitarian actors and host countries. Current response priorities are the identification and integration of key interventions for NCD care into humanitarian programs as well as sustainable financing. To provide evidence for effective NCD intervention planning, we conducted a cross-sectional survey among non-camp Syrian refugees in northern Jordan to investigate the burden and determinants for high NCDs prevalence and NCD multi-morbidities and assess the access to NCD care.
    • 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.