Now showing items 1-20 of 2990

    • Cost-effectiveness of new MDR-TB regimens: study protocol for the TB-PRACTECAL economic evaluation substudy.

      Sweeney, S; Gomez, G; Kitson, N; Sinha, A; Yatskevich, N; Staples, S; Moodliar, R; Motlhako, S; Maloma, M; Rassool, M; et al. (BMJ Publishing Group, 2020-10-10)
      Introduction: Current treatment regimens for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) are long, poorly tolerated and have poor outcomes. Furthermore, the costs of treating MDR-TB are much greater than those for treating drug-susceptible TB, both for health service and patient-incurred costs. Urgent action is needed to identify short, effective, tolerable and cheaper treatments for people with both quinolone-susceptible and quinolone-resistant MDR-TB. We present the protocol for an economic evaluation (PRACTECAL-EE substudy) alongside an ongoing clinical trial (TB-PRACTECAL) aiming to assess the costs to patients and providers of new regimens, as well as their cost-effectiveness and impact on participant poverty levels. This substudy is based on data from the three countries participating in the main trial. Methods and analysis: Primary cost data will be collected from the provider and patient perspectives, following economic best practice. We will estimate the probability that new MDR-TB regimens containing bedaquiline, pretomanid and linezolid are cost-effective from a societal perspective as compared with the standard of care for MDR-TB patients in Uzbekistan, South Africa and Belarus. Analysis uses a Markov model populated with primary cost and outcome data collected at each study site. We will also estimate the impact of new regimens on prevalence of catastrophic patient costs due to TB. Ethics and dissemination: Ethical approval has been obtained from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and Médecins Sans Frontières. Local ethical approval will be sought in each study site. The results of the economic evaluation will be shared with the country health authorities and published in a peer-reviewed journal.
    • Extended use or reuse of single-use surgical masks and filtering face-piece respirators during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic: A rapid systematic review.

      Toomey, E; Conway, Y; Burton, C; Smith, S; Smalle, M; Chan, X; Adisesh, A; Tanveer, S; Ross, L; Thomson, I; et al. (Cambridge University Press, 2020-10-08)
      Background: Shortages of personal protective equipment during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic have led to the extended use or reuse of single-use respirators and surgical masks by frontline healthcare workers. The evidence base underpinning such practices warrants examination. Objectives: To synthesize current guidance and systematic review evidence on extended use, reuse, or reprocessing of single-use surgical masks or filtering face-piece respirators. Data sources: We used the World Health Organization, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Public Health England websites to identify guidance. We used Medline, PubMed, Epistemonikos, Cochrane Database, and preprint servers for systematic reviews. Methods: Two reviewers conducted screening and data extraction. The quality of included systematic reviews was appraised using AMSTAR-2. Findings were narratively synthesized. Results: In total, 6 guidance documents were identified. Levels of detail and consistency across documents varied. They included 4 high-quality systematic reviews: 3 focused on reprocessing (decontamination) of N95 respirators and 1 focused on reprocessing of surgical masks. Vaporized hydrogen peroxide and ultraviolet germicidal irradiation were highlighted as the most promising reprocessing methods, but evidence on the relative efficacy and safety of different methods was limited. We found no well-established methods for reprocessing respirators at scale. Conclusions: Evidence on the impact of extended use and reuse of surgical masks and respirators is limited, and gaps and inconsistencies exist in current guidance. Where extended use or reuse is being practiced, healthcare organizations should ensure that policies and systems are in place to ensure these practices are carried out safely and in line with available guidance.
    • Impact of the implementation of new guidelines on the management of patients with HIV infection at an advanced HIV clinic in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

      Mangana, F; Massaquoi, L D; Moudachirou, R; Harrison, R; Kaluangila, T; Mucinya, G; Ntabugi, N; van Cutsem, G; Burton, R; Isaakidis, P (BMC, 2020-10-07)
      Background: HIV continues to be the main determinant morbidity with high mortality rates in Sub-Saharan Africa, with a high number of patients being late presenters with advanced HIV. Clinical management of advanced HIV patients is thus complex and requires strict adherence to updated, empirical and simplified guidelines. The current study investigated the impact of the implementation of a new clinical guideline on the management of advanced HIV in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Methods: A retrospective analysis of routine clinical data of advanced HIV patients was conducted for the periods; February 2016 to March 2017, before implementation of new guidelines, and November 2017 to July 2018, after the implementation of new guidelines. Eligible patients were patients with CD4 < 200 cell/μl and presenting with at least 1 of 4 opportunistic infections. Patient files were reviewed by a medical doctor and a committee of 3 other doctors for congruence. Statistical significance was set at 0.05%. Results: Two hundred four and Two hundred thirty-one patients were eligible for inclusion before and after the implementation of new guidelines respectively. Sex and age distributions were similar for both periods, and median CD4 were 36 & 52 cell/μl, before and after the new guidelines implementation, respectively. 40.7% of patients had at least 1 missed/incorrect diagnosis before the new guidelines compared to 30% after new guidelines, p < 0.05. Clinical diagnosis for TB and toxoplasmosis were also much improved after the implementation of new guidelines. In addition, only 63% of patients had CD4 count test results before the new guidelines compared to 99% of patients after new guidelines. Death odds after the implementation of new guidelines were significantly lower than before new guidelines in a multivariate regression model that included patients CD4 count and 10 other covariates, p < 0.05. Conclusions: Simplification and implementation of a new and improved HIV clinical guideline coupled with the installation of laboratory equipment and point of care tests potentially helped reduce incorrect diagnosis and improve clinical outcomes of patients with advanced HIV. Regulating authorities should consider developing simplified versions of guidelines followed by the provision of basic diagnostic equipment to health centers.
    • Offering care for victims of torture among a migrant population in a transit country: a descriptive study in a dedicated clinic from January 2017 to June 2019.

      Keshk, M; Harrison, R; Kizito, W; Psarra, C; Owiti, P; Timire, C; Camacho, MM; De Maio, G; Safwat, H; Matboly, A; et al. (Oxford University Press, 2020-10-06)
      Background: Medecins Sans Frontieres set up a clinic to provide multidisciplinary care to a vulnerable migrant population experiencing torture. We describe the population accessing care, the characteristics of care provided and patient outcomes. Methods: A descriptive retrospective cohort study of patients enrolled in care during January 2017-June 2019 was conducted. Results: Of 2512 victims of torture cases accessing the clinic, the male: female ratio was 1:1. About 67% of patients received medical care, mostly for chronic pain treatment. About 73% of patients received mental healthcare, 37% received physiotherapy and 33% received social support care; 49% came to the clinic upon the recommendation of a friend or family member. The discharge with improvement rate ranged from 23% in the mental health service to 9% in the sociolegal service. Patients retained in care had a median IQR of 3 (2-4) follow-up visits for medical care, 4 (2-7) for mental health, 6 (3-10) for physiotherapy and 2 (1-4) for sociolegal. Conclusion: Care for victims of torture cases among vulnerable migrants is complex. For those who did receive care that led to an improvement in their condition, their care models have been described, to allow its implementation in other non-specialised settings.
    • Lived experiences of palliative care among people living with HIV/AIDS: a qualitative study from Bihar, India.

      Nair, M; Kumar, P; Mahajan, R; Harshana, A; Richardson, K; Moreto-Planas, L; Burza, S (BMJ Publishing Group, 2020-10-05)
      Objectives: This study aimed to assess the lived experiences of palliative care among critically unwell people living with HIV/AIDS (PLHA), caregivers and relatives of deceased patients. It also aimed to understand the broader palliative care context in Bihar. Design: This was an exploratory, qualitative study which used thematic analysis of semistructured, in-depth interviews as well as a focus group discussion. Setting: All interviews took place in a secondary care hospital in Patna, Bihar which provides holistic care to critically unwell PLHA. Participants: We purposively selected 29 participants: 10 critically unwell PLHA, 5 caregivers of hospitalised patients, 7 relatives of deceased patients who were treated in the secondary care hospital and 7 key informants from community-based organisations. Results: Critically ill PLHA emphasised the need for psychosocial counselling and opportunities for social interaction in the ward, as well as a preference for components of home-based palliative care, even though they were unfamiliar with actual terms such as 'palliative care' and 'end-of-life care'. Critically unwell PLHA generally expressed preference for separate, private inpatient areas for end-of-life care. Relatives of deceased patients stated that witnessing patients' deaths caused trauma for other PLHA. Caregivers and relatives of deceased patients felt there was inadequate time and space for grieving in the hospital. While both critically ill PLHA and relatives wished that poor prognosis be transparently disclosed to family members, many felt it should not be disclosed to the dying patients themselves. Conclusions: Despite expected high inpatient fatality rates, PLHA in Bihar lack access to palliative care services. PLHA receiving end-of-life care in hospitals should have a separate dedicated area, with adequate psychosocial counselling and activities to prevent social isolation. Healthcare providers should make concerted efforts to inquire, understand and adapt their messaging on prognosis and end-of-life care based on patients' preferences.
    • Lessons Learned From Helping Babies Survive in Humanitarian Settings.

      Amsalu, R; Schute-Hillen, C; Garcia, DM; Lafferty, N; Morris, CN; Gee, S; Akseer, N; Scudder, E; Sami, S; Barasa, SO; et al. (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2020-10-01)
      Humanitarian crises, driven by disasters, conflict, and disease epidemics, have profound effects on society, including on people's health and well-being. Occurrences of conflict by state and nonstate actors have increased in the last 2 decades: by the end of 2018, an estimated 41.3 million internally displaced persons and 20.4 million refugees were reported worldwide, representing a 70% increase from 2010. Although public health response for people affected by humanitarian crisis has improved in the last 2 decades, health actors have made insufficient progress in the use of evidence-based interventions to reduce neonatal mortality. Indeed, on average, conflict-affected countries report higher neonatal mortality rates and lower coverage of key maternal and newborn health interventions compared with non-conflict-affected countries. As of 2018, 55.6% of countries with the highest neonatal mortality rate (≥30 per 1000 live births) were affected by conflict and displacement. Systematic use of new evidence-based interventions requires the availability of a skilled health workforce and resources as well as commitment of health actors to implement interventions at scale. A review of the implementation of the Helping Babies Survive training program in 3 refugee responses and protracted conflict settings identify that this training is feasible, acceptable, and effective in improving health worker knowledge and competency and in changing newborn care practices at the primary care and hospital level. Ultimately, to improve neonatal survival, in addition to a trained health workforce, reliable supply and health information system, community engagement, financial support, and leadership with effective coordination, policy, and guidance are required.
    • People-centred surveillance: a narrative review of community-based surveillance among crisis-affected populations.

      Ratnayake, R; Tammaro, M; Tiffany, A; Kongelf, A; Polonsky, JA; McClelland, A (Elsevier, 2020-10-01)
      Outbreaks of disease in settings affected by crises grow rapidly due to late detection and weakened public health systems. Where surveillance is underfunctioning, community-based surveillance can contribute to rapid outbreak detection and response, a core capacity of the International Health Regulations. We reviewed articles describing the potential for community-based surveillance to detect diseases of epidemic potential, outbreaks, and mortality among populations affected by crises. Surveillance objectives have included the early warning of outbreaks, active case finding during outbreaks, case finding for eradication programmes, and mortality surveillance. Community-based surveillance can provide sensitive and timely detection, identify valid signals for diseases with salient symptoms, and provide continuity in remote areas during cycles of insecurity. Effectiveness appears to be mediated by operational requirements for continuous supervision of large community networks, verification of a large number of signals, and integration of community-based surveillance within the routine investigation and response infrastructure. Similar to all community health systems, community-based surveillance requires simple design, reliable supervision, and early and routine monitoring and evaluation to ensure data validity. Research priorities include the evaluation of syndromic case definitions, electronic data collection for community members, sentinel site designs, and statistical techniques to counterbalance false positive signals.
    • “You said the hospital can't be bombed”

      Garcia-Mingo, A; Abbara, A; Roy, RB (Elsevier, 2020-10-01)
    • Successes and gaps in the HIV cascade of care of a high HIV prevalence setting in Zimbabwe: a population-based survey.

      Conan, N; Coulborn, RM; Simons, E; Mapfumo, A; Apollo, T; Garone, DB; Casas, EC; Puren, AJ; Chihana, ML; Maman, D (Wiley Open Access, 2020-09-24)
      Introduction: Gutu, a rural district in Zimbabwe, has been implementing comprehensive HIV care with the support of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) since 2011, decentralizing testing and treatment services to all rural healthcare facilities. We evaluated HIV prevalence, incidence and the cascade of care, in Gutu District five years after MSF began its activities. Methods: A cross-sectional study was implemented between September and December 2016. Using multistage cluster sampling, individuals aged ≥15 years living in the selected households were eligible. Individuals who agreed to participate were interviewed and tested for HIV at home. All participants who tested HIV-positive had their HIV-RNA viral load (VL) measured, regardless of their antiretroviral therapy (ART) status, and those not on ART with HIV-RNA VL ≥ 1000 copies/mL had Limiting-Antigen-Avidity EIA Assay for cross-sectional estimation of population-level HIV incidence. Results: Among 5439 eligible adults ≥15 years old, 89.0% of adults were included in the study and accepted an HIV test. The overall prevalence was 13.6% (95%: Confidence Interval (CI): 12.6 to 14.5). Overall HIV-positive status awareness was 87.4% (95% CI: 84.7 to 89.8), linkage to care 85.5% (95% CI: 82.5 to 88.0) and participants in care 83.8% (95% CI: 80.7 to 86.4). ART coverage among HIV-positive participants was 83.0% (95% CI: 80.0 to 85.7). Overall, 71.6% (95% CI 68.0 to 75.0) of HIV-infected participants had a HIV-RNA VL < 1000 copies/mL. Women achieved higher outcomes than men in the five stages of the cascade of care. Viral Load Suppression (VLS) among participants on ART was 83.2% (95% CI: 79.7 to 86.2) and was not statistically different between women and men (p = 0.98). The overall HIV incidence was estimated at 0.35% (95% CI 0.00 to 0.70) equivalent to 35 new cases/10,000 person-years. Conclusions: Our study provides population-level evidence that achievement of HIV cascade of care coverage overall and among women is feasible in a context with broad access to services and implementation of a decentralized model of care. However, the VLS was relatively low even among participants on ART. Quality care remains the most critical gap in the cascade of care to further reduce mortality and HIV transmission.
    • Qualitative study of antibiotic prescription patterns and associated drivers in Sudan, Guinea-Bissau, Central African Republic and Democratic Republic of Congo.

      Eibs, T; Koscalova, A; Nair, M; Grohma, P; Kohler, G; Bakhit, RG; Thurashvili, M; Lasry, E; Bauer, SW; Jimenez, C (BMJ Publishing Group, 2020-09-24)
      Objectives: The objective of this study was to address the knowledge gap regarding antibiotic use in Medecins Sans Frontiéres (MSF) projects located in Africa by exploring antibiotic prescription and consumption habits and their drivers at different healthcare levels. Design: This study used an exploratory study design through thematic analysis of semistructured, in-depth interviews, focus group discussions (FGDs) and field observations in order to understand the main drivers influencing current antibiotics prescription habits and consumption habits of patients in different geographical settings. Setting: The study took place in MSF centres and towns across four countries: Guinea-Bissau, Central African Republic (CAR), Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Sudan. Participants: 384 respondents participated in the study, which includes project staff, prescribers, community members, patients, among other groups. Results: Treatment protocols were physically present in all countries except DRC, but compliance to protocols varied across contexts. A failing health system and barriers to accessing healthcare were perceived as major drivers of overuse and inconsistent prescription practices. Patient demands influenced prescription decisions, and self-medication was commonly reported in the context of failing health systems. Additionally, there was a strong demand for quick cures and communities preferred injections over pills. Patients tended to stop antibiotic treatment once symptoms abated and had major gaps in understanding antibiotic intake instructions and functions. Conclusions: While there were specific findings in each context, the larger trend from these four MSF projects in Africa indicates widespread use of antibiotics based on unclear assumptions, which are often influenced by patient demands. There needs to be a broader focus on the balance between access and excess, especially in such fragile contexts where access to healthcare is a real challenge.
    • Outcomes of patients on second- and third-line ART enrolled in ART adherence clubs in Maputo, Mozambique.

      Finci, I; Flores, A; Gutierrez Zamudio, A G; Matsinhe, A; de Abreu, E; Issufo, S; Gaspar, I; Ciglenecki, I; Molfino, L (Wiley, 2020-09-22)
      Objectives: Adherence clubs (AC) offer patient-centred access to antiretroviral therapy (ART) while reducing the burden on health facilities. AC were implemented in a health centre in Mozambique specialising in patients with a history of HIV treatment failure. We explored the impact of AC on retention in care and VL suppression of these patients. Methods: We performed a retrospective analysis of patients enrolled in AC receiving second- or third-line ART. The Kaplan-Meier estimates were used to analyse retention in care in health facility, retention in AC and viral load (VL) suppression (VL < 1000 copies/mL). Predictors of attrition and VL rebound (VL ≥ 1000 copies/mL) were assessed using multivariable proportional hazards regression. Results: The analysed cohort contained 699 patients, median age 40 years [IQR: 35-47], 428 (61%) female and 97% second-line ART. Overall, 9 (1.3%) patients died, and 10 (1.4%) were lost to follow-up. Retention in care at months 12 and 24 was 98.9% (95% CI: 98.2-99.7) and 96.4% (95% CI: 94.6-98.2), respectively. Concurrently, 85.8% (95% CI: 83.1-88.2) and 80.9% (95% CI: 77.8-84.1) of patients maintained VL suppression. No association between predictors and all-cause attrition or VL rebound was detected. Among 90 patients attending AC and simultaneously having VL rebound, 64 (71.1%) achieved VL resuppression, 10 (11.1%) did not resuppress, and 14 (15.6%) had no subsequent VL result. Conclusion: Implementation of AC in Mozambique was successful and demonstrated that patients with a history of HIV treatment failure can be successfully retained in care and have high VL suppression rate when enrolled in AC. Expansion of the AC model in Mozambique could improve overall retention in care and VL suppression while reducing workload in health facilities.
    • Distribution of household disinfection kits during the 2014-2015 Ebola virus outbreak in Monrovia, Liberia: The MSF experience.

      Ali, E; Benedetti, G; Van den Bergh, R; Halford, A; Bawo, L; Massaquoi, M; Bellizzi, S; Maes, P (Public Library of Sciences, 2020-09-21)
      During the initial phase of the 2014-2016 Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in Monrovia, Liberia, all hospitals' isolation capacities were overwhelmed by the sheer caseload. As a stop-gap measure to halt transmission, Medecins sans Frontieres (MSF) distributed household disinfection kits to those who were at high risk of EVD contamination. The kit contained chlorine and personal protective materials to be used for the care of a sick person or the handling of a dead body. This intervention was novel and controversial for MSF. This paper shed the light on this experience of distribution in Monrovia and assess if kits were properly used by recipients. Targeted distribution was conducted to those at high risk of EVD (relatives of confirmed EVD cases) and health staff. Mass distributions were also conducted to households in the most EVD affected urban districts. A health promotion strategy focused on the purpose and use of the kit was integrated into the distribution. Follow-up phone calls to recipients were conducted to enquire about the use of the kit. Overall, 65,609 kits were distributed between September and November 2014. A total of 1,386 recipients were reached by phone. A total of 60 cases of sickness and/or death occurred in households who received a kit. The majority of these (46, 10%) were in households of relatives of confirmed EVD cases. Overall, usage of the kits was documented in 56 out of 60 affected households. Out of the 1322 households that did not experience sickness and/or death after the distribution, 583 (44%) made use of elements of the kit, mainly (94%) chlorine for hand-washing. At the peak of an EVD outbreak, the distribution of household disinfection kits was feasible and kits were appropriately used by the majority of recipients. In similar circumstances in the future, the intervention should be considered.
    • Preparedness of outpatient health facilities for ambulatory treatment with all-oral short DR-TB treatment regimens in Zhytomyr, Ukraine: a cross-sectional study.

      Gils, T; Laxmeshwar, C; Duka, M; Malakyan, K; Siomak, OV; Didik, VS; Lytvynenko, N; Terleeva, Y; Donchuk, D; Isaakidis, P (BMC, 2020-09-21)
      Background: Ukraine has a high burden of drug-resistant tuberculosis (DR-TB). Mental health problems, including alcohol use disorder, are common co-morbidities. One in five DR-TB patients has human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). As part of health reform, the country is moving from inpatient care to ambulatory primary care for tuberculosis (TB). In Zhytomyr oblast, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is supporting care for DR-TB patients on all-oral short DR-TB regimens. This study describes the preparedness of ambulatory care facilities in Zhytomyr oblast, Ukraine, to provide good quality ambulatory care. Methods: This is a retrospective analysis of routinely collected programme data. Before discharge of every patient from the hospital, MSF teams assess services available at outpatient facilities using a standardised questionnaire. The assessment evaluates access, human resources, availability of medicines, infection control measures, laboratory and diagnostic services, and psychosocial support. Results: We visited 68 outpatient facilities in 22 districts between June 2018 and September 2019. Twenty-seven health posts, 24 TB-units, 13 ambulatories, two family doctors and one polyclinic, serving 30% of DR-TB patients in the oblast by September 2019, were included. All facilities provided directly observed treatment, but only seven (10%) provided weekend-services. All facilities had at least one medical staff member, but TB-training was insufficient and mostly limited to TB-doctors. TB-treatment and adequate storage space were available in all facilities, but only five (8%) had ancillary medicines. HIV-positive patients had to visit a separate facility to access HIV-care. Personal protective equipment was unavailable in 32 (55%) facilities. Basic laboratory services were available in TB-units, but only four (17%) performed audiometry. Only ten (42%) TB-units had psychosocial support available, and nine (38%) offered psychiatric support. Conclusion: Outpatient facilities in Zhytomyr oblast are not yet prepared to provide comprehensive care for DR-TB patients. Capacity of all facilities needs strengthening with trainings, infection control measures and infrastructure. Integration of psychosocial services, treatment of co-morbidities and adverse events at the same facility are essential for successful decentralisation. The health reform is an opportunity to establish quality, patient-centred care.
    • "They have been neglected for a long time": a qualitative study on the role and recognition of rural health motivators in the Shiselweni region, Eswatini.

      Walker, C; Burtscher, D; Myeni, J; Kerschberger, B; Schausberger, B; Rusch, B; Dlamini, N; Whitehouse, K (BMC, 2020-09-21)
      Background: Community health workers (CHWs) are increasingly engaged to address human resource shortages and fill primary healthcare gaps. In Eswatini, a cadre of CHWs called Rural Health Motivators (RHM) was introduced in 1976 to respond to key public health challenges. However, the emergence of health needs, particularly HIV/TB, has been met with inadequate programme amendments, and the role of RHMs has become marginalised following the addition of other CHWs supported by non-governmental organisations. This study was implemented to understand the role of RHMs in decentralised HIV/TB activities. In this paper, we explore the findings in relation to the recognition of RHMs and the programme. Methods: This exploratory qualitative study utilised individual in-depth interviews, group and focus group discussions, participatory methods (utilising a game format) and observations. Participants were purposively selected and comprised RHM programme implementers, community stakeholders and local and non-governmental personnel. Data collection took place between August and September 2019. Interviews were conducted in English or siSwati and transcribed. SiSwati interviews were translated directly into English. All interviews were audio-recorded, manually coded and thematically analysed. Data was validated through methodical triangulation. Results: Suboptimal organisational structure and support, primarily insufficient training and supervision for activities were factors identified through interviews and observation activities. Significant confusion of the RHM role was observed, with community expectations beyond formally endorsed tasks. Community participants expressed dissatisfaction with receiving health information only, preferring physical assistance in the form of goods. Additionally, gender emerged as a significant influencing factor on the acceptability of health messages and the engagement of RHMs with community members. Expectations and structurally limiting factors shape the extent to which RHMs are recognised as integral to the health system, at all social and organisational levels. Conclusions: Findings highlight the lack of recognition of RHMs and the programme at both community and national levels. This, along with historical neglect, has hindered the capacity of RHMs to successfully contribute to positive health outcomes for rural communities. Renewed attention and support mechanisms for this cadre are needed. Clarification of the RHM role in line with current health challenges and clearer role parameters is essential.
    • Development of a patient rated scale for mental health global state for use during humanitarian interventions.

      Llosa, AE; Martinez-Viciana, C; Carreno, C; Evangelidou, S; Casas, G; Marquer, C; Moro, MR; Falissard, B; Grais, RF (Wiley, 2020-09-18)
      Objective: We present the results of a cross-cultural validation of the Mental Health Global State (MHGS) scale for adults and adolescents (<14 years old). Methods: We performed two independent studies using mixed methods among 103 patients in Hebron, Occupied Palestinian Territories and 106 in Cauca, Colombia. The MHGS was analyzed psychometrically, sensitivity and specificity, ability to detect clinically meaningful change, compared to the Clinical Global Impression-Severity scale (CGI-S). Principal component analysis was used to reduce the number of questions after data collection. Results: The scale demonstrated good internal consistency, with a Cronbach alpha score of 0.80 in both settings. Test retest reliability was high, ICC 0.70 (95% CI [0.41-0.85]) in Hebron and 0.87 (95% CI [0.76-0.93]) in Cauca; inter-rater reliability was 0.70 (95% CI [0.42-0.85]) in Hebron and 0.76 (95% CI [0.57-0.88]) in Cauca. Psychometric properties were also good, and the tool demonstrated a sensitivity of 85% in Hebron and 100% in Cauca, with corresponding specificity of 80% and 79%, when compared to CGI-S. Conclusions: The MHGS showed promising results to assess global mental health thereby providing an additional easy to use tool in humanitarian interventions. Additional work should focus on validation in at least one more context, to adhere to best practices in transcultural validation.
    • Sexual violence against migrants and asylum seekers. The experience of the MSF clinic on Lesvos Island, Greece.

      Belanteri, RA; Hinderaker, SG; Wilkinson, E; Episkopou, M; Timire, C; de Plecker, E; Mabhala, M; Takarinda, KC; Van den Bergh, R (Public Library of Sciences, 2020-09-17)
      Objectives: Sexual violence can have a destructive impact on the lives of people. It is more common in unstable conditions such as during displacement or migration of people. On the Greek island of Lesvos, Médecins Sans Frontières provided medical care to survivors of sexual violence among the population of asylum seekers. This study describes the patterns of sexual violence reported by migrants and asylum seekers and the clinical care provided to them. Methods: This is a descriptive study, using routine program data. The study population consisted of migrants and asylum seekers treated for conditions related to sexual violence at the Médecins Sans Frontières clinic on Lesvos Island (September 2017-January 2018). Results: There were 215 survivors of sexual violence who presented for care, of whom 60 (28%) were male. The majority of incidents reported (94%) were cases of rape; 174 (81%) of survivors were from Africa and 185 (86%) of the incidents occurred over a month before presentation. Half the incidents (118) occurred in transit, mainly in Turkey, and 76 (35%) in the country of origin; 10 cases (5%) occurred on Lesvos. The perpetrator was known to the survivor in 23% of the cases. The need for mental health care exceeded the capacity of available mental care services. Conclusion: Even though the majority of cases delayed seeking medical care after the incident, it is crucial that access to mental health services is guaranteed for those in need. Such access and security measures for people in transit need to be put in place along migration routes, including in countries nominally considered safe, and secure routes need to be developed.
    • Person-centred care in practice: perspectives from a short course regimen for multi-drug resistant tuberculosis in Karakalpakstan, Uzbekistan.

      Horter, S; Stringer, B; Gray, N; Parpieva, N; Safaev, K; Tigay, Z; Singh, J; Achar, J (BMC, 2020-09-16)
      Introduction: Person-centred care, an internationally recognised priority, describes the involvement of people in their care and treatment decisions, and the consideration of their needs and priorities within service delivery. Clarity is required regarding how it may be implemented in practice within different contexts. The standard multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) treatment regimen is lengthy, toxic and insufficiently effective. 2019 World Health Organisation guidelines include a shorter (9-11-month) regimen and recommend that people with MDR-TB be involved in the choice of treatment option. We examine the perspectives and experiences of people with MDR-TB and health-care workers (HCW) regarding person-centred care in an MDR-TB programme in Karakalpakstan, Uzbekistan, run by Médecins Sans Frontières and the Ministry of Health. Methods: A qualitative study comprising 48 interviews with 24 people with MDR-TB and 20 HCW was conducted in June-July 2019. Participants were recruited purposively to include a range of treatment-taking experiences and professional positions. Interview data were analysed thematically using coding to identify emerging patterns, concepts, and categories relating to person-centred care, with Nvivo12. Results: People with MDR-TB were unfamiliar with shared decision-making and felt uncomfortable taking responsibility for their treatment choice. HCW were viewed as having greater knowledge and expertise, and patients trusted HCW to act in their best interests, deferring the choice of appropriate treatment course to them. HCW had concerns about involving people in treatment choices, preferring that doctors made decisions. People with MDR-TB wanted to be involved in discussions about their treatment, and have their preference sought, and were comfortable choosing whether treatment was ambulatory or hospital-based. Participants felt it important that people with MDR-TB had knowledge and understanding about their treatment and disease, to foster their sense of preparedness and ownership for treatment. Involving people in their care was said to motivate sustained treatment-taking, and it appeared important to have evidence of treatment need and effect. Conclusions: There is a preference for doctors choosing the treatment regimen, linked to shared decision-making unfamiliarity and practitioner-patient knowledge imbalance. Involving people in their care, through discussions, information, and preference-seeking could foster ownership and self-responsibility, supporting sustained engagement with treatment.
    • Two-Year Scale-Up of Seasonal Malaria Chemoprevention Reduced Malaria Morbidity among Children in the Health District of Koutiala, Mali.

      Maiga, H; Gaudart, J; Sagara, I; Diarra, M; Bamadio, A; Djimde, M; Coumare, S; Sangare, B; Dicko, Y; Tembely, A; et al. (MDPI, 2020-09-11)
      Background: Previous controlled studies demonstrated seasonal malaria chemoprevention (SMC) reduces malaria morbidity by >80% in children aged 3-59 months. Here, we assessed malaria morbidity after large-scale SMC implementation during a pilot campaign in the health district of Koutiala, Mali. Methods: Starting in August 2012, children received three rounds of SMC with sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) and amodiaquine (AQ). From July 2013 onward, children received four rounds of SMC. Prevalence of malaria infection, clinical malaria and anemia were assessed during two cross-sectional surveys conducted in August 2012 and June 2014. Investigations involved 20 randomly selected clusters in 2012 against 10 clusters in 2014. Results: Overall, 662 children were included in 2012, and 670 in 2014. Children in 2014 versus those surveyed in 2012 showed reduced proportions of malaria infection (12.4% in 2014 versus 28.7% in 2012 (p = 0.001)), clinical malaria (0.3% versus 4.2%, respectively (p < 0.001)), and anemia (50.1% versus 67.4%, respectively (p = 0.001)). A propensity score approach that accounts for environmental differences showed that SMC conveyed a significant protective effect against malaria infection (IR = 0.01, 95% CI (0.0001; 0.09), clinical malaria (OR = 0.25, 95% CI (0.06; 0.85)), and hemoglobin concentration (β = 1.3, 95% CI (0.69; 1.96)) in 2012 and 2014, respectively. Conclusion: SMC significantly reduced frequency of malaria infection, clinical malaria and anemia two years after SMC scale-up in Koutiala.
    • Pervasive refusal syndrome in child asylum seekers on Nauru.

      Newman, L; O'Connor, B; Reynolds, V; Newhouse, G (SAGE Publications, 2020-09-10)
      Objectives: Between 2013 and 2019, an estimated 200 children seeking asylum in Australia were detained on the island of Nauru. In 2018, 15 of these children developed the rare and life-threatening pervasive refusal syndrome (PRS). This paper describes the PRS case cluster, the complexities faced by clinicians managing these cases, and the lessons that can be learned from this outbreak. Conclusions: The emergence of PRS on Nauru highlighted the risks of long-term detention of children in settings that are unable to meet their physical and psycho-social needs. The case cluster also underscored (a) the difficulties faced by doctors working in conditions where their medical and legal obligations may be in direct conflict, and (b) the role of clinicians in patient advocacy.