Now showing items 21-40 of 2828

    • Systematic, Point-of-Care Urine Lipoarabinomannan (Alere TB-LAM) Assay for Diagnosing Tuberculosis in Severely Immunocompromised HIV-Positive Ambulatory Patients

      Huerga, H; Cossa, L; Manhica, I; Bastard, M; Telnov, A; Molfino, L; Sanchez-Padilla, E (American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 2020-01-20)
      Point-of-care urine-lipoarabinomannan (LAM) Alere Determine TB-LAM assay has shown utility diagnosing tuberculosis (TB) in HIV-positive, severely immunocompromised, TB-symptomatic patients. We assessed LAM results in severely immunocompromised patients, who had LAM systematically performed at new or follow-up HIV consultations. This was a prospective, observational study on consecutive ambulatory, > 15-year-old HIV-positive patients with CD4 < 100 cells/µL in Mozambique. Clinical assessments and LAM were performed for all and microscopy, Xpert, sputum culture, and chest X-ray for LAM-positive participants. Patients were followed up for 6 months. Of 360 patients, half were ART-naive. Lipoarabinomannan positivity was 11.9% (43/360), higher among symptomatic patients compared with asymptomatic: 18.5% (30/162), and 6.6% (13/198), respectively, P = 0.001. Tuberculosis was bacteriologically confirmed in 6/35 LAM-positive patients (2 of them asymptomatic). Lipoarabinomannan positivity was associated with higher risk of mortality (aOR:4.48, 95% CI: 1.24-16.23, P = 0.022). Systematic urine-LAM allows for rapid TB treatment initiation in severely immunocompromised HIV ambulatory patients and identifies patients at a higher risk of death.
    • Impact of mass vaccination campaigns on measles transmission during an outbreak in Guinea, 2017

      Linton, NM; Keita, M; De Almeida, MM; Cuesta, JG; Guha-Sapir, D; Nishiura, H; van Loenhout, JA (Elsevier, 2020-01-17)
      OBJECTIVE: To estimate the time-dependent measles effective reproduction number (Rt) as an indicator of the impact of three outbreak response vaccination (ORV) campaigns on measles transmission during a nationwide outbreak in Guinea. METHODS: Rt represents the average number of secondary cases generated by a single primary case in a partially immune population during a given time period. Measles Rt was estimated using daily incidence data for 3,952 outbreak-associated measles cases in Guinea in 2017 for the time periods prior to, between, and following each of three ORV campaigns using a simple and extensible mathematical model. RESULTS: Rt was estimated to be above the threshold value of 1 during the initial growth period of the outbreak until the first ORV campaign began on March 13 (Rt =1.60, 95% CI: 1.55-1.67). It subsequently dropped below 1 and remained < 1 through the end of the year (range: 0.71-0.91), although low levels of transmission persisted. CONCLUSIONS: Reduction in Rt coincided with implementation of the ORV campaigns, indicating success of the campaigns at maintaining measles transmission intensity below epidemic growth levels. However, persistent measles transmission remains an issue in Guinea due to insufficient levels of herd immunity. Estimation of Rt should be further leveraged to help decision makers and field staff understand outbreak progress and the timing and type of vaccination efforts needed to halt transmission.
    • The impact of computed radiography and teleradiology on patients' diagnosis and treatment in Mweso, the Democratic Republic of Congo.

      Crumley, I; Halton, J; Greig, J; Kahunga, L; Mwanga, JP; Chua, A; Kosack, C (Public Library of Science, 2020-01-15)
      Introduction: High quality diagnostic imaging can provide increased diagnostic accuracy and help guide medical decision-making and management, however challenges for radiology in resource-limited settings are numerous. Diagnostic imaging and teleradiology have financial and logistical implications, so evidence of impact is crucial. We sought to test the hypothesis that the implementation of computed radiography with teleradiology consultation support will significantly change diagnoses and treatment plans in a resource limited setting. Method: Paired before-after study to determine the therapeutic impact of an add-on diagnostic test. 'Preliminary Plan' and 'Final Plan' forms allowed direct comparison of diagnosis and treatment plans at initial consultation and following radiography and teleradiology. Consecutive consenting patients were included until the sample size (600) was reached. Changes in both diagnosis and treatment plan were analysed in the whole cohort, with sub-analyses of children aged <5 years, and cases of chest radiography. Results: Final analysis included 536 cases. Diagnosis changed following radiography and teleradiology in 62% of cases, and treatment plans changed in 61%. In chest radiography cases, 70% of diagnoses and 62% of treatment plans changed, while in children <5 years 66% of diagnoses and 58% of treatment plans changed. Reduced final treatment plans were most common for exploratory surgery (72% decrease), surgical orthopaedic intervention (62% decrease), and TB treatment (52% decrease), allowing more conservative medical or surgical management in 61 cases. Increased final treatment plans were highest in the orthopaedic and interventional surgery and referral categories. Of 42 cases requiring interventional surgery in the final plan, 26 (62%) were identified only after radiography and teleradiology. 16 additional cases were indicated for orthopaedic surgery, 10 cases required patient transfer, and TB treatment was indicated in 45 cases. A change in the original prescription plan occurred in 41% of 536 cases, with one or more prescriptions stopped in 28% of all cases. Conclusion: We found that computed radiography with teleradiology had significant clinical value in this resource-limited setting, with the potential to affect both patient outcomes and treatment costs through providing improved diagnostics and avoiding unnecessary treatments and medications.
    • Supplementary protection certificates and their impact on access to medicines in Europe: case studies of sofosbuvir, trastuzumab and imatinib

      Hu, Y; Eynikel, D; Boulet, P; Krikorian, G (BioMed Central, 2020-01-14)
      In recent years, there has been increasing pressure on public health systems in high-income countries due to high medicines prices, one of the underlying causes of which are the market monopolies granted to pharmaceutical undertakings. These monopolies have been facilitated by expanded forms of intellectual property protections, including the extension of the exclusivity period after the expiration of the patent term concerning medicinal products. In the European Union such an approach lies in the Supplementary Protection Certificate, a mechanism formally introduced under Regulation 1768/92/EEC (now: Regulation 469/2009/EC, amended). After more than 20 years of implementation since it was first introduced, the common justifications for SPCs are being challenged by recent findings as to their functioning and impact. Similarly, legitimate questions have been voiced as to the negative impact of SPCs on timely access to affordable medicines. On the basis of an analysis of three medicines for hepatitis C and cancer treatments, the present article critically engages with the policy justifications underlying SPCs. It then analyses access challenges to a hepatitis C medicine and an HIV treatment in Europe, highlighting the social cost of the introduction of SPCs. Both the normative and empirical analyses have demonstrated that the common justifications supporting the SPC regime are deeply questionable. The addition of SPC exclusivity has also heavily delayed competition and maintained high medicines prices in European countries. Ultimately, the granting of such extended exclusive private rights on medicines may result in unnecessary suffering and be a factor in the erosion of access to medicines for all.
    • Extended Follow-up From a Randomized Clinical Trial of Routine Amoxicillin in the Treatment of Uncomplicated Severe Acute Malnutrition in Niger.

      Isanaka, S; Grantz, KH; Berthe, F; Schaefer, M; Adehossi, E; Grais, RF (American Medical Association, 2020-01-13)
    • EU migration policies drive health crisis on Greek islands.

      Orcutt, M; Mussa, R; Hiam, L; Veizis, A; McCann, S; Papadimitriou, E; Ponthieu, A; Knipper, M (Elsevier, 2020-01-13)
      Restrictive migration policies that deny migrants and asylum seekers their right to health—a fundamental right enshrined in universal human rights declarations and treaties since 1948—are increasingly prevalent globally. They are the result of the so-called migration crisis that is a politically made humanitarian crisis. States are criminalising people who are in some of the most vulnerable situations, often also denying their right to seek asylum and right to health. Such policies are particularly apparent in situations of indefinite containment, such as on the Greek Islands (Chios, Kos, Leros, Lesvos, and Samos), where people are contained in EU-supported hotspot facilities in overcrowded, unhealthy, and undignified conditions.
    • 'When you welcome well, you vaccinate well': a qualitative study on improving vaccination coverage in urban settings in Conakry, Republic of Guinea.

      Gil Cuesta, J; Whitehouse, K; Kaba, S; Nanan-N'Zeth, K; Haba, B; Bachy, C; Panunzi, I; Venables, E (Oxford University Press, 2020-01-13)
      BACKGROUND: Recurrent measles outbreaks followed by mass vaccination campaigns (MVCs) occur in urban settings in sub-Saharan countries. An understanding of the reasons for this is needed to improve future vaccination strategies. The 2017 measles outbreak in Guinea provided an opportunity to qualitatively explore suboptimal vaccination coverage within an MVC among participants through their perceptions, experiences and challenges. METHODS: We conducted focus group discussions with caregivers (n=68) and key informant interviews (n=13) with health professionals and religious and community leaders in Conakry. Data were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim from Susu and French, coded and thematically analysed. RESULTS: Vaccinations were widely regarded positively and their preventive benefits noted. Vaccine side effects and the subsequent cost of treatment were commonly reported concerns, with further knowledge requested. Community health workers (CHWs) play a pivotal role in MVCs. Caregivers suggested recruiting CHWs from local neighbourhoods and improving their attitude, knowledge and skills to provide information about vaccinations. Lack of trust in vaccines, CHWs and the healthcare system, particularly after the 2014-2016 Ebola epidemic, were also reported. CONCLUSIONS: Improving caregivers' knowledge of vaccines, potential side effects and their management are essential to increase MVC coverage in urban settings. Strengthening CHWs' capacities and appropriate recruitment are key to improving trust through a community involvement approach.
    • Tuberculosis-HIV Co-Infection: Progress and Challenges After Two Decades of Global Antiretroviral Treatment Roll-Out.

      Letang, E; Ellis, J; Naidoo, K; Casas, EC; Sanchez, P; Hassan-Moosa, R; Cresswell, F; Miro, JM; Garcia-Basteiro, AL (Elsevier, 2020-01-10)
      Despite wide antiretroviral scale-up during the past two decades resulting in declining new infections and mortality globally, HIV-associated tuberculosis remains as a major public health concern. Tuberculosis is the leading HIV-associated opportunistic infection and the main cause of death globally and, particularly, in resource-limited settings. Several challenges exist regarding diagnosis, global implementation of latent tuberculosis treatment, management of active tuberculosis, delivery of optimal patient-centered TB and HIV prevention and care in high burden countries. In this article we review the advances on pathogenesis, diagnosis, and treatment after nearly two decades of global roll-out of antiretroviral therapy and discuss the current challenges for the global control of tuberculosis-HIV co-infection.
    • 'SILVAMP TB LAM' rapid urine tuberculosis test predicts mortality in hospitalized HIV patients in South Africa.

      Sossen, B; Broger, T; Kerkhoff, AD; Schutz, C; Trollip, A; Moreau, E; Schumacher, SG; Burton, R; Ward, A; Wilkinson, RJ; et al. (Oxford University Press, 2020-01-09)
      Reducing diagnostic delay is key towards decreasing tuberculosis-associated deaths in people living with HIV. In tuberculosis patients with retrospective urine testing, the point-of-care Fujifilm SILVAMP TB LAM (FujiLAM) could have rapidly diagnosed tuberculosis in up to 89% who died. In FujiLAM negative patients, the probability of 12-week survival was 86-97%.
    • Prevention and control of cholera with household and community water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) interventions: A scoping review of current international guidelines.

      D'Mello-Guyett, L; Gallandat, K; Van den Bergh, R; Taylor, D; Bulit, G; Legros, D; Maes, P; Checchi, F; Cumming, O (Public Library of Science, 2020-01-08)
      INTRODUCTION: Cholera remains a frequent cause of outbreaks globally, particularly in areas with inadequate water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services. Cholera is spread through faecal-oral routes, and studies demonstrate that ingestion of Vibrio cholerae occurs from consuming contaminated food and water, contact with cholera cases and transmission from contaminated environmental point sources. WASH guidelines recommending interventions for the prevention and control of cholera are numerous and vary considerably in their recommendations. To date, there has been no review of practice guidelines used in cholera prevention and control programmes. METHODS: We systematically searched international agency websites to identify WASH intervention guidelines used in cholera programmes in endemic and epidemic settings. Recommendations listed in the guidelines were extracted, categorised and analysed. Analysis was based on consistency, concordance and recommendations were classified on the basis of whether the interventions targeted within-household or community-level transmission. RESULTS: Eight international guidelines were included in this review: three by non-governmental organisations (NGOs), one from a non-profit organisation (NPO), three from multilateral organisations and one from a research institution. There were 95 distinct recommendations identified, and concordance among guidelines was poor to fair. All categories of WASH interventions were featured in the guidelines. The majority of recommendations targeted community-level transmission (45%), 35% targeted within-household transmission and 20% both. CONCLUSIONS: Recent evidence suggests that interventions for effective cholera control and response to epidemics should focus on case-centred approaches and within-household transmission. Guidelines did consistently propose interventions targeting transmission within households. However, the majority of recommendations listed in guidelines targeted community-level transmission and tended to be more focused on preventing contamination of the environment by cases or recurrent outbreaks, and the level of service required to interrupt community-level transmission was often not specified. The guidelines in current use were varied and interpretation may be difficult when conflicting recommendations are provided. Future editions of guidelines should reflect on the inclusion of evidence-based approaches, cholera transmission models and resource-efficient strategies.
    • The field is ever further: In search of the elusive space of fieldwork

      Stellmach, D (SAGE Publications, 2020-01-07)
      This short reflection considers how humanitarian workers conceptualize and practice “the field” as a site of action. Through the use of narrative ethnography, and drawing on comparisons with the practice of academic anthropology, it attempts to draw out disciplinary assumptions that govern how and where humanitarian action is undertaken. It demonstrates how the field is a central imaginary that underpins the principles and performance of both anthropology and humanitarian action. It highlights how the conceptualization of “the field” is itself a methodological tool in the practice of humanitarian intervention.
    • HIV viral load algorithm

      Shroufi, A; van Cutsem, G; Phillips, A; Maman, D; Murphy, R; Duncan, K; Cambiano, V; Bansi-Matharu, L (Ovid Technologies (Wolters Kluwer Health), 2020-01)
      Letter to the Editor | No Abstract
    • New opportunities in tuberculosis prevention: implications for people living with HIV.

      Gonzalez Fernandez, L; Casas, EC; Singh, S; Churchyard, GJ; Brigden, G; Gotuzzo, E; Vandevelde, W; Sahu, S; Ahmedov, S; Kamarulzaman, A; et al. (Wiley Open Access, 2020-01-01)
      INTRODUCTION: Tuberculosis (TB) is a leading cause of mortality among people living with HIV (PLHIV). An invigorated global END TB Strategy seeks to increase efforts in scaling up TB preventive therapy (TPT) as a central intervention for HIV programmes in an effort to contribute to a 90% reduction in TB incidence and 95% reduction in mortality by 2035. TPT in PLHIV should be part of a comprehensive approach to reduce TB transmission, illness and death that also includes TB active case-finding and prompt, effective and timely initiation of anti-TB therapy among PLHIV. However, the use and implementation of preventive strategies has remained deplorably inadequate and today TB prevention among PLHIV has become an urgent priority globally. DISCUSSION: We present a summary of the current and novel TPT regimens, including current evidence of use with antiretroviral regimens (ART). We review challenges and opportunities to scale-up TB prevention within HIV programmes, including the use of differentiated care approaches and demand creation for effective TB/HIV services delivery. TB preventive vaccines and diagnostics, including optimal algorithms, while important topics, are outside of the focus of this commentary. CONCLUSIONS: A number of new tools and strategies to make TPT a standard of care in HIV programmes have become available. The new TPT regimens are safe and effective and can be used with current ART, with attention being paid to potential drug-drug interactions between rifamycins and some classes of antiretrovirals. More research and development is needed to optimize TPT for small children, pregnant women and drug-resistant TB (DR-TB). Effective programmatic scale-up can be supported through context-adapted demand creation strategies and the inclusion of TPT in client-centred services, such as differentiated service delivery (DSD) models. Robust collaboration between the HIV and TB programmes represents a unique opportunity to ensure that TB, a preventable and curable condition, is no longer the number one cause of death in PLHIV.
    • Clinical diagnostic evaluation of HRP2 and pLDH-based rapid diagnostic tests for malaria in an area receiving seasonal malaria chemoprevention in Niger

      Coldiron, M; Assao, B; Langendorf, C; Sayinzoga-Makombe, N; de la Tour, R; Piriou, E; Ciglenecki, I; Mumina, A; Guindo, O; Page, A-L; et al. (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2019-12-26)
      Background Rapid diagnostic tests (RDT) for malaria are common, but their performance varies. Tests using histidine-rich protein 2 (HRP2) antigen are most common, and many have high sensitivity. HRP2 tests can remain positive for weeks after treatment, limiting their specificity and usefulness in high-transmission settings. Tests using Plasmodium lactate dehydrogenase (pLDH) have been less widely used but have higher specificity, mostly due to a much shorter time to become negative. Methods A prospective, health centre-based, diagnostic evaluation of two malaria RDTs was performed in rural Niger during the high malaria transmission season (3–28 October, 2017) and during the low transmission season (28 January–31 March, 2018). All children under 5 years of age presenting with fever (axillary temperature > 37.5 °C) or history of fever in the previous 24 h were eligible. Capillary blood was collected by finger prick. The SD Bioline HRP2 (catalog: 05FK50) and the CareStart pLDH(pan) (catalog: RMNM-02571) were performed in parallel, and thick and thin smears were prepared. Microscopy was performed at Epicentre, Maradi, Niger, with external quality control. The target sample size was 279 children with microscopy-confirmed malaria during each transmission season. Results In the high season, the sensitivity of both tests was estimated at > 99%, but the specificity of both tests was lower: 58.0% (95% CI 52.1–63.8) for the pLDH test and 57.4% (95% CI 51.5–63.1) for the HRP2 test. The positive predictive value was 66.3% (95% CI 61.1–71.2) for both tests. In the low season, the sensitivity of both tests dropped: 91.0% (95% CI 85.3–95.0) for the pLDH test and 85.8% (95% CI 79.3–90.9) for the HRP2 test. The positive predictive value remained low for both tests in the low season: 60.5% (95% CI 53.9–66.8) for the pLDH test and 61.9% (55.0–68.4) for the HRP2 test. Performance was similar across different production lots, gender, age of the children, and, during the high season, time since the most recent distribution of seasonal malaria chemoprevention. Conclusions The low specificity of the pLDH RDT in this setting was unexpected and is not easily explained. As the pLDH test continues to be introduced into new settings, the questions raised by this study will need to be addressed.
    • Clinical diagnostic evaluation of HRP2 and pLDH-based rapid diagnostic tests for malaria in an area receiving seasonal malaria chemoprevention in Niger.

      Coldiron, M; Assao, B; Langendorf, C; Sayinzoga-Makombe, N; Ciglenecki, I; de la Tour, R; Piriou, E; Bako, M; Mumina, A; Guindo, O; et al. (BioMed Central, 2019-12-26)
      BACKGROUND: Rapid diagnostic tests (RDT) for malaria are common, but their performance varies. Tests using histidine-rich protein 2 (HRP2) antigen are most common, and many have high sensitivity. HRP2 tests can remain positive for weeks after treatment, limiting their specificity and usefulness in high-transmission settings. Tests using Plasmodium lactate dehydrogenase (pLDH) have been less widely used but have higher specificity, mostly due to a much shorter time to become negative. METHODS: A prospective, health centre-based, diagnostic evaluation of two malaria RDTs was performed in rural Niger during the high malaria transmission season (3-28 October, 2017) and during the low transmission season (28 January-31 March, 2018). All children under 5 years of age presenting with fever (axillary temperature > 37.5 °C) or history of fever in the previous 24 h were eligible. Capillary blood was collected by finger prick. The SD Bioline HRP2 (catalog: 05FK50) and the CareStart pLDH(pan) (catalog: RMNM-02571) were performed in parallel, and thick and thin smears were prepared. Microscopy was performed at Epicentre, Maradi, Niger, with external quality control. The target sample size was 279 children with microscopy-confirmed malaria during each transmission season. RESULTS: In the high season, the sensitivity of both tests was estimated at > 99%, but the specificity of both tests was lower: 58.0% (95% CI 52.1-63.8) for the pLDH test and 57.4% (95% CI 51.5-63.1) for the HRP2 test. The positive predictive value was 66.3% (95% CI 61.1-71.2) for both tests. In the low season, the sensitivity of both tests dropped: 91.0% (95% CI 85.3-95.0) for the pLDH test and 85.8% (95% CI 79.3-90.9) for the HRP2 test. The positive predictive value remained low for both tests in the low season: 60.5% (95% CI 53.9-66.8) for the pLDH test and 61.9% (55.0-68.4) for the HRP2 test. Performance was similar across different production lots, gender, age of the children, and, during the high season, time since the most recent distribution of seasonal malaria chemoprevention. CONCLUSIONS: The low specificity of the pLDH RDT in this setting was unexpected and is not easily explained. As the pLDH test continues to be introduced into new settings, the questions raised by this study will need to be addressed.
    • Knowledge, Awareness and Practices of Incident Cases of Dengue in Chandigarh

      Kaur, R; Rajvanshi, H (Advanced Research Publications, 2019-12-23)
      Introduction: Dengue is an endemic disease in India. Epidemics occur every year with incidence rising every year. Since 2010, Chandigarh has seen Dengue epidemics every year but the toll of reported confirmed cases has been very low. A study was undertaken to assess knowledge, awareness and practices among those who had already been diagnosed with dengue and followed up multiple times by Multipurpose Health Workers (MPHWs) at their homes. This study was conducted when both authors were post-graduate scholars at the Department of Public Health at Manipal Academy of Higher Education.Objective: To ascertain knowledge, awareness and practices regarding dengue among incident dengue cases of 2016 in Chandigarh. Methods: Retrospective Cohort study was conducted among the incident cases of dengue reported in 2016. The line list of cases was obtained from health department. Each household was visited once and face to face interviews were conducted with those willing to participate from January 2017 to March 2017. Using a modified WHO (World Health Organisation) questionnaire, 149 interviews were completed and analysed using descriptive analytical tools. Results: Data from the 149 interviews (57 males and 92 females) was used for primary analysis. Only 58.4% respondents were aware about dengue before diagnosis and 63.1% knew of its vector while only 10.1% were aware of the national programme and services available to them. Use of mosquito net was negligible (3.4%), even in rural areas. Screens on doors and windows were more common in urban area of Chandigarh. Conclusion: Since the study was conducted among incident cases, even after multiple visits conducted by MPHWs to the houses of these respondents, the knowledge regarding dengue was lower than expected.
    • GeneXpert and Community Health Workers Supported Patient Tracing for Tuberculosis Diagnosis in Conflict-Affected Border Areas in India

      Isaakidis, P; Ferlazzo, G; Das, M; Pasupuleti, D; Sloan, S; Hossain, F; Kalon, S; Mansoor, H; Rao, S (MDPI AG, 2019-12-21)
      Abstract: Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has been providing diagnosis and treatment for patients with tuberculosis (TB) via mobile clinics in conflict-affected border areas of Chhattisgarh, India since 2009. The study objectives were to determine the proportion of patients diagnosed with TB and those who were lost-to-follow-up (LTFU) prior to treatment initiation among patients with presumptive TB between April 2015 and August 2018. The study also compared bacteriological confirmation and pretreatment LTFU during two time periods: a) April 2015–August 2016 and b) April 2017–August 2018 (before and after the introduction of GeneXpert as a first diagnostic test). Community health workers (CHW) supported patient tracing. This study was a retrospective analysis of routine program data. Among 1042 patients with presumptive TB, 376 (36%) were diagnosed with TB. Of presumptive TB patients, the pretreatment LTFU was 7%. Upon comparing the two time-periods, bacteriological confirmation increased from 20% to 33%, while pretreatment LTFU decreased from 11% to 4%. TB diagnosis with GeneXpert as the first diagnostic test and CHW-supported patient tracing in a mobile-clinic model of care shows feasibility for replication in similar conflict-affected, hard to reach areas.
    • Barriers and solutions to finding rifampicin-resistant tuberculosis cases in older children and adolescents

      Mohr-Holland, E; Apolisi, I; Reuter, A; de Azevedo, V; Hill, J; Matthee, S; Seddon, JA; Isaakidis, P; Furin, J; Trivino-Duran, L (International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, 2019-12-21)
      Little is known about the barriers to post-exposure management of rifampicin-resistant tuberculosis (RR-TB) in older children and adolescents. We report on implementation lessons from a pilot programme targeting household-exposed individuals aged 6–18 years in Khayelitsha, South Africa. Barriers included misperceptions regarding risk of exposure, multiple research and implementation stakeholders, additional workload for an overburdened healthcare system, logistical issues faced by families, and insufficient human and financial resources. Solutions to these barriers are possible, but creativity and persistence are required. Our experience can guide others looking to roll-out care for children and adolescents exposed to RR-TB.
    • Scaling up HIV viral load monitoring in Manicaland, Zimbabwe: challenges and opportunities from the field

      Nyagadza, B; Kudya, N; Mbofana, E; Masaka, S; Garone, D; Chen, CY; Mulingwa, A; Uzande, C; Isaakidis, P; Ndlovu, Z (International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, 2019-12-21)
      Background: Demand for viral load (VL) monitoring is expected to increase; however, implementation of the multifaceted VL testing poses numerous challenges. We report experiences from Médecins Sans Frontiéres (MSF) and partners in the scale-up of HIV VL in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Child Care (MoHCC) of Zimbabwe. Methods: A retrospective data review of routine reports from MSF-supported health facilities in Manicaland Province (Zimbabwe) was conducted. These secondary aggregate data were triangulated, and emerging themes of lessons learnt from VL monitoring were shared. Results: A VL testing coverage of 63% (5966/9456) was achieved among the 40 health facilities, together with a switch rate to second-line antiretroviral therapy (ART) of 46.4% (108/233). The key enablers to scaling-up the VL monitoring were well-equipped and supported VL laboratories, the operationalisation of the on-the-job clinical mentoring and systematic weaning off of better performing health facilities. Concerted efforts from different implementing partners and funders in the HIV programme, and close collaboration with MoHCC were pivotal. Conclusion: Our experience indicates that clinical mentoring is effective, and resulted in high VL testing coverage and up-skilling primary health care workers in VL monitoring. Attention must be focused on innovations for improving VL result utilisation, especially the identification and management of patients who fail ART.
    • GeneXpert and Community Health Workers Supported Patient Tracing for Tuberculosis Diagnosis in Conflict-Affected Border Areas in India.

      Das, M; Pasupuleti, D; Rao, S; Sloan, S; Mansoor, H; Kalon, S; Hossain, F; Ferlazzo, G; Isaakidis, P (MDPI AG, 2019-12-21)
      Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has been providing diagnosis and treatment for patients with tuberculosis (TB) via mobile clinics in conflict-affected border areas of Chhattisgarh, India since 2009. The study objectives were to determine the proportion of patients diagnosed with TB and those who were lost-to-follow-up (LTFU) prior to treatment initiation among patients with presumptive TB between April 2015 and August 2018. The study also compared bacteriological confirmation and pretreatment LTFU during two time periods: a) April 2015–August 2016 and b) April 2017–August 2018 (before and after the introduction of GeneXpert as a first diagnostic test). Community health workers (CHW) supported patient tracing. This study was a retrospective analysis of routine program data. Among 1042 patients with presumptive TB, 376 (36%) were diagnosed with TB. Of presumptive TB patients, the pretreatment LTFU was 7%. Upon comparing the two time-periods, bacteriological confirmation increased from 20% to 33%, while pretreatment LTFU decreased from 11% to 4%. TB diagnosis with GeneXpert as the first diagnostic test and CHW-supported patient tracing in a mobile-clinic model of care shows feasibility for replication in similar conflict-affected, hard to reach areas.