15 research outputs found

    Art and Creativity for HIV/AIDS Awareness, Prevention, and Empowerment of Young People in Uganda

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    Art, youth engagement and informality in the context of HIV prevention have been generally ignored by most researchers and stakeholders within the HIV programming and policy arenas, thus silencing the plight of urban youth infected with and affected by HIV/AIDS. In response, this thesis draws on the case of peri-urban settings of Kampala, Uganda to bring geographies of applied sculpture, HIV/AIDS prevention, and youth empowerment into dialogue, informed by the notions of art having the capacity to move beyond the spaces of galleries into an expanded field, and thus, beyond the visual and into the social spheres. In liaison with local NGOs (The Uganda AIDS Support Organisation - TASO, National Guidance and Empowerment Network for People Living with HIV/AIDS - NGEN+ and Lungujja Community based Health care Organisation – LUCOHECO, it adopts a mixed methodological approach, including applied art and participatory techniques - observation, video, storytelling, and interviews, to understand the lived experiences of young people (15-24 years) in marginalized spaces in Kampala. The thesis first examines the general context of using ethnography and applied social sculpture to explore every day experiences by facilitating the engagement of young people in open communication about the epidemic. This is intended to enable them to act in confronting stigma, taboos, and their precarious existence, while raising their awareness about HIV/AIDS. The thesis then explores the everyday precarious existence of young people in informal settings in Kampala. It proceeds to examine how workshops with these young people allowed collective engagement which, in turn, influenced the creation of artworks envisioned to act as communication tools for raising awareness of HIV/AIDS with the potential for livelihood benefits. Finally, the thesis examines young people’s active involvement in participatory workshops for HIV/AIDS prevention, providing ethnographic evidence regarding the artmaking process, the conversations that ensued as they worked, and the creation of applied objects/forms that enabled them to build their confidence to freely express about the precarities affecting their lives, countering taboos, and encouraging them to change their behaviours and practices while potentially acting as change agents in their own communities. It highlights the significance of stimulating open conversations about HIV/AIDS - as a starting point towards confronting stigma and other aspects of precarity, while advocating for the incorporation of the approach into practice by public health experts, policymakers, and development practitioners. The thesis shows the strengths of applied sculpture as an approach that has potential for making sense of ordinary everyday experiences, finding meaning and crafting clarity of young people’s lived experiences in the context of HIV/AIDS. It concludes that applied sculpture is potentially an important tool in tackling HIV/AIDS and its attendant problems by engendering and facilitating open conversations and social economic development through an engagement with the voices and agency of young people in Uganda and beyond

    High incidence of acute kidney injury among patients with major trauma at Mulago National Referral Hospital, Uganda: risk factors and overall survival

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    Introduction: Acute kidney injury (AKI) is a common and life-threatening complication of major trauma. Recognition is often delayed and management is frequently sub-optimal. We determined the incidence, risk factors and immediate outcomes of AKI in patients with major trauma at Mulago National Referral Hospital.Methods: This was a prospective study. We recruited adult patients with ISS of > 16. The KDIGO criteria was used to stage AKI. Serum creatinine was measured at baseline, 24, 48, 72 hours and on discharge from the study. Participants were followed up for seven days if not yet discharged. Bivariate and multivariate analysis was done using modified Poisson regression with robust standard errors.Results: 224 patients were recruited. The incidence was 67/1000 persons per day. The risk factors were male sex, delayed presentation, hypoglycemia at admission, RR=1.62 (95%CI 1.24-2.12) and non-operative management RR=1.39 (95%CI 1.02-1.89). Out of the 62 patients that died, 34 (54.8%) had AKI. The overall mortality rate was 39.5 patients per thousand per day.Conclusion: There was a high incidence of AKI among patients with major trauma. Efforts to reduce morbidity and mortality should be prioritized.Keywords: AKI=Acute kidney injury; major trauma; ISS = injury severity score

    Field evaluation of the performance of seven Antigen Rapid diagnostic tests for the diagnosis of SARs-CoV-2 virus infection in Uganda.

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    OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to evaluate the performance of seven antigen rapid diagnostic tests (Ag RDTs) in a clinical setting to identify those that could be recommended for use in the diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 infection in Uganda. METHODS: This was a cross-sectional prospective study. Nasopharyngeal swabs were collected consecutively from COVID-19 PCR positive and COVID-19 PCR negative participants at isolation centers and points of entry, and tested with the SARS-CoV-2 Ag RDTs. Test sensitivity and specificity were generated by comparing results against qRT-PCR results (Berlin Protocol) at a cycle threshold (Ct) cut-off of ≤39. Sensitivity was also calculated at Ct cut-offs ≤29 and ≤33. RESULTS: None of the Ag RDTs had a sensitivity of ≥80% at Ct cut-off values ≤33 and ≤39. Two kits, Panbio™ COVID-19 Ag and VivaDiag™ SARS-CoV-2 Ag had a sensitivity of ≥80% at a Ct cut-off value of ≤29. Four kits: BIOCREDIT COVID -19 Ag, COVID-19 Ag Respi-Strip, MEDsan® SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Rapid Test and Panbio™ COVID-19 Ag Rapid Test had a specificity of ≥97%. CONCLUSIONS: This evaluation identified one Ag RDT, Panbio™ COVID-19 Ag with a performance at high viral load (Ct value ≤29) reaching that recommended by WHO. This kit was recommended for screening of patients with COVID -19-like symptoms presenting at health facilities

    Field evaluation of the performance of a SARS-CoV-2 antigen rapid diagnostic test in Uganda using nasopharyngeal samples.

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    OBJECTIVES: There is a high demand for SARS-CoV-2 testing to identify COVID-19 cases. Real-time quantitative PCR (qRT-PCR) is the recommended diagnostic test but a number of constraints prevent its widespread implementation, including cost. The aim of this study was to evaluate a low cost and easy to use rapid antigen test for diagnosing COVID-19 at the point of care. METHODS: Nasopharyngeal swabs from suspected COVID-19 cases and low-risk volunteers were tested with the STANDARD Q COVID-19 Ag Test and the results were compared with the qRT-PCR results. RESULTS: In total, 262 samples were collected, including 90 qRT-PCR positives. The majority of samples were from males (89%) with a mean age of 34 years and only 13 (14%) of the positives were mildly symptomatic. The sensitivity and specificity of the antigen test were 70.0% (95% confidence interval (CI): 60-79) and 92% (95% CI: 87-96), respectively, and the diagnostic accuracy was 84% (95% CI: 79-88). The antigen test was more likely to be positive for samples with qRT-PCR Ct values ≤29, with a sensitivity of 92%. CONCLUSIONS: The STANDARD Q COVID-19 Ag Test performed less than optimally in this evaluation. However, the test may still have an important role to play early in infection when timely access to molecular testing is not available but the results should be confirmed by qRT-PCR

    A year of genomic surveillance reveals how the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic unfolded in Africa.

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    The progression of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic in Africa has so far been heterogeneous, and the full impact is not yet well understood. In this study, we describe the genomic epidemiology using a dataset of 8746 genomes from 33 African countries and two overseas territories. We show that the epidemics in most countries were initiated by importations predominantly from Europe, which diminished after the early introduction of international travel restrictions. As the pandemic progressed, ongoing transmission in many countries and increasing mobility led to the emergence and spread within the continent of many variants of concern and interest, such as B.1.351, B.1.525, A.23.1, and C.1.1. Although distorted by low sampling numbers and blind spots, the findings highlight that Africa must not be left behind in the global pandemic response, otherwise it could become a source for new variants

    The evolving SARS-CoV-2 epidemic in Africa: Insights from rapidly expanding genomic surveillance.

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    Investment in severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) sequencing in Africa over the past year has led to a major increase in the number of sequences that have been generated and used to track the pandemic on the continent, a number that now exceeds 100,000 genomes. Our results show an increase in the number of African countries that are able to sequence domestically and highlight that local sequencing enables faster turnaround times and more-regular routine surveillance. Despite limitations of low testing proportions, findings from this genomic surveillance study underscore the heterogeneous nature of the pandemic and illuminate the distinct dispersal dynamics of variants of concern-particularly Alpha, Beta, Delta, and Omicron-on the continent. Sustained investment for diagnostics and genomic surveillance in Africa is needed as the virus continues to evolve while the continent faces many emerging and reemerging infectious disease threats. These investments are crucial for pandemic preparedness and response and will serve the health of the continent well into the 21st century

    The evolving SARS-CoV-2 epidemic in Africa: Insights from rapidly expanding genomic surveillance

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    INTRODUCTION Investment in Africa over the past year with regard to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) sequencing has led to a massive increase in the number of sequences, which, to date, exceeds 100,000 sequences generated to track the pandemic on the continent. These sequences have profoundly affected how public health officials in Africa have navigated the COVID-19 pandemic. RATIONALE We demonstrate how the first 100,000 SARS-CoV-2 sequences from Africa have helped monitor the epidemic on the continent, how genomic surveillance expanded over the course of the pandemic, and how we adapted our sequencing methods to deal with an evolving virus. Finally, we also examine how viral lineages have spread across the continent in a phylogeographic framework to gain insights into the underlying temporal and spatial transmission dynamics for several variants of concern (VOCs). RESULTS Our results indicate that the number of countries in Africa that can sequence the virus within their own borders is growing and that this is coupled with a shorter turnaround time from the time of sampling to sequence submission. Ongoing evolution necessitated the continual updating of primer sets, and, as a result, eight primer sets were designed in tandem with viral evolution and used to ensure effective sequencing of the virus. The pandemic unfolded through multiple waves of infection that were each driven by distinct genetic lineages, with B.1-like ancestral strains associated with the first pandemic wave of infections in 2020. Successive waves on the continent were fueled by different VOCs, with Alpha and Beta cocirculating in distinct spatial patterns during the second wave and Delta and Omicron affecting the whole continent during the third and fourth waves, respectively. Phylogeographic reconstruction points toward distinct differences in viral importation and exportation patterns associated with the Alpha, Beta, Delta, and Omicron variants and subvariants, when considering both Africa versus the rest of the world and viral dissemination within the continent. Our epidemiological and phylogenetic inferences therefore underscore the heterogeneous nature of the pandemic on the continent and highlight key insights and challenges, for instance, recognizing the limitations of low testing proportions. We also highlight the early warning capacity that genomic surveillance in Africa has had for the rest of the world with the detection of new lineages and variants, the most recent being the characterization of various Omicron subvariants. CONCLUSION Sustained investment for diagnostics and genomic surveillance in Africa is needed as the virus continues to evolve. This is important not only to help combat SARS-CoV-2 on the continent but also because it can be used as a platform to help address the many emerging and reemerging infectious disease threats in Africa. In particular, capacity building for local sequencing within countries or within the continent should be prioritized because this is generally associated with shorter turnaround times, providing the most benefit to local public health authorities tasked with pandemic response and mitigation and allowing for the fastest reaction to localized outbreaks. These investments are crucial for pandemic preparedness and response and will serve the health of the continent well into the 21st century

    Effects of anti-malarial prophylaxes on maternal transfer of Immunoglobulin-G (IgG) and association to immunity against Plasmodium falciparum infections among children in a Ugandan birth cohort.

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    BackgroundThe in-utero transfer of malaria specific IgG to the fetus in Plasmodium falciparum infected pregnant women potentially plays a role in provision of immune protection against malaria in the first birth year. However, the effect of Intermittent Prophylactic Treatment in Pregnancy (IPTp) and placental malaria on the extent of in-utero antibody transfer in malaria endemic regions like Uganda remain unknown. The aim of this study was thus to establish the effect of IPTp on in-utero transfer of malaria specific IgG to the fetus and the associated immune protection against malaria in the first birth year of children born to mothers who had P. falciparum infection during pregnancy in Uganda.MethodsWe screened a total of 637 cord blood samples from a double blinded randomized clinical trial on Sulfadoxine-Pyrimethamine (SP) and Dihydroartemisinin-Piperaquine (DP) IPTp in a Ugandan birth cohort; study conducted from Busia, Eastern Uganda. Luminex assay was used to measure the cord levels of IgG sub-types (IgG1, IgG2, IgG3 and IgG4) against 15 different P. falciparum specific antigens, with tetanus toxoid (t.t) as a control antigen. Man-Whitney U test (non-parametric) in STATA (ver15) was used in statistical analysis of the samples. In addition, Multivariate cox regression analysis was used to determine the effect of maternal transfer of IgG on the incidence of malaria in the first birth year of children under study.ResultsMothers on SP expressed higher levels of cord IgG4 against erythrocyte binding antigens (EBA140, EBA175 and EBA181) (p0.05). Children who expressed higher levels (75th percentile) of total IgG against the six key P. falciparum antigens (Pf SEA, Rh4.2, AMA1, GLURP, Etramp5Ag1 and EBA 175) had higher risk of malaria in the first birth year; AHRs: 1.092, 95% CI: 1.02-1.17 (Rh4.2); 1.32, 95% CI: 1.00-1.74 (PfSEA); 1.21, 95%CI: 0.97-1.52 (Etramp5Ag1); 1.25, 95%CI: 0.98-1.60 (AMA1); 1.83, 95%CI: 1.15-2.93 (GLURP) (GLURP), and 1.35,; 95%CI: 1.03-1.78 (EBA175). Children born to mothers categorized as poorest had the highest risk of malaria infections in the first birth year (AHR: 1.79, 95% CI: 1.31-2.4). Children born to mothers who had malaria infections during gestation had higher risk of getting malaria in the first birth year (AHR 1.30; 95%CI: 0.97-1.7).ConclusionMalaria prophylaxis in pregnant mothers using either DP or SP does not affect expression of antibodies against P. falciparum specific antigens in the cord blood. Poverty and malaria infections during pregnancy are key risk factors of malaria infections in the first birth year of growth of children. Antibodies against P. falciparum specific antigens does not protect against parasitemia and malaria infections in the first birth year of children born in malaria endemic areas