322 research outputs found

    Podoconiosis: key priorities for research and implementation

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    Podoconiosis is a non-infectious tropical lymphoedema causing swelling of the lower legs. Podoconiosis is associated with stigma, depression and reduced productivity, resulting in significant socio-economic impacts for affected individuals, families and communities. It is caused by barefoot exposure to soils and affects disadvantaged populations. Evidence from the past 5 y suggests that podoconiosis is amenable to public health interventions, e.g. footwear and hygiene-based morbidity management, which reduce acute clinical episodes. Although much has been learned in recent years, advances in care for these patients and worldwide control requires further reliable and relevant research. To develop a comprehensive global control strategy, the following key research priorities are important: better understanding of the global burden of podoconiosis through extended worldwide mapping, development of new point-of-care diagnostic methods and approaches to define the presence of the environmental characteristics that contribute to the development of the condition, improving treatment through an increased understanding of the pathogenesis of dermal changes over time, improved understanding of optimal ways of providing patient care at the national level, including research to optimize behavioural change strategies, determine the optimum package of care and integrate approaches to deliver robust surveillance, monitoring and evaluation of control programmes

    Developing and validating a clinical algorithm for the diagnosis of podoconiosis

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    Background Difficulties in reliably diagnosing podoconiosis have severely limited the scale-up and uptake of the World Health Organization–recommended morbidity management and disability prevention interventions for affected people. We aimed to identify a set of clinical features that, combined into an algorithm, allow for diagnosis of podoconiosis. Methods We identified 372 people with lymphoedema and administered a structured questionnaire on signs and symptoms associated with podoconiosis and other potential causes of lymphoedema in northern Ethiopia. All individuals were tested for Wuchereria bancrofti–specific immunoglobulin G4 in the field using Wb123. Results Based on expert diagnosis, 344 (92.5%) of the 372 participants had podoconiosis. The rest had lymphoedema due to other aetiologies. The best-performing set of symptoms and signs was the presence of moss on the lower legs and a family history of leg swelling, plus the absence of current or previous leprosy, plus the absence of swelling in the groin, plus the absence of chronic illness (such as diabetes mellitus or heart or kidney diseases). The overall sensitivity of the algorithm was 91% (95% confidence interval [CI] 87.6 to 94.4) and specificity was 95% (95% CI 85.45 to 100). Conclusions We developed a clinical algorithm of clinical history and physical examination that could be used in areas suspected or endemic for podoconiosis. Use of this algorithm should enable earlier identification of podoconiosis cases and scale-up of interventions

    Retest and treat: a review of national HIV retesting guidelines to inform elimination of mother-to-child HIV transmission (EMTCT) efforts.

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    INTRODUCTION: High maternal HIV incidence contributes substantially to mother-to-child HIV transmission (MTCT) in some settings. Since 2006, HIV retesting during the third trimester and breastfeeding has been recommended by the World Health Organization in higher prevalence (≥5%) settings to reduce MTCT. However, many countries lack clarity on when and how often to retest pregnant and postpartum women to optimize resources and service delivery. We reviewed and characterized national guidelines on maternal retesting based on timing and frequency. METHODS: We identified 52 countries to represent variations in HIV prevalence, geography, and MTCT priority and searched available national MTCT, HIV testing and HIV treatment policies published between 2007 and 2017 for recommendations on retesting during pregnancy, labour/delivery and postpartum. Recommended retesting frequency and timing was extracted. Country HIV prevalence was classified as: very low (5 to <15%) and high (≥15%). Women with unknown HIV status at delivery/postpartum were included in retesting guidelines. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION: Overall, policies from 49 countries were identified; 51% from 2015 or later and most (n = 25) were from Africa. Four countries were high HIV prevalence, seven intermediate, sixteen low and twenty-two very low. Most (n = 31) had guidance on universal voluntary opt-out HIV testing at the first antenatal care (ANC) visit. Beyond the first ANC visit, the majority (78%, n = 38) had guidance on retesting; 22 recommended retesting all women with unknown/negative status, five only if unknown HIV status, three in pregnancy based on risk and eight combining these approaches. Retesting was universally recommended during pregnancy, labour/delivery, and postpartum for all high prevalence settings and four of seven intermediate prevalence settings. Five UNAIDS priority countries for EMTCT with low/very low HIV prevalence, but high/intermediate MTCT, had no guidance on retesting. CONCLUSIONS: Retesting guidelines for pregnant and postpartum women were ubiquitous in high prevalence countries and defined in some intermediate prevalence countries, but absent in some low HIV prevalence countries with high MTCT. Countries may require additional guidance on how to optimize maternal HIV testing and whether to prioritize retesting efforts or discontinue universal retesting based on HIV incidence. Research is needed to assess country-level guideline implementation and impact

    Exploring barriers to the use of formal maternal health services and priority areas for action in Sidama zone, southern Ethiopia.

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    In 2015 the maternal mortality ratio for Ethiopia was 353 per 100,000 live births. Large numbers of women do not use maternal health services. This study aimed to identify factors influencing the use of maternal health services at the primary health care unit (PHCU) level in rural communities in Sidama zone, south Ethiopia in order to design quality improvement interventions. We conducted a qualitative study in six woredas in 2013: 14 focus group discussions (FGDs) and 44 in-depth interviews with purposefully selected community members (women, male, traditional birth attendants, local kebele administrators), health professionals and health extension workers (HEWs) at PHCUs. We digitally recorded, transcribed and thematically analysed the interviews and FGDs using Nvivo. The 'three delay model' informed the analytical process and discussion of barriers to the use of maternal health services. Lack of knowledge on danger signs and benefits of maternal health services; cultural and traditional beliefs; trust in TBAs; lack of decision making power of women, previous negative experiences with health facilities; fear of going to an unfamiliar setting; lack of privacy and perceived costs of maternal health services were the main factors causing the first delay in deciding to seek care. Transport problems in inaccessible areas were the main contributing factor for the second delay on reaching care facilities. Lack of logistic supplies and equipment, insufficient knowledge and skills and unprofessional behaviour of health workers were key factors for the third delay in accessing quality care. Use of maternal health services at the PHCU level in Sidama zone is influenced by complex factors within the community and health system. PHCUs should continue to implement awareness creation activities to improve knowledge of the community on complications of pregnancy and benefits of maternal health services. The health system has to be responsive to community's cultural norms and practices. The mangers of the woreda health office and health centres should take into account the available budgets; work on ensuring the necessary logistics and supplies to be in place at PHCU

    Burden of disease attributable to suboptimal diet, metabolic risks, and low physical activity in Ethiopia and comparison with Eastern sub-Saharan African countries, 1990-2015: findings from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2015

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    Background: Twelve of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are related to malnutrition (both under- and overnutrition), other behavioral, and metabolic risk factors. However, comparative evidence on the impact of behavioral and metabolic risk factors on disease burden is limited in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), including Ethiopia. Using data from the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) Study, we assessed mortality and disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) attributable to child and maternal undernutrition (CMU), dietary risks, metabolic risks and low physical activity for Ethiopia. The results were compared with 14 other Eastern SSA countries. Methods: Databases from GBD 2015, that consist of data from 1990 to 2015, were used. A comparative risk assessment approach was utilized to estimate the burden of disease attributable to CMU, dietary risks, metabolic risks and low physical activity. Exposure levels of the risk factors were estimated using spatiotemporal Gaussian process regression (ST-GPR) and Bayesian meta-regression models. Results: In 2015, there were 58,783 [95% uncertainty interval (UI): 43,653-76,020] or 8.9% [95% UI: 6.1-12.5] estimated all-cause deaths attributable to CMU, 66,269 [95% UI: 39,367-106,512] or 9.7% [95% UI: 7.4-12.3] to dietary risks, 105,057 [95% UI: 66,167-157,071] or 15.4% [95% UI: 12.8-17.6] to metabolic risks and 5808 [95% UI: 3449-9359] or 0.9% [95% UI: 0.6-1.1]to low physical activity in Ethiopia. While the age-adjusted proportion of all-cause mortality attributable to CMU decreased significantly between 1990 and 2015, it increased from 10.8% [95% UI: 8.8-13.3] to 14.5% [95% UI: 11.7-18.0] for dietary risks and from 17.0% [95% UI: 15.4-18.7] to 24.2% [95% UI: 22.2-26.1] for metabolic risks. In 2015, Ethiopia ranked among the top four countries (of 15 Eastern SSA countries) in terms of mortality and DALYs based on the age-standardized proportion of disease attributable to dietary risks and metabolic risks. Conclusions: In Ethiopia, while there was a decline in mortality and DALYs attributable to CMU over the last two and half decades, the burden attributable to dietary and metabolic risks have increased during the same period. Lifestyle and metabolic risks of NCDs require more attention by the primary health care system of in the country

    Ministries of Health and the Stewardship of Health Evidence

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    This chapter describes how Ministries of Health have been mandated to act as stewards of populations’ health according to the World Health Organization. We argue that this mandate extends to them having (at least partial) responsibility for ensuring relevant evidence informs policy decisions. Yet this requires consideration of the evidence advisory systems serving Ministry needs, particularly whether or how such systems work to provide relevant information in a timely manner to key decision points in the policy process. Insights from our six cases are presented to illustrate the structural and practical differences which exist between evidence advisory systems and how, at certain times, key health decisions may in fact lie outside ministerial authority. These divergent experiences highlight a range of analytical challenges when considering the provision of evidence to inform health decisions from an institutional perspective

    Health-industry linkages for local health: reframing policies for African health system strengthening

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    The benefits of local production of pharmaceuticals in Africa for local access to medicines and to effective treatment remain contested. There is scepticism among health systems experts internationally that production of pharmaceuticals in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) can provide competitive prices, quality and reliability of supply. Meanwhile low-income African populations continue to suffer poor access to a broad range of medicines, despite major international funding efforts. A current wave of pharmaceutical industry investment in SSA is associated with active African government promotion of pharmaceuticals as a key sector in industrialization strategies. We present evidence from interviews in 2013–15 and 2017 in East Africa that health system actors perceive these investments in local production as an opportunity to improve access to medicines and supplies. We then identify key policies that can ensure that local health systems benefit from the investments. We argue for a ‘local health’ policy perspective, framed by concepts of proximity and positionality, which works with local priorities and distinct policy time scales and identifies scope for incentive alignment to generate mutually beneficial health–industry linkages and strengthening of both sectors. We argue that this local health perspective represents a distinctive shift in policy framing: it is not necessarily in conflict with ‘global health’ frameworks but poses a challenge to some of its underlying assumptions

    National mortality burden due to communicable, non-communicable, and other diseases in Ethiopia, 1990–2015: findings from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2015

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    Background: Ethiopia lacks a complete vital registration system that would assist in measuring disease burden and risk factors. We used the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk factors 2015 (GBD 2015) estimates to describe the mortality burden from communicable, non-communicable, and other diseases in Ethiopia over the last 25 years. Methods: GBD 2015 mainly used cause of death ensemble modeling to measure causes of death by age, sex, and year for 195 countries. We report numbers of deaths and rates of years of life lost (YLL) for communicable, maternal, neonatal, and nutritional (CMNN) disorders, non-communicable diseases (NCDs), and injuries with 95% uncertainty intervals (UI) for Ethiopia from 1990 to 2015. Results: CMNN causes of death have declined by 65% in the last two-and-a-half decades. Injury-related causes of death have also decreased by 70%. Deaths due to NCDs declined by 37% during the same period. Ethiopia showed a faster decline in the burden of four out of the five leading causes of age-standardized premature mortality rates when compared to the overall sub-Saharan African region and the Eastern sub-Saharan African region: lower respiratory infections, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, and diarrheal diseases; however, the same could not be said for ischemic heart disease and other NCDs. Non-communicable diseases, together, were the leading causes of age-standardized mortality rates, whereas CMNN diseases were leading causes of premature mortality in 2015. Although lower respiratory infections, tuberculosis, and diarrheal disease were the leading causes of age-standardized death rates, they showed major declines from 1990 to 2015. Neonatal encephalopathy, iron-deficiency anemia, protein-energy malnutrition, and preterm birth complications also showed more than a 50% reduction in burden. HIV/AIDS-related deaths have also decreased by 70% since 2005. Ischemic heart disease, hemorrhagic stroke, and ischemic stroke were among the top causes of premature mortality and age-standardized death rates in Ethiopia in 2015. Conclusions: Ethiopia has been successful in reducing deaths related to communicable, maternal, neonatal, and nutritional deficiency diseases and injuries by 65%, despite unacceptably high maternal and neonatal mortality rates. However, the country’s performance regarding non-communicable diseases, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and chronic respiratory disease, was minimal, causing these diseases to join the leading causes of premature mortality and death rates in 2015. While the country is progressing toward universal health coverage, prevention and control strategies in Ethiopia should consider the double burden of common infectious diseases and non-communicable diseases: lower respiratory infections, diarrhea, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes. Prevention and control strategies should also pay special attention to the leading causes of premature mortality and death rates caused by non-communicable diseases: cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes. Measuring further progress requires a data revolution in generating, managing, analyzing, and using data for decision-making and the creation of a full vital registration system in the country

    High rates of virological suppression in a cohort of human immunodeficiency virus-positive adults receiving antiretroviral therapy in ethiopian health centers irrespective of concomitant tuberculosis.

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    Antiretroviral therapy (ART) initiation during treatment for tuberculosis (TB) improves survival in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/TB-coinfected patients. We compared virological suppression (VS) rates, mortality, and retention in care in HIV-positive adults receiving care in 5 Ethiopian health centers with regard to TB coinfection
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