In 2011, Ethiopia introduced a strategy of symptomatic tuberculosis (TB) screening for patients attending out-patient services to increase identification of presumptive TB. We assessed implementation and factors affecting symptomatic TB screening in 86 health centres in the Amhara Region. A quarter (28%) of the health centres in this study had poor symptomatic TB screening practices in the out-patient services. Strengthening multidisciplinary teams and expanding partner support are recommended to improve TB screening practices in Ethiopia.  

Retreatment ‘others’ refer to all TB cases who were previously treated but with unknown outcome of that previous treatment or who have returned to treatment with bacteriologically negative pulmonary or extra-pulmonary TB. This study was conducted in 11 regional referral hospitals (RRHs) serving high burden TB districts in Uganda to determine the profile and treatment success of TB retreatment ‘others’ in comparison with the classical retreatment cases. Of the 6244 TB cases registered at the study sites, 733 (11.7 %) were retreatment cases. Retreatment ‘others’ constituted 45.5 % of retreatment cases. Co-infection with HIV was higher among retreatment ‘others’ (70.9 %) than classical retreatment cases (53.5 %). Treatment was successful in 410 (56.2 %) retreatment cases. Retreatment ‘others’ were associated with reduced odds of success compared to classical cases. There is a need to review the diagnosis and management of retreatment ‘others’.

Ziehl-Neelsen (ZN) bright-field microscopy is time-consuming, with poor sensitivity, even under optimal conditions. Introduction of Primo Star iLED fluorescent microscopy (FM) may improve TB case finding at referral hospitals in Rwanda. Laboratory technicians demonstrated high acceptance of iLED. The 100% concordance at both demonstration sites during the continuation phase shows technicians' rapid command of the new iLED microscope in a relatively short time. Additionally, fluorescent microscopy reduces the time necessary for examination by more than half. The high level of agreement between iLED and FM during implementation in both sites provides initial evidence for iLED to replace current methods.

To determine the yield of a household contact investigation for tuberculosis (TB) under routine programme conditions. The objective of this study was to determine the yield of a household contact investigation for tuberculosis (TB) under routine programme conditions.Between April 2013 and March 2014, TB clinic officers in Amhara and Oromia regions, Ethiopia, conducted symptom-based screening for household contacts of 6,015 smear-positive TB (SS+ TB) index cases. We calculated the yield in terms of number needed to screen (NNS) and number needed to test (NNT). The NNS to detect a TB case all forms and SS+ TB was respectively 40 and 132. The NNT to diagnose a TB case all forms and SS+ TB was respectively 2.4 and 8. The yield of the household contact investigation was over 10 times higher than the estimated prevalence in the general population; household contact investigations can serve as an entry point for childhood TB care.

The Ethiopian HIV epidemic is currently on the wane. However, the situation for infected children is in some ways lagging behind due to low treatment coverage and deficient prevention of mother-to-child transmission. Too few studies have examined HIV infected children presenting to care in low-income countries in general. Considering the presence of local variations in the nature of the epidemic, a study in Ethiopia could be of special value for the continuing fight against HIV. The aim of this study is to describe the main characteristics of children with HIV presenting to care at a district hospital in a resource-limited area in southern Ethiopia. The aim is also to analyse factors affecting pre-ART loss to follow-up, time to ART-initiation, and disease stage upon presentation. The loss to follow-up is alarmingly high and children present too late. Further research is needed to explore specific causes and possible solutions.

Equipping medical graduates with the competence to manage tuberculosis is not just imperative, but also urgent as the disease has been consistently listed as one of the major causes of morbidity and mortality in Nigeria. However, there were no baseline studies done on knowledge of final year medical students on various aspects of TB diagnosis and management under directly observed treatment short course therapy (DOTS), which forms the basis of this study. A total of 241 final year medical students from three medical colleges in Nigeria were interviewed. The questions assessed their knowledge about various modes of transmission, symptoms, and management of tuberculosis under DOTS. The study reveals gross inadequacies in TB knowledge and management practices among Nigerian final year medical students. There is urgent need for incorporation of National TB guidelines into existing undergraduate medical education curriculum, as well as student rotations through activities in DOTS clinics.

In this third special issue published by the International Journal of Drug Policy, the authors of ten research papers and commentaries seek to provide additional knowledge on a range of issues related to illicit drugs in the region, including the epidemiology of drug use and drug-related infectious diseases and other consequences, drug treatment and harm reduction pro

To document the prevalence of multidrug resistance among people newly diagnosed with--and those retreated for--tuberculosis in Malawi, we conducted a nationally representative survey of people with sputum-smear-positive tuberculosis between 2010 and 2011. For all consenting participants, we collected demographic and clinical data, two sputum samples and tested for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).The samples underwent resistance testing at the Central Reference Laboratory in Lilongwe, Malawi. All Mycobacterium tuberculosis isolates found to be multidrug-resistant were retested for resistance to first-line drugs – and tested for resistance to second-line drugs--at a Supranational Tuberculosis Reference Laboratory in South Africa. Overall, M. tuberculosis was isolated from 1777 (83.8%) of the 2120 smear-positive tuberculosis patients. Multidrug resistance was identified in five (0.4%) of 1196 isolates from new cases and 28 (4.8%) of 581 isolates from people undergoing retreatment. Of the 31 isolates from retreatment cases who had previously failed treatment, nine (29.0%) showed multidrug resistance. Although resistance to second-line drugs was found, no cases of extensive drug-resistant tuberculosis were detected. HIV testing of people from whom M. tuberculosis isolates were obtained showed that 577 (48.2%) of people newly diagnosed and 386 (66.4%) of people undergoing retreatment were positive. The prevalence of multidrug resistance among people with smear-positive tuberculosis was low for sub-Saharan Africa--probably reflecting the strength of Malawi’s tuberculosis control programme. The relatively high prevalence of such resistance observed among those with previous treatment failure may highlight a need for a change in the national policy for retreating this subgroup of people with tuberculosis.

This article assessed private sector accredited drug dispensing outlets in Morogoro and pharmacies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, to determine (1) the level of knowledge about tuberculosis (TB) among dispensers in Tanzania's retail pharmaceutical sector; (2) practices related to identification of patients with suspected TB; (3) the availability of educational materials and training; and (4) the availability of first- and second-line anti-tuberculosis treatment in retail drug outlets. Private retail drug outlets are convenient; most are open at least 12 h per day, 7 days/week. Although 95% of dispensers identified persistent cough as a symptom of TB, only 1% had received TB-related training in the previous 3 years; 8% of outlets stocked first-line anti-tuberculosis medicines, which are legally prohibited from being sold at retail outlets. The majority of respondents reported seeing clients with TB-like symptoms, and of these 95% reported frequently referring clients to nearby health facilities. Private retail pharmaceutical outlets can potentially contribute to TB case detection and treatment; however, a coordinated effort is needed to train dispensers and implement appropriate referral procedures.

In low income countries, Ziehl-Neelsen sputum smear microscopy is the only cost-effective tool for diagnosis and monitoring of patients on treatment for tuberculosis.The objective of this study was to investigate the role of AFB microscopy refresher training on the performance of laboratory professionals in Ethiopia. Training has improved theoretical and practical performance of laboratory professionals. Pre-placement and continuous training irrespective of lab professionals' qualifications and service year and sustainable external quality assessment are highly recommended to ensure quality of AFB microscopy services.


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