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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.

Despite progress reducing maternal mortality, HIV-related maternal deaths remain high, accounting, for example, for up to 24 percent of all pregnancy-related deaths in sub-Saharan Africa. Antiretroviral therapy (ART) is effective in improving outcomes among HIV-infected pregnant and postpartum women, yet rates of initiation, adherence, and retention remain low. This systematic literature review synthesized evidence about individual and contextual factors affecting ART use among HIV-infected pregnant and postpartum women. Thirty-four studies were included in the review. Individual-level factors included both those within and outside a woman’s awareness and control (e.g., commitment to child’s health or age). Individual-level barriers included poor understanding of HIV, ART, and prevention of mother-to-child transmission; and difficulty managing practical demands of ART. At an interpersonal level, disclosure to a spouse and spousal involvement in treatment were associated with improved initiation, adherence, and retention. Fear of negative consequences was a barrier to disclosure. At a community level, stigma was a major barrier. Key structural barriers and enablers were related to health system use and engagement, including access to services and health worker attitudes. To be successful, programs seeking to expand access to and continued use of ART by integrating maternal health and HIV services must identify and address the relevant barriers and enablers in their own context that are described in this review. Further research on this population, including those who drop out of or never access health services, is needed to inform effective implementation.

Despite global progress in the fight to reduce maternal mortality, HIV-related maternal deaths remain persistently high, particularly in much of Africa. Lifelong antiretroviral therapy (ART) appears to be the most effective way to prevent these deaths, but the rates of three key outcomes—ART initiation, retention in care, and long-term ART adherence—remain low. This systematic review synthesized evidence on health systems factors affecting these outcomes in pregnant and postpartum women living with HIV. Low prioritization of maternal ART and persistent dropout along the maternal ART cascade were key findings. Service delivery barriers included poor communication and coordination among health system actors, poor clinical practices, and gaps in provider training. The few studies that assessed maternal ART interventions demonstrated the importance of multi-pronged, multi-leveled interventions. There has been a lack of emphasis on the experiences, needs, and vulnerabilities particular to HIV-infected pregnant and postpartum women. Supporting these women to successfully traverse the maternal ART cascade requires carefully designed and targeted interventions throughout the steps. Careful design of integrated service delivery models is of critical importance in this effort. Key knowledge gaps and research priorities were also identified, including definitions and indicators of adherence rates, and the importance of cumulative measures of dropout along the maternal ART cascade.

In response to concerns about the emergence of HIV drug resistance (HIVDR), the World Health Organization (WHO) has developed a comprehensive set of early warning indicators (EWIs) to monitor HIV drug resistance and good programme practice at antiretroviral therapy (ART) sites. In 2012, Namibia utilized the updated WHO EWI guidance and abstracted data from adult and pediatric patients from 50 ART sites for the following EWIs: 1. On-time Pill Pick-up, 2. Retention in Care, 3. Pharmacy Stock-outs, 4. Dispensing Practices, and 5. Virological Suppression. The successful 2012 EWI exercise provides Namibia a solid evidence base, which can be used to make national statements about programmatic functioning and possible HIVDR. This evidence base will serve to contextualize results from Namibia's surveys of HIVDR, which involves genotype testing. EWI abstraction has prompted the national program and its counterparts to engage sites in dialogue regarding the need to strengthen adherence and retention of patients on ART. The EWI collection process and EWI results will serve to optimize patient care and support Namibia in making evidence-based recommendations and take action to minimize the emergence of preventable HIVDR.

Tajikistan and other Central Asian republics are facing intertwined epidemics of injecting drug use and HIV. This paper aims to examine drug scene, drug use, drug-related infectious diseases, drug treatment and other responses to health consequences of drug injecting in two Tajik cities of Kulob (Khatlon Region) and Khorog (Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast). We conducted 12 focus group discussions in Kulob and Khorog and analysed peer-reviewed literature, published and unpublished programme and country reports and other publications that focused on substance use and/or HIV/AIDS in Tajikistan and included the Khatlon and Gorno-Badakhshan regions. Tajikistan IBBS data point to the potential problems in using composite national prevalence as an adequate reflection of the HIV epidemic among PWID in the country and highlight the importance of examining site-specific prevalence rates for better understanding of the dynamics of the epidemic over time, as well as potential problems related to the reliability of data. Furthermore, our analysis highlights that in a country where almost all PWID inject opiates, agonist treatment should be an intervention of choice. Scaling-up both OST and ART coverage must be seen as the top priority for reducing HIV prevalence and incidence in Tajikistan. Naloxone distribution programmes need to be expanded and drug treatment, harm reduction, and HIV services that meet the specific needs of female injecting drug users should be put in place.

We assessed adherence to standards of HIV care among health workers in the West Nile Region of Uganda. We conducted a cross-sectional study in nine health facilities and assessed records of a cohort of 270 HIV clients that enrolled on ART 12 months prior. The performance of each health facility on the different indicators of standards of HIV/AIDS care was determined and compared with the recommended national guidelines. Adherence to standards of HIV/AIDS care at facilities was inadequate. Performance was better at the start of ART but declined during the follow-up period. Higher level facilities were more likely to adhere to standards like CD4 monitoring and maintaining HIV clients on a standard ARV regimen. Efforts geared towards strengthening the health system, including support supervision and provision of care guidelines and job aides are needed, especially for lower level facilities.

We piloted an intervention that placed a people-centred health systems governance approach in the hands of multi-stakeholder committees that govern provincial and district health systems in Afghanistan. We report the results of this intervention from three provinces and eleven districts in Afghanistan over a six month period. This mixed-methods exploratory case study uses analysis of governance self-assessment scores, health management information system data on health system performance, and focus group discussions. The outcomes of interest are governance scores and health system performance indicators. We document the application of a people-centred health systems governance conceptual model based on applying four effective governing practices: cultivating accountability, engaging with stakeholders, setting a shared strategic direction, and stewarding resources responsibly. We found that health systems governance can be improved in fragile and conflict affected environments, and that consistent application of the effective governing practices is key to improving governance. Intervention was associated with a 20% increase in antenatal care visit rate in pilot provinces.

The diagnosis of malaria in clinical laboratories mainly depends on blood smear microscopy, and this technique remains the most widely used in Ethiopia. Despite the importance of blood smear microscopy for patients’ diagnosis and treatment, little effort has been made to precisely determine and identify sources of error in malaria smear microscopic diagnosis and quantification of parasitaemia. The main objective of the present study was to assess the laboratory practices of health care laboratories carrying out blood films microscopy. A cross-sectional study was conducted in northwestern Ethiopia involving 29 health care institutes. A structured and pretested questionnaire was used to collect relevant information on the physical conditions, laboratory logistics, and laboratory practices carrying out blood smear microscopy. In most of the health care laboratories studied, availability of laboratory logistics and technical practices for malaria microscopy were found to be below the standard set by World Health Organization. Improving logistics access for malaria microscopy at all level of health care is important to increase accuracy of diagnosis and quantification of malaria parasites. Moreover, continued training and regular supervision of the staff and implementation of quality control program in the area are also crucial.

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.

There is a growing evidence base on the immediate and short-term effects of adult HIV on children. We provide an overview of this literature, highlighting the multiple risks and resultant negative consequences stemming from adult HIV infection on the children they care for on an individual and family basis. We trace these consequences from their origin in the health and wellbeing of adults on whom children depend, through multiple pathways to negative impacts for children. As effective treatment reduces vertical transmission, the needs of affected children will predominate. Pathways include exposure to HIV in utero, poor caregiver mental or physical health, the impact of illness, stigma, and increased poverty. We summarize the evidence of negative consequences, including those affecting health, cognitive development, education, child mental health, exposure to abuse, and adolescent risk behaviour, including sexual risk behaviour, which has obvious implications for HIV-prevention efforts. We also highlight the evidence of positive outcomes, despite adversity, considering the importance of recognizing and supporting the development of resilience. This study is the first in a series of three commissioned by President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)/United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Poor socio-economic conditions fuel seasonal migration of adult males from Northwestern Ethiopia, but behavioral and other migration-related changes increase their vulnerability to HIV. This study examined risky sexual behaviors and associated factors that may lead to increased HIV infection vulnerability among migrant laborers in Metema District, Ethiopia. A community-based cross-sectional study was conducted from July 8–18, 2013 at farms with migrant laborers. We enrolled 756 participants through multistage random sampling. Of the participants, 582 (77%) migrant workers had had sexual intercourse in their lifetimes and 68% (397/582) reported non-marital sexual intercourse in the preceding six months. Of these, 74% reported sexual intercourse with commercial sex workers (CSWs), 49% reported having transactional sex, 49% reported unprotected sexual intercourse with CSWs, and 69% reported multiple sexual partners in the preceding six months (mean = 2.9 ± 0.7). Being aged between 20 and 29 years, aged 30 years or older, having received of HIV prevention information in the preceding six months, and staying longer on the farm were factors significantly associated with condom use at last non-marital sexual intercourse. Teenaged respondents aged , those who had not received HIV information in the preceding six months, or those who had stayed on the farm for ≤2 months were less likely to have used condoms at their last non-marital sexual intercourse. Moreover, having daily income above US$5, paying for most recent sexual intercourse, and drinking alcohol before last sexual intercourse were significantly associated with having multiple (≥2) sexual partners during the preceding six months. We concluded that seasonal laborers commonly exhibit risky sexual behaviors likely to increase their vulnerability to HIV infection. Unprotected and multiple sex partners in these populations pose transmission risks to seasonal laborers, their wives, and future sexual partners. The findings support the need for targeted HIV prevention campaigns designed for seasonal workers and their sexual partners.

In 2002, the Egypt Ministry of Health and Population, with funding from the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and assistance from Management Sciences for Health, introduced a Leadership Development Programme (LDP) in Aswan Governorate. The programme aimed to improve health services in three districts by increasing managers' ability to create high performing teams and lead them to achieve results.The programme introduced leadership and management practices and a methodology for identifying and addressing service delivery challenges. Ten teams of health workers participated. In 2003, after participation in the LDP, the districts of Aswan, Daraw and Kom Ombo increased the number of new family planning visits by 36%, 68% and 20%, respectively. The number of prenatal and postpartum visits also rose. After the USAID funding ended, local doctors and nurses scaled up the programme to 184 health care facilities (training more than 1,000 health workers). From 2005 to 2007, the LDP participants in Aswan Governorate focused on reducing the maternal mortality rate as their annual goal. They reduced it from 85.0 per 100,000 live births to 35.5 per 100,000.

Key strategies of the main antiretroviral (ARV) procurement program for PEPFAR to reduce supply chain risks include: (1) employing pooled procurement to reduce procurement and shipping costs and to accommodate changing country needs by making stock adjustments at the regional level, and (2) establishing regional distribution centers to facilitate faster turnaround of orders within defined catchment areas.

A thin-layer chromatography (TLC) method for the analysis of clotrimazole was developed and validated according to the International Conference on Harmonization and the United States Pharmacopeia guidelines. The developed method will be used for a qualitative and quantitative analysis of clotrimazole in vaginal tablets. The analytical method is useful for the determination of clotrimazole in the finished drug formulation. Also it helps to identify substandard and fake medicines labeled as clotrimazole during postmarketing surveillance of the drug and especially in resource-constrained countries.

The intention of this study was to determine prevalence and associated factors with adherence to highly active ART among people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) at the Debrebrihan Referral Hospital and Health Center, Northeast Ethiopia. A cross-sectional study design with systematic random sampling was conducted using a structured adherence questionnaire among 422 respondents from the hospital. Adherence was defined as not missing a single ART dose during the 30-day period prior to filling out the self-report. Among the participants, 95.5% were taking their medication without missing a dose. Factors such as having emotional or practical support positively encouraged ART adherence. However, users of traditional, complementary, and alternative medicine (TCAM) had a nearly five times higher risk for ART nonadherence (p = 0.05) than those not using TCAM. Strengthening emotional and practical support for PLWHA and integrating TCAM with the proper use of ART are vital to enhance ART adherence.

The costs of delivering specific products are poorly understood and ballpark estimates are often used to inadequately plan for the budgetary implications of supply chain expenses. The purpose of this research was to estimate the country level costs of the public sector supply chain for artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) and rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) from the central to the peripheral levels in Benin and Kenya. A micro-costing approach was used and primary data on the various cost components of the supply chain was collected at the central, intermediate, and facility levels between September and November 2013. Information sources included central warehouse databases, health facility records, transport schedules, and expenditure reports. In Benin, supply chain costs added US$0.20 to the initial acquisition cost of ACT and US$0.34 to RDTs; in Kenya, they added US$0.24 to the acquisition cost of ACT and US$0.19 to RDTs (normalized to US$1). Total supply chain costs accounted for more than 30% of the initial acquisition cost of the products in some cases and these costs were highly sensitive to product volumes. The major cost drivers were found to be labour, transport, and utilities, with health facilities carrying the majority of the cost per unit of product. Product volumes should be considered when costing supply chain functions rather than dollar value. Further work is needed to develop extrapolative costing models that can be applied at country level without extensive micro-costing exercises.

We set out to evaluate the variation in prevalence of drug resistant tuberculosis (DR-TB) and its determinants across sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries--excluding South Africa--among new and previously treated TB patients. A search of PubMed, EMBASE, Cochrane and bibliographies of DR-TB studies yielded 726 studies published between 2003 and 2013, of which 27 articles fulfilled the inclusion criteria. Studies reported drug susceptibility testing results for a total of 13,465 new and 1,776 previously treated TB patients. The pooled estimate of any DR-TB prevalence among the new cases was 12.6%, while for MDR-TB this was 1.5%. Among previously treated patients, these were 27.2% and 10.3%, respectively. DR-TB (any and MDR-TB) did not vary significantly with respect to study characteristics. The reported prevalence of DR-TB in SSA is low compared to WHO estimates. MDR-TB in this region does not seem to be driven by the high HIV prevalence rates.

The HIV epidemic among Ethiopian children appears neglected in national programs (children ART coverage was only 12% in 2013). This paper estimates the country burden of HIV in older children and investigates the prevalence of HIV in orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) households. Our analysis estimated the population of HIV-positive children under 15 years old to be 160,000 in 2013. The majority of children (81.6%) were aged 5 to 14 years. The estimated number of orphans due to AIDS was 800,000. The empirical data from almost 10,000 OVC under 18 years showed 11.9% were HIV-positive, the majority of whom were between 5 and 10 years old with no significant difference between males and females. There is a large population of children living with HIV in Ethiopia, the magnitude of which has not been previously recognized. The majority were vertically infected and never identified nor linked into treatment. OVC represent a reachable group which could account for a substantial proportion of the HIV-infected older children. We recommend that HIV programs urgently synergize with social protection sectors and address these children with HIV testing and related services.

This qualitative study at six health facilities in Kenya assessed how staff perceived and used an appointment-keeping system and a revised clinic form to monitor patients’ adherence to antiretroviral treatment. Early detection of treatment defaulters helped the providers to design targeted patient support to enhance appointment keeping. The intervention led to implementation of changes in clinics to enhance patients’ appointment keeping and improve adherence to treatment.

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.

Tanzania introduced the accredited drug dispensing outlet (ADDO) program more than a decade ago. Previous evaluations have generally shown that ADDOs meet defined standards of practice better than non-accredited outlets. However, ADDOs still face challenges with overuse of antibiotics for acute respiratory infections (ARI) and simple diarrhea, which contributes to the emergence of drug resistance. This study aimed to explore the attitudes of ADDO owners and dispensers toward antibiotic dispensing and to learn how accreditation has influenced their dispensing behavior.

People in low-income countries purchase a high proportion of antimicrobials from retail drug shops, both with and without a prescription. Tanzania's accredited drug dispensing outlet (ADDO) program includes dispenser training, enforcement of standards, and the legal right to sell selected antimicrobials. We assessed the role of ADDOs in facilitating access to antimicrobials.

In 2003, we worked with Tanzania’s Ministry of Health and Social Welfare to develop a public-private partnership based on a holistic approach that builds the capacity of owners, dispensers, and institutions that regulate, own, or work in retail drug shops. For shop owners and dispensers, this was achieved by combining training, business incentives, supervision, and regulatory enforcement with efforts to increase client demand for and expectations of quality products and services. The accredited drug dispensing outlet (ADDO) program has proven to be scalable, sustainable, and transferable: Tanzania has rolled out the program nationwide; the ADDO program has been institutionalized as part of the country’s health system; shops are profitable and meeting consumer demands; and the ADDO model has been adapted and implemented in Uganda and Liberia.

 In 2013 the Global Drug Facility reduced the price of the second-line drugs it supplies for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR TB): the overall cost of the longest and most expensive treatment regimen for a patient decreased by 26%, from US$7,890 in 2011 to US$5,822 in 2013. The price of treatment for MDR TB was reduced by consolidating orders to achieve large purchase volumes, by international, competitive bidding and by the existence of donor-funded medicine stockpiles. The rise in the number of suppliers of internationally quality-assured drugs was also important. The savings achieved from lower drug costs could be used to increase the number of patients on high-quality treatment.

We sought to reduce the service needs of people living with HIV by increasing referral coordination for HIV and family planning, measured as network density, with an organizational network approach. We conducted organizational network analysis on two networks in sub-cities of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. There were 25 organizations in one sub-city network and 26 in the other. This quasi experiment demonstrated that (1) an organizational network analysis can inform an intervention, (2) a modest network strengthening intervention can enhance client referrals, (3) improvement in client referrals was accompanied by a decrease in patient-reported unmet needs and (4) a series of network analyses can be a useful evaluation tool.


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