Ethiopia

Task-shifting mental health into general medical care requires more than brief provider training. Generalists need long-term support to master new skills and changes to work context are required to sustain change in the face of competing priorities. We examined program and context factors promoting and obstructing sustainability of a mental health task-shifting training for hospital-based HIV providers in Ethiopia.

Clinical monitoring of pediatric HIV treatment remains a major challenge in settings where drug resistance genotyping is not routinely available. As a result, our understanding of drug resistance, and its impact on subsequent therapeutic regimens available in these settings, remains limited. We investigate the prevalence and correlates of HIV-1 drug resistance among 94 participants of the Ethiopia Pediatric HIV Cohort failing first-line combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) using dried blood spot-based genotyping. Overall, 81% (73/90) of successfully genotyped participants harbored resistance mutations. Strikingly, 42% of resistant participants harbored resistance to all four nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors recommended for second-line use in this setting, meaning that there are effectively no remaining cART options for these children. Longer cART duration and prior regimen changes were significantly associated with detection of drug resistance mutations. Replicate genotyping increased the breadth of drug resistance detected in 34% of cases, and thus is recommended for consideration when typing from blood spots. Implementation of timely drug resistance testing and access to newer antiretrovirals and drug classes are urgently needed to guide clinical decision-making and improve outcomes for HIV-infected children on first-line cART in Ethiopia.

Between December 2014 and September 2016, we conducted a prospective cohort study in eight health facilities in Ethiopia. Eligibility criteria included age 3 months-14 years; being on ART for not more than a month. Of 309 children, 304 were included, 52% were male. During 287.7 person-years of observation (PYO), 24 attritions were recorded, yielding an attrition rate of 8.3 per 100 PYO. Younger children, those from rural areas, and children with anaemia were at higher risk of attrition, especially during the early months of treatment, and therefore should be prioritized during treatment follow-up.

In 2011 the Help Ethiopia Address the Low TB Performance (HEAL TB) Project used WHO or national TB indicators as standards of care (SOC) for baseline assessment, progress monitoring, gap identification, assessment of health workers’ capacity-building needs, and data quality assurance. In this analysis we present results from 10 zones (of 28) in which 1,165 health facilities were supported from 2011 through 2015. The improvement in the median composite score of 13 selected major indicators (out of 22) over four years was significant. The proportion of health facilities with 100% data accuracy for all forms of TB was 55.1% at baseline and reached 96.5%. In terms of program performance, the TB cure rate improved from 71% to 91.1%, while the treatment success rate increased from 88% to 95.3%. In the laboratory area, where there was previously no external quality assurance (EQA) for sputum microscopy, 1,165 health facilities now have quarterly EQA, and 96.1% of the facilities achieved a ≥ 95% concordance rate in blinded rechecking. The SOC approach for supervision was effective for measuring progress, enhancing quality of services, identifying capacity needs, and serving as a mentorship and an operational research tool.

We interviewed 273 HIV-infected adolescents receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART) from three hospitals in Addis Ababa. The level of self-reported ART adherence among HIV-infected adolescents at the three hospitals was below the recommended threshold. Though earlier presentation of adolescents to care should be encouraged, more targeted adherence support should be planned for those who present at an early stage of their illness.

Kobe Refugee camp hosts roughly 39,000 refugees displaced from Somalia during the 2011–2012 Horn of Africa Crisis. Sexual and reproductive health (SRH) issues, as well as the greater issues of health and well-being for adolescents displaced from this crisis, remain largely unknown and neglected. In 2013, the Women’s Refugee Commission, Johns Hopkins University, and International Medical Corps in Ethiopia implemented qualitative and quantitative research to explore the factors and risks that impact the health of very young adolescents (VYAs), those 10–14 years of age, in this setting. This research identified several factors that were found to influence the health and well-being of VYAs in Kobe refugee camp, including newfound access to education and security, combined with gender divisions and parental communication around early SRH and puberty that remained intact from traditional Somali culture. Girls were found to face an additional risk of child marriage and early pregnancy since displacement, which significantly limited their ability to access education and achieve future aspirations.

The Ethiopian Paediatric HIV Cohort was established to identify clinical and laboratory predictors of virological treatment failure to ultimately develop a clinical–immunological prediction rule with area under the curve of >0.80 for detecting first-line antiretroviral therapy failure (ARTF). It will also assess the performance of the current WHO guidelines for detection of first-line ARTF in children. Using a prospective cohort design, HIV-infected children and adolescents below the age of 18 years are followed every 6 months with a set of clinical and laboratory parameters at 6 hospitals in southern Ethiopia. From October 2015 through April 2016, 628 children have been enrolled. The cohort will be completed in September 2017. The successful completion of this study will allow for better targeting of viral-load testing to those at highest risk in resource-poor settings and provide clinicians and policymakers with a practical prediction rule.

Our objective was to demonstrate the feasibility of integrated care for TB, HIV and diabetes mellitus (DM) in a pilot project in Ethiopia. Of 3439 study participants, 888 were patients with DM, 439 patients with TB and 2112 from HIV clinics. Tri-directional screening was feasible for detecting and managing previously undiagnosed TB and DM.

The objective of this study was to assess the feasibility and effectiveness of the nationally approved ambulatory service delivery model for MDR-TB treatment in two regions of Ethiopia. We used routinely reported data to describe the process and outcomes of implementing an ambulatory model for MDR-TB services in a resource-limited setting. Between 2012 and 2015, the number of MDR-TB treatment-initiating centers increased from 1 to 23. The number of sputum samples tested for MDR-TB increased 20-fold, from 662 to 14,361 per year. The backlog of patients on waiting lists was cleared. The cumulative number of MDR-TB patients put on treatment increased from 56 to 790, and the treatment success rate was 75%. Rapid expansion of the ambulatory model of MDR-TB care was feasible and achieved a high treatment success rate in two regions of Ethiopia.

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that increases immunity against tuberculosis (TB), decreases the re-activation of latent TB and reduces the severity of active TB disease. Epidemiological studies on the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency and its association with TB have shown inconsistent results in different countries. This study aimed to determine the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency and its association with TB in Northwest Ethiopia. A case–control study was conducted among smear positive pulmonary TB patients and their household contacts without symptoms suggestive of TB. Study participants were recruited at 11 TB diagnostic health facilities in North and South Gondar zones of Amhara region between May 2013 and April 2015. Vitamin D deficiency is highly prevalent among TB patients and non-TB controls in Ethiopia, where there is year-round abundant sunshine. Study participants with TB, females, older age groups, and urban residents had significantly higher prevalence of vitamin D deficiency. These findings warrant further studies to investigate the role of vitamin D supplementation in the prevention and treatment of TB in high TB burden countries like Ethiopia.

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