Ethiopia

Quality of tuberculosis (TB) microscopy diagnosis is not a guarantee despite implementation of external quality assurance (EQA) services in all laboratories of health facilities. Hence, we aimed at evaluating the technical quality and the findings of sputum smear microscopy for acid fast bacilli (AFB) at health centers in Hararge Zone, Oromia Region, Ethiopia. Of the total 55 health center laboratories assessed during the study period (July 2014-July 2015), 20 (36.4%) had major technical errors; 13 (23.6%) had 15 false negative results and 17 (30.9%) had 22 false positive results. The quality of AFB smear microscopy reading and smearing was low in most of the laboratories of the health centers. Therefore, it is essential to strength the EQA program through building the capacity of laboratory professionals.

Our objective was to assess the knowledge of health professionals on Xpert MTB/RIF assay and associated factors in detecting TB/TB drug resistance. An institution based cross–sectional study was conducted from April 4 to June 5, 2015, in Addis Ababa, that involved 209 healthcare providers working in TB clinics.The overall magnitude of knowledge of healthcare workers on Xpert was found to be low. Health workers above age 35 years and those who had read the guidelines on Xpert had greater knowledge of Xpert. Distribution of the national guidelines on Xpert and assigning experienced clinicians to TB DOTs clinics are recommended.

Building coalitions can amplify stakeholder efforts to carry out effective AMR prevention and control strategies. We have developed and implemented an approach to help local stakeholders kick-start the coalition-building process. The five-step process is to (1) mobilise support, (2) understand the local situation, (3) develop an action plan, (4) implement the plan, and (5) monitor and evaluate. Our experience with the coalition-building approach in Ethiopia, Namibia, Zambia, and with the Ecumenical Pharmaceutical Network shows that coalitions can form in a variety of ways with many different stakeholders, including government, academia, and faith-based organisations, to organise actions to preserve the effectiveness of existing antimicrobials and contain AMR.

This study compared the yield of TB among contacts of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) index cases with that of drug-sensitive TB (DS-TB) index cases in a program setting. The yield of TB among contacts of MDR-TB and DS-TB using GeneXpert was high as compared to population-level prevalence. The likelihood of diagnosing RR (Rifampicin Resistant)-TB among contacts of MDR-TB index cases is higher in comparison with contacts of DS-TB index cases. The use of GeneXpert in DS TB contact investigation has an added advantage of diagnosing RR cases in contrast to using the nationally recommended AFB microscopy for DS TB contact investigation.

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.

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