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Neno, Malawi

Alsan M.M.,Brigham and Womens Hospital | Westerhaus M.,Harvard University | Herce M.,Abwenzi Pa Za Umoyo | Herce M.,Harvard University | And 3 more authors.
Infectious Disease Clinics of North America | Year: 2011

Poverty and infectious diseases interact in complex ways. Casting destitution as intractable, or epidemics that afflict the poor as accidental, erroneously exonerates us from responsibility for caring for those most in need. Adequately addressing communicable diseases requires a biosocial appreciation of the structural forces that shape disease patterns. Most health interventions in resource-poor settings could garner support based on cost/benefit ratios with appropriately lengthy time horizons to capture the return on health investments and an adequate accounting of externalities; however, such a calculus masks the suffering of inaction and risks eroding the most powerful incentive to act: redressing inequality. © 2011 Elsevier Inc.

Herce M.E.,University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill | Kalanga N.,Abwenzi Pa Za Umoyo | Wroe E.B.,Abwenzi Pa Za Umoyo | Wroe E.B.,Brigham and Womens Hospital | And 14 more authors.
Journal of the International AIDS Society | Year: 2015

Introduction: HIV-associated Kaposi sarcoma (HIV-KS) is the most common cancer in Malawi. In 2008, the non-governmental organization, Partners In Health, and the Ministry of Health established the Neno Kaposi Sarcoma Clinic (NKSC) to treat HIV-KS in rural Neno district.We aimed to evaluate 12-month clinical outcomes and retention in care for HIV-KS patients in the NKSC, and to describe our implementation model, which featured protocol-guided chemotherapy, integrated antiretroviral therapy (ART) and psychosocial support delivered by community health workers. Methods: We conducted a retrospective cohort study using routine clinical data from 114 adult HIV-KS patients who received ART and ≥1 chemotherapy cycle in the NKSC between March 2008 and February 2012. Results: At enrolment 97% of patients (n/N=103/106) had advanced HIV-KS (stage T1). Most patients were male (n/N=85/ 114, 75%) with median age 36 years (interquartile range, IQR: 29-42). Patients started ART a median of 77 days prior to chemotherapy (IQR: 36-252), with 97% (n/N=105/108) receiving nevirapine/lamivudine/stavudine. Following standardized protocols, we treated 20 patients (18%) with first-line paclitaxel and 94 patients (82%) with bleomycin plus vincristine (BV). Of the 94 BV patients, 24 (26%) failed to respond to BV requiring change to second-line paclitaxel. A Division of AIDS grade 3/4 adverse event occurred in 29% of patients (n/N=30/102). Neutropenia was the most common grade 3/4 event (n/N=17/102, 17%). Twelve months after chemotherapy initiation, 83% of patients (95% CI: 74-89%) were alive, including 88 (77%) retained in care. Overall survival (OS) at 12 months did not differ by initial chemotherapy regimen (p=0.6). Among patients with T1 disease, low body mass index (BMI) (adjusted hazard ratio, aHR=4.10, 95% CI: 1.06-15.89) and 1 g/dL decrease in baseline haemoglobin (aHR-1.52, 95% CI: 1.03-2.25) were associated with increased death or loss to follow-up at 12 months. Conclusions: The NKSC model resulted in infrequent adverse events, low loss to follow-up and excellent OS. Our results suggest it is safe, effective and feasible to provide standard-of-care chemotherapy regimens from the developed world, integrated with ART, to treat HIV-KS in rural Malawi. Baseline BMI and haemoglobin may represent important patient characteristics associated with HIV-KS survival in rural sub-Saharan Africa. © 2015 Herce ME et al.

Wroe E.B.,Brigham and Womens Hospital | Kalanga N.,Abwenzi Pa Za Umoyo | Mailosi B.,Abwenzi Pa Za Umoyo | Mwalwanda S.,Malawi Ministry of Health | And 6 more authors.
Healthcare | Year: 2015

This case study describes an integrated chronic care clinic that utilizes a robust HIV program as a platform for NCD screening and treatment. A unique model, the integrated chronic care clinic provides longitudinal care for patients with an array of chronic diseases including HIV and common NCDs, allowing for a single visit for all of a patient's conditions. Set in Malawi's remote Neno District, this clinic structure aims to (1) increase access to care for NCD patients, (2) maximize efficiency given the severe human resource shortages, and (3) replicate strong HIV outcomes for patients with other chronic conditions. The goal is to increase the number of health facilities in Neno capable of fully delivering Malawi's Essential Health Package, the set of cost-effective interventions endorsed by Malawi MOH to reduce burden of disease and leading causes of death. While implementation is ongoing and processes are evolving, this model of healthcare delivery has already improved the accessibility of NCD care by allowing patients to have all of their chronic conditions treated on the same day at their nearest health facility, notably without additional investment of human and financial resources. Currently, 6781 patients on antiretroviral therapy and 721 patients with NCDs are benefitting, including 379 with hypertension, 187 with asthma, 144 with epilepsy, and 76 with diabetes. Among the NCD patient population, 15.1% are HIV-positive. Success hinged largely on several factors, including clear leadership and staff ownership of their specific duties, and a well-defined and uniform patient flow process. Furthermore, deliberate and regular conversations about challenges allowed for constant iteration and improvement of processes.Moving forward, several tasks remain. We are refining the data management process to further consolidate medical records, along with integrating our tracking processes for clients who miss appointments. Additionally, we are exploring opportunities for further integration, including family planning. A follow-up patient satisfaction survey is planned for the coming months to track the impact of the clinic's redesign.Given limited human and financial resources, innovative solutions are required to address the growing burden of chronic disease in Malawi. We have found that an integrated, patient-centered approach maximizes efficiency and reduces barriers to care for the hardest to reach patients. © 2015 Elsevier Inc.

Herce M.E.,University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill | Elmore S.N.,Harvard University | Kalanga N.,Abwenzi Pa Za Umoyo | Keck J.W.,Abwenzi Pa Za Umoyo | And 15 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2014

Introduction: Palliative care is rarely accessible in rural sub-Saharan Africa. Partners In Health and the Malawi government established the Neno Palliative Care Program (NPCP) to provide palliative care in rural Neno district. We conducted a situation analysis to evaluate early NPCP outcomes and better understand palliative care needs, knowledge, and preferences. Methods: Employing rapid evaluation methodology, we collected data from 3 sources: 1) chart review of all adult patients from the NPCP's first 9 months; 2) structured interviews with patients and caregivers; 3) semi-structured interviews with key stakeholders. Results: The NPCP enrolled 63 patients in its first 9 months. Frequent diagnoses were cancer (n = 50, 79%) and HIV/AIDS (n = 37 of 61, 61%). Nearly all (n = 31, 84%) patients with HIV/AIDS were on antiretroviral therapy. Providers registered 112 patient encounters, including 22 (20%) home visits. Most (n = 43, 68%) patients had documented pain at baseline, of whom 23 (53%) were treated with morphine. A majority (n = 35, 56%) had ≥1 follow-up encounter. Mean African Palliative Outcome Scale pain score decreased non-significantly between baseline and follow-up (3.0 vs. 2.7, p = 0.5) for patients with baseline pain and complete pain assessment documentation. Providers referred 48 (76%) patients for psychosocial services, including community health worker support, socioeconomic assistance, or both. We interviewed 36 patients referred to the NPCP after the chart review period. Most had cancer (n = 19, 53%) or HIV/AIDS (n = 10, 28%). Patients frequently reported needing income (n = 24, 67%) or food (n = 22, 61%). Stakeholders cited a need to make integrated palliative care widely available. Conclusions: We identified a high prevalence of pain and psychosocial needs among patients with serious chronic illnesses in rural Malawi. Early NPCP results suggest that comprehensive palliative care can be provided in rural Africa by integrating disease-modifying treatment and palliative care, linking hospital, clinic, and home-based services, and providing psychosocial support that includes socioeconomic assistance. © 2014 Herce et al.

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