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Wahlers K.,University of Cologne | Menezes C.N.,University of Witwatersrand | Wong M.L.,University of Witwatersrand | Zeyhle E.,African Medical and Research Foundation | And 8 more authors.
The Lancet Infectious Diseases | Year: 2012

Cystic echinococcosis is regarded as endemic in sub-Saharan Africa; however, for most countries only scarce data, if any, exist. For most of the continent, information about burden of disease is not available; neither are data for the animal hosts involved in the lifecycle of the parasite, thus making introduction of preventive measures difficult. Available evidence suggests that several species or strains within the . Echinococcus granulosus complex are prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa and that these strains might be associated with varying virulence and host preference. Treatment strategies (chemotherapy, percutaneous radiological techniques, but mainly surgery) predominantly target active disease. Prevention strategies encompass anthelmintic treatment of dogs, slaughter hygiene, surveillance, and health-educational measures. Existing data are suggestive of unusual clinical presentations of cystic echinococcosis in some parts of the continent, for which the causes are speculative.

Unge C.,Karolinska Institutet | Sodergard B.,Karolinska Institutet | Marrone G.,Karolinska Institutet | Thorson A.,Karolinska Institutet | And 4 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2010

Background: Seventy percent of urban populations in sub-Saharan Africa live in slums. Sustaining HIV patients in these high-risk and highly mobile settings is a major future challenge. This study seeks to assess program retention and to find determinants for low adherence to antiretroviral treatment (ART) and drop-out from an established HIV/ART program in Kibera, Nairobi, one of Africa's largest informal urban settlements. Methods and Findings: A prospective open cohort study of 800 patients was performed at the African Medical Research Foundation (AMREF) clinic in the Kibera slum. Adherence to ART and drop-out from the ART program were independent outcomes. Two different adherence measures were used: (1) ''dose adherence'' (the proportion of a prescribed dose taken over the past 4 days) and (2) ''adherence index'' (based on three adherence questions covering dosing, timing and special instructions). Drop-out from the program was calculated based on clinic appointment dates and number of prescribed doses, and a patient was defined as being lost to follow-up if over 90 days had expired since the last prescribed dose. More than one third of patients were non-adherent when all three aspects of adherence - dosing, timing and special instructions - were taken into account. Multivariate logistic regression revealed that not disclosing HIV status, having a low level of education, living below the poverty limit (US$ 2/day) and not having a treatment buddy were significant predictors for nonadherence. Additionally, one quarter of patients dropped out for more than 90 days after the last prescribed ART dose. Not having a treatment buddy was associated with increased risk for drop-out (hazard ratio 1.4, 95% CI = 1.0-1.9). Conclusion: These findings point to the dilemma of trying to sustain a growing number of people on life-long ART in conditions where prevailing stigma, poverty and food shortages threatens the long-term success of HIV treatment. © 2010 Unge et al.

Kimani B.,African Medical and Research Foundation
The Pan African medical journal | Year: 2012

Jigger infestation is an important but neglected public health problem. The study assessed the knowledge, attitude and practices of household members on jigger infestation, practices and control within Murang'a district, a rural location in Kenya. A cross-sectional descriptive study design was used. Structured interview schedules and observation checklist were used to collect quantitative data. A sample size of 271 household members was interviewed. Descriptive and inferential statistics were analyzed and odds ratios computed at 95% confidence interval to determine variables association. On knowledge, 70.1% acknowledged poor hygiene and sanitation contributes to jigger infestation while 16.6% identified jigger flea as the cause of jigger infestation. Over half (53.9%) reported jiggers are transmissible from person to person. Majority (94.8%) identified signs and symptoms of jigger infestation. Over a quarter (23.6%) reported an infested household member and 18.8% infested persons were confirmed during the study. Many (59.8%) held the opinion that, jigger infested persons are lazy, 26.2% reported they are poor and 12% reported they either have specific blood or are from certain families. Below half (48.7%) believed in myths and misconceptions on jiggers. Majority (90.8%) reported needles/pins were the mostly used jigger removal items followed by thorns 38.7%. About two thirds (62.0%) were not aware of communal jigger prevention and control activities. The Chi-square results showed that, the village, type of house floor and compound maintenance were significantly associated with jigger infestation (p<0.05). Knowledge on jigger infestation is high but this has not translated to jigger prevention and control in the area.

Nanjala M.,African Medical and Research Foundation
Global journal of health science | Year: 2012

A cross-sectional study covering 380 male partners and their spouses was conducted in Busia district in Western Kenya to establish demographic, socio-economic and cultural factors that affect male partner participation in promoting deliveries by skilled attendants. The study showed a significant relationship between level of education (P=0.0000) and level of income (P=0.0004) of the male partner and his support for skilled delivery. Lack of knowledge by male partners of complications associated with delivery, cultural beliefs, high fees charged for deliveries at health facilities and "un-cooperative" health workers are major contributing factors to low male partner involvement in child birth activities. Improving the levels of education and income of male partners, addressing the cultural beliefs and practices, improving health care provider-client relationship and sensitizing men on complications associated with pregnancy and child birth can contribute significantly in enhancing male partner involvement in promoting deliveries by skilled attendants.

Over decades, evidence has accumulated to justify the concern that top-down approaches do not work and may result in lack of program ownership and sustainability. As a result, participatory approaches have increasingly become popular. An example of such an approach is hereby presented. Working with AMREF, Mkuranga district significantly gained experience and improved its community participatory approaches in health development. AMREF's model of Community Based Health Care (CBHC) approaches was used to implement integrated Water and Sanitation, Child Survival and Reproductive health programs. The project established functioning village health and water committees. A 45% increase in utilization of services was reported. Adequate nutrition status among children rose from 67.9% to 81%. Attendance of antenatal clinics rose from 35% to 70.2%. A total of 117 shallow wells, 21 boreholes and 25 rain water harvesting systems were established. Based on this experience, we conclude that in order to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the National Poverty Reduction Strategy (Mkukuta) targets, building partnerships with communities who are the target beneficiaries is a prerequisite and CBHC approach is a fundamental towards attaining those goals. The model demonstrates that community participation is key to community empowerment, as well as community ownership and sustainability of health interventions.

Mboya B.,African Medical and Research Foundation
The Pan African medical journal | Year: 2012

Currently, Tanzania's HIV prevalence is 5.7%. Gender inequality and Gender Based Violence (GBV) are among factors fuelling the spread of HIV in Tanzania. This study was conducted to assess universal access to HIV prevention services among GBV survivors in Iringa and Dar-es-Salaam where HIV prevalence is as high as 14.7% and 9% respectively compared to a national average of 5.7%. In 2010, a mixed methods study using triangulation model was conducted in Iringa and Dar-es-Salaam regions to represent rural and urban settings respectively. Questionnaires were administered to 283 randomly selected survivors and 37 health providers while 28 in-depth interviews and 16 focus group discussions were conducted among various stakeholders. Quantitative data was analyzed in SPSS by comparing descriptive statistics while qualitative data was analyzed using thematic framework approach. Counseling and testing was the most common type of HIV prevention services received by GBV survivors (29%). Obstacles for HIV prevention among GBV survivors included: stigma, male dominance culture and fear of marital separation. Bribery in service delivery points, lack of confidentiality, inadequate GBV knowledge among health providers, and fear of being involved in legal matters were mentioned to be additional obstacles to service accessibility by survivors. Reported consequences of GBV included: psychological problems, physical trauma, chronic illness, HIV infection. GBV related stigma and cultural norms are obstacles to HIV services accessibility. Initiation of friendly health services, integration of GBV into HIV services and community based interventions addressing GBV related stigma and cultural norms are recommended.

Shoo R.,African Medical and Research Foundation
The Pan African medical journal | Year: 2012

AMREF (African Medical and Research Foundation) developed a Knowledge Management Strategy that focused on creating, capturing and applying health knowledge to close the gap between communities and health systems in Africa. There was need to identify AMREF's current Knowledge Management implementation status, problems and constraints encountered after two years of enforcement of the strategy and suggest the way forward. This study was conducted between October 2011 and February 2012. Quantitative data on number and foci of AMREF research publications were collected using a questionnaire. Focus group discussions and in-depth interviews were used to gather data on explanations for the trend of publications and the status of the implementation of the 2010-2014 Knowledge Management Strategy. Quantitative data was analysed using SPSS computer software whereas content analysis of themes was employed on qualitative data. Between 1960 and 2011, AMREF produced 257 peer reviewed publications, 158 books and manuals and about 1,188 technical publications including evaluations, guidelines and technical reports. However, the numbers of publications declined from around the year 2000. Large quantities of unpublished and unclassified materials are also in the custody of Heritage. Barriers to Knowledge Management included: lack of incentives for documentation and dissemination; limited documentation and use of good practices in programming; and superficial attention to results or use of evidence. Alternative ways of reorganizing Knowledge Management will enable AMREF to use evidence-based knowledge to advocate for appropriate changes in African health policies and practices.

Kema K.,African Medical and Research Foundation
The Pan African medical journal | Year: 2012

The Tanzania government, working in partnership with other stakeholders implemented a community-based project aimed at increasing access to clean and safe water basic sanitation and promotion of personal hygiene in Mtwara Rural District. Mid-term evaluation revealed that progress had been made towards improved ventilated latrines; however, there was no adequate information on utilisation of these latrines and associated factors. This study was therefore conducted to establish the factors influencing the utilisation of these latrines. A cross-sectional study was conducted among 375 randomly selected households using a pre-tested questionnaire to determine whether the households owned improved ventilated latrines and how they utilised them. About half (50.5%) of the households had an improved ventilated latrine and households with earnings of more than 50,000 Tanzanian Shillings were two times more likely to own an improved latrine than those that earned less (AOR 2.1, 95% CI=1.1-4.0, p= 0.034). The likelihood of owning an improved latrine was reduced by more than 60 percent for female-headed households (AOR=0.38; 95% CI=0.20-0.71; p=0.002). Furthermore, it was established that all members of a household were more likely to use a latrine if it was an improved ventilated latrine (AOR=2.4; 95% CI=1.1-5.1; p= 0.024). Findings suggest adoption of strategies to improve the wellbeing of households and deploying those who had acquired improved ventilated latrines as resource persons to help train others. Furthermore, efforts are needed to increase access to soft loans for disadvantaged members and increasing community participation.

Nyagero J.,African Medical and Research Foundation
The Pan African medical journal | Year: 2012

Initiatives aimed at behaviour change of key populations such as the female sex workers (FSWs) are pivotal in reducing the transmission of HIV. An 8-year implementation research to establish the predictor factors of behaviour change among FSWs in Kenya was initiated by the African Medical Research Foundation (AMREF) with Sida and DfID support. This cross-sectional survey interviewed 159 female sex workers (FSWs) identified through snowball procedure. The measurement of behaviour change was based on: the consistent use of condoms with both regular and non regular clients, reduced number of clients, routine checks for STIs, and involvement in alternative income generating activities. The adjusted odds ratios at 95% confidence interval computed during binary logistic regression analysis were used to determine the behaviour change predictor factors. Most FSWs (84%) had participated in AMREF's integrated intervention programme for at least one year and 59.1% had gone through behaviour change. The adjusted odds ratio showed that the FSWs with secondary education were 2.23 times likely to change behaviour, protestants were 4.61 times, those in sex work for >4 years were 2.36 times, FSWs with good HIV prevention knowledge were 4.37 times, and those engaged in alternative income generating activities were 2.30 times more likely to change their behaviour compared to respective counterparts. Behaviour change among FSWs was possible and is associated with the level of education, religious affiliation, number of years in sex work and one's level of HIV prevention knowledge. A re-orientation on the peer education programme to focus on HIV preventive measures beyond use of condoms is emphasized.

Mugisa M.,African Medical and Research Foundation
The Pan African medical journal | Year: 2012

Malaria is a leading killer disease in Uganda and it accounts for significant morbidity in pregnant women and children. Pregnant women are more susceptible to malaria, which causes adverse effects including abortion, low birth weight and maternal anaemia. Children with severe malaria frequently develop one of these symptoms including: severe anaemia, respiratory distress, Prostration, convulsions and cerebral malaria. Due to the severity of the disease there is need for multiple interventions to reduce the disease burden. African Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF) adopted community based approaches to improve malaria prevention. Behavioral change communication (BCC) was fundamental at every process of Project implementation. This paper shares AMREF's experience in using BCC strategies amidst other interventions in malaria prevention approaches involving use of insecticide treated nets and environment management. AMREF through a Malaria project (2007-2010) in Nakasongola district supported BCC activities through training, community mobilization, mass media, health promotion and advocacy. Program performance was measured through baseline and evaluation surveys in 2007 and 2010. The final project evaluation indicated improvement from baseline values as follows: knowledge on prevention of malaria among school children from 76.6% to 90%, under five children sleeping under bed net the previous night from 51% to 74.7%, and from 24% to 78% among pregnant women. Mobilization of malaria prevention interventions can be successful once BCC approaches are adequately planned and coordinated. Malaria prevention through BCC strategies are likely to be more effective with integration of other malaria interventions, and involvement of community based structures.

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