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Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Salmon M.,University of Toronto | Salmon C.,Western New England University | Bissinger A.,University of California at San Francisco | Muller M.M.,HEAL Africa Hospital | And 6 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2015

This paper describes design of a low cost, ultrasound gel from local products applying aspects of Human Centered Design methodology. A multidisciplinary team worked with clinicians who use ultrasound where commercial gel is cost prohibitive and scarce. The team followed the format outlined in the Ideo Took Kit. Research began by defining the challenge "how to create locally available alternative ultrasound gel for a low-resourced environment? The "End-Users," were identified as clinicians who use ultrasound in Democratic Republic of the Congo and Ethiopia. An expert group was identified and queried for possible alternatives to commercial gel. Responses included shampoo, oils, water and cornstarch. Cornstarch, while a reasonable solution, was either not available or too expensive. We then sought deeper knowledge of locally sources materials from local experts, market vendors, to develop a similar product. Suggested solutions gleaned from these interviews were collected and used to create ultrasound gel accounting for cost, image quality, manufacturing capability. Initial prototypes used cassava root flour from Great Lakes Region (DRC, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania) and West Africa, and bula from Ethiopia. Prototypes were tested in the field and resulting images evaluated by our user group. A final prototype was then selected. Cassava and bula at a 32 part water, 8 part flour and 4 part salt, heated, mixed then cooled was the product design of choice. © 2015 Salmon et al.This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Caravatta L.,University Cattolica Del ore | Deodato F.,University Cattolica Del ore | Ferro M.,University Cattolica Del ore | Macchia G.,University Cattolica Del ore | And 14 more authors.
American Journal of Clinical Oncology: Cancer Clinical Trials | Year: 2015

Objectives: To assess the effectiveness of a SHort-course Accelerated RadiatiON therapy (SHARON) in the treatment of patients with multiple brain metastases. Materials and Methods: A phase II clinical trial was designed. Eligibility criteria included patients with at least 3 brain metastases or metastatic disease in >3 organ systems, and Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status of ≤3. Fifty patients were treated with whole brain radiotherapy at 18 Gy (4.5 Gy per fraction) in 2 days with a twice daily fractionation. The primary endpoint was the assessment of efficacy in terms of overall survival. Results: Characteristics of the 50 enrolled patients were: male/female: 24/26; median age: 65 years (range, 45 to 80 y). Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status was <3 in 42 patients (84%). Nineteen patients (38%) were considered to have recursive partitioning analysis class 3 disease. Grade 1-2 acute neurological (46%) and skin (24%) toxicities were recorded. Three patients (6%) experienced neurological grade 3 acute toxicity. With a median follow-up time of 6 months (range, 1 to 18 mo) 2 skin grade 1 late toxicities has been observed. Seventeen of 27 symptomatic patients showed an improvement or resolution of baseline symptoms (overall palliative response rate: 63.0%; 95% confidence interval, 36.6%-82.4%).Two-month overall survival was 86% (median survival time=7 mo). Conclusions: Short-course accelerated whole brain radiotherapy of 18 Gy in twice daily fractions for 2 consecutive days is tolerated and effective in terms of symptom relief and median survival time. These results justify a phase III comparison against the standard-of-care in this patient population (30 Gy in 10 fractions). © 2013 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.

Chao T.E.,Massachusetts General Hospital | Chao T.E.,Harvard University | Burdic M.,Harvard University | Ganjawalla K.,Harvard University | And 4 more authors.
World Journal of Surgery | Year: 2012

Background Information regarding surgical capacity in the developing world is limited by the paucity of available data regarding surgical care, infrastructure, and human resources in the literature. The purpose of this study was to assess surgical and anesthesia infrastructure and human resources in Ethiopia as part of a larger study by the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative examining surgical and anesthesia capacity in ten low-income countries in Africa. Methods A comprehensive survey tool developed by the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative was used to assess surgical capacity of hospitals in Ethiopia. A total of 20 hospitals were surveyed through convenience sampling. Eight areas of surgical and anesthesia care were examined, including access and availability, access to human resources, infrastructure, outcomes, operating room information and procedures, equipment, nongovernmental organization delivery of surgical services, and pharmaceuticals. Results were obtained over a 1-month period during October 2011. Results There is wide variation in accessibility, with hospital-to-population ratios ranging from 1:99,010 to 1:1,082,761. The overall physician to population ratio ranges from 1:4715 to 1:107,602. The average hospital has one to two operating rooms, 4.2 surgeons, one gynecologist, and 4.5 anesthesia providers - although in all but three hospitals anesthesiology was provided by nonphysician personnel only (i.e., a nurse anesthetist). Access to continuous electricity, running water, essential medications, and monitoring systems is very limited in all hospitals surveyed, although such access did vary across regions. Conclusions This survey of Ethiopia's hospital resources attempts to identify specific areas of need where resources, education, and development can be targeted. Because the major surgical mortality comes from late presentations, increasing accessibility through infrastructure development would likely provide a major improvement in surgical morbidity and mortality rates. Infrastructure limitations of electricity, water, oxygen, and blood banking do not prove to be significant barriers to surgical care. The increasing number of physicians is promising, although efforts should be directed specifically toward increasing the number of anesthesiologists and surgeons in the country. © Société Internationale de Chirurgie 2012.

Cilla S.,Catholic University of the Sacred Heart | Kigula-Mugambe J.,Mulago Hospital | Digesu C.,Catholic University of the Sacred Heart | MacChia G.,Catholic University of the Sacred Heart | And 8 more authors.
Journal of Medical Physics | Year: 2013

This analysis evaluates the feasibility and dosimetric results of a simplified intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) treatment using a cobalt-therapy unit for post-operative breast cancer. Fourteen patients were included. Three plans per patient were produced by a cobalt-60 source: A standard plan with two wedged tangential beams, a standard tangential plan optimized without the use of wedges and a plan based on the forward-planned "field-in-field" IMRT technique (Co-FinF) where the dose on each of the two tangential beams was split into two different segments and the two segments weight was determined with an iterative process. For comparison purposes, a 6-MV photon standard wedged tangential treatment plan was generated. D mean , D 98% , D 2% , V 95% , V 107%, homogeneity, and conformity indices were chosen as parameters for comparison. Co-FinF technique improved the planning target volume dose homogeneity compared to other cobalt-based techniques and reduced maximum doses (D 2% ) and high-dose volume (V 110% ). Moreover, it showed a better lung and heart dose sparing with respect to the standard approach. The higher dose homogeneity may encourage the adoption of accelerated-hypofractionated treatments also with the cobalt sources. This approach can promote the spread of breast conservative treatment in developing countries.

Morganti A.G.,Catholic University of the Sacred Heart | Marinelli A.,Catholic University of the Sacred Heart | Buwenge M.,Mulago Hospital | Macchia G.,Catholic University of the Sacred Heart | And 10 more authors.
Tumori | Year: 2013

Aims and background. The aim of the study was to analyze the dose to be administered with two-dimensional involved-field palliative radiotherapy in advanced pancreatic carcinoma with respect to current dose-volume constraints (QUANTEC). Methods and study design. The following standard regimens were evaluated: 30 Gy at 3 Gy/fraction (regimen A), 36 Gy at 2.4 Gy/fraction (regimen B), 45 Gy at 1.8 Gy/fraction (regimen C), and 50 Gy at 2 Gy /fraction (regimen D). The following constraints were considered: spinal cord Dmax <50 Gy, duodenum Dmax <55 Gy, liver Dmean <30 Gy, kidneys Dmean <15 Gy. For dose/fraction different from 1.8-2 Gy, the correction of constraints using a value of alpha/beta = 3 for late effects was considered. The calculation of dose/volume constraints was repeated for three different radiation beams: cobalt unit, 6 MV photons, and 15 MV photons. Standard field sizes were used and adapted according to the different beam types, using the parameters of our previous study. Respect of dose-volume constraints was assessed for each type of beam and treatment (dose per fractionation) in all patients. Treatments were considered acceptable in case of: 1) respect of the constraints for spinal cord and duodenum in all patients; 2) respect in >10/15 patients of constraints for kidneys and liver. Therefore, minor violations (<10%) of the constraints for these organs were accepted (in less than 5/15 patients), in consideration of the palliative aim of treatment. Results. In regimen A (30 Gy, 3 Gy/fraction), evaluated constraints were respected in all patients, regardless of the type of energy. In regimen B (36 Gy, 2.4 Gy/fraction), constraints were met in all patients undergoing irradiation with 6 and 15 MV photons. However, using the cobalt unit, kidney constraint was respected only in 5 of 15 patients. In regimens C and D (45 Gy, 1.8 Gy/fraction and 50 Gy, 2 Gy/fraction, respectively), the constraint for the kidney was respected only in 2-5 patients, depending on the energy used. Furthermore, using 50 Gy, the spinal cord constraint was not respected in 2-3 patients, depending on the beam used. Therefore, only the following treatments were considered acceptable: 1) 30 Gy, 3 Gy/fraction, regardless of the energy used; 2) 36 Gy, 2.4 Gy/fraction, only for treatments performed with linear accelerator (6-15 MV). Conclusions. The clinical benefits of radiotherapy in pancreatic tumors should not be withheld from patients treated in centers only with two-dimensional technology. Prospective trials, particularly in developing countries, would be useful to evaluate the efficacy in this setting of involved-field two-dimensional treatments using the dose and fractionation defined in this analysis.

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