Lighthouse Trust

Lilongwe, Malawi

Lighthouse Trust

Lilongwe, Malawi
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Cataldo F.,Dignitas International | Sam-Agudu N.A.,Institute of Human Virology Nigeria | Sam-Agudu N.A.,University of Maryland Baltimore County | Phiri S.,Lighthouse Trust | And 6 more authors.
Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes | Year: 2017

Introduction: Several initiatives aiming to improve retention and adherence in Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV (PMTCT) programs include "expert mothers" (EMs) as a central tenet of their interventions. This article compares the role of EMs in 3 implementation research studies examining approaches for improving retention in care among mothers living with HIV. Methods: We compared and synthesized qualitative data and lessons learned from 3 studies (MoMent in Nigeria, PURE in Malawi, and EPAZ in Zimbabwe) with respect to the involvement of EMs in supporting PMTCT clients. The frame of reference for the comparison is the role that EMs play in PMTCT service delivery for individuals, at the health facility, within the health system, and in the community. Results: EMs' role was positively perceived by PMTCT clients and health care workers, as EMs provided an expanded range of services directly benefiting clients and enabling health care workers to share their workload. Common challenges included difficulties in reaching male partners and fear of stigma. The lack of structure and standardization in EM interventions in relation to eligibility criteria, training, certification, and remuneration were identified as important barriers to EMs' role development within existing health systems. Conclusions: The role of EMs within PMTCT programs continues to expand rapidly. There is a need for coordinated action to develop shared standards and principles commensurate with the new roles and additional demands placed on EMs to support PMTCT services, including EM certification, mentoring and supervision standards, standardized PMTCT-specific training curricula, and, where appropriate, agreed remuneration rates. © Copyright 2017 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.


PubMed | University of Mahajanga, Mozambique Barcelona Institute for Global Health IS Global, Lighthouse Trust and Baylor College of Medicine
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Journal of tropical pediatrics | Year: 2016

Little is known about viral co-infections in African human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected children. We examined the prevalence of seromarkers for cytomegalovirus (CMV), herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) and hepatitis B virus (HBV) infections among HIV-infected, antiretroviral treatment (ART)-nave children in Lilongwe, Malawi.Ninety-one serum samples were tested for IgG and IgM antibodies to CMV, and IgG antibodies to HSV-2 and hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg). Baseline demographic, clinical and laboratory data were abstracted from electronic records.CMV IgG was the most common positive result in all age groups (in 73% of children <1 year, and 100% in all other groups). Three patients were CMV IgM positive (3.3%), suggesting acute infection. HSV-2 IgG was positive in four patients (4.4%), and HBsAg in two (2.2%).CMV infection occurred early in life, and few children had specific signs of CMV infection at the time of ART initiation. Unrecognized HBV infection represents opportunities for testing and treatment of HIV/HBV co-infected children.


Hosseinipour M.C.,University of Malawi | Hosseinipour M.C.,University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill | Kumwenda J.J.,University of Malawi | Weigel R.,Lighthouse Trust | And 7 more authors.
HIV Medicine | Year: 2010

Objectives: The Malawi antiretroviral therapy (ART) programme uses the public health approach to identify ART failure. Advanced disease progression may occur before switching to second-line ART. We report outcomes for patients evaluated and initiated on second-line treatment in Malawi. Methods: Patients meeting Malawi immunological or clinical criteria for ART failure in two large urban ART clinics were evaluated for virological failure (viral load >400 HIV-1 RNA copies/mL) and, if failure was confirmed, initiated on second-line ART (zidovudine/lamivudine/tenofovir/lopinavir/ritonavir). Patients were seen monthly and laboratory evaluations were performed quarterly and as needed. We performed logistic regression modelling to identify factors associated with mortality, mortality or new HIV illnesses, and virological suppression at 12 months. Results: Of the 109 patients with confirmed virological failure, five patients died prior to initiation, three declined switching and 101 patients initiated second-line treatment. Over 12 months, 10 additional patients died, 34 patients experienced 45 HIV-related events, and 19 patients experienced grade 3 or 4 toxicities. Among survivors, 85.2% had HIV-1 RNA<400 copies/mL at 12 months. While power to distinguish differences was limited, response rates were similar regardless of baseline resistance level. The median CD4 count increase was 142 cells/μL. World Health Organization clinical failure at baseline [odds ratio (OR) 3.47; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.14-10.59] and body mass index <18.5 (OR 4.43; 95% CI 1.15-17.12) were risk factors for death. Baseline CD4 count <50 cells/μL was associated with increased risk for death or morbidity at 12 months (OR 2.57; 95% CI 1.01-6.52). Conclusions: Second-line treatment in Malawi was associated with substantial mortality, morbidity and toxicity but, among survivors, virological outcomes were favourable. © 2010 British HIV Association.


Tweya H.,The International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease | Tweya H.,University of Bern | Gugsa S.,Lighthouse Trust | Gugsa S.,University of Washington | And 10 more authors.
Tropical Medicine and International Health | Year: 2014

Objective: To assess factors, outcomes and reasons for loss to follow-up (LTFU) among pregnant and breastfeeding women initiated on a lifelong antiretroviral therapy (ART) for PMTCT in a large antenatal clinic in Malawi. Methods: We identified all pregnant and breastfeeding women who were initiated on ART between September 2011 and September 2013 and had missed their clinic appointment by at least 3 weeks at Bwaila Hospital, the largest antenatal clinic in Malawi. These women were traced by phone or home visits. Their true status and reasons for ART discontinuation were documented during tracing. Results: A total of 2930 women started ART for PMTCT; 2458 (84%) pregnant and 472 (16%) breastfeeding, of which, 577 (20%) missed a scheduled clinic appointment. LTFU was associated with younger age, being pregnant, and earlier year of ART initiation. We successfully traced 229 (40%), of whom, 10 (4%) had died. Of the 219 women found alive, 118 (54%) had stopped taking ARV drugs, 67 (30%) had self-transferred to another ART clinic, 13 (6%) had collected drugs from other sources, 9 (4%) had treatment interruptions and 12 (5%) had other outcomes. Reasons cited for stopping ART were travel (38%), lack of transport money (16%), not understanding the initial ARV education session (10%), being too weak/sick (10%), ARV side effects (10%) and other reasons. Conclusion: Approximately half of the women who were traced were taking ARVs. The study emphasises the need for enhanced post-test counselling strategies, ongoing psychosocial support, provision of incentives and further decentralisation efforts of PMTCT services. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


Feldacker C.,Lighthouse Trust | Feldacker C.,University of Washington | Johnson D.,University of Malawi | Hosseinipour M.,University of Malawi | And 3 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2012

Background: Lighthouse Trust operates two, public, integrated HIV clinics, Lighthouse (LH) and Martin Preuss Center (MPC), in Lilongwe, Malawi. Approximately 20% of patients eligible for antiretroviral therapy (ART) do not start ART. We explore individual and geographic factors that influence whether ART-eligible patients initiate ART. Methods: Adult patients eligible for ART between 2008-2011 were included. Analysis was stratified by clinic. Using logistic regression, we evaluated factors associated with initiating ART including gender, age, body mass index (BMI), employment, tuberculosis (TB), eligible at initial registration, WHO stage, CD4, months in pre-ART care (from initial registration to eligibility date), and patient neighborhood distance to clinic. Results: Of 14,216 study patients, 4841 were from LH; 9285 were from MPC. At LH and MPC, respectively, median age was 34.2 and 33.8 years; median BMI was 22.0 and 20.6; and median distance was 5.6 and 4.9 Km. In multivariate models, odds of starting ART was highest among those older than 35 years and those eligible for ART based on WHO stages 3-4 vs. those in WHO stages 1-2 with CD4<250. Patients with 1-12 months in pre-ART were at least 11 times more likely to start ART than peers with less pre-ART time. At LH, living 2.5-5 Km from the clinic increased the likelihood of starting ART over patients living closer. Conclusions: Length of the pre-ART period is the most significant predictor of starting ART among eligible patients. Better understanding of motivation for retention in pre-ART care may reduce attrition along the treatment cascade. © 2012 Feldacker et al.


PubMed | University of Malawi, Dignitas International, Ministry of Health and Lighthouse Trust
Type: | Journal: BMC health services research | Year: 2016

Informal care, the health care provided by the patients social network is important in low income settings although its monetary value is rarely estimated. The lack of estimates of the value of informal care has led to its omission in economic evaluations but this can result in incorrect decisions about cost effectiveness of an intervention. We explore the use of contingent valuation methods of willingness to pay (WTP) and willingness to accept (WTA) to estimate the value of informal care provided to HIV infected women that are accessing antiretroviral therapy (ART) under the Option B+ approach to prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV in Malawi.We collected cross sectional data from 93 caregivers of women that received ART care from six health facilities in Malawi. Caregivers of women that reported for ART care on the survey day and consented to participate in the survey were included until the targeted sample size for the facility was reached. We estimated the value of informal care by using the willingness to accept (WTA) and willingness to pay (WTP) approaches. Medians were used to summarize the values and these were compared by the Wilcoxon signed-rank test.The median WTA to provide informal care in a month was US$30 and the median WTP for informal care was US$13 and the two were statistically different (p < 0.000). Median WTP was higher in the urban areas than in the rural areas (US$21 vs. US$13, p < 0.001) and for caregivers from households from higher wealth quintile than in the lower quintile (US$15 vs. US$13, p < 0.0462).Informal caregivers place substantial value on informal care giving. In low income settings where most caregivers are not formally employed, WTP and WTA approaches can be used to value informal care.NCT02005835.


Hutchinson E.,London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine | Droti B.,Uganda Virus Research Institute | Gibb D.,Medical Research Council Clinical Trials Unit | Chishinga N.,Zambia AIDS Related TB Project | And 3 more authors.
Bulletin of the World Health Organization | Year: 2011

In the April 2010 issue of this journal, Date et al. expressed concern over the slow scale-up in low-income settings of two therapies for the prevention of opportunistic infections in people living with the human immunodeficiency virus: co-trimoxazole prophylaxis and isoniazid preventive therapy. This short paper discusses the important ways in which policy analysis can be of use in understanding and explaining how and why certain evidence makes its way into policy and practice and what local factors influence this process. Key lessons about policy development are drawn from the research evidence on co-trimoxazole prophylaxis, as such lessons may prove helpful to those who seek to influence the development of national policy on isoniazid preventive therapy and other treatments. Researchers are encouraged to disseminate their findings in a manner that is clear, but they must also pay attention to how structural, institutional and political factors shape policy development and implementation. Doing so will help them to understand and address the concerns raised by Date et al. and other experts. Mainstreaming policy analysis approaches that explain how local factors shape the uptake of research evidence can provide an additional tool for researchers who feel frustrated because their research findings have not made their way into policy and practice.


Estill J.,University of Bern | Tweya H.,University of Bern | Egger M.,University of Bern | Egger M.,University of Cape Town | And 9 more authors.
Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes | Year: 2014

Objective: Treatment as prevention depends on retaining HIVinfected patients in care. We investigated the effect on HIV transmission of bringing patients lost to follow-up (LTFU) back into care. Design: Mathematical model. Methods: Stochastic mathematical model of cohorts of 1000 HIVinfected patients on antiretroviral therapy, based on the data from 2 clinics in Lilongwe, Malawi. We calculated cohort viral load (sum of individual mean viral loads each year) and used a mathematical relationship between viral load and transmission probability to estimate the number of new HIV infections. We simulated 4 scenarios: "no LTFU" (all patients stay in care), "no tracing" (patients LTFU are not traced), "immediate tracing" (after missed clinic appointment), and "delayed tracing" (after 6 months). Results: About 440 of 1000 patients were LTFU over 5 years. Cohort viral loads (million copies/mL per 1000 patients) were 3.7 [95% prediction interval (PrI), 2.9-4.9] for no LTFU, 8.6 (95% PrI, 7.3-10.0) for no tracing, 7.7 (95% PrI, 6.2-9.1) for immediate, and 8.0 (95% PrI, 6.7-9.5) for delayed tracing. Comparing no LTFU with no tracing, the number of new infections increased from 33 (95% PrI, 29-38) to 54 (95% PrI, 47-60) per 1000 patients. Immediate tracing prevented 3.6 (95% PrI, 23.3 to 12.8) and delayed tracing 2.5 (95% PrI, 25.8 to 11.1) new infections per 1000. Immediate tracing was more efficient than delayed tracing: to 116 and 142 tracing efforts, respectively, were needed prevent 1 new infection. Conclusions: Tracing of patients LTFU enhances the preventive effect of antiretroviral therapy, but the number of transmissions prevented is small. © 2013 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.


Johnson D.C.,University of North Carolina | Feldacker C.,Lighthouse Trust | Feldacker C.,International Training and Education Center for Health chnology | Tweya H.,Lighthouse Trust | And 2 more authors.
International Journal of STD and AIDS | Year: 2013

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that only 30% of eligible, HIV-infected individuals start antiretroviral therapy (ART). This study seeks to explore the geographic and individual factors associated with starting ART on time. This retrospective study includes 15,734 HIV-positive adults initiating ART at two HIV clinics in Lilongwe, Malawi. The outcome was starting ART within two weeks of meeting ART eligibility as defined by the Malawi ART guidelines. Euclidean distance from patient neighbourhood to their clinic was calculated using Google Earth. Logistic regression models assessed factors influencing starting ART on time. Of 15,734 adults initiating ART, 8178 were from Lighthouse (LH) and 7556 were from Martin Preuss Center (MPC). Combined, 68.7% started treatment on time. Patients who were eligible for ART based on a CD4 cell count <250 cells/mm3 versus WHO stage were less likely to begin ART on time at both LH (odds ratio [OR] 0.16; 95% CI 0.13-0.19) and MPC (OR 0.24; 95% CI 0.21-0.28). Likelihood of starting on time decreased with each kilometer further from clinic location among LH patients (OR 0.97; 95% CI 0.94-0.99); distance was not significant at MPC. In conclusion, predictors differed by clinic. Distance to clinic and type of eligibility for ART significantly influence starting ART on time.


Rosenberg N.E.,UNC Project | Rosenberg N.E.,University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill | Mtande T.K.,UNC Project | Saidi F.,UNC Project | And 11 more authors.
The Lancet HIV | Year: 2015

Background: Couples HIV testing and counselling (CHTC) is encouraged but is not widely done in sub-Saharan Africa. We aimed to compare two strategies for recruiting male partners for CHTC in Malawi's option B+ prevention of mother-to-child transmission programme: invitation only versus invitation plus tracing and postulated that invitation plus tracing would be more effective. Methods: We did an unblinded, randomised, controlled trial assessing uptake of CHTC in the antenatal unit at Bwaila District Hospital, a maternity hospital in Lilongwe, Malawi. Women were eligible if they were pregnant, had just tested HIV-positive and therefore could initiate antiretroviral therapy, had not yet had CHTC, were older than 18 years or 16-17 years and married, reported a male sex partner in Lilongwe, and intended to remain in Lilongwe for at least 1 month. Women were randomly assigned (1:1) to either the invitation only group or the invitation plus tracing group with block randomisation (block size=4). In the invitation only group, women were provided with an invitation for male partners to present to the antenatal clinic. In the invitation plus tracing group, women were provided with the same invitation, and partners were traced if they did not present. When couples presented they were offered pregnancy information and CHTC. Women were asked to attend a follow-up visit 1 month after enrolment to assess social harms and sexual behaviour. The primary outcome was the proportion of couples who presented to the clinic together and received CHTC during the study period and was assessed in all randomly assigned participants. This study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT02139176. Findings: Between March 4, 2014, and Oct 3, 2014, 200 HIV-positive pregnant women were enrolled and randomly assigned to either the invitation only group (n=100) or the invitation plus tracing group (n=100). 74 couples in the invitation plus tracing group and 52 in the invitation only group presented to the clinic and had CHTC (risk difference 22%, 95% CI 9-35; p=0·001) during the 10 month study period. Of 181 women with follow-up data, two reported union dissolution, one reported emotional distress, and none reported intimate partner violence. One male partner, when traced, was confused about which of his sex partners was enrolled in the study. No other adverse events were reported. Interpretation: An invitation plus tracing strategy was highly effective at increasing CHTC uptake. Invitation plus tracing with CHTC could have many substantial benefits if brought to scale. Funding: National Institutes of Health. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.

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