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Kim J.H.,U.S. Army | Rerks-Ngarm S.,Ministry of Public Health | Excler J.-L.,Us Military Hiv Research Program Mhrp | Michael N.L.,U.S. Army
Current Opinion in HIV and AIDS | Year: 2010

Purpose of review: An effective HIV vaccine is a global health priority. We describe lessons learned from four HIV vaccine trials that failed to demonstrate efficacy and one that showed modest protection as a pathway forward. Recent Findings: The Merck Ad5 phase IIb T-cell vaccine failed to show efficacy and might have increased the risk of HIV acquisition in men who have sex with men. Although VaxGen gp120 alone was not efficacious in groups at high risk for HIV-1 infection, the RV144 ALVAC prime and gp120 boost regimen showed 31% efficacy in low-incidence heterosexuals. All trials demonstrated the limitations of available laboratory and animal models to assess relevant vaccine-induced immune responses and predict clinical trial outcome. Analysis of innate and adaptive responses induced in RV144 will guide future trial design. Summary: Future HIV vaccine trials should define the RV144 immune responses relevant to protection, improve durability and level of protection, and assess efficacy in diverse risk groups. New strategies examining heterologous vector prime-boost, universal inserts, replicating vectors, and novel protein or adjuvant immunogens should be explored to induce T-cell and antibody responses. HIV vaccine development requires innovative ideas and a sustained long-term commitment of scientists, governments, and the community. © 2010 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. Source

Powell R.L.R.,New York University | Kinge T.,Ministry of Public Health | Nyambi P.N.,New York University
Journal of Virology | Year: 2010

High-risk cohorts in East Africa and the United States show rates of dual HIV-1 infection - the concomitant or sequential infection by two HIV-1 strains - of 50% to 100% of those of primary infection, and our normal-risk HIV-positive cohort in Cameroon exhibits a rate of dual infection of 11% per year, signifying that these infections are not exceptional. Little is known regarding the effect of dual infections on host immunity, despite the fact that they provide unique opportunities to investigate how the immune response is affected when challenged with diverse HIV-1 antigens. Using heterologous primary isolates, we have shown here that dual HIV-1 infection by genetically distant strains correlates with significantly increased potency and breadth of the anti-HIV-1 neutralizing antibody response. When the neutralization capacities of sequential plasma obtained before and after the dual infection of 4 subjects were compared to those of matched plasma obtained from 23 singly infected control subjects, a significant increase in the neutralization capacity of the sequential sample was found for 16/28 dually infected plasma/virus pairs, while only 4/159 such combinations for the control subjects exhibited a significant increase (P < 0.0001). Similarly, there was a significant increase in the plasma dilution capable of neutralizing 50% of virus (IC50) for 18/24 dually infected plasma/virus pairs, while 0/36 controls exhibited such an increase (P < 0.0001). These results demonstrate that dual HIV-1 infection broadens and strengthens the anti-HIV-1 immune response, suggesting that vaccination schemes that include polyvalent, genetically divergent immunogens may generate highly protective immunity against any HIV-1 challenge strain. Copyright © 2010, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved. Source

Nimpagaritse M.,Ministry of Public Health | Bertone M.P.,Institute of Tropical Medicine
Health Policy and Planning | Year: 2011

In May 2006, the President of Burundi announced the removal of user fees in all health centres and hospitals for children under 5 and women giving birth. As other studies also point out, the policy was adopted extremely suddenly, without much reflection on its ultimate aims and on the operational dimension of its implementation. From the perspective of a frontline manager, this paper provides a descriptive case study of the abolition of user fees in the Muramvya District and a first-hand account of the effects of the sudden reform in the management of a district and a district hospital. The analysis highlights the challenges that the district and hospital teams faced. The main issues were: the reduction of financial flows, which prevented the possibility of investments and caused frequent drugs stock-outs; the reduced quality of the services and the disruption of the referral system; the motivation of the health staff who saw the administrative workload increase (not necessarily because of increased utilization) and faced 'ethical dilemmas' caused by the imprecise targeting of the reform. Undoubtedly, the removal of user fees for certain groups was an equitable and necessary measure in an extremely poor country such as Burundi. However, the suddenness of the decision and the lack of preparation had critical and long-lasting consequences for the entire health system. This analysis, performed from the frontline perspective, clarifies the importance of a rigorous planning of any reform, as well as of involving peripheral actors and understanding the complex challenges that they face. © The Author 2011; all rights reserved. Source

The Central African Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Program (CAFELTP) is a 2-year public health leadership capacity building training program. It was established in October 2010 to enhance capacity for applied epidemiology and public health laboratory services in three countries: Cameroon, Central African Republic, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The aim of the program is to develop a trained public health workforce to assure that acute public health events are detected, investigated, and responded to quickly and effectively. The program consists of 25% didactic and 75% practical training (field based activities). Although the program is still in its infancy, the residents have already responded to six outbreak investigations in the region, evaluated 18 public health surveillance systems and public health programs, and completed 18 management projects. Through these various activities, information is shared to understand similarities and differences in the region leading to new and innovative approaches in public health. The program provides opportunities for regional and international networking in field epidemiology and laboratory activities, and is particularly beneficial for countries that may not have the immediate resources to host an individual country program. Several of the trainees from the first cohort already hold leadership positions within the ministries of health and national laboratories, and will return to their assignments better equipped to face the public health challenges in the region. They bring with them knowledge, practical training, and experiences gained through the program to shape the future of the public health landscape in their countries. Source

Kumar B.,Indian Institute of Public Health | Kakar F.,Office of the President of Afghanistan | Salehi A.S.,Ministry of Public Health
PLoS Medicine | Year: 2011

Background: In 2004, Afghanistan pioneered a balanced scorecard (BSC) performance system to manage the delivery of primary health care services. This study examines the trends of 29 key performance indicators over a 5-year period between 2004 and 2008. Methods and Findings: Independent evaluations of performance in six domains were conducted annually through 5,500 patient observations and exit interviews and 1,500 provider interviews in >600 facilities selected by stratified random sampling in each province. Generalized estimating equation (GEE) models were used to assess trends in BSC parameters. There was a progressive improvement in the national median scores scaled from 0-100 between 2004 and 2008 in all six domains: patient and community satisfaction of services (65.3-84.5, p<0.0001); provider satisfaction (65.4-79.2, p<0.01); capacity for service provision (47.4-76.4, p<0.0001); quality of services (40.5-67.4, p<0.0001); and overall vision for pro-poor and pro-female health services (52.0-52.6). The financial domain also showed improvement until 2007 (84.4-95.7, p<0.01), after which user fees were eliminated. By 2008, all provinces achieved the upper benchmark of national median set in 2004. Conclusions: The BSC has been successfully employed to assess and improve health service capacity and service delivery using performance benchmarking during the 5-year period. However, scorecard reconfigurations are needed to integrate effectiveness and efficiency measures and accommodate changes in health systems policy and strategy architecture to ensure its continued relevance and effectiveness as a comprehensive health system performance measure. The process of BSC design and implementation can serve as a valuable prototype for health policy planners managing performance in similar health care contexts. © 2011 Edward et al. Source

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