Papua New Guinea Institute of Medical Research PNG IMR

Goroka, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea Institute of Medical Research PNG IMR

Goroka, Papua New Guinea

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Hill P.S.,University of Queensland | Tynan A.,University of Queensland | Law G.,Sexual Health and Disease Control Branch | Millan J.,Sexual Health and Disease Control Branch | And 8 more authors.
AIDS Care - Psychological and Socio-Medical Aspects of AIDS/HIV | Year: 2012

Male circumcision (MC) significantly reduces the risk of HIV acquisition in men. The geographical, linguistic and cultural diversity of Papua New Guinea (PNG) makes issues of acceptability and implementation complex, and culturally appropriate HIV and Sexually Transmissible Infection (STI) prevention strategies are crucial in this setting. A modified Delphi approach was conducted with sexual health specialists to document and classify variants of penile cutting as part of a programme of research being carried out to investigate the acceptability and potential epidemiological impact of MC for HIV prevention in PNG, and options for future roll-out. Three broad categories were identified: circumcision, longitudinal incisions (including dorsal slit procedures) and incisions that did not alter the profile of penis or foreskin. The typology provides a universal language for health practitioners and policy makers that will inform future sexual health deliberations. The popularity of dorsal slit procedures in PNG has significant implications due to its procedural simplicity and limited resource requirements, making it an attractive provider option compared to medical circumcision. Further research is urgently required to examine the effectiveness of dorsal slit procedures for HIV prevention in PNG, the prevalence of various forms of penile cutting and the extent to which health staff are currently engaged in dorsal slit procedures. © 2012 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.


Unger H.W.,Papua New Guinea Institute of Medical Research PNG IMR | Unger H.W.,Royal Melbourne Hospital | Ome-Kaius M.,Papua New Guinea Institute of Medical Research PNG IMR | Karl S.,Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research | And 7 more authors.
BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth | Year: 2015

Background: Fetal growth restriction (FGR) is associated with increased infant mortality rates and ill-health in adulthood. Evaluation of fetal growth requires ultrasound. As a result, ultrasound-assisted evaluations of causes of FGR in malaria-endemic developing countries are rare. We aimed to determine factors associated with indicators of abnormal fetal growth in rural lowland Papua New Guinea (PNG). Methods: Weights and growth of 671 ultrasound-dated singleton pregnancies (<25 gestational weeks) were prospectively monitored using estimated fetal weights and birthweights. Maternal nutritional status and haemoglobin levels were assessed at enrolment, and participants were screened for malaria on several occasions. FGR was suspected upon detection of an estimated fetal weight or birthweight <10th centile (small-for-gestational age) and/or low fetal weight gain, defined as a change in weight z-score in the first quartile. Factors associated with fetal weight and fetal weight gain were additionally assessed by evaluating differences in weight z-scores and change in weight z-scores. Log-binomial and linear mixed effect models were used to determine factors associated with indicators of FGR. Results: SGA and low weight gain were detected in 48.3% and 37.0% of pregnancies, respectively. Of participants, 13.8%, 21.2%, and 22.8% had a low mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC, <22 cms), short stature (<150 cms) and anaemia (haemoglobin <90 g/L) at first antenatal visit. 24.0% (161/671) of women had at least one malaria infection detected in peripheral blood. A low MUAC (adjusted risk ratio [aRR] 1.51, 95% CI 1.29, 1.76, P < 0.001), short stature (aRR 1.27, 95% CI 1.04, 1.55, P = 0.009), and anaemia (aRR 1.27, 95% CI 1.06, 1.51, P = 0.009) were associated with SGA, and a low body mass index was associated with low fetal weight gain (aRR 2.10, 95% CI 1.62, 2.71, P < 0.001). Additionally, recent receipt of intermittent preventive treatment in pregnancy was associated with increased weight z-scores, and anaemia with reduced change in weight z-scores. Malaria infection was associated with SGA on crude but not adjusted analyses (aRR 1.13, 95% CI 0.95, 1.34, P = 0.172). Conclusion: Macronutrient undernutrition and anaemia increased the risk of FGR. Antenatal nutritional interventions and malaria prevention could improve fetal growth in PNG. © Unger et al.; licensee BioMed Central.


Umbers A.J.,University of Melbourne | Umbers A.J.,Papua New Guinea Institute of Medical Research PNG IMR | Unger H.W.,University of Melbourne | Unger H.W.,Papua New Guinea Institute of Medical Research PNG IMR | And 15 more authors.
Malaria Journal | Year: 2015

Background: The diagnosis of malaria during pregnancy is complicated by placental sequestration, asymptomatic infection, and low-density peripheral parasitaemia. Where intermittent preventive treatment (IPT) with sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine is threatened by drug resistance, or is inappropriate due to low transmission, intermittent screening and treatment (ISTp) with rapid diagnostic tests for malaria (RDT) could be a valuable alternative. Therefore, the accuracy of RDTs to detect peripheral and placental infection was assessed in a declining transmission setting in Papua New Guinea (PNG). Methods: The performance of a combination RDT detecting histidine-rich protein-2 (HRP-2) and Plasmodium lactate dehydrogenase (pLDH), and light microscopy (LM), to diagnose peripheral Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax infections during pregnancy, were assessed using quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) as the reference standard. Participants in a malaria prevention trial in PNG with a haemoglobin ≤90 g/L, or symptoms suggestive of malaria, were tested. Ability of RDT and LM to detect active placental infection on histology was evaluated in some participants. Results: Among 876 women, 1162 RDTs were undertaken (anaemia: 854 [73.5 %], suspected malaria: 308 [26.5 %]). qPCR detected peripheral infection during 190 RDT episodes (165 P. falciparum, 19 P. vivax, 6 mixed infections). Overall, RDT detected peripheral P. falciparum infection with 45.6 % sensitivity (95 % CI 38.0-53.4), a specificity of 96.4 % (95.0-97.4), a positive predictive value of 68.4 % (59.1-76.8), and a negative predictive value of 91.1 % (89.2-92.8). RDT performance to detect P. falciparum was inferior to LM, more so amongst anaemic women (18.6 vs 45.3 % sensitivity, Liddell's exact test, P < 0.001) compared to symptomatic women (72.9 vs 82.4 % sensitivity, P = 0.077). RDT and LM missed 88.0 % (22/25) and 76.0 % (19/25) of P. vivax infections, respectively. In a subset of women tested at delivery and who had placental histology (n = 158) active placental infection was present in 19.6 %: all three peripheral blood infection detection methods (RDT, LM, qPCR) missed >50 % of these infections. Conclusions: In PNG, HRP-2/pLDH RDTs may be useful to diagnose peripheral P. falciparum infections in symptomatic pregnant women. However, they are not sufficiently sensitive for use in intermittent screening amongst asymptomatic (anaemic) women. These findings have implications for the management of malaria in pregnancy. The adverse impact of infections undetected by RDT or LM on pregnancy outcomes needs further evaluation. © 2015 Umbers et al.


PubMed | Papua New Guinea Institute of Medical Research PNG IMR, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Royal Infirmary and Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research
Type: | Journal: BMC pregnancy and childbirth | Year: 2015

Fetal growth restriction (FGR) is associated with increased infant mortality rates and ill-health in adulthood. Evaluation of fetal growth requires ultrasound. As a result, ultrasound-assisted evaluations of causes of FGR in malaria-endemic developing countries are rare. We aimed to determine factors associated with indicators of abnormal fetal growth in rural lowland Papua New Guinea (PNG).Weights and growth of 671 ultrasound-dated singleton pregnancies (<25 gestational weeks) were prospectively monitored using estimated fetal weights and birthweights. Maternal nutritional status and haemoglobin levels were assessed at enrolment, and participants were screened for malaria on several occasions. FGR was suspected upon detection of an estimated fetal weight or birthweight <10(th) centile (small-for-gestational age) and/or low fetal weight gain, defined as a change in weight z-score in the first quartile. Factors associated with fetal weight and fetal weight gain were additionally assessed by evaluating differences in weight z-scores and change in weight z-scores. Log-binomial and linear mixed effect models were used to determine factors associated with indicators of FGR.SGA and low weight gain were detected in 48.3% and 37.0% of pregnancies, respectively. Of participants, 13.8%, 21.2%, and 22.8% had a low mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC, <22 cms), short stature (<150 cms) and anaemia (haemoglobin <90g/L) at first antenatal visit. 24.0% (161/671) of women had at least one malaria infection detected in peripheral blood. A low MUAC (adjusted risk ratio [aRR] 1.51, 95% CI 1.29, 1.76, P<0.001), short stature (aRR 1.27, 95% CI 1.04, 1.55, P=0.009), and anaemia (aRR 1.27, 95% CI 1.06, 1.51, P=0.009) were associated with SGA, and a low body mass index was associated with low fetal weight gain (aRR 2.10, 95% CI 1.62, 2.71, P<0.001). Additionally, recent receipt of intermittent preventive treatment in pregnancy was associated with increased weight z-scores, and anaemia with reduced change in weight z-scores. Malaria infection was associated with SGA on crude but not adjusted analyses (aRR 1.13, 95% CI 0.95, 1.34, P=0.172).Macronutrient undernutrition and anaemia increased the risk of FGR. Antenatal nutritional interventions and malaria prevention could improve fetal growth in PNG.


Tynan A.,University of Queensland | Vallely A.,University of New South Wales | Vallely A.,Papua New Guinea Institute of Medical Research PNG IMR | Kelly A.,Papua New Guinea Institute of Medical Research PNG IMR | And 6 more authors.
BMC Health Services Research | Year: 2012

Background: Male circumcision (MC) has been shown to reduce the risk of HIV acquisition among heterosexual men, with WHO recommending MC as an essential component of comprehensive HIV prevention programs in high prevalence settings since 2007. While Papua New Guinea (PNG) has a current prevalence of only 1%, the high rates of sexually transmissible diseases and the extensive, but unregulated, practice of penile cutting in PNG have led the National Department of Health (NDoH) to consider introducing a MC program. Given public interest in circumcision even without active promotion by the NDoH, examining the potential health systems implications for MC without raising unrealistic expectations presents a number of methodological issues. In this study we examined health systems lessons learned from a national no-scalpel vasectomy (NSV) program, and their implications for a future MC program in PNG. Methods: Fourteen in-depth interviews were conducted with frontline health workers and key government officials involved in NSV programs in PNG over a 3-week period in February and March 2011. Documentary, organizational and policy analysis of HIV and vasectomy services was conducted and triangulated with the interviews. All interviews were digitally recorded and later transcribed. Application of the WHO six building blocks of a health system was applied and further thematic analysis was conducted on the data with assistance from the analysis software MAXQDA. Results: Obstacles in funding pathways, inconsistent support by government departments, difficulties with staff retention and erratic delivery of training programs have resulted in mixed success of the national NSV program. Conclusions: In an already vulnerable health system significant investment in training, resources and negotiation of clinical space will be required for an effective MC program. Focused leadership and open communication between provincial and national government, NGOs and community is necessary to assist in service sustainability. Ensuring clear policy and guidance across the entire sexual and reproductive health sector will provide opportunities to strengthen key areas of the health system. © 2012 Tynan et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.


Ome-Kaius M.,Papua New Guinea Institute of Medical Research PNG IMR | Unger H.W.,Royal Melbourne Hospital | Singirok D.,Papua New Guinea Institute of Medical Research PNG IMR | Wangnapi R.A.,Papua New Guinea Institute of Medical Research PNG IMR | And 7 more authors.
BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth | Year: 2015

Background: Chewing areca nut (AN), also known as betel nut, is common in Asia and the South Pacific and the habit has been linked to a number of serious health problems including oral cancer. Use of AN in pregnancy has been associated with a reduction in mean birthweight in some studies, but this association and the relationship between AN chewing and other adverse pregnancy outcomes remain poorly understood. Methods: We assessed the impact of AN chewing on adverse outcomes including stillbirth, low birthweight (LBW, <2,500 g) and anaemia at delivery (haemoglobin <11.0 g/dL) in a longitudinal cohort of 2,700 pregnant women residing in rural lowland Papua New Guinea (PNG) from November 2009 until February 2013. Chewing habits and participant characteristics were evaluated at first antenatal visit and women were followed until delivery. Results: 83.3 % [2249/2700] of pregnant women used AN, and most chewed on a daily basis (86.2 % [1939/2249]. Smoking and alcohol use was reported by 18.9 % (511/2700) and 5.0 % (135/2688) of women, respectively. AN use was not associated with pregnancy loss or congenital abnormalities amongst women with a known pregnancy outcome (n=2215). Analysis of 1769 birthweights did not demonstrate an association between AN and LBW (chewers: 13.7 % [200/1459] vs. non-chewers: 14.5 % [45/310], P=0.87) or reduced mean birthweight (2957 g vs. 2966 g; P=0.76). Women using AN were more likely to be anaemic (haemoglobin <11 g/dL) at delivery (75.2 % [998/1314] vs. 63.9 % [182/285], adjusted odds ratio [95 % CI]: 1.67 [1.27, 2.20], P<0.001). Chewers more commonly had male babies than non-chewers (46.1 % [670/1455] vs. 39.8 % [123/309], P=0.045). Conclusions: AN chewing may contribute to anaemia. Although not associated with other adverse pregnancy outcome in this cohort gestational AN use should be discouraged, given the potential adverse effects on haemoglobin and well-established long-term health risk including oral cancer. Future research evaluating the potential association of AN use and anaemia may be warranted. Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01136850(06 April 2010). © 2015 Ome-Kaius et al.


PubMed | Papua New Guinea Institute of Medical Research PNG IMR, University of Melbourne and Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research
Type: | Journal: Malaria journal | Year: 2015

The diagnosis of malaria during pregnancy is complicated by placental sequestration, asymptomatic infection, and low-density peripheral parasitaemia. Where intermittent preventive treatment (IPT) with sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine is threatened by drug resistance, or is inappropriate due to low transmission, intermittent screening and treatment (ISTp) with rapid diagnostic tests for malaria (RDT) could be a valuable alternative. Therefore, the accuracy of RDTs to detect peripheral and placental infection was assessed in a declining transmission setting in Papua New Guinea (PNG).The performance of a combination RDT detecting histidine-rich protein-2 (HRP-2) and Plasmodium lactate dehydrogenase (pLDH), and light microscopy (LM), to diagnose peripheral Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax infections during pregnancy, were assessed using quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) as the reference standard. Participants in a malaria prevention trial in PNG with a haemoglobin 90 g/L, or symptoms suggestive of malaria, were tested. Ability of RDT and LM to detect active placental infection on histology was evaluated in some participants.Among 876 women, 1162 RDTs were undertaken (anaemia: 854 [73.5 %], suspected malaria: 308 [26.5 %]). qPCR detected peripheral infection during 190 RDT episodes (165 P. falciparum, 19 P. vivax, 6 mixed infections). Overall, RDT detected peripheral P. falciparum infection with 45.6 % sensitivity (95 % CI 38.0-53.4), a specificity of 96.4 % (95.0-97.4), a positive predictive value of 68.4 % (59.1-76.8), and a negative predictive value of 91.1 % (89.2-92.8). RDT performance to detect P. falciparum was inferior to LM, more so amongst anaemic women (18.6 vs 45.3 % sensitivity, Liddells exact test, P < 0.001) compared to symptomatic women (72.9 vs 82.4 % sensitivity, P = 0.077). RDT and LM missed 88.0 % (22/25) and 76.0 % (19/25) of P. vivax infections, respectively. In a subset of women tested at delivery and who had placental histology (n = 158) active placental infection was present in 19.6 %: all three peripheral blood infection detection methods (RDT, LM, qPCR) missed >50 % of these infections.In PNG, HRP-2/pLDH RDTs may be useful to diagnose peripheral P. falciparum infections in symptomatic pregnant women. However, they are not sufficiently sensitive for use in intermittent screening amongst asymptomatic (anaemic) women. These findings have implications for the management of malaria in pregnancy. The adverse impact of infections undetected by RDT or LM on pregnancy outcomes needs further evaluation.


PubMed | Papua New Guinea Institute of Medical Research PNG IMR, Royal Melbourne Hospital and Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research
Type: | Journal: BMC pregnancy and childbirth | Year: 2015

Chewing areca nut (AN), also known as betel nut, is common in Asia and the South Pacific and the habit has been linked to a number of serious health problems including oral cancer. Use of AN in pregnancy has been associated with a reduction in mean birthweight in some studies, but this association and the relationship between AN chewing and other adverse pregnancy outcomes remain poorly understood.We assessed the impact of AN chewing on adverse outcomes including stillbirth, low birthweight (LBW, <2,500 g) and anaemia at delivery (haemoglobin <11.0 g/dL) in a longitudinal cohort of 2,700 pregnant women residing in rural lowland Papua New Guinea (PNG) from November 2009 until February 2013. Chewing habits and participant characteristics were evaluated at first antenatal visit and women were followed until delivery.83.3% [2249/2700] of pregnant women used AN, and most chewed on a daily basis (86.2% [1939/2249]. Smoking and alcohol use was reported by 18.9% (511/2700) and 5.0% (135/2688) of women, respectively. AN use was not associated with pregnancy loss or congenital abnormalities amongst women with a known pregnancy outcome (n = 2215). Analysis of 1769 birthweights did not demonstrate an association between AN and LBW (chewers: 13.7% [200/1459] vs. non-chewers: 14.5% [45/310], P = 0.87) or reduced mean birthweight (2957 g vs. 2966 g; P = 0.76). Women using AN were more likely to be anaemic (haemoglobin <11 g/dL) at delivery (75.2% [998/1314] vs. 63.9% [182/285], adjusted odds ratio [95% CI]: 1.67 [1.27, 2.20], P < 0.001). Chewers more commonly had male babies than non-chewers (46.1% [670/1455] vs. 39.8% [123/309], P = 0.045).AN chewing may contribute to anaemia. Although not associated with other adverse pregnancy outcome in this cohort gestational AN use should be discouraged, given the potential adverse effects on haemoglobin and well-established long-term health risk including oral cancer. Future research evaluating the potential association of AN use and anaemia may be warranted.ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01136850 (06 April 2010).


PubMed | Papua New Guinea Institute of Medical Research PNG IMR, University of Melbourne and Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Maternal & child nutrition | Year: 2016

In Papua New Guinea, intermittent preventive treatment with sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine and azithromycin (SPAZ-IPTp) increased birthweight despite limited impact on malaria and sexually transmitted infections. To explore possible nutrition-related mechanisms, we evaluated associations between gestational weight gain (GWG), enrolment body mass index (BMI) and mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC), and birthweight. We investigated whether the increase in birthweight associated with SPAZ-IPTp may partly be driven by a treatment effect on GWG. The mean GWG rate was 393g/week (SD 250; n=948). A 100g/week increase in GWG was associated with a 14g (95% CI 2.6, 25.4) increase in birthweight (P=0.016). Enrolment BMI and MUAC also positively correlated with birthweight. SPAZ-IPTp was associated with increased GWG [58g/week (26, 900), P<0.001, n=948] and with increased birthweight [48g, 95% CI (8, 880), P=0.019] when all eligible women were considered (n=1947). Inclusion of GWG reduced the birthweight coefficient associated with SPAZ-IPTp by 18% from 44to 36g (n=948), although SPAZ-IPTp was not significantly associated with birthweight among women for whom GWG data were available (P=0.13, n=948). One month post-partum, fewer women who had received SPAZ-IPTp had a low post-partum BMI (<18.5kgm(-2) ) [adjusted risk ratio: 0.55 (95% CI 0.36, 0.82), P=0.004] and their babies had a reduced risk of wasting [risk ratio 0.39 (95% CI 0.21, 0.72), P=0.003]. SPAZ-IPTp increased GWG, which could explain its impact on birthweight and maternal post-partum BMI. Future trials of SPAZ-IPTp must incorporate detailed anthropometric evaluations to investigate mechanisms of effects on maternal and child health.


Tynan A.,University of Queensland | Hill P.S.,University of Queensland | Kelly A.,Papua New Guinea Institute of Medical Research PNG IMR | Kelly A.,University of New South Wales | And 7 more authors.
BMC Public Health | Year: 2013

Background: The success of health programs is influenced not only by their acceptability but also their ability to meet and respond to community expectations of service delivery. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) have recommended medical male circumcision (MC) as an essential component of comprehensive HIV prevention programs in high burden settings. This study investigated community-level perceptions of MC for HIV prevention in Papua New Guinea (PNG), a setting where diverse traditional and contemporary forms of penile foreskin cutting practices have been described. Methods. A multi-method qualitative study was undertaken in four provinces in two stages from 2009 to 2011. A total of 82 in-depth interviews, and 45 focus group discussions were completed during Stage 1. Stage 2 incorporated eight participatory workshops that were an integral part of the research dissemination process to communities. The workshops also provided opportunity to review key themes and consolidate earlier findings as part of the research process. Qualitative data analysis used a grounded theory approach and was facilitated using qualitative data management software. Results: A number of diverse considerations for the delivery of MC for HIV prevention in PNG were described, with conflicting views both between and within communities. Key issues included: location of the service, service provider, age eligibility, type of cut, community awareness and potential shame amongst youth. Key to developing appropriate health service delivery models was an appreciation of the differences in expectations and traditions of unique cultural groups in PNG. Establishing strong community coalitions, raising awareness and building trust were seen as integral to success. Conclusions: Difficulties exist in the implementation of new programs in a pluralistic society such as PNG, particularly if tensions arise between biomedical knowledge and medico-legal requirements, compared to existing socio-cultural interests. Community participatory approaches offer important opportunities to explore and design culturally safe, specific and accessible programs. © 2013 Tynan et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

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