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Durao S.,South African Cochrane Center | Kredo T.,South African Cochrane Center | Volmink J.,South African Cochrane Center | Volmink J.,Stellenbosch University
Journal of Clinical Epidemiology | Year: 2015

Objectives To develop, assess, and maximize the sensitivity of a search strategy to identify diet and nutrition trials in PubMed using relative recall. Study Design and Setting We developed a search strategy to identify diet and nutrition trials in PubMed. We then constructed a gold standard reference set to validate the identified trials using the relative recall method. Relative recall was calculated by dividing the number of references from the gold standard our search strategy identified by the total number of references in the gold standard. Results Our gold standard comprised 298 trials, derived from 16 included systematic reviews. The initial search strategy identified 242 of 298 references, with a relative recall of 81.2% [95% confidence interval (CI): 76.3%, 85.5%]. We analyzed titles and abstracts of the 56 missed references for possible additional terms. We then modified the search strategy accordingly. The relative recall of the final search strategy was 88.6% (95% CI: 84.4%, 91.9%). Conclusion We developed a search strategy to identify diet and nutrition trials in PubMed with a high relative recall (sensitivity). This could be useful for establishing a nutrition trials register to support the conduct of future research, including systematic reviews. © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc.

Kashangura R.,Stellenbosch University | Sena E.S.,University of Edinburgh | Sena E.S.,Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health | Young T.,Stellenbosch University | Young T.,South African Cochrane Center
International Journal of Epidemiology | Year: 2015

Background: The existing Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccination provides partial protection against tuberculosis (TB). The modified vaccinia ankara virus-expressing antigen 85A (MVA85A) aims to boost BCG immunity. We evaluated the animal evidence supporting the testing of MVA85A in humans. Methods: Our protocol included in vivo preclinical studies of the MVA85A booster with BCG compared with BCG alone, followed by a TB challenge. We used standard methods for systematic review of animal studies, and summarized mortality, measures of pathology and lung bacterial load. The comprehensive literature search was to September 2014. Two independent investigators assessed eligibility and performed data extraction. We assessed study quality and pooled bacteria load using random effect meta-analysis. Findings: We included eight studies in 192 animals. Three experiments were in mice, two in guinea pigs, two in macaques and one in calves. Overall, study quality was low with no randomization, baseline comparability not described and blinding not reported. For animal death (including euthanasia due to severe morbidity), studies were underpowered, and overall no benefit demonstrated. No difference was shown for lung pathology measured on an ordinal scale or bacterial load. The largest mortality trial carried out in macaques had more deaths in the MVA85A vaccine group, and was published after a trial in South Africa had started recruiting children. Conclusions: This independent assessment of the animal data does not provide evidence to support efficacy of MVA85A as a BCG booster. More rigorous conduct and reporting of preclinical research are warranted, and we believe the results of studies should be publicly available before embarking on trials in humans, irrespective of the findings. © The Author 2015.

Burger E.H.,University of Cape Town | Groenewald P.,Burden of Disease Unit | Bradshaw D.,Burden of Disease Unit | Ward A.M.,University of Oxford | And 3 more authors.
Journal of Clinical Epidemiology | Year: 2012

Objective: The validity of the underlying cause of death on death notification forms was assessed by comparing it to the underlying cause determined independently from medical records. Study Design and Setting: Retrospective study of 703 deaths in two suburbs of Cape Town, South Africa. Two medical doctors completed a medical review death certificate to validate the registration death certificate for each decedent. Agreement, sensitivity, and positive predictive value were measured for underlying causes of death using the World Health Organization (WHO) mortality tabulation list 1. Results: Agreement was poor, with only 55.3% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 51.7, 59.0) of diagnoses matching at WHO mortality tabulation list 1 level. Validity of reported causes of death was poor for HIV, cardiovascular diseases, and diabetes. With correct reporting, the cause-specific mortality fraction for HIV increased from 11.9% to 18.3% (53.6%; 95% CI: 36.9, 77.6), for ischemic heart disease from 3.3% to 7.3% (121.7%; 95% CI: 53.5, 228.7), and for hypertensive diseases from 3.3% to 5.7% (73.9%; 95% CI: 14.4, 167.8). For diabetes, the mortality fraction decreased from 6.0% to 2.3% (-64.3%; 95% CI: -77.1, -37.8) and for ill-defined deaths from 7.4% to 2.3% (-69.2%; 95% CI: -81.0, -51.6). Conclusion: Current cause-specific mortality levels should be cautiously interpreted. Death certification training is required to improve the validity of mortality data. © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Young T.,University of Cape Town | Young T.,South African Cochrane Center | Rohwer A.,University of Cape Town | Volmink J.,University of Cape Town | And 2 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2014

Background: An evidence-based approach to health care is recognized internationally as a key competency for healthcare practitioners. This overview systematically evaluated and organized evidence from systematic reviews on teaching evidence-based health care (EBHC). Methods/Findings: We searched for systematic reviews evaluating interventions for teaching EBHC to health professionals compared to no intervention or different strategies. Outcomes covered EBHC knowledge, skills, attitudes, practices and health outcomes. Comprehensive searches were conducted in April 2013. Two reviewers independently selected eligible reviews, extracted data and evaluated methodological quality. We included 16 systematic reviews, published between 1993 and 2013. There was considerable overlap across reviews. We found that 171 source studies included in the reviews related to 81 separate studies, of which 37 are in more than one review. Studies used various methodologies to evaluate educational interventions of varying content, format and duration in undergraduates, interns, residents and practicing health professionals. The evidence in the reviews showed that multifaceted, clinically integrated interventions, with assessment, led to improvements in knowledge, skills and attitudes. Interventions improved critical appraisal skills and integration of results into decisions, and improved knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviour amongst practicing health professionals. Considering single interventions, EBHC knowledge and attitude were similar for lecture-based versus online teaching. Journal clubs appeared to increase clinical epidemiology and biostatistics knowledge and reading behavior, but not appraisal skills. EBHC courses improved appraisal skills and knowledge. Amongst practicing health professionals, interactive online courses with guided critical appraisal showed significant increase in knowledge and appraisal skills. A short workshop using problem-based approaches, compared to no intervention, increased knowledge but not appraisal skills. Conclusions: EBHC teaching and learning strategies should focus on implementing multifaceted, clinically integrated approaches with assessment. Future rigorous research should evaluate minimum components for multifaceted interventions, assessment of medium to long-term outcomes, and implementation of these interventions. © 2014 Young et al.

Pienaar E.D.,South African Cochrane Center
Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online) | Year: 2010

Oral candidiasis (OC) associated with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection occurs commonly and recurs frequently, often presenting as an initial manifestation of the disease. Left untreated, these lesions contribute considerably to the morbidity associated with HIV infection. Interventions aimed at preventing and treating HIV-associated oral candidal lesions form an integral component of maintaining the quality of life for affected individuals. To determine the effects of any intervention in preventing or treating OC in children and adults with HIV infection. The search strategy was based on that of the Cochrane HIV/AIDS Review Group. The following electronic databases were searched for randomised controlled trials for the years 1982 to 2005: Medline, AIDSearch, EMBASE and CINAHL. The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effectiveness, and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) were also searched through May 2005. The abstracts of relevant conferences, including the International Conferences on AIDS and the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections, as indexed by AIDSLINE, were also reviewed. The strategy was iterative, in that references of included studies were searched for additional references. All languages were included.The updated database search was done for the period 2005 up to 2009. The following databases were searched: Medline, EMBASE, the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effectiveness and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) in The Cochrane Library. AIDSearch was not searched for the updated search as it ceased publication during 2008. Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of palliative, preventative or curative therapy were considered, irrespective of whether the control group received a placebo. Participants were HIV positive adults and children. Two authors independently assessed the methodological quality of the trials and extracted data. Study authors were contacted for additional data where necessary. For the first publication of the review in 2006, forty studies were retrieved. Twenty eight trials (n=3225) met inclusion criteria. During the update search for the review a, further six studies were identified. Of these, five met the inclusion criteria and were included in the review. The review now includes 33 studies (n=3445): 22 assessing treatment and 11 assessing prevention of oropharyngeal candidiasis. Six studies were done in developing countries, 16 in the United States of America and the remainder in Europe.Treatment Treatment was assessed in the majority of trials looking at both clinical and mycological cures. In the majority of comparisons there was only one trial. Compared to nystatin, fluconazole favoured clinical cure in adults (1 RCT; n=167; RR 1.69; 95% CI 1.27 to 2.23). There was no difference with regard to clinical cure between fluconazole compared to ketoconazole (2 RCTs; n=83; RR 1.27; 95% CI 0.97 to 1.66), itraconazole (2 RCTs; n=434; RR 1.05; 95% CI 0.94 to 1.16), clotrimazole (2 RCTs; n=358; RR 1.14; 95% CI 0.92 to 1.42) or posaconazole (1 RCT; n=366; RR1.32; 95% CI 0.36 to 4.83). Two trials compared different dosages of fluconazole with no difference in clinical cure. When compared with clotrimazole, both fluconazole (2 RCTs; n=358; RR 1.47; 95% CI 1.16 to 1.87) and itraconazole (1 RCT; n=123; RR 2.20; 95% CI 1.43 to3.39) proved to be better for mycological cure. Both gentian violet (1 RCT; n=96; RR 5.28; 95% CI 1.23 to 22.55) and ketoconazole (1 RCT; n=92; RR 5.22; 95% CI 1.21 to 22.53) were superior to nystatin in bringing about clinical cure. A single trial compared gentian violet with lemon juice and lemon grass with no significant difference in clinical cure between the groups. Prevention Successful prevention was defined as the prevention of a relapse while receiving prophylaxis. Fluconazole was compared with placebo in five studies (5 RCTs; n=599; RR 0.61; 95% CI 0.5 to 0.74) and with no treatment in another (1 RCT; n=65; RR 0.16; 95% CI 0.08 to 0.34). In both instances the prevention of clinical episodes was favoured by fluconazole. Comparing continuous fluconazole treatment with intermittent treatment (2 RCTs; n=891; RR 0.65; 95% CI 0.23 to 1.83), there was no significant difference between the two treatment arms. Chlorhexidine was compared with normal saline in a single study with no significant difference between the treatment arms. Five new studies were added to the review, but their results do not alter the final conclusion of the review.Implications for practice Due to there being only one study in children, it is not possible to make recommendations for treatment or prevention of OC in children. Amongst adults, there were few studies per comparison. Due to insufficient evidence, no conclusion could be made about the effectiveness of clotrimazole, nystatin, amphotericin B, itraconazole or ketoconazole with regard to OC prophylaxis. In comparison to placebo, fluconazole is an effective preventative intervention. However, the potential for resistant Candida organisms to develop, as well as the cost of prophylaxis, might impact the feasibility of implementation. No studies were found comparing fluconazole with other interventions. The direction of findings suggests that ketoconazole, fluconazole, itraconazole and clotrimazole improved the treatment outcomes.Implications for research It is encouraging that low-cost alternatives are being tested, but more research needs to be on in this area and on interventions like gentian violet and other less expensive anti-fungal drugs to treat OC. More well-designed treatment trials with larger samples are needed to allow for sufficient power to detect differences in not only clinical, but also mycological, response and relapse rates. There is also a strong need for more research to be done on the treatment and prevention of OC in children as it is reported that OC is the most frequent fungal infection in children and adolescents who are HIV positive. More research on the effectiveness of less expensive interventions also needs to be done in resource-poor settings. Currently few trials report outcomes related to quality of life, nutrition, or survival. Future researchers should consider measuring these when planning trials. Development of resistance remains under-studied and more work must be done in this area. It is recommended that trials be more standardised and conform more closely to CONSORT.

Kredo T.,South African Cochrane Center
The Cochrane database of systematic reviews | Year: 2013

Policy makers, health staff and communities recognise that health services in lower- and middle-income countries need to improve people's access to HIV treatment and retention to treatment programmes. One strategy is to move antiretroviral delivery from hospitals to more peripheral health facilities or even beyond health facilities. This could increase the number of people with access to care, improve health outcomes, and enhance retention in treatment programmes. On the other hand, providing care at less sophisticated levels in the health service or at community-level may decrease quality of care and result in worse health outcomes. To address these uncertainties, we summarised the research studies examining the risks and benefits of decentralising antiretroviral therapy service delivery. To assess the effects of various models that decentralised HIV treatment and care to more basic levels in the health system for initiating and maintaining antiretroviral therapy. We conducted a comprehensive search to identify all relevant studies regardless of language or publication status (published, unpublished, in press, and in progress) from 1 January 1996 to 31 March 2013, and contacted relevant organisations and researchers. The search terms included 'decentralisation', 'down referral', 'delivery of health care', and 'health services accessibility'. Our inclusion criteria were controlled trials (randomised and non-randomised), controlled-before and after studies, and cohorts (prospective and retrospective) in which HIV-infected people were either initiated on antiretroviral therapy or maintained on therapy in a decentralised setting in lower- and middle-income countries. We define decentralisation as providing treatment at a more basic level in the health system to the comparator. Two authors applied the inclusion criteria and extracted data independently. We designed a framework to describe different decentralisation strategies, and then grouped studies against these strategies. Data were pooled using random-effects meta-analysis. Because loss to follow up in HIV programmes is known to include some deaths, we used attrition as our primary outcome, defined as death plus loss to follow-up. We assessed evidence quality with GRADE methodology. Sixteen studies met the inclusion criteria, all but one were from Africa, comprising two cluster randomised trials and 14 cohort studies. Antiretroviral therapy started at a hospital and maintained at a health centre (partial decentralisation) probably reduces attrition (RR 0.46, 95% CI 0.29 to 0.71, 4 studies, 39 090 patients, moderate quality evidence). There may be fewer patients lost to care with this model (RR 0.55, 95% CI 0.45 to 0.69, low quality evidence).We are uncertain whether there is a difference in attrition for antiretroviral therapy started and maintained at a health centre (full decentralisation) compared to a hospital at 12 months (RR 0.70, 95% CI 0.47 to 1.02; four studies, 56 360 patients, very low quality evidence), but there are probably fewer patients lost to care with this model (RR 0.3, 95% CI 0.17 to 0.54, moderate quality evidence).When antiretroviral maintenance therapy is delivered at home by trained volunteers, there is probably no difference in attrition at 12 months (RR 0.95, 95% CI 0.62 to 1.46, two trials, 1453 patients, moderate quality evidence). Decentralisation of HIV care aims to improve patient access and retention in care. Most data were from good quality cohort studies but confounding between site of treatment and outcomes cannot be excluded. Nevertheless, this review found that attrition appears to be lower in partial decentralisation models of treatment, where antiretrovirals were started at hospital and continued in the health centre; with antiretroviral drugs started and continued at health centres, no difference in attrition was detected, but there were fewer patients lost to care. For antiretroviral therapy provided at home by trained volunteers, no difference in outcomes were detected when compared to facility-based care.

Zani B.,South African Cochrane Center
The Cochrane database of systematic reviews | Year: 2014

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends Artemisinin-based Combination Therapy (ACT) for treating uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria. This review aims to assist the decision-making of malaria control programmes by providing an overview of the relative effects of dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (DHA-P) versus other recommended ACTs. To evaluate the effectiveness and safety of DHA-P compared to other ACTs for treating uncomplicated P. falciparum malaria in adults and children. We searched the Cochrane Infectious Diseases Group Specialized Register; the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) published in The Cochrane Library; MEDLINE; EMBASE; LILACS, and the metaRegister of Controlled Trials (mRCT) up to July 2013. Randomized controlled trials comparing a three-day course of DHA-P to a three-day course of an alternative WHO recommended ACT in uncomplicated P. falciparum malaria. Two authors independently assessed trials for eligibility and risk of bias, and extracted data. We analysed primary outcomes in line with the WHO 'Protocol for assessing and monitoring antimalarial drug efficacy' and compared drugs using risk ratios (RR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI). Secondary outcomes were effects on gametocytes, haemoglobin, and adverse events. We assessed the quality of evidence using the GRADE approach. We included 27 trials, enrolling 16,382 adults and children, and conducted between 2002 and 2010. Most trials excluded infants aged less than six months and pregnant women. DHA-P versus artemether-lumefantrineIn Africa, over 28 days follow-up, DHA-P is superior to artemether-lumefantrine at preventing further parasitaemia (PCR-unadjusted treatment failure: RR 0.34, 95% CI 0.30 to 0.39, nine trials, 6200 participants, high quality evidence), and although PCR-adjusted treatment failure was below 5% for both ACTs, it was consistently lower with DHA-P (PCR-adjusted treatment failure: RR 0.42, 95% CI 0.29 to 0.62, nine trials, 5417 participants, high quality evidence). DHA-P has a longer prophylactic effect on new infections which may last for up to 63 days (PCR-unadjusted treatment failure: RR 0.71, 95% CI 0.65 to 0.78, two trials, 3200 participants, high quality evidence).In Asia and Oceania, no differences have been shown at day 28 (four trials, 1143 participants, moderate quality evidence), or day 63 (one trial, 323 participants, low quality evidence).Compared to artemether-lumefantrine, no difference was seen in prolonged QTc (low quality evidence), and no cardiac arrhythmias were reported. The frequency of other adverse events is probably similar with both combinations (moderate quality evidence). DHA-P versus artesunate plus mefloquineIn Asia, over 28 days follow-up, DHA-P is as effective as artesunate plus mefloquine at preventing further parasitaemia (PCR-unadjusted treatment failure: eight trials, 3487 participants, high quality evidence). Once adjusted by PCR to exclude new infections, treatment failure at day 28 was below 5% for both ACTs in all eight trials, but lower with DHA-P in two trials (PCR-adjusted treatment failure: RR 0.41 95% CI 0.21 to 0.80, eight trials, 3482 participants, high quality evidence). Both combinations contain partner drugs with very long half-lives and no consistent benefit in preventing new infections has been seen over 63 days follow-up (PCR-unadjusted treatment failure: five trials, 2715 participants, moderate quality evidence).In the only trial from South America, there were fewer recurrent parastaemias over 63 days with artesunate plus mefloquine (PCR-unadjusted treatment failure: RR 6.19, 95% CI 1.40 to 27.35, one trial, 445 participants, low quality evidence), but no differences were seen once adjusted for new infections (PCR-adjusted treatment failure: one trial, 435 participants, low quality evidence).DHA-P is associated with less nausea, vomiting, dizziness, sleeplessness, and palpitations compared to artesunate plus mefloquine (moderate quality evidence). DHA-P was associated with more frequent prolongation of the QTc interval (low quality evidence), but no cardiac arrhythmias were reported. In Africa, dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine reduces overall treatment failure compared to artemether-lumefantrine, although both drugs have PCR-adjusted failure rates of less than 5%. In Asia, dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine is as effective as artesunate plus mefloquine, and is better tolerated.

Siegfried N.,South African Cochrane Center | Uthman O.A.,South African Cochrane Center | Rutherford G.W.,South African Cochrane Center
Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online) | Year: 2010

BACKGROUND: According to consensus, initiation of therapy is best based on CD4 cell count, a marker of immune status, rather than on viral load, a marker of virologic replication. For patients with advanced symptoms, treatment should be started regardless of CD4 count. However, the point during the course of HIV infection at which antiretroviral therapy (ART) is best initiated in asymptomatic patients remains unclear. Guidelines issued by various agencies provide different initiation recommendations according to resource availability. This can be confusing for clinicians and policy-makers when determining the best time to initiate therapy. Optimizing the initiation of ART is clearly complex and must, therefore, be balanced between individual and broader public health needs. OBJECTIVES: To assess the evidence for the optimal time to initiate ART in treatment-naive, asymptomatic, HIV-infected adults SEARCH STRATEGY: We formulated a comprehensive and exhaustive search strategy in an attempt to identify all relevant studies regardless of language or publication status (published, unpublished, in press, and in progress). In August 2009, we searched the following electronic journal and trial databases: MEDLINE, EMBASE, and CENTRAL. We also searched the electronic conference database of NLM Gateway, individual conference proceedings and prospective trials registers. We contacted researchers and relevant organizations and checked reference lists of all included studies. SELECTION CRITERIA: Randomized controlled trials that compared the effect of ART consisting of three drugs initiated early in the disease at high CD4 counts as defined by the trial. Early initiation could be at levels of 201-350, 351-500, or >500 cells/microL, with the comparison group initiating ART at CD4 counts below 200 x 10(6) cells/microL or as defined by the trial. DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: Two review authors independently assessed study eligibility, extracted data, and graded methodological quality. Data extraction and methodological quality were checked by a third author who resolved differences when these arose. Where clinically meaningful to do so, we meta-analysed dichotomous outcomes using the relative risk (RR) and report the 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs). MAIN RESULTS: One completed trial (N = 816) and one sub-group (N = 249) of a larger trial met inclusion criteria. We combined the mortality data for both trials comparing initiating ART at CD4 levels at 350 cells/microL or between 200 and 350 cells/microL with deferring initiation of ART to CD4 levels of 250 cells/microL or 200 cells/microL. There was a statistically significant reduction in death when starting ART at higher CD4 counts. Risk of death was reduced by 74% (RR = 0.26; 95% CI: 0.11, 0.62; P = 0.002). Risk of tuberculosis was reduced by 50% in the groups starting ART early; this was not statistically significant, with the reduction as much as 74% or an increased risk of up to 12% (RR = 0.54; 95% CI: 0.26, 1.12; P = 0.01). Starting ART at enrollment (when participants had CD4 counts of 350 cells/microL) rather than deferring to starting at a CD4 count of 250 cells/microL reduced the risk of disease progression by 70%; this was not statistically significant, with the reduction in risk as much as 97% or an increased risk of up to 185% (RR = 0.30; 95% CI: 0.03, 2.85; P = 0.29).One RCT found no statistically significant difference in the number of independent Grade 3 or 4 adverse events occurring in the early and standard ART groups when we conducted an intention-to-treat analysis (RR = 1.72; 95% CI: 0.98, 3.03; P = 0.06). However, when analyzing only participants who actually commenced ART in the deferred group (n = 160), the trial authors report a statistically significant increase in the incidence of zidovudine-related anaemia (8.1%) compared with those in the early initiation group (3.4%) (RR = 0.42; 95% CI: 0.20, 0.88; P = 0.02). AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS: There is evidence of moderate quality that initiating ART at CD4 levels higher than 200 or 250 cells/microL reduces mortality rates in asymptomatic, ART-naive, HIV-infected people. Practitioners and policy-makers may consider initiating ART at levels

Kredo T.,South African Cochrane Center | Adeniyi F.B.,South African Cochrane Center | Bateganya M.,South African Cochrane Center | Pienaar E.D.,South African Cochrane Center
The Cochrane database of systematic reviews | Year: 2014

BACKGROUND: The high levels of healthcare worker shortage is recognised as a severe impediment to increasing patients' access to antiretroviral therapy. This is particularly of concern where the burden of disease is greatest and the access to trained doctors is limited.This review aims to better inform HIV care programmes that are currently underway, and those planned, by assessing if task-shifting care from doctors to non-doctors provides both high quality and safe care for all patients requiring antiretroviral treatment.OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the quality of initiation and maintenance of HIV/AIDS care in models that task shift care from doctors to non-doctors.SEARCH METHODS: We conducted a comprehensive search to identify all relevant studies regardless of language or publication status (published, unpublished, in press, and in progress) from 1 January 1996 to 28 March 2014, with major HIV/AIDS conferences searched 23 May 2014. We had also contacted relevant organizations and researchers. Key words included MeSH terms and free-text terms relevant to 'task shifting', 'skill mix', 'integration of tasks', 'service delivery' and 'health services accessibility'.SELECTION CRITERIA: We included controlled trials (randomised or non-randomised), controlled-before and after studies, and cohort studies (prospective or retrospective) comparing doctor-led antiretroviral therapy delivery to delivery that included another cadre of health worker other than a doctor, for initiating treatment, continuing treatment, or both, in HIV infected patients.DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: Two authors independently screened titles, abstracts and descriptor terms of the results of the electronic search and applied our eligibility criteria using a standardized eligibility form to full texts of potentially eligible or uncertain abstracts. Two reviewers independently extracted data on standardized data extraction forms. Where possible, data were pooled using random effects meta-analysis. We assessed evidence quality with GRADE methodology.MAIN RESULTS: Ten studies met our inclusion criteria, all of which were conducted in Africa. Of these four were randomised controlled trials while the remaining six were cohort studies.From the trial data, when nurses initiated and provided follow-up HIV therapy, there was high quality evidence of no difference in death at one year, unadjusted risk ratio was 0.96 (95% CI 0.82 to 1.12), one trial, cluster adjusted n = 2770. There was moderate quality evidence of lower rates of losses to follow-up at one year, relative risk of 0.73 (95% CI 0.55 to 0.97). From the cohort data, there was low quality evidence that there may be an increased risk of death in the task shifting group, relative risk 1.23 (95% CI 1.14 to 1.33, two cohorts, n = 39 160) and very low quality data reporting no difference in patients lost to follow-up between groups, relative risk 0.30 (95% CI 0.05 to 1.94).From the trial data, when doctors initiated therapy and nurses provided follow-up, there was moderate quality evidence that there is probably no difference in death compared with doctor-led care at one year, relative risk of 0.89 (95% CI 0.59 to 1.32), two trials, cluster adjusted n = 4332. There was moderate quality evidence that there is probably no difference in the numbers of patients lost to follow-up at one year, relative risk 1.27 (95% CI 0.92 to 1.77), P = 0.15. From the cohort data, there is very low quality data that death at one year may be lower in the task shifting group, relative risk 0.19 (95% CI 0.05 to 0.78), one cohort, n = 2772, and very low quality evidence that loss to follow-up was reduced, relative risk 0.34 (95% CI 0.18 to 0.66).From the trial data, for maintenance therapy delivered in the community there was moderate quality evidence that there is probably no difference in mortality when doctors deliver care in the hospital or specially trained field workers provide home-based maintenance care and antiretroviral therapy at one year, relative risk 1.0 (95% CI 0.62 to 1.62), 1 trial, cluster adjusted n = 559. There is moderate quality evidence from this trial that losses to follow-up are probably no different at one year, relative risk 0.52 (0.12 to 2.3), P = 0.39. The cohort studies did not report on one year follow-up for these outcomes.Across the studies that reported on virological and immunological outcomes, there was no clear evidence of difference whether a doctor or nurse or clinical officer delivered therapy. Three studies report on costs to patients, indicating a reduction in travel costs to treatment facilities where task shifting was occurring closer to patients homes. There is conflicting evidence regarding the relative cost to the health system, as implementation of the strategy may increase costs. The two studies reporting the patient and staff perceptions of the quality of care, report good acceptability of the service by patients, and general acceptance by doctors of the shifting of roles. One trial reported on the time to initiation of antiretroviral therapy, finding no clear evidence of a difference between groups. The same trial reports on new diagnosis of tuberculosis which favours nurse initiation of HIV care for increasing the numbers of diagnoses of tuberculosis made.AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS: Our review found moderate quality evidence that shifting responsibility from doctors to adequately trained and supported nurses or community health workers for managing HIV patients probably does not decrease the quality of care and, in the case of nurse initiated care, may decrease the numbers of patients lost to follow-up.

Abrams A.L.,South African Cochrane Center
Pan African Medical Journal | Year: 2011

The 2004 Ministerial Summit on Health Research called on the World Health Organization to to establish a registry network with the intention of providing a single access point to identify trials. In 2007 the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors amended their support of this initiative stating that only trials registered prospectively on a member registry of the WHO's Network of Primary Registers would be published. The Pan African Clinical Trials Registry (, was established in early 2007 as the AIDS, TB and Malaria (ATM) Clinical Trials Registry with the aim of piloting the concept of a registry that would cater to the specific needs of African trialists. In 2009 the ATM Registry expanded its remit to include all diseases for all regions of Africa; The Pan African Clinical Trials Registry became the first and is presently the only African member of the World Health Organization's Network of Primary Registers. © Amber L Abrams et al.

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