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1.
The Lancet ; 2022.
Article in English | ScienceDirect | ID: covidwho-1821537
2.
Int J Infect Dis ; 2022 Mar 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1757409

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The unprecedented and ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has exposed weaknesses in African countries' health systems. The impact of shifted focus on COVID-19 for the past 2 years on routine health services, especially those for the epidemics of Tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and Malaria, have been dramatic in both quantity and quality. METHODS: In this article, we reflect on the COVID-19 related disruptions on the Tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and Malaria routine health services across Africa. RESULTS: The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in disruptions of routine health services and diversion of already limited available resources in sub-Saharan Africa. As a result, disease programs like TB, malaria and HIV have recorded gaps in prevention and treatment with the prospects of reversing gains made towards meeting global targets. The extent of the disruption is yet to be fully quantified at country level as most data available is from modelling estimates before and during the pandemic. CONCLUSIONS: Accurate country-level data is required to convince donors and governments to invest more into revamping these health services and help prepare for managing future pandemics without disruption of routine services. Increasing government expenditure on health is a critical part of Africa's economic policy. Strengthening health systems at various levels to overcome the negative impacts of COVID-19, and preparing for future epidemics will require strong visionary political leadership. Innovations in service delivery and technological adaptations are required as countries aim to limit disruptions to routine services.

3.
Lancet Glob Health ; 10(1): e114-e123, 2022 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1630866

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Sierra Leone's child and maternal mortality rates are among the highest in the world. However, little is known about the causes of premature mortality in the country. To rectify this, the Ministry of Health and Sanitation of Sierra Leone launched the Sierra Leone Sample Registration System (SL-SRS) of births and deaths. Here, we report cause-specific mortality from the first SL-SRS round, representing deaths from 2018 to 2020. METHODS: The Countrywide Mortality Surveillance for Action platform established the SL-SRS, which involved conducting electronic verbal autopsies in 678 randomly selected villages and urban blocks throughout the country. 61 surveyors, in teams of four or five, enrolled people and ascertained deaths of individuals younger than 70 years in 2019-20, capturing verbal autopsies on deaths from 2018 to 2020. Centrally, two trained physicians independently assigned causes of death according to the International Classification of Diseases (tenth edition). SL-SRS death proportions were applied to 5-year mortality averages from the UN World Population Prospects (2019) to derive cause-specific death totals and risks of death nationally and in four Sierra Leone regions, with comparisons made with the Western region where Freetown, the capital, is located. We compared SL-SRS results with the cause-specific mortality estimates for Sierra Leone in the 2019 WHO Global Health Estimates. FINDINGS: Between Sept 1, 2019, and Dec 15, 2020, we enrolled 343 000 people and ascertained 8374 deaths of individuals younger than 70 years. Malaria was the leading cause of death in children and adults, nationally and in each region, representing 22% of deaths under age 70 years in 2020. Other infectious diseases accounted for an additional 16% of deaths. Overall maternal mortality ratio was 510 deaths per 100 000 livebirths (95% CI 483-538), and neonatal mortality rate was 31·1 deaths per 1000 livebirths (95% CI 30·4-31·8), both among the highest rates in the world. Haemorrhage was the major cause of maternal mortality and birth asphyxia or trauma was the major cause of neonatal mortality. Excess deaths were not detected in the months of 2020 corresponding to the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Half of the deaths occurred in rural areas and at home. If the Northern, Eastern, and Southern regions of Sierra Leone had the lower death rates observed in the Western region, about 20 000 deaths (just over a quarter of national total deaths in people younger than 70 years) would have been avoided. WHO model-based data vastly underestimated malaria deaths and some specific causes of injury deaths, and substantially overestimated maternal mortality. INTERPRETATION: Over 60% of individuals in Sierra Leone die prematurely, before age 70 years, most from preventable or treatable causes. Nationally representative mortality surveys such as the SL-SRS are of high value in providing reliable cause-of-death information to set public health priorities and target interventions in low-income countries. FUNDING: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Program.


Subject(s)
Cause of Death , Mortality, Premature , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , COVID-19 , Child , Child Mortality , Child, Preschool , Female , Humans , Infant , Infant Mortality , Infant, Newborn , Malaria/mortality , Male , Maternal Mortality , Middle Aged , Sierra Leone/epidemiology
5.
BMJ Glob Health ; 6(11)2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1515293

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: As of 26 March 2021, the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention had reported 4 159 055 cases of COVID-19 and 111 357 deaths among the 55 African Union member states; however, no country has published a nationally representative serosurvey as of October 2021. Such data are vital for understanding the pandemic's progression on the continent, evaluating containment measures, and policy planning. METHODS: We conducted a cross-sectional, nationally representative, age-stratified serosurvey in Sierra Leone in March 2021 by randomly selecting 120 Enumeration Areas throughout the country and 10 randomly selected households in each of these. One to two persons per selected household were interviewed to collect information on sociodemographics, symptoms suggestive of COVID-19, exposure history to laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases, and history of COVID-19 illness. Capillary blood was collected by fingerstick, and blood samples were tested using the Hangzhou Biotest Biotech RightSign COVID-19 IgG/IgM Rapid Test Cassette. Total seroprevalence was estimated after applying sampling weights. RESULTS: The overall weighted seroprevalence was 2.6% (95% CI 1.9% to 3.4%). This was 43 times higher than the reported number of cases. Rural seropositivity was 1.8% (95% CI 1.0% to 2.5%), and urban seropositivity was 4.2% (95% CI 2.6% to 5.7%). DISCUSSION: Overall seroprevalence was low compared with countries in Europe and the Americas (suggesting relatively successful containment in Sierra Leone). This has ramifications for the country's third wave (which started in June 2021), during which the average number of daily reported cases was 87 by the end of the month:this could potentially be on the order of 3700 actual infections per day, calling for stronger containment measures in a country with only 0.2% of people fully vaccinated. It may also reflect significant under-reporting of incidence and mortality across the continent.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Cross-Sectional Studies , Humans , Prevalence , Seroepidemiologic Studies , Sierra Leone/epidemiology
6.
Front Public Health ; 8: 596944, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-979060

ABSTRACT

The World Health Organization defines a zoonosis as any infection naturally transmissible from vertebrate animals to humans. The pandemic of Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) caused by SARS-CoV-2 has been classified as a zoonotic disease, however, no animal reservoir has yet been found, so this classification is premature. We propose that COVID-19 should instead be classified an "emerging infectious disease (EID) of probable animal origin." To explore if COVID-19 infection fits our proposed re-categorization vs. the contemporary definitions of zoonoses, we reviewed current evidence of infection origin and transmission routes of SARS-CoV-2 virus and described this in the context of known zoonoses, EIDs and "spill-over" events. Although the initial one hundred COVID-19 patients were presumably exposed to the virus at a seafood Market in China, and despite the fact that 33 of 585 swab samples collected from surfaces and cages in the market tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, no virus was isolated directly from animals and no animal reservoir was detected. Elsewhere, SARS-CoV-2 has been detected in animals including domesticated cats, dogs, and ferrets, as well as captive-managed mink, lions, tigers, deer, and mice confirming zooanthroponosis. Other than circumstantial evidence of zoonotic cases in mink farms in the Netherlands, no cases of natural transmission from wild or domesticated animals have been confirmed. More than 40 million human COVID-19 infections reported appear to be exclusively through human-human transmission. SARS-CoV-2 virus and COVID-19 do not meet the WHO definition of zoonoses. We suggest SARS-CoV-2 should be re-classified as an EID of probable animal origin.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/classification , Communicable Diseases, Emerging , SARS-CoV-2/classification , Zoonoses , Animals , Animals, Wild , China , Communicable Diseases, Emerging/classification , Communicable Diseases, Emerging/transmission , Communicable Diseases, Emerging/virology , Humans , World Health Organization , Zoonoses/classification , Zoonoses/transmission , Zoonoses/virology
7.
BMJ Glob Health ; 5(10)2020 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-841538

ABSTRACT

Lockdown measures have been introduced worldwide to contain the transmission of COVID-19. However, the term 'lockdown' is not well-defined. Indeed, WHO's reference to 'so-called lockdown measures' indicates the absence of a clear and universally accepted definition of the term 'lockdown'. We propose a definition of 'lockdown' based on a two-by-two matrix that categorises different communicable disease measures based on whether they are compulsory or voluntary; and whether they are targeted at identifiable individuals or facilities, or whether they are applied indiscriminately to a general population or area. Using this definition, we describe the design, timing and implementation of lockdown measures in nine countries in sub-Saharan Africa: Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. While there were some commonalities in the implementation of lockdown across these countries, a more notable finding was the variation in the design, timing and implementation of lockdown measures. We also found that the number of reported cases is heavily dependent on the number of tests carried out, and that testing rates ranged from 2031 to 63 928 per million population up until 7 September 2020. The reported number of COVID-19 deaths per million population also varies (0.4 to 250 up until 7 September 2020), but is generally low when compared with countries in Europe and North America. While lockdown measures may have helped inhibit community transmission, the pattern and nature of the epidemic remains unclear. However, there are signs of lockdown harming health by affecting the functioning of the health system and causing social and economic disruption.


Subject(s)
Communicable Disease Control , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , Africa South of the Sahara , Betacoronavirus , COVID-19 , COVID-19 Testing , Clinical Laboratory Techniques/statistics & numerical data , Communicable Disease Control/methods , Communicable Disease Control/statistics & numerical data , Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Humans , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnosis , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2
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