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BMC Public Health ; 22(1): 724, 2022 04 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1789110


BACKGROUND: While mass COVID-19 vaccination programs are underway in high-income countries, limited availability of doses has resulted in few vaccines administered in low and middle income countries (LMICs). The COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) is a WHO-led initiative to promote vaccine access equity to LMICs and is providing many of the doses available in these settings. However, initial doses are limited and countries, such as Madagascar, need to develop prioritization schemes to maximize the benefits of vaccination with very limited supplies. There is some consensus that dose deployment should initially target health care workers, and those who are more vulnerable including older individuals. However, questions of geographic deployment remain, in particular associated with limits around vaccine access and delivery capacity in underserved communities, for example in rural areas that may also include substantial proportions of the population. METHODS: To address these questions, we developed a mathematical model of SARS-CoV-2 transmission dynamics and simulated various vaccination allocation strategies for Madagascar. Simulated strategies were based on a number of possible geographical prioritization schemes, testing sensitivity to initial susceptibility in the population, and evaluating the potential of tests for previous infection. RESULTS: Using cumulative deaths due to COVID-19 as the main outcome of interest, our results indicate that distributing the number of vaccine doses according to the number of elderly living in the region or according to the population size results in a greater reduction of mortality compared to distributing doses based on the reported number of cases and deaths. The benefits of vaccination strategies are diminished if the burden (and thus accumulated immunity) has been greatest in the most populous regions, but the overall strategy ranking remains comparable. If rapid tests for prior immunity may be swiftly and effectively delivered, there is potential for considerable gain in mortality averted, but considering delivery limitations modulates this. CONCLUSION: At a subnational scale, our results support the strategy adopted by the COVAX initiative at a global scale.

COVID-19 Vaccines , COVID-19 , Aged , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Humans , Madagascar/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2 , Vaccination
Front Public Health ; 9: 654299, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1348570


There are many outstanding questions about how to control the global COVID-19 pandemic. The information void has been especially stark in the World Health Organization Africa Region, which has low per capita reported cases, low testing rates, low access to therapeutic drugs, and has the longest wait for vaccines. As with all disease, the central challenge in responding to COVID-19 is that it requires integrating complex health systems that incorporate prevention, testing, front line health care, and reliable data to inform policies and their implementation within a relevant timeframe. It requires that the population can rely on the health system, and decision-makers can rely on the data. To understand the process and challenges of such an integrated response in an under-resourced rural African setting, we present the COVID-19 strategy in Ifanadiana District, where a partnership between Malagasy Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) and non-governmental organizations integrates prevention, diagnosis, surveillance, and treatment, in the context of a model health system. These efforts touch every level of the health system in the district-community, primary care centers, hospital-including the establishment of the only RT-PCR lab for SARS-CoV-2 testing outside of the capital. Starting in March of 2021, a second wave of COVID-19 occurred in Madagascar, but there remain fewer cases in Ifanadiana than for many other diseases (e.g., malaria). At the Ifanadiana District Hospital, there have been two deaths that are officially attributed to COVID-19. Here, we describe the main components and challenges of this integrated response, the broad epidemiological contours of the epidemic, and how complex data sources can be developed to address many questions of COVID-19 science. Because of data limitations, it still remains unclear how this epidemic will affect rural areas of Madagascar and other developing countries where health system utilization is relatively low and there is limited capacity to diagnose and treat COVID-19 patients. Widespread population based seroprevalence studies are being implemented in Ifanadiana to inform the COVID-19 response strategy as health systems must simultaneously manage perennial and endemic disease threats.

COVID-19 , COVID-19 Testing , Humans , Madagascar/epidemiology , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Seroepidemiologic Studies
Glob Health Action ; 13(1): 1816044, 2020 12 31.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-814069


COVID-19 has wreaked havoc globally with particular concerns for sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), where models suggest that the majority of the population will become infected. Conventional wisdom suggests that the continent will bear a higher burden of COVID-19 for the same reasons it suffers from other infectious diseases: ecology, socio-economic conditions, lack of water and sanitation infrastructure, and weak health systems. However, so far SSA has reported lower incidence and fatalities compared to the predictions of standard models and the experience of other regions of the world. There are three leading explanations, each with different implications for the final epidemic burden: (1) low case detection, (2) differences in epidemiology (e.g. low R 0 ), and (3) policy interventions. The low number of cases have led some SSA governments to relaxing these policy interventions. Will this result in a resurgence of cases? To understand how to interpret the lower-than-expected COVID-19 case data in Madagascar, we use a simple age-structured model to explore each of these explanations and predict the epidemic impact associated with them. We show that the incidence of COVID-19 cases as of July 2020 can be explained by any combination of the late introduction of first imported cases, early implementation of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs), and low case detection rates. We then re-evaluate these findings in the context of the COVID-19 epidemic in Madagascar through August 2020. This analysis reinforces that Madagascar, along with other countries in SSA, remains at risk of a growing health crisis. If NPIs remain enforced, up to 50,000 lives may be saved. Even with NPIs, without vaccines and new therapies, COVID-19 could infect up to 30% of the population, making it the largest public health threat in Madagascar for the coming year, hence the importance of clinical trials and continually improving access to healthcare.

Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Models, Theoretical , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Africa South of the Sahara/epidemiology , COVID-19 , Humans , Incidence , Madagascar/epidemiology , Pandemics