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J Pediatric Infect Dis Soc ; 11(7): 307-309, 2022 07 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1973194
Antimicrob Resist Infect Control ; 11(1): 34, 2022 02 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1679967


BACKGROUND: The current Coronavirus disease pandemic reveals political and structural inequities of the world's poorest people who have little or no access to health care and yet the largest burdens of poor health. This is in parallel to a more persistent but silent global health crisis, antimicrobial resistance (AMR). We explore the fundamental challenges of health care in humans and animals in relation to AMR in Tanzania. METHODS: We conducted 57 individual interviews and focus groups with providers and patients in high, middle and lower tier health care facilities and communities across three regions of Tanzania between April 2019 and February 2020. We covered topics from health infrastructure and prescribing practices to health communication and patient experiences. RESULTS: Three interconnected themes emerged about systemic issues impacting health. First, there are challenges around infrastructure and availability of vital resources such as healthcare staff and supplies. Second, health outcomes are predicated on patient and provider access to services as well as social determinants of health. Third, health communication is critical in defining trusted sources of information, and narratives of blame emerge around health outcomes with the onus of responsibility for action falling on individuals. CONCLUSION: Entanglements between infrastructure, access and communication exist while constraints in the health system lead to poor health outcomes even in 'normal' circumstances. These are likely to be relevant across the globe and highly topical for addressing pressing global health challenges. Redressing structural health inequities can better equip countries and their citizens to not only face pandemics but also day-to-day health challenges.

Health Inequities , Health Services Accessibility/standards , Poverty/statistics & numerical data , Public Health/standards , Social Determinants of Health/standards , Animals , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Global Health/standards , Global Health/statistics & numerical data , Health Services Accessibility/economics , Health Services Accessibility/statistics & numerical data , Humans , Public Health/statistics & numerical data , Social Determinants of Health/economics , Social Determinants of Health/statistics & numerical data , Tanzania/epidemiology
BMJ Glob Health ; 6(8)2021 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1504484


BACKGROUND: Early access to diagnosis is crucial for effective management of any disease including tuberculosis (TB). We investigated the barriers and opportunities to maximise uptake and utilisation of molecular diagnostics in routine healthcare settings. METHODS: Using the implementation of WHO approved TB diagnostics, Xpert Mycobacterium tuberculosis/rifampicin (MTB/RIF) and Line Probe Assay (LPA) as a benchmark, we evaluated the barriers and how they could be unlocked to maximise uptake and utilisation of molecular diagnostics. RESULTS: Health officers representing 190 districts/counties participated in the survey across Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. The survey findings were corroborated by 145 healthcare facility (HCF) audits and 11 policy-maker engagement workshops. Xpert MTB/RIF coverage was 66%, falling behind microscopy and clinical diagnosis by 33% and 1%, respectively. Stratified by HCF type, Xpert MTB/RIF implementation was 56%, 96% and 95% at district, regional and national referral hospital levels. LPA coverage was 4%, 3% below culture across the three countries. Out of 111 HCFs with Xpert MTB/RIF, 37 (33%) used it to full capacity, performing ≥8 tests per day of which 51% of these were level five (zonal consultant and national referral) HCFs. Likewise, 75% of LPA was available at level five HCFs. Underutilisation of Xpert MTB/RIF and LPA was mainly attributed to inadequate-utilities, 26% and human resource, 22%. Underfinancing was the main reason underlying failure to acquire molecular diagnostics. Second to underfinancing was lack of awareness with 33% healthcare administrators and 49% practitioners were unaware of LPA as TB diagnostic. Creation of a national health tax and decentralising its management was proposed by policy-makers as a booster of domestic financing needed to increase access to diagnostics. CONCLUSION: Our findings suggest higher uptake and utilisation of molecular diagnostics at tertiary level HCFs contrary to the WHO recommendation. Country-led solutions are crucial for unlocking barriers to increase access to diagnostics.

Mycobacterium tuberculosis , Tuberculosis, Pulmonary , Humans , Mycobacterium tuberculosis/genetics , Pathology, Molecular , Rifampin , Sensitivity and Specificity
BMJ Glob Health ; 5(10)2020 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-841538


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.

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