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BMC Public Health ; 22(1): 1073, 2022 05 31.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1933114


Emerging infectious diseases are a growing threat in sub-Saharan African countries, but the human and technical capacity to quickly respond to outbreaks remains limited. Here, we describe the experience and lessons learned from a joint project with the WHO Regional Office for Africa (WHO AFRO) to support the sub-Saharan African COVID-19 response.In June 2020, WHO AFRO contracted a number of consultants to reinforce the COVID-19 response in member states by providing actionable epidemiological analysis. Given the urgency of the situation and the magnitude of work required, we recruited a worldwide network of field experts, academics and students in the areas of public health, data science and social science to support the effort. Most analyses were performed on a merged line list of COVID-19 cases using a reverse engineering model (line listing built using data extracted from national situation reports shared by countries with the Regional Office for Africa as per the IHR (2005) obligations). The data analysis platform The Renku Project ( ) provided secure data storage and permitted collaborative coding.Over a period of 6 months, 63 contributors from 32 nations (including 17 African countries) participated in the project. A total of 45 in-depth country-specific epidemiological reports and data quality reports were prepared for 28 countries. Spatial transmission and mortality risk indices were developed for 23 countries. Text and video-based training modules were developed to integrate and mentor new members. The team also began to develop EpiGraph Hub, a web application that automates the generation of reports similar to those we created, and includes more advanced data analyses features (e.g. mathematical models, geospatial analyses) to deliver real-time, actionable results to decision-makers.Within a short period, we implemented a global collaborative approach to health data management and analyses to advance national responses to health emergencies and outbreaks. The interdisciplinary team, the hands-on training and mentoring, and the participation of local researchers were key to the success of this initiative.

COVID-19 , Africa South of the Sahara/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , Disease Outbreaks/prevention & control , Humans , Public Health , Workforce
BMJ Open ; 11(8): e046125, 2021 08 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1376488


INTRODUCTION: Leprosy, or Hansen's disease, remains a cause of preventable disability. Early detection, treatment and prevention are key to reducing transmission. Post-exposure prophylaxis with single-dose rifampicin (SDR-PEP) reduces the risk of developing leprosy when administered to screened contacts of patients. This has been adopted in the WHO leprosy guidelines. The PEP4LEP study aims to determine the most effective and feasible method of screening people at risk of developing leprosy and administering chemoprophylaxis to contribute to interrupting transmission. METHODS AND ANALYSIS: PEP4LEP is a cluster-randomised implementation trial comparing two interventions of integrated skin screening combined with SDR-PEP distribution to contacts of patients with leprosy in Ethiopia, Mozambique and Tanzania. One intervention is community-based, using skin camps to screen approximately 100 community contacts per leprosy patient, and to administer SDR-PEP when eligible. The other intervention is health centre-based, inviting household contacts of leprosy patients to be screened in a local health centre and subsequently receive SDR-PEP when eligible. The mobile health (mHealth) tool SkinApp will support health workers' capacity in integrated skin screening. The effectiveness of both interventions will be compared by assessing the rate of patients with leprosy detected and case detection delay in months, as well as feasibility in terms of cost-effectiveness and acceptability. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: Ethical approval was obtained from the national ethical committees of Ethiopia (MoSHE), Mozambique (CNBS) and Tanzania (NIMR/MoHCDEC). Study results will be published open access in peer-reviewed journals, providing evidence for the implementation of innovative leprosy screening methods and chemoprophylaxis to policymakers. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: NL7294 (NTR7503).

Leprosy , Ethiopia , Feasibility Studies , Humans , Leprosy/diagnosis , Leprosy/drug therapy , Leprosy/prevention & control , Mozambique , Tanzania
BMJ Open ; 11(7): e051823, 2021 07 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1334584


INTRODUCTION: Front-line health workers in remote health facilities are the first contact of the formal health sector and are confronted with life-saving decisions. Health information systems (HIS) support the collection and use of health related data. However, HIS focus on reporting and are unfit to support decisions. Since data tools are paper-based in most primary healthcare settings, we have produced an innovative Paper-based Health Information System in Comprehensive Care (PHISICC) using a human-centred design approach. We are carrying out a cluster randomised controlled trial in three African countries to assess the effects of PHISICC compared with the current systems. METHODS AND ANALYSIS: Study areas are in rural zones of Côte d'Ivoire, Mozambique and Nigeria. Seventy health facilities in each country have been randomly allocated to using PHISICC tools or to continuing to use the regular HIS tools. We have randomly selected households in the catchment areas of each health facility to collect outcomes' data (household surveys have been carried out in two of the three countries and the end-line data collection is planned for mid-2021). Primary outcomes include data quality and use, coverage of health services and health workers satisfaction; secondary outcomes are additional data quality and use parameters, childhood mortality and additional health workers and clients experience with the system. Just prior to the implementation of the trial, we had to relocate the study site in Mozambique due to unforeseen logistical issues. The effects of the intervention will be estimated using regression models and accounting for clustering using random effects. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: Ethics committees in Côte d'Ivoire, Mozambique and Nigeria approved the trials. We plan to disseminate our findings, data and research materials among researchers and policy-makers. We aim at having our findings included in systematic reviews on health systems interventions and future guidance development on HIS. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: PACTR201904664660639; Pre-results.

Health Information Systems , Child , Cote d'Ivoire , Data Accuracy , Humans , Mozambique , Nigeria , Primary Health Care , Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic , Systematic Reviews as Topic