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1.
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.

4.
JAMA Pediatr ; 176(3): e216436, 2022 03 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1635814

ABSTRACT

Importance: Little is known about COVID-19 outcomes among children and adolescents in sub-Saharan Africa, where preexisting comorbidities are prevalent. Objective: To assess the clinical outcomes and factors associated with outcomes among children and adolescents hospitalized with COVID-19 in 6 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Design, Setting, and Participants: This cohort study was a retrospective record review of data from 25 hospitals in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, and Uganda from March 1 to December 31, 2020, and included 469 hospitalized patients aged 0 to 19 years with SARS-CoV-2 infection. Exposures: Age, sex, preexisting comorbidities, and region of residence. Main Outcomes and Measures: An ordinal primary outcome scale was used comprising 5 categories: (1) hospitalization without oxygen supplementation, (2) hospitalization with oxygen supplementation, (3) ICU admission, (4) invasive mechanical ventilation, and (5) death. The secondary outcome was length of hospital stay. Results: Among 469 hospitalized children and adolescents, the median age was 5.9 years (IQR, 1.6-11.1 years); 245 patients (52.4%) were male, and 115 (24.5%) had comorbidities. A total of 39 patients (8.3%) were from central Africa, 172 (36.7%) from eastern Africa, 208 (44.3%) from southern Africa, and 50 (10.7%) from western Africa. Eighteen patients had suspected (n = 6) or confirmed (n = 12) multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children. Thirty-nine patients (8.3%) died, including 22 of 69 patients (31.9%) who required intensive care unit admission and 4 of 18 patients (22.2%) with suspected or confirmed multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children. Among 468 patients, 418 (89.3%) were discharged, and 16 (3.4%) remained hospitalized. The likelihood of outcomes with higher vs lower severity among children younger than 1 year expressed as adjusted odds ratio (aOR) was 4.89 (95% CI, 1.44-16.61) times higher than that of adolescents aged 15 to 19 years. The presence of hypertension (aOR, 5.91; 95% CI, 1.89-18.50), chronic lung disease (aOR, 2.97; 95% CI, 1.65-5.37), or a hematological disorder (aOR, 3.10; 95% CI, 1.04-9.24) was associated with severe outcomes. Age younger than 1 year (adjusted subdistribution hazard ratio [asHR], 0.48; 95% CI, 0.27-0.87), the presence of 1 comorbidity (asHR, 0.54; 95% CI, 0.40-0.72), and the presence of 2 or more comorbidities (asHR, 0.26; 95% CI, 0.18-0.38) were associated with reduced rates of hospital discharge. Conclusions and Relevance: In this cohort study of children and adolescents hospitalized with COVID-19 in sub-Saharan Africa, high rates of morbidity and mortality were observed among infants and patients with noncommunicable disease comorbidities, suggesting that COVID-19 vaccination and therapeutic interventions are needed for young populations in this region.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/therapy , Child, Hospitalized , Outcome Assessment, Health Care , Pneumonia, Viral/therapy , Adolescent , Africa South of the Sahara/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/mortality , Child , Child, Preschool , Female , Humans , Infant , Length of Stay/statistics & numerical data , Male , Oxygen Inhalation Therapy , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Pneumonia, Viral/mortality , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Respiration, Artificial , SARS-CoV-2
5.
Int J Infect Dis ; 113 Suppl 1: S7-S12, 2021 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1573985

ABSTRACT

The October 2020 Global TB report reviews TB control strategies and United Nations (UN) targets set in the political declaration at the September 2018 UN General Assembly high-level meeting on TB held in New York. Progress in TB care and prevention has been very slow. In 2019, TB remained the most common cause of death from a single infectious pathogen. Globally, an estimated 10.0 million people developed TB disease in 2019, and there were an estimated 1.2 million TB deaths among HIV-negative people and an additional 208, 000 deaths among people living with HIV. Adults accounted for 88% and children for 12% of people with TB. The WHO regions of South-East Asia (44%), Africa (25%), and the Western Pacific (18%) had the most people with TB. Eight countries accounted for two thirds of the global total: India (26%), Indonesia (8.5%), China (8.4%), the Philippines (6.0%), Pakistan (5.7%), Nigeria (4.4%), Bangladesh (3.6%) and South Africa (3.6%). Only 30% of the 3.5 million five-year target for children treated for TB was met. Major advances have been development of new all oral regimens for MDRTB and new regimens for preventive therapy. In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic dislodged TB from the top infectious disease cause of mortality globally. Notably, global TB control efforts were not on track even before the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many challenges remain to improve sub-optimal TB treatment and prevention services. Tuberculosis screening and diagnostic test services need to be ramped up. The major drivers of TB remain undernutrition, poverty, diabetes, tobacco smoking, and household air pollution and these need be addressed to achieve the WHO 2035 TB care and prevention targets. National programs need to include interventions for post-tuberculosis holistic wellbeing. From first detection of COVID-19 global coordination and political will with huge financial investments have led to the development of effective vaccines against SARS-CoV2 infection. The world now needs to similarly focus on development of new vaccines for TB utilizing new technological methods.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Tuberculosis, Miliary , Adult , Child , Humans , Nigeria , Pandemics , RNA, Viral , SARS-CoV-2
6.
Int J Infect Dis ; 113 Suppl 1: S78-S81, 2021 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1575136

ABSTRACT

After a century of controversies on its usefulness in protection against TB, underlying mechanisms of action, and benefits in various groups and geographical areas, the BCG vaccine is yet again a focus of global attention- this time due to the global COVID-19 pandemic caused by the novel severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2). Recent studies have shown that human CD4+ and CD8+ T-cells primed with a BCG-derived peptide developed high reactivity to its corresponding SARS-CoV-2-derived peptide. Furthermore, BCG vaccine has been shown to substantially increase interferon-gamma (IFN-g) production and its effects on CD4+ T-cells and these non-specific immune responses through adjuvant effect could be harnessed as cross protection against severe forms of COVID-19.The completion of ongoing BGG trials is important as they may shed light on the mechanisms underlying BCG-mediated immunity and could lead to improved efficacy, increased tolerance of treatment, and identification of other ways of combining BCG with other immunotherapies.


Subject(s)
BCG Vaccine , COVID-19 , Cross Protection , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
7.
Int J Infect Dis ; 113 Suppl 1: S16-S21, 2021 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1575135

ABSTRACT

In this perspective, we discuss the impact of COVID-19 on tuberculosis (TB)/HIV health services and approaches to mitigating the growing burden of these three colliding epidemics in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). SSA countries bear significantly high proportions of TB and HIV cases reported worldwide, compared to countries in the West. Whilst COVID-19 epidemiology appears to vary across Africa, most countries in this region have reported relatively lower-case counts compared to the West. Nevertheless, the COVID-19 pandemic has added an additional burden to already overstretched health systems in SSA, which, among other things, have been focused on the longstanding dual epidemics of TB and HIV. As with these dual epidemics, inadequate resources and poor case identification and reporting may be contributing to underestimations of the COVID-19 case burden in SSA. Modelling studies predict that the pandemic-related disruptions in TB and HIV services will result in significant increases in associated morbidity and mortality over the next five years. Furthermore, limited empirical evidence suggests that SARS-CoV-2 coinfections with TB and HIV are associated with increased mortality risk in SSA. However, predictive models require a better evidence-base to accurately define the impact of COVID-19, not only on communicable diseases such as TB and HIV, but on non-communicable disease comorbidities. Further research is needed to assess morbidity and mortality data among both adults and children across the African continent, paying attention to geographic disparities, as well as the clinical and socio-economic determinants of COVID-19 in the setting of TB and/or HIV.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , HIV Infections , Tuberculosis , Africa South of the Sahara/epidemiology , Child , HIV Infections/complications , HIV Infections/epidemiology , Health Services , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Tuberculosis/epidemiology
9.
Clin Infect Dis ; 73(10): 1913-1919, 2021 11 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1522140

ABSTRACT

Globally, there are prevailing knowledge gaps in the epidemiology, clinical manifestations, and outcomes of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection among children and adolescents; and these gaps are especially wide in African countries. The availability of robust age-disaggregated data is a critical first step in improving knowledge on disease burden and manifestations of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) among children. Furthermore, it is essential to improve understanding of SARS-CoV-2 interactions with comorbidities and coinfections such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), tuberculosis, malaria, sickle cell disease, and malnutrition, which are highly prevalent among children in sub-Saharan Africa. The African Forum for Research and Education in Health (AFREhealth) COVID-19 Research Collaboration on Children and Adolescents is conducting studies across Western, Central, Eastern, and Southern Africa to address existing knowledge gaps. This consortium is expected to generate key evidence to inform clinical practice and public health policy-making for COVID-19 while concurrently addressing other major diseases affecting children in African countries.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Coinfection , Tuberculosis , Adolescent , Africa South of the Sahara/epidemiology , Child , Humans , SARS-CoV-2
10.
Ann Glob Health ; 87(1): 90, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1436228

ABSTRACT

Sustainable and equitable partnerships and collaborations between the Global North and Global South (as well as within the Global South) have been aspirations (if seldom achieved) of the "global health" endeavor over the past couple of decades. The COVID-19 pandemic led to global lockdowns that disrupted international travel and severely challenged these partnerships, providing a critical space for self-reflection on global health as a discipline. One major global north-south partnership is that between the African Forum for Research and Education in Health (AFREhealth) and the Consortium of Universities for Global Health (CUGH). This article reports on a recent Satellite meeting of the AFREhealth-CUGH Working Group (ACWG) at the CUGH 2021 virtual conference in March 2021 that provided insights on North-South and South-South global health partnerships, against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic. The authors describe challenges and opportunities for research and education in these partnerships (as discussed at this ACWG Satellite meeting), and implications for the field of global health going forward as we emerge from the pandemic.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Global Health , International Cooperation , Pandemics , Africa/epidemiology , Biomedical Research/organization & administration , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Congresses as Topic , Humans , Pandemics/prevention & control , Universities/organization & administration
11.
Am J Trop Med Hyg ; 104(4): 1179-1187, 2021 Feb 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1262647

ABSTRACT

Most African countries have recorded relatively lower COVID-19 burdens than Western countries. This has been attributed to early and strong political commitment and robust implementation of public health measures, such as nationwide lockdowns, travel restrictions, face mask wearing, testing, contact tracing, and isolation, along with community education and engagement. Other factors include the younger population age strata and hypothesized but yet-to-be confirmed partially protective cross-immunity from parasitic diseases and/or other circulating coronaviruses. However, the true burden may also be underestimated due to operational and resource issues for COVID-19 case identification and reporting. In this perspective article, we discuss selected best practices and challenges with COVID-19 contact tracing in Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, and Uganda. Best practices from these country case studies include sustained, multi-platform public communications; leveraging of technology innovations; applied public health expertise; deployment of community health workers; and robust community engagement. Challenges include an overwhelming workload of contact tracing and case detection for healthcare workers, misinformation and stigma, and poorly sustained adherence to isolation and quarantine. Important lessons learned include the need for decentralization of contact tracing to the lowest geographic levels of surveillance, rigorous use of data and technology to improve decision-making, and sustainment of both community sensitization and political commitment. Further research is needed to understand the role and importance of contact tracing in controlling community transmission dynamics in African countries, including among children. Also, implementation science will be critically needed to evaluate innovative, accessible, and cost-effective digital solutions to accommodate the contact tracing workload.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/prevention & control , Communicable Disease Control/organization & administration , Contact Tracing/methods , Humans , Nigeria/epidemiology , Practice Guidelines as Topic , Rwanda/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2 , South Africa/epidemiology , Uganda/epidemiology
12.
Lancet Glob Health ; 9(5): e711-e720, 2021 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1189095

ABSTRACT

COVID-19 has had negative repercussions on the entire global population. Despite there being a common goal that should have unified resources and efforts, there have been an overwhelmingly large number of clinical trials that have been registered that are of questionable methodological quality. As the final paper of this Series, we discuss how the medical research community has responded to COVID-19. We recognise the incredible pressure that this pandemic has put on researchers, regulators, and policy makers, all of whom were doing their best to move quickly but safely in a time of tremendous uncertainty. However, the research community's response to the COVID-19 pandemic has prominently highlighted many fundamental issues that exist in clinical trial research under the current system and its incentive structures. The COVID-19 pandemic has not only re-emphasised the importance of well designed randomised clinical trials but also highlighted the need for large-scale clinical trials structured according to a master protocol in a coordinated and collaborative manner. There is also a need for structures and incentives to enable faster data sharing of anonymised datasets, and a need to provide similar opportunities to those in high-income countries for clinical trial research in low-resource regions where clinical trial research receives considerably less research funding.


Subject(s)
Biomedical Research/trends , COVID-19/epidemiology , Global Health , Humans , Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
15.
Vaccines (Basel) ; 9(2)2021 Feb 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1085032

ABSTRACT

We investigated the level of willingness for COVID-19 vaccination in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Data were collected between 24 August 2020 and 8 September 2020 through an online survey. A total of 4131 responses were included; mean age of respondents was 35 years (standard deviation: 11.5); 68.4% were females; 71% had elementary or secondary school education. One fourth (24.1%) were convinced that COVID-19 did not exist. Overall, 2310 (55.9%) indicated they were willing to be vaccinated. In a multivariable regression model, belonging to the middle and high-income category (OR = 1.85, CI: 1.46-2.35 and OR = 2.91, CI: 2.15-3.93, respectively), being tested for COVID-19 (OR = 4.71, CI: 3.62-6.12; p < 0.001), COVID-19 community vaccine acceptance (OR = 14.45, CI: 2.91-71.65; p = 0.001) and acknowledging the existence of COVID-19 (OR = 6.04, CI: 4.42-8.23; p < 0.001) were associated with an increased willingness to be vaccinated. Being a healthcare worker was associated with a decreased willingness for vaccination (OR = 0.46, CI: 0.36-0.58; p < 0.001). In conclusion, the current willingness for COVID-19 vaccination among citizens of the DRC is too low to dramatically decrease community transmission. Of great concern is the low intention of immunization among healthcare workers. A large sensitization campaign will be needed to increase COVID-19 vaccine acceptance.

16.
Clin Infect Dis ; 73(10): 1913-1919, 2021 11 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1083754

ABSTRACT

Globally, there are prevailing knowledge gaps in the epidemiology, clinical manifestations, and outcomes of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection among children and adolescents; and these gaps are especially wide in African countries. The availability of robust age-disaggregated data is a critical first step in improving knowledge on disease burden and manifestations of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) among children. Furthermore, it is essential to improve understanding of SARS-CoV-2 interactions with comorbidities and coinfections such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), tuberculosis, malaria, sickle cell disease, and malnutrition, which are highly prevalent among children in sub-Saharan Africa. The African Forum for Research and Education in Health (AFREhealth) COVID-19 Research Collaboration on Children and Adolescents is conducting studies across Western, Central, Eastern, and Southern Africa to address existing knowledge gaps. This consortium is expected to generate key evidence to inform clinical practice and public health policy-making for COVID-19 while concurrently addressing other major diseases affecting children in African countries.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Coinfection , Tuberculosis , Adolescent , Africa South of the Sahara/epidemiology , Child , Humans , SARS-CoV-2
17.
Clin Infect Dis ; 72(2): 327-331, 2021 01 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1050126

ABSTRACT

The arrival of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) on the African continent resulted in a range of lockdown measures that curtailed the spread of the infection but caused economic hardship. African countries now face difficult choices regarding easing of lockdowns and sustaining effective public health control measures and surveillance. Pandemic control will require efficient community screening, testing, and contact tracing; behavioral change interventions; adequate resources; and well-supported, community-based teams of trained, protected personnel. We discuss COVID-19 control approaches in selected African countries and the need for shared, affordable, innovative methods to overcome challenges and minimize mortality. This crisis presents a unique opportunity to align COVID-19 services with those already in place for human immunodeficiency virus, tuberculosis, malaria, and non communicable diseases through mobilization of Africa's interprofessional healthcare workforce. By addressing the challenges, the detrimental effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on African citizens can be minimized.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pandemics , Africa/epidemiology , Communicable Disease Control , Contact Tracing , Humans , Morbidity , SARS-CoV-2
18.
Am J Trop Med Hyg ; 104(2): 461-465, 2020 Dec 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1000469

ABSTRACT

In the African context, there is a paucity of data on SARS-CoV-2 infection and associated COVID-19 in pregnancy. Given the endemicity of infections such as malaria, HIV, and tuberculosis (TB) in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), it is important to evaluate coinfections with SARS-CoV-2 and their impact on maternal/infant outcomes. Robust research is critically needed to evaluate the effects of the added burden of COVID-19 in pregnancy, to help develop evidence-based policies toward improving maternal and infant outcomes. In this perspective, we briefly review current knowledge on the clinical features of COVID-19 in pregnancy; the risks of preterm birth and cesarean delivery secondary to comorbid severity; the effects of maternal SARS-CoV-2 infection on the fetus/neonate; and in utero mother-to-child SARS-CoV-2 transmission. We further highlight the need to conduct multicountry surveillance as well as retrospective and prospective cohort studies across SSA. This will enable assessments of SARS-CoV-2 burden among pregnant African women and improve the understanding of the spectrum of COVID-19 manifestations in this population, which may be living with or without HIV, TB, and/or other coinfections/comorbidities. In addition, multicountry studies will allow a better understanding of risk factors and outcomes to be compared across countries and subregions. Such an approach will encourage and strengthen much-needed intra-African, south-to-south multidisciplinary and interprofessional research collaborations. The African Forum for Research and Education in Health's COVID-19 Research Working Group has embarked upon such a collaboration across Western, Central, Eastern and Southern Africa.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/complications , COVID-19/epidemiology , Pregnancy Complications, Infectious/epidemiology , Pregnancy Complications, Infectious/virology , Research , Africa South of the Sahara/epidemiology , COVID-19/mortality , Coinfection/complications , Coinfection/epidemiology , Female , Humans , Infant, Newborn , Infectious Disease Transmission, Vertical , Intersectoral Collaboration , Pregnancy , Pregnant Women , Premature Birth , Prospective Studies , Retrospective Studies , Risk Factors , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Socioeconomic Factors
19.
AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses ; 36(12): 973-981, 2020 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-990509

ABSTRACT

With increasing effectiveness of antiretroviral therapy, people with HIV (PWH) are living longer and the prevalence of older PWH continues to increase. Accordingly, PWH are experiencing an increased burden of age-related comorbidities. With this shifting demographics, clinicians and researchers face additional challenges in how to identify, address, and manage the complex intersections of HIV- and aging-related conditions. Established in 2009, the International Workshop on HIV and Aging brings together clinicians and researchers in cross-disciplinary fields along with community advocates and PWH to address the multidisciplinary nature of HIV and aging. This article summarizes plenary talks from the 10th Annual International Workshop on HIV and Aging, which took place in New York City on October 10 and 11, 2019. Presentation topics included the following: the burdens of HIV-associated comorbidities, aging phenotypes, community engagement, and loneliness; these issues are especially important for older PWH, considering the current COVID-19 pandemic. We also discuss broad questions and potential directions for future research necessary to better understand the interaction between HIV and aging.


Subject(s)
Aging , HIV Infections/epidemiology , HIV Infections/therapy , HIV , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Comorbidity , Disease Management , Female , HIV Infections/psychology , HIV Infections/virology , Humans , Loneliness , Male , Middle Aged , New York City , Phenotype , Prevalence , Public Health
20.
Am J Trop Med Hyg ; 104(1): 35-38, 2021 Jan.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-946095

ABSTRACT

The efficacy and safety of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19 has received great attention, and most notably, the enthusiasm for HCQ has been one of politicization rather than science. Laboratory studies and case series published early in the pandemic supported its efficacy. The scientific community raced to conduct observational and randomized evaluations of the drug in all stages of the disease, including prophylaxis, early treatment, and advanced disease. Yet a divisive media response affected recruitment, funding, and subsequent enthusiasm for continuing scientific investigations. Of the more than 300 HCQ trials registered, fewer than 50% report having recruited any patients, and most trials might fail to achieve any useful portions of their intended sample size. Multiple observational studies and two large randomized trials have demonstrated HCQ does not offer efficacy against COVID-19 in hospitalized patients. Prophylaxis studies and early treatment studies provided heterogeneous results and are plagued by low event rates and poor study outcome monitoring. Emerging high-quality evaluations of prophylaxis and early treatment do not support a role for HCQ in these populations. The story of HCQ for COVID-19 has followed a pattern of initial enthusiasm supported by poor quality evidence, followed by disappointment based on more rigorous evaluations. The experience of HCQ in the COVID-19 era calls for the depoliticization of science away from media glare.


Subject(s)
Antimalarials/therapeutic use , COVID-19/drug therapy , Hydroxychloroquine/therapeutic use , SARS-CoV-2 , Antimalarials/adverse effects , Antiviral Agents/adverse effects , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , COVID-19/prevention & control , Cardiovascular Diseases/chemically induced , Humans , Hydroxychloroquine/adverse effects , Politics , Treatment Outcome
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