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1.
Wellcome Open Res ; 7: 40, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2269098

ABSTRACT

Background  COVID-19 is currently a global health threat. Healthcare workers are on the front-line of the COVID-19 outbreak response and therefore at heightened risk of infection. There is a dearth of evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa about healthcare worker experiences in managing COVID-19.  We have reported on healthcare worker responses, experiences, and perspectives on epidemic response strategies at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital, Malawi's largest referral hospital.   Methods  We conducted 39 face-to-face in-depth interviews with a purposively selected sample of healthcare workers during the first wave of COVID-19 in Malawi (March 2020 to October 2020). The study included healthcare workers who provided direct and indirect patient care.   Results  During the early phase of the first wave (March to May 2020), healthcare workers expressed concerns with inadequate working space, unconducive infrastructure, delayed and rushed training on the management of COVID-19, and lack of incentives. Additionally, the hospital had staff shortages and limited essential resources such as piped oxygen and personal protective equipment. This increased healthcare worker fears of contracting COVID-19 and they were less willing to volunteer at COVID-19 isolation units. Resource constraints and limited preparedness compromised the care pathway particularly with increased numbers of COVID-19 patients. By the peak of the first wave (June to August 2020) many of these issues had been resolved. The hospital provided refresher training courses, personal protective equipment became available, incentives were offered to healthcare workers working in COVID-19 units and piped oxygen was installed. Staff morale was boosted, and more staff were willing to work at the COVID-19 isolation centres.   Conclusion  Experiences of healthcare workers during the first wave of COVID-19 are critical for improving care in future COVID-19 waves. Response strategies in resource-constrained areas should prioritise timely training of staff, creation of adequate isolation areas, provision of adequate medical supplies and strengthening leadership.

2.
BMC Infect Dis ; 23(1): 79, 2023 Feb 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2227594

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Compared to the abundance of clinical and genomic information available on patients hospitalised with COVID-19 disease from high-income countries, there is a paucity of data from low-income countries. Our aim was to explore the relationship between viral lineage and patient outcome. METHODS: We enrolled a prospective observational cohort of adult patients hospitalised with PCR-confirmed COVID-19 disease between July 2020 and March 2022 from Blantyre, Malawi, covering four waves of SARS-CoV-2 infections. Clinical and diagnostic data were collected using an adapted ISARIC clinical characterization protocol for COVID-19. SARS-CoV-2 isolates were sequenced using the MinION™ in Blantyre. RESULTS: We enrolled 314 patients, good quality sequencing data was available for 55 patients. The sequencing data showed that 8 of 11 participants recruited in wave one had B.1 infections, 6/6 in wave two had Beta, 25/26 in wave three had Delta and 11/12 in wave four had Omicron. Patients infected during the Delta and Omicron waves reported fewer underlying chronic conditions and a shorter time to presentation. Significantly fewer patients required oxygen (22.7% [17/75] vs. 58.6% [140/239], p < 0.001) and steroids (38.7% [29/75] vs. 70.3% [167/239], p < 0.001) in the Omicron wave compared with the other waves. Multivariable logistic-regression demonstrated a trend toward increased mortality in the Delta wave (OR 4.99 [95% CI 1.0-25.0 p = 0.05) compared to the first wave of infection. CONCLUSIONS: Our data show that each wave of patients hospitalised with SARS-CoV-2 was infected with a distinct viral variant. The clinical data suggests that patients with severe COVID-19 disease were more likely to die during the Delta wave.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Adult , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , Malawi , Cohort Studies , Data Accuracy
3.
Nat Immunol ; 23(9): 1324-1329, 2022 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2016769

ABSTRACT

T cells can contribute to clearance of respiratory viruses that cause acute-resolving infections such as SARS-CoV-2, helping to provide long-lived protection against disease. Recent studies have suggested an additional role for T cells in resisting overt infection: pre-existing cross-reactive responses were preferentially enriched in healthcare workers who had abortive infections1, and in household contacts protected from infection2. We hypothesize that such early viral control would require pre-existing cross-reactive memory T cells already resident at the site of infection; such airway-resident responses have been shown to be critical for mediating protection after intranasal vaccination in a murine model of SARS-CoV3. Bronchoalveolar lavage samples from the lower respiratory tract of healthy donors obtained before the COVID-19 pandemic revealed airway-resident, SARS-CoV-2-cross-reactive T cells, which correlated with the strength of human seasonal coronavirus immunity. We therefore demonstrate the potential to harness functional airway-resident SARS-CoV-2-reactive T cells in next-generation mucosal vaccines.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Animals , Antibodies, Viral , Cross Reactions , Humans , Mice , Pandemics , Respiratory System
4.
Healthcare (Basel) ; 10(5)2022 May 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1875547

ABSTRACT

Sepsis has been recognised as a global health priority by the United Nations World Health Assembly, which adopted a resolution in 2017 to improve sepsis prevention, diagnosis, and management globally. This study investigated how sepsis is prioritised in Gabon. From May to November 2021, we conducted a qualitative study in healthcare stakeholders at the local, regional, and national levels. Stakeholders included the Ministry of Health (MOH), ethics/regulatory bodies, research institutions, academic institutions, referral hospitals, international funders, and the media. Twenty-three multisectoral stakeholders were interviewed. Respondents indicated that sepsis is not yet prioritised in Gabon due to the lack of evidence of its burden. They also suggest that the researchers should focus on linkages between sepsis and the countries' existing health sector priorities to accelerate sepsis prioritisation in health policy. Stakeholder awareness and engagement might be accelerated by involving the media in the generation of communication strategies around sepsis awareness and prioritisation. There is a need for local, regional and national evidence to be generated by researchers and taken up by policymakers, focusing on linkages between sepsis and a country's existing health sector priorities. The MOH should set sepsis reporting structures and develop appropriate sepsis guidelines for identification, management, and prevention.

5.
BMC Health Serv Res ; 22(1): 613, 2022 May 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1822190

ABSTRACT

Sepsis causes 20% of global deaths, particularly among children and vulnerable populations living in developing countries. This study investigated how sepsis is prioritised in Malawi's health system to inform health policy. In this mixed-methods study, twenty multisectoral stakeholders were qualitatively interviewed and asked to quantitatively rate the likelihood of sepsis-related medium-term policy outcomes being realised. Respondents indicated that sepsis is not prioritised in Malawi due to a lack of local sepsis-related evidence and policies. However, they highlighted strong linkages between sepsis and maternal health, antimicrobial resistance and COVID-19, which are already existing national priorities, and offers opportunities for sepsis researchers as policy entrepreneurs. To address the burden of sepsis, we recommend that funding should be channelled to the generation of local evidence, evidence uptake, procurement of resources and treatment of sepsis cases, development of appropriate indicators for sepsis, adherence to infection prevention and control measures, and antimicrobial stewardship.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Sepsis , Anti-Bacterial Agents/therapeutic use , COVID-19/epidemiology , Child , Drug Resistance, Bacterial , Female , Global Health , Humans , Malawi/epidemiology , Sepsis/drug therapy , Sepsis/epidemiology
6.
BMJ Open ; 12(1): e057538, 2022 Jan 31.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1662319

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: Malawi has a substantial burden of chronic respiratory diseases (CRDs) which cause significant morbidity and loss of economic productivity, affecting patients, families and health systems. Pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) is a highly recommended non-pharmacological intervention in the clinical management of people with CRDs. However, Malawi lacks published evidence on the implementation of PR for people with CRDs. This trial will test the feasibility and acceptability of implementing a culturally appropriate hospital-based PR programme among adults with functionally limiting CRDs at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre, Malawi. METHODS AND ANALYSIS: This is a single-centre mixed-methods pre-post single-arm feasibility trial. Ten patients aged ≥18 years, with a spirometry confirmed diagnosis of a CRD and breathlessness of ≥2 on the modified Medical Research Council dyspnoea scale, will be consecutively recruited. Their baseline lung function, exercise tolerance and health status will be assessed; including spirometry, Incremental Shuttle Walk Test and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Assessment Test, respectively. Pretrial semistructured in-depth interviews will explore their experiences of living with CRD and potential enablers and barriers to their PR uptake. Along with international PR guidelines, these data will inform culturally appropriate delivery of PR. We initially propose a 6-week, twice-weekly, supervised centre-based PR programme, with an additional weekly home-based non-supervised session. Using combination of researcher observation, interaction with the participants, field notes and informal interviews with the participants, we will assess the feasibility of running the programme in the following areas: participants' recruitment, retention, engagement and protocol adherence. Following programme completion (after 6 weeks), repeat assessments of lung function, exercise tolerance and health status will be conducted. Quantitative changes in clinical outcomes will be described in relation to published minimal clinically important differences. Post-trial semistructured interviews will capture participants' perceived impact of the PR programme on their quality of life, enablers, and barriers to fully engaging with the programme, and allow iteration of its design. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: Ethical approval for this trial was obtained from University of Malawi College of Medicine Research and Ethics Committee (COMREC), Blantyre, Malawi (protocol number: P.07/19/2752) and University of Leicester Research Ethics Committee, Leicester, UK (ethics reference: 31574). The results of the trial will be disseminated through oral presentations at local and international scientific conferences or seminars and publication in a peer-reviewed journal. We will also engage the participants who complete the PR trial and the Science Communication Department at Malawi-Liverpool-Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Programme to organise community outreach activities within Blantyre to educate communities about CRDs and PR. We will also broadcast our trial results through national radio station programmes such as the weekly "Thanzi la Onse" (Health of All) programme by Times Radio Malawi. We will formally present our trial results to Blantyre District Health Office and Malawi Ministry of Health. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: ISRCTN13836793.


Subject(s)
Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive , Quality of Life , Adolescent , Adult , Exercise Tolerance , Feasibility Studies , Humans , Malawi , Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive/rehabilitation
7.
BMJ Glob Health ; 6(9)2021 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1435044

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Globally, critical illness results in millions of deaths every year. Although many of these deaths are potentially preventable, the basic, life-saving care of critically ill patients are often overlooked in health systems. Essential Emergency and Critical Care (EECC) has been devised as the care that should be provided to all critically ill patients in all hospitals in the world. EECC includes the effective care of low cost and low complexity for the identification and treatment of critically ill patients across all medical specialties. This study aimed to specify the content of EECC and additionally, given the surge of critical illness in the ongoing pandemic, the essential diagnosis-specific care for critically ill patients with COVID-19. METHODS: In a Delphi process, consensus (>90% agreement) was sought from a diverse panel of global clinical experts. The panel iteratively rated proposed treatments and actions based on previous guidelines and the WHO/ICRC's Basic Emergency Care. The output from the Delphi was adapted iteratively with specialist reviewers into a coherent and feasible package of clinical processes plus a list of hospital readiness requirements. RESULTS: The 269 experts in the Delphi panel had clinical experience in different acute medical specialties from 59 countries and from all resource settings. The agreed EECC package contains 40 clinical processes and 67 requirements, plus additions specific for COVID-19. CONCLUSION: The study has specified the content of care that should be provided to all critically ill patients. Implementing EECC could be an effective strategy for policy makers to reduce preventable deaths worldwide.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Emergency Medical Services , Consensus , Critical Care , Humans , SARS-CoV-2
8.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 3554, 2021 06 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1265949

ABSTRACT

Although the COVID-19 pandemic has left no country untouched there has been limited research to understand clinical and immunological responses in African populations. Here we characterise patients hospitalised with suspected (PCR-negative/IgG-positive) or confirmed (PCR-positive) COVID-19, and healthy community controls (PCR-negative/IgG-negative). PCR-positive COVID-19 participants were more likely to receive dexamethasone and a beta-lactam antibiotic, and survive to hospital discharge than PCR-negative/IgG-positive and PCR-negative/IgG-negative participants. PCR-negative/IgG-positive participants exhibited a nasal and systemic cytokine signature analogous to PCR-positive COVID-19 participants, predominated by chemokines and neutrophils and distinct from PCR-negative/IgG-negative participants. PCR-negative/IgG-positive participants had increased propensity for Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pneumoniae colonisation. PCR-negative/IgG-positive individuals with high COVID-19 clinical suspicion had inflammatory profiles analogous to PCR-confirmed disease and potentially represent a target population for COVID-19 treatment strategies.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , Adult , Africa South of the Sahara/epidemiology , Anti-Bacterial Agents/administration & dosage , Antibodies/blood , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/epidemiology , Coinfection/immunology , Cytokines/blood , Dexamethasone/administration & dosage , Female , Humans , Immunoglobulin G/blood , Immunoglobulin M/blood , Male , Middle Aged , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , COVID-19 Drug Treatment
9.
Am J Phys Med Rehabil ; 100(3): 209-212, 2021 03 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1127410

ABSTRACT

ABSTRACT: Postacute COVID-19 patients are at risk of long-term functional impairment, and the rehabilitation community is calling for action preparing for a "tsunami of rehabilitation needs" in this patient population. In the absence of standard guidelines and local evidence, a 3-wk pulmonary telerehabilitation program was successfully delivered to a postacute severe COVID-19 patient in Malawi. The patient experienced persistent dyspnea and fatigue, with a remarkable impact on his health status. On the final assessment, all his respiratory severity scores had fallen by more than their thresholds for clinical significance. He reported no continued or new complaints, was walking longer distances, had returned to work, and was discharged from follow-up. Our case shows that an improvised pulmonary telerehabilitation program for postacute COVID-19 patients could be feasible and acceptable in a low-resource setting. Benefits include reducing risk of transmission and use of personal protective equipment.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/rehabilitation , Quality of Life , Telerehabilitation/organization & administration , Female , Humans , Male , Recovery of Function , Time Factors , Treatment Outcome
10.
BMJ Glob Health ; 5(11)2020 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-936903

ABSTRACT

Adults admitted to hospital with critical illness are vulnerable and at high risk of morbidity and mortality, especially in sub-Saharan African settings where resources are severely limited. As life expectancy increases, patient demographics and healthcare needs are increasingly complex and require integrated approaches. Patient outcomes could be improved by increased critical care provision that standardises healthcare delivery, provides specialist staff and enhanced patient monitoring and facilitates some treatment modalities for organ support. In Malawi, we established a new high-dependency unit within Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital, a tertiary referral centre serving the country's Southern region. This unit was designed in partnership with managers, clinicians, nurses and patients to address their needs. In this practice piece, we describe a participatory approach to design and implement a sustainable high-dependency unit for a low-income sub-Saharan African setting. This included: prospective agreement on remit, alignment with existing services, refurbishment of a dedicated physical space, recruitment and training of specialist nurses, development of context-sensitive clinical standard operating procedures, purchase of appropriate and durable equipment and creation of digital clinical information systems. As the global COVID-19 pandemic unfolded, we accelerated unit opening in anticipation of increased clinical requirement and describe how the high-dependency unit responded to this demand.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Hospital Units , Tertiary Care Centers , COVID-19/nursing , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/therapy , Critical Care Nursing/education , Critical Care Nursing/organization & administration , Critical Illness/therapy , Hospital Design and Construction , Humans , Malawi , Quality of Health Care , Referral and Consultation
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