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1.
Vaccine ; 40(26): 3605-3613, 2022 Jun 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1873313

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: Since the establishment of the Global Alignment of Immunization Safety Assessment in pregnancy (GAIA) case definitions in 2015, there has been an urgent need for field validation of pharmacovigilance feasibility in low- and middle-income countries. In this study, we assess the availability and quality of archival medical records at ten randomly selected high-traffic maternity wards in Kinshasa province, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). METHODS: A retrospective cohort of mother-child pairs was established from all recorded births taking place at study sites between July 1, 2019 to February 28, 2020 through digitization of medical records. Adverse birth outcomes and maternal vaccination status, where available and linkable, were defined according to GAIA. Basic demographic information on mothers and newborns was also tabulated; birth outcomes were assessed for both intra-site prevalence and a pooled prevalence. RESULTS: A total of 7,697 mother-newborn pair records were extracted, with 37% of infants screening positive as cases of adverse outcomes. Maternal vaccination information was linkable to 67% of those cases. In total, 51% of stillbirths, 98% of preterm births, 100% of low birthweight infants, 90% of small for gestational age infants, 100% of microcephalic infants, and 0% of neonatal bloodstream infections were classifiable according to GAIA standards following initial screening. Forty percent of case mothers had some indication of tetanus vaccination prior to delivery in their medical records, but only 26% of case mothers met some level of GAIA definition for maternal vaccination during the pregnancy of interest. CONCLUSIONS: Archival birth records from delivery centers can be feasibly utilized to screen for stillbirth and maternal tetanus vaccination, and to accurately classify preterm birth, low birthweight, small for gestational age, and congenital microcephaly. Assessment of other neonatal outcomes were limited by inconsistent postpartum infant follow-up and records keeping.


Subject(s)
Premature Birth , Tetanus , Birth Weight , Democratic Republic of the Congo/epidemiology , Feasibility Studies , Female , Humans , Immunization/adverse effects , Infant , Infant, Newborn , Medical Records , Pregnancy , Premature Birth/epidemiology , Premature Birth/etiology , Retrospective Studies , Stillbirth , Vaccination/adverse effects
2.
BMJ Open ; 12(5): e060639, 2022 05 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1854360

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: Our study described demographic characteristics, exposures and symptoms, and comorbidities to evaluate risk factors of hospitalisation and mortality among cases in Juba, South Sudan (SSD) and North and South Kivu in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). DESIGN: Prospective observational cohort of COVID-19 cases. METHODS: Individuals presenting for care at one of five study facilities in SSD (n=1) or DRC (n=4) or referred from home-based care by mobile medical teams between December 2020 and June 2021 were eligible for enrolment. Demographic characteristics, COVID-19 exposures, symptoms at presentation, as well as acute and chronic comorbidities, were evaluated using a standard questionnaire at enrolment. Disease progression was characterised by location of care using mixed-effects regression models. RESULTS: 751 individuals were eligible for enrolment. Among cases followed to discharge or death (n=519), 375 were enrolled outpatients (75.7%). A similar number of cases were enrolled in DRC (n=262) and SSD (n=257). Overall mortality was 4.8% (95% CI: 3.2% to 6.9%); there were no outpatient deaths. Patients presenting with any symptoms had higher odds of hospitalisation (adjusted OR (AOR) 2.78, 95% CI 1.47 to 5.27) and all deaths occurred among symptomatic individuals. Odds of both hospitalisation and mortality were greatest among cases with respiratory symptoms; presence of low oxygen levels on enrolment was strongly associated with both hospitalisation (AOR 7.77, 95% CI 4.22 to 14.29) and mortality (AOR 25.29, 95% CI 6.42 to 99.54). Presence of more than one chronic comorbidity was associated with 4.96 (95% CI 1.51 to 16.31) times greater odds of death; neither infectious comorbidities evaluated, nor malnutrition, were significantly associated with increased mortality. CONCLUSIONS: Consistent with prior literature, older age, low oxygen level, other respiratory symptoms and chronic comorbidities were all risk factors for mortality. Patients presenting with these characteristics were more likely to be hospitalised, providing evidence of effective triage and referral. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: NCT04568499.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/therapy , Cohort Studies , Democratic Republic of the Congo/epidemiology , Hospitalization , Humans , Oxygen , Prospective Studies , Risk Factors , South Sudan
3.
BMJ Open ; 12(3): e055596, 2022 03 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1736069

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: Ebola virus disease (EVD) continues to be a significant public health problem in sub-Saharan Africa, especially in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Large-scale vaccination during outbreaks may reduce virus transmission. We established a large population-based clinical trial of a heterologous, two-dose prophylactic vaccine during an outbreak in eastern DRC to determine vaccine effectiveness. METHODS AND ANALYSIS: This open-label, non-randomised, population-based trial enrolled eligible adults and children aged 1 year and above. Participants were offered the two-dose candidate EVD vaccine regimen VAC52150 (Ad26.ZEBOV, Modified Vaccinia Ankara (MVA)-BN-Filo), with the doses being given 56 days apart. After vaccination, serious adverse events (SAEs) were passively recorded until 1 month post dose 2. 1000 safety subset participants were telephoned at 1 month post dose 2 to collect SAEs. 500 pregnancy subset participants were contacted to collect SAEs at D7 and D21 post dose 1 and at D7, 1 month, 3 months and 6 months post dose 2, unless delivery was before these time points. The first 100 infants born to these women were given a clinical examination 3 months post delivery. Due to COVID-19 and temporary suspension of dose 2 vaccinations, at least 50 paediatric and 50 adult participants were enrolled into an immunogenicity subset to examine immune responses following a delayed second dose. Samples collected predose 2 and at 21 days post dose 2 will be tested using the Ebola viruses glycoprotein Filovirus Animal Non-Clinical Group ELISA. For qualitative research, in-depth interviews and focus group discussions were being conducted with participants or parents/care providers of paediatric participants. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: Approved by Comité National d'Ethique et de la Santé du Ministère de la santé de RDC, Comité d'Ethique de l'Ecole de Santé Publique de l'Université de Kinshasa, the LSHTM Ethics Committee and the MSF Ethics Review Board. Findings will be presented to stakeholders and conferences. Study data will be made available for open access. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: NCT04152486.


Subject(s)
Ebola Vaccines , Hemorrhagic Fever, Ebola , Adult , COVID-19 , Child , Clinical Trials, Phase III as Topic , Democratic Republic of the Congo/epidemiology , Ebola Vaccines/adverse effects , Female , Hemorrhagic Fever, Ebola/epidemiology , Hemorrhagic Fever, Ebola/prevention & control , Humans , Immunization Schedule
4.
PLoS Negl Trop Dis ; 16(2): e0010205, 2022 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1731578

ABSTRACT

Uganda established a domestic Viral Hemorrhagic Fever (VHF) testing capacity in 2010 in response to the increasing occurrence of filovirus outbreaks. In July 2018, the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) experienced its 10th Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak and for the duration of the outbreak, the Ugandan Ministry of Health (MOH) initiated a national EVD preparedness stance. Almost one year later, on 10th June 2019, three family members who had contracted EVD in the DRC crossed into Uganda to seek medical treatment. Samples were collected from all the suspected cases using internationally established biosafety protocols and submitted for VHF diagnostic testing at Uganda Virus Research Institute. All samples were initially tested by RT-PCR for ebolaviruses, marburgviruses, Rift Valley fever (RVF) virus and Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF) virus. Four people were identified as being positive for Zaire ebolavirus, marking the first report of Zaire ebolavirus in Uganda. In-country Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) and phylogenetic analysis was performed for the first time in Uganda, confirming the outbreak as imported from DRC at two different time point from different clades. This rapid response by the MoH, UVRI and partners led to the control of the outbreak and prevention of secondary virus transmission.


Subject(s)
Ebolavirus , Hemorrhagic Fever Virus, Crimean-Congo , Hemorrhagic Fever, Crimean , Hemorrhagic Fever, Ebola , Animals , Democratic Republic of the Congo/epidemiology , Disease Outbreaks/prevention & control , Ebolavirus/genetics , Hemorrhagic Fever, Crimean/epidemiology , Humans , Phylogeny , Uganda/epidemiology
6.
Clin Infect Dis ; 74(5): 882-890, 2022 03 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1692246

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: In October 2020, after the first wave of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), only 8290 confirmed cases were reported in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, but the real prevalence remains unknown. To guide public health policies, we aimed to describe the prevalence of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies in the general population in Kinshasa. METHODS: We conducted a cross-sectional, household-based serosurvey between 22 October 2020 and 8 November 2020. Participants were interviewed at home and tested for antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 spike and nucleocapsid proteins in a Luminex-based assay. A positive serology was defined as a sample that reacted with both SARS-CoV-2 proteins (100% sensitivity, 99.7% specificity). The overall weighted, age-standardized prevalence was estimated and the infection-to-case ratio was calculated to determine the proportion of undiagnosed SARS-CoV-2 infections. RESULTS: A total of 1233 participants from 292 households were included (mean age, 32.4 years; 764 [61.2%] women). The overall weighted, age-standardized SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence was 16.6% (95% CI: 14.0-19.5%). The estimated infection-to-case ratio was 292:1. Prevalence was higher among participants ≥40 years than among those <18 years (21.2% vs 14.9%, respectively; P < .05). It was also higher in participants who reported hospitalization than among those who did not (29.8% vs 16.0%, respectively; P < .05). However, differences were not significant in the multivariate model (P = .1). CONCLUSIONS: The prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 is much higher than the number of COVID-19 cases reported. These results justify the organization of a sequential series of serosurveys by public health authorities to adapt response measures to the dynamics of the pandemic.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Adult , Antibodies, Viral , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/epidemiology , Cross-Sectional Studies , Democratic Republic of the Congo/epidemiology , Female , Humans , Prevalence , SARS-CoV-2 , Seroepidemiologic Studies
7.
BMC Infect Dis ; 21(1): 1272, 2021 Dec 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1636004

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Despite it being a global pandemic, there is little research examining the clinical features of severe COVID-19 in sub-Saharan Africa. This study aims to identify predictors of mortality in COVID-19 patients at Kinshasa Medical Center (KMC). METHODS: In this retrospective, observational, cohort study carried out at the Kinshasa Medical Center (KMC) between March 10, 2020 and July 10, 2020, we included all adult inpatients (≥ 18 years old) with a positive COVID-19 PCR result. The end point of the study was survival. The study population was dichotomized into survivors and non-survivors group. Kaplan-Meier plot was used for survival analyses. The Log-Rank test was employed to compare the survival curves. Predictors of mortality were identified by Cox regression models. The significance level of p value was set at 0.05. RESULTS: 432 patients with confirmed COVID-19 were identified and only 106 (24.5%) patients with moderate, severe or critical illness (mean age 55.6 ± 13.2 years old, 80.2% were male) were included in this study, of whom 34 (32%) died during their hospitalisation. The main complications of the patients included ARDS in 59/66 (89.4%) patients, coagulopathy in 35/93 (37.6%) patients, acute cardiac injury in 24/98 (24.5%) patients, AKI in 15/74 (20.3%) patients and secondary infection in 12/81 (14.8%) patients. The independent predictors of mortality were found to be age [aHR 1.38; 95% CI 1.10-1.82], AKI stage 3 [aHR 2.51; 95% CI 1.33-6.80], proteinuria [aHR 2.60; 95% CI 1.40-6.42], respiratory rate [aHR 1.42; 95% CI 1.09-1.92] and procalcitonin [aHR 1.08; 95% CI 1.03-1.14]. The median survival time of the entire group was 12 days. The cumulative survival rate of COVID-19 patients was 86.9%, 65.0% and 19.9% respectively at 5, 10 and 20 days. Levels of creatinine (p = 0.012), were clearly elevated in non-survivors compared with survivors throughout the clinical course and increased deterioration. CONCLUSION: Mortality rate of COVID-19 patients is high, particularly in intubated patients and is associated with age, respiratory rate, proteinuria, procalcitonin and acute kidney injury.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Cohort Studies , Democratic Republic of the Congo/epidemiology , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Retrospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2
8.
PLoS Med ; 18(12): e1003552, 2021 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1627468

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Interpersonal violence has physical, emotional, educational, social, and economic implications. Although there is interest in empowering young people to challenge harmful norms, there is scant research on how individual agency, and, specifically, the "power to" resist or bring about an outcome relates to peer violence perpetration and victimization in early adolescence. This manuscript explores the relationship between individual agency and peer violence perpetration and victimization among very young adolescents (VYAs) living in two urban poor settings in sub-Saharan Africa (Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Blantyre, Malawi). METHODS AND FINDINGS: The study draws on two cross-sectional surveys including 2,540 adolescents 10 to 14 years from Kinshasa in 2017 (girls = 49.8% and boys = 50.2%) and 1,213 from Blantyre in 2020 (girls = 50.7% and boys = 49.3%). The sample was school based in Malawi but included in-school and out-of-school participants in Kinshasa due to higher levels of early school dropout. Peer violence in the last 6 months (dependent variable) was defined as a four categorical variable: (1) no victimization or perpetration; (2) victimization only; (3) perpetration only; and (4) both victimization and perpetration. Agency was operationalized using 3 scales: freedom of movement, voice, and decision-making, which were further divided into tertiles. Univariate analysis and multivariable multinomial logistic regressions were conducted to evaluate the relationships between each agency indicator and peer violence. The multivariable regression adjusted for individual, family, peer, and community level covariates. All analyses were stratified by gender and site. In both sites, adolescents had greater voice and decision-making power than freedom of movement, and boys had greater freedom of movement than girls. Boys in both settings were more likely to report peer violence in the last six months than girls (40% to 50% versus 32% to 40%, p < 0.001), mostly due to higher rates of a perpetration-victimization overlap (18% to 23% versus 10% to 15%, p < 0.001). Adolescents reporting the greatest freedom of movement (Tertile 3) (with the exception of girls in Kinshasa) had a greater relative risk ratio (RRR) of reporting a perpetrator-victim overlap (boys Kinshasa: RRR = 1.9 (1.2 to 2.8, p = 0.003); boys Blantyre: RRR = 3.8 (1.7 to 8.3, p = 0.001); and girls Blantyre: RRR = 2.4 (1.1 to 5.1, p = 0.03)). Adolescents with the highest decision-making power in Kinshasa also had greater RRR of reporting a perpetrator-victim overlap (boys: RRR = 3.0 (1.8 to 4.8, p < 0.001). Additionally, girls and boys in Kinshasa with intermediate decision-making power (tertile 2 versus 1) had a lower RRR of being victimized (Girls: RRR = 1.7 (1.02 to 2.7, p = 0.04); Boys: RRR = 0.6 (0.4 to 0.9, p = 0.01)). Higher voice among boys in Kinshasa (Tertile 2: RRR = 1.9 (1.2 to 2.9, p = 0.003) and Tertile 3: 1.8 (1.2 to 2.8, p = 0.009)) and girls in Blantyre (Tertile 2: 2.0 (1.01 to 3.9, p = 0.048)) was associated with a perpetrator-victim overlap, and girls with more voice in Blantyre had a greater RRR of being victimized (Tertile 2: RRR = 1.9 (1.1 to 3.1, p = 0.02)). Generally, associations were stronger for boys than girls, and associations often differed when victimization and perpetration occurred in isolation of each other. A main limitation of this study is that the cross-sectional nature of the data does not allow a causal interpretation of the findings, which need further longitudinal exploration to establish temporality. CONCLUSIONS: In this study, we observed that peer violence is a gendered experience that is related to young people's agency. This stresses the importance of addressing interpersonal violence in empowerment programs and of including boys who experience the greatest perpetration-victimization overlap.


Subject(s)
Crime Victims/statistics & numerical data , Peer Influence , Violence/statistics & numerical data , Adolescent , Child , Crime Victims/classification , Crime Victims/psychology , Cross-Sectional Studies , Democratic Republic of the Congo/epidemiology , Female , Humans , Incidence , Malawi/epidemiology , Male , Violence/classification , Violence/psychology
9.
BMJ Open ; 12(1): e053375, 2022 Jan 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1622059

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: High mortality rates, anxiety and distress associated with Ebola virus disease (EVD) are risk factors for mood disorders in affected communities. This study aims to document the prevalence and risk factors associated with depressive symptoms among a representative sample of individuals affected by EVD. DESIGN: Cross-sectional study. SETTING: The current study was conducted 7 months (March 11, 2019 to April 23, 2019) after the end of the ninth outbreak of EVD in the province of Equateur in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). PARTICIPANTS: A large population-based sample of 1614 adults (50% women, Mage=34.05; SD=12.55) in health zones affected by the ninth outbreak in DRC. PRIMARY AND SECONDARY OUTCOME MEASURES: Participants completed questionnaires assessing EVD exposure level, stigmatisation related to EVD and depressive symptoms. The ORs associated with sociodemographic data, EVD exposure level and stigmatisation were analysed through logistic regressions. RESULTS: Overall, 62.03% (95% CI 59.66% to 64.40%) of individuals living in areas affected by EVD were categorised as having severe depressive symptoms. The multivariable logistic regression analyses showed that adults in the two higher score categories of exposure to EVD were at two times higher risk of developing severe depressive symptoms (respectively, OR 1.94 (95% CI 1.22 to 3.09); OR 2.34 (95% CI 1.26 to 4.34)). Individuals in the two higher categories of stigmatisation were two to four times more at risk (respectively, OR 2.42 (95% CI 1.53 to 3.83); OR 4.73 (95% CI 2.34 to 9.56)). Living in rural areas (OR 0.19 (95% CI 0.09 to 0.38)) and being unemployed (OR 0.68 (95% CI 0.50 to 0.93)) increased the likelihood of having severe depressive symptoms. CONCLUSIONS: Results indicate that depressive symptoms in EVD affected populations is a major public health problem that must be addressed through culturally adapted mental health programs.


Subject(s)
Hemorrhagic Fever, Ebola , Adult , Cross-Sectional Studies , Democratic Republic of the Congo/epidemiology , Depression/epidemiology , Disease Outbreaks , Female , Hemorrhagic Fever, Ebola/epidemiology , Humans , Male , Prevalence , Risk Factors , Urban Population
10.
BMC Infect Dis ; 22(1): 21, 2022 Jan 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1606369

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: In symptomatic patients, the diagnostic approach of COVID-19 should be holistic. We aimed to evaluate the concordance between RT-PCR and serological tests (IgM/IgG), and identify the factors that best predict mortality (clinical stages or viral load). METHODS: The study included 242 patients referred to the University hospital of Kinshasa for suspected COVID-19, dyspnea or ARDS between June 1st, 2020 and August 02, 2020. Both antibody-SARS-CoV2 IgM/IgG and RT-PCR method were performed on the day of admission to hospital. The clinical stages were established according to the COVID-19 WHO classification. The viral load was expressed by the CtN2 (cycle threshold value of the nucleoproteins) and the CtE (envelope) genes of SARS- CoV-2 detected using GeneXpert. Kappa test and Cox regression were used as appropriate. RESULTS: The GeneXpert was positive in 74 patients (30.6%). Seventy two patients (29.8%) had positive IgM and 34 patients (14.0%) had positive IgG. The combination of RT-PCR and serological tests made it possible to treat 104 patients as having COVID-19, which represented an increase in cases of around 41% compared to the result based on GeneXpert alone. The comparison between the two tests has shown that 57 patients (23.5%) had discordant results. The Kappa coefficient was 0.451 (p < 0.001). We recorded 23 deaths (22.1%) among the COVID-19 patients vs 8 deaths (5.8%) among other patients. The severe-critical clinical stage increased the risk of mortality vs. mild-moderate stage (aHR: 26.8, p < 0.001). The values of CtE and CtN2 did not influence mortality significantly. CONCLUSION: In symptomatic patients, serological tests are a support which makes it possible to refer patients to the dedicated COVID-19 units and treat a greater number of COVID-19 patients. WHO Clinical classification seems to predict mortality better than SARS-Cov2 viral load.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , RNA, Viral , Antibodies, Viral , Democratic Republic of the Congo/epidemiology , Humans , Immunoglobulin M , SARS-CoV-2 , Serologic Tests
12.
Pan Afr Med J ; 38: 93, 2021.
Article in French | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1547720

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: SARS-CoV-2 serology tests could play a crucial role in estimating the prevalence of COVID-19. The purpose of this study was to estimate the prevalence of COVID-19 among travellers and workers in Bukavu, a city in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. METHODS: between May and August 2020, the Cellex qSARS-CoV-2 IgG/IgM Rapid Test (Cellex, Inc., USA), lateral flow immunoassay was used to rapidly detect and differentiate antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 among travellers and workers seeking medical certification. RESULTS: among the 684 residents of the city of Bukavu screened for COVID-19 (4.2% Hispanic, 2.8% other African, 0.9% Asian), the seroprevalence anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies was 40.8% (IgG+/IgM+: 34.6%; IgG+/IgM-: 0.5%; IgG-/IgM+: 5.4%). Cumulative seroprevalence of anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG antibodies increased from 24.5% to 35.2% from May to August 2020. Independent predictors of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies were age > 60 years [adjusted OR = 2.07(1.26-3.38)] and non-membership of the medical staff [adjusted OR = 2.28 (1.22-4.26)]. Thirteen point nine percent of patients seropositive for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies were symptomatic and hospitalized. CONCLUSION: this study shows a very high seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies among travellers and workers in Bukavu, a city in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, which may positively affect community immunity in the study population. Thus, the management of COVID-19 should be contextualized according to local realities.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Travel , Adult , Age Factors , Aged , COVID-19/diagnosis , Democratic Republic of the Congo/epidemiology , Female , Hospitalization/statistics & numerical data , Humans , Immunoassay , Male , Middle Aged , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Seroepidemiologic Studies
13.
Popul Health Metr ; 19(1): 44, 2021 11 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1503922

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Poor data quality is limiting the use of data sourced from routine health information systems (RHIS), especially in low- and middle-income countries. An important component of this data quality issue comes from missing values, where health facilities, for a variety of reasons, fail to report to the central system. METHODS: Using data from the health management information system in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the advent of COVID-19 pandemic as an illustrative case study, we implemented seven commonly used imputation methods and evaluated their performance in terms of minimizing bias in imputed values and parameter estimates generated through subsequent analytical techniques, namely segmented regression, which is widely used in interrupted time series studies, and pre-post-comparisons through paired Wilcoxon rank-sum tests. We also examined the performance of these imputation methods under different missing mechanisms and tested their stability to changes in the data. RESULTS: For regression analyses, there were no substantial differences found in the coefficient estimates generated from all methods except mean imputation and exclusion and interpolation when the data contained less than 20% missing values. However, as the missing proportion grew, k-NN started to produce biased estimates. Machine learning algorithms, i.e. missForest and k-NN, were also found to lack robustness to small changes in the data or consecutive missingness. On the other hand, multiple imputation methods generated the overall most unbiased estimates and were the most robust to all changes in data. They also produced smaller standard errors than single imputations. For pre-post-comparisons, all methods produced p values less than 0.01, regardless of the amount of missingness introduced, suggesting low sensitivity of Wilcoxon rank-sum tests to the imputation method used. CONCLUSIONS: We recommend the use of multiple imputation in addressing missing values in RHIS datasets and appropriate handling of data structure to minimize imputation standard errors. In cases where necessary computing resources are unavailable for multiple imputation, one may consider seasonal decomposition as the next best method. Mean imputation and exclusion and interpolation, however, always produced biased and misleading results in the subsequent analyses, and thus, their use in the handling of missing values should be discouraged.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Health Information Systems , Democratic Republic of the Congo/epidemiology , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
14.
PLoS One ; 16(6): e0253110, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1496435

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The World Health Organization recommends inpatient hospital treatment of young infants up to two months old with any sign of possible serious infection. However, each sign may have a different risk of death. The current study aims to calculate the case fatality ratio for infants with individual or combined signs of possible serious infection, stratified by inpatient or outpatient treatment. METHODS: We analysed data from the African Neonatal Sepsis Trial conducted in five sites in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya and Nigeria. Trained study nurses classified sick infants as pneumonia (fast breathing in 7-59 days old), severe pneumonia (fast breathing in 0-6 days old), clinical severe infection [severe chest indrawing, high (> = 38°C) or low body temperature (<35.5°C), stopped feeding well, or movement only when stimulated] or critical illness (convulsions, not able to feed at all, or no movement at all), and referred them to a hospital for inpatient treatment. Infants whose caregivers refused referral received outpatient treatment. The case fatality ratio by day 15 was calculated for individual and combined clinical signs and stratified by place of treatment. An infant with signs of clinical severe infection or severe pneumonia was recategorised as having low- (case fatality ratio ≤2%) or moderate- (case fatality ratio >2%) mortality risk. RESULTS: Of 7129 young infants with a possible serious infection, fast breathing (in 7-59 days old) was the most prevalent sign (26%), followed by high body temperature (20%) and severe chest indrawing (19%). Infants with pneumonia had the lowest case fatality ratio (0.2%), followed by severe pneumonia (2.0%), clinical severe infection (2.3%) and critical illness (16.9%). Infants with clinical severe infection had a wide range of case fatality ratios for individual signs (from 0.8% to 11.0%). Infants with pneumonia had similar case fatality ratio for outpatient and inpatient treatment (0.2% vs. 0.3%, p = 0.74). Infants with clinical severe infection or severe pneumonia had a lower case fatality ratio among those who received outpatient treatment compared to inpatient treatment (1.9% vs. 6.5%, p<0.0001). We recategorised infants into low-mortality risk signs (case fatality ratio ≤2%) of clinical severe infection (high body temperature, or severe chest indrawing) or severe pneumonia and moderate-mortality risk signs (case fatality ratio >2%) (stopped feeding well, movement only when stimulated, low body temperature or multiple signs of clinical severe infection). We found that both categories had four times lower case fatality ratio when treated as outpatient than inpatient treatment, i.e., 1.0% vs. 4.0% (p<0.0001) and 5.3% vs. 22.4% (p<0.0001), respectively. In contrast, infants with signs of critical illness had nearly two times higher case fatality ratio when treated as outpatient versus inpatient treatment (21.7% vs. 12.1%, p = 0.097). CONCLUSIONS: The mortality risk differs with clinical signs. Young infants with a possible serious infection can be grouped into those with low-mortality risk signs (high body temperature, or severe chest indrawing or severe pneumonia); moderate-mortality risk signs (stopped feeding well, movement only when stimulated, low body temperature or multiple signs of clinical severe infection), or high-mortality risk signs (signs of critical illness). New treatment strategies that consider differential mortality risks for the place of treatment and duration of inpatient treatment could be developed and evaluated based on these findings. CLINICAL TRIAL REGISTRATION: This trial was registered with the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry under ID ACTRN 12610000286044.


Subject(s)
Fever/complications , Health Facilities/statistics & numerical data , Hospitalization/statistics & numerical data , Infant Mortality/trends , Infections/mortality , Pneumonia/mortality , Anti-Infective Agents/therapeutic use , Body Temperature , Democratic Republic of the Congo/epidemiology , Female , Humans , Infant , Infant, Newborn , Infections/drug therapy , Infections/epidemiology , Kenya/epidemiology , Male , Nigeria/epidemiology , Pneumonia/drug therapy , Pneumonia/epidemiology
15.
Global Health ; 17(1): 121, 2021 10 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1477435

ABSTRACT

The declaration of any public health emergency in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is usually followed by the provision of technical and organizational support from international organizations, which build a parallel and short-time healthcare emergency response centered on preventing the extension of health emergencies across the countries and over the world. Previous Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreaks have highlighted the need to reinforce the healthcare sector in different countries.Based on the difficulty to implement the International Health Regulations (2005) to the local level of affected countries including the DRC, this paper proposes a multidisciplinary model based on the health zones through the strengthening of preparedness and response structures to public health emergencies vis-à-vis the existing weak health systems existing in DRC. A commitment to integrating the emergency response in the existing health system should work to reduce the tension that exists between local recruitment and its impact on the quality of daily healthcare in the region affected by EVD outbreak on one hand, and the involvement of international recruitment and its impact on the trust of the population on the emergency response on the other. This paper highlights the provision of a local healthcare workforce skilled to treat infectious diseases, the compulsory implementation of training programs focused on the emergency response in countries commonly affected by EVD outbreaks including the DRC. These innovations should reduce the burden of health problems prior to and in the aftermath of any public health emergency in DRC hence increasing the wellbeing of the community, especially the vulnerable people as well as the availability of trained healthcare providers able to early recognize and treat EVD.


Subject(s)
Hemorrhagic Fever, Ebola , Delivery of Health Care , Democratic Republic of the Congo/epidemiology , Disease Outbreaks/prevention & control , Hemorrhagic Fever, Ebola/epidemiology , Hemorrhagic Fever, Ebola/prevention & control , Humans , Public Health
17.
BMC Health Serv Res ; 21(1): 831, 2021 Aug 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1362055

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to assess health facilities' readiness to provide safe surgical care during Ebola and COVID-19 era in Uganda and in the Eastern DR Congo. METHODS: A cross-sectional study was conducted in selected national, regional referral and general hospital facilities in Uganda and in the eastern part of DR Congo from 1st August 2020 to 30th October 2020. Data was analysed using Stata version 15. RESULTS: The participation rate was of 37.5 % (72/192) for both countries. None of the hospitals fulfilled the readiness criteria for safe surgical care provision in both countries. The mean bed capacity of participating health facilities (HF) was 184 in Eastern DR Congo and 274 in Uganda with an average surgical ward bed capacity of 22.3 % (41/184) and 20.4 % (56/274) respectively. The mean number of operating rooms was 2 and 3 in Eastern DR Congo and Uganda respectively. Nine hospitals (12.5 %) reported being able to test for Ebola and 25 (34.7 %) being able to test for COVID-19. Postponing of elective surgeries was reported by 10 (13.9) participating hospitals. Only 7 (9.7 %) hospitals reported having a specific operating room for suspect or confirmed cases of Ebola or COVID-19. Appropriate Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) was reported to be available in 60 (83.3 %) hospitals. Most of the staff had appropriate training on donning and doffing of PPE 40 (55.6 %). Specific teams and protocols for safe surgical care provision were reported to be present in 61 (84.7 %) and 56 (77.8 %) respectively in Uganda and Eastern DR Congo participating hospitals. CONCLUSIONS: The lack of readiness to provide safe surgical care during Ebola and COVID-19 era across the participating hospitals in both countries indicate a need for strategies to enhance health facility supplies and readiness for safe surgical provision in resource-limited settings.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Hemorrhagic Fever, Ebola , Cross-Sectional Studies , Democratic Republic of the Congo/epidemiology , Health Facilities , Hemorrhagic Fever, Ebola/epidemiology , Hemorrhagic Fever, Ebola/prevention & control , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , Uganda/epidemiology
19.
BMJ Glob Health ; 6(7)2021 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1329053

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: Health service use among the public can decline during outbreaks and had been predicted among low and middle-income countries during the COVID-19 pandemic. In March 2020, the government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) started implementing public health measures across Kinshasa, including strict lockdown measures in the Gombe health zone. METHODS: Using monthly time series data from the DRC Health Management Information System (January 2018 to December 2020) and interrupted time series with mixed effects segmented Poisson regression models, we evaluated the impact of the pandemic on the use of essential health services (outpatient visits, maternal health, vaccinations, visits for common infectious diseases and non-communicable diseases) during the first wave of the pandemic in Kinshasa. Analyses were stratified by age, sex, health facility and lockdown policy (ie, Gombe vs other health zones). RESULTS: Health service use dropped rapidly following the start of the pandemic and ranged from 16% for visits for hypertension to 39% for visits for diabetes. However, reductions were highly concentrated in Gombe (81% decline in outpatient visits) relative to other health zones. When the lockdown was lifted, total visits and visits for infectious diseases and non-communicable diseases increased approximately twofold. Hospitals were more affected than health centres. Overall, the use of maternal health services and vaccinations was not significantly affected. CONCLUSION: The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in important reductions in health service utilisation in Kinshasa, particularly Gombe. Lifting of lockdown led to a rebound in the level of health service use but it remained lower than prepandemic levels.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pandemics , Communicable Disease Control , Democratic Republic of the Congo/epidemiology , Health Services , Humans , Pandemics/prevention & control , Public Facilities , SARS-CoV-2
20.
Am J Trop Med Hyg ; 104(4): 1526-1530, 2021 Feb 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1320690

ABSTRACT

Among 359 healthcare workers (HCW) employed in Panzi General Referral Hospital located in Bukavu in the Democratic Republic of Congo, 148 (41.2%) tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. Thirty-three (22.3%) of the 148 personnel with positive serology reported symptoms evoking a prior COVID-19 illness. None of the infected HCWs reported COVID-related hospitalization, and all of them recovered. Our findings indicate high and underestimated circulation of SARS-CoV-2 within the Bukavu area.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19/epidemiology , Health Personnel , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Adult , Democratic Republic of the Congo/epidemiology , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Seroepidemiologic Studies
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