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1.
PLoS One ; 17(4): e0266249, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1775457

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: This study explored students' perceptions of COVID-19 risks and preventive measures and assessed the impacts of the national lockdown on students in Uganda. METHODS: A web-based survey was conducted to explore students' perceived risks of COVID-19 and preventive measures; sources of COVID-19 information and impacts of the lockdown. Both undergraduate and post-graduate students (n = 398) participated in the study. Data were analysed using IBM-SPSS-26. RESULTS: Students acknowledged COVID-19 as a health risk, and their preventive behaviours were influenced by age, gender, marital status and living situation. Most students followed face mask guidelines but did not comply with lockdown restrictions. Social distancing was not always possible due to overcrowding. Students' main sources of COVID-19 information were local media (e.g., TV, radio) and social media. Most students (especially females) were unable to access online learning platforms due to poor internet connectivity, high costs and no access to computers. Meanwhile, a majority of those who studied online did not enjoy the experience. Students experienced depression, frustration, stress and anxiety during the lockdown; became less physically active and spent most of their time on social media, sleeping, eating or watching movies. Some students indulged in smoking, drinking alcohol, taking drugs and gambling for their first time, while others did them more often than before. CONCLUSION: The increase in sedentary activity, poor mental health and substance use over the lockdown period puts students at risk of health complications and poses a potential threat to the healthcare system. These risks may also negatively impact their future learning and academic potential. Further research is needed to understand the transitional experiences of students between physical and virtual learning, and how they can be supported. There is also a need to ascertain the feasibility of guidelines such as social distancing in developing countries, to increase compliance.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Attitude , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Communicable Disease Control , Cross-Sectional Studies , Female , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , Students , Uganda/epidemiology
2.
BMC Public Health ; 22(1): 601, 2022 03 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1770516

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The effects of COVID-19 on harmful traditional practices such Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) and Child or Forced Marriages (CFM) have not been well documented. We examined respondents' perceptions on how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected FGM/C and CFM in Kenya, Uganda, Senegal, and Ethiopia. METHODS: A cross-sectional study design with a mixed methods approach was used. Data collection on participants' perceptions on the effects of COVID-19 on FGM/C and CFM took place between October-December 2020. Household surveys targeting women and men aged 15-49 years in Kenya (n = 312), Uganda (n = 278), Ethiopia (n = 251), and Senegal (n = 208) were conducted. Thirty-eight key informant interviews with programme implementers and policymakers were carried out in Kenya (n = 17), Uganda (n = 9), Ethiopia (n = 8), and Senegal (n = 4). RESULTS: In Kenya, the COVID-19 pandemic has contributed to the increase in both FGM/C and CFM cases. Minimal increase of FGM/C cases was reported in Uganda and a significant increase in CFM cases. In Ethiopia, the COVID-19 pandemic had a limited perceived effect on changes in FGM/C and CFM. In Senegal, there were minimal perceived effects of COVID-19 on the number of FGM/C and CFM cases. The pandemic negatively affected implementation of interventions by the justice and legal system, the health system, and civil societies. CONCLUSIONS: The pandemic has had varied perceived effects on FGM/C and CFM across the four countries. Generally, the pandemic has negatively affected implementation of interventions by the various sectors that are responsible for preventing and responding to FGM/C and CFM. This calls for innovative approaches in intervening in the various communities to ensure that women and girls at risk of FGM/C and CFM or in need of services are reached during the pandemic. Evidence on how effective alternative approaches such as the use of call centres, radio talk shows and the use of local champions as part of risk communication in preventing and responding to FGM/C and CFM amid COVID-19 is urgently required.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Circumcision, Female , Adolescent , Adult , COVID-19/epidemiology , Child , Cross-Sectional Studies , Ethiopia , Female , Humans , Kenya/epidemiology , Male , Marriage , Middle Aged , Pandemics , Senegal , Uganda/epidemiology , Young Adult
3.
J Prim Care Community Health ; 13: 21501319211073415, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1770150

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) caused socio-economic disruptions across the globe. The pandemic disrupted the health system (HS) calling for reengineering in response to high infection rates, deaths, and resultant containment measures. To deal with COVID-19 and promote resilience, community health workers (CHWs) were engaged across countries. OBJECTIVE: Assess the preparedness of CHWs in supporting health system response in prevention and management of COVID-19 in Kenya, Senegal, and Uganda. METHODS: A mixed methods design study involving national and subnational jurisdictions in the 3 countries. Key informant interviews were conducted with policy actors (16) and health care workers (24) while in-depth interviews involved CHWs (14) and community members (312) subjected to survey interviews. RESULTS: Most (>50%) households survived on

Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Community Health Workers , Community Health Workers/education , Community Health Workers/psychology , Humans , Kenya/epidemiology , Qualitative Research , Senegal , Uganda/epidemiology
4.
BMC Public Health ; 22(1): 88, 2022 01 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1736371

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: To reduce the spread of COVID-19, several countries in Africa instituted countrywide lockdowns and other public health measures. Whereas lockdowns contributed to the control of the pandemic, there were concerns about the unintended consequences of these measures especially in the most vulnerable populations. We assessed unintended socio-economic and health consequences due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the mitigation measures among slum dwellers in Kampala to inform the on-going and future pandemic response strategies. METHODS: This was a mixed methods cross-sectional study conducted in Bwaise I and Bwaise III slums of Kawempe division, Kampala Uganda from October to December 2020. We used systematic sampling to randomly select 425 household heads for the face-to-face quantitative interviews. We also conducted six focus group discussions (FGDs) with slum dwellers and used photovoice among eight Community Health Workers (CHWs) to document unintended socio-economic and health consequences. Quantitative data were imported into STATA version 14.0 for analysis, while qualitative data were analysed thematically using NVivo version 12. Modified Poisson regression analysis was conducted to establish factors associated with impact on access to food. RESULTS: Most respondents reported limited access to food (71.1%; 302/425); disruption in education (77.1%; 270/350); drop in daily income and wages (86.1%; 329/382) and loss of employment (63.1; 125/198). Twenty five percent of the respondents (25.4%; 86/338) reported domestic violence as one of the challenges. Seven themes emerged from the qualitative findings on the impact of COVID-19 including: limited access to food; negative impact on children's rights (child labour and teenage pregnancies) and education; poor housing and lack of accommodation; negative social behaviours; negative impact on family and child care; reduced income and employment; and negative impact on health and access to health care services. CONCLUSION: The slum dwellers of Bwaise I and Bwaise III experienced several negative socio-economic and health consequences of COVID-19 and its prevention measures that severely affected their wellbeing. Children experienced severe consequences such as child labour and teenage pregnancies among the girls. Response activities should be contextualised to different settings and protocols to protect the vulnerable groups in the community such as children and women should be developed and mainstreamed in response activities.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Poverty Areas , Adolescent , Communicable Disease Control , Cross-Sectional Studies , Female , Humans , Pandemics , Pregnancy , SARS-CoV-2 , Uganda/epidemiology
5.
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.
Afr Health Sci ; 21(4): 1533-1543, 2021 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1726491

ABSTRACT

Background: COVID19 pandemic forced most countries to lockdown, leading to the prolonged closure of many learning institutions. This dramatic shift led to increase of mental illness symptoms among university students. Objective: To determine the prevalence and factors associated with symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress among Uganda's university students during the COVID-19 lockdown. Methods: We conducted a one-month online survey using the Depression Anxiety and Stress Scale (DASS-21). Results: Participants n=321 were enrolled with mean age, 24.8(SD=5.1) years and 198(61.7%) were males. The prevalence of mental health symptoms among participants was 80.7%, 98.4%, and 77.9% for depression, high levels of anxiety, and stress, respectively. Statistically significant association between mental health symptoms on multi-logistic regression was found with Males (depression=2.97[1.61-5.48] and stress=1.90[1.07-3.35]), engagement in leisure activity (depression= 1.87[1.01-3.49] and stress=1.98[1.10-3.56]), and being finalist (stress=0.55[0.31- 0.97]). Use of addictive substances seem to potentially alleviate symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress in the short term. Conclusions: The findings of this study suggest a high prevalence of symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress among university students during the COVID-19 lockdown. Students' mental health should be monitored by all stakeholders, especially as the pandemic progresses.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Adult , Anxiety/psychology , COVID-19/epidemiology , Communicable Disease Control , Cross-Sectional Studies , Depression/psychology , Humans , Male , SARS-CoV-2 , Stress, Psychological/diagnosis , Students , Uganda/epidemiology , Universities , Young Adult
7.
BMC Infect Dis ; 22(1): 174, 2022 Feb 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1700789

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Globally, key subpopulations such as healthcare workers (HCW) may have a higher risk of contracting SARS-CoV-2. In Uganda, limited access to Personal Protective Equipment and lack of clarity on the extent/pattern of community spread may exacerbate this situation. The country established infection prevention/control measures such as lockdowns and proper hand hygiene. However, due to resource limitations and fatigue, compliance is low, posing continued onward transmission risk. This study aimed to describe extent of SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence in selected populations within the Rakai region of Uganda. METHODS: From 30th November 2020 to 8th January 2021, we collected venous blood from 753 HCW at twenty-six health facilities in South-Central Uganda and from 227 population-cohort participants who reported specific COVID-19 like symptoms (fever, cough, loss of taste and appetite) in a prior phone-based survey conducted (between May and August 2020) during the first national lockdown. 636 plasma specimens collected from individuals considered high risk for SARS-CoV-2 infection, prior to the first confirmed COVID-19 case in Uganda were also retrieved. Specimens were tested for antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 using the CoronaChek™ rapid COVID-19 IgM/IgG lateral flow test assay. IgM only positive samples were confirmed using a chemiluminescent microparticle immunoassay (CMIA) (Architect AdviseDx SARS-CoV-2 IgM) which targets the spike protein. SARS-CoV-2 exposure was defined as either confirmed IgM, both IgM and IgG or sole IgG positivity. Overall seroprevalence in each participant group was estimated, adjusting for test performance. RESULTS: The seroprevalence of antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 in HCW was 26.7% [95%CI: 23.5, 29.8] with no difference by sex, age, or cadre. We observed no association between PPE use and seropositivity among exposed healthcare workers. Of the phone-based survey participants, 15.6% [95%CI: 10.9, 20.3] had antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, with no difference by HIV status, sex, age, or occupation. Among 636 plasma specimens collected prior to the first confirmed COVID-19 case, 2.3% [95%CI: 1.2, 3.5] were reactive. CONCLUSIONS: Findings suggest high seroprevalence of antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 among HCW and substantial exposure in persons presenting with specific COVID-19 like symptoms in the general population of South-Central Uganda. Based on current limitations in serological test confirmation, it remains unclear whether seroprevalence among plasma specimens collected prior to confirmation of the first COVID-19 case implies prior SARS-CoV-2 exposure in Uganda.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Antibodies, Viral , Communicable Disease Control , Health Personnel , Humans , Seroepidemiologic Studies , Uganda/epidemiology
8.
BMC Public Health ; 22(1): 373, 2022 02 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1700500

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Despite efforts to avert the negative effects of malaria, there remain barriers to the uptake of prevention measures, and these have hindered its eradication. This study explored the factors that influence uptake of malaria prevention strategies among pregnant women and children under-five years and the impact of COVID-19 in a malaria endemic rural district in Uganda. METHODS: This was a qualitative case study that used focus group discussions, in-depth interviews, and key informant interviews involving pregnant women, caregivers of children under-five years, traditional birth attendants, village health teams, local leaders, and healthcare providers to explore malaria prevention uptake among pregnant women and children under-five years. The interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed and data were analyzed using thematic content approach. RESULTS: Seventy-two participants were enrolled in the Focus Group Discussions, 12 in the in-depth interviews, and 2 as key informants. Pregnant women and caregivers of children under-five years were able to recognize causes of malaria, transmission, and symptoms. All participants viewed malaria prevention as a high priority, and the use of insecticide-treated mosquito bed nets (ITNs) was upheld. Participants' own experiences indicated adverse effects of malaria to both pregnant women and children under-five. Home medication and the use of local herbs were a common practice. Some participants didn't use any of the malaria prevention methods due to deliberate refusal, perceived negative effects of the ITNs, and family disparity. The Corona Virus Disease-2019 (COVID-19) control measures did not abate the risk of malaria infection but these were deleterious to healthcare access and the focus of malaria prevention. CONCLUSIONS: Although pregnant women and caregivers of children under-five years recognized symptoms of malaria infection, healthcare-seeking was not apt as some respondents used alternative approaches and delayed seeking formal healthcare. It is imperative to focus on the promotion of malaria prevention strategies and address drawbacks associated with misconceptions about these interventions, and promotion of health-seeking behaviors. As COVID-19 exacerbated the effect of malaria prevention uptake and healthcare seeking, it's critical to recommit and integrate COVID-19 prevention measures in normative living and restrict future barriers to healthcare access.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Malaria , Caregivers , Child , Female , Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice , Humans , Malaria/drug therapy , Malaria/epidemiology , Malaria/prevention & control , Pandemics , Pregnancy , Pregnant Women , Rural Population , SARS-CoV-2 , Uganda/epidemiology
9.
PLoS One ; 17(2): e0263827, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1690707

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: Uganda confirmed its first COVID-19 case in March 2020, leading to country-wide closures and a stay-at-home order. Infectious disease pandemics can overwhelm adaptive coping capacity (e.g., general self-efficacy and resilience) and increase the risk for mental distress. For individuals experiencing intimate partner violence (IPV) and cohabitating with a perpetrator, stay-at-home orders can also increase risk of violence, which can further exacerbate mental distress. The present study explores women's perceived self-efficacy and resilient coping, mental health outcomes (depression and COVID-19 related anxiety), hazardous alcohol use and IPV in the context of Uganda's national 2020 lockdown. METHODS: A phone-based survey was undertaken from June-August of 2020 in Wakiso District, Uganda. The study sample consisted of Africa Medical and Behavioral Sciences Organization (AMBSO) Population Health Surveillance (APHS) study participants who agreed to be contacted for future research. The analytic sample was restricted to women aged 13-80 years. Bivariate analysis and multivariable models explored associations between experiences of IPV and measures of adaptive coping, mental health and alcohol use. RESULTS: A total of 556 women aged 13-79 years (mean age of 33.4 years) participated. Over half (55%) were currently married. The majority (60%) reported a decrease in alcohol use during the lockdown. Nearly half of the sample were experiencing physical or verbal IPV and reported an increase in violence during the lockdown. In adjusted analysis, alcohol use was associated with four times greater odds of recent physical IPV (aOR 4.06, 95% CI = 1.65-10.02, p = 0.0024), while participants had lower odds of experiencing any form of IPV as general self-efficacy increased (aOR 0.95, 95% CI = 0.91-0.99, p = 0.0308). CONCLUSION: Lockdown measures in Uganda may have mitigated increased alcohol consumption. IPV was exacerbated during lockdown; more than 2 in 5 IPV victims experienced increased physical or verbal violence. Development of programming and policies aimed at mitigating women's risk of IPV during future lockdowns are needed.


Subject(s)
Alcohol Drinking/psychology , COVID-19/psychology , Intimate Partner Violence/psychology , Mental Health , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Anxiety , Female , Humans , Mental Disorders , Middle Aged , Pandemics , Risk Factors , Rural Population/statistics & numerical data , Uganda/epidemiology , Young Adult
10.
Int J Infect Dis ; 112: 281-287, 2021 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1654535

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: Serological testing is needed to better understand the epidemiology of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) virus. Rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) have been developed to detect specific antibodies, IgM and IgG, to the virus. The performance of 25 of these RDTs was evaluated. METHODS: A serological reference panel of 50 positive and 100 negative plasma specimens was developed from SARS-CoV-2 PCR and antibody positive patients and pre-pandemic SARS-CoV-2-negative specimens collected in 2016. Test performance of the 25 RDTs was evaluated against this panel. RESULTS: A total of 10 RDTs had a sensitivity ≥98%, while 13 RDTs had a specificity ≥98% to anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG antibodies. Four RDTs (Boson, MultiG, Standard Q, and VivaDiag) had both sensitivity and specificity ≥98% to anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG antibodies. Only three RDTs had a sensitivity ≥98%, while 10 RDTs had a specificity ≥98% to anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgM antibodies. Three RDTs (Autobio, MultiG, and Standard Q) had sensitivity and specificity ≥98% to combined IgG/IgM. The RDTs that performed well also had perfect or almost perfect inter-reader agreement. CONCLUSIONS: This evaluation identified three RDTs with a sensitivity and specificity to IgM/IgG antibodies of ≥98% with the potential for widespread antibody testing in Uganda.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Academies and Institutes , Antibodies, Viral , Diagnostic Tests, Routine , Humans , Immunoglobulin M , Sensitivity and Specificity , Uganda/epidemiology
11.
Malar J ; 20(1): 475, 2021 Dec 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1635854

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: In March 2020, the government of Uganda implemented a strict lockdown policy in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Interrupted time series analysis (ITSA) was performed to assess whether major changes in outpatient attendance, malaria burden, and case management occurred after the onset of the COVID-19 epidemic in rural Uganda. METHODS: Individual level data from all outpatient visits collected from April 2017 to March 2021 at 17 facilities were analysed. Outcomes included total outpatient visits, malaria cases, non-malarial visits, proportion of patients with suspected malaria, proportion of patients tested using rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs), and proportion of malaria cases prescribed artemether-lumefantrine (AL). Poisson regression with generalized estimating equations and fractional regression was used to model count and proportion outcomes, respectively. Pre-COVID trends (April 2017-March 2020) were used to predict the'expected' trend in the absence of COVID-19 introduction. Effects of COVID-19 were estimated over two six-month COVID-19 time periods (April 2020-September 2020 and October 2020-March 2021) by dividing observed values by expected values, and expressed as ratios. RESULTS: A total of 1,442,737 outpatient visits were recorded. Malaria was suspected in 55.3% of visits and 98.8% of these had a malaria diagnostic test performed. ITSA showed no differences between observed and expected total outpatient visits, malaria cases, non-malarial visits, or proportion of visits with suspected malaria after COVID-19 onset. However, in the second six months of the COVID-19 time period, there was a smaller mean proportion of patients tested with RDTs compared to expected (relative prevalence ratio (RPR) = 0.87, CI (0.78-0.97)) and a smaller mean proportion of malaria cases prescribed AL (RPR = 0.94, CI (0.90-0.99)). CONCLUSIONS: In the first year after the COVID-19 pandemic arrived in Uganda, there were no major effects on malaria disease burden and indicators of case management at these 17 rural health facilities, except for a modest decrease in the proportion of RDTs used for malaria diagnosis and the mean proportion of malaria cases prescribed AL in the second half of the COVID-19 pandemic year. Continued surveillance will be essential to monitor for changes in trends in malaria indicators so that Uganda can quickly and flexibly respond to challenges imposed by COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Ambulatory Care , COVID-19/epidemiology , Malaria/epidemiology , Chronic Disease Indicators , Humans , Infection Control , Interrupted Time Series Analysis , Malaria/diagnosis , Malaria/therapy , Malaria/transmission , Rural Health , Uganda/epidemiology
12.
Front Public Health ; 9: 590458, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1591317

ABSTRACT

Background: Low-income earners are particularly vulnerable to mental health, consequence of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) lockdown restrictions, due to a temporary or permanent loss of income and livelihood, coupled with government-enforced measures of social distancing. This study evaluates the mental health status among low-income earners in southwestern Uganda during the first total COVID-19 lockdown in Uganda. Methods: A cross-sectional descriptive study was undertaken amongst earners whose income falls below the poverty threshold. Two hundred and fifty-three (n = 253) male and female low-income earners between the ages of 18 and 60 years of age were recruited to the study. Modified generalized anxiety disorder (GAD-7), Spielberger's State-Trait Anger Expression Inventory-2 (STAXI-2), and Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) tools as appropriate were used to assess anxiety, anger, and depression respectively among our respondents. Results: Severe anxiety (68.8%) followed by moderate depression (60.5%) and moderate anger (56.9%) were the most common mental health challenges experienced by low-income earners in Bushenyi district. Awareness of mental healthcare increased with the age of respondents in both males and females. A linear relationship was observed with age and depression (r = 0.154, P = 0.014) while positive correlations were observed between anxiety and anger (r = 0.254, P < 0.001); anxiety and depression (r = 0.153, P = 0.015) and anger and depression (r = 0.153, P = 0.015). Conclusion: The study shows the importance of mental health awareness in low resource settings during the current COVID-19 pandemic. Females were identified as persons at risk to mental depression, while anger was highest amongst young males.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pandemics , Adolescent , Adult , Anger , Anxiety/epidemiology , Anxiety Disorders/epidemiology , Communicable Disease Control , Cross-Sectional Studies , Depression/epidemiology , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Poverty , SARS-CoV-2 , Uganda/epidemiology , Young Adult
13.
Epilepsy Behav ; 128: 108536, 2022 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1586245

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic on the disease course, lives, and psychosocial wellbeing of persons with epilepsy (PWE) in Uganda. METHODS: From April 2021 till May 2021, we carried out a descriptive cross-sectional study at four hospitals located in four regions of Uganda. PWE presenting at the study sites were offered a structured questionnaire in the local language. We used the PHQ-9 questionnaire to screen for depression and the GAD-7 to screen for anxiety. Univariate and multivariable logistic regression was used to investigate factors associated with anxiety and depression. RESULTS: A total of 370 responses were collected. The median age of the respondents was 20.5 years (IQR 15-29), and 51.9% were males. During the lockdown period, the seizure frequency increased in 87 (23.5%) PWE. Various forms of physical and psychological violence were inflicted upon 106 (28.6%) PWE. Fifty-eight (15.7%) screened positive for anxiety and 65 (17.6%) positive for depression. Both increased seizure frequency and experienced violence were associated with experiencing depression and anxiety. CONCLUSION: The COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown impacted seizure frequency and the psychosocial wellbeing of PWE in Uganda. Increased seizure frequency was associated with higher rates of anxiety and depression. This underlines the importance of continued follow-up of PWE and a low threshold to screen for depression, anxiety, and domestic violence.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Epilepsy , Adolescent , Adult , Anxiety/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , Communicable Disease Control , Cross-Sectional Studies , Depression/epidemiology , Epilepsy/complications , Epilepsy/epidemiology , Humans , Male , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Uganda/epidemiology , Young Adult
14.
BMC Psychol ; 9(1): 195, 2021 Dec 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1581996

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Safeguarding the psychological well-being of healthcare workers (HCWs) is crucial to ensuring sustainability and quality of healthcare services. During the COVID-19 pandemic, HCWs may be subject to excessive mental stress. We assessed the risk perception and immediate psychological state of HCWs early in the pandemic in referral hospitals involved in the management of COVID-19 patients in Uganda. METHODS: We conducted a cross-sectional survey in five referral hospitals from April 20-May 22, 2020. During this time, we distributed paper-based, self-administered questionnaires to all consenting HCWs on day shifts. The questionnaire included questions on socio-demographics, occupational behaviors, potential perceived risks, and psychological distress. We assessed risk perception towards COVID-19 using 27 concern statements with a four-point Likert scale. We defined psychological distress as a total score > 12 from the 12-item Goldberg's General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12). We used modified Poisson regression to identify factors associated with psychological distress. RESULTS: Among 335 HCWs who received questionnaires, 328 (98%) responded. Respondents' mean age was 36 (range 18-59) years; 172 (52%) were male. The median duration of professional experience was eight (range 1-35) years; 208 (63%) worked more than 40 h per week; 116 (35%) were nurses, 52 (14%) doctors, 30 (9%) clinical officers, and 86 (26%) support staff. One hundred and forty-four (44%) had a GHQ-12 score > 12. The most common concerns reported included fear of infection at the workplace (81%), stigma from colleagues (79%), lack of workplace support (63%), and inadequate availability of personal protective equipment (PPE) (56%). In multivariable analysis, moderate (adjusted prevalence ratio, [aPR] = 2.2, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.2-4.0) and high (aPR = 3.8, 95% CI 2.0-7.0) risk perception towards COVID-19 (compared with low-risk perception) were associated with psychological distress. CONCLUSIONS: Forty-four percent of HCWs surveyed in hospitals treating COVID-19 patients during the early COVID-19 epidemic in Uganda reported psychological distress related to fear of infection, stigma, and inadequate PPE. Higher perceived personal risk towards COVID-19 was associated with increased psychological distress. To optimize patient care during the pandemic and future outbreaks, workplace management may consider identifying and addressing HCW concerns, ensuring sufficient PPE and training, and reducing infection-associated stigma.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Adolescent , Adult , Cross-Sectional Studies , Health Personnel , Hospitals , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Pandemics , Perception , Referral and Consultation , SARS-CoV-2 , Uganda/epidemiology , Young Adult
15.
PLoS One ; 16(12): e0260006, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1581786

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: During the early COVID-19 pandemic travel in Uganda was tightly restricted which affected demand for and access to care for pregnant women and small and sick newborns. In this study we describe changes to neonatal outcomes in one rural central Ugandan newborn unit before and during the early phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. METHODS: We report outcomes from admissions captured in an electronic dataset of a well-established newborn unit before (September 2019 to March 2020) and during the early COVID-19 period (April-September 2020) as well as two seasonally matched periods one year prior. We report excess mortality as the percent change in mortality over what was expected based on seasonal trends. FINDINGS: The study included 2,494 patients, 567 of whom were admitted during the early COVID-19 period. During the pandemic admissions decreased by 14%. Patients born outside the facility were older on admission than previously (median 1 day of age vs. admission on the day of birth). There was an increase in admissions with birth asphyxia (22% vs. 15% of patients). Mortality was higher during COVID-19 than previously [16% vs. 11%, p = 0.017]. Patients born outside the facility had a relative increase of 55% above seasonal expected mortality (21% vs. 14%, p = 0.028). During this period patients had decreased antenatal care, restricted transport and difficulty with expenses and support. The hospital had difficulty with maternity staffing and supplies. There was significant community and staff fear of COVID-19. INTERPRETATION: Increased newborn mortality during the early COVID-19 pandemic at this facility was likely attributed to disruptions affecting maternal and newborn demand for, access to and quality of perinatal healthcare. Lockdown conditions and restrictions to public transit were significant barriers to maternal and newborn wellbeing, and require further focus by national and regional health officials.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Hospitals, Rural/statistics & numerical data , Infant Mortality , Adult , Continuous Positive Airway Pressure/methods , Female , Hospitals, Rural/organization & administration , Humans , Infant , Infant, Newborn , Intensive Care Units, Neonatal/organization & administration , Intensive Care Units, Neonatal/statistics & numerical data , Maternal Age , Patient Admission/statistics & numerical data , Pregnancy , Retrospective Studies , Rural Health/statistics & numerical data , Uganda/epidemiology , Young Adult
16.
Front Public Health ; 9: 739270, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1572341

ABSTRACT

Objective: The study aimed to investigate the relationship between mental health with the level of education, relationship status, and awareness on mental health among low-income earners in Western Uganda. Methods: This was a cross-sectional descriptive study carried out among 253 participants. Anxiety, anger, and depression were assessed using a modified generalized anxiety disorder (GAD-7), Spielberger's State-Trait Anger Expression Inventory-2, and Beck Depression Inventory item tools, respectively. Results: The majority of our respondents were male (n = 150/253, 59.3), had a secondary level of education (104/253, 41.1), and were single (137/253, 54.2). No formal education and primary education (r 2 = 47.4% and 6.4%, respectively) had a negative correlation with awareness of mental health care. In addition, no formal education had a positive correlation with anger and depression (r 2 = 1.9% and 0.3%, respectively). Singleness in this study had a negative correlation with awareness of mental health care, anger, and depression (r 2 = 1.9, 0.8, and 0.3%, respectively), and a positive correlation with anxiety (r 2 = 3.9%). Conclusion: It is evident that education and relationship status influenced awareness on mental health care and mental health state among low-income earners in Western Uganda during the first COVID-19 lockdown. Therefore, policymakers should strengthen social transformation through the proper engagement of low-income earners in this COVID-19 era.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Mental Health , Communicable Disease Control , Cross-Sectional Studies , Educational Status , Female , Humans , Male , SARS-CoV-2 , Uganda/epidemiology
17.
BMC Pregnancy Childbirth ; 21(1): 826, 2021 Dec 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1571747

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Postpartum depression affects a significant proportion of women of childbearing age. The birth of a newborn baby is normally considered a joyful event, inhibiting mothers from expressing their depressive feelings. If the condition is not well understood and managed, mothers with postpartum depression are likely to experience suicidal ideation or even commit suicide. This study explored lived experiences of women who had recovered from a clinical diagnosis of postpartum depression in southwestern Uganda. METHODS: This phenomenological study adopted the explorative approach through in-depth interviews as guided by the biopsychosocial model of depression. It was conducted in Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital, Bwizibwera Health Centre IV and Kinoni Health Centre IV located in Mbarara and Rwampara districts, southwestern Uganda. Data were collected from 30 postpartum mothers who were purposively selected, between 9th December 2019 and 25th September 2020. We analyzed this work using thematic data analysis and this was steered by the Colaizzi's six-step phenomenological approach of inquiry. RESULTS: The findings were summarized into five major themes: 1) somatic experiences including insomnia and headache, breast pain, poor breast milk production, weight loss and lack of energy; 2) difficulties in home and family life including overwhelming domestic chores, lack of social support from other family members, fighting at home and financial constraints due to COVID-19 pandemic; 3) negative emotions including anger, self-blame, despondency and feelings of loneliness and regrets of conceiving or marriage; 4) feelings of suicide, homicide and self-harm including suicidal ideation and attempt, homicidal ideations and attempt and feelings of self-harm and 5) coping with postpartum depression including spirituality, termination of or attempt to leave their marital relationships, acceptance, counselling and seeking medical treatment, perseverance. CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS: Suicidal and homicidal thoughts are important parts of the postpartum depression experience, and these may put the lives of the mothers, their spouses and their babies at a great risk. Poor relationship quality, intimate partner violence and lack of financial resources contribute significantly to the negative emotional experiences of mothers with PPD.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Depression, Postpartum , Financial Stress , Marriage/psychology , Physical Distancing , Stress, Psychological , Suicidal Ideation , Adaptation, Psychological , Adult , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/psychology , Communicable Disease Control/methods , Depression, Postpartum/diagnosis , Depression, Postpartum/physiopathology , Depression, Postpartum/psychology , Female , Financial Stress/etiology , Financial Stress/psychology , Humans , Models, Biopsychosocial , Qualitative Research , SARS-CoV-2 , Social Support/psychology , Stress, Psychological/complications , Stress, Psychological/etiology , Stress, Psychological/physiopathology , Uganda/epidemiology
18.
PLoS One ; 16(12): e0259835, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1566551

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic has brought many health systems in low resource settings to their knees. The pandemic has had crippling effects on the already strained health systems in provision of maternal and newborn healthcare. With the travel restrictions, social distancing associated with the containment of theCOVID-19 pandemic, healthcare providers could be faced with challenges of accessing their work stations, and risked burnout as they offered maternal and newborn services. This study sought to understand the experiences and perceptions of healthcare providers at the frontline during the first phase of the lockdown as they offered maternal and newborn health care services in both public and private health facilities in Uganda with the aim of streamlining patient care in face of the current COVID-19 pandemic and in future disasters. METHODS: Between June 2020 and December 2020, 25 in-depth interviews were conducted among healthcare providers of different cadres in eight Public, Private-Not-for Profit and Private Health facilities in Kampala, Uganda. The interview guide primarily explored the lived experiences of healthcare providers as they offered maternal and newborn healthcare services during the COVID-19 pandemic. All of the in depth interviews were audio recorded and transcribed verbatim. Themes and subthemes were identified using both inductive thematic and phenomenological approaches. RESULTS: The content analysis of the in depth interviews revealed that the facilitators of maternal and newborn care service delivery among the healthcare providers during the COVID-19 pandemic included; salary bonuses, the passion to serve their patients, availability of accommodation during the pandemic, transportation to and from the health facilities by the health facilities, teamwork, fear of losing their jobs and fear of litigation if something went wrong with the mothers or their babies. The barriers to their service delivery included; lack of transport means to access their work stations, fear of contracting COVID-19 and transmitting it to their family members, salary cuts, loss of jobs especially in the private health facilities, closure of the non-essential services to combat high patient numbers, inadequate supply of Personal Protective equipment (PPE), being put in isolation or quarantine for two weeks which meant no earning, brutality from the security personnel during curfew hours and burnout from long hours of work and high patient turnovers. CONCLUSION: The COVID-19 Pandemic has led to a decline in quality of maternal and newborn service delivery by the healthcare providers as evidenced by shorter consultation time and failure to keep appointments to attend to patients. Challenges with transport, fears of losing jobs and fear of contracting COVID-19 with the limited access to personal protective equipment affected majority of the participants. The healthcare providers in Uganda despite the limitations imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic are driven by the inherent passion to serve their patients. Availability of accommodation and transport at the health facilities, provision of PPE, bonuses and inter professional teamwork are critical motivators that needed to be tapped to drive teams during the current and future pandemics.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Health Personnel , Maternal Health Services , Pandemics , Qualitative Research , Adult , Delivery, Obstetric , Female , Health Facilities , Hospitals, Private , Hospitals, Public , Humans , Infant, Newborn , Male , Midwifery , Motivation , Uganda/epidemiology , Young Adult
19.
J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr ; 88(5): 448-456, 2021 12 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1511112

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: Recent studies project thousands of additional AIDS-related deaths because of COVID-19-related disruptions in HIV care. However, the extent to which disruptions in care have materialized since the start of the pandemic is not well understood. METHODS: We use electronic health records to investigate how the pandemic has affected clinic visits, patients' antiretroviral therapy (ART) supply, and viral suppression for a cohort of 14,632 HIV clients from a large HIV clinic in Kampala, Uganda. We complement this with an analysis of electronically measured longitudinal ART adherence data from a subcohort of 324 clients. RESULTS: Clinic visits decreased by more than 50% after a national lockdown started. The risk of patients running out of ART on a given day increased from 5% before the lockdown to 25% 3 months later (Relative Risk Ratio of 5.11, 95% confidence interval: 4.99 to 5.24) and remained higher than prelockdown 6 months later at 13% (Relative Risk Ratio of 2.60; 95% confidence interval: 2.52 to 2.70). There was no statistically significant change in electronically measured adherence or viral suppression. CONCLUSION: We document substantial gaps in HIV care after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in Uganda. This suggests that measures to improve access should be explored as the pandemic persists. However, ART adherence was unaffected for the subcohort for whom we measured electronic adherence. This suggests that some clients may have stockpiles of ART tablets from previous prescriptions that allowed them to keep taking their medication even when they could not visit the clinic for ART refills.


Subject(s)
Anti-HIV Agents/therapeutic use , COVID-19/epidemiology , HIV Infections/drug therapy , HIV Infections/virology , Medication Adherence/statistics & numerical data , Viral Load/drug effects , Adult , Cohort Studies , Communicable Disease Control , Female , HIV Infections/epidemiology , Humans , Male , Pandemics , Uganda/epidemiology
20.
Ann Epidemiol ; 66: 37-43, 2022 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1509562

ABSTRACT

PURPOSE: There is scant research examining urban refugee youth mental health outcomes, including potential impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. We examine prevalence and ecosocial risk factors of depression in the periods before and after the COVID-19 pandemic declaration among urban refugee youth in Kampala, Uganda. METHODS: Data from a cohort of refugee youth (n = 367) aged 16-24 years were collected in periods before (February 2020) and after (December 2020) the WHO COVID-19 pandemic declaration. We developed crude and adjusted generalized estimating equation logistic regression models to examine demographic and ecosocial factors (food insecurity, social support, intimate partner violence) associated with depression, and include time-ecosocial interactions to examine if associations differed before and after the pandemic declaration. RESULTS: The prevalence of depression was high, but there was no significant difference before (27.5%), and after (28.9%) the pandemic declaration (P = .583). In adjusted models, food insecurity (aOR: 2.54; 95% CI: 1.21-5.33) and experiencing violence (aOR: 2.53; 95% CI: 1.07-5.96) were associated with increased depression, and social support was associated with decreased depression (aOR: 0.85; 95% CI: 0.81-0.89). CONCLUSIONS: These findings highlight the urgent need for interventions to address chronic depression, food insecurity, and ongoing effects of violence exposure among urban refugee youth in Kampala.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Refugees , Adolescent , Adult , COVID-19/epidemiology , Cohort Studies , Depression/epidemiology , Humans , Longitudinal Studies , Pandemics , Prevalence , Uganda/epidemiology , Young Adult
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