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1.
PLoS One ; 18(6): e0286295, 2023.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20237690

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: This study aimed to determine whether the COVID-19 pandemic had an impact on essential primary healthcare services at public primary healthcare facilities. METHODS: The number of weekly consultations for antenatal care (ANC), outpatient (OPD), immunisations (EPI), family planning (FP) and HIV services, between January 2018 and December 2020, were collected from 25 facilities in Masaka district, Uganda, 21 in Goma, and 29 in Kambia district, Sierra Leone. Negative binomial regression models accounting for clustering and season were used to analyse changes in activity levels between 2018, 2019 and 2020. RESULTS: In Goma, we found no change in OPD, EPI or ANC consultations, FP was 17% lower in March-July 2020 compared to 2019, but this recovered by December 2020. New diagnoses of HIV were 34% lower throughout 2020 compared to 2019. In Sierra Leone, compared to the same periods in 2019, facilities had 18-29% fewer OPD consultations throughout 2020, and 27% fewer DTP3 doses in March-July 2020. There was no evidence of differences in other services. In Uganda there were 20-35% fewer under-5 OPD consultations, 21-66% fewer MCV1 doses, and 48-51% fewer new diagnoses of HIV throughout 2020, compared to 2019. There was no difference in the number of HPV doses delivered. CONCLUSIONS: The level of disruption varied across the different settings and qualitatively appeared to correlate with the strength of lockdown measures and reported attitudes towards the risk posed by COVID-19. Mitigation strategies such as health communications campaigns and outreach services may be important to limit the impact of lockdowns on primary healthcare services.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , HIV Infections , Humans , Female , Pregnancy , COVID-19/epidemiology , Sierra Leone/epidemiology , Uganda/epidemiology , Democratic Republic of the Congo , Pandemics , Communicable Disease Control , Prenatal Care , Primary Health Care
2.
Global Health ; 19(1): 36, 2023 06 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20234896

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: The coronavirus (COVID 19) pandemic is one of the most terrifying disasters of the twenty-first century. The non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) implemented to control the spread of the disease had numerous positive consequences. However, there were also unintended consequences-positively or negatively related to the nature of the interventions, the target, the level and duration of implementation. This article describes the unintended economic, Psychosocial and environmental consequences of NPIs in four African countries. METHODS: We conducted a mixed-methods study in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Nigeria, Senegal and Uganda. A comprehensive conceptual framework, supported by a clear theory of change was adopted to encompass both systemic and non-systemic interventions. The data collection approaches included: (i) review of literature; (ii) analysis of secondary data for selected indicators; and (ii) key informant interviews with policy makers, civil society, local leaders, and law enforcement staff. The results were synthesized around thematic areas. RESULTS: Over the first six to nine months of the pandemic, NPIs especially lockdowns, travel restrictions, curfews, school closures, and prohibition of mass gathering resulted into both positive and negative unintended consequences cutting across economic, psychological, and environmental platforms. DRC, Nigeria, and Uganda observed reduced crime rates and road traffic accidents, while Uganda also reported reduced air pollution. In addition, hygiene practices have improved through health promotion measures that have been promoted for the response to the pandemic. All countries experienced economic slowdown, job losses heavily impacting women and poor households, increased sexual and gender-based violence, teenage pregnancies, and early marriages, increased poor mental health conditions, increased waste generation with poor disposal, among others. CONCLUSION: Despite achieving pandemic control, the stringent NPIs had several negative and few positive unintended consequences. Governments need to balance the negative and positive consequences of NPIs by anticipating and instituting measures that will support and protect vulnerable groups especially the poor, the elderly, women, and children. Noticeable efforts, including measures to avoid forced into marriage, increasing inequities, economic support to urban poor; those living with disabilities, migrant workers, and refugees, had been conducted to mitigate the negative effects of the NIPs.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Child , Pregnancy , Adolescent , Female , Humans , Aged , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Uganda/epidemiology , Nigeria/epidemiology , Senegal/epidemiology , Democratic Republic of the Congo/epidemiology , Communicable Disease Control
4.
Transfusion ; 63(7): 1354-1365, 2023 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20233322

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The true burden of COVID-19 in low- and middle-income countries remains poorly characterized, especially in Africa. Even prior to the availability of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines, countries in Africa had lower numbers of reported COVID-19 related hospitalizations and deaths than other regions globally. METHODS: Ugandan blood donors were evaluated between October 2019 and April 2022 for IgG antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid (N), spike (S), and five variants of the S protein using multiplexed electrochemiluminescence immunoassays (MesoScale Diagnostics, Rockville, MD). Seropositivity for N and S was assigned using manufacturer-provided cutoffs and trends in seroprevalence were estimated by quarter. Statistically significant associations between N and S antibody seropositivity and donor characteristics in November-December 2021 were assessed by chi-square tests. RESULTS: A total of 5393 blood unit samples from donors were evaluated. N and S seropositivity increased throughout the pandemic to 82.6% in January-April 2022. Among seropositive individuals, N and S antibody levels increased ≥9-fold over the study period. In November-December 2021, seropositivity to N and S antibody was higher among repeat donors (61.3%) compared with new donors (55.1%; p = .043) and among donors from Kampala (capital city of Uganda) compared with rural regions (p = .007). Seropositivity to S antibody was significantly lower among HIV-seropositive individuals (58.8% vs. 84.9%; p = .009). CONCLUSIONS: Despite previously reported low numbers of COVID-19 cases and related deaths in Uganda, high SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence and increasing antibody levels among blood donors indicated that the country experienced high levels of infection over the course of the pandemic.


Subject(s)
Blood Donors , COVID-19 , Humans , Uganda/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19 Vaccines , Seroepidemiologic Studies , COVID-19/epidemiology , Antibodies, Viral
6.
BMC Public Health ; 23(1): 969, 2023 05 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20240632

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Widespread COVID-19 vaccine uptake can facilitate epidemic control. A February 2021 study in Uganda suggested that public vaccine uptake would follow uptake among leaders. In May 2021, Baylor Uganda led community dialogue meetings with district leaders from Western Uganda to promote vaccine uptake. We assessed the effect of these meetings on the leaders' COVID-19 risk perception, vaccine concerns, perception of vaccine benefits and access, and willingness to receive COVID-19 vaccine. METHODS: All departmental district leaders in the 17 districts in Western Uganda, were invited to the meetings, which lasted approximately four hours. Printed reference materials about COVID-19 and COVID-19 vaccines were provided to attendees at the start of the meetings. The same topics were discussed in all meetings. Before and after the meetings, leaders completed self-administered questionnaires with questions on a five-point Likert Scale about risk perception, vaccine concerns, perceived vaccine benefits, vaccine access, and willingness to receive the vaccine. We analyzed the findings using Wilcoxon's signed-rank test. RESULTS: Among 268 attendees, 164 (61%) completed the pre- and post-meeting questionnaires, 56 (21%) declined to complete the questionnaires due to time constraints and 48 (18%) were already vaccinated. Among the 164, the median COVID-19 risk perception scores changed from 3 (neutral) pre-meeting to 5 (strong agreement with being at high risk) post-meeting (p < 0.001). Vaccine concern scores reduced, with medians changing from 4 (worried about vaccine side effects) pre-meeting to 2 (not worried) post-meeting (p < 0.001). Median scores regarding perceived COVID-19 vaccine benefits changed from 3 (neutral) pre-meeting to 5 (very beneficial) post-meeting (p < 0.001). The median scores for perceived vaccine access increased from 3 (neutral) pre-meeting to 5 (very accessible) post-meeting (p < 0.001). The median scores for willingness to receive the vaccine changed from 3 (neutral) pre-meeting to 5 (strong willingness) post-meeting (p < 0.001). CONCLUSION: COVID-19 dialogue meetings led to district leaders' increased risk perception, reduced concerns, and improvement in perceived vaccine benefits, vaccine access, and willingness to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. These could potentially influence public vaccine uptake if leaders are vaccinated publicly as a result. Broader use of such meetings with leaders could increase vaccine uptake among themselves and the community.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Vaccines , Humans , COVID-19 Vaccines , Uganda/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Surveys and Questionnaires , Vaccination
7.
BMC Psychiatry ; 23(1): 346, 2023 05 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2321316

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Suicidal behaviors are prevalent among inpatients with severe mental conditions and may result in many dying by suicide. Few studies have focused on the burden of suicidal behaviors among these inpatients in low-income settings, despite suicide being consistently higher in lower-income countries such as Uganda. This study, therefore, provides the prevalence and associated factors of suicidal behaviors and suicide attempts among inpatients with severe mental conditions in Uganda. METHOD: This was a retrospective chart review of all individuals admitted with severe mental conditions to a large psychiatry inpatient unit in Uganda for four years (2018-2021). Two separate logistic regressions were conducted to determine the factors associated with suicidal behaviors or suicidal attempts among the admitted individuals. RESULTS: The prevalence of suicidal behavior and suicidal attempts among 3104 (mean age = 33, Standard deviation [SD] = 14.0; 56% were males) were 6.12% and 3.45%, respectively. Having a diagnosis of depression increased the likelihood of both suicidal behaviors (adjusted odds ratio [aOR]: 5.36; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 2.14-13.37; p =0.001) and attempts (aOR: 10.73; 95% CI: 3.44-33.50; p < 0.001). However, a diagnosis of substance-related disorder increased the likelihood of having attempted suicide (aOR: 4.14; 95% CI: 1.21-14.15; p = 0.023). The likelihood of having suicidal behavior decreased as one increased in age (aOR: 0.97; 95% CI: 0.94-0.99; p = 0.006) and increased among individuals reporting stress from financial constraints (aOR: 2.26; 95% CI: 1.05-4.86; p = 0.036). CONCLUSION: Suicidal behaviors are common among inpatients managed for severe mental health conditions in Uganda, especially those with substance use and depressive disorders. In addition, financial stressors are a main predictor in this low-income country. Therefore, regular screening for suicide behaviors is warranted, especially among individuals with depression, and substance use, among those who are young, and among those reporting financial constraints/stress.


Subject(s)
Substance-Related Disorders , Suicidal Ideation , Male , Humans , Adult , Female , Inpatients , Mental Health , Retrospective Studies , Hospitals, Psychiatric , Uganda/epidemiology , Substance-Related Disorders/epidemiology , Risk Factors
8.
PLoS One ; 18(5): e0280338, 2023.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2320247

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Despite the known link between poor living conditions and mental health, there has been little research on the mental health of slum dwellers worldwide. Although the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has led to an increase in mental health issues, little focus has been given to the impact on slum dwellers. The study aimed to investigate the association between recent COVID-19 diagnosis and the risk of depression and anxiety symptoms among people living in an urban slum in Uganda. METHODS: A cross-sectional study was conducted among 284 adults (at least 18 years of age) in a slum settlement in Kampala, Uganda between April and May 2022. We assessed depression symptoms and anxiety using validated Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9) and Generalized Anxiety Disorder assessment tool (GAD-7) questionnaires respectively. We collected data on sociodemographic characteristics, and self-reported recent COVID-19 diagnosis (in the previous 30 days). Using a modified Poisson regression, adjusted for age, sex, gender and household income, we separately provided prevalence ratios and 95% confidence intervals for the associations between recent COVID-19 diagnosis and depressive and anxiety symptoms. RESULTS: Overall, 33.8% and 13.4% of the participants met the depression and generalized anxiety screening criteria respectively and 11.3% were reportedly diagnosed with COVID-19 in the previous 30 days. People with recent COVID-19 diagnosis were more likely to be depressed (53.1%) than those with no recent diagnosis (31.4%) (p<0.001). Participants who were recently diagnosed with COVID-19 reported higher prevalence of anxiety (34.4%) compared to those with no recent diagnosis of COVID-19 (10.7%) (p = 0.014). After adjusting for confounding, recent diagnosis with COVID-19 was associated with depression (PR = 1.60, 95% CI 1.09-2.34) and anxiety (PR = 2.83, 95% CI 1.50-5.31). CONCLUSION: This study suggests an increased risk of depressive symptoms and GAD in adults following a COVID-19 diagnosis. We recommend additional mental health support for recently diagnosed persons. The long-term of COVID-19 on mental health effects also need to be investigated.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Adult , Humans , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/epidemiology , Depression/diagnosis , Depression/epidemiology , Depression/psychology , Poverty Areas , Cross-Sectional Studies , Uganda/epidemiology , COVID-19 Testing , Anxiety/diagnosis , Anxiety/epidemiology , Anxiety/etiology
9.
PLoS One ; 18(5): e0285310, 2023.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2318762

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Mental disorders are common in people living with HIV (PLHIV) but they are often unrecognized and untreated. Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the already limited mental health services in low resource countries such as Uganda, and yet the extent to which the COVID-19 mitigation measures have affected the mental health of PLHIV is not fully known. We aimed to determine the burden of depression, suicidality, substance use and associated factors among adult PLHIV who were seeking care at two HIV clinics in northern and southwestern Uganda. METHODS: We conducted a phenomenological qualitative and quantitative cross-sectional study among 431 PLHIV to determine the burden of depression, suicidality and substance-use disorders at two HIV clinics, at Lira Regional Referral Hospital and Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital in northern and southwestern Uganda respectively, during the COVID-19 lockdown. We used the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9) to assess for depression and suicidality, and the Michigan Assessment-Screening Test for Alcohol and drugs (MAST-AD) to assess for substance use disorder. We conducted descriptive statistics analysis to determine the burden of the disorders, and logistic regression to determine the associated factors. For the qualitative method we conducted in-depth interviews with 30 PLHIV and did thematic analysis. RESULTS: Of the 431 PLHIV surveyed, mean age was 40.31 ± 12.20 years; 53.1% (n = 229) had depression; 22.0% (n = 95) had suicidality; and 15.1% (n = 65) had substance-use disorder. Female gender (PR = 1.073, 95%CI 1.004-1.148, P = 0.038), lack of formal education (PR = 1.197, 95% CI 1.057-1.357, P = 0.005), substance-use disorder (PR = 0.924, 95%CI 0.859-0.994, P = 0.034) and suicidality (PR = 0.757, 95%CI 0.722-0.794, p = 0.000) were associated with depression after adjusting for confounders. Further analysis showed that being female (PR = 0.843, 95% CI 0.787-0.903, P = 0.000*) and having depression (PR = 0.927, 95% CI 0.876-0.981, P = 0.009) and owning a large business (PR = 0.886, 95% CI 0.834-0.941, p = 0.000*) were significantly associated with having a substance-use disorder. Only depression was independently associated with suicidality after adjusting for confounding factors (PR 0.108, 95%CI 0.054-0.218, p = 0.000*). For the qualitative results, there were three apriori themes: a) Burden of depression, b) substance-use, and c) suicidality among the PLHIV during the COVID-19 containment measures. CONCLUSION: There was high prevalence of depression, suicidality and substance-use disorder in adult PLHIV in Uganda during the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated lockdown measures. The three mental health problems seem to have bidirectional relationships and gender has a lot of contribution to the relationships. Interventions aimed at any of the disorders should consider these bidirectional relationships.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , HIV Infections , Substance-Related Disorders , Suicide , Adult , Humans , Female , Middle Aged , Male , HIV Infections/complications , HIV Infections/epidemiology , HIV Infections/drug therapy , Depression/epidemiology , Uganda/epidemiology , Cross-Sectional Studies , Pandemics , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/complications , Communicable Disease Control , Substance-Related Disorders/complications , Substance-Related Disorders/epidemiology
10.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 20(9)2023 04 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2316387

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Women employed by sex work (WESW) have a high risk of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection and experience economic barriers in accessing care. However, few studies have described their financial lives and the relationship between expenditures and HIV-related behaviors. METHODS: This exploratory study used financial diaries to collect expenditure and income data from WESW in Uganda over 6 months. Data were collected as part of a larger trial that tested the efficacy of an HIV prevention intervention method. Descriptive statistics were used to quantify women's income, relative expenditures, and negative cash balances. Bivariate and multivariate logistic regressions were used to examine the odds of sexual risk behavior or use of HIV medications for several cash scenarios. RESULTS: A total of 163 WESW were enrolled; the participants mean age was 32 years old. Sex work was the sole source of employment for most WESW (99%); their average monthly income was $62.32. Food accounted for the highest proportion of spending (44%) followed by sex work (20%) and housing expenditures (11%). WESW spent the least on health care (5%). Expenditures accounted for a large but variable proportion of these women's income (56% to 101%). Most WESW (74%) experienced a negative cash balance. Some also reported high sex work (28%), health care (24%), and education (28%) costs. The prevalence of condomless sex (77%) and sex with drugs/alcohol (70%) was high compared to use of ART/PrEP (Antiretroviral therapy/Pre-exposure prophylaxis) medications (45%). Women's cash expenditures were not statistically significantly associated with HIV-related behaviors. However, the exploratory study observed a consistent null trend of lower odds of condomless sex (adjusted odds ratio (AOR) = 0.70, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.28-1.70), sex with drugs/alcohol (AOR = 0.93, 95% CI: 0.42-2.05), and use of ART/PrEP (AOR = 0.80, 95% CI: 0.39-1.67) among women who experienced a negative cash balance versus those who did not. Similar trends were observed for other cash scenarios. CONCLUSION: Financial diaries are a feasible tool to assess the economic lives of vulnerable women. Despite having paid work, most WESW encountered a myriad of financial challenges with limited spending on HIV prevention. Financial protections and additional income-generating activities may improve their status. More robust research is needed to understand the potentially complex relationship between income, expenditures, and HIV risk among vulnerable sex workers.


Subject(s)
HIV Infections , Sex Work , Humans , Female , Adult , Health Expenditures , Uganda/epidemiology , Sexual Behavior , HIV Infections/prevention & control
11.
Front Immunol ; 14: 1148877, 2023.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2317568

ABSTRACT

Introduction: We investigated whether prior SARS-CoV-2-specific IFN-γ and antibody responses in Ugandan COVID-19 pre-pandemic specimens aligned to this population's low disease severity. Methods: We used nucleoprotein (N), spike (S), NTD, RBD, envelope, membrane, SD1/2-directed IFN-γ ELISpots, and an S- and N-IgG antibody ELISA to screen for SARS-CoV-2-specific cross-reactivity. Results: HCoV-OC43-, HCoV-229E-, and SARS-CoV-2-specific IFN-γ occurred in 23, 15, and 17 of 104 specimens, respectively. Cross-reactive IgG was more common against the nucleoprotein (7/110, 15.5%; p = 0.0016, Fishers' Exact) than the spike (3/110, 2.72%). Specimens lacking anti-HuCoV antibodies had higher rates of pre-epidemic SARS-CoV-2-specific IFN-γ cross-reactivity (p-value = 0.00001, Fishers' exact test), suggesting that exposure to additional factors not examined here might play a role. SARS-CoV-2-specific cross-reactive antibodies were significantly less common in HIV-positive specimens (p=0.017; Fishers' Exact test). Correlations between SARS-CoV-2- and HuCoV-specific IFN-γ responses were consistently weak in both HIV negative and positive specimens. Discussion: These findings support the existence of pre-epidemic SARS-CoV-2-specific cellular and humoral cross-reactivity in this population. The data do not establish that these virus-specific IFN-γ and antibody responses are entirely specific to SARS-CoV-2. Inability of the antibodies to neutralise SARS-CoV-2 implies that prior exposure did not result in immunity. Correlations between SARS-CoV-2 and HuCoV-specific responses were consistently weak, suggesting that additional variables likely contributed to the pre-epidemic cross-reactivity patterns. The data suggests that surveillance efforts based on the nucleoprotein might overestimate the exposure to SARS-CoV-2 compared to inclusion of additional targets, like the spike protein. This study, while limited in scope, suggests that HIV-positive people are less likely than HIV-negative people to produce protective antibodies against SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , HIV Seropositivity , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Antibody Formation , COVID-19/epidemiology , Uganda/epidemiology , Antibodies, Viral , Enzyme-Linked Immunospot Assay
12.
BMC Health Serv Res ; 23(1): 441, 2023 May 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2317518

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic overwhelmed the capacity of health facilities globally, emphasizing the need for readiness to respond to rapid increases in cases. The first wave of COVID-19 in Uganda peaked in late 2020 and demonstrated challenges with facility readiness to manage cases. The second wave began in May 2021. In June 2021, we assessed the readiness of health facilities in Uganda to manage the second wave of COVID-19. METHODS: Referral hospitals managed severe COVID-19 patients, while lower-level health facilities screened, isolated, and managed mild cases. We assessed 17 of 20 referral hospitals in Uganda and 71 of 3,107 lower-level health facilities, selected using multistage sampling. We interviewed health facility heads in person about case management, coordination and communication and reporting, and preparation for the surge of COVID-19 during first and the start of the second waves of COVID-19, inspected COVID-19 treatment units (CTUs) and other service delivery points. We used an observational checklist to evaluate capacity in infection prevention, medicines, personal protective equipment (PPE), and CTU surge capacity. We used the "ReadyScore" criteria to classify readiness levels as > 80% ('ready'), 40-80% ('work to do'), and < 40% ('not ready') and tailored the assessments to the health facility level. Scores for the lower-level health facilities were weighted to approximate representativeness for their health facility type in Uganda. RESULTS: The median (interquartile range (IQR)) readiness scores were: 39% (IQR: 30, 51%) for all health facilities, 63% (IQR: 56, 75%) for referral hospitals, and 32% (IQR: 24, 37%) for lower-level facilities. Of 17 referral facilities, two (12%) were 'ready' and 15 (88%) were in the "work to do" category. Fourteen (82%) had an inadequate supply of medicines, 12 (71%) lacked adequate supply of oxygen, and 11 (65%) lacked space to expand their CTU. Fifty-five (77%) lower-level health facilities were "not ready," and 16 (23%) were in the "work to do" category. Seventy (99%) lower-level health facilities lacked medicines, 65 (92%) lacked PPE, and 53 (73%) lacked an emergency plan for COVID-19. CONCLUSION: Few health facilities were ready to manage the second wave of COVID-19 in Uganda during June 2021. Significant gaps existed for essential medicines, PPE, oxygen, and space to expand CTUs. The Uganda Ministry of Health utilized our findings to set up additional COVID-19 wards in hospitals and deliver medicines and PPE to referral hospitals. Adequate readiness for future waves of COVID-19 requires additional support and action in Uganda.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Drug Treatment , COVID-19 , Humans , Uganda/epidemiology , Pandemics , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/therapy , Health Facilities
13.
Clin Infect Dis ; 76(11): 2014-2017, 2023 Jun 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2310085

ABSTRACT

Using data from 67 Ugandan human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) clinics (July 2019-January 2022), we report a 40% (1005/1662) reduction in the number of people with HIV presenting to care after August 2021 compared to prepandemic levels, with a greater proportion presenting with advanced HIV disease (20% vs 16% in the pre-coronavirus disease 2019 period).


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , HIV Infections , Humans , Uganda/epidemiology , Communicable Disease Control , HIV Infections/epidemiology , HIV , Ambulatory Care Facilities
14.
Infect Dis Poverty ; 12(1): 31, 2023 Apr 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2296386

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: While 5% of 247 million global malaria cases are reported in Uganda, it is also a top refugee hosting country in Africa, with over 1.36 million refugees. Despite malaria being an emerging challenge for humanitarian response in refugee settlements, little is known about its risk factors. This study aimed to investigate the risk factors for malaria infections among children under 5 years of age in refugee settlements in Uganda. METHODS: We utilized data from Uganda's Malaria Indicator Survey which was conducted between December 2018 and February 2019 at the peak of malaria season. In this national survey, household level information was obtained using standardized questionnaires and a total of 7787 children under 5 years of age were tested for malaria using mainly the rapid diagnostic test. We focused on 675 malaria tested children under five in refugee settlements located in Yumbe, Arua, Adjumani, Moyo, Lamwo, Kiryadongo, Kyegegwa, Kamwenge and Isingiro districts. The extracted variables included prevalence of malaria, demographic, social-economic and environmental information. Multivariable logistic regression was used to identify and define the malaria associated risk factors. RESULTS: Overall, malaria prevalence in all refugee settlements across the nine hosting districts was 36.6%. Malaria infections were higher in refugee settlements located in Isingiro (98.7%), Kyegegwa (58.6%) and Arua (57.4%) districts. Several risk factors were significantly associated with acquisition of malaria including fetching water from open water sources [adjusted odds ratio (aOR) = 1.22, 95% CI: 0.08-0.59, P = 0.002], boreholes (aOR = 2.11, 95% CI: 0.91-4.89, P = 0.018) and water tanks (aOR = 4.47, 95% CI: 1.67-11.9, P = 0.002). Other factors included pit-latrines (aOR = 1.48, 95% CI: 1.03-2.13, P = 0.033), open defecation (aOR = 3.29, 95% CI: 1.54-7.05, P = 0.002), lack of insecticide treated bed nets (aOR = 1.15, 95% CI: 0.43-3.13, P = 0.003) and knowledge on the causes of malaria (aOR = 1.09, 95% CI: 0.79-1.51, P = 0.005). CONCLUSIONS: The persistence of the malaria infections were mainly due to open water sources, poor hygiene, and lack of preventive measures that enhanced mosquito survival and infection. Malaria elimination in refugee settlements requires an integrated control approach that combines environmental management with other complementary measures like insecticide treated bed nets, indoor residual spraying and awareness.


Subject(s)
Communicable Disease Control , Malaria , Refugees , Animals , Child, Preschool , Humans , Insecticide-Treated Bednets/supply & distribution , Malaria/diagnosis , Malaria/epidemiology , Malaria/prevention & control , Refugees/statistics & numerical data , Risk Factors , Uganda/epidemiology , Water , Infant, Newborn , Infant , Health Surveys , Prevalence , Water Supply/statistics & numerical data , Environmental Exposure/statistics & numerical data , Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice , Toilet Facilities/statistics & numerical data , Defecation , Hygiene/standards , Communicable Disease Control/methods , Communicable Disease Control/standards , Communicable Disease Control/statistics & numerical data
16.
Am J Trop Med Hyg ; 108(6): 1240-1243, 2023 06 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2301072

ABSTRACT

The clinical features and outcomes of tuberculosis (TB) and COVID-19 coinfection are not well established. This short report describes 11 people with TB/COVID-19 coinfection in Uganda. The mean age was 46.9 ± 14.5 years; eight (72.7%) were male and two (18.2%) were coinfected with HIV. All patients presented with cough whose median duration was 71.1 (interquartile range, 33.1, 109) days. Eight (72.7%) had mild COVID-19 whereas two (18.2%) died, including one with advanced HIV disease. All patients were treated with first-line anti-TB drugs and adjunct therapy for COVID-19 using national treatment guidelines. This report presents the possibility of the coexistence of the two diseases and calls for more vigilance, screening, and collective prevention measures for both COVID-19 and TB.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Coinfection , HIV Infections , Tuberculosis , Humans , Male , Adult , Middle Aged , Female , Coinfection/complications , Uganda/epidemiology , COVID-19/complications , Tuberculosis/complications , Tuberculosis/drug therapy , Tuberculosis/epidemiology , Antitubercular Agents/therapeutic use , HIV Infections/complications , HIV Infections/drug therapy
17.
BMC Public Health ; 23(1): 761, 2023 04 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2290571

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Despite the discovery of vaccines, the control, and prevention of Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) relied on non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs). This article describes the development and application of the Public Health Act to implement NPIs for COVID-19 pandemic control in Uganda. METHODS: This is a case study of Uganda's experience with enacting COVID-19 Rules under the Public Health Act Cap. 281. The study assessed how and what Rules were developed, their influence on the outbreak progress, and litigation. The data sources reviewed were applicable laws and policies, Presidential speeches, Cabinet resolutions, statutory instruments, COVID-19 situation reports, and the registry of court cases that contributed to a triangulated analysis. RESULTS: Uganda applied four COVID-19 broad Rules for the period March 2020 to October 2021. The Minister of Health enacted the Rules, which response teams, enforcement agencies, and the general population followed. The Presidential speeches, their expiry period and progress of the pandemic curve led to amendment of the Rules twenty one (21) times. The Uganda Peoples Defense Forces Act No. 7 of 2005, the Public Finance Management Act No. 3 of 2015, and the National Policy for Disaster Preparedness and Management supplemented the enacted COVID-19 Rules. However, these Rules attracted specific litigation due to perceived infringement on certain human rights provisions. CONCLUSIONS: Countries can enact supportive legislation within the course of an outbreak. The balance of enforcing public health interventions and human rights infringements is an important consideration in future. We recommend public sensitization about legislative provisions and reforms to guide public health responses in future outbreaks or pandemics.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Public Health , Humans , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Uganda/epidemiology , Pandemics/prevention & control , Disease Outbreaks
18.
World J Surg ; 47(6): 1379-1386, 2023 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2282460

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: The impact of COVID-19 on low-resource surgical systems is concerning but there are limited studies examining the effect in low- and middle-income countries. This study assesses changes in surgical capacity during the COVID-19 pandemic at Soroti Regional Referral Hospital, a tertiary healthcare facility in Soroti, Uganda. METHODS: Patients from a prospective general surgery registry at SRRH were divided into cohorts admitted prior to the pandemic (January 2017 to February 2020) and during the pandemic (March 2020 to May 2021). Demographics, pre-hospital characteristics, in-hospital characteristics, provider-reported delays in care, and adverse events were compared between cohorts. RESULTS: Of the 1547 general surgery patients, 1159 were admitted prior to the pandemic and 388 were admitted during the pandemic. There was no difference in the median number of elective (24.5 vs. 20.0, p value = 0.16) or emergent (6.0 vs. 6.0, p value = 0.36) surgeries per month. Patients were more likely to have a delay in surgical care during the pandemic (22.6% vs. 46.6%, p < 0.01), particularly from lack of operating space (16.9% vs. 46.3%, p < 0.01) and lack of a surgeon (1.6% vs. 4.4%, p < 0.01). Increased proportion of delays in care appear correlated with waves of COVID-19 cases at SRRH. There were no changes in rates of adverse events (5.7% vs. 7.7%, p = 0.18). DISCUSSION: The COVID-19 pandemic caused significant increases in surgical care delays and emergency surgery at SRRH. Strengthening surgical systems when not in crisis and including provisions for safe, timely surgical delivery during epidemic resource allocation is needed to strengthen the overall healthcare system.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Humans , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Pandemics/prevention & control , Uganda/epidemiology , Prospective Studies , Referral and Consultation , Hospitals
19.
Int J Infect Dis ; 131: 183-192, 2023 Jun.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2268084

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: We assessed the prevalence of immunoglobulin G (IgG) and IgM against four endemic human coronaviruses and two SARS-CoV-2 antigens among vaccinated and unvaccinated staff at health care centers in Uganda, Sierra Leone, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. METHODS: The government health facility staff who had patient contact in Goma (Democratic Republic of Congo), Kambia District (Sierra Leone), and Masaka District (Uganda) were enrolled. Questionnaires and blood samples were collected at three time points over 4 months. Blood samples were analyzed with the Luminex MAGPIXⓇ. RESULTS: Among unvaccinated participants, the prevalence of IgG/IgM antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 receptor-binding domain or nucleocapsid protein at enrollment was 70% in Goma (138 of 196), 89% in Kambia (112 of 126), and 89% in Masaka (190 of 213). The IgG responses against endemic human coronaviruses at baseline were not associated with SARS-CoV-2 sero-acquisition during follow-up. Among the vaccinated participants, those who had evidence of SARS-CoV-2 IgG/IgM at baseline tended to have higher IgG responses to vaccination than those who were SARS-CoV-2 seronegative at baseline, controlling for the time of sample collection since vaccination. CONCLUSION: The high levels of natural immunity and hybrid immunity should be incorporated into both vaccination policies and prediction models of the impact of subsequent waves of infection in these settings.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Immunoglobulin G , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , Longitudinal Studies , Prevalence , Sierra Leone/epidemiology , Uganda/epidemiology , Democratic Republic of the Congo/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , Immunoglobulin M , Antibodies, Viral
20.
BMC Health Serv Res ; 23(1): 284, 2023 Mar 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2266888

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, a local consortium in Uganda set up a telehealth approach that aimed to educate 3,500 Community Health Workers (CHW) in rural areas about COVID-19, help them identify, refer and care for potential COVID-19 cases, and support them in continuing their regular community health work. The aim of this study was to assess the functioning of the telehealth approach that was set up to support CHWs during the COVID-19 pandemic. METHODS: For this mixed-method study, we combined analysis of routine consultation data from the call-center, 24 interviews with key-informants and two surveys of 150 CHWs. Data were analyzed using constant comparative method of analysis. RESULTS: Between March 2020 and June 2021, a total of 35,553 consultations took place via the call center. While the CHWs made extensive use of the call center, they rarely asked for support for potential Covid-19 cases. According to the CHWs, there were no signs that people in their communities were suffering from severe health problems due to COVID-19. People compared the lack of visible symptoms to diseases such as Ebola and were skeptical about the danger of COVID-19. At the same time, people in rural areas were afraid to report relevant symptoms and get tested for fear of being quarantined and stigmatized. The telehealth approach did prove useful for other purposes, such as supporting CHWs with their regular tasks and coordinating the supply of essential products. The health professionals at the call center supported CHWs in diagnosing, referring and treating patients and adhering to infection prevention and control practices. The CHWs felt more informed and less isolated, saying the support from the call center helped them to provide better care and improved the supply of medicine and other essential health products. CONCLUSIONS: The telehealth approach, launched at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, provided useful support to thousands of CHWs in rural communities in Uganda. The telehealth approach could be quickly set up and scaled up and offers a low cost strategy for providing useful and flexible support to CHWs in rural communities.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Telemedicine , Humans , Community Health Workers , Uganda/epidemiology , Pandemics/prevention & control , COVID-19/epidemiology , Qualitative Research
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