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1.
Glob Health Epidemiol Genom ; 2023: 8921220, 2023.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20240140

ABSTRACT

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has wreaked havoc globally, resulting in millions of cases and deaths. The objective of this study was to predict mortality in hospitalized COVID-19 patients in Zambia using machine learning (ML) methods based on factors that have been shown to be predictive of mortality and thereby improve pandemic preparedness. This research employed seven powerful ML models that included decision tree (DT), random forest (RF), support vector machines (SVM), logistic regression (LR), Naïve Bayes (NB), gradient boosting (GB), and XGBoost (XGB). These classifiers were trained on 1,433 hospitalized COVID-19 patients from various health facilities in Zambia. The performances achieved by these models were checked using accuracy, recall, F1-Score, area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (ROC_AUC), area under the precision-recall curve (PRC_AUC), and other metrics. The best-performing model was the XGB which had an accuracy of 92.3%, recall of 94.2%, F1-Score of 92.4%, and ROC_AUC of 97.5%. The pairwise Mann-Whitney U-test analysis showed that the second-best model (GB) and the third-best model (RF) did not perform significantly worse than the best model (XGB) and had the following: GB had an accuracy of 91.7%, recall of 94.2%, F1-Score of 91.9%, and ROC_AUC of 97.1%. RF had an accuracy of 90.8%, recall of 93.6%, F1-Score of 91.0%, and ROC_AUC of 96.8%. Other models showed similar results for the same metrics checked. The study successfully derived and validated the selected ML models and predicted mortality effectively with reasonably high performance in the stated metrics. The feature importance analysis found that knowledge of underlying health conditions about patients' hospital length of stay (LOS), white blood cell count, age, and other factors can help healthcare providers offer lifesaving services on time, improve pandemic preparedness, and decongest health facilities in Zambia and other countries with similar settings.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Humans , Zambia/epidemiology , Bayes Theorem , Benchmarking , Machine Learning
2.
Am J Trop Med Hyg ; 109(1): 76-89, 2023 07 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20237554

ABSTRACT

In early 2020, the Zambian Ministry of Health instituted prevention guidelines to limit spread of COVID-19. We assessed community knowledge, motivations, behavioral skills, and perceived community adherence to prevention behaviors (i.e., hand hygiene, mask wearing, social distancing, and limiting gatherings). Within a cluster-randomized controlled trial in four rural districts, in November 2020 and May 2021, we conducted in-depth interviews with health center staff (N = 19) and community-based volunteers (N = 34) and focus group discussions with community members (N = 281). A content analysis was conducted in Nvivo v12. Data were interpreted using the Information-Motivation-Behavioral Skills Model. Generally, respondents showed good knowledge of COVID-19 symptoms, spread, and high-risk activities, with some gaps. Prevention behavior performance was driven by personal and social factors. Respondents described institutional settings (e.g., clinics and church) having higher levels of perceived adherence due to stronger enforcement measures and clear leadership. Conversely, informal community settings (e.g., weddings, funerals, football matches) lacked similar social and leadership expectations for adherence and had lower perceived levels of adherence. These settings often involved higher emotions (excitement or grief), and many involved alcohol use, resulting in community members "forgetting" guidelines. Doubt about disease existence or need for precautions persisted among some community members and drove non-adherence more generally. Although COVID-19 information successfully penetrated these very remote rural communities, more targeted messaging may address persistent COVID-19 doubt and misinformation. Engaging local leaders in religious, civic, and traditional leadership positions could improve community behaviors without adding additional monitoring duties on an already overburdened, resource-limited health system.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Humans , COVID-19/prevention & control , Zambia/epidemiology , Rural Population , Information Motivation Behavioral Skills Model , Motivation
3.
PLoS Med ; 20(4): e1004203, 2023 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2321978

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The growing population of adolescents and young people (AYP) aged 15 to 24 in sub-Saharan Africa face a high burden of HIV in many settings. Unintended pregnancies among adolescent girls in the region remain high. Nonetheless, the sexual and reproductive health (SRH) service needs of AYP have remained underserved. We conducted a cluster-randomised trial (CRT) to estimate the impact of community-based, peer-led SRH service provision on knowledge of HIV status and other SRH outcomes, including met need for contraceptives. METHODS AND FINDINGS: Yathu Yathu was a cluster-randomised trial (CRT) conducted from 2019 to 2021 in 2 urban communities in Lusaka, Zambia. The communities were divided into 20 zones (approximately 2,350 AYP/zone) that were randomly allocated to the Yathu Yathu intervention or control arm. In each intervention zone, a community-based hub, staffed by peer support workers, was established to provide SRH services. In 2019, a census was conducted in all zones; all consenting AYP aged 15 to 24 were given a Yathu Yathu card, which allowed them to accrue points for accessing SRH services at the hub and health facility (intervention arm) or the health facility only (control arm). Points could be exchanged for rewards, thus acting as an incentive to use SRH services in both arms. We conducted a cross-sectional survey in 2021 to estimate the impact of Yathu Yathu on the primary outcome: knowledge of HIV status (self-reporting living with HIV or HIV testing in the last 12 months) and secondary outcomes, including use of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) in the last 12 months, current use of antiretroviral therapy (ART), and met need for contraceptive services. The sampling was stratified on sex and age group, and we analysed data at cluster-level using a two-stage process recommended for CRTs with <15 clusters/arm. A total of 1,989 AYP consented to participate in the survey (50% male); consent was similar across arms (63% consent/arm). Across zones, knowledge of HIV status ranged from 63.6% to 81.2% in intervention zones and 35.4% to 63.0% in control zones. Adjusting for age, sex, and community, knowledge of HIV status was higher in the intervention arm compared to control (73.3% versus 48.4%, respectively, adjusted prevalence ratio (PR) 1.53 95% CI 1.36, 1.72; p < 0.001). By age and sex, results were similar. There was no evidence for impact on any secondary outcomes, including current use of ART and met need for contraceptives. There were no adverse events reported in either arm. A key limitation of our trial is that approximately 35% of the AYP randomly selected for participation in the endline survey could not be reached. CONCLUSIONS: Delivering community-based, peer-led SRH services increased knowledge of HIV status among AYP, both males and females, compared with the control arm. Scaling up the highly effective Yathu Yathu strategy has the potential to make a substantial contribution to increasing access to HIV prevention and care services for young people. However, additional implementation research is needed to understand how to improve uptake of broader SRH services, beyond uptake of HIV testing. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ISRCTN75609016, clinicaltrials.gov number NCT04060420.


Subject(s)
HIV Infections , Reproductive Health Services , Pregnancy , Female , Humans , Male , Adolescent , Zambia/epidemiology , Cross-Sectional Studies , Community Health Services/methods , HIV Infections/drug therapy , HIV Infections/epidemiology , HIV Infections/prevention & control , HIV Testing , Contraceptive Agents
4.
Trials ; 23(1): 640, 2022 Aug 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2314290

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs) and indoor residual spraying (IRS) target night-time indoor biting mosquitoes and effectively reduce malaria transmission in rural settings across Africa, but additional vector control tools are needed to interrupt transmission. Attractive targeted sugar baits (ATSBs) attract and kill mosquitoes, including those biting outdoors. Deployment of ATSBs incorporating the insecticide dinotefuran was associated with major reductions in mosquito density and longevity in Mali. The impact of this promising intervention on malaria transmission and morbidity now needs to be determined in a range of transmission settings. METHODS/DESIGN: We will conduct three similar stand-alone, open-label, two-arm, cluster-randomized, controlled trials (cRCTs) in Mali, Kenya, and Zambia to determine the impact of ATSB + universal vector control versus universal vector control alone on clinical malaria. The trials will use a "fried-egg" design, with primary outcomes measured in the core area of each cluster to reduce spill-over effects. All household structures in the ATSB clusters will receive two ATSBs, but the impact will be measured in the core of clusters. Restricted randomization will be used. The primary outcome is clinical malaria incidence among children aged 5-14 years in Mali and 1-14 years in Kenya and Zambia. A key secondary outcome is malaria parasite prevalence across all ages. The trials will include 76 clusters (38 per arm) in Mali and 70 (35 per arm) in each of Kenya and Zambia. The trials are powered to detect a 30% reduction in clinical malaria, requiring a total of 3850 person-years of follow-up in Mali, 1260 person-years in Kenya, and 1610 person-years in Zambia. These sample sizes will be ascertained using two seasonal 8-month cohorts in Mali and two 6-month seasonal cohorts in Zambia. In Kenya, which has year-round transmission, four 6-month cohorts will be used (total 24 months of follow-up). The design allows for one interim analysis in Mali and Zambia and two in Kenya. DISCUSSION: Strengths of the design include the use of multiple study sites with different transmission patterns and a range of vectors to improve external validity, a large number of clusters within each trial site, restricted randomization, between-cluster separation to minimize contamination between study arms, and an adaptive trial design. Noted threats to internal validity include open-label design, risk of contamination between study arms, risk of imbalance of covariates across study arms, variation in durability of ATSB stations, and potential disruption resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Zambia: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT04800055 . Registered on March 15, 2021 Mali: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT04149119 . Registered on November 4, 2019 Kenya: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT05219565 . Registered on February 2, 2022.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Culicidae , Insecticide-Treated Bednets , Insecticides , Malaria , Animals , Child , Culicidae/parasitology , Humans , Kenya/epidemiology , Malaria/epidemiology , Mali , Mosquito Control/methods , Mosquito Vectors , Pandemics , Sugars/adverse effects , Zambia/epidemiology
5.
Reprod Health ; 20(1): 65, 2023 Apr 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2292964

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: "Self-care" for sexual and reproductive health (SRH) includes contraceptive methods and other supplies that people can use with or without the support of a healthcare provider. Self-administered tests, self-injection of injectable contraception, or self-removal of intrauterine devices (IUDs) can increase people's access to and autonomy over their own SRH. Objectives of this study were to assess women's current interest in and use of SRH self-care and explore key informants' (KI) opinions of self-care, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. METHODS: Data for this study came from female participants in the longitudinal Contraceptive Use Beyond ECHO (CUBE) study, and KIs, including healthcare providers, in South Africa and Zambia between September 2020 and June 2021. For this analysis, we used data from a participant phone survey (n = 537), and from in-depth interviews (IDIs) completed with a sub-sample of women (n = 39) and KIs (n = 36). Survey data were analyzed with descriptive statistics, and IDI data were analyzed using applied thematic analysis. RESULTS: Female survey participants in South Africa were more interested in learning about emergency contraceptive pills, subcutaneous injectable contraception, and CycleBeads, while Zambian participants wanted more information and access to condoms. However, in IDIs in both countries, women described minimal experience with self-care beyond condom use. In the Zambian KI IDIs, COVID-19 led to increased self-care counseling on subcutaneous injectable contraception and HIV self-testing. KIs who do not counsel on self-care were concerned that women may harm themselves or blame the provider for difficulties. Two KIs thought that women could possibly self-remove IUDs, but most expressed concerns. Reported barriers to self-care included COVID movement restrictions, transport costs, lack of accessible pharmacies, women's low awareness, and possible stigma. CONCLUSIONS: Women surveyed reported interest in learning more about SRH self-care methods and resources, but in IDIs did not report extensive previous use besides condoms. KIs described some concerns about women's ability to use self-care methods. Counseling on and provision of self-care methods and supplies may have increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, but ensuring that self-care is more than just a temporary measure in health systems has the potential to increase access to SRH care and support women's autonomy and healthcare needs.


BACKGROUND: "Self-care" refers to healthcare that does not have to be given by a provider, but that people can use themselves. In sexual and reproductive health (SRH), this includes medicines or supplies like pills and injections that people can use to prevent or test for pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections. This study wanted to better understand women's interest in and use of SRH self-care and explore key informants' opinions of self-care, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. METHODS: We surveyed 537 women in KwaZulu-Natal province, South Africa and Lusaka, Zambia in 2020­2021. We also conducted interviews with 39 women and 36 key informants, including healthcare providers, government officials, and community advocates. RESULTS: Women surveyed in South Africa were more interested than those in Zambia in learning more about self-care contraception, especially daily pills, emergency pills, and injections they could give themselves. In interviews, some key informants said that they do not tell women about self-care because they worried that women could hurt themselves or blame the provider if they experienced problems. COVID movement restrictions, transport costs, and inaccessible pharmacies were all barriers that key informants mentioned to accessing tests, tools, or contraceptive methods that women could give or use themselves. CONCLUSIONS: Women surveyed were interested in learning more about self-care and those interviewed reported minimal previous use of self-care methods besides condoms. Providers also have some concerns about women's ability to use self-care methods. Counseling on and providing self-care methods and supplies may have increased during COVID-19, but increasing access to self-care could help more women take care of their own sexual and reproductive healthcare.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Reproductive Health , Female , Humans , Zambia/epidemiology , South Africa , Pandemics , Contraception , Health Personnel
6.
Health Secur ; 20(4): 286-297, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2278303

ABSTRACT

Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) are the leading cause of death in the world, and 80% of all NCD deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated that patients with NCDs are at increased risk of becoming severely ill from the virus. Disproportionate investment in vertical health programs can result in health systems vulnerable to collapse when resources are strained, such as during pandemics. Although NCDs are largely preventable, globally there is underinvestment in efforts to address them. Integrating health systems to collectively address NCDs and infectious diseases through a wide range of services in a comprehensive manner reduces the economic burden of healthcare and strengthens the healthcare system. Health system resiliency is essential for health security. In this article, we provide an economically sound approach to incorporating NCDs into routine healthcare services in LMICs through improved alignment of institutions that support prevention and control of both NCDs and infectious diseases. Examples from Zambia's multisector interventions to develop and support a national NCD action plan can inform and encourage LMIC countries to invest in systems integration to reduce the social and economic burden of NCDs and infectious diseases.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Communicable Diseases , Noncommunicable Diseases , COVID-19/prevention & control , Communicable Diseases/epidemiology , Communicable Diseases/therapy , Developing Countries , Humans , Noncommunicable Diseases/epidemiology , Noncommunicable Diseases/prevention & control , Pandemics , Zambia/epidemiology
7.
BMC Public Health ; 23(1): 336, 2023 02 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2273865

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Health protective behaviours are crucial in the prevention of the spread of COVID-19, particularly in university students who typically live and study in large groups. Depression and anxiety are common in students and can impact young people's motivations to follow health advice. The study aims to assess the relationship between mental health and COVID-19 health-protective behaviours in Zambian university students with symptoms of low mood. METHODS: The study was a cross-sectional, online survey of Zambian university students. Participants were also invited to take part in a semi-structured interview to explore views about COVID-19 vaccination. Invitation emails were sent explaining the study aims and directed students who self-identified as having low mood in the past two weeks to an online survey. Measures included COVID-19 preventive behaviours, COVID-19-related self-efficacy, and Hospital and Anxiety Depression scale. RESULTS: A total of 620 students (n=308 female, n=306 male) participated in the study, with a mean participant age of 22.47±3.29 years (range 18-51). Students reported a mean protective behaviour score of 74.09/105 and 74% scored above the threshold for possible anxiety disorder. Three-way ANOVA showed lower COVID-19 protective behaviours in students with possible anxiety disorder (p=.024) and those with low self-efficacy (p<0.001). Only 168 (27%) said they would accept vaccination against COVID-19, with male students being twice as likely to be willing to accept COVID-19 vaccination (p<0.001). Of 50 students interviewed. 30 (60%) expressed fears about the vaccination and 16 (32%) were concerned about a lack of information. Only 8 (16%) participants expressed doubts about effectiveness. CONCLUSION: Students who self-identify as having symptoms of depression have high levels of anxiety. The results suggest that interventions to reduce anxiety and promote self-efficacy might enhance students' COVID-19 protective behaviours. Qualitative data provided insight into the high rates of vaccine hesitancy in this population.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Humans , Male , Female , Adolescent , Young Adult , Adult , Middle Aged , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Cross-Sectional Studies , Universities , COVID-19 Vaccines , Zambia/epidemiology , Anxiety/epidemiology , Students
8.
Am J Trop Med Hyg ; 108(5): 911-915, 2023 05 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2278817

ABSTRACT

Globally, tuberculosis (TB) testing and treatment have declined dramatically during the COVID-19 pandemic. We quantified the change in TB visits, testing, and treatment compared with a 12-month pre-pandemic baseline at the national referral hospital's TB Clinic in Lusaka, Zambia, in the first year of the pandemic. We stratified the results into early and later pandemic periods. In the first 2 months of the pandemic, the mean number of monthly TB clinic visits, prescriptions, and positive TB polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests decreased as follow: -94.1% (95% CI: -119.4 to -68.8%), -71.4% (95% CI: -80.4 to -62.4%), and -73% (95% CI: -95.5 to -51.3%), respectively. TB testing and treatment counts rebounded in the subsequent 10 months, although the number of prescriptions and TB-PCR tests performed remained significantly lower than pre-pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic significantly disrupted TB care in Zambia, which could have long-lasting impacts on TB transmission and mortality. Future pandemic preparedness planning should incorporate strategies developed over the course of this pandemic to safeguard consistent, comprehensive TB care.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Tuberculosis , Humans , Pandemics , Zambia/epidemiology , Tertiary Care Centers , Tuberculosis/diagnosis , Tuberculosis/drug therapy , Tuberculosis/epidemiology
9.
BMC Nephrol ; 24(1): 39, 2023 02 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2252732

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: Chronic kidney disease (CKD) has been a global public health problem and a major source of suffering and poor quality of life for those afflicted. Using data from the global burden of disease (GBD) study 2019, we estimated the magnitude of the burden of CKD as well as the underlying causes of CKD in the Zambian population. METHOD: The data used for this study were extracted from the GBD 2019 study. The GBD 2019 provides estimates of several metrics of disease burden including the commonly used disability-adjusted life year (DALYs) for over 369 diseases and injuries, and 87 risk factors and combinations of these in 204 countries and territories from 1990 to 2019. We estimated the burden of CKD as the number and rates (per 100,000 population) of DALYs, disaggregated by year, sex, and age group. We examined the underlying causes of CKD by estimating the population attributable fraction as the percentage contributions of risk factors to CKD DALY. RESULTS: The number of DALYs for CKD was estimated as 76.03 million (95% UI: 61.01 to 93.36) in 2019 compared to 39.42 million (95% UI: 33.09 to 45.90) in 1990, representing 93% increase whereas the DALYs rate per 100,000 population was estimated as 416.89 (95% UI: 334.53 to 511.93) in 2019 compared to 496.38 (95% UI: 416.55 to 577.87) in 1990, representing 16% reduction. CKD due to hypertension accounted for 18.7% of CKD DALYs and CKD due to diabetes (types 1 and 2) accounted for 22.7%, while CKD from glomerulonephritis accounted for the most DALYs at 33%. The age group most impacted from CKD were adolescents and young adults. CONCLUSION: The burden of CKD remains high in the Zambian population with diabetes, high blood pressure, and glomerulonephritis as important causes. The results highlight the need to develop a comprehensive action plan to prevent and treat kidney disease. Increasing the awareness of CKD among the public as well as adaptation of guidelines for treating patients with end stage kidney disease are important considerations.


Subject(s)
Hypertension , Renal Insufficiency, Chronic , Adolescent , Young Adult , Humans , Global Burden of Disease , Zambia/epidemiology , Quality-Adjusted Life Years , Quality of Life , Risk Factors , Renal Insufficiency, Chronic/epidemiology , Renal Insufficiency, Chronic/etiology , Hypertension/epidemiology , Hypertension/complications , Global Health
10.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 20(3)2023 01 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2262555

ABSTRACT

The purpose of this manuscript is to describe household dietary diversity (HDDS) in Lusaka, Zambia between households with and without a child with a disability living in the same communities. Cross-sectional data were collected in three low-income compounds in September 2021. Participants included households with a child with a disability enrolled in Kusamala+, a community-based program, (n = 444) and a convenience sample of adults living in the same area without a child with a disability (n = 1027). The HDDS tool asked about food groups consumed in the past 24 h by people in the household. The responses were summed (yes = 1, no = 0), range 0-12. Individual dietary diversity scores (IDDSs) were calculated for children (0-8 items). Analysis included descriptive statistics and linear regression. Mean HDDS for the households with a child with a disability was 4.8 (SD 2.1) vs. 6.1 (SD = 2.2) among households without a child with a disability (p < 0.001). The individual score for children (IDDS) for households with children with disabilities was 2.6 (SD = 1.4) vs. 3.7 (SD = 1.6) for households without a child with a disability. Households with a child with a disability had a significantly lower HDDS and IDDS in unadjusted and adjusted models (p < 0.001). National policy must assure the most vulnerable populations, and often hidden, receive focused financial and food support.


Subject(s)
Disabled Children , Adult , Child , Humans , Cross-Sectional Studies , Zambia/epidemiology , Diet , Poverty , Food Supply
11.
Front Public Health ; 11: 1094214, 2023.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2265176

ABSTRACT

Background: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)-related disruptions in healthcare services and clinical outcomes have been predicted and documented. However, little is known about how antiretroviral therapy (ART) adherence disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have manifested amidst the 'Undetectable = Untransmittable' campaign initiative. Using a patient's viral load as a proxy for medication adherence, our study aimed to determine the adherence to ART on first-line medications among adult people living with human immunodeficiency virus (PLWHIV) at the University Teaching Hospital in Lusaka, Zambia during the pandemic. Methods: This was a hospital-based cross-sectional study. Secondary data of PLWHIV registered to receive ART from the Adult Infectious Disease Centre was extracted from the SmartCare® electronic health record system to constitute a resultant data set that this study used. The data extraction form was used to extract values of dependent (ART adherence measured by viral load detectability) and independent variables and imported them into the statistical analysis tool, STATA version 16.1 MP. Descriptive statistics of individual characteristics, testing for associations using Pearson's chi-square test, and stratified and combined multivariable logistic regression were performed. Results: Of the 7,281 adult PLWHIV included in this study, 9.0% (95% CI 8.3-9.6%) were virally detectable. Estimates of the odds ratios of detectable viral load remained significantly higher among adult PLWHIV who were initiated on ART after the U=U campaign was launched in Zambia and were on a monthly 2.51 (1.31-9.03) or 6-monthly 4.75 (3.52-6.41) dispensing of a dolutegravir-based regimen and those on 6-monthly dispensing of an efavirenz-based regimen 4.67 (2.16-10.08) compared to their counterparts. Overall estimates showed us the same picture 4.14 (3.22-5.31), having adjusted for all other predictor variables. Conclusion: We found that a high proportion of people with detectable viral load in the study population, irrespective of medication refill interval and type of regimen, was concentrated among adult PLWHIV who started treatment during the COVID-19 epidemic waves, as compared to those who started treatment before the pandemic. This observed disparity suggests the inherent impact of the pandemic on the adherence to ART among adult PLWHIV in Lusaka, Zambia. This further illustrates how exposed program responses are to external shocks, especially in already weakened health systems, and the need to create program response buffers and resilient program-specific strategies to minimize the effect of external disruptions.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , HIV Infections , Humans , Adult , HIV , Zambia/epidemiology , Pandemics , Cross-Sectional Studies , Universities , COVID-19/epidemiology , HIV Infections/drug therapy , HIV Infections/epidemiology , Anti-Retroviral Agents/therapeutic use , Hospitals, Teaching
12.
PLoS One ; 18(2): e0281091, 2023.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2229866

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic has increased social and emotional stressors globally, increasing mental health concerns and the risk of psychiatric illness worldwide. To date, relatively little is known about the impact of the pandemic on vulnerable groups such as women and children in low-resourced settings who generally have limited access to mental health care. We explore two rounds of data collected as part of an ongoing trial of early childhood development to assess mental health distress among mothers of children under 5-years-old living in two rural areas of Zambia during the COVID-19 pandemic. We examined the prevalence of mental health distress among a cohort of 1105 mothers using the World Health Organization's Self-Reporting Questionnaire (SRQ-20) before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in August 2019 and after the first two infection waves in October-November 2021. Our primary outcome was mental health distress, defined as SRQ-20 score above 7. We analyzed social, economic and family level characteristics as factors modifying to the COVID-19 induced changes in the mental health status. At baseline, 22.5% of women were in mental health distress. The odds of mental health distress among women increased marginally over the first two waves of the pandemic (aOR1.22, CI 0.99-1.49). Women under age 30, with lower educational background, with less than three children, and those living in Eastern Province (compared to Southern Province) of Zambia, were found to be at highest risk of mental health deterioration during the pandemic. Our findings suggest that the prevalence of mental health distress is high in this population and has further worsened during COVID-19 pandemic. Public health interventions targeting mothers' mental health in low resource settings may want to particularly focus on young mothers with limited educational attainment.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Adult , Child, Preschool , Female , Humans , COVID-19/epidemiology , Mental Health , Mothers/psychology , Pandemics , Zambia/epidemiology , Clinical Trials as Topic
13.
J Int AIDS Soc ; 25(11): e26030, 2022 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2173088

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: Zambia has made tremendous progress towards HIV epidemic control; however, gaps remain among key populations (KPs), such as female sex workers (FSWs), men who have sex with men (MSM), people who inject drugs (PWID) and people in prisons and enclosed settings due to cultural, social and legal barriers. The University of Maryland, Baltimore Zambia Community HIV Epidemic Control for Key Populations (Z-CHECK) project aimed to improve HIV case-finding, linkage and treatment adherence at the community level for KPs in Zambia. We describe Z-CHECK strategies and examine HIV positivity yield and antiretroviral therapy (ART) linkage among KPs to inform ongoing programme improvement. METHODS: Z-CHECK recruited, trained and deployed peer community health workers (CHWs) for KP groups, with ongoing mentorship in community engagement. CHWs offered HIV testing in safe spaces and escorted newly HIV-diagnosed clients for same-day ART initiation. Z-CHECK also reached out to KP community leaders and gatekeepers for KP mobilization and trained healthcare workers (HCWs) on KP services and sensitivity. We conducted a retrospective observational review of routinely collected aggregate data for KPs aged ≥15 years at high risk for HIV transmission across five districts in Zambia from January 2019 to December 2020. RESULTS: Z-CHECK provided HIV testing for 9211 KPs, of whom 2227 were HIV positive (positivity yield, 24%). Among these, 1901 (85%) were linked to ART; linkage for MSM, FSW, PWID and people in prisons and enclosed settings was 95%, 89%, 86% and 65%, respectively. Programme strategies that contributed to high positivity yield and linkage included the use of peer KP CHWs, social network testing strategies and opportunities for same-day ART initiation. Challenges to programme implementation included stigma and discrimination among HCWs, as well as KP CHW attrition, which may be explained by high mobility. CONCLUSIONS: Peer CHWs were highly effective at reaching KP communities, identifying persons living with HIV and linking them to care. Engaging KP community gatekeepers resulted in high diffusion of health messages and increased access to health resources. The mobility of CHWs and HCWs is a challenge for programme implementation. Innovative interventions are needed to support PWID and people in prisons and enclosed settings.


Subject(s)
HIV Infections , Sex Workers , Sexual and Gender Minorities , Substance Abuse, Intravenous , Male , Female , Humans , HIV Infections/diagnosis , HIV Infections/drug therapy , HIV Infections/epidemiology , Homosexuality, Male , Community Health Workers , Retrospective Studies , Zambia/epidemiology , HIV Testing
14.
JAMA Netw Open ; 5(12): e2246152, 2022 12 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2157642

ABSTRACT

Importance: Few epidemiologic studies related to COVID-19 have emerged from countries in Africa, where demographic characteristics, epidemiology, and health system capacity differ from other parts of the world. Objectives: To describe the characteristics and outcomes of patients admitted to COVID-19 treatment centers, assess risk factors for in-hospital death, and explore how treatment center admissions were affected by COVID-19 waves in Zambia. Design, Setting, and Participants: This retrospective cohort study assessed patients admitted to COVID-19 treatment centers in 5 Zambian cities between March 1, 2020, and February 28, 2022. Exposures: Risk factors for in-hospital mortality, including patient age and severity of COVID-19, at treatment center admission. Main Outcomes and Measures: Patient information was collected, including inpatient disposition (discharged or died). Differences across and within COVID-19 waves were assessed. Mixed-effects logistic regression models were used to assess associations between risk factors and in-hospital mortality as well as between characteristics of admitted patients and timing of admission. Results: A total of 3876 patients were admitted during 4 COVID-19 waves (mean [SD] age, 50.6 [19.5] years; 2103 male [54.3%]). Compared with the first 3 waves (pooled), the proportion of patients who were 60 years or older admitted during wave 4, when the Omicron variant was circulating, was significantly lower (250 of 1009 [24.8%] vs 1116 of 2837 [39.3%]; P < .001). Factors associated with in-hospital mortality included older age (≥60 vs <30 years; adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 3.55; 95% CI, 2.34-5.52) and HIV infection (aOR, 1.39; 95% CI, 1.07-1.79). Within waves, patients who were admitted during weeks 5 to 9 had significantly higher odds of being 60 years or older (aOR, 2.09; 95% CI, 1.79-2.45) or having severe COVID-19 at admission (aOR, 2.49; 95% CI, 2.14-2.90) than those admitted during the first 4 weeks. Conclusions and Relevance: The characteristics of admitted patients during the Omicron wave and risk factors for in-hospital mortality in Zambia reflect data reported elsewhere. Within-wave analyses revealed a pattern in which it appeared that admission of higher-risk patients was prioritized during periods when there were surges in demand for health services during COVID-19 waves. These findings support the need to expand health system capacity and improve health system resiliency in Zambia and other countries with resource-limited health systems.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , HIV Infections , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/therapy , Hospital Mortality , Zambia/epidemiology , COVID-19 Drug Treatment , Retrospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2 , Inpatients
15.
BMJ Open ; 12(12): e066763, 2022 12 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2153003

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: To determine the prevalence of COVID-19 postmortem setting in Lusaka, Zambia. DESIGN: A systematic, postmortem prevalence study. SETTING: A busy, inner-city morgue in Lusaka. PARTICIPANTS: We sampled a random subset of all decedents who transited the University Teaching Hospital morgue. We sampled the posterior nasopharynx of decedents using quantitative PCR. Prevalence was weighted to account for age-specific enrolment strategies. INTERVENTIONS: Not applicable-this was an observational study. PRIMARY OUTCOMES: Prevalence of COVID-19 detections by PCR. Results were stratified by setting (facility vs community deaths), age, demographics and geography and time. SECONDARY OUTCOMES: Shifts in viral variants; causal inferences based on cycle threshold values and other features; antemortem testing rates. RESULTS: From 1118 decedents enrolled between January and June 2021, COVID-19 was detected among 32.0% (358/1116). Roughly four COVID-19+ community deaths occurred for every facility death. Antemortem testing occurred for 52.6% (302/574) of facility deaths but only 1.8% (10/544) of community deaths and overall, only ~10% of COVID-19+ deaths were identified in life. During peak transmission periods, COVID-19 was detected in ~90% of all deaths. We observed three waves of transmission that peaked in July 2020, January 2021 and ~June 2021: the AE.1 lineage and the Beta and Delta variants, respectively. PCR signals were strongest among those whose deaths were deemed 'probably due to COVID-19', and weakest among children, with an age-dependent increase in PCR signal intensity. CONCLUSIONS: COVID-19 was common among deceased individuals in Lusaka. Antemortem testing was rarely done, and almost never for community deaths. Suspicion that COVID-19 was the cause of deaths was highest for those with a respiratory syndrome and lowest for individuals <19 years.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Child , Humans , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/epidemiology , Zambia/epidemiology , Prevalence , SARS-CoV-2 , Polymerase Chain Reaction , COVID-19 Testing
16.
Hum Vaccin Immunother ; 18(7): 2153538, 2022 12 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2151607

ABSTRACT

Vaccines are effective tools to prevent COVID-19-related morbidity. However, coverage is low throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Uptake of public health measures, perceptions of COVID-19 illness and vaccines, and intention to vaccinate were evaluated in 2021-2022 in rural Zambia. Adherence to public health measures, perceptions of COVID-19 risk and severity, and vaccine acceptance increased significantly over time, particularly in December 2021, coinciding with the fourth pandemic wave and relaunch of the national vaccine campaign. Vaccine acceptance was associated with perceptions of vaccine safety and effectiveness, but not disease severity. These findings highlight the importance of strong pandemic response and public communication for increased uptake of mitigatory measures, including vaccine acceptance.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Vaccines , Humans , Public Health , COVID-19/prevention & control , Pandemics/prevention & control , Zambia/epidemiology , Vaccination
17.
Am J Trop Med Hyg ; 108(2): 384-393, 2023 02 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2163942

ABSTRACT

Zambia instituted prevention behavior guidelines for social gatherings before the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed on March 18, 2020. Guidelines included nonpharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) including mask wearing, social distancing, and reducing sizes of gatherings. Within a larger cluster randomized trial of community-based parenting groups in four rural districts (three in Southern Province, one in Eastern Province), we collected 5,711 questionnaires from intervention participants between August 2020 and September 2021, during which the country saw two COVID-19 waves. Questionnaires asked about participation and behaviors at community gatherings. Generally, perception of risk of contracting COVID-19 was low for respondents in districts in Southern Province but higher for those in Eastern Province. The highest compliance to mask wearing was reported at clinics (84%) and church services (81%), which were the most frequently attended gatherings. Many funerals were attended by 200 to 300 people, but individuals were 30% less likely to report wearing masks (odds ratio [OR] = 0.71, 95% confidence ratio [CI]: 0.6-0.8) than those attending a clinic visit. After controlling for other variables, the odds of self-reported mask wearing at events were higher in January to March 2021 (adjusted OR = 1.5, 95% CI: 1.3, 1.7) and July and September of 2021 (adjusted OR = 3.0, 95% CI: 2.5-3.5), timepoints that broadly overlay with two COVID-19 peaks observed in Zambia. Results suggest guideline dissemination penetrated the rural areas. However, there is need to optimize the messaging to increase compliance to NPIs at high-risk gatherings, including funerals. The findings from this analysis should be considered as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Rural Population , Humans , Zambia/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Pandemics/prevention & control , Ambulatory Care
18.
BMC Public Health ; 22(1): 2238, 2022 11 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2139224

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The novel COVID-19 pandemic threatened to disrupt access to human immunodeficiency (HIV) treatment for persons living with HIV (PLHIV), two-thirds of whom live in sub-Saharan Africa. To inform a health system response supportive of continuity of care, we sought to understand clients' HIV care experiences and health priorities during the first wave of COVID-19 outbreak in Lusaka, Zambia. METHODS: Leveraging a study cohort of those who completed periodic SMS surveys on HIV care, we purposefully sampled 25 PLHIV after first confirmed COVID-19 case was reported in Zambia on 18th March 2020. We phone-interviewed participants, iteratively refining interview guide to capture emergent themes on COVID-19 awareness, health facility interactions, and social circumstances, which we analyzed using matrix analysis. RESULTS: All participants were aware of COVID-19, and HIV care experiences and health priorities of clients were affected by associated changes at health system, household, and individual level. The health system instituted early clinic visits to provide 6-months of antiretroviral therapy (ART) for stable patients and 3-months for unstable patients to reduce clinic visits and wait times. Most patients welcomed this long-desired extended appointment spacing. Some reported feeling respected and engaged when health care workers telephoned requesting their early clinic visit. However, others felt discouraged by an absence of physical distancing during their clinic visit due to 'severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2' (SARS-CoV-2) infection concerns. Several expressed a lack of clarity regarding next viral load monitoring date and means for receiving results. Patients suggested regular patient-facility communication by telephone and SMS. Patients emphasized that COVID-19 restrictions led to loss of employment and household income, exacerbating poverty and difficulties in taking ART. At individual level, most participants felt motivated to stay healthy during COVID-19 by ART adherence and regular laboratory monitoring. CONCLUSIONS: Clients' HIV care and health priorities during the first wave of COVID-19 in Lusaka province were varied with a combination of positive and negative experiences that occurred especially at health system and individual levels, while at household level, the experiences were all negative. More research is needed to understand how patients practice resiliency in the widespread context of socio-economic instability. Governments and patients must work together to find local, health systems solutions to support ART adherence and monitoring. Additionally, the health system should consider how to build on changes for long-term HIV management and service delivery.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , HIV Infections , Humans , Health Priorities , SARS-CoV-2 , Zambia/epidemiology , Pandemics , Ambulatory Care Facilities , HIV Infections/drug therapy , HIV Infections/epidemiology
19.
J Infect Dev Ctries ; 16(9): 1385-1389, 2022 09 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2066658

ABSTRACT

COVID-19 is a global public health crisis wreaking havoc in nearly every corner of the globe and Zambia is not an exception. Amid an already existing disease burden of HIV/AIDS, malaria, malnutrition, and cholera, the resilience of the health care system is yet to be tested especially since it lacks about 40% of its estimated workforce. Meanwhile, the government has already established measures to contain the spread of COVID-19. This includes; reorientation and training for health workers, indefinite closure of all learning institutions, and banning non-essential traveling. With the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out on the ground, the milestones achieved thus far in fighting the pandemic are expected to intensify.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19 Vaccines , Disease Outbreaks/prevention & control , Humans , Pandemics/prevention & control , Zambia/epidemiology
20.
BMJ Open ; 12(9): e062601, 2022 09 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2042866

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: Little is known about the clinical course of COVID-19 following mild symptoms, and how the disease affects the survivors over time. Moreover, information on the severity of the long-term health effects as well as the associated risk factors is scant. This study aims to determine the short, intermediate and long-term health effects of COVID-19 on the survivors and the associated risk factors. METHODS AND ANALYSIS: We propose conducting a 24-month prospective quantitative study in 10 health facilities (2 specialist, 3 regional, 2 mission and 3 subdistrict hospitals) from Lusaka and Southern Province of Zambia. Health facilities will be those which served as COVID-19 treatment centres during the third wave (June-August 2021). Study participants will comprise a randomly selected cohort of 450 COVID-19 survivors who had mild or no symptoms (80%) and severe cases (20%). Using a questionnaire, respondent demographic, clinical and laboratory data will be collected at baseline and at a 3-month interval for 18 months using a questionnaire. Respondents' medical records will be reviewed and data collected using a checklist. Descriptive statistics will be computed to summarise respondents' characteristics and clinical outcomes. Bivariate analysis (Χ2 and t-test) will be conducted to test the association between respondent characteristics and clinical outcomes. Multivariate logistic regression analysis will be run to determine the risk factors for short, intermediate and long-term health effects; adjusted ORs will be computed to test the strength of the association (p<0.05). ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: Ethical approval was obtained from the University of Zambia Biomedical Research and the National Health Research Authority. Results will be disseminated to key stakeholders in Zambia, international open-access peer-reviewed journals, websites and international conferences, and likely lead to design of evidence-informed strategies to mitigate health effects of COVID-19 on survivors.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Drug Treatment , COVID-19 , COVID-19/epidemiology , Humans , Prospective Studies , Survivors , Zambia/epidemiology
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