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(1/34) Prevalence of antibodies to Brucella spp. in cattle, sheep, goats, horses and camels in the State of Eritrea; influence of husbandry systems.

Samples from 2427 cattle, 661 goats, 104 sheep, 98 camels and 82 horses were screened for brucella infections by the Rose Bengal Test and positive reactors confirmed by the complement fixation test. In cattle, the highest individual seroprevalence was in dairy herds kept under the intensive husbandry system, with an individual prevalence of 8.2% and unit (herd) seroprevalence of 35.9%. This was followed by the pastoral husbandry system in the Western Lowlands with 5.0% individual but a higher unit (vaccination site) prevalence of 46.1%. The lowest was in the mixed crop-livestock system in the Southern Highlands with individual 0.3% and unit (village) prevalence of 2.4%. In sheep and goats, no positive animals were detected in the mixed crop-livestock areas. In the Eastern Lowlands individual prevalences of 3.8% (goats) and 1.4% (sheep) and unit prevalence of 33.3% (goats) and 16.7% were found, while 14.3% of individual goats and 56.3% of the units in the Western Lowlands were positive. No positive horses were found. The present study documents the first serological evidence of Brucella spp. infection in camels (3.1%) in Eritrea.  (+info)

(2/34) Use of a major medical center clinical laboratory as a reference laboratory for a developing country: ordering patterns help set laboratory priorities.

BACKGROUND: The test menus for developed and developing countries may differ, depending on many factors, including the expected volume of testing, disease frequency and therapies available, clinical impact of the test, technical skill and equipment needed, cost, the patient population served, and whether alternative testing sites are available, and some of them may not be exactly known. We assessed test priorities in a developing country by making a broad range of tests available and then assessing which tests were actually used by the physicians in the country for the care of their patients. METHODS: The Barnes-Jewish Hospital laboratory and Washington University Medical Center provided patients in the developing country of Eritrea access to the same tests as patients in St. Louis for all analytes that are stable at 4 degrees C, the lowest temperature that could be used for shipping. RESULTS: The use of the St. Louis laboratories increased steadily from 1998 to 2001. More than one-half of the physicians in Eritrea used the reference laboratories, with requests for thyroid function and female fertility representing 48-71% of the test requests over the 4 years evaluated. The high degree of utilization for these test batteries was not predicted. Testing for thyroid function, female fertility, and lipid panels are now performed, or soon will be performed, in Eritrea based on the experience of the reference laboratory system. The reference laboratory system is continuing so that the test priorities of the country can be evaluated on an ongoing basis and specialized tests can be made available at a low cost. CONCLUSION: The experiences of a reference laboratory for a developing country can help to identify unanticipated priorities for medical testing within the country.  (+info)

(3/34) Maternal psychosocial well-being in Eritrea: application of participatory methods and tools of investigation and analysis in complex emergency settings.

OBJECTIVE: To establish the context in which maternal psychosocial well-being is understood in war-affected settings in Eritrea. METHOD: Pretested and validated participatory methods and tools of investigation and analysis were employed to allow participants to engage in processes of qualitative data collection, on-site analysis, and interpretation. FINDINGS: Maternal psychosocial well-being in Eritrea is maintained primarily by traditional systems of social support that are mostly outside the domain of statutory primary care. Traditional birth attendants provide a vital link between the two. Formal training and regular supplies of sterile delivery kits appear to be worthwhile options for health policy and practice in the face of the post-conflict challenges of ruined infrastructure and an overstretched and/or ill-mannered workforce in the maternity health service. CONCLUSION: Methodological advances in health research and the dearth of data on maternal psychosocial well-being in complex emergency settings call for scholars and practitioners to collaborate in creative searches for sound evidence on which to base maternity, mental health and social care policy and practice. Participatory methods facilitate the meaningful engagement of key stakeholders and enhance data quality, reliability and usability.  (+info)

(4/34) Distribution of anopheline mosquitoes in Eritrea.

The spatial distribution of anopheline mosquito species was studied throughout Eritrea during the 1999-2001 malaria transmission seasons from October to December for the highlands and western lowlands and February to April for the coastal region. Of the 302 villages sampled, 59 were visited in both the first and second year. Overall, 13 anopheline species were identified, with the Anopheles gambiae complex predominating during the first year (75.6%, n = 861) and the second year (91.9%, n = 1,262). Intrazonal variation accounted for 90% of the total variation in mosquito distribution. Polymerase chain reaction results indicated that 99% (n = 1,309) of the An. gambiae s.l. specimens were An. arabiensis, indicating that this was the only member of the gambiae complex present. There was a high degree of aggregation of anophelines within zones and villages, with more than 80% of the total anophelines being collected from less than 20% of the villages and from only 10% of the houses sampled. At least 80% of the anopheline mosquitoes were collected from grass-thatched Agudo-type housing. Vector abundance showed an inverse relationship with elevation, with highest densities in the low-lying western lowlands. Multiple regression analysis of log-transformed mean density of An. arabiensis with rainfall and the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) (average NDVI, minimum NDVI, and maximum NDVI) showed that these independent variables were not significantly associated with mosquito densities (R2 = 0.058). Our study contributes to the basic understanding of the ecology and distribution of malaria vectors with respect to species composition and spatial heterogeneities both that could be used to guide vector control operations in Eritrea.  (+info)

(5/34) Population genetic structure of Anopheles arabiensis mosquitoes in Ethiopia and Eritrea.

This study examined the population genetic structure of the major malaria vector, Anopheles arabiensis mosquitoes, in Ethiopia and Eritrea. Ethiopia and Eritrea have great geographical diversity, with high mountains, rugged plateaus, deep gorges, and rolling plains. The plateau is bisected diagonally by the Great Rift Valley into the Northwestern Highlands and the Southeastern Highlands. Five A. arabiensis populations from the Northwestern Highlands region and two populations from high-altitude sites in the Great Rift Valley were genotyped using six microsatellite markers to estimate the genetic diversity and population genetic structure of A. arabiensis. We found that A. arabiensis populations from the Northwestern Highlands and the Great Rift Valley region showed a similar level of genetic diversity. The genetic differentiation (F(ST)) of the five mosquito populations within the Northwestern Highlands region was 0.038 (P <.001), while the two populations within the Great Rift Valley showed little genetic differentiation (F(ST) = 0.007, P <.01). The degree of genetic differentiation between the Northwestern Highlands region and the Great Rift Valley region was small but statistically significant (F(ST) = 0.017, P <.001). The population genetic structure of A. arabiensis in the study area did not follow the isolation-by-distance model (r(2) = 0.014, P >.05). The low F(ST) estimates for A. arabiensis populations in Ethiopia and Eritrea are consistent with the general population genetic structure of this species in East Africa based on other molecular markers.  (+info)

(6/34) High seasonal variation in entomologic inoculation rates in Eritrea, a semi-arid region of unstable malaria in Africa.

Entomologic studies were conducted in eight villages to investigate the patterns of malaria transmission in different ecologic zones in Eritrea. Mosquito collections were conducted for 24 months between September 1999 and January 2002. The biting rates of Anopheles arabiensis were highly seasonal, with activity concentrated in the wet season between June and October in the highlands and western lowlands, and between December and March in the coastal region. The biting rates in the western lowlands were twice as high as in the western escarpment and 20 times higher than in the coastal region. Sporozoite rates were not significantly different among villages. The risk of infection ranged from zero on the coast to 70.6 infective bites per year in the western lowlands. The number of days it would take for an individual to receive an infective bite from an infected An. arabiensis was variable among villages (range = 2.8-203.1 days). The data revealed the presence of only one main malaria transmission period between July and October for the highlands and western lowlands. Peak inoculation rates were recorded in August and September (range = 0.29-43.6 infective bits/person/month) at all sites over the two-year period. The annual entomologic inoculation rates (EIRs) varied greatly depending on year. The EIR profiles indicated that the risk of exposure to infected mosquitoes is highly heterogeneous and seasonal, with high inoculation rates during the rainy season, and with little or no transmission during the dry season. This study demonstrates the need to generate spatial and temporal data on transmission intensity on smaller scales to guide targeted control of malaria operations in semi-arid regions. Furthermore, EIR estimates derived in the present study provide a means of quantifying levels of exposure to infected mosquitoes in different regions of the country and could be important for evaluating the efficacy of vector control measures, since Eritrea has made significant steps in reducing the burden of malaria based on the Roll Back Malaria initiative of the World Health Organization.  (+info)

(7/34) Female genital mutilation in the context of migration: experience of African women with the Swiss health care system.

BACKGROUND: In contrast to other European countries, the Swiss health care system does not deal with the specific needs of women with female genital mutilation (FGM) in a consistent manner, though migrants from countries where FGM is commonly practised are living in Switzerland. METHODS: For this study, the interaction of women who had undergone FGM, with the Swiss health services was analysed both from the perspective of the women concerned and that of health care professionals (doctors and midwives). The methods used were mainly qualitative, including focus group discussions with 29 women from Somalia and Eritrea and telephone interviews with 37 health care professionals. RESULTS: It is estimated that some 6000 girls and women with FGM could be living in Switzerland. The fact that health care providers rarely see such patients and the absence of professional guidelines give rise to misunderstandings. Counselling of the women is often inadequate, and there is a striking lack of communication about FGM between health care providers and users, as well as within the women's communities. As a surprising finding, reinfibulation is carried out in Switzerland when requested by the patient. CONCLUSIONS: This study shows that at present the specific gynaecological and obstetric health care needs of migrant women who have undergone FGM are not adequately addressed in the Swiss health system. The situation could be easily improved by taking into consideration the fairly simple measures suggested by the women and the health care providers taking part in this study. KEY POINTS: Due to international migration, female genital mutilation (FGM) has become an issue of increasing concern in host countries such as Switzerland. Objectives of this study were to analyze how immigrant women with FGM experience gynaecological/obstetrical care in the Swiss health care system, and to investigate if gynaecologists/obstetricians and midwives treat and counsel FGM related complications adequately. Specific health care needs of women with FGM should--and easily could--be better considered by the Swiss health care system. Recommended measures include capacity building and professional guidelines on FGM for health care providers; and access to culturally appropriate information and self-help groups for the communities concerned.  (+info)

(8/34) Promotion of handwashing as a measure of quality of care and prevention of hospital-acquired infections in Eritrea: the Keren study.

A complex interplay of cognitive, socio-economic and technical factors may determine hand-washing practice among hospital-based health workers, particularly doctors, regardless of the location of the country or hospital they work in. OBJECTIVES: To assess quality of care with respect to handwashing practice as a routine measure of infection prevention in Keren hospital, a provincial referral hospital, second largest in Eritrea; with a view to putting in place quality standards and effective means of monitoring and evaluation. DESIGN: Qualitative study with a participatory and iterative/dynamic design. METHODS: Semi-structured interviews and focus group discussions were held with 34 members of the hospital staff; and a total of 30 patients in the medical, surgical and obstetric wards were interviewed. Direct observation of handwashing practice and facilities were also employed. RESULTS: Although only 30% of health workers routinely washed their hands between patient contact, the study revealed genuine interest in training and the need to reward good practice in order to motivate health workers. Educational intervention and technical training resulted in significant improvements in health workers' compliance with hospital infection prevention standards. Patient satisfaction with health workers' hygiene practices also improved significantly. CONCLUSION: Hospital-based health workers' handwashing practice needs to improve globally. There is no room for complacency, however, in Eritrea (as indeed in other African countries) where public health services need to keep patients' welfare at heart; particularly with respect to women in childbirth, as mothers continue to bear the lion's share of post-war rebuilding of lives, livelihoods, and the country as a whole.  (+info)