A cost comparison of approaches to sexually transmitted disease treatment in Malawi. (1/1016)

Since syndromic management of STDs requires treatment with at least two antibiotics per patient, one of the concerns raised by adoption of the syndromic approach is the cost of drugs, especially for developing countries with limited drug budgets. The objective of the current study is to compare the cost-effectiveness of syndromic management to current national practice for the management of STDs in Malawi. The actual cost of observed antibiotic treatment for 144 patients receiving same day treatment for two STD syndromes in Malawi was determined using prices from the Malawi government supply catalogue. This was then compared to the calculated cost of treatment had the same patients been managed syndromically according to national guidelines. The cost of drug treatment under current practice was similar to the cost of syndromic treatment. However, at least one-third of observed patients did not receive effective treatment for either likely cause of their STD syndrome and wastage accounted for 54% of total observed drug cost. Overall, syndromic management of STDs in Malawi would result in more effective treatment of STDs at no additional cost. Since the indirect costs of low treatment efficacy were not taken into account in this analysis, a net saving is likely to be realized with the adoption of syndromic management.  (+info)

Placental antibody transfer: influence of maternal HIV infection and placental malaria. (2/1016)

AIM: To determine the influence of placental malaria, maternal HIV infection, and maternal hypergammaglobulinaemia on transplacental IgG antibody transfer. METHODS: One hundred and eighty materno-neonatal pairs from a Malawian population were assessed. Cord and maternal serum samples were tested for total serum IgG antibody titres using nephelometry, and for specific IgG antibody titres to Streptococcus pneumoniae, measles, and tetanus toxoid antibodies using an enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). RESULTS: Multiple regression analyses showed that placental malaria was associated with a decrease in placental IgG antibody transfer to S pneumoniae and measles to 82% and 81%, respectively. Maternal HIV infection was associated with a reduction in IgG antibody transfer to S pneumoniae to 79%; raised maternal total serum IgG titres were correlated with S pneumoniae and measles IgG antibody transfer reduction to 86% and 87%, respectively. No effect was seen with tetanus toxoid antibody transfer. CONCLUSION: The combined influence of placental malaria, maternal HIV infection, and maternal hypergammaglobulinaemia seems to be linked to the low transplacental antibody transfer observed in the Malawian population.  (+info)

Increased prevalence of malaria in HIV-infected pregnant women and its implications for malaria control. (3/1016)

OBJECTIVES: To examine in pregnant women the relationship between HIV infection and malaria prevalence and to determine, in relation to HIV infection, the effectiveness of sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine in clearing P. falciparum infection. METHOD: Descriptive cross-sectional analysis of P. falciparum prevalence in pregnant women at first antenatal visit and of women at delivery who had received two sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine treatments for malaria. HIV status was assessed in 621 women who attended for antenatal care and for delivery at two rural hospitals in southern Malawi in 1993-94. Information was collected on maternal age, parity and gestational age. Prevalence of P. falciparum was measured at first antenatal visit and delivery. Women were given two routine treatment doses of sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP), at first antenatal visit and between 28 and 34 weeks gestation, conforming to Malawi government policy on antimalarial control during pregnancy. RESULTS: Prevalence of HIV infection was 25.6% and all infections were HIV type-1. In primigravidae malaria prevalence at recruitment was 56.3% in HIV-infected and 36.5% in HIV-uninfected women (P=0.04). The corresponding figures for multigravidae were 23.8% and 11.0%, respectively (P<0.01). HIV-infected primigravidae had increased malaria prevalence at all gestational ages. Peak parasite prevalence occurred earlier in gestation in HIV-infected primigravidae (16-19 weeks if HIV-infected; 20-23 weeks if HIV-uninfected). The relative risk for parasitaemia in HIV-infected compared to HIV-uninfected women was significantly increased in three of five parity groups, including the two highest ones (parity>3), indicating parity-specific immunity to malaria was impaired. Malaria prevalence at delivery remained high in HIV-infected women despite prior routine treatment with sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine in pregnancy There was no significant difference in parasite prevalence at delivery between women who did or did not use sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine. CONCLUSIONS: HIV infection is associated with a significant increase in malaria prevalence in pregnant women of all parities with the effect apparent from early in gestation. Two treatment doses of sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine were inadequate to clear parasitaemia in many women by the time of delivery and this occurred independently of HIV status and despite high sensitivity to SP in this area. There is a need to undertake longitudinal studies to determine the incidence of P. falciparum infection in HIV-infected and uninfected pregnant women and to reassess the frequency and timing of sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine treatment doses in these women. Late pregnancy re-infections with P. falciparum probably explain the high parasite prevalence at delivery following sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine treatment at 28-34 weeks gestation.  (+info)

Malaria infection during pregnancy: intrauterine growth retardation and preterm delivery in Malawi. (4/1016)

In sub-Saharan Africa, malaria infection in pregnancy contributes to low birth weight through intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR) and preterm delivery (PTD). It was hypothesized that malaria-associated PTD and IUGR have differing etiologies due to timing of infection. In a prospective cohort of primigravid women enrolled at the antenatal clinic of Mangochi District Hospital in Malawi, the associations were investigated between antenatal or delivery parasitemias and IUGR or PTD. Among 178 singleton deliveries, 35% of infants were preterm or had IUGR. Cord blood parasitemia (odds ratio [OR]=3.34; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.3-8.8], placental parasitemia (OR=2.43; 95% CI, 1.2-5.1), and postdelivery maternal peripheral parasitemia (OR=2.78; 95% CI, 1.3-6.1) were associated with PTD. Parasitemia and/or clinically diagnosed malaria in the antenatal period was associated with IUGR (OR=5.13; 95% CI, 1.4-19.4). Delivery parasitemias had borderline associations with IUGR. The risk patterns observed suggest that the timing and severity of infection influences the occurrence of IUGR or PTD.  (+info)

Human immunodeficiency virus load in breast milk, mastitis, and mother-to-child transmission of human immunodeficiency virus type 1. (5/1016)

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) type 1 load in breast milk and mastitis were examined as risk factors for vertical transmission of HIV-1. Six weeks after delivery, HIV-1 load and sodium (an indicator of mastitis) were measured in breast milk from 334 HIV-1-infected women in Malawi. Median breast milk HIV-1 load was 700 copies/mL among women with HIV-1-infected infants versus undetectable (<200 copies/mL) among those with uninfected infants, respectively (P<. 0001). Elevated breast milk sodium levels consistent with mastitis occurred in 16.4% of HIV-1-infected women and were associated with increased vertical transmission of HIV-1 (P<.0001). Median breast milk HIV-1 load was 920 copies/mL among women with versus undetectable among those without elevated breast milk sodium levels, respectively (P<.0001). Mastitis and breast milk HIV-1 load may increase the risk of vertical transmission of HIV-1 through breast-feeding.  (+info)

True status of smear-positive pulmonary tuberculosis defaulters in Malawi. (6/1016)

The article reports the results of a study to determine the true outcome of 8 months of treatment received by smear-positive pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB) patients who had been registered as defaulters in the Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH) and Mlambe Mission Hospital (MMH), Blantyre, Malawi. The treatment outcomes were documented from the tuberculosis registers of all patients registered between 1 October 1994 and 30 September 1995. The true treatment outcome for patients who had been registered as defaulters was determined by making personal inquiries at the treatment units and the residences of patients or relatives and, in a few cases, by writing to the appropriate postal address. Interviews were carried out with patients who had defaulted and were still alive and with matched, fully compliant PTB patients who had successfully completed the treatment to determine the factors associated with defaulter status. Of the 1099 patients, 126 (11.5%) had been registered as defaulters, and the true treatment outcome was determined for 101 (80%) of the latter; only 22 were true defaulters, 31 had completed the treatment, 31 had died during the treatment period, and 17 had left the area. A total of 8 of the 22 true defaulters were still alive and were compared with the compliant patients. Two significant characteristics were associated with the defaulters; they were unmarried; and they did not know the correct duration of antituberculosis treatment. Many of the smear-positive tuberculosis patients who had been registered as defaulters in the Blantyre district were found to have different treatment outcomes, without defaulting. The quality of reporting in the health facilities must therefore be improved in order to exclude individuals who are not true defaulters.  (+info)

Creation and testing of a practical visual function assessment for use in Africa: correlation with visual acuity, contrast sensitivity, and near vision in Malawian adults. (7/1016)

AIM: To develop and test a practical visual function assessment for use in developing countries. METHODS: Using focus group discussions and interviews with eyecare workers and low vision specialists in Malawi, 13 questions related to visual characteristics of activities of daily living were designed. Patients presenting to an eye clinic were recruited and interviewed. Visual acuity, near vision, and contrast sensitivity were measured. Analysis sought to determine the degree of correlation between the vision indices and visual function. RESULTS: The visual function questionnaire was easy to administer. Visual function correlated with visual acuity, contrast sensitivity, near vision, and patient reported visual problem. People with a higher frequency of "not applicable" responses had lower visual function scores. Multivariate modelling revealed that visual acuity and number of questions felt to be applicable were independently associated with visual function. Reducing the questionnaire to nine questions did not affect the degree of correlation with any of the visual indices. CONCLUSION: The authors' visual function assessment correlates well with different measures of visual acuity. People with reduced vision for a prolonged period may no longer consider doing certain tasks and the number of questions considered appropriate by an individual may be an additional measure of visual function. Assessment of visual function by health workers may be a valuable tool in improving surgical uptake by encouraging both health personnel and patients to recognise that they have difficulties undertaking activities of daily living as well as a measure of monitoring and evaluating cataract outcomes.  (+info)

Characterization of V3 sequence heterogeneity in subtype C human immunodeficiency virus type 1 isolates from Malawi: underrepresentation of X4 variants. (8/1016)

We have examined the nature of V3 sequence variability among subtype C human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) sequences from plasma-derived viral RNA present in infected men from Malawi. Sequence variability was assessed by direct sequence analysis of the V3 reverse transcription-PCR products, examination of virus populations by a subtype C V3-specific heteroduplex tracking assay (V3-HTA), and selected sequence analysis of molecular clones derived from the PCR products. Sequence variability in V3 among the subtype C viruses was not associated with the presence of basic amino acid substitutions. This observation is in contrast to that for subtype B HIV-1, where sequence variability is associated with such substitutions, and these substitutions are determinants of altered coreceptor usage. Evolutionary variants in subtype C V3 sequences, as defined by the V3-HTA, were not correlated with the CD4 level in the infected person, while such a correlation was found with subtype B V3 sequences. Viruses were isolated from a subset of the subjects; all isolates used CCR5 and not CXCR4 as a coreceptor, and none was able to grow in MT-2 cells, a hallmark of the syncytium-inducing phenotype that is correlated with CXCR4 usage. The overall sequence variability of the subtype C V3 region was no greater than that of the conserved regions of gp120. This limited sequence variability was also a feature of subtype B V3 sequences that do not carry the basic amino acid substitutions associated with altered coreceptor usage. Our results indicate that altered coreceptor usage is rare in subtype C HIV-1 isolates in sub-Saharan Africa and that sequence variability is not a feature of the V3 region of env in the absence of altered coreceptor usage.  (+info)