(1/2012) Vitamin D status in different subgroups of British Asians.

To assess the effect of religious dietary practices and social customs on the vitamin D status of Asian immigrants, we kept records of the dietary intake and time spent out of doors of 81 Ugandan Asian men, women, and girls (9-19 years old). Sera were analysed for 25-hydroxycholecalciferol (25-OHD3), and 28% of the subjects were found to have levels below the lower limit of normal. The (vegetarian) Hindus had the lowest dietary intakes, least time out of doors, and lowest serum 25-OHD3. The Goan (Roman Catholic) Asians, despite more pigmentation, had 25-OHD3 levels similar to those found among indigenous British people and had the most satisfactory vitamin D intakes. Among Asians, whose exposure to sunlight may be limited, dietary vitamin D becomes the major determinant of serum 25-OHD3.  (+info)

(2/2012) Methods used to study household coping strategies in rural South West Uganda.

This paper describes the data collection methods used in a longitudinal study of the coping strategies of 27 households in three villages in the study area of the MRC/ODA Research Programme on AIDS in Uganda. After pre-testing and piloting, 9 local interviewers made regular visits to the 27 study households over a period of just over one year. The households were purposively selected to represent different household types and socioeconomic status categories. Data were obtained through participant observation using a checklist to ensure systematic collection of data on household activities. Debriefing sessions with the interviewers after the visits provided opportunities for the discussion of the findings and exploration of themes for further study. On the basis of the study findings, and data from the Programme's general study population survey rounds, broad indicators of household 'vulnerability' were identified. A participatory appraisal technique, 'well-being ranking', was used at the end of the study in order to test the viability of the chosen indicators. It is proposed that the example of the research method, which relied on local people not only as interviewers but also as co-investigators in the research, be used to guide future research approaches. The participation of the study community at every stage of research and design, as well as monitoring and evaluation of supportive interventions, is strongly encouraged.  (+info)

(3/2012) Whose policy is it anyway? International and national influences on health policy development in Uganda.

As national resources for health decline, so dependence on international resources to finance the capital and recurrent costs is increasing. This dependence, combined with an increasing emphasis on policy-based, as opposed to project-based, lending and grant-making has been accompanied by greater involvement of international actors in the formation of national health policy. This paper explores the process of health policy development in Uganda and examines how major donors are influencing and conflicting with national policy-making bodies. Focusing on two examples of user fees and drugs policies, it argues that while the content of international prescriptions to strengthen the health system may not be bad in itself, the process by which they are applied potentially threatens national sovereignty and weakens mechanisms for ensuring accountability. It concludes by proposing that in order to increase the sustainability of policy reforms, much greater emphasis should be placed on strengthening national capacity for policy analysis and research, building up policy networks and enhancing the quality of information available to the public concerning key policy changes.  (+info)

(4/2012) Village-based AIDS prevention in a rural district in Uganda.

OBJECTIVE: To design, implement and evaluate a village-based AIDS prevention programme in a rural district in north-western Uganda. A baseline KAP survey of the general population was carried out to design a district-wide information campaign and condom promotion programme. Eighteen months later the impact achieved was measured through a second KAP survey, using the same methodology. METHODS: Anonymous structured interviews were conducted in March 1991 and October 1992 with 1486 and 1744 randomly selected individuals age 15-49, respectively. RESULTS: At 18 months, 60% of respondents had participated in an information session in the past year (47% women, 71% men) and 42% had received a pamphlet about AIDS (26% women, 58% men). Knowledge about AIDS, high initially (94%), reached 98%. More respondents knew that the incubation period is longer than one year (from 29% to 40%), and were willing to take care of a PWA (from 60% to 77%). Knowledge about condoms increased from 26 to 63% in women and 57 to 91% in men. Ever use of condoms among persons having engaged in casual sex in the past year increased from 6 to 33% in women, and 27 to 48% in men. Fifty per cent of condom users criticized lack of regular access to condoms. CONCLUSIONS: This is the first documented example of the impact a village-based AIDS prevention programme can achieve in a rural African community. Critical areas to be improved were identified, such as: women must be given better access to information, more attention must be paid to explain the asymptomatic state of HIV infection in appropriate terms, and condom social marketing must be developed.  (+info)

(5/2012) The use of formal and informal services for antenatal care and malaria treatment in rural Uganda.

The study aimed to analyze reasons for the use or non-use of antenatal care services and malaria treatment among pregnant women living in rural areas in Uganda. Focus group discussions with pregnant women, in-depth interviews with key informants (Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs) and health workers) and a structured questionnaire administered to pregnant women were used to collect the relevant information. Antenatal care attendance was irregular and few women knew that the purpose of attending antenatal care was to monitor both the growth of the baby and the health status of the woman. Parity significantly influenced antenatal care attendance, but level of education, religion and marital status did not. Fifty-five per cent of the women stated that they had delivered outside the formal health delivery system despite antenatal care attendance. All women in their second pregnancy had delivered their first child in the village, despite TBA training to the contrary. Malaria as perceived by pregnant women is common and multiple health service providers are used for its treatment. About 66% of the mothers reported having suffered from malaria during the current pregnancy; of these more than half had received treatment outside the formal health delivery system. Self-treatment with drugs bought from ordinary shops was commonly reported. Nearly all women (93.3%) knew about the antimalarial drug chloroquine and 83% thought that it was used for the treatment of malaria, not for its prevention. Some women believed that the drug could cause abortion. Health seeking behaviour was influenced by several factors, including the perceived high cost of antenatal care services, of conducting a delivery and treatment, and perceived inadequacy of services provided by the formal health system. Inadequacy of formal health services was perceived by users to be partly due to understaffing and to irregular supply of essential drugs. Intensive health education to pregnant women on the safety of chloroquine use in pregnancy, the importance and the need for regular antenatal care attendance are recommended. In addition, training of more TBAs and continued educational efforts to upgrade their knowledge, regular and adequate supply of essential drugs, and free health services for high-risk groups such as pregnant women are recommended to improve antenatal care services and drug prophylaxis use in pregnancy.  (+info)

(6/2012) Ivermectin distribution using community volunteers in Kabarole district, Uganda.

Ivermectin mass distribution for the control of onchocerciasis in Uganda began in 1991. This report describes a community based ivermectin distribution programme covering two foci in the Kabarole district which have an estimated 32,000 persons infected and another 110,000 at risk. Through nodule palpation in adult males, 143 villages were identified where nodule prevalence exceeded 20%. Skin snips were also taken from a sample of the population to measure changes in community microfilarial load (CMFL) with treatment. The delivery programme was integrated into the district health management structure, and used community volunteers supervised by medical assistants from adjacent health facilities for annual ivermectin distribution campaigns. After initial efforts by the community to support distributors in-kind proved inadequate, ivermectin distributors earned money retailing condoms as part of the social marketing component of district STD/AIDS programme. Reduction in the CMFL ranged from 40-62% twelve months after the second ivermectin treatment in three villages, and from 69-84% six months after the fourth round of treatment in two villages. After four years of treatment, 85% of eligible persons were receiving ivermectin from community volunteers in each treatment cycle. Drop out rates among volunteers did not exceed 20% over the four years reported here. The direct cost of treatment was US $0.29 per person. Among the reasons for low per-person treatment costs were the strong supervisory structure, the presence of health centres in the foci and a well developed and capable district Primary Health Care management team.  (+info)

(7/2012) Asymptomatic non-ulcerative genital tract infections in a rural Ugandan population.

OBJECTIVE: To document the prevalence of asymptomatic non-ulcerative genital tract infections (GTI) in a rural African cohort. METHODS: The study population consisted of all adults aged 15-59 residing in 56 rural communities of Rakai District, southwest Uganda, enrolled in the Rakai STD Control for AIDS Prevention Study. Participants were interviewed about the occurrence of vaginal or urethral discharge and frequent or painful urination in the previous 6 months. Respondents were asked to provide blood and a first catch urine sample. Serum was tested for HIV-1. Urine was tested with ligase chain reaction (LCR) for N gonorrhoeae and C trachomatis. Women provided two self administered vaginal swabs; one for T vaginalis culture and the other for a Gram stained slide for bacterial vaginosis (BV) diagnosis. RESULTS: A total of 12,827 men and women were enrolled. Among 5140 men providing specimens, 0.9% had gonorrhoea and 2.1% had chlamydia. Among 6356 women, 1.5% had gonorrhoea, 2.4% had chlamydia, 23.8% were infected with trichomonas and 50.9% had BV.53% of men and 66% of women with gonorrhoea did not report genital discharge or dysuria at anytime within the previous 6 months. 92% of men and 76% of women with chlamydia and over 80% of women with trichomonas or BV were asymptomatic. The sensitivities of dysuria or urethral discharge for detection of infection with either gonorrhoea or chlamydia among men were only 21.4% and 9.8% respectively; similarly, among women the sensitivity of dysuria was 21.0% while that of vaginal discharge was 11.6%. For trichomonas or BV the sensitivity of dysuria was 11.7% and that of vaginal discharge was 10.5%. CONCLUSION: The prevalence of non-ulcerative GTIs is very high in this rural African population and the majority are asymptomatic. Reliance on reported symptoms alone would have missed 80% of men and 72% of women with either gonorrhoea or chlamydia, and over 80% of women with trichomonas or BV. To achieve STD control in this and similar populations public health programmes must target asymptomatic infections.  (+info)

(8/2012) Poverty and eosinophilia are risk factors for endomyocardial fibrosis (EMF) in Uganda.

OBJECTIVE: To determine the relative risks of socio-demographic, dietary, and environmental factors for endomyocardial fibrosis (EMF) in Uganda. METHOD: Unmatched case control study in Mulago Hospital, Kampala. Cases (n = 61) were sequential patients hospitalized with an echocardiographic diagnosis of EMF from June 1995 to March 1996. Controls (n = 120) were concurrent patients with other forms of heart disease (heart controls, n = 59) and subjects admitted for trauma or elective surgery (hospital controls, n = 61). All consenting subjects answered a structured questionnaire administered by trained interviewers. Complete blood counts, malaria films and stool examination for ova and parasites were performed. Questionnaires elicited information on home address, economic circumstances, variables concerned with environmental exposures and usual diet before becoming ill. RESULTS: After adjustment for age and sex, cases were significantly more likely than controls to have Rwanda/Burundi ethnic origins (P = 0.008). Compared with controls, cases had a lower level of education (P < 0.001 for heart controls and P = 0.07 for hospital controls), were more likely to be peasants (P < 0.001), and to come from Luwero or Mukono Districts (P = 0.003). After further adjustment for peasant occupation, cases were more likely than controls to walk barefoot (P = 0.015), consume cassava as their staple food (P < 0.001) and to lack fish or meat in dietary sauces (P = 0.02). Cases were more likely to exhibit absolute eosinophilia (P = 0.006). The effect of cassava diet was more marked in the younger age group, while the effect of eosinophilia was greater in adults. Socio-economic disadvantage is a risk for EMF. Absolute eosinophilia is a putative cause of EMF, a finding not explained by parasitism. CONCLUSION: Data indicate that relative poverty and environmental factors triggering eosinophilia appear to act in a geographically restricted region of Uganda in the aetiology of EMF.  (+info)