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The Guidelines for Cancer Management in Kenya is a systematically developed document designed to guide health care workers and allied disciplines in making decisions for man- aging cancer in a consistent and standardized manner. They encourage a uniform approach to prevention, control and treatment of cancer in different circumstances.

Global public health initiatives in developing countries have increased access to medicines including those for HIV/AIDS, Malaria, and Tuberculosis (TB). This access creates the need to systematically monitor and promote the safety and effectiveness of these medicines via national pharmacovigilance programs.

A poster presented at a MSH Kenya symposium, Achieving Universal Health Coverage through Stronger Health Systems, April 28, 2014, Crown Plaza Hotel, Nairobi Upper Hill.

A poster presented at a MSH Kenya symposium, Achieving Universal Health Coverage through Stronger Health Systems, April 28, 2014, Crown Plaza Hotel, Nairobi Upper Hill.

A poster presented at a MSH Kenya symposium, Achieving Universal Health Coverage through Stronger Health Systems, April 28, 2014, Crown Plaza Hotel, Nairobi Upper Hill.

A poster presented at a MSH Kenya symposium, Achieving Universal Health Coverage through Stronger Health Systems, April 28, 2014, Crown Plaza Hotel, Nairobi Upper Hill.

To document the prevalence of multidrug resistance among people newly diagnosed with--and those retreated for--tuberculosis in Malawi, we conducted a nationally representative survey of people with sputum-smear-positive tuberculosis between 2010 and 2011. For all consenting participants, we collected demographic and clinical data, two sputum samples and tested for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).The samples underwent resistance testing at the Central Reference Laboratory in Lilongwe, Malawi. All Mycobacterium tuberculosis isolates found to be multidrug-resistant were retested for resistance to first-line drugs – and tested for resistance to second-line drugs--at a Supranational Tuberculosis Reference Laboratory in South Africa. Overall, M. tuberculosis was isolated from 1777 (83.8%) of the 2120 smear-positive tuberculosis patients. Multidrug resistance was identified in five (0.4%) of 1196 isolates from new cases and 28 (4.8%) of 581 isolates from people undergoing retreatment. Of the 31 isolates from retreatment cases who had previously failed treatment, nine (29.0%) showed multidrug resistance. Although resistance to second-line drugs was found, no cases of extensive drug-resistant tuberculosis were detected. HIV testing of people from whom M. tuberculosis isolates were obtained showed that 577 (48.2%) of people newly diagnosed and 386 (66.4%) of people undergoing retreatment were positive. The prevalence of multidrug resistance among people with smear-positive tuberculosis was low for sub-Saharan Africa--probably reflecting the strength of Malawi’s tuberculosis control programme. The relatively high prevalence of such resistance observed among those with previous treatment failure may highlight a need for a change in the national policy for retreating this subgroup of people with tuberculosis.

In July 2011, Malawi introduced an ambitious public health program known as “Option B+,” which provides all HIV- infected pregnant and breastfeeding women with lifelong combination antiretroviral therapy, regardless of clinical stage or CD4 count. Option B+ is expected to have benefits for HIV-infected women, their HIV-exposed infants, and their HIV-uninfected male sex partners. However, these benefits hinge on early uptake of prevention of mother-to-child transmission, good adherence, and long-term retention in care. The Prevention of mother-to-child transmission Uptake and REtention (PURE) study is a 3-arm cluster randomized controlled trial to evaluate whether clinic- or community-based peer support will improve care-seeking and retention in care by HIV- infected pregnant and breastfeeding women, their HIV-exposed infants, and their male sex partners, and ultimately improve health outcomes in all 3 populations. We describe the PURE Malawi Consortium, the initial work conducted to inform the trial and interventions, the trial design, and the analysis plan. We then discuss concerns and expected contributions to Malawi and the region.

On November 6, 2013, the Kenya ministry of health launched cancer management guidelines. Prior to the guidelines, cancer prevention and treatment had been addressed in divergent ways by the few physicians and practitioners, most of whom are not prepared to handle these challenges.

This third issue of the Newsletter - HCSM Recap, builds upon previous editions in bringing out the latest global best practices in commodity management, supply chain and health systems strengthening. It puts Kenya experiences into global perspective as well as bringing out issues pertaining to the unique county set up.

Launched in 2009, the Integrated Health Systems Strengthening Project (IHSSP) expanded on work initiated by the Rwanda HIV/Performance-Based Financing Project (2005 – 2009), also funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by Management Sciences for Health (MSH).

Integrated community case management (iCCM) can be an effective strategy for expanding the provision of diarrhea, pneumonia, and malaria services to children under 5 years old but there are concerns in some countries about the corresponding cost and impact. This paper presents and compares findings from a multi–country analysis of iCCM program costs. Data were collected on iCCM programs in seven sub–Saharan African countries: Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Malawi, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Sudan and Zambia. The data were used to compare some elements of program performance as well as costs per capita and costs per service (which are key indicators of resource allocation and efficiency). A comprehensive understanding of iCCM program costs and results can help countries obtain resources and use them efficiently. To be cost–effective and affordable, iCCM programs must be well utilized, while program management and supervision should be organized to minimize costs and ensure quality of care. iCCM programs will not always be low–cost, however, particularly in small, remote villages where supervision and supply challenges are greater.

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Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax Under section 501(c), 527, or 4947(a)(1) of the Internal Revenue Code

The five-year anniversary of the Haitian earthquake brings Haiti to the forefront of international development conversations once again. Much of the dialogue has focused on the setbacks of large-scale infrastructure and rebuilding projects, but there has been important progress in some sectors, especially the health sector.

The importance of skilled management and inspired leadership are increasingly evident to those who are working to improve health system performance. Many of the critical challenges facing Kenya’s health system, including scarce resources and the changes resulting from devolution, are exacerbated by weak or absent management and leadership skills.

To reach communities underserved by the public health sector in Uganda, STRIDES for Family Health engaged private health care providers through a performance-based contracting (PBC) program. This intervention was one of STRIDES’ key strategies in providing access to quality health care for rural populations in Uganda.

Although there is evidence of the effectiveness of needle and syringe programme (NSP), opioid substitution therapy (OST) and antiretroviral therapy (ART) in reducing HIV prevalence, most Central and Eastern European sub-regions still have low or no coverage of most or all of these interventions. We conducted a modelling analysis to consider the potential impact on HIV incidence and prevalence of OST, NSP, and ART in three illustrative epidemic scenarios: Russia (St. Petersburg), Estonia (Tallinn), and Tajikistan (Dushanbe). For each intervention, we consider the coverage needed of each intervention separately or in combination to: (1) achieve a 30% or 50% relative reduction in HIV incidence or prevalence over 10 years; and (2) reduce HIV incidence to below 1% or HIV prevalence below 10% after 20 years. A sensitivity analysis for St. Petersburg considered the implications of greater or no risk heterogeneity, none or more sexual HIV transmission, like-with-like mixing, different injecting cessation rates, and assuming a lower HIV acute phase cofactor. The projections suggest that high but achievable coverage levels of NSP can result in large decreases (30%) in HIV incidence in settings with high HIV prevalence among PWID. Required coverage levels are much lower when interventions are combined or in lower prevalence settings. However, even when all three interventions are combined, the targets of reducing HIV incidence to less than 1% or prevalence to less than 10% in 20 years may be hard to achieve except in lower prevalence settings.

Hypoglycemia is a major cause of morbidity and mortality among preterm infants, and its management remains a challenge in resource-limited settings.

In response to concerns about the emergence of HIV drug resistance (HIVDR), the World Health Organization (WHO) has developed a comprehensive set of early warning indicators (EWIs) to monitor HIV drug resistance and good programme practice at antiretroviral therapy (ART) sites. In 2012, Namibia utilized the updated WHO EWI guidance and abstracted data from adult and pediatric patients from 50 ART sites for the following EWIs: 1. On-time Pill Pick-up, 2. Retention in Care, 3. Pharmacy Stock-outs, 4. Dispensing Practices, and 5. Virological Suppression. The successful 2012 EWI exercise provides Namibia a solid evidence base, which can be used to make national statements about programmatic functioning and possible HIVDR. This evidence base will serve to contextualize results from Namibia's surveys of HIVDR, which involves genotype testing. EWI abstraction has prompted the national program and its counterparts to engage sites in dialogue regarding the need to strengthen adherence and retention of patients on ART. The EWI collection process and EWI results will serve to optimize patient care and support Namibia in making evidence-based recommendations and take action to minimize the emergence of preventable HIVDR.

Tajikistan and other Central Asian republics are facing intertwined epidemics of injecting drug use and HIV. This paper aims to examine drug scene, drug use, drug-related infectious diseases, drug treatment and other responses to health consequences of drug injecting in two Tajik cities of Kulob (Khatlon Region) and Khorog (Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast). We conducted 12 focus group discussions in Kulob and Khorog and analysed peer-reviewed literature, published and unpublished programme and country reports and other publications that focused on substance use and/or HIV/AIDS in Tajikistan and included the Khatlon and Gorno-Badakhshan regions. Tajikistan IBBS data point to the potential problems in using composite national prevalence as an adequate reflection of the HIV epidemic among PWID in the country and highlight the importance of examining site-specific prevalence rates for better understanding of the dynamics of the epidemic over time, as well as potential problems related to the reliability of data. Furthermore, our analysis highlights that in a country where almost all PWID inject opiates, agonist treatment should be an intervention of choice. Scaling-up both OST and ART coverage must be seen as the top priority for reducing HIV prevalence and incidence in Tajikistan. Naloxone distribution programmes need to be expanded and drug treatment, harm reduction, and HIV services that meet the specific needs of female injecting drug users should be put in place.

We assessed adherence to standards of HIV care among health workers in the West Nile Region of Uganda. We conducted a cross-sectional study in nine health facilities and assessed records of a cohort of 270 HIV clients that enrolled on ART 12 months prior. The performance of each health facility on the different indicators of standards of HIV/AIDS care was determined and compared with the recommended national guidelines. Adherence to standards of HIV/AIDS care at facilities was inadequate. Performance was better at the start of ART but declined during the follow-up period. Higher level facilities were more likely to adhere to standards like CD4 monitoring and maintaining HIV clients on a standard ARV regimen. Efforts geared towards strengthening the health system, including support supervision and provision of care guidelines and job aides are needed, especially for lower level facilities.

The diagnosis of malaria in clinical laboratories mainly depends on blood smear microscopy, and this technique remains the most widely used in Ethiopia. Despite the importance of blood smear microscopy for patients’ diagnosis and treatment, little effort has been made to precisely determine and identify sources of error in malaria smear microscopic diagnosis and quantification of parasitaemia. The main objective of the present study was to assess the laboratory practices of health care laboratories carrying out blood films microscopy. A cross-sectional study was conducted in northwestern Ethiopia involving 29 health care institutes. A structured and pretested questionnaire was used to collect relevant information on the physical conditions, laboratory logistics, and laboratory practices carrying out blood smear microscopy. In most of the health care laboratories studied, availability of laboratory logistics and technical practices for malaria microscopy were found to be below the standard set by World Health Organization. Improving logistics access for malaria microscopy at all level of health care is important to increase accuracy of diagnosis and quantification of malaria parasites. Moreover, continued training and regular supervision of the staff and implementation of quality control program in the area are also crucial.

The Ethiopian HIV epidemic is currently on the wane. However, the situation for infected children is in some ways lagging behind due to low treatment coverage and deficient prevention of mother-to-child transmission. Too few studies have examined HIV infected children presenting to care in low-income countries in general. Considering the presence of local variations in the nature of the epidemic, a study in Ethiopia could be of special value for the continuing fight against HIV. The aim of this study is to describe the main characteristics of children with HIV presenting to care at a district hospital in a resource-limited area in southern Ethiopia. The aim is also to analyse factors affecting pre-ART loss to follow-up, time to ART-initiation, and disease stage upon presentation. The loss to follow-up is alarmingly high and children present too late. Further research is needed to explore specific causes and possible solutions.

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