[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Data needed to estimate causes of death and the pattern of these deaths are scarce in sub-Saharan Africa. Such data are very important for targeting, monitoring, and evaluating health interventions.
Global Health Action 10/2014; 7(25543). · 2.06 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Because most deaths in Africa and Asia are not well documented, estimates of mortality are often made using scanty data. The INDEPTH Network works to alleviate this problem by collating detailed individual data from defined Health and Demographic Surveillance sites. By registering all deaths over time and carrying out verbal autopsies to determine cause of death across many such sites, using standardised methods, the Network seeks to generate population-based mortality statistics that are not otherwise available.
Global Health Action 10/2014; 7:25362. · 1.65 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Crude rates such as the crude death rate are functions of both the age-specific rates and the age composition of a population. However, differences in the age structure between two populations or two time periods can result in specious differences in the corresponding crude rates making direct comparisons between populations or across time inappropriate. Therefore, when comparing crude rates between populations, it is desirable to eliminate or minimize the influence of age composition. This task is accomplished by using a standard age structure yielding an age-standardized rate. This paper proposes an updated International Network for the Demographic Evaluation of Populations and Their Health (INDEPTH) standard for use in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) based on newly available data from the health and demographic surveillance system site members of the INDEPTH network located throughout Africa and southern Asia. The updated INDEPTH standard should better reflect the age structure of LMICs and result in more accurate health indicators and demographic rates. We demonstrate use of the new INDEPTH standard along with several existing 'world' standards and show how resulting age-standardized crude deaths rates differ when using the various standard age compositions.
Global Health Action 03/2014; 7:23286. · 1.65 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Between May 2010 and October 2012, approximately 12.5 million long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs) were distributed through a national universal mass distribution campaign in Ghana. The campaign included pre-registration of persons and sleeping places, door-to-door distribution of LLINs with 'hang-up' activities by volunteers and post-distribution 'keep-up' behaviour change communication activities. Hang-up activities were included to encourage high and sustained use.
The cost and cost-effectiveness of the LLIN Campaign were evaluated using a before-after design in three regions: Brong Ahafo, Central and Western. The incremental cost effectiveness of the 'hang-up' component was estimated using reported variation in the implementation of hang-up activities and LLIN use. Economic costs were estimated from a societal perspective assuming LLINs would be replaced after three years, and included the time of unpaid volunteers and household contributions given to volunteers.
Across the three regions, 3.6 million campaign LLINs were distributed, and 45.5% of households reported the LLINs received were hung-up by a volunteer. The financial cost of the campaign was USD 6.51 per LLIN delivered. The average annual economic cost was USD 2.90 per LLIN delivered and USD 6,619 per additional child death averted by the campaign. The cost-effectiveness of the campaign was sensitive to the price, lifespan and protective efficacy of LLINs.Hang-up activities constituted 7% of the annual economic cost, though the additional financial cost was modest given the use of volunteers. LLIN use was greater in households in which one or more campaign LLINs were hung by a volunteer (OR = 1.57; 95% CI = 1.09, 2.27; p = 0.02). The additional economic cost of the hang-up activities was USD 0.23 per LLIN delivered, and achieved a net saving per LLIN used and per death averted.
In this campaign, hang-up activities were estimated to be net saving if hang-up increased LLIN use by 10% or more. This suggests hang-up activities can make a LLIN campaign more cost-effective.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In resource-constrained settings of developing countries, promotion of community-based health interventions through community health workers (CHWs) is an important strategy to improve child health. However, there are concerns about the sustainability of such programmes owing to the high rate of CHW attrition. This study examined factors influencing retention of volunteer CHWs in a cluster randomised trial on community management of under-5 fever in a rural Ghanaian district.
Data were obtained from structured interviews (n=520) and focus group discussions (n=5) with CHWs. Factors influencing CHWs' decisions to remain or leave the programme were analysed using a probit model, and focus group discussion results were used to elucidate the findings.
The attrition rate among CHWs was 21.2%. Attrition was comparatively higher in younger age groups (25.9% in 15-25 years group, 18.2% in 26-45 years group and 16.5% in ≥46 years group). Approval of a CHW by the community (p<0.001) and the CHW's immediate family (p<0.05) were significant in influencing the probability of remaining in the programme. Motivation for retention was related to the desire to serve their communities as well as humanitarian and religious reasons.
The relatively moderate rate of attrition could be attributed to the high level of community involvement in the selection process as well as other aspects of the intervention leading to high community approval and support. Attention for these aspects could help improve CHW retention in community-based health interventions in Ghana, and the lessons could be applied to countries within similar settings.
International Health 02/2014; · 1.13 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: As the HIV/AIDS pandemic has evolved over recent decades, Africa has been the most affected region, even though a large proportion of HIV/AIDS deaths have not been documented at the individual level. Systematic application of verbal autopsy (VA) methods in defined populations provides an opportunity to assess the mortality burden of the pandemic from individual data. OBJECTIVE: To present standardised comparisons of HIV/AIDS-related mortality at sites across Africa and Asia, including closely related causes of death such as pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB) and pneumonia. DESIGN: Deaths related to HIV/AIDS were extracted from individual demographic and VA data from 22 INDEPTH sites across Africa and Asia. VA data were standardised to WHO 2012 standard causes of death assigned using the InterVA-4 model. Between-site comparisons of mortality rates were standardised using the INDEPTH 2013 standard population. RESULTS: The dataset covered a total of 10,773 deaths attributed to HIV/AIDS, observed over 12,204,043 person-years. HIV/AIDS-related mortality fractions and mortality rates varied widely across Africa and Asia, with highest burdens in eastern and southern Africa, and lowest burdens in Asia. There was evidence of rapidly declining rates at the sites with the heaviest burdens. HIV/AIDS mortality was also strongly related to PTB mortality. On a country basis, there were strong similarities between HIV/AIDS mortality rates at INDEPTH sites and those derived from modelled estimates. CONCLUSIONS: Measuring HIV/AIDS-related mortality continues to be a challenging issue, all the more so as anti-retroviral treatment programmes alleviate mortality risks. The congruence between these results and other estimates adds plausibility to both approaches. These data, covering some of the highest mortality observed during the pandemic, will be an important baseline for understanding the future decline of HIV/AIDS.
Global Health Action 01/2014; 7:25370. · 1.65 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Malaria continues to be a major cause of infectious disease mortality in tropical regions. However, deaths from malaria are most often not individually documented, and as a result overall understanding of malaria epidemiology is inadequate. INDEPTH Network members maintain population surveillance in Health and Demographic Surveillance System sites across Africa and Asia, in which individual deaths are followed up with verbal autopsies. OBJECTIVE: To present patterns of malaria mortality determined by verbal autopsy from INDEPTH sites across Africa and Asia, comparing these findings with other relevant information on malaria in the same regions. DESIGN: From a database covering 111,910 deaths over 12,204,043 person-years in 22 sites, in which verbal autopsy data were handled according to the WHO 2012 standard and processed using the InterVA-4 model, over 6,000 deaths were attributed to malaria. The overall period covered was 1992-2012, but two-thirds of the observations related to 2006-2012. These deaths were analysed by site, time period, age group and sex to investigate epidemiological differences in malaria mortality. RESULTS: Rates of malaria mortality varied by 1:10,000 across the sites, with generally low rates in Asia (one site recording no malaria deaths over 0.5 million person-years) and some of the highest rates in West Africa (Nouna, Burkina Faso: 2.47 per 1,000 person-years). Childhood malaria mortality rates were strongly correlated with Malaria Atlas Project estimates of Plasmodium falciparum parasite rates for the same locations. Adult malaria mortality rates, while lower than corresponding childhood rates, were strongly correlated with childhood rates at the site level. CONCLUSIONS: The wide variations observed in malaria mortality, which were nevertheless consistent with various other estimates, suggest that population-based registration of deaths using verbal autopsy is a useful approach to understanding the details of malaria epidemiology.
Global Health Action 01/2014; 7:25369. · 1.65 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Mortality from non-communicable diseases (NCDs) is a major global issue, as other categories of mortality have diminished and life expectancy has increased. The World Health Organization's Member States have called for a 25% reduction in premature NCD mortality by 2025, which can only be achieved by substantial reductions in risk factors and improvements in the management of chronic conditions. A high burden of NCD mortality among much older people, who have survived other hazards, is inevitable. The INDEPTH Network collects detailed individual data within defined Health and Demographic Surveillance sites. By registering deaths and carrying out verbal autopsies to determine cause of death across many such sites, using standardised methods, the Network seeks to generate population-based mortality statistics that are not otherwise available. OBJECTIVE: To describe patterns of adult NCD mortality from INDEPTH Network sites across Africa and Asia, according to the WHO 2012 verbal autopsy (VA) cause categories, with separate consideration of premature (15-64 years) and older (65+ years) NCD mortality. DESIGN: All adult deaths at INDEPTH sites are routinely registered and followed up with VA interviews. For this study, VA archives were transformed into the WHO 2012 VA standard format and processed using the InterVA-4 model to assign cause of death. Routine surveillance data also provide person-time denominators for mortality rates. RESULTS: A total of 80,726 adult (over 15 years) deaths were documented over 7,423,497 person-years of observation. NCDs were attributed as the cause for 35.6% of these deaths. Slightly less than half of adult NCD deaths occurred in the 15-64 age group. Detailed results are presented by age and sex for leading causes of NCD mortality. Per-site rates of NCD mortality were significantly correlated with rates of HIV/AIDS-related mortality. CONCLUSIONS: These findings present important evidence on the distribution of NCD mortality across a wide range of African and Asian settings. This comes against a background of global concern about the burden of NCD mortality, especially among adults aged under 70, and provides an important baseline for future work.
Global Health Action 01/2014; 7:25365. · 1.65 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Women continue to die in unacceptably large numbers around the world as a result of pregnancy, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. Part of the problem is a lack of accurate, population-based information characterising the issues and informing solutions. Population surveillance sites, such as those operated within the INDEPTH Network, have the potential to contribute to bridging the information gaps. OBJECTIVE: To describe patterns of pregnancy-related mortality at INDEPTH Network Health and Demographic Surveillance System sites in sub-Saharan Africa and southeast Asia in terms of maternal mortality ratio (MMR) and cause-specific mortality rates. DESIGN: Data on individual deaths among women of reproductive age (WRA) (15-49) resident in INDEPTH sites were collated into a standardised database using the INDEPTH 2013 population standard, the WHO 2012 verbal autopsy (VA) standard, and the InterVA model for assigning cause of death. RESULTS: These analyses are based on reports from 14 INDEPTH sites, covering 14,198 deaths among WRA over 2,595,605 person-years observed. MMRs varied between 128 and 461 per 100,000 live births, while maternal mortality rates ranged from 0.11 to 0.74 per 1,000 person-years. Detailed rates per cause are tabulated, including analyses of direct maternal, indirect maternal, and incidental pregnancy-related deaths across the 14 sites. CONCLUSIONS: As expected, these findings confirmed unacceptably high continuing levels of maternal mortality. However, they also demonstrate the effectiveness of INDEPTH sites and of the VA methods applied to arrive at measurements of maternal mortality that are essential for planning effective solutions and monitoring programmatic impacts.
Global Health Action 01/2014; 7:25368. · 2.06 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Childhood mortality, particularly in the first 5 years of life, is a major global concern and the target of Millennium Development Goal 4. Although the majority of childhood deaths occur in Africa and Asia, these are also the regions where such deaths are least likely to be registered. The INDEPTH Network works to alleviate this problem by collating detailed individual data from defined Health and Demographic Surveillance sites. By registering deaths and carrying out verbal autopsies to determine cause of death across many such sites, using standardised methods, the Network seeks to generate population-based mortality statistics that are not otherwise available. OBJECTIVE: To present a description of cause-specific mortality rates and fractions over the first 15 years of life as documented by INDEPTH Network sites in sub-Saharan Africa and south-east Asia. DESIGN: All childhood deaths at INDEPTH sites are routinely registered and followed up with verbal autopsy (VA) interviews. For this study, VA archives were transformed into the WHO 2012 VA standard format and processed using the InterVA-4 model to assign cause of death. Routine surveillance data also provided person-time denominators for mortality rates. Cause-specific mortality rates and cause-specific mortality fractions are presented according to WHO 2012 VA cause groups for neonatal, infant, 1-4 year and 5-14 year age groups. RESULTS: A total of 28,751 childhood deaths were documented during 4,387,824 person-years over 18 sites. Infant mortality ranged from 11 to 78 per 1,000 live births, with under-5 mortality from 15 to 152 per 1,000 live births. Sites in Vietnam and Kenya accounted for the lowest and highest mortality rates reported. CONCLUSIONS: Many children continue to die from relatively preventable causes, particularly in areas with high rates of malaria and HIV/AIDS. Neonatal mortality persists at relatively high, and perhaps sometimes under-documented, rates. External causes of death are a significant childhood problem in some settings.
Global Health Action 01/2014; 7:25363. · 1.65 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Mortality from external causes, of all kinds, is an important component of overall mortality on a global basis. However, these deaths, like others in Africa and Asia, are often not counted or documented on an individual basis. Overviews of the state of external cause mortality in Africa and Asia are therefore based on uncertain information. The INDEPTH Network maintains longitudinal surveillance, including cause of death, at population sites across Africa and Asia, which offers important opportunities to document external cause mortality at the population level across a range of settings. OBJECTIVE: To describe patterns of mortality from external causes at INDEPTH Network sites across Africa and Asia, according to the WHO 2012 verbal autopsy (VA) cause categories. DESIGN: All deaths at INDEPTH sites are routinely registered and followed up with VA interviews. For this study, VA archives were transformed into the WHO 2012 VA standard format and processed using the InterVA-4 model to assign cause of death. Routine surveillance data also provide person-time denominators for mortality rates. RESULTS: A total of 5,884 deaths due to external causes were documented over 11,828,253 person-years. Approximately one-quarter of those deaths were to children younger than 15 years. Causes of death were dominated by childhood drowning in Bangladesh, and by transport-related deaths and intentional injuries elsewhere. Detailed mortality rates are presented by cause of death, age group, and sex. CONCLUSIONS: The patterns of external cause mortality found here generally corresponded with expectations and other sources of information, but they fill some important gaps in population-based mortality data. They provide an important source of information to inform potentially preventive intervention designs.
Global Health Action 01/2014; 7:25366. · 1.65 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Dodowa Health and Demographic Surveillance System (DHDSS) operates in the south-eastern part of Ghana. It was established in 2005 after an initial attempt in 2003 by the Dodowa Health Research Centre (DHRC) to have an accurate population base for piloting a community health insurance scheme. As at 2010, the DHDSS had registered 111 976 residents in 22 767 households. The district is fairly rural, with scattered settlements. Information on pregnancies, births, deaths, migration and marriages using household registration books administered by trained fieldworkers is obtained biannually. Education, immunization status and household socioeconomic measures are obtained annually and verbal autopsies (VA) are conducted on all deaths. Community key informants (CKI) complement the work of field staff by notifying the field office of events that occur after a fieldworker has left a community. The centre has very close working relationships with the district health directorate and the local government authority. The DHDSS subscribes to the INDEPTH data-sharing policy and in addition, contractual arrangements are made with various institutions on specific data-sharing issues.
International Journal of Epidemiology 12/2013; 42(6):1686-96. · 9.20 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Community health workers in Dangme-West district, Ghana, treated children aged 2-59 months with fever with either artesunate-amodiaquine (AAQ) or AAQ plus amoxicillin (AAQ + AMX) within a cluster-randomized controlled trial (registration no. TDR/UNDP Trial registration A: 20189). The intervention was introduced in a stepped-wedge manner. The aim of the study was reduction of mortality. This paper reports on the reduction of morbidity, notably anaemia, severe anaemia and severe illness. Clusters of 100 children were randomized in to AAQ, AAQ + AMX and pre-intervention arms. Six months later the pre-intervention clusters were randomized in to the AAQ and AAQ + AMX arms.
Data were collected in eight cross-sectional surveys. Using stratified sampling, 10 clusters were randomly selected per survey. Blood samples were taken to assess haemoglobin. Caregivers were interviewed about diseases (signs and symptoms) among their children in the preceding 14 days. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was used to determine the impact on anaemia, severe anaemia and severe illness.
Compared with the pre-intervention clusters, anaemia was reduced in the AAQ (OR = 0.20, 95% CI 0.12-0.33) and AAQ + AMX (OR = 0.23, 95% CI 0.15-0.36) clusters, severe anaemia was reduced in the AAQ (OR = 0.20, 95% CI 0.09-0.45) and AAQ + AMX (OR = 0.12, 95% CI 0.04-0.31) clusters and severe illness was reduced in the AAQ (OR = 0.46, 95% CI 0.26-0.80) and AAQ + AMX (OR = 0.38, 95% CI 0.22-0.63) clusters. No significant differences were found in outcome variables between the AAQ and AAQ + AMX clusters.
Treating fever with antimalarials significantly reduced the prevalence of anaemia, severe anaemia and severe illness. We found no significant reduction in outcomes when the AAQ and AAQ+AMX clusters were compared.
International Health 09/2013; 5(3):228-35. · 1.13 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Community health workers (CHW) manage simple childhood illnesses in many developing countries. Information on CHWs' referral practices is limited. As part of a large cluster-randomised trial, this study assessed CHWs' adherence to dosing and referral guidelines.
Records of consultations of children aged 2-59 months with fever managed by CHWs were analysed. Appropriate use of drugs was defined as provision of the correct drug pack(s) for the child's age group. Symptoms requiring referral were categorised into danger signs, respiratory distress and symptoms indicating other illnesses. Multivariate logistic regression examined symptoms most likely to be noted as requiring referral and those associated with provision of a written referral.
Most children (11 659/12 330; 94.6%) received the appropriate drug. Only 161 of 1758 (9.2%) children who, according to the guidelines required referral were provided with a written referral. Not drinking/breastfeeding, persistent vomiting, unconsciousness/lethargy, difficultly breathing, fast breathing, bloody stool, sunken eyes and pallor were symptoms significantly associated with being identified by CHWs as needing referral or receiving a written referral.
CHWs' adherence to dosing guidelines was high. Adherence to referral guidelines was inadequate. More effort needs to be put into strengthening referral practices of CHWs within comparable community programmes.
International Health 06/2013; 5(2):148-56. · 1.13 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The National Tuberculosis Programs of Ghana, Viet Nam and the Dominican Republic.
To assess the direct and indirect costs of tuberculosis (TB) diagnosis and treatment for patients and households.
Each country translated and adapted a structured questionnaire, the Tool to Estimate Patients' Costs. A random sample of new adult patients treated for at least 1 month was interviewed in all three countries.
Across the countries, 27-70% of patients stopped working and experienced reduced income, 5-37% sold property and 17-47% borrowed money due to TB. Hospitalisation costs (US42-118) and additional food items formed the largest part of direct costs during treatment. Average total patient costs (US538-1268) were equivalent to approximately 1 year of individual income.
We observed similar patterns and challenges of TB-related costs for patients across the three countries. We advocate for global, united action for TB patients to be included under social protection schemes and for national TB programmes to improve equitable access to care.
The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease 03/2013; 17(3):381-7. · 2.76 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Malaria and pneumonia are leading causes of childhood mortality. Home Management of fever as Malaria (HMM) enables presumptive treatment with antimalarial drugs but excludes pneumonia. We aimed to evaluate the impact of adding an antibiotic, amoxicillin (AMX) to an antimalarial, artesunate amodiaquine (AAQ + AMX) for treating fever among children 2–59 months of age within the HMM strategy on all-cause mortality. In a stepped-wedge cluster-randomized, open trial, children 2–59 months of age with fever treated with AAQ or AAQ + AMX within HMM were compared with standard care. Mortality reduced significantly by 30% (rate ratio [RR] = 0.70, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.53–0.92, P = 0.011) in AAQ clusters and by 44% (RR = 0.56, 95% CI = 0.41–0.76, P = 0.011) in AAQ + AMX clusters compared with control clusters. The 21% mortality reduction between AAQ and AAQ + AMX (RR = 0.79, 95% CI = 0.56–1.12, P = 0.195) was however not statistically significant. Community fever management with antimalarials significantly reduces under-five mortality. Given the lower mortality trend, adding an antibiotic is more beneficial.
The American journal of tropical medicine and hygiene 11/2012; 87(5 Suppl):11-20. · 2.74 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To assess the cost-effectiveness of two strategies of home management of under-five fevers in Ghana - treatment using antimalarials only (artesunate-amodiaquine - AAQ) and combined treatment using antimalarials and antibiotics (artesunate-amodiaquine plus amoxicillin - AAQ + AMX).
We assessed the costs and cost-effectiveness of AAQ and AAQ + AMX compared with a control receiving standard care. Data were collected as part of a cluster randomised controlled trial with a step-wedged design. Approximately, 12,000 children aged 2-59 months in Dangme West District in southern Ghana were covered. Community health workers delivered the interventions. Costs were analysed from societal perspective, using anaemia cases averted, under-five deaths averted and disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) averted as effectiveness measures.
Total economic costs for the interventions were US$ 204,394.72 (AAQ) and US$ 260,931.49 (AAQ + AMX). Recurrent costs constituted 89% and 90% of the total direct costs of AAQ and AAQ + AMX, respectively. Deaths averted were 79.1 (AAQ) and 79.9 (AAQ + AMX), with DALYs averted being 2264.79 (AAQ) and 2284.57 (AAQ + AMX). The results show that cost per anaemia case averted were US$ 150.18 (AAQ) and US$ 227.49 (AAQ + AMX) and cost per death averted was US$ 2585.58 for AAQ and US$ 3272.20 for AAQ + AMX. Cost per DALY averted were US$ 90.25 (AAQ) and US$ 114.21 (AAQ + AMX).
Both AAQ and AAQ + AMX approaches were cost-effective, each averting one DALY at less than the standard US$ 150 threshold recommended by the World Health Organisation. However, AAQ was more cost-effective. Home management of under-five fevers in rural settings is cost-effective in reducing under-five mortality.
Tropical Medicine & International Health 05/2012; 17(8):951-7. · 2.30 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Ghana is a Buruli ulcer (BU) endemic country yet there is paucity of socio-cultural research on BU. Examining distinctive experiences and meanings for pre-ulcers and ulcers of BU may clarify the disease burden, illness experience and local perceptions of causes and spread, and environmental features of BU, which are useful to guide public health programmes and future research. This study aimed to explain local meanings and experiences of BU for persons with pre-ulcers and ulcers in the Ga-West and Ga-South municipalities in Accra.
Semi-structured interviews based on the Explanatory Model Interview Catalogue framework were administered to 181 respondents comprising 15 respondents with pre-ulcers and 166 respondents with ulcers. The Wilcoxon rank-sum test was used to compare categories of illness experiences (PD) and perceived causes (PC) among respondents with pre-ulcer and ulcer conditions. The Fisher's exact test was used to compare the most troubling PD and the most important PC variables. Qualitative phenomenological analysis of respondents' narratives clarified illness experiences and meanings with reference to PC and PD variables.
Families of respondents with pre-ulcers and the respondents themselves were often anxious about disease progression, while families of respondents with ulcers, who had to give care, worried about income loss and disruption of school attendance. Respondents with pre-ulcers frequently reported swimming in ponds and rivers as a perceived cause and considered it as the most important PC (53.3%). Respondents with ulcers frequently attributed their BU illness to witchcraft (64.5%) and respondents who claimed they had no water contact, questioned the credibility of health messages
Affected persons with pre-ulcers are likely to delay treatment because of social and financial constraints and the absence of pain. Scepticism on the role of water in disease contagion and prolonged healing is perceived to make ideas of witchcraft as a PC more credible, among respondents with ulcers. Health messages should address issues of locally perceived risk and vulnerability. Guided by study findings, further research on the role of environmental, socio-cultural and genetic factors in BU contagion, is also needed to clarify and formulate health messages and strengthen public health initiatives.
BMC Public Health 04/2012; 12:264. · 2.32 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Public health programmes recommend timely medical treatment for Buruli ulcer (BU) infection to prevent pre-ulcer conditions from progressing to ulcers, to minimise surgery, disabilities and the socio-economic impact of BU. Clarifying the role of socio-cultural determinants of timely medical treatment may assist in guiding public health programmes to improve treatment outcomes. This study clarified the role of socio-cultural determinants and health system factors affecting timely medical treatment for BU in an endemic area in Ghana.
A semi-structured explanatory model interview based on the explanatory model interview catalogue (EMIC) was administered to 178 BU-affected persons. Based on research evidence, respondents were classified as timely treatment (use of medical treatment 3 months from awareness of disease) and delayed treatment (medical treatment 3 months after onset of disease and failure to use medical treatment). The outcome variable, timely treatment was analysed with cultural epidemiological variables for categories of distress, perceived causes of BU, outside-help and reasons for medical treatment in logistic regression models. The median time for the onset of symptoms to treatment was computed in days. Qualitative phenomenological analysis of respondents' narratives clarified the meaning, context and dynamic features of the relationship of explanatory variables with timely medical treatment.
The median time for initiating treatment was 25 days for pre-ulcers, and 204 days for ulcers. Income loss and use of herbalists showed significantly negative associations with timely treatment. Respondents' use of herbalists was often motivated by the desire for quick recovery in order to continue with work and because herbalists were relatives and easily accessible. However, drinking unclean water was significantly associated with timely treatment and access to health services encouraged timely treatment (OR 8.5, p = 0.012). Findings show that health system factors of access are responsible for non-compliance to treatment regimes.
Findings highlight the importance of an integrated approach to BU control and management considering the social and economic features that influence delayed treatment and factors that encourage timely medical treatment. This approach should consider periodic screening for early case-detection, collaboration with private practitioners and traditional healers, use of mobile services to improve access, adherence and treatment outcomes.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study examined sociocultural features of help-seeking for Buruli ulcer-affected persons with pre-ulcers and ulcers in a disease-endemic area in Ghana. A sample of 181 respondents were purposively selected. Fisher's exact test was used to compare help-seeking variables for pre-ulcers and ulcers. Qualitative phenomenologic analysis of narratives clarified the meaning and content of selected quantitative help-seeking variables. For pre-ulcers, herbal dressings were used to expose necrotic tissues and subsequently applied as dressings for ulcers. Analgesics and left-over antibiotics were used to ease pain and reduce inflammation. Choices for outside-help were influenced by the perceived effectiveness of the treatment, the closeness of the provider to residences, and family and friends. Health education is required to emphasize the risk of self-medication with antibiotics and the importance of medical treatment for pre-ulcers, and to caution against the use of herbs to expose necrotic tissues, which could lead to co-infections.
The American journal of tropical medicine and hygiene 12/2011; 85(6):1106-13. · 2.53 Impact Factor