G Walraven

Medical Research Council Unit, The Gambia Unit, Bakau, Banjul, Gambia

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Publications (36)89.6 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: We investigated the ability of intermittent preventive treatment in pregnancy (IPTp) with sulphadoxine/pyrimethamine to prevent anaemia and low birthweight in Gambian multigravidae. Between July 2002 and February 2004, 2688 multigravidae living in a rural area of The Gambia received SP (1346 women) or placebo (1342 women) up to four times during pregnancy and were followed until 6-weeks post-partum. Shortly after delivery, 10.7% of women in the intervention group and 8.8% in the control group were severely anaemic [Hb < 7 g/dl, risk difference = 0.02 (95% CI -0.01, 0.04), P = 0.17]. The overall mean birthweight of infants born to women who had received SP (3103 g) was very similar to that observed in infants born to women in the control group [3075 g; difference = 28 g (95% CI -11 g, 67 g), P = 0.16]. However, among women who did not use a bednet (either insecticide treated or untreated), infants born to women who had received SP weighed more than infants born to women in the control group [3147 g vs. 3044 g; difference 143 g (95% CI 53 g, 232 g), interaction test P < 0.001]. This study did not show that IPTp with SP benefited Gambian multigravidae overall but that it may benefit a sub-group of women who do not use a bednet. In areas such as The Gambia, provision of insecticide-treated bednets to multigravidae may provide an adequate means of protection against malaria in pregnancy without the need for additional IPTp.
    Tropical Medicine & International Health 08/2006; 11(7):992-1002. DOI:10.1111/j.1365-3156.2006.01649.x · 2.30 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The development of effective strategies against cervical cancer in Africa requires accurate type specific data on human papillomavirus (HPV) prevalence, including determination of DNA sequences in order to maximise local vaccine efficacy. We have investigated cervical HPV infection and squamous intraepithelial lesions (SIL) in an unselected cohort of 1061 women in a rural Gambian community. Squamous intraepithelial lesions was diagnosed using cytology and histology, HPV was typed by PCR-ELISA of DNA extracts, which were also DNA sequenced. The prevalence of cervical HPV infection was 13% and SIL were observed in 7% of subjects. Human papillomavirus-16 was most prevalent and most strongly associated with SIL. Also common were HPV-18, -33, -58 and, notably, -35. Human papillomavirus DNA sequencing revealed HPV-16 samples to be exclusively African type 1 (Af1). Subjects of the Wolof ethnic group had a lower prevalence of HPV infection while subjects aged 25-44 years had a higher prevalence of cervical precancer than older or younger subjects. This first report of HPV prevalence in an unselected, unscreened rural population confirms high rates of SIL and HPV infection in West Africa. This study has implications for the vaccination of Gambian and other African populations in the prevention of cervical cancer.
    British Journal of Cancer 11/2005; 93(9):1068-76. DOI:10.1038/sj.bjc.6602736 · 4.82 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To examine the occurrence of bacterial vaginosis (BV) over the menstrual cycle and in relation to menstrual protection materials and sexual intercourse in a rural African setting. Married, regularly menstruating female volunteers were asked to collect self administered swabs on alternate days through four menstrual cycles. BV was assessed using Nugent scores. Menstruation and reported sexual intercourse data were recorded contemporaneously. A crossover design comparing traditional and modern menstrual protection methods was incorporated. Multivariate logistic regression was used to examine associations with BV. 30 women completed four menstrual cycles in the study. Completeness and validity of data from the self administered swabs was high. Greater frequencies of BV were found for all women in the second week of the menstrual cycle relative to days 14+, and markedly higher frequencies of BV were found in the first week in women with infrequent BV. BV was (non-significantly) more frequent when modern pads were used compared with traditional cloths. No association was found between BV and intercourse reported in the previous 4 days; or between the frequency of reported intercourse in one menstrual cycle and BV in either the same menstrual cycle or the next. Similar transient fluctuations over the menstrual cycle were found to those in industrialised countries. We found no evidence that sexual intercourse was associated with increased frequency of BV. Our data do not support hypotheses that menstrual hygiene materials might explain the high prevalences of BV found in sub-Saharan Africa compared to industrialised countries.
    Sexually Transmitted Infections 07/2005; 81(3):242-7. DOI:10.1136/sti.2004.011684 · 3.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The prevalence of cervical cancer is extremely high in low income countries, primarily because of a lack of cytological screening. The link between human papillomavirus (HPV) and cervical cancer has long been recognised, and it has been suggested that isolated HPV testing in women who do not participate in existing screening programmes may be used to identify women at higher risk of developing cervical cancer. This community based study compares two self administered techniques for detecting HPV (tampons and self administered swabs) with a clinician directed technique, the cervical cytobrush. 377 rural women were interviewed and of these 210 women had full gynaecological examination, and accepted all three sampling methods for HPV. HPV typing of DNA extracts was performed using polymerase chain reaction and enzyme linked immunosorbent assay techniques. Using the cervical cytobrush as the gold standard, self administered swabs (SAS) showed a sensitivity of 63.9%, and tampons showed a sensitivity of 72.4%. The acceptability of these two tests was 97.1% and 84.6% respectively. When combining acceptability with sensitivity, the SAS detected 61.9% and the tampons detected 60.9% of the true positives. In a setting where women are at a considerable risk of developing cervical cancer, with no access to a formal screening programme, self directed HPV testing could be a useful screening tool in identifying those women at increased risk who may require further investigation.
    Sexually Transmitted Infections 07/2005; 81(3):239-41. DOI:10.1136/sti.2004.010413 · 3.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Process evaluation has become the mainstay of safe motherhood evaluation in developing countries, yet the extent to which indicators measuring access to obstetric services at the population level reflect levels of maternal mortality is uncertain. In this study we examine the association between population indicators of access to obstetric care and levels of maternal mortality in urban and rural West Africa. In this ecological study we used data on maternal mortality and access to obstetric services from two population-based studies conducted in 16 sites in eight West African countries: the Maternal Mortality and Obstetric Care in West Africa (MAMOCWA) study in rural Sénégal, Guinea-Bissau and The Gambia and the Morbidité Maternelle en Afrique de l'Ouest (MOMA) study in urban Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Mali, Mauritanie, Niger and Sénégal. In rural areas, maternal mortality, excluding early pregnancy deaths, was 601 per 100,000 live births, compared with 241 per 100,000 for urban areas [RR = 2.49 (CI 1.77-3.59)]. In urban areas, the vast majority of births took place in a health facility (83%) or with a skilled provider (69%), while 80% of the rural women gave birth at home without any skilled care. There was a relatively close link between levels of maternal mortality and the percentage of births with a skilled attendant (r = -0.65), in hospital (r = -0.54) or with a Caesarean section (r = -0.59), with marked clustering in urban and rural areas. Within urban or rural areas, none of the process indicators were associated with maternal mortality. Despite the limitations of this ecological study, there can be little doubt that the huge rural-urban differences in maternal mortality are due, at least in part, to differential access to high quality maternity care. Whether any of the indicators examined here will by themselves be good enough as a proxy for maternal mortality is doubtful however, as more than half of the variation in mortality remained unexplained by any one of them.
    Tropical Medicine & International Health 11/2003; 8(10):940-8. DOI:10.1046/j.1365-3156.2003.01111.x · 2.30 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To assess the rapid plasma reagin (RPR) test performance in the field and to evaluate a new rapid syphilis test (RST) as a primary screen for syphilis. 1325 women of reproductive age from rural communities in the Gambia were tested for syphilis seropositivity using a RPR 18 mm circle card and a RST strip. Within 1 week a repeat RPR and a TPHA test were carried out using standard techniques in the laboratory. Comparing field tests to a diagnosis of "active" syphilis defined as laboratory RPR and TPHA positive, the RPR test was 77.5% sensitive and 94.1% specific; the RST was 75.0% sensitive and 95.2% specific. The RST was easier to use and interpret than the RPR test especially where field conditions were difficult. In this setting with a low prevalence of syphilis in the community (3%), the chance of someone with a positive test being confirmed as having serologically active syphilis was less than 50% for both tests. The appropriateness of syphilis screening using RPR testing in antenatal clinics and health centres should be questioned if there is a low prevalence in the population, conditions for testing are poor, and resources limited. There is still an urgent need for an appropriate rapid syphilis test for field use.
    Sexually Transmitted Infections 09/2002; 78(4):282-5. DOI:10.1136/sti.78.4.282 · 3.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A widespread reduction in Plasmodium falciparum gametocyte prevalence could reduce malaria transmission. After infection with P. falciparum, a variable proportion of people are found to be gametocytemic. We analyzed risk factors associated with gametocytemia at presentation and 7 days later. We enrolled 1,198 children in 2 antimalarial drug trials between September and December 1998. The children were assigned to 1 of 4 treatment groups: chloroquine only; pyrimethamine-sulfadoxine (PSD) only; PSD combined with 1 dose of artesunate; and PSD combined with 3 doses of artesunate. By the time of enrollment, 200 (17%) of 1,198 children were gametocyte carriers. Three independent risk factors were associated with gametocytemia at enrollment. Children with anemia were more likely to carry gametocytes, whereas children with fever (> 37.4 degrees C) or high parasite densities (> 100,000 parasites/microL) were less frequently gametocyte carriers. Children with at least 2 of the risk factors were 4 times more likely to be gametocytemic than children with < 2 risk factors (odds ratio [OR], 4.4; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.7-7.1). Seven days after the start of treatment, 355 (37%) of 466 assessable children were found to be gametocyte carriers. Children treated with PSD alone had a significantly higher risk of being gametocytemic by Day 7 compared with children in the other 3 treatment groups. In the subgroup of children who had no detectable gametocytes on enrollment, the effect of treatment with PSD + 3 doses of artesunate was most marked. Nineteen (10%) of 198 children treated with PSD + 3 doses of artesunate became gametocytemic, in contrast to 184 (57%) of 321 children treated with PSD alone (OR, 12.7; 95% CI, 7.3-22.1). Early treatment with highly effective antimalarial therapy has the greatest chance of preventing gametocytemia. The choice of a first-line antimalarial drug for uncomplicated malaria should not only take into consideration the ablation asexual parasitemia but also the suppression of gametocytemia.
    The American journal of tropical medicine and hygiene 11/2001; 65(5):523-7. · 2.74 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Asthma is reported to be rare in traditional rural communities, but is thought to be increasing as lifestyles become more urbanized or 'western'. A community-based survey of non-communicable diseases was conducted from October 1996 to June 1997, and included comparison of the prevalence of asthma, smoking and chronic cough in rural and urban Gambia. A cluster sample survey was conducted in a random sample of rural and urban adults (> or = 15 years of age). Subjects were asked about respiratory symptoms using a locally adapted version based on the IULTD questionnaire. Spirometry (basal, methacholine provocation and reversibility with a bronchodilator) and skin prick tests were performed on a randomly selected subsample of all subjects and those who, when interviewed, said they wheezed or had been diagnosed as asthmatic by a doctor. Out of 2166 participants in the urban population, 4.1% reported having had wheezing or whistling in the chest in the previous 12 months, 3.6% reported doctor-diagnosed asthma, and 0.6% chronic cough. In the rural population with 3223 participants these figures were 3.3%, 0.7% and 1.2%, respectively. Wheeze was more common in women, cough for 3 months of the year was more common in the age-groups 45+. Those who reported that they currently smoked accounted for 34% in urban and 42% in rural men. Figures were much lower for women (1.5% and 6.0%). Seven out of 574 randomly selected subjects (1.4%) exhibited bronchial hyper-responsiveness to methacholine challenge. Four of 133 (3.0%) people with self-reported wheeze and 3/69 (4.3%) participants with doctor-diagnosed asthma reacted positively on bronchial provocation with methacholine. There was a remarkably high prevalence of positive skin prick tests to aeroallergens: 38% in participants with a history of wheeze and 27% in those without. The prevalence of wheeze (particularly in association with bronchial hyper-responsiveness) was low in both rural and urban Gambia. This is in contrast to the relatively high prevalence of positive skin prick tests to aeroallergens (in both wheezers and non-wheezers), questioning the mechanisms of interaction between allergy and asthma and the presence of protective factors against asthma in this West African population. The high smoking rates justify international concern about tobacco marketing in developing societies.
    Clinical & Experimental Allergy 11/2001; 31(11):1679-85. DOI:10.1046/j.1365-2222.2001.01094.x · 4.32 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To estimate prevalence and risk factors for herpes simplex 2 (HSV2) positivity, syphilis and Chlamydia trachomatis infection among rural people aged 15-34 in the Gambia. Questionnaires and serum samples were collected from 1076 men and women aged 15-34 during a cross sectional prevalence survey in a rural area of the Gambia. Sera were screened for antibodies to herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV2), and for syphilis using Treponema pallidum haemagglutination assay (TPHA) and rapid plasma reagin (RPR) tests. Urine was tested by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for C trachomatis infection. 28% of women and 5% of men were HSV2 ELISA positive; 10% of women and 2% of men were TPHA positive; and 7% of women and 1% of men were both RPR and TPHA positive. Out of 1030 urine sample tested only six were positive for C trachomatis. 7% of those who reported never having sex were positive for one or other of these tests. Prevalences of all STIs increased with age and were higher in women than men. Women were much less likely than men to seek treatment for STI symptoms at a health centre. Married people were at increased risk of an STI compared with single people. Jola and Fula women had a higher prevalence of HSV2 than women from other ethnic groups, and Fulas also had a higher prevalence of RPR/TPHA positivity. The limited number of sexual behaviour questions were not significantly associated with STIs after adjustment for age, marital status, and ethnic group. The prevalences of the ulcerative infections HSV2 and syphilis in this population are a cause for concern. In a setting where HIV1 prevalence remains low this indicates an urgent need for STI control and behaviour change programmes to prevent an HIV epidemic. Concerns about the validity of reported sexual behaviour data high light the necessity of biological markers in the evaluation of behaviour change programmes.
    Sexually Transmitted Infections 11/2001; 77(5):358-65. DOI:10.1136/sti.77.5.358 · 3.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Hypertension has become an important public health problem for sub-Sahara Africa. In a previous nationwide study, we observed a high degree of geographical variation in the prevalence of diastolic hypertension. Geographical variation provides essential background information for the development of community randomised trials could suggest aetiological mechanisms, inform control strategies and prompt further research questions. We designed a follow-up study from the nine high-prevalence communities, and from 18 communities where hypertension was found least prevalent (controls). In each community, 50 households were randomly selected. In each household, an (unrelated) man and woman were enrolled. The risk for hypertension (blood pressure > or =160/95 mm Hg) was higher in the high prevalence communities compared to the control villages (adjusted OR = 1.7, 95% CI 1.3-2.2). The observed coefficient of variation in hypertension prevalence, k, was 0.30. Thus we confirmed significant geographical variation in prevalence of hypertension over time, which has implications for planning of interventions.
    Journal of Human Hypertension 10/2001; 15(10):733-9. DOI:10.1038/sj.jhh.1001259 · 2.69 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This study documented the prevalence of and cardiovascular risk factors associated with obesity and undernutrition in the Gambia. Adults (> or =15 years; N = 5373) from rural and urban areas completed a questionnaire; their height, weight, and waist and hip circumferences were measured, and their cardiovascular risk factors were assessed. Prevalence of undernutrition (body mass index < 18 kg/m(2)) was 18.0%; all strata of society were affected. Prevalence of obesity (body mass index > or =30 kg/m(2)) was 4.0% but was higher (32.6%) among urban women 35 years or older. Cardiovascular risk factors were more prevalent among obese participants. Undernutrition coexists with obesity, demonstrating a "double burden of disease." Differential interventions should focus on high-risk groups; prevention needs a multisectorial approach.
    American Journal of Public Health 10/2001; 91(10):1641-4. DOI:10.2105/AJPH.91.10.1641 · 4.23 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Combination therapy that includes artemisinin derivatives cures most falciparum malaria infections. Lowering transmission by reducing gametocyte infectivity would be an additional benefit. To examine the effect of such therapy on transmission, Gambian children with Plasmodium falciparum malaria were treated with standard regimens of chloroquine or pyrimethamine-sulfadoxine alone or in combination with 1 or 3 doses of artesunate. The infectivity to mosquitoes of gametocytes in peripheral blood was determined 4 or 7 days after treatment. Infection of mosquitoes was observed in all treatment groups and was positively associated with gametocyte density. The probability of transmission was lowest in those who received pyrimethamine-sulfadoxine and 3 doses of artesunate, and it was 8-fold higher in the group that received pyrimethamine-sulfadoxine alone. Artesunate reduced posttreatment infectivity dramatically but did not abolish it completely. The study raises questions about any policy to use pyrimethamine-sulfadoxine alone as the first-line treatment for malaria.
    The Journal of Infectious Diseases 05/2001; 183(8):1254-9. DOI:10.1086/319689 · 5.78 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: As part of a study to assess the infectivity of gametocytes after treatment with four antimalarial regimens, the efficacy of each treatment was also determined. From September to December 1998, 598 children with uncomplicated malaria were treated; 135 received chloroquine (CQ) alone, 276 received pyrimethamine/sulfadoxine (Fansidar, PSD) alone, 113 received PSD with a single dose of artesunate (PSD + 1ART) and 74 received PSD combined with three doses of artesunate (PSD + 3ART). On day 28 19/63 (30.2%; 95% C.I. 19.2% to 43.1%) of children treated with CQ alone, 5/134 (3.7%; 95% C.I. 1.2% to 8.5%) treated with PSD alone, 1/71 (1.4%, 95% C.I. 0.0% to 7.9%) treated with PSD + 1ART and 0/45 (0.0%; 95% C.I. 0.0% to 7.9%) treated with PSD + 3ART were parasitaemic. The proportion of children with gametocytes on day 7 after treatment with CQ alone was 16/89 (18.0%; 95% C.I. 10.6% to 27.6%), 98/174 (56.3%; 95% C.I. 48.6% to 63.8%) after treatment with PSD alone, 8/70 (11.4%; 95% C.I. 5.1% to 21.3%) after treatment with PSD + 1ART and 4/46 (8.7%; 95% C.I., 2.4% to 20.8%) after treatment with PSD + 3ART. CQ thus has a lower efficacy than PSD or either of the PSD and artesunate combinations. Use of PSD alone as an alternative first line treatment results in a very high post-treatment gametocyte prevalence that is likely to enhance transmission. There would be greater and more sustainable benefits from using PSD and artesunate combinations.
    Tropical Medicine & International Health 03/2001; 6(2):92-8. · 2.30 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To determine trends in the causes of death in a West African town. Mortality caused by infectious diseases is reported to be declining while degenerative and man-made mortality factors are increasingly significant. Most mortality analyses for sub-Saharan Africa have involved extrapolation and have not been derived from community-based data. Historical data on causes of death coded by physicians were analysed for the urban population of Banjul for the period 1942-97. As the calculation of rates is not possible in the absence of a reliable population denominator, age-standardized proportional mortality ratios (PMRs) for men and women by major groups of causes of death were calculated, using the 1942-49 data for reference purposes. Most deaths were attributable to communicable diseases. There was a shift in proportional mortality over the study period: the contribution of communicable diseases declined and that of noncommunicable diseases and injuries increased. These trends were more marked among men than women. The data illustrate that while noncommunicable diseases and injuries are emerging as important contributors to mortality in sub-Saharan Africa, communicable diseases remain significant causes of mortality and should not be neglected.
    Bulletin of the World Health Organisation 02/2001; 79(2):133-41. DOI:10.1590/S0042-96862001000200008 · 5.11 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To examine whether a family history of high-risk groups for major noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) was a significant risk factor for these conditions among family members in a study population in the Gambia, where strong community and family coherence are important determinants that have to be taken into consideration in promoting lifestyle changes. We questioned 5389 adults as to any first-degree family history of major noncommunicable diseases (hypertension, obesity, diabetes and stroke), and measured their blood pressure (BP) and body mass index (BMI). Total blood cholesterol, triglyceride, uric acid, and creatinine concentrations were measured in a stratified subsample, as well as blood glucose (2 hours after ingesting 75 g glucose) in persons aged > or = 35 years. A significant number of subjects reported a family history of hypertension (8.0%), obesity (5.4%), diabetes (3.3%) and stroke (1.4%), with 14.6% of participants reporting any of these NCDs. Subjects with a family history of hypertension had a higher diastolic BP and BMI, higher cholesterol and uric acid concentrations, and an increased risk of obesity. Those with a family history of obesity had a higher BMI and were at increased risk of obesity. Individuals with a family history of diabetes had a higher BMI and higher concentrations of glucose, cholesterol, triglycerides and uric acid, and their risk of obesity and diabetes was increased. Subjects with a family history of stroke had a higher BMI, as well as higher cholesterol, triglyceride and uric acid concentrations. A family history of hypertension, obesity, diabetes, or stroke was a significant risk factor for obesity and hyperlipidaemia. With increase of age, more pathological manifestations can develop in this high-risk group. Health professionals should therefore utilize every opportunity to include direct family members in health education.
    Bulletin of the World Health Organisation 02/2001; 79(4):321-8. · 5.11 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Hypertension is emerging as an important public health problem in sub-Saharan Africa. We studied blood pressure (BP) patterns, hypertension and other cardiovascular risk factors in a rural and an urban area of The Gambia. A total of 5389 adults (> or =15 years) were selected by cluster sampling in the capital Banjul and a rural area around Farafenni. A questionnaire was completed, BP, pulse rate, height and weight were recorded. Glucose was measured 2 h after a 75 g glucose load among participants > or =35 years (n = 2301); total cholesterol, triglycerides, creatinine and uric acid were measured among a stratified subsample (n = 1075). A total of 7.1% of the study participants had a BP > or =160/95 mm Hg; 18.4% of them had a BP > or =140/90 mm Hg. BP was significantly higher in the urban area. BP increased with age in both sexes in both areas. Increasing age was the major independent risk factor for hypertension. Related cardiovascular risk factors (obesity, diabetes and hyperlipidaemia) were significantly more prevalent in the urban area and among hypertensives; 17% of measured hypertensives were aware of this, 73% of people who reported to have been diagnosed as hypertensive before had discontinued treatment; 56% of those who reported being on treatment were normotensive. We conclude that hypertension is no longer rare in either urban or rural Gambians. In the urban site hypertension and related cardiovascular risk factors were more prevalent. Compliance with treatment was low. Interventions aimed at modifying risk factors at the population level, and at improving control of diagnosed hypertension are essential to prevent future increases of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. In view of limited resources and feasibility of intervention in rural Gambia, these could initially be directed towards urbanised populations.
    Journal of Human Hypertension 08/2000; 14(8):489-96. DOI:10.1038/sj.jhh.1001050 · 2.69 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Using data from a longitudinal study conducted in 40 villages by the UK MRC in the North Bank Division of The Gambia beginning in late 1981, we examined infant and child mortality over a 15-year period for a population of about 17 000 people. Comparisons are drawn between villages with and without PHC. The extra facilities in the PHC villages include: a paid Community Health Nurse for about every 5 villages, a Village Health Worker and a trained Traditional Birth Attendant. Maternal and child health services with a vaccination programme are accessible to residents in both PHC and non-PHC villages. The data indicate that there has been a marked improvement in infant and under-five mortality in both sets of villages. Following the establishment of the PHC system in 1983, infant mortality dropped from 134/1000 in 1982-83 to 69/1000 in 1992-94 in the PHC villages and from 155/1000 to 91/1000 in the non-PHC villages over the same period. Between 1982 and 83 and 1992-94, the death rates for children aged 1-4 fell from 42/1000 to 28/1000 in the PHC villages and from 45/1000 to 38/1000 in the non-PHC villages. Since 1994, when supervision of the PHC system has weakened, infant mortality rates in the PHC villages have risen to 89/1000 in 1994-96. The rates in the non-PHC villages fell to 78/1000 for this period. The under-five mortality rates in both sets of villages have converged to 34/1000 for 1994-96. When the PHC programme was well supported in the 1980s, we saw significantly lower mortality rates for the 1-4-year-olds. These differences disappeared when support for PHC was reduced after 1994. The differential effects on infant mortality are less clear cut.
    Tropical Medicine & International Health 03/2000; 5(2):107-18. DOI:10.1046/j.1365-3156.2000.00528.x · 2.30 Impact Factor
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    A A Ratcliffe, A G Hill, G Walraven
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    ABSTRACT: We report the initial findings of a research programme on the fertility and reproductive health of both men and women in rural Gambia. The reproductive experiences of men and women in the population studied were very different. During the period 1993-97, the total fertility rates were 12.0 for men and 6.8 for women. For men fertility began later, reached higher levels and continued into older ages than for women. Through serial and polygynous marriages, men were able to extend their reproduction beyond what would be possible with one woman. Of the married men interviewed, 40% were married polygynously. Men's fertility preferences indicated that they recognized their reproductive potentials to be greater than those of their individual wives. On average, married men desired 15.2 children for themselves and 7.3 for each wife. In this polygynous population the means available for attaining reproductive goals were different for the two sexes, depending on the separate lives and different interests of men and women.
    Bulletin of the World Health Organisation 02/2000; 78(5):570-9. · 5.11 Impact Factor
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    G Walraven, M Telfer, J Rowley, C Ronsmans
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    ABSTRACT: A demographic study carried out in a rural area of the Gambia between January 1993 and December 1998 recorded 74 deaths among women aged 15-49 years. Reported here is an estimation of maternal mortality among these 74 deaths based on a survey of reproductive age mortality, which identified 18 maternal deaths by verbal autopsy. Over the same period there were 4245 live births in the study area, giving a maternal mortality ratio of 424 per 100,000 live births. This maternal mortality estimate is substantially lower than estimates made in the 1980s, which ranged from 1005 to 2362 per 100,000 live births, in the same area. A total of 9 of the 18 deaths had a direct obstetric cause--haemorrhage (6 deaths), early pregnancy (2), and obstructed labour (1). Indirect causes of obstetric deaths were anaemia (4 deaths), hepatitis (1), and undetermined (4). Low standards of health care for obstetric referrals, failure to recognize the severity of the problem at the community level, delays in starting the decision-making process to seek health care, lack of transport, and substandard primary health care were identified more than once as probable or possible contributing factors to these maternal deaths.
    Bulletin of the World Health Organisation 02/2000; 78(5):603-13. · 5.11 Impact Factor