University of Zambia
  • Lusaka, Zambia
Recent publications
the article is about zonosis disease found at slaughterhouse and their financial lost in South Sudan.
Background Timely access to essential obstetric and gynecologic healthcare is an effective method for improving maternal and neonatal outcomes; however, the COVID-19 pandemic impacted pregnancy care globally. In this global scoping review, we select and investigate peer-reviewed empirical studies related to mHealth and telehealth implemented during the pandemic to support pregnancy care and to improve birth outcomes. Methods We searched MEDLINE and PubMed, Scopus, CINAHL and Web of Science for this Review because they include peer-reviewed literature in the disciplines of behavioral sciences, medicine, clinical sciences, health-care systems, and psychology. Because our investigative searches reviewed that there is considerable ‘grey literature’ in this area; we did not restrict our review to any study design, methods, or place of publication. In this Review, peer-reviewed preprints were comparable to published peer-reviewed articles, with relevant articles screened accordingly. Results The search identified 1851 peer reviewed articles, and after removal of duplicates, using inclusion and exclusion criteria, only 22 studies were eligible for inclusion in the review published from January 2020 to May 2022. mHealth interventions accounted for 72.7% (16 of 22 studies) and only 27.3% (6 of 22 studies) were telehealth studies. There were only 3 example studies that integrated digital technologies into healthcare systems and only 3 studies that developed and evaluated the feasibility of mobile apps. Experimental studies accounted 68.8% of mHealth studies and only 33.3% studies of telehealth studies. Key functionalities of the pregnancy apps and telehealth platforms focused on mental and physical wellness, health promotion, patient tracking, health education, and parenting support. Implemented interventions ranged from breastfeeding and selfcare to behavioral health. Facilitators of uptake included perceived benefits, user satisfaction and convenience. Mobile apps and short messaging services were the primary technologies employed in the implemented mHealth interventions. Conclusion Although our Review emphasizes a lack of studies on mHealth interventions and data from pregnant women during the COVID-19 crisis, the review shows that implementation of digital health interventions during emergencies are inevitable given their potential for supporting pregnancy care. There is also a need for more randomized clinical trials and longitudinal studies to better understand the effectiveness and feasibility of implementing such interventions during disease outbreaks and emergencies.
Little is known about how grandparents influence childcare and mothering practices in developing countries. This is against the backdrop of literature that has documented that when young women become mothers, they receive extensive support and guidance on how to parent their babies from grandparents. This study explored how grandmothers in Lusaka, Zambia, shaped the mothering practices of first-time mothers.The study used an exploratory qualitative descriptive research design. Thirty grandmothers were interviewed independently using a semi-structured interview guide. Results highlighted a wide variation of teachings in the pre-and post-natal phase. At prenatal, Teachings before childbirth was the main theme, with the sub-themes preparing for labor and preserving pregnancy. While at postnatal, teachings after child’s birth emerged as the primary theme with sub-themes, caring for the newborn and keeping the baby safe. Grandmother teachings were essential for keeping mother and baby healthy during prenatal and postnatal. Grandmother teachings in both prenatal and postnatal phases were found significant in ensuring the mother and the baby are healthy. These findings underscore the need to involve grandmothers in health programming and interventions to improve maternal and infant health in Zambia. Abbreviations: HIV: Human Immunodeficiency Virus; WHO: World Health Organization.
Background Since the declaration of COVID-19 as a global pandemic, several studies have been conducted to examine associated factors. However, few studies have focused on pregnant women infected with COVID-19 in sub-Saharan Africa. Therefore, this study investigated the prevalence and factors associated with COVID-19 infection among pregnant women at the Levy Mwanawasa University Teaching Hospital and Women and Newborn Hospital of the University Teaching Hospitals in Lusaka, Zambia. Methods A cross-sectional study was conducted between March and July 2021. Women were recruited as they presented for antenatal care. Data was collected using a structured questionnaire to capture variables of interest (socio-demographic, clinical and obstetric). COVID-19 diagnosis was made using a nasopharyngeal swab by PCR test. Multivariable logistic regression was used to control for confounding and calculate the odds ratios for each explanatory variable and respective 95% confidence intervals. Results The study enrolled 352 participants with a mean (standard deviation [SD]) age of 30.1 years (5.6). One hundred thirty of 352 (36.9%; 95% CI: 31.9 to 42.2) participants had a confirmed positive SARS-CoV-2 test result. At univariable analysis, factors associated with COVID-19 were increased gestational age, education status and maternal HIV serostatus. Women with a secondary level of education were less likely to have COVID-19 infection than those with a primary level of education (AOR = 0.23, 95% CI: 0.09–0.63). On the other hand, a one-week increase in gestational age was associated with higher odds of COVID-19 infection (AOR = 1.03, 95% CI: 1.01–1.06). Conclusion The results showed that the prevalence of COVID-19 infection among pregnant women was 36.9% and was associated with increased gestational age and a lower level of education. To mitigate adverse maternal outcomes, there is a need to screen for COVID-19 strictly and broadly monitor prenatal women presenting for healthcare.
Bupivacaine, levobupivacaine and ropivacaine are potent, long acting, amide-type local anesthetics that have several clinical applications including intra-articular administration. The objectives of this study were to evaluate their in vitro effects on cell viability and caspase activity to elucidate whether they activate the extrinsic or intrinsic pathways of apoptosis in canine articular chondrocytes. Chondrocytes in monolayer culture were treated with culture medium as the control, or with 0.062% (0.62 mg/mL) bupivacaine, 0.062% levobupivacaine, and 0.062% ropivacaine for 24 hr. Cell viability was evaluated using the live/dead, 3-(4,5-dimehylthiazolyl-2)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT), and Cell Counting Kit-8 (CCK-8) assays. Evaluation of caspase-3, caspase-8, and caspase-9 activity was performed using colorimetric assays. The MTT and CCK-8 assays were used to evaluate the effect of caspase inhibitors on local anesthetic chondrotoxicity. All three local anesthetics decreased chondrocyte viability after 24 hr (P˂0.001). Apoptosis was induced through both the extrinsic and intrinsic pathways. Bupivacaine increased caspase-3, caspase-8, and caspase-9 activity (P˂0.001). Levobupivacaine increased caspase-3 (P=0.03) while ropivacaine did not significantly upregulate activity for all three caspases. Caspase inhibition did not suppress bupivacaine chondrotoxicity whereas inhibition of caspase-8 and caspase-9 decreased ropivacaine chondrotoxicity and mildly attenuated levobupivacaine chondrotoxicity. In summary, the level of chondrotoxicity, the type of caspase activated, the level of caspase activation, and the response to caspase inhibitors was dependent on the type of local anesthetic. Therefore, ropivacaine may be a safer choice for intra-articular administration compared to levobupivacaine and bupivacaine.
Primary HIV prevention is a priority for pregnant and breastfeeding women in sub-Saharan Africa; however, such services should be designed to optimise uptake and continuation. Between September and December 2021, we enrolled 389 women who were not living with HIV into a cross-sectional study from antenatal/postnatal settings at Chipata Level 1 Hospital. We used the Theory of Planned Behaviour to study the relationship between salient beliefs and intention to use pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) among eligible pregnant and breastfeeding women. On a seven-point scale, participants had positive attitudes towards PrEP (mean = 6.65, SD = 0.71), anticipated approval of PrEP use from significant others (mean = 6.09, SD = 1.51), felt confident that they could take PrEP if they desired (mean = 6.52, SD = 1.09) and had favourable intentions to use PrEP (mean = 6.01, SD = 1.36). Attitude, subjective norms, and perceived behavioural control significantly predicted intention to use PrEP respectively (β = 0.24; β = 0.55; β = 0.22, all p < 0.01). Social cognitive interventions are needed to promote social norms supportive of PrEP use during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Containment syringe sharing among individuals is considered to be the most contributing factor to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). It’s well recognized that sharing syringes significantly contributes to the transmission of diseases amongst individuals. This study examines how syringe sharing may contribute to HIV infection and spread among injectable drug users. Sharing syringes greatly aids in the spread of infections among people, as is widely acknowledged. The model was calibrated using data from Malaysia from 2000 to 2011 on the incidence of HIV among drug injectors. Through the use of the Markov chain Monte Carlo simulation approach, the parameters are estimated using Bayesian inference. The basic reproduction number for HIV disease suggests that the disease-free equilibrium was stable during the 12 years. This is a good indicator from the public health point of view since the goal is to stabilize the infection rate. Our findings emphasized the potential involvement of syringe sharing in the transmission of HIV among injectable drug users and the need for more research into this infection rate in order to improve strategies for reducing the incidence of individual HIV cases among people who inject drugs.
Background: Accurate estimates of gestational age (GA) at birth are important for preterm birth surveillance but can be challenging to obtain in low income countries. Our objective was to develop machine learning models to accurately estimate GA shortly after birth using clinical and metabolomic data. Methods: We derived three GA estimation models using ELASTIC NET multivariable linear regression using metabolomic markers from heel-prick blood samples and clinical data from a retrospective cohort of newborns from Ontario, Canada. We conducted internal model validation in an independent cohort of Ontario newborns, and external validation in heel prick and cord blood sample data collected from newborns from prospective birth cohorts in Lusaka, Zambia and Matlab, Bangladesh. Model performance was measured by comparing model-derived estimates of GA to reference estimates from early pregnancy ultrasound. Results: Samples were collected from 311 newborns from Zambia and 1176 from Bangladesh. The best-performing model accurately estimated GA within about 6 days of ultrasound estimates in both cohorts when applied to heel prick data (MAE 0.79 weeks (95% CI 0.69, 0.90) for Zambia; 0.81 weeks (0.75, 0.86) for Bangladesh), and within about 7 days when applied to cord blood data (1.02 weeks (0.90, 1.15) for Zambia; 0.95 weeks (0.90, 0.99) for Bangladesh). Conclusions: Algorithms developed in Canada provided accurate estimates of GA when applied to external cohorts from Zambia and Bangladesh. Model performance was superior in heel prick data as compared to cord blood data.
Introduction: Despite the Zambian government making progress on prioritising gender mainstreaming, female participation in science, technology and innovation in academia, research and development is still low. This study aims to determine the integration of gender dimensions and the factors that influence female participation in science and health research in Zambia. Methods and analysis: We propose a descriptive cross-sectional study design employing in-depth interviews (IDIs) and survey as data collection techniques. Twenty schools offering science-based programmes will be purposively selected from University of Zambia (UNZA), Copperbelt University, Mulungushi University and Kwame Nkrumah University. In addition, two research institutions, Tropical Disease Research Centre and Mount Makulu Agricultural Research Station, will be included. Survey respondents will include a random sample of 1389 academic and research staff from the selected schools. A total of 30 IDIs will be conducted with staff and heads of selected schools and research institutions. Data collection will be conducted over a 12-month period. Before commencement of data collection, in-depth literature search and record review on gender dimensions in science and health research will be conducted to gain insight into the subject matter and inform research instrument design. Survey data and IDIs will be collected using a structured paper-based questionnaire and semistructured interview guide, respectively. Descriptive statistics will be computed to summarise respondents' characteristics. Bivariate analysis (χ2 test and independent t-test) and multivariate regression analysis will be conducted to test the association and identify factors influencing female participation in science and health research (adjusted ORs, p<0.05). An inductive approach will be used to analyse qualitative data using NVivo. Survey and IDI will be corroborated. Ethics and dissemination: This study involves human participants and was approved by UNZA Biomedical Research Ethics Committee (UNZABREC; UNZA BREC 1674-2022). Participants gave informed consent to participate in the study before taking part. Study findings will be disseminated through a written report, stakeholder meetings and publication in a peer-reviewed international journal.
In recent years, the southern African region has experienced repeated incursions of highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses (HPAIVs), with wild migratory birds being implicated in the spread. To understand the profile of avian influenza viruses (AIVs) circulating in Zambia, we surveyed wild waterfowl for AIVs and phylogenetically characterised the isolates detected in 2015, 2020, and 2021. A total of 2,851 faecal samples of wild waterfowl were collected from Lochinvar National Park in the Southern Province of Zambia. During the study period, 85 (3.0%) low pathogenicity AIVs belonging to various subtypes were isolated, with H2N9, H8N4, and H10N8 being reported for the first time in avian species in Africa. The majority of the isolates were detected from glossy ibis (order Pelecaniformes) making it the first report of AIV from these birds in Zambia. Phylogenetic analysis of all eight gene segments of the 30 full genomes obtained in this study revealed that all the isolates belonged to the Eurasian lineage with their closest relatives being viruses isolated from wild and/or domestic birds in Bangladesh, Belgium, Egypt, Georgia, Mongolia, the Netherlands, and South Africa. Additionally, the Zambian viruses were grouped into distinct clusters based on the year of isolation. While no notifiable AIVs of the H5 or H7 subtypes were detected in wild birds in Zambia, viral internal protein genes of some viruses were closely related to H7 low pathogenicity AIVs. This study shows that periodically, a considerable diversity of AIV subtypes are introduced into the Zambian ecosystem by wild migratory waterfowl. The findings highlight the importance of continuous surveillance and monitoring of AIVs in wild waterfowl, including birds traditionally not considered to be major AIV reservoirs, for a better understanding of the eco-epidemiology and evolutionary dynamics of AIVs in Africa.
Kaposi's Sarcoma (KS) is a heterogenous, multifocal vascular malignancy caused by the human herpesvirus 8 (HHV8), also known as Kaposi's Sarcoma-Associated Herpesvirus (KSHV). Here, we show that KS lesions express iNOS/NOS2 broadly throughout KS lesions, with enrichment in LANA positive spindle cells. The iNOS byproduct 3-nitrotyrosine is also enriched in LANA positive tumor cells and colocalizes with a fraction of LANA-nuclear bodies. We show that iNOS is highly expressed in the L1T3/mSLK tumor model of KS. iNOS expression correlated with KSHV lytic cycle gene expression, which was elevated in late-stage tumors (>4 weeks) but to a lesser degree in early stage (1 week) xenografts. Further, we show that L1T3/mSLK tumor growth is sensitive to an inhibitor of nitric oxide, L-NMMA. L-NMMA treatment reduced KSHV gene expression and perturbed cellular gene pathways relating to oxidative phosphorylation and mitochondrial dysfunction. These finding suggest that iNOS is expressed in KSHV infected endothelial-transformed tumor cells in KS, that iNOS expression depends on tumor microenvironment stress conditions, and that iNOS enzymatic activity contributes to KS tumor growth.
Background Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a global public health concern currently mitigated by antimicrobial stewardship (AMS). Pharmacists are strategically placed to lead AMS actions that contribute to responsible use of antimicrobials; however, this is undermined by an acknowledged health leadership skills deficit. Learning from the UK’s Chief Pharmaceutical Officer's Global Health (ChPOGH) Fellowship programme, the Commonwealth Pharmacists Association (CPA) is focused to develop a health leadership training program for pharmacists in eight sub-Saharan African countries. This study thus explores need-based leadership training needs for pharmacists to provide effective AMS and inform the CPA’s development of a focused leadership training programme, the ‘Commonwealth Partnerships in AMS, Health Leadership Programme’ (CwPAMS/LP). Methods A mixed methods approach was undertaken. Quantitative data were collected via a survey across 8 sub-Saharan African countries and descriptively analysed. Qualitative data were collected through 5 virtual focus group discussions, held between February and July 2021, involving stakeholder pharmacists from different sectors in the 8 countries and were analysed thematically. Data were triangulated to determine priority areas for the training programme. Results The quantitative phase produced 484 survey responses. Focus groups had 40 participants from the 8 countries. Data analysis revealed a clear need for a health leadership programme, with 61% of respondents finding previous leadership training programmes highly beneficial or beneficial. A proportion of survey participants (37%) and the focus groups highlighted poor access to leadership training opportunities in their countries. Clinical pharmacy (34%) and health leadership (31%) were ranked as the two highest priority areas for further training of pharmacists. Within these priority areas, strategic thinking (65%), clinical knowledge (57%), coaching and mentoring (51%), and project management (58%) were selected as the most important. Conclusions The study highlights the training needs of pharmacists and priority focus areas for health leadership to advance AMS within the African context. Context-specific identification of priority areas supports a needs-based approach to programme development, maximising African pharmacists’ contribution to AMS for improved and sustainable patient outcomes. This study recommends incorporating conflict management, behaviour change techniques, and advocacy, amongst others, as areas of focus to train pharmacist leaders to contribute to AMS effectively.
Background Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)-related disruptions in healthcare services and clinical outcomes have been predicted and documented. However, little is known about how antiretroviral therapy (ART) adherence disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have manifested amidst the ‘Undetectable = Untransmittable' campaign initiative. Using a patient's viral load as a proxy for medication adherence, our study aimed to determine the adherence to ART on first-line medications among adult people living with human immunodeficiency virus (PLWHIV) at the University Teaching Hospital in Lusaka, Zambia during the pandemic.Methods This was a hospital-based cross-sectional study. Secondary data of PLWHIV registered to receive ART from the Adult Infectious Disease Centre was extracted from the SmartCare® electronic health record system to constitute a resultant data set that this study used. The data extraction form was used to extract values of dependent (ART adherence measured by viral load detectability) and independent variables and imported them into the statistical analysis tool, STATA version 16.1 MP. Descriptive statistics of individual characteristics, testing for associations using Pearson's chi-square test, and stratified and combined multivariable logistic regression were performed.ResultsOf the 7,281 adult PLWHIV included in this study, 9.0% (95% CI 8.3–9.6%) were virally detectable. Estimates of the odds ratios of detectable viral load remained significantly higher among adult PLWHIV who were initiated on ART after the U=U campaign was launched in Zambia and were on a monthly 2.51 (1.31–9.03) or 6-monthly 4.75 (3.52–6.41) dispensing of a dolutegravir-based regimen and those on 6-monthly dispensing of an efavirenz-based regimen 4.67 (2.16–10.08) compared to their counterparts. Overall estimates showed us the same picture 4.14 (3.22–5.31), having adjusted for all other predictor variables.Conclusion We found that a high proportion of people with detectable viral load in the study population, irrespective of medication refill interval and type of regimen, was concentrated among adult PLWHIV who started treatment during the COVID-19 epidemic waves, as compared to those who started treatment before the pandemic. This observed disparity suggests the inherent impact of the pandemic on the adherence to ART among adult PLWHIV in Lusaka, Zambia. This further illustrates how exposed program responses are to external shocks, especially in already weakened health systems, and the need to create program response buffers and resilient program-specific strategies to minimize the effect of external disruptions.
Child stunting is an important household, socio-economic, environmental and nutritional stress indicator. Nationally, 33% of children under 5 in Rwanda are stunted necessitating the need to identify factors perpetuating stunting for targeted interventions. Our study assessed the individual and community-level determinants of under-5 stunting essential for designing appropriate policy and program responses for addressing stunting in Rwanda. A cross-sectional study was conducted between September 6 and October 9, 2022, in five districts of Rwanda including, Kicukiro, Ngoma, Burera, Nyabihu and Nyanza. 2788 children and their caregivers were enrolled in the study and data on the individual level (child, caregiver/household characteristics), and community-level variables were collected. A multilevel logistic regression model was used to determine the influence of individual and community-level factors on stunting. The prevalence of stunting was 31.4% (95% CI: 29.5–33.1). Of this, 12.2% were severely stunted while 19.2% were moderately stunted. In addition, male gender, age above 11 months, child disability, more than six people in the household, having two children below the age of five, a child having diarrhea 1–2 weeks before the study, eating from own plate when feeding, toilet sharing, and open defecation increased the odds of childhood stunting. The full model accounted for 20% of the total variation in the odds of stunting. Socio-demographic and environmental factors are significant determinants of childhood stunting in Rwanda. Interventions to address under-five stunting should be tailored toward addressing individual factors at household levels to improve the nutritional status and early development of children.
Introduction: Couple HIV testing and counselling (CHTC) is associated with measurable benefits for HIV prevention and treatment. However, the uptake remains limited in much of sub-Saharan Africa, despite an expanded range of strategies designed to promote access. Methods: Following PRIMSA guidelines, we conducted a systematic review to characterize CHTC uptake strategies. Five databases were searched. Full-text articles were included if they were: conducted in sub-Saharan Africa during the study period (1980-2019), targeted heterosexual couples, reported at least one strategy to promote CHTC and provided a quantifiable measure of CHTC uptake. After the initial and full-text screening, key features of the studies were abstracted and synthesized. Results: Of the 6188 unique records found in our search, 365 underwent full-text review with 29 distinct studies included and synthesized. Most studies recruited couples through antenatal care (n = 11) or community venues (n = 8) and used provider-based HIV testing (n = 25). The primary demand creation strategies included home-based CHTC (n = 7); integration of CHTC into clinical settings (n = 4); distribution of HIV self-testing kits (n = 4); verbal or written invitations (n = 4); community recruiters (n = 3); partner tracing (n = 2); relationship counselling (n = 2); financial incentives (n = 1); group education with CHTC coupons (n = 1); and HIV testing at other community venues (n = 1). CHTC uptake ranged from negligible to nearly universal. Discussion: We thematically categorized a diverse range of strategies with varying levels of intensity and resources used across sub-Saharan Africa to promote CHTC. Offering CHTC within couples' homes was the most common approach, followed by the integration of CHTC into clinical settings. Due to heterogeneity in study characteristics, we were unable to compare the effectiveness across studies, but several trends were observed, including the high prevalence of CHTC promotion strategies in antenatal settings and the promising effects of home-based CHTC, distribution of HIV self-tests and integration of CHTC into routine health services. Since 2019, an updated literature search found that combining partner notification and secondary distribution of HIV self-test kits may be an additionally effective CHTC strategy. Conclusions: There are many effective, feasible and scalable approaches to promote CHTC that should be considered by national programmes according to local needs, cultural context and available resources.
Egg batches of Spodoptera moths are protected by scales deposited by females around and/or over eggs as a physical defense. These scales may affect the parasitism of some parasitoids, rendering biocontrol of Spodoptera eggs ineffective. In this study, we investigated the daily oviposition pattern of moths and the dynamics of egg mass scales of three Spodoptera species and examined the fitnesses of three potential egg parasitoid species to different egg mass scale thicknesses. The observations revealed that the three Spodoptera species share similar scale dynamics. From initial oviposition, S. exigua egg batches maintained a relatively high level of scale thickness (> 134.7 μm) for 2 days and S. frugiperda and S. litura for 3 days (> 105.9 μm, > 161.2 μm, respectively). During this period, the scales effectively hindered parasitism by Trichogramma species (parasitized 0.4%–14.9% eggs). Thereafter, the thickness of the scales decreased daily. The scales of the three Spodoptera species were all relatively thin (< 20.0 μm) after oviposition for 8 days, and subsequently, Trichogramma parasitized eggs more actively (parasitized up to 33.4%–36.5% eggs). Relatively, Trichogramma dendrolimi on S. frugiperda eggs, and Trichogramma chilonis on S. exigua eggs had higher parasitism. Meanwhile, Telenomus remus maintained a very stable and better performance than Trichogramma on Spodoptera species eggs with different scale thicknesses (parasitized 100% egg masses and 46.2%–60.0% eggs), which demonstrated its excellent potential as a Spodoptera species biocontrol agent. The findings elucidate the effect of egg mass scale thickness on effective parasitism by these egg parasitoid species and provide baseline information for the mixed use of Te. remus and Trichogramma against Spodoptera species.
Nawa and Nadarajah [Statistics, 2023, doi: 10.1080/02331888.2023.2168004] proposed closed form estimators for a bivariate gamma distribution. But these estimators do not have a direct multivariate extension. In this paper, we propose alternative closed form estimators with direct extensions to the trivariate and multivariate cases. These estimators can have smaller asymptotic variances and smaller asymptotic covariances compared to Zhao et al.'s estimators, method of moments estimators and Nawa and Nadarajah's estimators.
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Robert Serpell
  • Department of Psychology
Kabemba Evans Mwape
  • School of Veterinary Medicine
Langa Tembo
  • Department of Plant Science
GREAT EAST RD. UNZA, 10101, Lusaka, Zambia
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