Henry Epino

Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, United States

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Publications (9)45.17 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Background: Minimizing death and ensuring high retention and good adherence remain ongoing challenges for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) treatment programs. We examined whether the addition of community-based accompaniment (characterized by daily home visits from a community health worker, directly observed treatment, nutritional support, transportation stipends, and other support as needed) to the Rwanda national model for antiretroviral therapy (ART) delivery would improve retention in care, viral load suppression, and change in CD4 count, relative to the national model alone. Methods: We conducted a prospective observational cohort study among 610 HIV-infected adults initiating ART in 1 of 2 programs in rural Rwanda. Psychosocial and clinical characteristics were recorded at ART initiation. Death, treatment retention, and plasma viral load were assessed at 1 year. CD4 count was evaluated at 6-month intervals. Multivariable regression models were used to adjust for baseline differences between the 2 populations. Results: Eighty-five percent and 79% of participants in the community-based and clinic-based programs, respectively, were retained with viral load suppression at 1 year. After adjusting for CD4 count, depression, physical health quality of life, and food insecurity, community-based accompaniment was protective against death or loss to follow-up during the first year of ART (hazard ratio, 0.17; 95% confidence interval [CI], .09-.35; P < .0001). In a second multivariable analysis, individuals receiving accompaniment were more likely to be retained with a suppressed viral load at 1 year (risk ratio: 1.15; 95% CI, 1.03-1.27; P = .01). Conclusions: These findings indicate that community-based accompaniment is effective in improving retention, when added to a clinic-based program with fewer patient support mechanisms.
    Preview · Article · Dec 2012 · Clinical Infectious Diseases
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    ABSTRACT: Civil society has been part of the HIV/AIDS response from the very beginning of the epidemic, often becoming engaged before national governments. Traditional roles of civil society--advocacy, activism, serving as government watchdog, and acting as community caretaker--have been critical to the response. In addition, civil society organizations (CSOs) play an integral part in providing world-class HIV prevention and treatment services and helping to ensure continuity of care. The President's Emergency Program for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) has significantly increased the global scale-up of combination antiretroviral therapy reaching for more than 5 million people in developing countries, as well as implementation of effective evidence-based combination prevention approaches. PEPFAR databases in 5 countries and annual reports from a centrally managed initiative were mined and analyzed to determine the numbers and types of CSOs funded by PEPFAR over a 5-year period (2006-2011). Data are also presented from Uganda showing the overall resource growth in CSO working for HIV. Case studies document the evolution of 3 indigenous CSOs that increased the capacity to implement activities with PEPFAR funding. A legacy of PEPFAR has been the growth of civil society to address social and health issues as well as recognition by governments that partnerships with beneficiaries and civil society result in better outcomes. Scale-up of the global response could not have happened without the involvement of civil society and people living with HIV. This game changing partnership to jointly tackle the problems that countries face may well be the greatest benefit emerging from the HIV epidemic.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2012 · JAIDS Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes
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    ABSTRACT: Abstract Depression, low health-related quality of life, and low perceived social support have been shown to predict poor health outcomes, including HIV-related outcomes. Mental health morbidity and HIV are important public health concerns in Rwanda, where approximately half of the current population is estimated to have survived the genocide and 3% is living with HIV. We examined the reliability and construct validity of the Hopkins Symptom Checklist-15 (HSCL-15), the Medical Outcomes Study HIV Health Survey (MOS-HIV), and the Duke/UNC Functional Social Support Questionnaire (DUFSSQ), which were used to assess depression, health-related quality of life, and perceived social support, respectively, among HIV-infected adults in rural Rwanda. We also studied whether scale reliability differed by gender, literacy status, or antiretroviral therapy (ART) delivery strategy. The Kinyarwanda versions of the HSCL-15, MOS-HIV, and DUFSSQ performed well in the study population. Reliability was favorable (Cronbach's alpha coefficients ≥0.75 or above) for the scales overall and across subgroups of gender, literacy, and mode of ART delivery. The scales also demonstrated good convergent, discriminant, and known-group validity.
    No preview · Article · Mar 2012 · AIDS Care
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    ABSTRACT: Access to antiretroviral therapy (ART) has rapidly expanded; as of the end of 2010, an estimated 6.6 million people are receiving ART in low-income and middle-income countries. Few reports have focused on the experiences of rural health centers or the use of community health workers. We report clinical and programatic outcomes at 24 months for a cohort of patients enrolled in a community-based ART program in southeastern Rwanda under collaboration between Partners In Health and the Rwandan Ministry of Health. A retrospective medical record review was performed for a cohort of 1041 HIV+ adult patients initiating community-based ART between June 1, 2005, and April 30, 2006. Key programatic elements included free ART with direct observation by community health worker, tuberculosis screening and treatment, nutritional support, a transportation allowance, and social support. Among 1041 patients who initiated community-based ART, 961 (92.3%) were retained in care, 52 (5%) died and 28 (2.7%) were lost to follow-up. Median CD4 T-cell count increase was 336 cells per microliter [interquartile range: (IQR): 212-493] from median 190 cells per microliter (IQR: 116-270) at initiation. A program of intensive community-based treatment support for ART in rural Rwanda had excellent outcomes in 24-month retention in care. Having committed to improving access to HIV treatment in sub-Saharan Africa, the international community, including country HIV programs, should set high programmatic outcome benchmarks.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2011 · JAIDS Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes
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    ABSTRACT: The objective of this study was to determine the test characteristics for two different ultrasound (US) measures of severe dehydration in children (aorta to inferior vena cava [IVC] ratio and IVC inspiratory collapse) and one clinical measure of severe dehydration (the World Health Organization [WHO] dehydration scale). The authors enrolled a prospective cohort of children presenting with diarrhea and/or vomiting to three rural Rwandan hospitals. Children were assessed clinically using the WHO scale and then underwent US of the IVC by a second clinician. All children were weighed on admission and then fluid-resuscitated according to standard hospital protocols. A percent weight change between admission and discharge of greater than 10% was considered the criterion standard for severe dehydration. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves were created for each of the three tests of severe dehydration compared to the criterion standard. Children ranged in age from 1 month to 10 years; 29% of the children had severe dehydration according to the criterion standard. Of the three different measures of dehydration tested, only US assessment of the aorta/IVC ratio had an area under the ROC curve statistically different from the reference line. At its best cut-point, the aorta/IVC ratio had a sensitivity of 93% and specificity of 59%, compared with 93% and 35% for IVC inspiratory collapse and 73% and 43% for the WHO scale. Ultrasound of the aorta/IVC ratio can be used to identify severe dehydration in children presenting with acute diarrhea and may be helpful in guiding clinical management.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2010 · Academic Emergency Medicine
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    ABSTRACT: Hospitals in rural Africa, such as in Rwanda, often lack electricity, supplies, and staff. In our setting, basic care processes, such monitoring vital signs, giving drugs, and laboratory testing, were performed unreliably, resulting in delays in treatment owing to lack of information needed for clinical decision making. Simple quality improvement tools, including plan-do-study-act cycles and process maps, were used to improve system level processes in a stepwise fashion; resources were augmented where necessary. 50 bed district hospital in rural Rwanda. MEASUREMENT OF IMPROVEMENT: Three key indicators (percentage of vital signs taken by 9 am, drugs given as prescribed, and laboratory tests performed and documented) were tracked daily. Data were collected from a random sample of 25 charts from six inpatient wards. Our intervention had two components: staff education on quality improvement and routine care processes, and stepwise implementation of system level interventions. Real time performance data were reported to staff daily, with a goal of 95% performance for each indicator within two weeks. A Rwandan quality improvement team was trained to run the hospital's quality improvement initiatives. EFFECTS OF CHANGES: Within two weeks, all indicators achieved the 95% goal. The data for the three objectives were analysed by using time series analysis. Progress was compared against time by using run chart rules for statistical significance of improvement, showing significant improvement for all indicators. Doctors and nurses subjectively reported improved patient care and higher staff morale. Four lessons are highlighted: making data visible and using them to inform subsequent interventions can promote change in resource poor settings; improvements can be made in advance of resource inputs, but sustained change in resource poor settings requires additional resources; local leadership is essential for success; and early successes were crucial for encouraging staff and motivating buy-in.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2009 · BMJ (online)
  • A. C. Levine · S. Shah · V. E. Noble · H. Epino

    No preview · Article · Sep 2009 · Annals of Emergency Medicine
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    ABSTRACT: Over the last decade, utilization of ultrasound technology by non-radiologist physicians has grown. Recent advances in affordability, durability, and portability have brought ultrasound to the forefront as a sustainable and high impact technology for use in developing world clinical settings as well. However, ultrasound's impact on patient management plans, program sustainability, and which ultrasound applications are useful in this setting has not been well studied. Ultrasound services were introduced at two rural Rwandan district hospitals affiliated with Partners in Health, a US nongovernmental organization. Data sheets for each ultrasound scan performed during routine clinical care were collected and analyzed to determine patient demographics, which ultrasound applications were most frequently used, and whether the use of the ultrasound changed patient management plans. Ultrasound scans performed by the local physicians during the post-training period were reviewed for accuracy of interpretation and image quality by an ultrasound fellowship trained emergency medicine physician from the United States who was blinded to the original interpretation. Adult women appeared to benefit most from the presence of ultrasound services. Of the 345 scans performed during the study period, obstetrical scanning was the most frequently used application. Evaluation of gestational age, fetal head position, and placental positioning were the most common findings. However, other applications used included abdominal, cardiac, renal, pleural, procedural guidance, and vascular ultrasounds.Ultrasound changed patient management plans in 43% of total patients scanned. The most common change was to plan a surgical procedure. The ultrasound program appears sustainable; local staff performed 245 ultrasound scans in the 11 weeks after the departure of the ultrasound instructor. Post-training scan review showed the concordance rate of interpretation between the Rwandese physicians and the ultrasound-trained quality review physicians was 96%. We suggest ultrasound is a useful modality that particularly benefits women's health and obstetrical care in the developing world. Ultrasound services significantly impact patient management plans especially with regards to potential surgical interventions. After an initial training period, it appears that an ultrasound program led by local health care providers is sustainable and lead to accurate diagnoses in a rural international setting.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2009 · BMC International Health and Human Rights
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    ABSTRACT: Over the last decade, the diffusion of ultrasound technology to nontraditional users has been rapid and far-reaching. Much research and effort has been focused on developing an ultrasound curriculum and training and practice guidelines for these users. The potential for this diagnostic tool is not limited to the developed world and in many respects ultrasound is adaptable to limited resource international settings. However, needs-based curriculum development, training guidelines, impact on resource utilization, and sustainability are not well studied in the developing world setting. We review one method of introducing applicable curriculum, training local providers, and sustaining a comprehensive ultrasound program. Two rural Rwandan hospitals affiliated with a US nongovernmental organization participated in a pilot ultrasound training program. Prior to introduction of ultrasound, local physicians completed a survey to determine the perceived importance of various ultrasound scan types. Hospital records were also reviewed to determine disease and presenting complaint prevalence as part of an initial needs assessment and to define our curriculum. We hypothesized certain studies would be more utilized and have a greater impact given available treatment resources. We review here the choice of curriculum, the training plan, helpful equipment specifications, and implementation of ongoing measures of quality assessment and sustainability. Our 9-week lecture and practice-based ultrasound curriculum included obstetrics, abdominal, renal, hepatobiliary, cardiac, pleural, vascular, and procedural ultrasound. While ultrasound as a diagnostic modality for resource-poor parts of the world has generated interest for years, recent advances in technology have brought ultrasound again to the forefront as a sustainable and high impact technology for resource-poor developing world nations. From our experience in rural Rwanda, we conclude that ultrasound remains helpful in patient care and the diagnostic impact is enhanced by choosing the correct applications to implement. We also conclude that ultrasound is a teachable skill, with a several week intensive training period involving hands-on practice skills and plans for long-term learning and have begun a second phase of evaluating knowledge retention for this introductory program.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2008 · International Journal of Emergency Medicine