Prof Lateef A Salako, 1935-2017, Malaria Champion

Professor Lateef Akinola Salako was an accomplished leader in malaria and health research in Nigeria whose contributions to the University of Ibadan and the Nigeria Institute for Medical Research (among others) advanced the health of the nation, the region and the world. His scientific research and his over 140 scientific publications spanned five decades.

His research not only added to knowledge but also served as a mentoring tool to junior colleagues. Some of his vast areas of interest in malaria ranged from malaria epidemiology, to testing the efficacy of malaria drugs to tackling the problem of malaria in pregnancy. He led a team from three research sites in Nigeria that documented care seeking for children with malaria the acceptability of pre-packaged malaria and pneumonia drugs for children that could be used for community case management. Prof Salako was also involved in malaria vaccine trials and urban malaria studies.

As recent as 2013 Prof Lateef Salako, formerly of NIMR said: “It is true there is a reduction in the rate of malaria cases in the country, but to stamp out this epidemic there is the urgent need for a synergy between researchers, the government, ministries, departments and agencies and involved in malaria control. That will enable coordinated activities that will produce quicker results than what obtains at the moment.”

At least one website has been set up where people can express their condolences.  As one person wrote, “Professor Lateef Salako was an exceptional student, graduating with distinction from medical school; an unforgettable teacher, speaking as a beneficiary of his tutelage; an exemplary scholar, mentoring many others; an accomplished scientist, making indelible contributions to knowledge. May his legacy endure.”

Readers are also welcome to add their own comments here about Prof Salako’s contribution to malaria and tropical health.

Oral Cholera Vaccination in Emergencies: Experiences from Freetown, Republic of Sierra Leone

Dr Denis Marke, CH/EPI Program Manager at the Sierra Leone Ministry of Health shared his experiences from a recent natural disaster at the WHO African Regional Immunization Technical Advisory Group meeting in Johannesburg, 5-8 December 2017. Below find his observations.

Heavy rains occurred in the early hours of 14th August 2017 that resulted in flash floods and mudslides that affected three communities (Sugar Loaf, Motomeh, and Kaningo) in the Western Area districts. The mudslides and flash floods blocked water ways and contaminated water sources in several low lying communities of Freetown, the capital city. Both mudslides and flooding destroyed houses, killing many people and displacing thousands of people. In addition, water and sewerage infrastructure were damaged.

Data collected from the emergency operations centre set up to manage the incident showed that 496 people died (168 females, 171 males of which 157 children). An additional 5,905 people were registered as displaced. The WHO assessment classified the incident as a Grade 1 emergency.

In analysis of health risks likely to affect the displaced people, cholera was ranked high on the account that there had been no confirmed Cholera outbreak since 2012. All historical outbreaks of cholera were analyzed and documented to a) Sierra Leone had had a history of 9 cholera outbreaks between 1970-2012; b) large outbreaks with case counts above 20,000 had occurred in 1994/5 and 2012; c) improved case-fatality ratios due to improvements in Health Worker skills and competencies in case management; d) almost all cholera epidemics occurred or peaked in the rainy season and e) shortening inter-epidemic periods, and thus another Cholera outbreak had been predicted since 2016.

A preventive Oral cholera vaccination concept for prevention of Cholera in Sierra Leone as part of the interventions in the emergency was mooted by WHO as the lead agency supporting the emergency response. A technical proposal for Oral Cholera vaccination was developed, presented and discussed at the Emergency Operations Centre and approved by the Ministry of Health and Sanitation. Support to implement the Oral Cholera vaccination was received from the Global Outbreaks and Alert Network, ICG, GAVI, UKaid, PIH and MSF.

Preparations for Oral Cholera vaccination broke records in terms of speedy planning and implementation. The OCV concept note was developed and approved by the MOH in 9 days. A proposal and request for OCV was approved by ICG in 72 hours. And the approved OCV doses were delivered in-country in 10 days. The national Regulatory Authority gave a waiver of vaccine registration, on the account of WHO pre-qualification and procurement through UNICEF supply division, and the OCV campaign conducted within 7 days of vaccine receipt. Notably, this was the FIRST cholera vaccination campaign EVER conducted in Sierra Leone and FIRST for that matter in an emergency.

The Objective of the OCV campaign was to provide two OCV vaccination doses to at least 95% of populations above 1 year of age living in communities affected by floods and mudslides and vulnerable populations in slums. The campaign took place in two rounds conducted on 14th – 19th September 2017 (first dose) and 5th – 10th October 2017 (second dose).

The Target Population for the Oral Cholera vaccination was all people aged >1 year resident in flood affected and slum communities of Western Area (Urban/Rural). Based on population projections for the affected communities, the estimated target was planned as 539,692 individuals.

The Oral Cholera vaccine delivery strategy was based on experiences from Oral Polio SIAs and it included four approaches: 1) House to House; 2) Schools-based temporary vaccination sites; 3) Fixed site at 22 affected Peripheral Health Units and 4) Outreach/mobile vaccination posts in camps of displaced people.

Overall the OCV Campaign reached 96.1% of the target population in the first round and 100% in the second round.  Post campaign independent monitoring documented that the overall coverage was slightly lower than was reported using the administrative reporting system. Independent monitors also documented that the main reasons for accepting vaccination were a) health information given out by health workers about the dangers of cholera, b) assurance from health workers and community leaders that the vaccine was safe. Unlike all previous Polio vaccination campaigns, radio, community social mobilizers, health workers and TV were the main source of information about the campaign.

Where non-vaccinated people were found, the major reasons were a) Poor H2H team movements and penetration; b) absence of beneficiary; c)  Acute sickness and d) unaware of vaccination dates/time. The poor team performance was attributed to the challenging terrains and clogged roads.

To verify community coverage, a post OCV Verification Survey was conducted from 21- 29 October 2017 in 140 clusters (enumeration areas). In total 2,908 Households studied and 6,987 individuals interviewed. Among people vaccinated 31.1% received only one dose and 68.6% received two doses.

In addition to oral cholera vaccination, Sierra Leone a) provided standard case definitions for cholera and trained camp commanders in the displaced populations to improve early detection of suspected cases; b) Updated and disseminated case management guidelines before conducting refresher training of case-management teams; c) Procured and prepositioned transport media for stool samples to be taken from suspected cases; d) Stock-piled and prepositioned at least 1 cholera case management kit; e) developed and disseminated IEC materials before conducting community engagement meetings with 48 Ward Councilors, 100 Market women, 120 teachers, 60 religious leaders and 40 CBO staff and f) Assured inclusion of cholera preparedness and response as a standing agenda of all EOC coordination mechanisms

This preventive effort not only kept cholera out of the area but also strengthened capacity to respond to future outbreaks and preventive campaigns. Coordination mechanisms have been established, vaccinators have been trained. Behavior change communication messages have been developed and a monitoring mechanism was tested to verify post-intervention results.  Coming out of the Ebola epidemic of a few years ago, Sierra Leone is encouraged by its new abilities to respond to emergencies and prevent outbreaks.

We acknowledge the assistance of Dr William Baguma MBABAZI, Medical Epidemiologist, EPI/WHO Sierra Leone, in the preparation of this posting.

 

Challenges in achieving Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus Elimination: South Sudan Experience

Dr. Anthony Laku who is currently the Immunization Program Officer in the South Sudan Ministry of Health presented the status of efforts to eliminate maternal and neonatal tetanus (MNT) in South Sudan at the fourth meeting of the WHO Regional Immunization Technical Advisory Group held 5-7 December 2017 in Johannesburg, South Africa. A summary of key challenges is shared below.

General Challenges to health delivery in South Sudan include a Maternal Mortality Ratio of 2054 per 100,000 live births. Also ~56% of population are not reached by Health Facilities; 60% of roads not accessible for half of the year; 45% of people live without access to safe water; and 86% of women have no formal education.

Delivery of immunization is hampered by persistent insecurity and inaccessibility. As of 31st August 2017, 7.5 million people are affected, and 3.9 million people are displaced, of which 2 million are in neighboring countries. The health services have varying degrees of difficulty in reaching the displaced people with immunization services.

Key strategies to eliminate MNT are as follows:

  • Three doses to all Women of Reproductive Age (WRA) using supplementary immunization activities (SIAs)
  • Provision of at least two doses of tetanus containing vaccines (TT) to all pregnant women and in high-risk areas
  • Promotion of clean delivery services for all pregnant women, and
  • Effective surveillance for MNT

So far the results have been below the targets for elimination. For example, 61% of 80 counties had less than 80% coverage in the third Round of Tetanus Containing Vaccines SIAs with 27/80 counties not reached at all. There was low estimated routine immunization (Penta3) coverage of only 26% in 2016. A limited number of skilled staff were available to ensure clean cord delivery (5% skilled delivery) with challenging implication on MNT elimination validation.

The protracted civil crisis in the country creates an uphill task for reaching key global targets including MNT elimination. Weak economic status in the country has had a ripple effect on staff motivation and commitment (e.g. delayed salaries).

Additional strategies were adopted for coverage improvement in 2017. A “Hit and Run” strategy was developed for insecure areas. Periodic Intensification of Routine Immunization was used in areas of intermittent crisis and or with high buildup of unimmunized populations. Overall the MNT elimination strategic plan was updated for 2018–2022.

Funding gaps exist for this new strategic plan with only 21% of needed finance is pledged. One approach to funding is aligning MNT elimination with funding in related areas such as the RMNCAH and Nutrition strategy and the Human Resource for Health Strategy. Despite these challenges South Sudan is persisting in efforts to eliminate MNT.

Community Based Intervention in Malaria Training in Myanmar

Nu Nu Khin of Jhpiego who is working on the US PMI “Defeat Malaria Project” led by URC shares observations on the workshop being held in Yangon with national and regional/state malaria program staff to plan how to strengthen malaria interventions at the community level. The workshop has adapted Jhpiego’s Community Directed Intervention training package to the local setting.

Yesterday’s opening speech was being hailed as a significant milestone to give Community-Based Intervention (CBI) training teams the knowledge, skills, and attitudes they need to effectively provide quality malaria services and quality malaria information.

This core team is going to train the critical groups of community-level implementers including CBI focal persons and malaria volunteers at the community level.

We embarked this important step yesterday with the collaboration of Johns Hopkins University, Myanmar Ministry of Health and Sports, and World Health Organization Myanmar.

Participants will be developing action plans to apply the community approach to malaria efforts in townships and villages in three high transmission Rakhine State, Kayin State and Tanintharyi Region.

Improving intermittent preventive treatment for pregnant women (IPTp) coverage in 5 districts in Chad and Cameroon

Kodjo Morgah and Naibei Mbaïbardoum of Jhpiego with support from the ExxonMobil Foundation ave been working to increase interventions that protect pregnant women from malaria. The results below were shared at the 66th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

Malaria is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in Cameroon and Chad, where an estimated 500,000 and 1.5 million cases occur every year, respectively. In Cameroon, 55% of hospitalizations and 241 deaths among pregnant women reported in 2010 were due to malaria. In Chad, malaria accounted for 30% of hospital admissions and 41% of deaths among pregnant women in 2013.

To improve uptake of intermittent preventive treatment for pregnant women (IPTp) for malaria in 5 districts in Chad and the Kribi district of Cameroon, Jhpiego adopted strategies targeting the 4 levels of the health system in each country: updating national policies and guidelines, building capacity of providers, building community health workers’ (CHWs) capacity, and engaging in behavior change communication.

Nationally, Jhpiego provided technical guidance to the Ministries of Health to develop tools including: training and malaria in pregnancy (MIP) reference manuals for providers and CHWs, guidelines on IPTp, and key supervision and data collection tools. At the regional/district levels, 38 supervisors were trained, and they conducted 248 supervisory visits in both countries, reaching 137 health facilities.

At the facility level, 234 providers were trained in malaria prevention and management, MIP, data collection and commodity management. At the community level, 146 CHWs in both countries were trained to raise awareness on malaria prevention and control.

In Chad, CHWs referred 6424 pregnant women for antenatal care/IPTp and 11679 pregnant women for malaria treatment in 2014 and 2015. Health facility and CHW data collection tools were revised and monthly validation of district data was implemented to improve data reliability, completeness, and readiness.

As a result of Jhpiego’s activities in Kribi, IPTp rates increased from the start of the project in 2012 to 2015: from 70% to 83% (IPTp1), 61% to 80% (IPTp2), and 12.7% to 28.1% (IPTp3). Similarly, from 2012 to 2015 in Chad, IPTp1 rates increased from 40% to 83% and from 30% to 50% for IPTp2. These gains are a result of training paired with coaching and supervision activities of trained providers and targeted facilities.

 

Results of an evaluation of the Toolkit to Improve Early and Sustained Intermittent Preventive Treatment in Pregnancy (IPTp) Uptake in Mozambique and Madagascar

Lalanirina Ravony, Elana Fiekowsky, Lisa Noguchi, Patricia P. Gomez, Jean Pierre Rakotovao, Eliane Razafimandimby, Armindo Tiago, Kathryn Smock, Arsene Ratsimbarisoa, Kristen Vibbert, and Robert Sellke shared their efforts to apply a toolkit to enable health providers to ensure better uptake of intermittent preventive treatment for malaria during antenatal clinics. As seen below, they presented their findings at the 66th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

Malaria in pregnancy (MIP) is a leading cause of maternal and newborn morbidity and mortality; however uptake of intermittent preventive treatment in pregnancy with sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (IPTp-SP), an effective prevention tool, remains alarmingly low across sub-Saharan Africa, including Mozambique and Madagascar.

The WHO 2012 policy recommendations to prevent MIP include early enrollment into antenatal care (ANC), accurate estimation of gestational age (GA) and administration of IPTp-SP during ANC visits beginning early in the second trimester, spaced at least one month apart. Preventing MIP remains a challenge in settings with inconsistent application of these recommendations and inadequate provider training in estimating GA.

To improve adherence to these recommendations, a toolkit was designed which includes a job aid with an algorithm to guide providers during ANC visits to determine IPTp-SP eligibility. Twenty-four providers from 24 facilities in Madagascar and 29 providers from seven facilities in Mozambique were trained on use of the job aid and interviewed three months later about their experience.

Individual providers were interviewed using a questionnaire to assess the clarity and utility to the job aid, and their opinions of the practicality of the orientation. Interviewers also gathered information on years of experience and clinical certification. All providers reported that the job aid reminded them to estimate GA and measure fundal height, which is particularly helpful since few women remember the date of their last menstrual period (LMP).

Health workers also reported that the job helped them encourage the use of long-lasted insecticide treated nets, and reminded them of the proper timing to start IPTp-SP. We conclude that the toolkit is useful to prompt providers to calculate GA and offer IPTp as early as possible in the second trimester.

Future potential directions include revision of all Toolkit components to reflect input from this evaluation, including development of a wall poster version to enhance readability, and inclusion of a pregnancy wheel to facilitate calculation of GA and estimated date of delivery.

This poster was made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), under the terms of the Cooperative Agreement AID-OAA-A-14-00028. The contents are the responsibility of the Maternal and Child Survival Program and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.

A New Approach for provider performance improvement with Clinical and Quality Assurance Components in Moramanga, Madagascar

Norohaingo Andrianaivo, Eliane Razafimandimby, Jean Pierre Rakotovao, Marc Eric Rajaonarison Razakariasy, and Lalanirina Ravony share their presentation on ensuring standardized malaria in pregnancy service delivery in Madagascar. The poster was viewed at the 66th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Tropical

Malaria is endemic in 90% of Madagascar. However, the entire population is considered to be at risk for the disease, with pregnant women particularly vulnerable. Madagascar adopted the IPT in pregnancy policy in 2004.

The Malaria Indicator Survey in 2016 in Madagascar showed only 10% of Malagasy pregnant women receiving three doses of SP (IPT3). MCSP previously conducted health provider training in antenatal care in workshop style, with usually one provider per facility attending each training.

To increase the number of providers offering standardized service according to the new WHO recommendations for IPTp, in 2016 MCSP Madagascar began implementing a new low dose/high frequency training approach, with routine supportive supervision. On-site training and supportive supervision provide the opportunity for the trainer and providers to discuss the barriers to delivery of IPTp-SP.

Additionally, with the addition of a new IPTp indicator in the facility dashboard, the trainer/supervisor can monitor the indicator, and discuss plan of action with providers as needed. To date, in Moramanga District, 16 providers in six facilities have benefited from this performance improvement approach.

The qualitative and quantitative study of provider performance and results from January 2017 to May 2017 shows that Providers do follow the WHO’s new recommendations on IPT.  Adequate action plans were implemented to prevent SP stock out and to commit community health workers.

The increase of antenatal care utilization rate in these facilities. The IPT uptake increased This intervention is expected to show that IPT uptake and other maternal and newborn outcomes are improving in Madagascar.

This poster was made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), under the terms of the Cooperative Agreement AID-OAA-A-14-00028. The contents are the responsibility of the Maternal and Child Survival Program and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.

Results from a Formative Evaluation of the Malaria in Pregnancy Case Management Job Aid in Nigeria

Job Aids can provide valuable assistance to health workers, but it is important to evaluate if they serve the intended purpose.  With support from USAID’s Maternal and Child Survival Program, Bright Orji, Enobong Ndekhedehe, Elana Fiekowsky, Patricia Gomez, Aimee Dickerson, Reena Sethi, Bibian Udeh, Kristin Vibbert, and Robert Sellke reported at the 66th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene on their evaluation of a Job Aid for Nigeria on the prevention of malaria in pregnancy as seen below.

Annually, nearly 7 million pregnant women in Nigeria are at risk of malaria in pregnancy (MIP). Although antenatal care is the platform for the prevention and treatment of MIP, malaria is also treated at outpatient departments.

It is known that women of reproductive age (WRA) are often treated for malaria without assessing pregnancy status, although artemisinin combination therapies are contraindicated in the first trimester of pregnancy, and many pregnant women do not receive the recommended low cost interventions.

In order to increase access to these MIP interventions, the President’s Malaria Initiative supported the Maternal and Child Survival Program and partners to develop a two-page job aid for case management of uncomplicated malaria among WRA. In collaboration with the Nigeria Malaria Elimination Program, the job aid was evaluated in Ebonyi State, a high malaria burden area, to determine providers’ perceptions of its clarity, acceptability, and utility.

A half-day workshop on use of the job aid was provided to 35 health workers (nurses – 20%; nurse-midwives – 20%; community health extension workers – 48%; and medical doctors – 12%) already trained on MIP case management, selected from 15 facilities where WRA seek care. After 3 months of use, a one-page questionnaire was administered to 34 health workers.

One-hundred percent stated that the job aid helped them to do the following: identify pregnant women among the WCBA presenting with fever; use rapid diagnostic tests to diagnose malaria; and treat uncomplicated MIP. Sixty-eight percent used the job aid to provide correct treatment for severe malaria and 88% used it while providing services all or most of the time.

The results indicated that after a half-day orientation on use of the job aid, health workers were able to use it to help them identify women who may be pregnant and provide appropriate treatment for uncomplicated MIP. They are also able to explain its use to colleagues.

It is suggested that a poster-size version could be printed and disseminated to appropriate cadres of health workers in clinics where WRA seek care for fever, as it is anticipated that providers could benefit from its use.

This poster was made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), under the terms of the Cooperative Agreement AID-OAA-A-14-00028. The contents are the responsibility of the Maternal and Child Survival Program and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.

Contribution of the Improving Malaria Care (IMC) Project to Improving Malaria Case Management in Burkina Faso

Malaria case management including diagnosis and treatment is an essential component of malaria control and elimination. Ousmane Badolo, Mathurin Dodo, and Bonkoungou Moumouni of Jhpiego working on the USAID Improving Malaria Care Project in Burkina Faso explained at the 66th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene how they worked to improve case management by Strengthening the capacity of health care providers. There findings follow:

Malaria kills mostly children under five and pregnant women in Burkina Faso, and is the leading reason for medical consultation and hospitalization. Improving case management is a real challenge in reducing morbidity and mortality. The goal of the National Malaria Control Program (NMCP) was to reduce the morbidity by 75% by end of 2000 and malaria mortality to close to zero by the end of 2015.

The United States Agency for International Development-supported Improving Malaria Care (IMC) project aims to reduce malaria morbidity and mortality. This includes strengthening the capacity of health providers to deliver high quality management- diagnosis and treatment, of malaria cases.

Between 2014 and 2016 IMC and the NMCP revised malaria guidelines, oriented 163 national trainers, trained 1,819 providers at all levels and organized supportive supervision of these staff. As a result correct diagnostic testing of malaria cases increased from 62% to 82%.

The proportion of people with uncomplicated malaria who received artemisinin combination therapy (ACT) increased from 85% to 94%. Strengthening of the data management system facilitated this information to be collected.

Training these providers based on national guidelines and reinforcing their learning through supervision has enabled the NMCP to have a pool of health providers capable of treating the most vulnerable population and helping to reduce malaria mortality level in Burkina Faso.

This training is accompanied by the implementation of formative supervision. Continued supervision and quality data management positions the NMCP to reach and document its goals.

Funding for this effort was provided by the United States President’s Malaria Initiative. This poster was made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents are the responsibility of the Improving Malaria Care Project and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.

Using the Antenatal Care Quality Improvement Tool and targeted training to strengthen ANC Services including MiP in Tanzania

Malaria prevention in pregnancy (MIP) is a major component of antenatal services in endemic countries. Jasmine Chadewa, Dunstan Bishanga, Elaine Roman, Godlisten Martin, Kristen Vibbert, Lauren Borsa, Agrey Mbilinyi, Jeremie Zoungrana, and Hussein Kidanto describe how they applied a quality improvement tool to strengthen ANC and MIP services at the 66th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. Their findings follow:

Malaria in Pregnancy (MiP) is a major, preventable cause of maternal morbidity and poor birth outcomes. In collaborations with partners, Tanzania’s National Malaria Control Program (NMCP) and the Reproductive and Child Health Unit has been working to promote the World Health Organization’s three-pronged approach to address the burden of MiP.

A malaria training for 180 supervisors and 360 ANC providers from 221 health facilities was conducted in the Kagera and Mara regions. Updates included an orientation on MiP as well as malaria case management, screening, data management and ITN promotion.
Prior to the training, facility baseline assessments were conducted using the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children (MOHCDGEC) antenatal care quality improvement (ANC QI) tool to identify gaps in knowledge and skills of health providers to better target trainings to improving the quality of ANC services.

A second assessment took place six months post training. Both assessments included hospital, health facility and dispensary levels and included observation, interviews, record reviews and skills assessments.

Results demonstrated that over 90% of the facilities scored below 30% across all categories in the overall baseline assessment with a high score of 35 %, while the 2nd assessment showed a large improvement with 40% of the facilities scoring below 30% and a high score of 70%.

The ANC QI tool is effective in determining the impact of ANC health provider’s knowledge and skills to target training to improve ANC service quality.

The presentation was made possible through support provided to the USAID Boresha Afya Project, under the terms of the Cooperative Agreement AID-621-A-16-00003 by the President’s Malaria Initiative via the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), an inter-agency agreement with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The opinions expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the President’s Malaria Initiative via the US Agency for International Development.