Posts or Comments 01 March 2021

Monthly Archive for "August 2015"



Environment &Integrated Vector Management &Mosquitoes Bill Brieger | 20 Aug 2015

World Mosquito Day Is Not Just About Malaria

World Mosquito Day Block the BiteOur colleagues at Roll Back Malaria remind is that 20 August is marked annually as World Mosquito Day since doctor Sir Ronald Ross first identified female Anopheles mosquitoes as the vector that transmits malaria between humans. This year, 2015 is the 118th annual observance.

It may seem obvious to state, but while malaria is carried by mosquitoes, not all types of mosquitoes carry malaria. And more specifically our control measures for combating the anopheles mosquitoes that carry malaria are not specifically aimed at aedes or culex. This has not stopped public health workers in the field, and health worker trainees in the classroom from broadcasting messages to the public implying that the control and destruction of any mosquito will prevent malaria.

In terms of health communication, if we convince people that any mosquito carries malaria, but institute measures like long lasting insecticide-treated nets and indoor residual spraying aimed at anopheles mosquitoes, we may lose some credibility as people will still see other types of mosquitoes flying about. And then when people develop another febrile illness from bites of those other mosquitoes, they may not differentiate illness types, but say our interventions do not work.

Old poster on malaria-mosquito presentionThe conflation of all mosquitoes with malaria is seen clearly in the image at the right from a common malaria poster. The dirty gutters may contain culex larvae; the cans and bottles may contain aedes larvae. Obviously none of these mosquito species is good for human health, so can we achieve clarity in health communication about mosquito-borne disease on World Mosquito Day and thereafter?

We often forget that people in the community are quite observant of their environment; sometimes more so the the public health inspectors who try to teach them about ways of preventing malaria by reducing mosquito breeding. Villagers deal with mosquitoes on a daily basis and can distinguish the coloring and posture of the different species.

Instead of telling people what to do, it would be more helpful for public health workers to engage in dialogue with people to learn what they know about different types of mosquitoes and different forms of febrile illness. Maybe by learning first from the people, health workers can then become better teachers about integrated vector management.

PS – maybe we can also educate the mass media to stop putting pictures of Aedes aegypti on their malaria stories!

Environment &Epidemiology &Surveillance Bill Brieger | 19 Aug 2015

Beyond Garki baseline results released, highlighting changes in malaria environment

Ilya Jones shares with us the latest update on Malaria Consortium’s Beyond Garki project that seeks to understand changes in malaria epidemiology and recommend effective strategies to improve control efforts ……

201506110316-malariometric-bannerOver the last 15 years, increased global investment in fighting malaria has contributed substantially to reduction in the prevalence of the disease in endemic countries around the world. With the development of new technologies and innovative approaches to disease control, there is more hope than ever that malaria will be eliminated in places where it used to be a major public health threat.

However, sustaining momentum requires a deep understanding of the changes in the frequency of the disease, determinants of transmission and impact of interventions in a changing environment. Understanding these changes is essential in order to tailor health interventions to be as effective as possible.

Malaria Consortium’s Beyond Garki project, funded by the UK government through the Programme Partnership Arrangement (PPA), seeks to understand changes in malaria epidemiology and recommend strategies to improve malaria control efforts. The project is named after the efforts of the World Health Organization and the government of Nigeria to study the epidemiology and control of malaria in Garki, Nigeria between 1969 and 1976. Beyond Garki began in Uganda and Ethiopia in 2012, with four survey rounds conducted to date. Additional studies were also carried out in Cambodia, and more studies are planned in Nigeria. Each survey tracks changes in malaria epidemiology over time and will ideally inform strategic decisions on the use of interventions.

The baseline results have been made available and will serve as a point of comparison for data obtained from subsequent survey rounds, which will be released in the autumn. However the results of the baseline survey are interesting in their own right. Some of the highlights are listed below:

  • Low to moderate malaria transmission intensity was observed in all sites. In Ethiopia, P. vivax was found to be a predominant malaria species, probably due to decline in transmission over recent years.
  • High coverage of insecticide treated nets (ITNs)was observed in three of four sites but it is still not at an ideal level.
  • ITN use rates among household members that had access were generally quite high. The studyNet use and infection also showed there is willingness to buy nets, at least in the Uganda sites.
  • In Uganda, a major vector of malaria, A. gambiae s.s., has developed resistance against pyrethroids.
  • Most human-vector contact still occurs indoors. However, there is a tendency of early biting of A. funestus s.l. in one of the sites in Uganda. More information is needed to determine the biting and resting habits of vector species in both countries.
  • The rate of malaria diagnosis using microscopy and rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) has been strengthened in all sites. RDTs have been found to effectively predict negative malaria results, indicating that service providers should pay attention to other causes of fever when RDT negative results are reported for patients.
  • The level of use of intermittent preventive treatment of pregnant women (IPTp) needs to be strengthened in Uganda.

beyond garkiTo learn more about the project, the methods used to collect data, the findings and the recommendations, check out the dedicated microsite for Beyond Garki here, or read the baseline report here.

Resistance &Treatment Bill Brieger | 15 Aug 2015

Drug-resistant malaria in Myanmar: A call for increased funding to prevent a global catastrophe

We are happy to re-post a blog by Alice Sowinski, Craigen Nes, and Diane Del Pozo in the SBFPHC Policy Advocacy Blog of the Social and Behavioral Foundations of Primary Health Care Course at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health….

The CDC estimates there are 198 million cases of malaria that occur worldwide with more than 500,000 people dying from the disease every year. Although this disease has slowly declined in recent years, experts believe that certain endemic areas could still be at high risk for drug resistance. One such area includes Myanmar, a Southeast Asian region located on the border between India and China.

myanmar malaria map

Myanmar is a high-risk area for artemisinin resistant malaria

Over 76% of Myanmar’s population lives in regions stricken with poverty and poor health infrastructure that contribute to the mass spread of disease in areas where malaria is endemic. This area in particular is becoming resistant to artemisinin, the first line of defense. Experts suggest Myanmar is a priority region for the elimination of artemisinin resistant malaria (ARM) in order to avoid the international disaster that would result if ARM were to spread to India and Africa. Immediate and large-scale action along with substantial financial support from multiple stakeholders is needed to prevent further spread of ARM and avoid a looming malaria catastrophe.

The Burmese government estimates that it will need US$1.2 billion over the next 15 years or $80 million per annum. The proposed solution would strengthen surveillance, increase rapid diagnostic testing and create new drugs to combat ARM. However, recently the Australian government, one of the 3MDG Fund donors, the largest development fund in Myanmar, has decided to cancel its pledged sum of $42 million in aid to the country. The implications of this withdrawal are uncertain and untimely.

With the ability of the malaria parasite to thwart off once effective drugs, the fear of widespread resistance is now a reality. Scientists believe we have a small window of opportunity to support Myanmar’s national campaign to increase funding to prevent a global health disaster and achieve Myanmar’s 2030 malaria elimination goals.

Community &iCCM &Procurement Supply Management &Treatment Bill Brieger | 06 Aug 2015

RSAP Themed Issue on Pharmaceutical Logistics for integrated Community Case Management (iCCM) – Call for Papers

RSAP_v11_i4_COVER.inddA themed issue for Research in Social and Administrative Pharmacy (RSAP at http://www.journals.elsevier.com/research-in-social-and-administrative-pharmacy/) will feature the challenges of guaranteeing regular and adequate pharmaceutical supplies and commodities for integrated Community Case Management (iCCM). iCCM can be described as a comprehensive approach to providing essential health services in and by the community. iCCM relies on having basic commodities like Rapid Diagnostic Tests (RDTs) and artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) medicines for malaria, oral rehydration solution (ORS) packets and zinc for diarrhea, in addition to appropriate antibiotics like amoxicillin and cotrimoxazole for pneumonia available in the community.

Early successes describing the documentation of need and initial procurement of these essential therapies in developing nations have been published; however, this themed issue will share original research, models, and expert commentaries on ensuing stages in procurement and supply chain management (PSM) that will sustain iCCM.

PSM/logistical success for iCCM can occur in countries that have a department or unit that focuses on community health promotion and supports standardized training and equipping of Community Health Workers (CHWs) even in small villages. Unfortunately, most programs lack adequate procurement and supply management systems, especially planning and forecasting. Front-line health center staff who train and supervise village-based iCCM volunteers express concern about the difficulty in acquiring enough medicines for their own clinical needs, let alone supplies for volunteer community health workers.

DSCN5479Other programs reserve iCCM only for selected communities in a catchment area based on distance or availability of community health extension/auxiliary workers. There are also examples of iCCM that are narrowly focused on one or two health problems, while others take a more comprehensive approach. Clearly each has different logistical concerns such as the generic issues of forecasting, procurement, shipping and storage, while others experience the difficulty obtaining funding support when many disease control programs have vertical financial streams.

There are various models for providing medicines at the community level. One is the pioneering work of the World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) Tropical Disease Research (TDR) program in promoting Community-Directed Treatment with Ivermectin (CDTI) for River Blindness Control, which evolved into the Community Directed Intervention (CDI) approach for delivering basic health commodities by the community, itself.[1]

Policymakers, health organizations, and front-line clinicians often say, “no product, no program.” This themed issue will share the experiences and lessons of iCCM, both successes and challenges, to help the global health community see the need for more systematic planning of PSM for iCCM. International agencies and donors clearly recognize that alternative forms of essential health service delivery are needed to achieve coverage targets and save lives. The community as a source of care has a solid foundation as established at the International Conference on Primary Health Care, which produced global guidance through the Alma Ata Primary Health Care Declaration of 1978,[2] but in all those years, actualization of this ideal has been difficult for logistical reasons. This RSAP themed issue should not only help us understand the present challenges, but map a way forward to better access to essential health commodities in communities throughout the developing world.

The themed issue will include various contributions such as:

  • Commentary/Overview from the World Health Organization staff who have spearheaded the iCCM movement
  • Implementation/intervention research on:
    • The link between front-line clinics and community health workers/distributors in guaranteeing iCCM commodities
    • The challenge of providing iCCM commodities for use by nomadic populations
    • Provision of iCCM commodities by different types community workers
    • Successes and challenges in maintaining supplies and commodities for large-scale and national community primary health care programs
    • Comparative lessons from other community based programs such as family planning commodity distribution and home-based care for people living with HIV
  • Documented program experiences including:
    • The challenges of maintaining iCCM supplies and logistics in emergency situations, as with disaster refugee and outbreak situations
    • The role of donors and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in providing commodities.

We are still seeking additional contributions. If you have a paper or idea for one or more, please contact the guest editors. Papers must be submitted on the Elsevier RSAP platform at http://ees.elsevier.com/rsap/ by February 1, 2016 for publication in fall of 2016.

Guest Editors:

  • William R Brieger, MPH, DrPH, Professor, Department of International Health, Bloomberg School of Public health, The Johns Hopkins University; Senior Malaria Specialist, Jhpiego; RSAP Editorial Board Member. <bbbrieger@yahoo.com>
  • Maria KL Eng, MPH, PhD, Departmental Associate, Department of International Health, Bloomberg School of Public health, The Johns Hopkins University; Instructor for “Pharmaceuticals Management for Under-Served Populations” <meng@jhu.edu>

[1] http://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/88/7/09-069203/en/

[2] http://www.who.int/dg/20080915/en/

Diagnosis &Elimination &ITNs &Universal Coverage Bill Brieger | 02 Aug 2015

Malaria Status in the 2014-15 Rwanda Demographic and Health Survey

Rwanda is experiencing low and very low levels of malaria test positivity rates, thought there are a few districts near the borders with Uganda, Tanzania and Burundi that have relatively higher transmission. Overall the country is strategizing how to move toward the pre-elimination phase on the pathway to malaria elimination. This is defined as a test positivity rate of less than 5% during the high transmission season.

DHS 2010 Malaria Prevalence in Children 6-59 MonthsIt is important to distinguish between test positivity rate and prevalence rate. The most recent survey report that gives prevalence is the DHS 2010 with a rate of 1.4% in children below 5 years of age and 0.7% among women of reproductive age. During 2010 the health management information system shows that among those tested (microscopy or RDT) for malaria, 24% were positive. The population for test positivity reports is a much smaller group that is already suspected of having malaria. That said, 24% or the 2013 rate of 29% is still far from the 5% cut-off for pre-elimination status.

Rwanda still maintains a policy of universal coverage with insecticide treated nets (ITNs). Rwanda also has a policy that every pregnant woman should receive an ITN during her first antenatal care visit. Ideally in order to reach pre-elimination status, a country needs to sustain high coverage of malaria prevention and treatment interventions at an 80% level for several years.

The newly released preliminary results of the 2014-15 DHS provide an opportunity to examine achievements. The 2014-15 DHS found that 81% of households had at least one ITN, while 43% had achieved the universal coverage target of one ITN per two household members. These numbers remain basically unchanged from the 2013 Malaria Information Survey (83% and 43%), while the 2010 DHS found 82% of households had a net, but did not report on the indicator of one net per two people. In short, it appears that coverage levels have been maintained at a certain level.

DSCN7129a pregnant women get ITNs when register for ANC RwandaDHS 2014-15 shows that 99% of pregnant women in Rwanda received antenatal care from a skilled provider. That means that basically all pregnant women should have received an ITN. 73% of pregnant women had slept under an ITN the night before they were surveyed, while 88% of all women of reproductive age slept under a net. 68% of children below the age of five years slept under an ITN the night before their household was surveyed, while 80% who lived in households that owned an ITN did so.

Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS) is focused on certain high transmission/burden districts. The preliminary 2014-15 DHS does not report on this and the 2013 MIS reports broadly by region, hence one sees coverage reports for IRS in the east (22%) and south (16%), where there is greater malaria burden, but this cannot be linked to specific districts that may have been targeted.

Rwanda also has a policy that all suspected malaria cases should be tested, whether with microscopy in health centers or rapid diagnostic tests by village health workers. It is only those persons testing positive for malaria who are supposed to be given malaria medicine.

DHS shows that 1439 children below five years of age (or 19% of the total) had fever in the two weeks prior to the survey. Of these 36% reported having a blood test performed, and 11% of those with fever received the approved artemisinin-based combination (ACT) therapy drug. The report does not indicate the actual testDSCN7282 results of those receiving ACT.

As Rwanda strategized toward reaching malaria pre-elimination status it can consider ways of enhancing ITN use, not only among vulnerable groups like small children and pregnant women, but all members of the household. As prevalence drops, so does acquired immunity, putting adults at greater risk.

The universal coverage target of at least 1 net for every two people in a household must be maintained, especially since it is nearing three years since the last universal coverage distribution campaign. Either another campaign will be needed or efforts to strengthen delivery of nets to families through routine health services.

In addition prompt and appropriate treatment based on diagnostics can be strengthened. One would have expected more children with fever to have been tested for malaria that the DHS reports.

Internal and external support is needed. Rwanda has been on the verge of reaching malaria pre-elimination status several times in the past decade. Even though malaria is no longer the top cause of death, we should not reduce our efforts to create a malaria-free Rwanda.