ResearchPad - pakistan https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[The prevalence of hepatitis C virus in hemodialysis patients in Pakistan: A systematic review and meta-analysis]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14616 Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is one of the most common bloodborne viral infections reported in Pakistan. Frequent dialysis treatment of hemodialysis patients exposes them to a high risk of HCV infection. The main purpose of this paper is to quantify the prevalence of HCV in hemodialysis patients through a systematic review and meta-analysis.MethodsWe systematically searched PubMed, Medline, EMBASE, Pakistani Journals Online and Web of Science to identify studies published between 1 January 1995 and 30 October 2019, reporting on the prevalence of HCV infection in hemodialysis patients. Meta-analysis was performed using a random-effects model to obtain pooled estimates. A funnel plot was used in conjunction with Egger’s regression test for asymmetry and to assess publication bias. Meta-regression and subgroup analyses were used to identify potential sources of heterogeneity among the included studies. This review was registered on PROSPERO (registration number CRD42019159345).ResultsOut of 248 potential studies, 19 studies involving 3446 hemodialysis patients were included in the meta-analysis. The pooled prevalence of HCV in hemodialysis patients in Pakistan was 32.33% (95% CI: 25.73–39.30; I2 = 94.3%, p < 0.01). The subgroup analysis showed that the prevalence of HCV among hemodialysis patients in Punjab was significantly higher (37.52%; 95% CI: 26.66–49.03; I2 = 94.5, p < 0.01) than 34.42% (95% CI: 14.95–57.05; I2 = 91.3%, p < 0.01) in Baluchistan, 27.11% (95% CI: 15.81–40.12; I2 = 94.5, p < 0.01) in Sindh and 22.61% (95% CI: 17.45–28.2; I2 = 78.6, p < 0.0117) in Khyber Pukhtoonkhuwa.ConclusionsIn this study, we found a high prevalence (32.33%) of HCV infection in hemodialysis patients in Pakistan. Clinically, hemodialysis patients require more attention and resources than the general population. Preventive interventions are urgently needed to decrease the high risk of HCV infection in hemodialysis patients in Pakistan. ]]> <![CDATA[Epidemiology of West Nile Virus in the Eastern Mediterranean region: A systematic review]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c59fef4d5eed0c484135845

Background

West Nile Virus (WNV), a member of the genus Flavivirus, is one of the most widely distributed arboviruses in the world. Despite some evidence for circulation of WNV in countries summarized by the World Health Organization as the Eastern Mediterrian Regional Office (EMRO), comprehensive knowledge about its epidemiology remains largely unknown. This study aims to provide a concise review of the published literature on WNV infections in the Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office of WHO (EMRO).

Methodology/principal findings

A systematic review of WNV prevalence studies on humans, animals and vectors in the EMRO region was performed by searching: Web of Science, Science Direct, Scopus, PubMed, Embase and Google Scholar. Finally, 77 citations were included, comprising 35 seroprevalence studies on general population (24460 individuals), 15 prevalence studies among patients (3439 individuals), 22 seroprevalence studies among animals (10309 animals), and 9 studies on vectors (184242 vector species). Of the 22 countries in this region, five had no data on WNV infection among different populations. These countries include Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, Syria and Somalia. On the other hand, among countries with available data, WNV-specific antibodies were detected in the general population of all investigated countries including Djibouti (0.3–60%), Egypt (1–61%), Iran (0–30%), Iraq (11.6–15.1%), Jordan (8%), Lebanon (0.5–1%), Libya (2.3%), Morocco (0–18.8%), Pakistan (0.6–65.0%), Sudan (2.2–47%), and Tunisia (4.3–31.1%). WNV RNA were also detected in patient populations of Iran (1.2%), Pakistan (33.3%), and Tunisia (5.3% –15.9%). WNV-specific antibodies were also detected in a wide range of animal species. The highest seropositivity rate was observed among equids (100% in Morocco) and dogs (96% in Morocco). The highest seroprevalence among birds was seen in Tunisia (23%). In addition, WNV infection was detected in mosquitoes (Culex, and Aedes) and ticks (Argas reflexus hermanni). The primary vector of WNV (Culex pipiens s.l.) was detected in Djibouti, Egypt, Iran and Tunisia, and in mosquitoes of all these countries, WNV was demonstrated.

Conclusions

This first systematic regional assessment of WNV prevalence provides evidence to support the circulation of WNV in the EMRO region as nearly all studies showed evidence of WNV infection in human as well as animal/vector populations. These findings highlight the need for continued prevention and control strategies and the collection of epidemiologic data for WNV epidemic status, especially in countries that lack reliable surveillance systems.

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<![CDATA[Making prescriptions “talk” to stroke and heart attack survivors to improve adherence: Results of a randomized clinical trial (The Talking Rx Study)]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c25451ad5eed0c48442beb0

Background

We developed and tested the effectiveness of a tailored health information technology driven intervention: “Talking Prescriptions” (Talking Rx) to improve medication adherence in a resource challenged environment.

Methods

We conducted a parallel, randomized, controlled, assessor-blinded trial at the Aga Khan University (AKU), Karachi, Pakistan. Adults with diagnosis of cerebrovascular accident (CVA) or coronary artery disease (CAD) diagnosed least one month before enrollment, on anti-platelets and statins, with access to a mobile phone were enrolled. The intervention group received a) Daily Interactive Voice Response (IVR) call services regarding specific statin and antiplatelet b) Daily tailored medication reminders for statin and antiplatelet and c) Weekly lifestyle modification messages for a period of 3 months. We assessed Medication adherence to statin and antiplatelets by a validated version of the 8-item Morisky Medication Adherence scale 8 (MMAS-8) at 3 months by a blinded assessment officer. Analysis was conducted by intention-to-treat principle (ITT).

Results

Between April 2015 and December 2015, 197 participants (99 in intervention and 98 in the usual care group) enrolled in the Talking Rx Study. The dropout rate was 9.6%. Baseline group characteristics were similar. At baseline, the mean MMAS-8 was 6.68 (SD = 1.28) in the intervention group and 6.77 (SD = 1.36) in usual care group. At end of follow-up, the mean MMAS-8 increased to 7.41(0.78) in the intervention group compared with 7.38 (0.99) in usual care group with mean difference of 0.03 (S.D 0.13) (95% C.I [-0.23, 0.29]), which was not statistically significant. (P-Value = 0.40) CVA patients showed a relatively greater magnitude of adherence via the MMAS-8 at the end of follow up where the mean MMAS-8 increased to 7.29 (S.D 0.82) in the intervention group as compared to 7.07(S.D 1.24) in usual care group with mean difference of 0.22 (SD = 0.22) 95% C.I (-0.20, 0.65) with (P-value = 0.15). Around 84% of those on intervention arm used the service, calling at least 3 times and listening to their prescriptions for an average of 8 minutes. No user was excluded due to technologic reasons.

Conclusion

The use of a phone based medication adherence program was feasible in LMIC settings with high volume clinics and low patient literacy. In this early study, with limited follow up, the program did not achieve any statistically significant differences in adherence behavior as self—reported by the MMAS-8 Scale.

Trial registration

Clinical Trials.gov NCT02354040.

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<![CDATA[Epidemiology of Tuberculosis in Immigrants in a Large City with Large-Scale Immigration (1991-2013)]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9f3ab0ee8fa60b6f497

Background

The increase in immigration in Barcelona between 2000 and 2008 forced a reorganization of the control of tuberculosis (TB). TB clinical units (TBCU) were created and community health workers (CHW) were gradually included.

Objective

To understand trends in the incidence of TB among immigrants, their main characteristics and treatment compliance during the period 1991–2013.

Design

We conducted a cross-sectional population-based study of cases detected among immigrants by the Tuberculosis Program in Barcelona, Spain. Sociodemographic, clinical characteristics and risk factors were described. The annual incidence was calculated for various periods and geographical areas of origin. In the linear trend analysis, a p-value of <0.05 was considered statistically significant.

Results

We detected 3,284 cases. Incidence decreased from 144.8/100,000 inhabitants in 1991 to 53.4/100,000 in 2013. Individuals born in Pakistan-India-Bangladesh had the highest average annual incidence (675/100,000). In all, 2,156 cases (65.7%) were male. 2,272 (69.2%) had pulmonary TB, of which 48.2% were smear-positive. 33% of the cases (1,093) lived in the inner city. Contact tracing (CT) coverage in smear-positive individuals rose from 56.8% in 1991–1999 to 81.4% in 2000–2013 (p<0.01); this value was less than 50% in people from Africa and Eastern European countries. The case fatality rate was 3.6% overall and 9.8% among those born in high-income countries (p<0.01). The highest rate of treatment default (12.8%) was observed among cases from the Maghreb. The rate of successful treatment increased from 69.9% in 1991–1999 to 87.5% in 2000–2013 (p<0.01).

Conclusion

The incidence of TB in immigrants is decreasing in Barcelona. Organizational actions, such as incorporating CHWs and TBCUs, have been decisive for the observed improvements.

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<![CDATA[Effects of Non-Symbolic Approximate Number Practice on Symbolic Numerical Abilities in Pakistani Children]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dab5ab0ee8fa60bac9ae

Current theories of numerical cognition posit that uniquely human symbolic number abilities connect to an early developing cognitive system for representing approximate numerical magnitudes, the approximate number system (ANS). In support of this proposal, recent laboratory-based training experiments with U.S. children show enhanced performance on symbolic addition after brief practice comparing or adding arrays of dots without counting: tasks that engage the ANS. Here we explore the nature and generality of this effect through two brief training experiments. In Experiment 1, elementary school children in Pakistan practiced either a non-symbolic numerical addition task or a line-length addition task with no numerical content, and then were tested on symbolic addition. After training, children in the numerical training group completed the symbolic addition test faster than children in the line length training group, suggesting a causal role of brief, non-symbolic numerical training on exact, symbolic addition. These findings replicate and extend the core findings of a recent U.S. laboratory-based study to non-Western children tested in a school setting, attesting to the robustness and generalizability of the observed training effects. Experiment 2 tested whether ANS training would also enhance the consistency of performance on a symbolic number line task. Over several analyses of the data there was some evidence that approximate number training enhanced symbolic number line placements relative to control conditions. Together, the findings suggest that engagement of the ANS through brief training procedures enhances children's immediate attention to number and engagement with symbolic number tasks.

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<![CDATA[Does Measles Vaccination Reduce the Risk of Acute Respiratory Infection (ARI) and Diarrhea in Children: A Multi-Country Study?]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da79ab0ee8fa60b97dd6

Background

Pneumonia and diarrhea occur either as complications or secondary infections in measles affected children. So, the integrated Global Action Plan for Pneumonia and Diarrhea (GAPPD) by WHO and UNICEF includes measles vaccination as preventive measure in children. The objective of the study is to examine the effect of measles vaccination on Acute Respiratory Infection (ARI) and diarrhea in children in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, India, Nigeria, and Pakistan.

Methods

We analyzed data from the most recent rounds of Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) in the selected countries. We included children age 12–59 months in the analysis. We used multivariable binary logistic regression to examine the effect of measles vaccination on ARI and diarrhea in children. We also estimated Vaccination Effectiveness (VE).

Findings

More than 60 percent of the children age 12–59 months were given measles vaccine before the survey in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, India and Pakistan. Children who were given the measles vaccine were less likely to suffer from ARI than unvaccinated children in India and Pakistan. Children who were given the measles vaccine had a lower risk of diarrhea than those who did not receive it in all the selected countries except Ethiopia. Measles vaccination was associated with reduction in ARI cases by 15–30 percent in India and Pakistan, and diarrhea cases by 12–22 percent in the Democratic Republic of Congo, India, Nigeria and Pakistan.

Conclusion

The receipt of the measles vaccine was associated with decrease in ARI and diarrhea in children. The immunization program must ensure that each child gets the recommended doses of measles vaccine at the appropriate age. The measles vaccination should be given more attention as a preventive intervention under the Global Action Plan for Pneumonia and Diarrhea (GAPPD) in all low and middle-income countries.

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<![CDATA[Rights and Responsibilities of Tuberculosis Patients, and the Global Fund: A Qualitative Study]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da1cab0ee8fa60b7d68e

Background

Implementation of the Charter to protect patients’ rights is an important criterion to achieve patient-centered approach and receive financial support from the Global Fund. Our study aims to explore the knowledge of tuberculosis (TB) patients about their rights and responsibilities at the Chest Disease Unit of the Bahawal Victoria Hospital, Bahawalpur, Pakistan.

Methods

This was a qualitative study. The data from purposefully selected TB patients was collected by in-depth interviews. Eligibility criteria included confirmed diagnosis of TB and enrollment in the TB program. A pilot tested interview protocol was based upon the objectives of the study, and was used uniformly in each interview to maintain the consistency. The sample size was limited by applying the saturation criteria. All interviews were audiotaped and transcribed verbatim. Inductive thematic content analysis was applied to analyze the data and draw conclusions.

Results

Out of the total 16 patients, four were female, and seven were illiterate. Eight patients were known cases of multi-drug resistant TB. Analysis of the data yielded seven themes; tuberculosis care services, moral support and stigmatization, dignity and privacy, complaints, fear of losing job, information sharing and compliance to the treatment plan, and contribution to eradicate TB. First five represented the rights section while latter two were related to the responsibilities section of the Charter.

Conclusion

Discriminatory access to TB care services and the right to privacy were two major concerns identified in this study. However, the respondents recognized their responsibilities as a TB patient. To ensure uninterrupted investment from the Global Fund, there is a need to implement fair TB care policies which support human rights-based approach.

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<![CDATA[Medical Students’ Perceptions of Clinical Teachers as Role Model]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da66ab0ee8fa60b91fe9

Introduction

Role models facilitate student learning and assists in the development of professional identity. However, social organization and cultural values influence the choice of role models. Considering that the social organization and cultural values in South East Asia are different from other countries, it is important to know whether this affects the characteristics medical students look for in their role models in these societies.

Methods

A 32 item questionnaire was developed and self-administered to undergraduate medical students. Participants rated the characteristics on a three point scale (0 = not important, 1 = mildly important, 2 = very important). One way ANOVA and student's t-test were used to compare the groups.

Results

A total of 349 (65.23%) distributed questionnaires were returned. The highest ranked themes were teaching and facilitating learning, patient care and continuing professional development followed by communication and professionalism. Safe environment and guiding personal and professional development was indicated least important. Differences were also observed between scores obtained by males and females.

Conclusion

Globally there are attributes which are perceived as essential for role models, while others are considered desirable. An understanding of the attributes which are essential and desirable for role models can help medical educators devise strategies which can reinforce those attributes within their institutions.

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<![CDATA[Sailing in Uncharted Waters: Carefully Navigating the Polio Endgame]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9edab0ee8fa60b6cff0

In a Perspective linked to the research article by Isobel Blake and colleagues, Elizabeth Miller and T. Jacob John discuss the path towards global polio eradication and the challenges, strategies, and necessary precautions around oral polio vaccine cessation.

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<![CDATA[Hepatitis B genotypes and surface antigen mutants present in Pakistani blood donors]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db5cab0ee8fa60be030b

Background

The prevalence of chronic Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) infection is 2–4% in the Pakistani population, defining Pakistan as an intermediate prevalence country. In this study, hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) reactive blood donations were screened using a combination of serological and molecular methods to identify immune escape HBV mutant strains and to determine the HBV genotypes and subtypes present in Pakistan.

Methods

Blood donations were collected at the Armed Forces Institute of Transfusion (AFIT) located in northern Pakistan and the Hussaini Blood Bank (HBB) located in the south. From 2009 to 2013 a total of 706,575 donations were screened with 2.04% (14,409) HBsAg reactive. A total of 2055 HBsAg reactive specimens, were collected and screened using a monoclonal antibody based research assay to identify immune escape mutants followed by PCR amplification and DNA sequencing to identify the mutation present. DNA sequences obtained from 192 specimens, including mutant candidates and wild type strains, were analyzed for escape mutations, genotype, and HBsAg subtype.

Results

Mutations were identified in approximately 14% of HBsAg reactive donations. Mutations at HBsAg amino acid positions 143–145 are the most common (46%) with the mutation serine 143 to leucine the most frequently occurring change (28%). While regional differences were observed, the most prevalent HBV strains are subgenotypes of D with subgenotype D1/subtype ayw2 accounting for the majority of infections; 90.2% at AFIT and 52.5% at HBB.

Conclusions

The high frequency of immune escape HBV mutants in HBV infected Pakistani blood donors highlights the need for more studies into the prevalence of escape mutants. Differences between vaccinated and unvaccinated populations, the correlation of escape mutant frequency with genotype, and impact of escape mutations in different genotype backgrounds on the performance of commercially available HBsAg assays represent avenues for further investigation.

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<![CDATA[Diversity, Mutation and Recombination Analysis of Cotton Leaf Curl Geminiviruses]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da4eab0ee8fa60b8d675

The spread of cotton leaf curl disease in China, India and Pakistan is a recent phenomenon. Analysis of available sequence data determined that there is a substantial diversity of cotton-infecting geminiviruses in Pakistan. Phylogenetic analyses indicated that recombination between two major groups of viruses, cotton leaf curl Multan virus (CLCuMuV) and cotton leaf curl Kokhran virus (CLCuKoV), led to the emergence of several new viruses. Recombination detection programs and phylogenetic analyses showed that CLCuMuV and CLCuKoV are highly recombinant viruses. Indeed, CLCuKoV appeared to be a major donor virus for the coat protein (CP) gene, while CLCuMuV donated the Rep gene in the majority of recombination events. Using recombination free nucleotide datasets the substitution rates for CP and Rep genes were determined. We inferred similar nucleotide substitution rates for the CLCuMuV-Rep gene (4.96X10-4) and CLCuKoV-CP gene (2.706X10-4), whereas relatively higher substitution rates were observed for CLCuMuV-CP and CLCuKoV-Rep genes. The combination of sequences with equal and relatively low substitution rates, seemed to result in the emergence of viral isolates that caused epidemics in Pakistan and India. Our findings also suggest that CLCuMuV is spreading at an alarming rate, which can potentially be a threat to cotton production in the Indian subcontinent.

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<![CDATA[Molecular Epidemiology of P. vivax in Iran: High Diversity and Complex Sub-Structure Using Neutral Markers, but No Evidence of Y976F Mutation at pvmdr1]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da26ab0ee8fa60b80c28

Background

Malaria remains endemic at low levels in the south-eastern provinces of Iran bordering Afghanistan and Pakistan, with the majority of cases attributable to P. vivax. The national guidelines recommend chloroquine (CQ) as blood-stage treatment for uncomplicated P. vivax, but the large influx of imported cases enhances the risk of introducing CQ resistance (CQR).

Methodology and Principal Findings

The genetic diversity at pvmdr1, a putative modulator of CQR, and across nine putatively neutral short tandem repeat (STR) markers were assessed in P. vivax clinical isolates collected between April 2007 and January 2013 in Hormozgan Province, south-eastern Iran. One hundred blood samples were collected from patients with microscopy-confirmed P. vivax enrolled at one of five district clinics. In total 73 (73%) were autochthonous cases, 23 (23%) imported cases from Afghanistan or Pakistan, and 4 (4%) with unknown origin. 97% (97/100) isolates carried the F1076L mutation, but none carried the Y976F mutation. STR genotyping was successful in 71 (71%) isolates, including 57(57%) autochthonous and 11 (11%) imported cases. Analysis of population structure revealed 2 major sub-populations, K1 and K2, with further sub-structure within K2. The K1 sub-population had markedly lower diversity than K2 (HE = 0.06 vs HE = 0.82) suggesting that the sub-populations were sustained by distinct reservoirs with differing transmission dynamics, possibly reflecting local versus imported/introduced populations. No notable separation was observed between the local and imported cases although the sample size was limited.

Conclusions

The contrasting low versus high diversity in the two sub-populations (K1 and K2) infers that a combination of local transmission and cross-border malaria from higher transmission regions shape the genetic make-up of the P. vivax population in south-eastern Iran. There was no molecular evidence of CQR amongst the local or imported cases, but ongoing clinical surveillance is warranted.

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<![CDATA[Impact of a Daily SMS Medication Reminder System on Tuberculosis Treatment Outcomes: A Randomized Controlled Trial]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dae2ab0ee8fa60bbc420

Importance

The rapid uptake of mobile phones in low and middle-income countries over the past decade has provided public health programs unprecedented access to patients. While programs have used text messages to improve medication adherence, there have been no high-powered trials evaluating their impact on tuberculosis treatment outcomes.

Objective

To measure the impact of Zindagi SMS, a two-way SMS reminder system, on treatment success of people with drug-sensitive tuberculosis.

Design

We conducted a two-arm, parallel design, effectiveness randomized controlled trial in Karachi, Pakistan. Individual participants were randomized to either Zindagi SMS or the control group. Zindagi SMS sent daily SMS reminders to participants and asked them to respond through SMS or missed (unbilled) calls after taking their medication. Non-respondents were sent up to three reminders a day.

Setting

Public and private sector tuberculosis clinics in Karachi, Pakistan.

Participants

Newly-diagnosed patients with smear or bacteriologically positive pulmonary tuberculosis who were on treatment for less than two weeks; 15 years of age or older; reported having access to a mobile phone; and intended to live in Karachi throughout treatment were eligible to participate. We enrolled 2,207 participants, with 1,110 randomized to Zindagi SMS and 1,097 to the control group.

Main Outcome

The primary outcome was clinically recorded treatment success based upon intention-to-treat.

Results

We found no significant difference between the Zindagi SMS or control groups for treatment success (719 or 83% vs. 903 or 83%, respectively, p = 0·782). There was no significant program effect on self-reported medication adherence reported during unannounced visits during treatment.

Conclusion

In this large-scale randomized controlled effectiveness trial of SMS medication reminders for tuberculosis treatment, we found no significant impact.

Trial Registration

The trial was registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT01690754.

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<![CDATA[The first “London Declaration”: The Commonwealth and its neglected tropical diseases]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db5aab0ee8fa60bdf385 ]]> <![CDATA[Comparing Effectiveness of Active and Passive Client Follow-Up Approaches in Sustaining the Continued Use of Long Acting Reversible Contraceptives (LARC) in Rural Punjab: A Multicentre, Non-Inferiority Trial]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9fdab0ee8fa60b72bad

Background

The use of long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC) methods is very low in Pakistan with high discontinuation rates mainly attributed to method-related side effects. Mixed evidence is available on the effectiveness of different client follow-up approaches used to ensure method continuation. We compared the effectiveness of active and passive follow-up approaches in sustaining the use of LARC—and within ‘active’ follow-up, we further compared a telephone versus home-based approach in rural Punjab, Pakistan.

Methods

This was a 12-month multicentre non-inferiority trial conducted in twenty-two (16 rural- and 6 urban-based) franchised reproductive healthcare facilities in district Chakwal of Punjab province, between November 2013 and December 2014. The study comprised of three groups of LARC clients: a) home-based follow-up, b) telephone-based follow-up, and c) passive or needs-based follow-up. Participants in the first two study groups received counselling on scheduled follow-up from the field workers at 1, 3, 6, 9, and 12 month post-insertion whereas participants in the third group were asked to contact the health facility if in need of medical assistance relating to LARC method use. Study participants were recruited with equal allocation to each study group, but participants were not randomized. The analyses are based on 1,246 LARC (intra-uterine contraceptive device and implant) users that completed approximately 12-months of follow-up. The non-inferiority margin was kept at five percentage points for the comparison of active and passive follow-up and six percentage points for telephone and home-based approach. The primary outcome was cumulative probability of method continuation at 12-month among LARC users.

Results

Women recruited in home-based, telephone-based, and passive groups were 400, 419 and 427, respectively. The cumulative probability of LARC continuation at 12 month was 87.6% (95% CI 83.8 to 90.6) among women who received home-based follow-up; 89.1% (95% CI 85.7, 91.8) who received telephone-based follow-up; and 83.8% (95% CI 79.8 to 87.1) who were in the passive or needs-based follow-up group. The probability of continuation among women who were actively followed-up by field health educators—either through home-based visit or telephone-based follow-up was, 88.3% (95% CI 85.9 to 90.0). An adjusted risk difference of -4.1 (95% CI -7.8 to -0.28; p-value = 0.035) was estimated between active and passive follow-up. Whereas, within the active client follow-up, the telephone-based follow-up was found to be as effective as the home-based follow-up with an adjusted risk difference of 1.8 (95% CI -2.7 to 6.4; p-value = 0.431).

Conclusion

A passive follow-up approach was 5% inferior to an active follow-up approach; whereas telephone-based follow-up was as effective as the home-based visits in sustaining the use of LARC, and was far more resource efficient. Therefore, active follow-up could improve method continuation especially in the critical post-insertion period.

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<![CDATA[Willingness to Know the Cause of Death and Hypothetical Acceptability of the Minimally Invasive Autopsy in Six Diverse African and Asian Settings: A Mixed Methods Socio-Behavioural Study]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da1eab0ee8fa60b7ddd0

Background

The minimally invasive autopsy (MIA) is being investigated as an alternative to complete diagnostic autopsies for cause of death (CoD) investigation. Before potential implementation of the MIA in settings where post-mortem procedures are unusual, a thorough assessment of its feasibility and acceptability is essential.

Methods and Findings

We conducted a socio-behavioural study at the community level to understand local attitudes and perceptions related to death and the hypothetical feasibility and acceptability of conducting MIAs in six distinct settings in Gabon, Kenya, Mali, Mozambique, and Pakistan. A total of 504 interviews (135 key informants, 175 health providers [including formal health professionals and traditional or informal health providers], and 194 relatives of deceased people) were conducted. The constructs “willingness to know the CoD” and “hypothetical acceptability of MIAs” were quantified and analysed using the framework analysis approach to compare the occurrence of themes related to acceptability across participants.

Overall, 75% (379/504) of the participants would be willing to know the CoD of a relative. The overall hypothetical acceptability of MIA on a relative was 73% (366/504). The idea of the MIA was acceptable because of its perceived simplicity and rapidity and particularly for not “mutilating” the body. Further, MIAs were believed to help prevent infectious diseases, address hereditary diseases, clarify the CoD, and avoid witchcraft accusations and conflicts within families. The main concerns regarding the procedure included the potential breach of confidentiality on the CoD, the misperception of organ removal, and the incompatibility with some religious beliefs. Formal health professionals were concerned about possible contradictions between the MIA findings and the clinical pre-mortem diagnoses. Acceptability of the MIA was equally high among Christian and Islamic communities. However, in the two predominantly Muslim countries, MIA acceptability was higher in Mali than in Pakistan.

While the results of the study are encouraging for the potential use of the MIA for CoD investigation in low-income settings, they remain hypothetical, with a need for confirmation with real-life MIA implementation and in populations beyond Health and Demographic Surveillance System areas.

Conclusions

This study showed a high level of interest in knowing the CoD of a relative and a high hypothetical acceptability of MIAs as a tool for CoD investigation across six distinct settings. These findings anticipate potential barriers and facilitators, both at the health facility and community level, essential for local tailoring of recommendations for future MIA implementation.

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<![CDATA[Population Immunity against Serotype-2 Poliomyelitis Leading up to the Global Withdrawal of the Oral Poliovirus Vaccine: Spatio-temporal Modelling of Surveillance Data]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da5dab0ee8fa60b9041e

Background

Global withdrawal of serotype-2 oral poliovirus vaccine (OPV2) took place in April 2016. This marked a milestone in global polio eradication and was a public health intervention of unprecedented scale, affecting 155 countries. Achieving high levels of serotype-2 population immunity before OPV2 withdrawal was critical to avoid subsequent outbreaks of serotype-2 vaccine-derived polioviruses (VDPV2s).

Methods and Findings

In August 2015, we estimated vaccine-induced population immunity against serotype-2 poliomyelitis for 1 January 2004–30 June 2015 and produced forecasts for April 2016 by district in Nigeria and Pakistan. Population immunity was estimated from the vaccination histories of children <36 mo old identified with non-polio acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) reported through polio surveillance, information on immunisation activities with different oral poliovirus vaccine (OPV) formulations, and serotype-specific estimates of the efficacy of these OPVs against poliomyelitis. District immunity estimates were spatio-temporally smoothed using a Bayesian hierarchical framework. Coverage estimates for immunisation activities were also obtained, allowing for heterogeneity within and among districts. Forward projections of immunity, based on these estimates and planned immunisation activities, were produced through to April 2016 using a cohort model.

Estimated population immunity was negatively correlated with the probability of VDPV2 poliomyelitis being reported in a district. In Nigeria and Pakistan, declines in immunity during 2008–2009 and 2012–2013, respectively, were associated with outbreaks of VDPV2. Immunity has since improved in both countries as a result of increased use of trivalent OPV, and projections generally indicated sustained or improved immunity in April 2016, such that the majority of districts (99% [95% uncertainty interval 97%–100%] in Nigeria and 84% [95% uncertainty interval 77%–91%] in Pakistan) had >70% population immunity among children <36 mo old. Districts with lower immunity were clustered in northeastern Nigeria and northwestern Pakistan. The accuracy of immunity estimates was limited by the small numbers of non-polio AFP cases in some districts, which was reflected by large uncertainty intervals. Forecasted improvements in immunity for April 2016 were robust to the uncertainty in estimates of baseline immunity (January–June 2015), vaccine coverage, and vaccine efficacy.

Conclusions

Immunity against serotype-2 poliomyelitis was forecasted to improve in April 2016 compared to the first half of 2015 in Nigeria and Pakistan. These analyses informed the endorsement of OPV2 withdrawal in April 2016 by the WHO Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization.

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<![CDATA[The Phylogeographic and Spatiotemporal Spread of HCV in Pakistani Population]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dad9ab0ee8fa60bb9055

Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) is the most prevalent human pathogen in Pakistan and is the major cause of liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma in infected patients. It has shifted from being hypo-endemic to being hyper-endemic. There was no information about the origin and evolution of the local variants. Here we use newly developed phyloinformatic methods of sequence analysis to conduct the first comprehensive investigation of the evolutionary and biogeographic history in unprecedented detail and breadth. Considering evolutionary rate and molecular-clock hypothesis in context, we reconstructed the spatiotemporal spread of HCV in the whole territory of its circulation using a combination of Bayesian MCMC methods utilizing all sequences available in GenBank. Comparative analysis were performed and were addressed. Whole genome and individual gene analysis have shown that sub-types 1a, 1b and 3a are recognized as epidemic strains and are distributed globally. Here we confirm that the origin of HCV 3a genotypes is in South Asia and HCV has evolved in the region to become stably adapted to the host environment.

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<![CDATA[Dengue in the Middle East and North Africa: A Systematic Review]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dae5ab0ee8fa60bbd1d6

Background

Dengue virus (DENV) infection is widespread and its disease burden has increased in past decades. However, little is known about the epidemiology of dengue in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).

Methodology / Principal Findings

Following Cochrane Collaboration guidelines and reporting our findings following PRISMA guidelines, we systematically reviewed available records across MENA describing dengue occurrence in humans (prevalence studies, incidence studies, and outbreak reports), occurrence of suitable vectors (Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus), and DENV vector infection rates. We identified 105 human prevalence measures in 13 of 24 MENA countries; 81 outbreaks reported from 9 countries from 1941–2015; and reports of Ae. aegypti and/or Ae. albopictus occurrence in 15 countries. The majority of seroprevalence studies were reported from the Red Sea region and Pakistan, with multiple studies indicating >20% DENV seroprevalence in general populations (median 25%, range 0–62%) in these subregions. Fifty percent of these studies were conducted prior to 1990. Multiple studies utilized assays susceptible to serologic cross-reactions and 5% of seroprevalence studies utilized viral neutralization testing. There was considerable heterogeneity in study design and outbreak reporting, as well as variability in subregional study coverage, study populations, and laboratory methods used for diagnosis.

Conclusions / Significance

DENV seroprevalence in the MENA is high among some populations in the Red Sea region and Pakistan, while recent outbreaks in these subregions suggest increasing incidence of DENV which may be driven by a variety of ecologic and social factors. However, there is insufficient study coverage to draw conclusions about Aedes or DENV presence in multiple MENA countries. These findings illustrate the epidemiology of DENV in the MENA while revealing priorities for DENV surveillance and Aedes control.

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<![CDATA[A Genome-Wide Search for Greek and Jewish Admixture in the Kashmiri Population]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da72ab0ee8fa60b95721

The Kashmiri population is an ethno-linguistic group that resides in the Kashmir Valley in northern India. A longstanding hypothesis is that this population derives ancestry from Jewish and/or Greek sources. There is historical and archaeological evidence of ancient Greek presence in India and Kashmir. Further, some historical accounts suggest ancient Hebrew ancestry as well. To date, it has not been determined whether signatures of Greek or Jewish admixture can be detected in the Kashmiri population. Using genome-wide genotyping and admixture detection methods, we determined there are no significant or substantial signs of Greek or Jewish admixture in modern-day Kashmiris. The ancestry of Kashmiri Tibetans was also determined, which showed signs of admixture with populations from northern India and west Eurasia. These results contribute to our understanding of the existing population structure in northern India and its surrounding geographical areas.

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