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1.  Socio-demographic factors influencing the ownership and utilization of insecticide-treated bed nets among malaria vulnerable groups in the Buea Health District, Cameroon 
BMC Research Notes  2014;7(1):624.
Background
Malaria remains a public health problem and the use of insecticide-treated bed nets (ITNs) against it in vulnerable groups (pregnant women and children <5 years) is recommended in Cameroon. This study was aimed at assessing the socio-demographic factors influencing the ownership and utilization of ITNs among vulnerable groups in the Buea Health District (BHD).
Methods
In a cross-sectional survey a questionnaire was administered in households with at least a child <5 years and/pregnant woman in five health areas of the BHD. Information on demographic variables, household composition, mosquito bed net (MBN) ownership, utilization and factors influencing ownership and utilization was recorded.
Results
A total of 443 respondents were recruited and 208 (47.0%) possessed at least one MBN (total = 275 MBNs) with a median of 1.33 nets. Of the 275 nets found in households, 89 (32%) were potent ITNs and others had never been retreated/treated. Purchase of MBNs from the market was associated with marital status (P = 0.010) and urban settlement (P = 0.045). The number of respondents who did not know where to retreat/treat ITNs was significantly higher (P = 0.005) in urban than rural dwellers. The proportion of rural respondents who had once taken their MBNs for re-treatment was significantly higher (P = 0.002) than that of urban dwellers. MBN utilisation was 69.7% (95% confidence interval; CI = .63.2–75.6%). A total of 83.4%, 13.8% and 3.4% used MBNs throughout the year, during the rainy and dry seasons respectively. MBN use in children under five was associated with being from an urban area (P = 0.01). MBN use in pregnant women was associated with living in block-louver houses than in block-pane houses (P = 0.047).
Conclusions
Utilization of MBN needs to be encouraged to match ownership while free distribution of ITNs to vulnerable groups needs to be continuous and consistent.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1756-0500-7-624) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/1756-0500-7-624
PMCID: PMC4167508  PMID: 25204352
Malaria; Prevention; Bed nets; Pregnant women; Children; Cameroon
2.  Knowledge and perceptions towards malaria prevention among vulnerable groups in the Buea Health District, Cameroon 
BMC Public Health  2014;14(1):883.
Background
Malaria is a public health problem especially in vulnerable groups such as pregnant women and children under five years in Cameroon including the Buea Health District (BHD). Misconceptions concerning it exist. This study assessed the level of knowledge and perceptions towards malaria control among pregnant women and mothers/caretakers of under-fives in the BHD.
Methods
A community-based cross-sectional study was conducted in the BHD in August, 2011 in five health areas. A questionnaire was used to collect data on demographic variables, knowledge and perceptions towards malaria control from 443 respondents aged 15–73 years.
Results
Of the 443 respondents interviewed, 99% had heard about malaria. Awareness of malaria was similar in rural (98.04%) and urban (98.97%) areas. The health facility was the most popular source of information (74%). The radio, television, tracts/posters and the community relay agents (CRAs) all informed significantly higher proportions of respondents in the urban than rural communities (P <0.05). Overall, 92% of respondents had the right perception of malaria and 88% knew at least one correct sign/symptom of malaria. The most recognised sign of malaria was fever. When all aspects of malaria were considered, majority (88%) of respondents had good levels of knowledge on malaria. The level of good knowledge in respondents with ≥ secondary school education (91%) was significantly higher (P = 0.01) than in those with ≤ primary school level (83%). Overall, 99% had heard about insecticide treated nets (ITNs); 99% perceived ITNs as a good means to prevent malaria; most respondents (57%) used ITNs mainly for protection against mosquito bites while 48% used them for protection against malaria.
Conclusion
Respondents with no formal education had a poor level of knowledge on malaria. Hence, new strategies for sensitization messages involving their active participation need to be developed.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-14-883
PMCID: PMC4159509  PMID: 25163481
Malaria; Knowledge; Bed nets; Pregnant women; Children; Cameroon
3.  Prevalence of HBsAg and knowledge about hepatitis B in pregnancy in the Buea Health District, Cameroon: a cross-sectional study 
BMC Research Notes  2014;7:394.
Background
Although infection with Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) remains a global public health problem, little is known about its epidemiology in pregnancy in sub-Saharan Africa. This study sought to determine the prevalence of, and identify factors associated with hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) positivity among pregnant women in the Buea Health District (BHD) in rural Cameroon. We also assessed pregnant women’s knowledge about hepatitis B.
Methods
A cross-sectional, descriptive study was undertaken. Participants were evaluated using a structured questionnaire with clinical examination and were then screened for HBsAg using a commercial rapid diagnostic test. Assessment of knowledge was done using a hepatitis B basic knowledge summary score.
Results
Of the 176 pregnant women studied, 9.7% (95% CI: 5.7%, 15%) tested positive for HBsAg. None of the risk factors assessed was significantly associated with HBsAg positivity. The hepatitis B knowledge summary score ranged from 0 to 12 with a mean of 1.5 (SD = 3.14, median = 0, IQR = 0 to 0). Only 16% of participants had scores greater than 6/12. The knowledge summary score of the participants was associated with the educational level (p-value = 0.0037).
Conclusion
The high prevalence of HBsAg (9.7%) among women of child bearing age suggests that vertical transmission of HBV may be a public health problem in Buea Health District. Knowledge of HBV among pregnant women was poor. We recommend that all pregnant women ought to be routinely screened for HBV and that health education on HBV should be provided to pregnant women especially during antenatal visits.
doi:10.1186/1756-0500-7-394
PMCID: PMC4082373  PMID: 24965844
Hepatitis B virus; Prevalence; HBsAg; Pregnancy; Cameroon; Knowledge
4.  Relationship between multiple drug resistance and biofilm formation in Staphylococcus aureus isolated from medical and non-medical personnel in Yaounde, Cameroon 
Introduction
Monitoring the prevalence of nasal carriage of multiple drug resistance (MDR) Staphylococcus aureus (SA) strains in hospital personnel is essential. These strains when transmitted from hospital personnel to patients with already weakened immune states or in-built medical devices, may limit the latter's treatment options. This study aimed at assessing the potential exposure of patients to these MDR SA in a resource-limited hospital setting by assessing the prevalence and relationship between antimicrobial susceptibility and biofilm forming capacity of SA isolates from hospital personnel.
Methods
A total of 59 bacteria isolates phenotypically identified as Staphylococcus aureus obtained from medical (39) and non-medical personnel (20) in Yaounde were used in the study. Multiple drug resistance defined as resistance to four or more of twelve locally used antibiotics were determined by Kirby Bauer disc diffusion technique whereas quantification of biofilm production was by the microtitre plate method.
Results
Among the 59 SA isolates, the prevalence of MDR was 50.9%. Among medical personnel 48.7% had MDR as against 55.9% for non-medical personnel (p-value=0.648). The overall percentage of weak biofilm producers was 35.6%. Although the prevalence of weak biofilm formers was higher in isolates from non-medical personnel (40%) than medical personnel (33.3%) the difference was not statistically significant (p-value= 0.246). Slightly less than half (42.9%) of the weak biofilm producers were MDR.
Conclusion
Considering the high rates of MDR and that slightly less than half of biofilm formers were MDR, these trends need to be monitored regularly among hospital personnel in Yaounde.
doi:10.11604/pamj.2014.17.186.2363
PMCID: PMC4228992  PMID: 25396012
Nosocomial; biofilm; multiple drug resistance; medical personnel; non-medical personnel
5.  Validity of an Interviewer-Administered Patient Health Questionnaire-9 to Screen for Depression in HIV-Infected Patients in Cameroon 
Journal of affective disorders  2012;143(1-3):208-213.
Background
In high-income countries, depression is prevalent in HIV patients and is associated with lower medication adherence and clinical outcomes. Emerging evidence from low-income countries supports similar relationships. Yet little research has validated rapid depression screening tools integrated into routine HIV clinical care.
Methods
Using qualitative methods, we adapted the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) depression screening instrument for use with Cameroonian patients. We then conducted a cross-sectional validity study comparing an interviewer-administered PHQ-9 to the reference standard Composite International Diagnostic Interview in 400 patients on antiretroviral therapy attending a regional HIV treatment center in Bamenda, Cameroon.
Results
The prevalence of major depressive disorder (MDD) in the past month was 3% (n=11 cases). Using a standard cutoff score of ≥10 as a positive depression screen, the PHQ-9 had estimated sensitivity of 27% (95% confidence interval: 6–61%) and specificity of 94% (91–96%), corresponding to positive and negative likelihood ratios of 4.5 and 0.8. There was little evidence of variation in specificity by gender, number of HIV symptoms, or result of a dementia screen.
Limitations
The low prevalence of MDD yielded very imprecise sensitivity estimates. Although the PHQ-9 was developed as a self-administered tool, we assessed an interviewer-administered version due to the literacy level of the target population.
Conclusion
The PHQ-9 demonstrated high specificity but apparently low sensitivity for detecting MDD in this sample of HIV patients in Cameroon. Formative work to define the performance of proven screening tools in new settings remains important as research on mental health expands in low-income countries.
doi:10.1016/j.jad.2012.05.056
PMCID: PMC3500577  PMID: 22840467
HIV; depression; validation study; screening instruments; Africa
6.  Understanding the investigators: a qualitative study investigating the barriers and enablers to the implementation of local investigator-initiated clinical trials in Ethiopia 
BMJ Open  2013;3(11):e003616.
Objectives
Clinical trials provide ‘gold standard’ evidence for policy, but insufficient locally relevant trials are conducted in low-income and middle-income countries. Local investigator-initiated trials could generate highly relevant data for national governments, but information is lacking on how to facilitate them. We aimed to identify barriers and enablers to investigator-initiated trials in Ethiopia to inform and direct capacity strengthening initiatives.
Design
Exploratory, qualitative study comprising of in-depth interviews (n=7) and focus group discussions (n=3).
Setting
Fieldwork took place in Ethiopia during March 2011.
Participants
Local health researchers with previous experiences of clinical trials or stakeholders with an interest in trials were recruited through snowball sampling (n=20).
Outcome measures
Detailed discussion notes were analysed using thematic coding analysis and key themes were identified.
Results
All participants perceived investigator-initiated trials as important for generating local evidence. System and organisational barriers included: limited funding allocation, weak regulatory and administrative systems, few learning opportunities, limited human and material capacity and poor incentives for conducting research. Operational hurdles were symptomatic of these barriers. Lack of awareness, confidence and motivation to undertake trials were important individual barriers. Training, knowledge sharing and experience exchange were key enablers to trial conduct and collaboration was unanimously regarded as important for improving capacity.
Conclusions
Barriers to trial conduct were found at individual, operational, organisational and system levels. These findings indicate that to increase locally led trial conduct in Ethiopia, system wide changes are needed to create a more receptive and enabling research environment. Crucially, the creation of research networks between potential trial groups could provide much needed practical collaborative support through sharing of financial and project management burdens, knowledge and resources. These findings could have important implications for capacity-strengthening initiatives but further research is needed before the results can be generalised more widely.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2013-003616
PMCID: PMC3845054  PMID: 24285629
Clinical Trial; Capacity Strengthening; Developing Country; Research Personnel; Research Organisation and Administration; TROPICAL MEDICINE
7.  Factors Affecting Compliance with Clinical Practice Guidelines for Pap Smear Screening among Healthcare Providers in Africa: Systematic Review and Meta-Summary of 2045 Individuals 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e72712.
Background
Although the importance of the Pap smear in reducing cancer incidence and mortality is known, many countries in Africa have not initiated yet widespread national cervical cancer screening programs. The World Health Organization (WHO) has published Clinical Practice Guidelines (CPGs) on cervical cancer screening in developing countries; however, there is a gap between expectations and clinical performance. Thus, the aim of this study was to conduct a systematic review and meta-summary to identify factors affecting compliance with CPGs for Pap screening among healthcare providers in Africa.
Methods
And Findings: MEDLINE, Scirus, Opengate and EMBASE databases were searched in January 2012. Studies involving medical personnel practicing in Africa, whose outcome measured any factors that affect medical personnel from using a Pap smear to screen for cervical cancer, were included. Two reviewers independently evaluated titles and abstracts, then full-texts, extracted data and assessed quality of the included studies. A descriptive analysis of the included studies was conducted. We calculated Frequency effect sizes (FES) for each finding and Intensity effect sizes (IES) for each article to represent their magnitudes in the analyses. Of 1011 studies retrieved, 11 studies were included (2045 individuals). Six different themes related to the factors affecting compliance with CPGs were identified: Insufficient Knowledge/Lack of awareness (FES = 82%), Negligence/Misbeliefs (FES = 82%), Psychological Reasons (FES = 73%), Time/Cost Constraint (FES = 36%), Insufficient infrastructure/training (FES = 45%) and also no reason given (FES = 36%). IES for articles ranged between 33 and 83%.
Conclusions
These results suggest that prevention initiatives should be comprehensive to include education and resources needs assessments and improvement, Pap smear test training, strategies on costing, and practitioner time studies.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0072712
PMCID: PMC3771969  PMID: 24069156
8.  Bacteriuria amongst Pregnant Women in the Buea Health District, Cameroon: Prevalence, Predictors, Antibiotic Susceptibility Patterns and Diagnosis 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e71086.
Background
Bacteriuria is associated with significant maternal and foetal risks. However, its prevalence is not known in our community.
Objectives
This study was carried out to determine the prevalence and predictors of bacteriuria in pregnant women of the Buea Health District (BHD) as well as the antibiotic sensitivity patterns of bacterial isolates. It also sought to determine the diagnostic performance of the nitrite and leucocyte esterase tests in detecting bacteriuria in these women.
Methods
An observational analytic cross-sectional study was carried out amongst pregnant women attending selected antenatal care centres in Buea. We recruited 102 consenting pregnant women for the study. Demographic and clinical data were collected using structured questionnaires. Clean catch midstream urine was collected from each participant in sterile leak proof containers. Samples were examined biochemically, microscopically and by culture. Significant bacteriuria was defined as the presence of ≥108 bacteria/L of cultured urine. Identification and susceptibility of isolates was performed using API 20E and ATB UR EU (08) (BioMerieux, Marcy l'Etoile, France).
Results
Significant bacteriuria was found in the urine of 24 of the 102 women tested giving a bacteriuria prevalence of 23.5% in pregnant women of the BHD. Asymptomatic bacteriuria was detected in 8(7.8%) of the women. There was no statistically significant predictor of bacteriuria. Escherichia coli were the most isolated (33%) uropathogens and were 100% sensitive to cefixime, cefoxitin and cephalothin. The nitrite and leucocyte esterase tests for determining bacteriuria had sensitivities of 8%, 20.8% and specificities of 98.7% and 80.8% respectively.
Conclusion
Bacteriuria is frequent in pregnant women in the BHD suggesting the need for routine screening by urine culture. Empiric treatment with cefixime should be instituted until results of urine culture and sensitivity are available. Nitrite and leucocyte esterase tests were not sensitive enough to replace urine culture as screening tests.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0071086
PMCID: PMC3745459  PMID: 23976983
9.  Prevalence, characteristics and correlates of a positive-dementia screen in patients on antiretroviral therapy in Bamenda, Cameroon: a cross-sectional study 
BMC Neurology  2013;13:86.
Background
In this study we assess the prevalence, characteristics as well as socio-demographic and clinical correlates of a positive screen for HIV-associated dementia in a group of patients on antiretroviral therapy (ART) in Bamenda, Cameroon.
Methods
In a cross-sectional study, a structured questionnaire was used to collect data on 400 patients attending the Bamenda Regional Hospital AIDS-treatment Centre. Patients were assessed for neurocognitive function using the International HIV Dementia Scale (IHDS) to assess finger-tapping (FT), alternating hand sequence (AHS) and a 4-word recall (4WR), each scored on a maximum of four.
Results
A total of 297 (74%) participants were females. The total IHDS score ranged from 6–12 with a mean of 9.02 and 85% of subjects screened positive for dementia (≤10 on IHDS). Participants performed worst in the AHS assessment with a mean of 2.25 (IQR: 2–3). In multivariable analyses, screening positive for dementia was significantly associated with having primary education or less (aOR: 8.33, 95%CI: 3.85, 16.67), and having HIV symptoms (aOR: 12.16, 95%CI: 3.08, 48.05).
Conclusions
A very high proportion of patients on ART screened positive for dementia using the IHDS. This could potentially be an indication of a high prevalence of HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders in this population and or a poor performance of the IHDS in patients on ART. Future studies will need to assess the validity of the IHDS in this population of patients on ART and also evaluate long term outcomes in patients with positive dementia screens.
doi:10.1186/1471-2377-13-86
PMCID: PMC3716899  PMID: 23855622
HIV; Dementia; Screen; Cameroon; Antiretroviral therapy
10.  HIGH PREVALENCE OF CERVICAL SQUAMOUS INTRAEPITHELIAL LESIONS IN WOMEN ON ANTIRETROVIRAL THERAPY IN CAMEROON: IS TARGETED SCREENING FEASIBLE? 
Cancer Epidemiology  2011;36(3):263-269.
Background
Cervical cancer is the most common cancer in women in low-income countries. Although cervical cancer incidence and mortality is higher in HIV-positive women, resource limitations restrict the implementation of systematic screening programs in these women. We explored the potential for targeted screening by assessing the prevalence, severity and predictors of cervical squamous intra-epithelial lesions (SILs) in HIV-positive women in Cameroon.
Methods and findings
We conducted a cross-sectional study of women on antiretroviral therapy in Cameroon. Socio-demographic, behavioral, and clinical information was obtained from eligible women. Cervical exfoliated cells were then collected, a conventional cytology performed and epithelial lesions classified according to the Bethesda 2001 system.
A total of 282 women, aged 19 to 68 years, were enrolled in this study. The median CD4 count was 179 cells/microliter (interquartile range: 100 to 271). SILs were detected in 43.5% of the 276 women with satisfactory samples: including atypical squamous cells of unknown significance (ASCUS) 0.7%, low-grade SIL (LSIL) 25.0%, atypical squamous cells, cannot exclude high grade lesions (ASC-H) 14.5%, and high-grade SIL (HSIL) 3.3%. None of the demographic or clinical characteristics considered significantly predicted the presence of any SILs or the presence of severe lesions requiring colposcopy.
Conclusion
The prevalence of SIL in women on antiretroviral therapy in Cameroon was high underscoring the need for screening and care in this population. In the absence of any accurate demographic or clinical predictor of SIL, targeted screening does not seem feasible. Alternative affordable screening options need to be explored.
doi:10.1016/j.canep.2011.10.003
PMCID: PMC3288586  PMID: 22047636
Cervical neoplasm; HIV; Screening; Cameroon; Epidemiology
11.  Breast Self-Examination and breast cancer awareness in women in developing countries: a survey of women in Buea, Cameroon 
BMC Research Notes  2012;5:627.
Background
Breast cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer morbidity and mortality worldwide. In Cameroon, breast cancer causes as many as 10.7 deaths per 100,000 women making it the second cause of cancer mortality. Better documenting women’s knowledge and practices on breast cancer and breast self-exam (BSE) would be useful in the design of interventions aimed at preventing breast cancer. This study sought to 1. describe Cameroonian women’s knowledge of breast self-examination (BSE); 2. assess their impression on the practice of BSE and 3. describe their perceptions on the causes, risk factors and prevention of breast cancer.
Methods
A cross-sectional survey was conducted in a volunteer sample of 120 consenting women in Buea, Cameroon. Data were collected using a structured questionnaire self-administered by study participants.
Results
The sample was fairly educated with close to three quarters (70.83%) having completed high school. Nearly three quarters (74.17%) of participants had previously heard about BSE, however as many as 40% had never done a BSE. Although 95% of participants believed that breast cancer could be prevented, only 36.67% recognized breast examination as a prevention method. A substantial 13.33% thought that breast cancer could be prevented with a vaccine while 45% thought that dieting or exercising would prevent breast cancer. Similarly, 70% of participants thought that breast cancer could be treated, with 35.83% thinking that it could be treated medically while 34.17% thought it could be treated traditionally or spiritually.
Conclusions
The practice of BSE while perceived as being important is not frequent in these women in Buea, Cameroon. Health education campaigns are imperative to elucidate the public on the causes, risk factors and prevention of breast cancer. Further studies need to explore what interventions could be best used to improve the uptake and practice of BSE.
doi:10.1186/1756-0500-5-627
PMCID: PMC3522012  PMID: 23140094
Breast cancer; Breast Self-Exam; Knowledge; Practices; Cameroon
12.  Age trends in the prevalence of cervical squamous intraepithelial lesions among HIV-positive women in Cameroon: a cross-sectional study 
BMC Research Notes  2012;5:590.
Background
Cervical squamous intra-epithelial lesions (SIL) are more frequent in HIV-positive women overall. However the appropriate age at which to begin and end cervical cancer screening for early detection of lesions in HIV-positive women is not clear. We assessed the age-specific prevalence of any SIL and SIL requiring colposcopy in HIV-positive women in Cameroon.
Methods
We enrolled, interviewed and conducted conventional cervical cytology in 282 women, aged 19–68 years, initiating antiretroviral therapy in three clinics in Cameroon. In bivariable analyses, the crude relationship between age and the presence of lesions was assessed using locally weighted regression (LOWESS) methods. In multivariate analyses, generalized linear models with prevalence as the outcome, an identity link and a binomial distribution, were used to estimate prevalence differences. Bias analyses were conducted to assess the potential effect of inaccuracies in cytology.
Results
SIL were detected in 43.5% of the 276 women with satisfactory samples, 17.8% of whom had ASC-H/HSIL. On average, women aged 26 to 59 tended to have a slightly higher prevalence of any SIL than other women (Prevalence difference PD: 6.5%; 95%CI: -11.4, 24.4%). This PD was a function of CD4 count (heterogeneity test p-value =0.09): amongst patients with CD4 counts less than 200cells/uL, the prevalence was higher in patients aged 26–59, while there was essentially no difference amongst women with CD4 counts greater than 200 cells/uL. ASC-H/HSIL were present in women as young as 19 and as old as 62. Overall the prevalence of ASC-H/HSIL increased by 0.7% (95%CI: -3.8%, 5.1%) per decade increase in age.
Conclusion
Both severe and less severe lesions were prevalent at all ages suggesting little utility of age-targeted screening among HIV-positive women. Nevertheless, the long-term evolution of these lesions needs to be assessed in prospective studies.
doi:10.1186/1756-0500-5-590
PMCID: PMC3505154  PMID: 23106940
13.  Prevalence and Predictors of Major Depression in HIV-Infected Patients on Antiretroviral Therapy in Bamenda, a Semi-Urban Center in Cameroon 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(7):e41699.
Recent blue-ribbon panel reports have concluded that HIV treatment programs in less wealthy countries must integrate mental health identification and treatment into normal HIV clinical care and that research on mental health and HIV in these settings should be a high priority. We assessed the epidemiology of depression in HIV patients on antiretroviral therapy in a small urban setting in Cameroon by administering a structured interview for depression to 400 patients consecutively attending the Bamenda Regional Hospital AIDS Treatment Center. One in five participants met lifetime criteria for MDD, and 7% had MDD within the prior year. Only 33% had ever spoken with a health professional about depression, and 12% reported ever having received depression treatment that was helpful or effective. Over 2/3 with past-year MDD had severe or very severe episodes. The number of prior depressive episodes and the number of HIV symptoms were the strongest predictors of past-year MDD. The prevalence of MDD in Cameroon is as high as that of other HIV-associated conditions, such as tuberculosis and Hepatitis B virus, whose care is incorporated into World Health Organization guidelines. The management of depression needs to be incorporated in HIV-care guidelines in Cameroon and other similar settings.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0041699
PMCID: PMC3409230  PMID: 22860006
14.  Impact of Malaria on Hematological Parameters in People Living with HIV/AIDS Attending the Laquintinie Hospital in Douala, Cameroon 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(7):e40553.
Background
People living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) frequently have abnormal blood counts including anemia, leucopenia and thrombocytopenia. The role of infection with plasmodia on these hematological parameters in PLWHA is not well known. In this study we compared selected hematological parameters between malaria positive and negative PLWHA.
Methods
We conducted a cross-sectional study of PLWHA attending the Douala Laquintinie hospital. After obtaining consent, demographic and clinical data were obtained via a standardized questionnaire. Blood samples collected for hematological assays were run using an automated full blood counter. Malaria parasitaemia was determined by blood smear microscopy.
Results
A total of 238 adult PLWHA were enrolled, 48.3% of who were on antiretroviral therapy and 24.8% of whom had malaria parasitaemia. The respective mean (±SD) of hemoglobin level, RBC count, WBC count, platelet count, lymphocyte count and CD4+ T cell counts in malaria co-infected patients versus non-infected patients were: 10.8(±1.9) g/dl versus 11.4(±2.0)g/dl; 3,745,254(±793,353) cells/µl versus 3,888,966(±648,195) cells/µl; 4,403(±1,534) cells/µl versus 4,920(±1,922) cells/µl; 216,051(±93,884) cells/µl versus 226,792(±98,664) cells/µl; 1,846(±711) cells/µl versus 2,052(±845) cells/µl and 245(±195) cells/µl versus 301(±211) cells/µl. All these means were not statistically significantly different from each other.
Conclusion
There was no significant difference in studied hematological parameters between malaria positive and negative PLWHA. These data suggest little or no impact of malaria infection. Hematological anomalies in PLWHA in this area need not be necessarily attributed to malaria. These need to be further investigated to identify and treat other potential causes.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0040553
PMCID: PMC3393653  PMID: 22802967
15.  Plasma concentrations of soluble Fas receptors (Fas) and Fas ligands (FasL) in relation to CD4+ cell counts in HIV-1 positive and negative patients in Yaounde, Cameroon 
BMC Research Notes  2012;5:322.
Background
Though documented that HIV infection progresses with the depletion of CD4+ cells, the exact mechanisms by which these cell depletions occur are not clearly understood. This study aimed at evaluating the plasma levels of soluble Fas receptors and ligands in HIV-infected and uninfected patients in Yaounde, Cameroon, a population with a known diversity of HIV in whom this has not been previously assessed.
Findings
In a cross-sectional study, 39 antiretroviral naïve HIV-1 positive and negative participants were recruited in Yaounde, Cameroon. CD4+ lymphocyte cell counts were quantified from whole blood using an automated FACScount machine (Becton-Dickinson, Belgium). Plasma samples obtained were analyzed for soluble Fas receptors and Fas ligands in both HIV-1 positive and negative samples using two different quantitative sandwich ELISA kits (Quantikine®, R&D Systems , UK).
Plasma levels of Fas receptors were higher in HIV-1 positive patients (median = 1486pg/ml IQR = 1193, 1830pg/ml) compared to HIV-negative controls (median = 1244pg/ml, IQR = 1109, 1325pg/ml), p-value <0.001. Plasma levels of Fas ligands were also higher in HIV-1 positive patients (median = 154pg/ml, IQR = 111, 203pg/ml) compared to HIV-negative controls (median = 51pg/ml, IQR = 32, 88pg/ml), p-value = 0.005. Plasma concentrations of soluble fas receptors and ligands tended to be negatively correlated with the CD4+ cell counts of HIV-positive patients; the correlation coefficients were -0.34 (value = 0.78) and-0.3 (p-value = 0.51) respectively.
Conclusions
In this population of patients in Cameroon, plasma concentrations of Fas receptors and Fas ligands tend to be higher in HIV-positive patients. The Fas pathway of apoptosis may have a role in the depletion of CD4+ cell counts
doi:10.1186/1756-0500-5-322
PMCID: PMC3441351  PMID: 22726303
Apoptosis; Fas; FasL; Immune activation; HIV; Cameroon
16.  Potential Impact of Antiretroviral Therapy and Screening on Cervical Cancer Mortality in HIV-Positive Women in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Simulation 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(4):e18527.
Background
Despite having high cervical cancer incidence and mortality rates, screening for cervical precancerous lesions remains infrequent in sub-Saharan Africa. The need to screen HIV-positive women because of the higher prevalence and faster progression of cervical precancerous lesions may be heightened by the increased access to highly-active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). Policymakers need quantitative data on the effect of HAART and screening to better allocate limited resources. Our aim was to quantify the potential effect of these interventions on cervical cancer mortality.
Methods and Findings
We constructed a Markov state-transition model of a cohort of HIV-positive women in Cameroon. Published data on the prevalence, progression and regression of lesions as well as mortality rates from HIV, cervical cancer and other causes were incorporated into the model. We examined the potential impact, on cumulative cervical cancer mortality, of four possible scenarios: no HAART and no screening (NHNS), HAART and no screening (HNS), HAART and screening once on HAART initiation (HSHI), and HAART and screening once at age 35 (HS35). Our model projected that, compared to NHNS, lifetime cumulative cervical cancer mortality approximately doubled with HNS. It will require 262 women being screened at HAART initiation to prevent one cervical cancer death amongst women on HAART. The magnitudes of these effects were most sensitive to the rate of progression of precancerous lesions.
Conclusions
Screening, even when done once, has the potential of reducing cervical cancer mortality among HIV-positive women in Africa. The most feasible and cost-effective screening strategy needs to be determined in each setting.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0018527
PMCID: PMC3070738  PMID: 21483701
17.  Nurses and challenges faced as clinical educators: a survey of a group of nurses in Cameroon 
Background
Clinical teaching is an important component of clinical education. In nursing, clinical teaching is ensured by clinical nurse educators (CNEs). This study aimed at describing the major challenges faced by CNEs in Cameroon.
Methods
In a qualitative study, supplemented with quantitative methods, CNEs were enrolled from three health districts to represent their frequency in Cameroon’s health delivery system.
Results
A total of 56 CNEs participated in the study, of whom, as many as 58.9% acknowledged always facing challenges in clinical teaching and supervision. The major challenges identified were the lack of opportunities to update knowledge and skills, students’ lack of preparedness and the CNEs not being prepared for clinical teaching. CNEs attributed these challenges in major part to the lack of incentives and poor health policies.
Conclusion
CNEs in Cameroon do indeed face major challenges which are of diverse origins and could adversely affect teaching in clinical settings.
PMCID: PMC3201592  PMID: 22121437
Clinical nurse; educators-Challenges in teaching–Improvement options-Cameroon
18.  Characterization of Individual Radiographic Features of Hip Osteoarthritis in African American and White Women and Men: The Johnston County Osteoarthritis Project 
Arthritis care & research  2010;62(2):190-197.
OBJECTIVE
To describe differences in radiographic features of hip osteoarthritis (OA) between African American (AA) and white men and women.
METHODS
We conducted a cross-sectional analysis of radiographic hip OA using baseline data from The Johnston County Osteoarthritis Project, using Kellgren-Lawrence grade, and the presence, location, and severity of 4 individual radiographic features (joint space narrowing (JSN), subchondral cysts and sclerosis, and osteophytes (OST)). Gender-specific logistic regression was used to evaluate associations between race and individual radiographic features, adjusting for age, BMI, education, and prior hip injury. Robust variance estimators via generalized estimating equations (GEE) were used to account for correlation between hips from the same individual.
RESULTS
The sample (n=2,739) included 57% women and 31% AA participants. Among women, AAs and whites had a similar prevalence of hip OA, defined as K-L grade ≥ 2 (23% vs. 22%), but AA women were significantly more likely to have superior or medial JSN, moderate or severe axial JSN, medial or lateral OST, and subchondral cysts.
Among men, 21% of AA and 17% of white men had hip OA; AA men were more likely to have superior or medial JSN and lateral OST, but less likely to have axial JSN.
CONCLUSIONS
Individual radiographic features and patterns of hip OA differ by race among women and men, suggesting the possibility of anatomic and/or developmental variation in the hip joint. AAs have an increased frequency of features that have been predictive of hip replacement in other populations, a finding worthy of further study.
doi:10.1002/acr.20067
PMCID: PMC2846079  PMID: 20191517
19.  Injectable Progestin Contraceptive Use and Risk of STI Infection amongst South African Women 
Contraception  2009;80(6):555-560.
Objective
The study was conducted to determine the association between the use of injectable progestin contraception (IPC) and risk of infection with Neiserria gonorrhoea (GC), Chlamydia trachomatis (CT), bacterial vaginosis (BV) and Trichomonas vaginalis (TV) among women in South Africa.
Methods
From August 1999 through May 2001, 643 HIV-1 negative women were recruited from family planning clinics in Orange Farm, South Africa. IPC users (NET-EN and DMPA) and non-hormonal contraception users were recruited in approximately equal numbers. Eligible participants were seen at enrolment and four follow-up visits over a 12 month period; 567 returned for at least one follow up visit. Multivariable Poisson regression models with generalized estimating equations (GEE) were used to compute the incidence rate ratio for infection with GC, CT, BV and TV by use of NET-EN or DMPA relative to non-use during follow-up.
Results
In multivariable models, the use of DMPA slightly increased the risk of infection with CT (IRR1.24; 95% CI 0.80–1.94) and GC (IRR 1.30; 95% CI 0.58–2.98), although these associations were not statistically significant. In contrast, DMPA appeared to be protective for TV (IRR 0.35; 95% CI 0.12–1.01), although this estimate was very imprecise. Use of both DMPA and NET-EN were associated with a decreased risk of BV.
Conclusions
Use of DMPA among women in this study population was associated with an increased, but not statistically significant, risk of cervical infection with chlamydia and gonorrhea and a decreased risk of TV and BV. Given the inconsistencies and limitations of the data describing an increased risk for CT and GC with IPC use, the potential risk of STIs must be balanced against the risk of unintended pregnancy and its health consequences, especially in developing countries. Women opting to use IPC should be counselled to use condoms to protect against STIs and HIV.
doi:10.1016/j.contraception.2009.06.007
PMCID: PMC2902790  PMID: 19913149
20.  Static knee alignment measurements among Caucasians and African-Americans: The Johnston County Osteoarthritis Project 
The Journal of rheumatology  2009;36(9):1987-1990.
Objective
To determine if knee alignment measures differ between African Americans and Caucasians without radiographic knee osteoarthritis (rOA).
Methods
A single knee was randomly selected from 175 participants in the Johnston County Osteoarthritis Project without rOA in either knee. Anatomic axis, condylar, tibial plateau, and condylar plateau angles were measured by one radiologist; means were compared and adjusted for age and body mass index (BMI).
Results
There were no significant differences in knee alignment measurements between Caucasians and AfrAm among men or women.
Conclusions
Observed differences in knee rOA occurrence between AfrAm and Caucasians are not explained by differences in static knee alignment.
doi:10.3899/jrheum.081294
PMCID: PMC2853360  PMID: 19605676
Knee osteoarthritis; racial differences; knee alignment
21.  Bacterial vaginosis and HIV acquisition: A meta-analysis of published studies 
AIDS (London, England)  2008;22(12):1493-1501.
Objectives
To assess and summarize the published literature on the extent to which bacterial vaginosis (BV) may increase the risk of HIV acquisition.
Design
Meta-analysis of published studies.
Methods
MEDLINE and other electronic databases were systematically searched for eligible publications. The association between BV and incident HIV was separately analyzed from that between BV and prevalent HIV. The latter were further analyzed stratified by BV diagnostic method, HIV risk profile of the study population and whether or not adjusted estimates were presented.
Results
Twenty-three eligible publications were identified, including a total of 30,739 women. BV was associated with an increased risk of HIV acquisition in HIV-incidence studies (relative risk = 1.6, 95% CI: 1.2, 2.1). All but one of 21 HIV-prevalence studies reported estimates above the null. The latter results were heterogeneous and showed some evidence of funnel plot asymmetry, precluding the estimation of a single summary measure. The association between BV and HIV in prevalence studies appeared stronger for women without high-risk sexual behavior.
Conclusions
BV was consistently associated with an increased risk of HIV infection. High BV prevalence may result in a high number of HIV infections being attributable to BV. More prospective studies are needed to accurately evaluate the role of BV in HIV acquisition in low versus high risk women. Furthermore, randomized clinical trials may be worth considering to determine the effect of BV control measures on HIV acquisition.
doi:10.1097/QAD.0b013e3283021a37
PMCID: PMC2788489  PMID: 18614873
Bacterial vaginosis; HIV acquisition; meta-analysis
22.  Potential impact of infant feeding recommendations on mortality and HIV-infection in children born to HIV-infected mothers in Africa: a simulation 
Background
Although breast-feeding accounts for 15–20% of mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of HIV, it is not prohibited in some developing countries because of the higher mortality associated with not breast-feeding. We assessed the potential impact, on HIV infection and infant mortality, of a recommendation for shorter durations of exclusive breast-feeding (EBF) and poor compliance to these recommendations.
Methods
We developed a deterministic mathematical model using primarily parameters from published studies conducted in Uganda or Kenya and took into account non-compliance resulting in mixed-feeding practices. Outcomes included the number of children HIV-infected and/or dead (cumulative mortality) at 2 years following each of 6 scenarios of infant-feeding recommendations in children born to HIV-infected women: Exclusive replacement-feeding (ERF) with 100% compliance, EBF for 6 months with 100% compliance, EBF for 4 months with 100% compliance, ERF with 70% compliance, EBF for 6 months with 85% compliance, EBF for 4 months with 85% compliance
Results
In the base model, reducing the duration of EBF from 6 to 4 months reduced HIV infection by 11.8% while increasing mortality by 0.4%. Mixed-feeding in 15% of the infants increased HIV infection and mortality respectively by 2.1% and 0.5% when EBF for 6 months was recommended; and by 1.7% and 0.3% when EBF for 4 months was recommended. In sensitivity analysis, recommending EBF resulted in the least cumulative mortality when the a) mortality in replacement-fed infants was greater than 50 per 1000 person-years, b) rate of infection in exclusively breast-fed infants was less than 2 per 1000 breast-fed infants per week, c) rate of progression from HIV to AIDS was less than 15 per 1000 infected infants per week, or d) mortality due to HIV/AIDS was less than 200 per 1000 infants with HIV/AIDS per year.
Conclusion
Recommending shorter durations of breast-feeding in infants born to HIV-infected women in these settings may substantially reduce infant HIV infection but not mortality. When EBF for shorter durations is recommended, lower mortality could be achieved by a simultaneous reduction in the rate of progression from HIV to AIDS and or HIV/AIDS mortality, achievable by the use of HAART in infants.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-8-66
PMCID: PMC2396166  PMID: 18485200
23.  Methods for Detection of Trichomonas vaginalis in the Male Partners of Infected Women: Implications for Control of Trichomoniasis▿  
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2006;44(11):3994-3999.
Trichomonas vaginalis infection in men is an important cause of nongonococcal urethritis. Effective detection of the parasite in men using culture requires examination of multiple specimens. We compared culture and PCR-enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay in urethral swabs, urine, and semen for T. vaginalis detection in male sexual partners of women with trichomoniasis identified by wet mount and culture. Trichomonads were detected by at least one positive test in 205/280 men (73.2%) who submitted at least one specimen for culture and PCR. Whereas InPouch TV culture detected only 46/205 cases (22.5%), PCR detected 201/205 (98.0%). Urethral swab cultures from men with urethritis were more likely to be positive with shorter incubation than specimens from men without urethritis. T. vaginalis was detected more often in men with wet-mount-positive partners. Even with a sensitive PCR assay, reliable detection of T. vaginalis in male partners required multiple specimens. The majority of male sexual partners in this study were infected, emphasizing the importance of partner evaluation and treatment.
doi:10.1128/JCM.00952-06
PMCID: PMC1698299  PMID: 16971646
24.  Efficacy and clinical effectiveness of influenza vaccines in HIV-infected individuals: a meta-analysis 
Background
Though influenza vaccines are the cornerstone of medical interventions aimed at protecting individuals against epidemic influenza, their effectiveness in HIV infected individuals is not certain. With the recent detection of influenza strains in countries with high HIV prevalence rates, we aimed at evaluating the current evidence on the efficacy and clinical effectiveness of influenza vaccines in HIV-infected individuals.
Methods
We used electronic databases to identify studies assessing efficacy or effectiveness of influenza vaccines in HIV patients. We included studies that compared the incidence of culture- or serologically-confirmed influenza or clinical influenza-like illness in vaccinated to unvaccinated HIV infected individuals. Characteristics of study participants were independently abstracted and the risk difference (RD), the number needed to vaccinate to prevent one case of influenza (NNV) and the vaccine effectiveness (VE) computed.
Results
We identified six studies that assessed the incidence of influenza in vaccinated HIV-infected subjects. Four of these studies compared the incidence in vaccinated versus unvaccinated subjects. These involved a total of 646 HIV-infected subjects. In all the 4 studies, the incidence of influenza was lower in the vaccinated compared to unvaccinated subjects with RD ranging from -0.48 (95% CI: -0.63, -0.34) to -0.15 (95% CI: -0.25, 0.05); between 3 and 7 people would need to be vaccinated to prevent one case of influenza. Vaccine effectiveness ranged from 27% to 78%. A random effects model was used to obtain a summary RD of -0.27 (95%CI: -0.42, -0.11). There was no evidence of publication bias.
Conclusion
Current evidence, though limited, suggests that influenza vaccines are moderately effective in reducing the incidence of influenza in HIV-infected individuals. With the threat of a global influenza pandemic, there is an urgent need to evaluate the effectiveness of influenza vaccines in trials with a larger number of representative HIV-infected persons.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-6-138
PMCID: PMC1574329  PMID: 16965629
25.  Measuring additive interaction using odds ratios 
Interaction measured on the additive scale has been argued to be better correlated with biologic interaction than when measured on the multiplicative scale. Measures of interaction on the additive scale have been developed using risk ratios. However, in studies that use odds ratios as the sole measure of effect, the calculation of these measures of additive interaction is usually performed by directly substituting odds ratios for risk ratios. Yet assessing additive interaction based on replacing risk ratios by odds ratios in formulas that were derived using the former may be erroneous. In this paper, we evaluate the extent to which three measures of additive interaction – the interaction contrast ratio (ICR), the attributable proportion due to interaction (AP), and the synergy index (S), estimated using odds ratios versus using risk ratios differ as the incidence of the outcome of interest increases in the source population and/or as the magnitude of interaction increases. Our analysis shows that the difference between the two depends on the measure of interaction used, the type of interaction present, and the baseline incidence of the outcome. Substituting odds ratios for risk ratios, when calculating measures of additive interaction, may result in misleading conclusions. Of the three measures, AP appears to be the most robust to this direct substitution. Formulas that use stratum specific odds and odds ratios to accurately calculate measures of additive interaction are presented.
doi:10.1186/1742-5573-3-5
PMCID: PMC1475799  PMID: 16620385

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