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1.  Health Care Utilization and Access to Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) Testing and Care and Treatment Services in a Rural Area with High HIV Prevalence, Nyanza Province, Kenya, 2007 
We present health and demographic surveillance system data to assess associations with health care utilization and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) service receipt in a high HIV prevalence area of western Kenya. Eighty-six percent of 15,302 residents indicated a facility/clinician for routine medical services; 60% reported active (within the past year) attendance. Only 34% reported a previous HIV test, and self-reported HIV prevalence was 6%. Active attendees lived only slightly closer to their reported service site (2.8 versus 3.1 km; P < 0.001) compared with inactive attendees. Multivariate analysis showed that younger respondents (< 30 years of age) and active and inactive attendees were more likely to report an HIV test compared with non-attendees; men were less likely to report HIV testing. Despite traveling farther for HIV services (median distance = 4.4 km), 77% of those disclosing HIV infection reported HIV care enrollment. Men and younger respondents were less likely to enroll in HIV care. Socioeconomic status was not associated with HIV service use. Distance did not appear to be the major barrier to service receipt. The health and demographic surveillance system data identified patterns of service use that are useful for future program planning.
PMCID: PMC3919222  PMID: 24323517
2.  Kyasanur Forest Disease Outbreak and Vaccination Strategy, Shimoga District, India, 2013–2014 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2015;21(1):146-149.
We investigated a Kyasanur Forest disease outbreak in Karnataka, India during December 2013–April 2014. Surveillance and retrospective study indicated low vaccine coverage, low vaccine effectiveness, and spread of disease to areas beyond those selected for vaccination and to age groups not targeted for vaccination. To control disease, vaccination strategies need to be reviewed.
PMCID: PMC4285264  PMID: 25531141
Kyasanur Forest disease; outbreak; vaccination; India; viruses; vector-borne diseases; zoonotic diseases
3.  Deaths Ascribed to Non-Communicable Diseases among Rural Kenyan Adults Are Proportionately Increasing: Evidence from a Health and Demographic Surveillance System, 2003–2010 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(11):e114010.
Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) result in more deaths globally than other causes. Monitoring systems require strengthening to attribute the NCD burden and deaths in low and middle-income countries (LMICs). Data from health and demographic surveillance systems (HDSS) can contribute towards this goal.
Methods and Findings
Between 2003 and 2010, 15,228 deaths in adults aged 15 years (y) and older were identified retrospectively using the HDSS census and verbal autopsy in rural western Kenya, attributed into broad categories using InterVA-4 computer algorithms; 37% were ascribed to NCDs, 60% to communicable diseases (CDs), 3% to injuries, and <1% maternal causes. Median age at death for NCDs was 66y and 71y for females and males, respectively, with 43% (39% male, 48% female) of NCD deaths occurring prematurely among adults aged below 65y. NCD deaths were mainly attributed to cancers (35%) and cardio-vascular diseases (CVDs; 29%). The proportionate mortality from NCDs rose from 35% in 2003 to 45% in 2010 (χ2 linear trend 93.4; p<0.001). While overall annual mortality rates (MRs) for NCDs fell, cancer-specific MRs rose from 200 to 262 per 100,000 population, mainly due to increasing deaths in adults aged 65y and older, and to respiratory neoplasms in all age groups. The substantial fall in CD MRs resulted in similar MRs for CDs and NCDs among all adult females by 2010. NCD MRs for adults aged 15y to <65y fell from 409 to 183 per 100,000 among females and from 517 to 283 per 100,000 population among males. NCD MRs were higher among males than females aged both below, and at or above, 65y.
NCDs constitute a significant proportion of deaths in rural western Kenya. Evidence of the increasing contribution of NCDs to overall mortality supports international recommendations to introduce or enhance prevention, screening, diagnosis and treatment programmes in LMICs.
PMCID: PMC4245262  PMID: 25426945
4.  Community-Based Evaluation of PMTCT Uptake in Nyanza Province, Kenya 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e110110.
Facility-based assessments of prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission (PMTCT) programs may overestimate population coverage. There are few community-based studies that evaluate PMTCT coverage and uptake.
During 2011, a cross-sectional community survey among women who gave birth in the prior year was performed using the KEMRI-CDC Health and Demographic Surveillance System in Western Kenya. A random sample (n = 405) and a sample of women known to be HIV-positive through previous home-based testing (n = 247) were enrolled. Rates and correlates of uptake of antenatal care (ANC), HIV-testing, and antiretrovirals (ARVs) were determined.
Among 405 women in the random sample, 379 (94%) reported accessing ANC, most of whom (87%) were HIV tested. Uptake of HIV testing was associated with employment, higher socioeconomic status, and partner HIV testing. Among 247 known HIV-positive women, 173 (70%) self-disclosed their HIV status. Among 216 self-reported HIV-positive women (including 43 from the random sample), 82% took PMTCT ARVs, with 54% completing the full antenatal, peripartum, and postpartum course. Maternal ARV use was associated with more ANC visits and having an HIV tested partner. ARV use during delivery was lowest (62%) and associated with facility delivery. Eighty percent of HIV infected women reported having their infant HIV tested, 11% of whom reported their child was HIV infected, 76% uninfected, 6% declined to say, 7% did not recall; 79% of infected children were reportedly receiving HIV care and treatment.
Community-based assessments provide data that complements clinic-based PMTCT evaluations. In this survey, antenatal HIV test uptake was high; most HIV infected women received ARVs, though many women did not self-disclose HIV status to field team. Community-driven strategies that encourage early ANC, partner involvement, and skilled delivery, and provide PMTCT education, may facilitate further reductions in vertical transmission.
PMCID: PMC4215877  PMID: 25360758
5.  Adult non-communicable disease mortality in Africa and Asia: evidence from INDEPTH Health and Demographic Surveillance System sites 
Global Health Action  2014;7:10.3402/gha.v7.25365.
Mortality from non-communicable diseases (NCDs) is a major global issue, as other categories of mortality have diminished and life expectancy has increased. The World Health Organization's Member States have called for a 25% reduction in premature NCD mortality by 2025, which can only be achieved by substantial reductions in risk factors and improvements in the management of chronic conditions. A high burden of NCD mortality among much older people, who have survived other hazards, is inevitable. The INDEPTH Network collects detailed individual data within defined Health and Demographic Surveillance sites. By registering deaths and carrying out verbal autopsies to determine cause of death across many such sites, using standardised methods, the Network seeks to generate population-based mortality statistics that are not otherwise available.
To describe patterns of adult NCD mortality from INDEPTH Network sites across Africa and Asia, according to the WHO 2012 verbal autopsy (VA) cause categories, with separate consideration of premature (15–64 years) and older (65+ years) NCD mortality.
All adult deaths at INDEPTH sites are routinely registered and followed up with VA interviews. For this study, VA archives were transformed into the WHO 2012 VA standard format and processed using the InterVA-4 model to assign cause of death. Routine surveillance data also provide person-time denominators for mortality rates.
A total of 80,726 adult (over 15 years) deaths were documented over 7,423,497 person-years of observation. NCDs were attributed as the cause for 35.6% of these deaths. Slightly less than half of adult NCD deaths occurred in the 15–64 age group. Detailed results are presented by age and sex for leading causes of NCD mortality. Per-site rates of NCD mortality were significantly correlated with rates of HIV/AIDS-related mortality.
These findings present important evidence on the distribution of NCD mortality across a wide range of African and Asian settings. This comes against a background of global concern about the burden of NCD mortality, especially among adults aged under 70, and provides an important baseline for future work.
PMCID: PMC4220128  PMID: 25377326
adults; non-communicable disease; Africa; Asia; mortality; INDEPTH Network; verbal autopsy; InterVA
6.  HIV/AIDS-related mortality in Africa and Asia: evidence from INDEPTH health and demographic surveillance system sites 
Global Health Action  2014;7:10.3402/gha.v7.25370.
As the HIV/AIDS pandemic has evolved over recent decades, Africa has been the most affected region, even though a large proportion of HIV/AIDS deaths have not been documented at the individual level. Systematic application of verbal autopsy (VA) methods in defined populations provides an opportunity to assess the mortality burden of the pandemic from individual data.
To present standardised comparisons of HIV/AIDS-related mortality at sites across Africa and Asia, including closely related causes of death such as pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB) and pneumonia.
Deaths related to HIV/AIDS were extracted from individual demographic and VA data from 22 INDEPTH sites across Africa and Asia. VA data were standardised to WHO 2012 standard causes of death assigned using the InterVA-4 model. Between-site comparisons of mortality rates were standardised using the INDEPTH 2013 standard population.
The dataset covered a total of 10,773 deaths attributed to HIV/AIDS, observed over 12,204,043 person-years. HIV/AIDS-related mortality fractions and mortality rates varied widely across Africa and Asia, with highest burdens in eastern and southern Africa, and lowest burdens in Asia. There was evidence of rapidly declining rates at the sites with the heaviest burdens. HIV/AIDS mortality was also strongly related to PTB mortality. On a country basis, there were strong similarities between HIV/AIDS mortality rates at INDEPTH sites and those derived from modelled estimates.
Measuring HIV/AIDS-related mortality continues to be a challenging issue, all the more so as anti-retroviral treatment programmes alleviate mortality risks. The congruence between these results and other estimates adds plausibility to both approaches. These data, covering some of the highest mortality observed during the pandemic, will be an important baseline for understanding the future decline of HIV/AIDS.
PMCID: PMC4220131  PMID: 25377330
HIV/AIDS; tuberculosis; Africa; Asia; Mortality; INDEPTH Network; Verbal Autopsy; InterVA
7.  Childhood cause-specific mortality in rural Western Kenya: application of the InterVA-4 model 
Global Health Action  2014;7:10.3402/gha.v7.25581.
Assessing the progress in achieving the United Nation's Millennium Development Goals in terms of population health requires consistent and reliable information on cause-specific mortality, which is often rare in resource-constrained countries. Health and demographic surveillance systems (HDSS) have largely used medical personnel to review and assign likely causes of death based on the information gathered from standardized verbal autopsy (VA) forms. However, this approach is expensive and time consuming, and it may lead to biased results based on the knowledge and experience of individual clinicians. We assessed the cause-specific mortality for children under 5 years old (under-5 deaths) in Siaya County, obtained from a computer-based probabilistic model (InterVA-4).
Successfully completed VA interviews for under-5 deaths conducted between January 2003 and December 2010 in the Kenya Medical Research Institute/US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention HDSS were extracted from the VA database and processed using the InterVA-4 (version 4.02) model for interpretation. Cause-specific mortality fractions were then generated from the causes of death produced by the model.
A total of 84.33% (6,621) childhood deaths had completed VA data during the study period. Children aged 1–4 years constituted 48.53% of all cases, and 42.50% were from infants. A single cause of death was assigned to 89.18% (5,940) of cases, 8.35% (556) of cases were assigned two causes, and 2.10% (140) were assigned ‘indeterminate’ as cause of death by the InterVA-4 model. Overall, malaria (28.20%) was the leading cause of death, followed by acute respiratory infection including pneumonia (25.10%), in under-5 children over the study period. But in the first 5 years of the study period, acute respiratory infection including pneumonia was the main cause of death, followed by malaria. Similar trends were also reported in infants (29 days–11 months) and children aged 1–4 years.
Under-5 cause-specific mortality obtained using the InterVA-4 model is consistent with existing knowledge on the burden of childhood diseases in rural western Kenya.
PMCID: PMC4221497  PMID: 25377340
under-5; verbal autopsy; InterVA; health and demographic surveillance
8.  Age-Specific Malaria Mortality Rates in the KEMRI/CDC Health and Demographic Surveillance System in Western Kenya, 2003–2010 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(9):e106197.
Recent global malaria burden modeling efforts have produced significantly different estimates, particularly in adult malaria mortality. To measure malaria control progress, accurate malaria burden estimates across age groups are necessary. We determined age-specific malaria mortality rates in western Kenya to compare with recent global estimates. We collected data from 148,000 persons in a health and demographic surveillance system from 2003–2010. Standardized verbal autopsies were conducted for all deaths; probable cause of death was assigned using the InterVA-4 model. Annual malaria mortality rates per 1,000 person-years were generated by age group. Trends were analyzed using Poisson regression. From 2003–2010, in children <5 years the malaria mortality rate decreased from 13.2 to 3.7 per 1,000 person-years; the declines were greatest in the first three years of life. In children 5–14 years, the malaria mortality rate remained stable at 0.5 per 1,000 person-years. In persons ≥15 years, the malaria mortality rate decreased from 1.5 to 0.4 per 1,000 person-years. The malaria mortality rates in young children and persons aged ≥15 years decreased dramatically from 2003–2010 in western Kenya, but rates in older children have not declined. Sharp declines in some age groups likely reflect the national scale up of malaria control interventions and rapid expansion of HIV prevention services. These data highlight the importance of age-specific malaria mortality ascertainment and support current strategies to include all age groups in malaria control interventions.
PMCID: PMC4152016  PMID: 25180495
9.  Preparing for human papillomavirus vaccine introduction in Kenya: implications from focus-group and interview discussions with caregivers and opinion leaders in Western Kenya 
BMC Public Health  2014;14(1):855.
Cervical cancer claims the lives of 275,000 women each year; most of these deaths occur in low-or middle-income countries. In Kenya, cervical cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related mortality among women of reproductive age. Kenya’s Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation has developed a comprehensive strategy to prevent cervical cancer, which includes plans for vaccinating preteen girls against human papillomavirus (HPV) by 2015. To identify HPV vaccine communication and mobilization needs, this research sought to understand HPV vaccine-related perceptions and concerns of male and female caregivers and community leaders in four rural communities of western Kenya.
We conducted five focus groups with caregivers (n = 56) and 12 key-informant interviews with opinion leaders to explore cervical cancer-related knowledge, attitudes and beliefs, as well as acceptability of HPV vaccination for 9–12 year-old girls. Four researchers independently reviewed the data and developed codes based on questions in interview guides and topics that emerged organically, before comparing and reconciling results through a group consensus process.
Cervical cancer was not commonly recognized, though it was understood generally in terms of its symptoms. By association with cancer and genital/reproductive organs, cervical cancer was feared and stigmatized. Overall acceptability of a vaccine that prevents cervical cancer was high, so long as it was endorsed by trusted agencies and communities were sensitized first. Some concerns emerged related to vaccine safety (e.g., impact on fertility), program intent, and health equity.
For successful vaccine introduction in Kenya, there is a need for communication and mobilization efforts to raise cervical cancer awareness; prompt demand for vaccination; address health equity concerns and stigma; and minimize potential resistance. Visible endorsement by government leaders and community influencers can provide reassurance of the vaccine’s safety, efficacy and benefits for girls and communities. Involvement of community leadership, parents and champions may also be critical for combatting stigma and making cervical cancer relevant to Kenyan communities. These findings underscore the need for adequate planning and resources for information, education and communication prior to vaccine introduction. Specific recommendations for communication and social-marketing strategies are made.
PMCID: PMC4158067  PMID: 25128911
HPV vaccine acceptability; Qualitative research; Communication; Mobilization; Low-or-middle income countries; Kenya
10.  The impact of home-based HIV counseling and testing on care-seeking and incidence of common infectious disease syndromes in rural western Kenya 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2014;14:376.
In much of Africa, most individuals living with HIV do not know their status. Home-based counseling and testing (HBCT) leads to more HIV-infected people learning their HIV status. However, there is little data on whether knowing one’s HIV-positive status necessarily leads to uptake of HIV care, which could in turn, lead to a reduction in the prevalence of common infectious disease syndromes.
In 2008, Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offered HBCT to individuals (aged ≥13 years) under active surveillance for infectious disease syndromes in Lwak in rural western Kenya. HIV test results were linked to morbidity and healthcare-seeking data collected by field workers through bi-weekly home visits. We analyzed changes in healthcare seeking behaviors using proportions, and incidence (expressed as episodes per person-year) of acute respiratory illness (ARI), severe acute respiratory illness (SARI), acute febrile illness (AFI) and diarrhea among first-time HIV testers in the year before and after HBCT, stratified by their test result and if HIV-positive, whether they sought care at HIV Patient Support Centers (PSCs).
Of 9,613 individuals offered HBCT, 6,366 (66%) were first-time testers, 698 (11%) of whom were HIV-infected. One year after HBCT, 50% of HIV-infected persons had enrolled at PSCs – 92% of whom had started cotrimoxazole and 37% of those eligible for antiretroviral treatment had initiated therapy. Among HIV-infected persons enrolled in PSCs, AFI and diarrhea incidence decreased in the year after HBCT (rate ratio [RR] 0.84; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.77 – 0.91 and RR 0.84, 95% CI 0.73 – 0.98, respectively). Among HIV-infected persons not attending PSCs and among HIV-uninfected persons, decreases in incidence were significantly lower. While decreases also occurred in rates of respiratory illnesses among HIV-positive persons in care, there were similar decreases in the other two groups.
Large scale HBCT enabled a large number of newly diagnosed HIV-infected persons to know their HIV status, leading to a change in care seeking behavior and ultimately a decrease in incidence of common infectious disease syndromes through appropriate treatment and care.
PMCID: PMC4107953  PMID: 25005353
Home based HIV counseling and testing; Infectious disease incidence; Healthcare seeking
11.  Tuberculin Skin Tests versus Interferon-Gamma Release Assays in Tuberculosis Screening among Immigrant Visa Applicants 
Objective. Use of tuberculin skin tests (TSTs) and interferon gamma release assays (IGRAs) as part of tuberculosis (TB) screening among immigrants from high TB-burden countries has not been fully evaluated. Methods. Prevalence of Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection (MTBI) based on TST, or the QuantiFERON-TB Gold test (QFT-G), was determined among immigrant applicants in Vietnam bound for the United States (US); factors associated with test results and discordance were assessed; predictive values of TST and QFT-G for identifying chest radiographs (CXRs) consistent with TB were calculated. Results. Of 1,246 immigrant visa applicants studied, 57.9% were TST positive, 28.3% were QFT-G positive, and test agreement was 59.4%. Increasing age was associated with positive TST results, positive QFT-G results, TST-positive but QFT-G-negative discordance, and abnormal CXRs consistent with TB. Positive predictive values of TST and QFT-G for an abnormal CXR were 25.9% and 25.6%, respectively. Conclusion. The estimated prevalence of MTBI among US-bound visa applicants in Vietnam based on TST was twice that based on QFT-G, and 14 times higher than a TST-based estimate of MTBI prevalence reported for the general US population in 2000. QFT-G was not better than TST at predicting abnormal CXRs consistent with TB.
PMCID: PMC3967820  PMID: 24738031
12.  A sham case-control study of effectiveness of DTP-Hib-hepatitis B vaccine against rotavirus acute gastroenteritis in Kenya 
In many GAVI-eligible countries, effectiveness of new vaccines will be evaluated by case-control methodology. To inform the design and assess selection bias of a future case-control study of rotavirus vaccine effectiveness (VE) in western Kenya, we performed a sham case-control study evaluating VE of pentavalent vaccine (DTP-Hib-HepB) against rotavirus acute gastroenteritis (AGE).
From ongoing rotavirus surveillance, we defined cases as children 12 weeks to 23 months old with EIA-confirmed rotavirus AGE. We enrolled one community-based and two hospital-based control groups. We collected vaccination status from cards at enrollment, or later in homes, and evaluated VE by logistic regression.
We enrolled 91 cases (64 inpatient, 27 outpatient), 252 non-rotavirus AGE facility-based controls (unmatched), 203 non-AGE facility-based controls (age-matched) and 271 community controls (age-matched). Documented receipt of 3 pentavalent doses was 77% among cases and ranged from 81-86% among controls. One percent of cases and 0-2% of controls had no pentavalent doses. The adjusted odds ratio of three versus zero doses for being a case was 3.27 (95% CI 0.01-1010) for community controls and 0.69 (95% CI 0.06-7.75) for non-rotavirus hospital-based AGE controls, translating to VE of -227% and 31%, respectively, with wide confidence intervals. (No facility-based non-AGE controls were unvaccinated.) Similar results were found for ≥2 pentavalent doses and for severe rotavirus AGE.
The study showed that it is feasible to carry out a real case control in the study area, but this needs to be done as soon as the vaccine is introduced to capture the real impact. Sham case-control or pilot studies before vaccine introduction can be useful in designing case-control VE studies.
PMCID: PMC3926679  PMID: 24517198
Rotavirus; Case-control; Vaccine effectiveness
13.  ‘We Keep It Secret So No One Should Know’ – A Qualitative Study to Explore Young Schoolgirls Attitudes and Experiences with Menstruation in Rural Western Kenya 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(11):e79132.
Keeping girls in school offers them protection against early marriage, teen pregnancy, and sexual harms, and enhances social and economic equity. Studies report menstruation exacerbates school-drop out and poor attendance, although evidence is sparse. This study qualitatively examines the menstrual experiences of young adolescent schoolgirls.
Methods and Findings
The study was conducted in Siaya County in rural western Kenya. A sample of 120 girls aged 14–16 years took part in 11 focus group discussions, which were analysed thematically. The data gathered were supplemented by information from six FGDs with parents and community members. Emergent themes were: lack of preparation for menarche; maturation and sexual vulnerability; menstruation as an illness; secrecy, fear and shame of leaking; coping with inadequate alternatives; paying for pads with sex; and problems with menstrual hygiene. Girls were unprepared and demonstrated poor reproductive knowledge, but devised practical methods to cope with menstrual difficulties, often alone. Parental and school support of menstrual needs is limited, and information sparse or inaccurate. Girls’ physical changes prompt boys and adults to target and brand girls as ripe for sexual activity including coercion and marriage. Girls admitted ‘others’ rather than themselves were absent from school during menstruation, due to physical symptoms or inadequate sanitary protection. They described difficulties engaging in class, due to fear of smelling and leakage, and subsequent teasing. Sanitary pads were valued but resource and time constraints result in prolonged use causing chafing. Improvised alternatives, including rags and grass, were prone to leak, caused soreness, and were perceived as harmful. Girls reported ‘other girls’ but not themselves participated in transactional sex to buy pads, and received pads from boyfriends.
In the absence of parental and school support, girls cope, sometimes alone, with menarche in practical and sometimes hazardous ways. Emotional and physical support mechanisms need to be included within a package of measures to enable adolescent girls to reach their potential.
PMCID: PMC3828248  PMID: 24244435
14.  Exploring Risk Perception and Attitudes to Miscarriage and Congenital Anomaly in Rural Western Kenya 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(11):e80551.
Understanding the socio-cultural context and perceptions of adverse pregnancy outcomes is important for informing the best approaches for public health programs. This article describes the perceptions, beliefs and health-seeking behaviours of women from rural western Kenya regarding congenital anomalies and miscarriages.
Ten focus group discussions (FGDs) were undertaken in a rural district in western Kenya in September 2010. The FGDs included separate groups consisting of adult women of childbearing age, adolescent girls, recently pregnant women, traditional birth attendants and mothers of children with a birth defect. Participants were selected purposively. A deductive thematic framework approach using the questions from the FGD guides was used to analyse the transcripts.
There was substantial overlap between perceived causes of miscarriages and congenital anomalies and these were broadly categorized into two groups: biomedical and cultural. The biomedical causes included medications, illnesses, physical and emotional stresses, as well as hereditary causes. Cultural beliefs mostly related to the breaking of a taboo or not following cultural norms. Mothers were often stigmatised and blamed following miscarriage, or the birth of a child with a congenital anomaly. Often, women did not seek care following miscarriage unless there was a complication. Most reported that children with a congenital anomaly were neglected either because of lack of knowledge of where care could be sought or because these children brought shame to the family and were hidden from society.
The local explanatory model of miscarriage and congenital anomalies covered many perceived causes within biomedical and cultural beliefs. Some of these fuelled stigmatisation and blame of the mother. Understanding of these beliefs, improving access to information about the possible causes of adverse outcomes, and greater collaboration between traditional healers and healthcare providers may help to reduce stigma and increase access to formal healthcare providers.
PMCID: PMC3827434  PMID: 24236185
15.  Trauma-Related Mortality among Adults in Rural Western Kenya: Characterising Deaths Using Data from a Health and Demographic Surveillance System 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(11):e79840.
Information on trauma-related deaths in low and middle income countries is limited but needed to target public health interventions. Data from a health and demographic surveillance system (HDSS) were examined to characterise such deaths in rural western Kenya.
Methods And Findings
Verbal autopsy data were analysed. Of 11,147 adult deaths between 2003 and 2008, 447 (4%) were attributed to trauma; 71% of these were in males. Trauma contributed 17% of all deaths in males 15 to 24 years; on a population basis mortality rates were greatest in persons over 65 years. Intentional causes accounted for a higher proportion of male than female deaths (RR 2.04, 1.37-3.04) and a higher proportion of deaths of those aged 15 to 65 than older people. Main causes in males were assaults (n=79, 25%) and road traffic injuries (n=47, 15%); and falls for females (n=17, 13%). A significantly greater proportion of deaths from poisoning (RR 5.0, 2.7-9.4) and assault (RR 1.8, 1.2-2.6) occurred among regular consumers of alcohol than among non-regular drinkers. In multivariate analysis, males had a 4-fold higher risk of death from trauma than females (Adjusted Relative Risk; ARR 4.0; 95% CI 1.7-9.4); risk of a trauma death rose with age, with the elderly at 7-fold higher risk (ARR 7.3, 1.1-49.2). Absence of care was the strongest predictor of trauma death (ARR 12.2, 9.4-15.8). Trauma-related deaths were higher among regular alcohol drinkers (ARR 1.5, 1.1-1.9) compared with non-regular drinkers.
While trauma accounts for a small proportion of deaths in this rural area with a high prevalence of HIV, TB and malaria, preventive interventions such as improved road safety, home safety strategies for the elderly, and curbing harmful use of alcohol, are available and could help diminish this burden. Improvements in systems to record underlying causes of death from trauma are required.
PMCID: PMC3820584  PMID: 24244569
16.  Field Evaluation of a Broadly Sensitive HIV-1 In-House Genotyping Assay for Use with both Plasma and Dried Blood Spot Specimens in a Resource-Limited Country 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2013;51(2):529-539.
HIV-1 drug resistance (HIVDR) assays are important tools in clinical management of HIV-infected patients on antiretroviral therapy (ART) and surveillance of drug-resistant variants at population levels. The high cost associated with commercial assays hinders their use in resource-limited settings. We adopted and validated a low-cost in-house assay using 68 matched plasma and dried blood spot (DBS) samples with a median viral load (VL) of 58,187 copies/ml, ranging from 253 to 3,264,850 against the commercial assay ViroSeq. Results indicated that the in-house assay not only had a higher plasma genotyping rate than did ViroSeq (94% versus 78%) but also was able to genotype 89.5% (51/57) of the matched DBS samples with VLs of ≥1,000 copies/ml. The sensitivity in detecting DR mutations by the in-house assay was 98.29% (95% confidence interval [CI], 97.86 to 98.72) on plasma and 96.54 (95% CI, 95.93 to 97.15) on DBS, and the specificity was 99.97% (95% CI, 99.91 to 100.00) for both sample types compared to ViroSeq. The minor DR mutation differences detected by the in-house assay against ViroSeq did not result in clinical significance. In addition, cost analysis showed that the in-house assay could reduce the genotyping cost by about 60% for both plasma and DBS compared to ViroSeq. This field condition evaluation highlights the potential utility of a cost-effective, subtype-independent, in-house genotyping assay using both plasma and DBS specimens for HIVDR clinical monitoring and population-based surveillance in resource-limited settings.
PMCID: PMC3553877  PMID: 23224100
17.  An Analysis of Pregnancy-Related Mortality in the KEMRI/CDC Health and Demographic Surveillance System in Western Kenya 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(7):e68733.
Pregnancy-related (PR) deaths are often a result of direct obstetric complications occurring at childbirth.
Methods and Findings
To estimate the burden of and characterize risk factors for PR mortality, we evaluated deaths that occurred between 2003 and 2008 among women of childbearing age (15 to 49 years) using Health and Demographic Surveillance System data in rural western Kenya. WHO ICD definition of PR mortality was used: “the death of a woman while pregnant or within 42 days of termination of pregnancy, irrespective of the cause of death”. In addition, symptoms and events at the time of death were examined using the WHO verbal autopsy methodology. Deaths were categorized as either (i) directly PR: main cause of death was ascribed as obstetric, or (ii) indirectly PR: main cause of death was non-obstetric. Of 3,223 deaths in women 15 to 49 years, 249 (7.7%) were PR. One-third (34%) of these were due to direct obstetric causes, predominantly postpartum hemorrhage, abortion complications and puerperal sepsis. Two-thirds were indirect; three-quarters were attributable to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV/AIDS), malaria and tuberculosis. Significantly more women who died in lower socio-economic groups sought care from traditional birth attendants (p = 0.034), while less impoverished women were more likely to seek hospital care (p = 0.001). The PR mortality ratio over the six years was 740 (95% CI 651–838) per 100,000 live births, with no evidence of reduction over time (χ2 linear trend = 1.07; p = 0.3).
These data supplement current scanty information on the relationship between infectious diseases and poor maternal outcomes in Africa. They indicate low uptake of maternal health interventions in women dying during pregnancy and postpartum, suggesting improved access to and increased uptake of skilled obstetric care, as well as preventive measures against HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis among all women of childbearing age may help to reduce pregnancy-related mortality.
PMCID: PMC3712942  PMID: 23874741
18.  Health Care-Seeking Behavior During Childhood Diarrheal Illness: Results of Health Care Utilization and Attitudes Surveys of Caretakers in Western Kenya, 2007–2010 
We interviewed caretakers of 1,043 children < 5 years old in a baseline cross-sectional survey (April to May 2007) and > 20,000 children on five separate subsequent occasions (May of 2009 to December 31, 2010) to assess healthcare seeking patterns for diarrhea. Diarrhea prevalence during the preceding 2 weeks ranged from 26% at baseline to 4–11% during 2009–2010. Caretakers were less likely to seek healthcare outside the home for infants (versus older children) with diarrhea (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] = 0.33, confidence interval [CI] = 0.12–0.87). Caretakers of children with reduced food intake (aOR = 3.42, CI = 1.37–8.53) and sunken eyes during their diarrheal episode were more likely to seek care outside home (aOR = 4.76, CI = 1.13–8.89). Caretakers with formal education were more likely to provide oral rehydration solution (aOR = 3.01, CI = 1.41–6.42) and visit a healthcare facility (aOR = 3.32, CI = 1.56–7.07). Studies calculating diarrheal incidence and healthcare seeking should account for seasonal trends. Improving caretakers' knowledge of home management could prevent severe diarrhea.
PMCID: PMC3748498  PMID: 23629929
19.  Perspectives of men on antenatal and delivery care service utilisation in rural western Kenya: a qualitative study 
Poor utilisation of facility-based antenatal and delivery care services in Kenya hampers reduction of maternal mortality. Studies suggest that the participation of men in antenatal and delivery care is associated with better health care seeking behaviour, yet many reproductive health programs do not facilitate their involvement. This qualitative study conducted in rural Western Kenya, explored men’s perceptions of antenatal and delivery care services and identified factors that facilitated or constrained their involvement.
Eight focus group discussions were conducted with 68 married men between 20-65 years of age in May 2011. Participants were of the Luo ethnic group residing in Asembo, western Kenya. The area has a high HIV-prevalence and polygamy is common. A topic guide was used to guide the discussions and a thematic framework approach for data analysis.
Overall, men were positive in their views of antenatal and delivery care, as decision makers they often encouraged, some even ‘forced’, their wives to attend for antenatal or delivery care. Many reasons why it was beneficial to accompany their wives were provided, yet few did this in practice unless there was a clinical complication. The three main barriers relating to cultural norms identified were: 1) pregnancy support was considered a female role; and the male role that of provider; 2) negative health care worker attitudes towards men’s participation, and 3) couple unfriendly antenatal and delivery unit infrastructure.
Although men reported to facilitate their wives’ utilisation of antenatal and delivery care services, this does not translate to practice as adherence to antenatal-care schedules and facility based delivery is generally poor. Equally, reasons proffered why they should accompany their wives are not carried through into practice, with barriers outweighing facilitators. Recommendations to improve men involvement and potentially increase services utilisation include awareness campaigns targeting men, exploring promotion of joint HIV testing and counselling, staff training, and design of couple friendly antenatal and delivery units.
PMCID: PMC3691751  PMID: 23800139
Pregnancy; Antenatal care; Delivery care; Decision making; Male involvement
20.  The impact of hotspot-targeted interventions on malaria transmission: study protocol for a cluster-randomized controlled trial 
Trials  2013;14:36.
Malaria transmission is highly heterogeneous in most settings, resulting in the formation of recognizable malaria hotspots. Targeting these hotspots might represent a highly efficacious way of controlling or eliminating malaria if the hotspots fuel malaria transmission to the wider community.
Hotspots of malaria will be determined based on spatial patterns in age-adjusted prevalence and density of antibodies against malaria antigens apical membrane antigen-1 and merozoite surface protein-1. The community effect of interventions targeted at these hotspots will be determined. The intervention will comprise larviciding, focal screening and treatment of the human population, distribution of long-lasting insecticide-treated nets and indoor residual spraying. The impact of the intervention will be determined inside and up to 500 m outside the targeted hotspots by PCR-based parasite prevalence in cross-sectional surveys, malaria morbidity by passive case detection in selected facilities and entomological monitoring of larval and adult Anopheles populations.
This study aims to provide direct evidence for a community effect of hotspot-targeted interventions. The trial is powered to detect large effects on malaria transmission in the context of ongoing malaria interventions. Follow-up studies will be needed to determine the effect of individual components of the interventions and the cost-effectiveness of a hotspot-targeted approach, where savings made by reducing the number of compounds that need to receive interventions should outweigh the costs of hotspot-detection.
Trial registration
NCT01575613. The protocol was registered online on 20 March 2012; the first community was randomized on 26 March 2012.
PMCID: PMC3576332  PMID: 23374910
Anopheles; elimination; epidemiology; eradication; falciparum; heterogeneity; immunology; malaria; molecular; transmission
21.  Prevalence of HIV and Other Sexually Transmitted Infections among Female Sex Workers in Kisumu, Western Kenya, 1997 and 2008 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(1):e54953.
In 1997, a survey in Kisumu found a prevalence of HIV infection among female sex workers (FSW) of 75%. Only 50% reported using a condom with the last client. In 2008, we conducted another survey to collect data to inform an intervention targeting FSW in Kisumu.
In 2008 FSW were recruited by respondent-driven sampling. Women completed a questionnaire and were tested for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Multiple logistic regression analysis was done to explore factors associated with HIV-infection, and with condom use. Prevalence of HIV infection was compared in the two surveys from 1997 and 2008. Multivariate analysis was used to assess whether a change in HIV prevalence between the two surveys could be explained by changes in socio-demographic characteristics and/or behavioral factors.
481 FSW participated in the 2008 study. HIV prevalence was 56.5% (95% CI 52.0–61.6). Factors independently associated with HIV were age older than 29 years; being a widow; STI treatment in the past year; herpes simplex virus Type-2 infection; bacterial vaginosis; and trichomoniasis. Condom use with last client was reported by 75.0% (95% CI 70.9–78.9). Predictors of condom use with the last client were age older than 29 years; higher price paid by last client; ever having been tested for HIV. Predictors of unprotected sex were being drunk during last sex act; usually having sex during menses; and STI treatment in the past year. The odds ratio of HIV infection associated with year of survey was 0.49 (95% CI 0.33–0.75) after adjusting for socio-demographic and behavioral factors.
The prevalence of HIV among FSW in Kisumu was found to be lower in 2008 than in 1997, while reported condom use was higher. However, access to HIV/STI prevention and care services needs to improve to further decrease HIV transmission between FSW and their clients.
PMCID: PMC3553007  PMID: 23372801
22.  The Combination of Indoor Residual Spraying and Insecticide-Treated Nets Provides Added Protection against Malaria Compared with Insecticide-Treated Nets Alone 
Both insecticide-treated bed nets (ITNs) and indoor residual spraying (IRS) reduce malaria in high malaria transmission areas.1–3 The combined effect of these interventions is unknown. We conducted a non-randomized prospective cohort study to determine protective efficacy of IRS with ITNs (ITN + IRS) compared with ITNs alone (ITN only) in preventing Plasmodium falciparum parasitemia. At baseline, participants provided blood samples for malaria smears, were presumptively treated for malaria, and received ITNs. Blood smears were made monthly and at sick visits. In total, 1,804 participants were enrolled. Incidence of P. falciparum parasitemia in the ITN + IRS and ITN only groups was 18 and 44 infections per 100 persons-years at risk, respectively (unadjusted rate ratio = 0.41; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.31–0.56). Adjusted protective efficacy of ITN + IRS compared with ITN only was 62% (95% CI = 0.50–0.72). The combination of IRS and ITN might be a feasible strategy to further reduce malaria transmission in areas of persistent perennial malaria transmission.
PMCID: PMC3225156  PMID: 22144448
23.  Community Case Management of Childhood Diarrhea in a Setting with Declining Use of Oral Rehydration Therapy: Findings from Cross-Sectional Studies among Primary Household Caregivers, Kenya, 2007 
We sought to determine factors associated with appropriate diarrhea case management in Kenya. We conducted a cross-sectional survey of caregivers of children < 5 years of age with diarrhea in rural Asembo and urban Kibera. In Asembo, 61% of respondents provided oral rehydration therapy (ORT), 45% oral rehydration solution (ORS), and 64% continued feeding. In Kibera, 75% provided ORT, 43% ORS, and 46% continued feeding. Seeking care at a health facility, risk perception regarding death from diarrhea, and treating a child with oral medications were associated with ORT and ORS use. Availability of oral medication was negatively associated. A minority of caregivers reported that ORS is available in nearby shops. In Kenya, household case management of diarrhea remains inadequate for a substantial proportion of children. Health workers have a critical role in empowering caregivers regarding early treatment with ORT and continued feeding. Increasing community ORS availability is essential to improving diarrhea management.
PMCID: PMC3225166  PMID: 22144458
24.  Mortality Trends from 2003 to 2009 among Adolescents and Young Adults in Rural Western Kenya Using a Health and Demographic Surveillance System 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(11):e47017.
Targeted global efforts to improve survival of young adults need information on mortality trends; contributions from health and demographic surveillance system (HDSS) are required.
Methods and Findings
This study aimed to explore changing trends in deaths among adolescents (15–19 years) and young adults (20–24 years), using census and verbal autopsy data in rural western Kenya using a HDSS. Mid-year population estimates were used to generate all-cause mortality rates per 100,000 population by age and gender, by communicable (CD) and non-communicable disease (NCD) causes. Linear trends from 2003 to 2009 were examined. In 2003, all-cause mortality rates of adolescents and young adults were 403 and 1,613 per 100,000 population, respectively, among females; and 217 and 716 per 100,000, respectively, among males. CD mortality rates among females and males 15–24 years were 500 and 191 per 100,000 (relative risk [RR] 2.6; 95% confidence intervals [CI] 1.7–4.0; p<0.001). NCD mortality rates in same aged females and males were similar (141 and 128 per 100,000, respectively; p = 0.76). By 2009, young adult female all-cause mortality rates fell 53% (χ2 for linear trend 30.4; p<0.001) and 61.5% among adolescent females (χ2 for linear trend 11.9; p<0.001). No significant CD mortality reductions occurred among males or for NCD mortality in either gender. By 2009, all-cause, CD, and NCD mortality rates were not significantly different between males and females, and among males, injuries equalled HIV as the top cause of death.
This study found significant reductions in adolescent and young adult female mortality rates, evidencing the effects of targeted public health programmes, however, all-cause and CD mortality rates among females remain alarmingly high. These data underscore the need to strengthen programmes and target strategies to reach both males and females, and to promote NCD as well as CD initiatives to reduce the mortality burden amongst both gender.
PMCID: PMC3489847  PMID: 23144796
25.  A Reversal in Reductions of Child Mortality in Western Kenya, 2003–2009 
We report and explore changes in child mortality in a rural area of Kenya during 2003–2009, when major public health interventions were scaled-up. Mortality ratios and rates were calculated by using the Kenya Medical Research Institute/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Demographic Surveillance System. Inpatient and outpatient morbidity and mortality, and verbal autopsy data were analyzed. Mortality ratios for children less than five years of age decreased from 241 to 137 deaths/1,000 live-births in 2003 and 2007 respectively. In 2008, they increased to 212 deaths/1,000 live-births. Mortality remained elevated during the first 8 months of 2009 compared with 2006 and 2007. Malaria and/or anemia accounted for the greatest increases in child mortality. Stock-outs of essential antimalarial drugs during a time of increased malaria transmission and disruption of services during civil unrest may have contributed to increased mortality in 2008–2009. To maintain gains in child survival, implementation of good policies and effective interventions must be complemented by reliable supply and access to clinical services and essential drugs.
PMCID: PMC3183762  PMID: 21976557

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