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1.  “THEY HAVE OPENED OUR MOUTHS”: INCREASING WOMEN’S SKILLS AND MOTIVATION FOR SEXUAL COMMUNICATION WITH YOUNG PEOPLE IN RURAL SOUTH AFRICA 
Communication between parents and young people about sex has been identified as a positive influence on young people’s sexual behavior. This article presents findings from South Africa, where a social intervention to reduce levels of HIV and intimate partner violence actively promoted sexual communication between adults and young people.
We assessed this component of the program using quantitative and qualitative methods, collecting data through surveys, direct observation, interviews, and focus group discussions. Women participating in intervention activities reported sexual communication with children significantly more often than matched women in the control group (80.3% vs. 49.4%, adjusted risk ratio 1.59 (1.31-1.93). The content of communication with young people also appears to have shifted from vague admonitions about the dangers of sex to concrete messages about reducing risks.
The congruence between these findings and existing literature on parent-child sexual communication suggests that conceptual frameworks and programs from developed settings can be adapted effectively for resource-poor contexts.
doi:10.1521/aeap.2008.20.6.504
PMCID: PMC3494081  PMID: 19072526
2.  The impact of helminths on the response to immunization and on the incidence of infection and disease in childhood in Uganda: design of a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, factorial trial of deworming interventions delivered in pregnancy and early childhood [ISRCTN32849447] 
Background
Helminths have profound effects on the immune response, allowing long-term survival of parasites with minimal damage to the host. Some of these effects "spill-over", altering responses to non-helminth antigens or allergens. It is suggested that this may lead to impaired responses to immunizations and infections, while conferring benefits against inflammatory responses in allergic and autoimmune disease. These effects might develop in utero, through exposure to maternal helminth infections, or through direct exposure in later life.
Purpose
To determine the effects of helminths and their treatment in pregnancy and in young children on immunological and disease outcomes in childhood.
Methods
The trial has three randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled interventions at two times, in two people: a pregnant woman and her child. Pregnant women are randomized to albendazole or placebo and praziquantel or placebo. At age 15 months their children are randomized to three-monthly albendazole or placebo, to continue to age five years. The proposed designation for this sequence of interventions is a 2 X 2(x2) factorial design.
Children are immunized with BCG and against polio, Diphtheria, tetanus, Pertussis, Haemophilus, hepatitis B and measles. Primary immunological outcomes are responses to BCG antigens and tetanus toxoid in whole blood cytokine assays and antibody assays at one, three and five years of age. Primary disease outcomes are incidence of malaria, pneumonia, diarrhoea, tuberculosis, measles, vertical HIV transmission, and atopic disease episodes, measured at clinic visits and twice-monthly home visits. Effects on anaemia, growth and intellectual development are also assessed.
Conclusion
This trial, with a novel design comprising related interventions in pregnant women and their offspring, is the first to examine effects of helminths and their treatment in pregnancy and early childhood on immunological, infectious disease and allergic disease outcomes. The results will enhance understanding of both detrimental and beneficial effects of helminth infection and inform policy. Clinical Trials 2007; 4: 42–57. http://ctj.sagepub.com
doi:10.1177/1740774506075248
PMCID: PMC2643383  PMID: 17327245
3.  Use of antenatal services and delivery care in Entebbe, Uganda: a community survey 
Background
Disparities in perinatal health care occur worldwide. If the UN Millennium Development Goals in maternal and child health are to be met, this needs to be addressed. This study was conducted to facilitate our understanding of the changing use of maternity care services in a semi-urban community in Entebbe Uganda and to examine the range of antenatal and delivery services received in health care facilities and at home.
Methods
We conducted a retrospective community survey among women using structured questionnaires to describe the use of antenatal services and delivery care.
Results
In total 413 women reported on their most recent pregnancy. Antenatal care attendance was high with 96% attending once, and 69% the recommended four times. Blood pressure monitoring (95%) and tetanus vaccination (91%) were the services most frequently reported and HIV testing (47%), haematinics (58%) and presumptive treatment for malaria (66%) least frequently. Hospital clinics significantly outperformed public clinics in the quality of antenatal service. A significant improvement in the reported quality of antenatal services received was observed by year (p < 0.001). Improvement in the range and consistency of services at Entebbe Hospital over time was associated with an increase in the numbers who sought care there (p = 0.038). Although 63% delivered their newborn at a local hospital, 11% still delivered at home with no skilled assistance and just under half of these women reported financial/transportation difficulties as the primary reason. Less educated, poorer mothers were more likely to have unskilled/no assistance. Simple newborn care practices were commonly neglected. Only 35% of newborns were breastfed within the first hour and delayed wrapping of newborn infants occurred after 27% of deliveries.
Conclusion
Although antenatal services were well utilised, the quality of services varied. Women were able and willing to travel to a facility providing a good service. Access to essential skilled birth attendants remains difficult especially for less educated, poorer women, commonly mediated by financial and transport difficulties and several simple post delivery practices were commonly neglected. These factors need to be addressed to ensure that high quality care reaches the most vulnerable women and infants.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-7-23
PMCID: PMC2098779  PMID: 17931422
4.  Associations between mild-to-moderate anaemia in pregnancy and helminth, malaria and HIV infection in Entebbe, Uganda 
Summary
It is suggested that helminths, particularly hookworm and schistosomiasis, may be important causes of anaemia in pregnancy. We assessed the associations between mild-to-moderate anaemia (haemoglobin >8.0 g/dl and <11.2 g/dl) and helminths, malaria and HIV among 2507 otherwise healthy pregnant women at enrolment to a trial of deworming in pregnancy in Entebbe, Uganda. The prevalence of anaemia was 39.7%. The prevalence of hookworm was 44.5%, Mansonella perstans 21.3%, Schistosoma mansoni 18.3%, Strongyloides 12.3%, Trichuris 9.1%, Ascaris 2.3%, asymptomatic Plasmodium falciparum parasitaemia 10.9% and HIV 11.9%. Anaemia showed little association with the presence of any helminth, but showed a strong association with malaria (adjusted odds ratio (AOR) 3.22, 95% CI 2.43–4.26) and HIV (AOR 2.46, 95% CI 1.90–3.19). There was a weak association between anaemia and increasing hookworm infection intensity. Thus, although highly prevalent, helminths showed little association with mild-to-moderate anaemia in this population, but HIV and malaria both showed a strong association. This result may relate to relatively good nutrition and low helminth infection intensity. These findings are pertinent to estimating the disease burden of helminths and other infections in pregnancy. [Clinical Trial No. ISRCTN32849447]
doi:10.1016/j.trstmh.2007.03.017
PMCID: PMC1950430  PMID: 17555783
Anaemia; Helminth; Pregnancy; HIV; Malaria; Uganda
5.  Assessing household wealth in health studies in developing countries: a comparison of participatory wealth ranking and survey techniques from rural South Africa 
Background
Accurate tools for assessing household wealth are essential for many health studies in developing countries. Household survey and participatory wealth ranking (PWR) are two approaches to generate data for this purpose.
Methods
A household survey and PWR were conducted among eight villages in rural South Africa. We developed three indicators of household wealth using the data. One indicator used PWR data only, one used principal components analysis to combine data from the survey, while the final indicator used survey data combined in a manner informed by the PWR. We assessed internal consistency of the indices and assessed their level of agreement in ranking household wealth.
Results
Food security, asset ownership, housing quality and employment were important indicators of household wealth. PWR, consisting of three independent rankings of 9671 households, showed a high level of internal consistency (intraclass correlation coefficient 0.81, 95% CI 0.79–0.82). Data on 1429 households were available from all three techniques. There was moderate agreement in ranking households into wealth tertiles between the two indicators based on survey data (spearman rho = 0.69, kappa = 0.43), but only limited agreement between these techniques and the PWR data (spearman rho = 0.38 and 0.31, kappa = 0.20 and 0.17).
Conclusion
Both PWR and household survey can provide a rapid assessment of household wealth. Each technique had strengths and weaknesses. Reasons for differences might include data inaccuracies or limitations in the methods by which information was weighted. Alternatively, the techniques may measure different things. More research is needed to increase the validity of measures of socioeconomic position used in health studies in developing countries.
doi:10.1186/1742-7622-4-4
PMCID: PMC1894790  PMID: 17543098
6.  Bacterial vaginosis, vaginal flora patterns and vaginal hygiene practices in patients presenting with vaginal discharge syndrome in The Gambia, West Africa 
Background
Bacterial vaginosis (BV) – a syndrome characterised by a shift in vaginal flora – appears to be particularly common in sub-Saharan Africa, but little is known of the pattern of vaginal flora associated with BV in Africa. We conducted a study aimed at determining the prevalence of BV and patterns of BV-associated vaginal micro-flora among women with vaginal discharge syndrome (VDS) in The Gambia, West Africa.
Methods
We enrolled 227 women with VDS from a large genito-urinary medicine clinic in Fajara, The Gambia. BV was diagnosed by the Nugent's score and Amsel's clinical criteria. Vaginal swabs were collected for T vaginalis and vaginal flora microscopy, and for Lactobacillus spp, aerobic organisms, Candida spp and BV-associated bacteria (Gardnerella vaginalis, anaerobic bacteria, and Mycoplasma spp) cultures; and cervical swabs were collected for N gonorrhoeae culture and C trachomatis PCR. Sera were tested for HIV-1 and HIV-2 antibodies. Sexual health history including details on sexual hygiene were obtained by standardised questionnaire.
Results
BV prevalence was 47.6% by Nugent's score and 30.8% by Amsel's clinical criteria. Lactobacillus spp were isolated in 37.8% of women, and 70% of the isolates were hydrogen-peroxide (H202)-producing strains. Prevalence of BV-associated bacteria were: G vaginalis 44.4%; Bacteroides 16.7%; Prevotella 15.2%; Peptostretococcus 1.5%; Mobiluncus 0%; other anaerobes 3.1%; and Mycoplasma hominis 21.4%. BV was positively associated with isolation of G vaginalis (odds-ratio [OR] 19.42, 95%CI 7.91 – 47.6) and anaerobes (P = 0.001 [OR] could not be calculated), but not with M hominis. BV was negatively associated with presence of Lactobacillus (OR 0.07, 95%CI 0.03 – 0.15), and H2O2-producing lactobacilli (OR 0.12, 95% CI 0.05 – 0.28). Presence of H2O2-producing lactobacilli was associated with significantly lower prevalence of G vaginalis, anaerobes and C trachomatis. HIV prevalence was 12.8%. Overall, there was no association between BV and HIV, and among micro-organisms associated with BV, only Bacteroides spp. and Prevotella spp. were associated with HIV. BV or vaginal flora patterns were not associated with any of the factors relating to sexual hygiene practices (vaginal douching, menstrual hygiene, female genital cutting).
Conclusion
In this population, BV prevalence was higher than in corresponding populations in industrialised countries, but the pattern of vaginal micro-flora associated with BV was similar. BV or vaginal flora patterns were not associated with HIV nor with any of the vaginal hygiene characteristics.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-5-12
PMCID: PMC1083415  PMID: 15757510
7.  Insecticide impregnated curtains to control domestic transmission of cutaneous leishmaniasis in Venezuela: cluster randomised trial 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  2002;325(7368):810-813.
Objective
To measure the impact on transmission of leishmaniasis of curtains impregnated with insecticide.
Design
Cluster randomised controlled trial: household interview survey, observational study of people's behaviour, entomological study with light trap captures of sandflies inside houses.
Setting
14 urban sectors in Trujillo, Venezuela.
Participants
2913 inhabitants of 569 houses.
Intervention
Sectors were paired according to their 12 month cumulative incidence of cutaneous leishmaniasis, one sector in each pair was randomly allocated to receive polyester curtains impregnated with lambdacyhalothrin (intervention group) while the other sector received curtains without insecticide or no curtains (control groups). After 12 months a follow up household survey was conducted.
Main outcome measures
Reduction in abundance of sandflies indoors and 12 month incidence of clinical cases of cutaneous leishmaniasis.
Results
Transmission of cutaneous leishmaniasis occurred mainly in the domestic setting, with the incidence over 12 months of 4%. The mean number of sandflies per trap per night was 16. After follow up the 12 month incidence of cutaneous leishmaniasis was 0% in the intervention group and 8% in the six pairs in the control group that received unimpregnated curtains (mean difference 8, 95% confidence interval 4.22 to 11.78; P=0.001). There were significantly fewer sandflies in the intervention group (2 v 15, mean difference 13 sandflies per trap; 9 to 17; P<0.001).
Conclusion
Curtains impregnated with insecticide provide a high degree of protection against indoor transmission of cutaneous leishmaniasis.
What is already known on this topicThe transmission of cutaneous leishmaniasis is increasingly in urban and domestic settingsHouse spraying, space spraying, and insecticide treated material reduce the number of vectorsWhat this paper addsPyrethroid impregnated curtains can considerably reduce the incidence rate of cutaneous leishmaniasis in areas where indoor transmission is predominant
PMCID: PMC128948  PMID: 12376442
8.  Simplified Strategy for Detection of Recombinant Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 Group M Isolates by gag/env Heteroduplex Mobility Assay 
Journal of Virology  2000;74(1):363-370.
We developed a heteroduplex mobility assay in the gag gene (gag HMA) for the identification of group M subtypes A to H. The assay covers the region coding for amino acid 132 of p24 to amino acid 20 of p7 (according to human immunodeficiency virus type 1 [HIV-1] ELI, 460 bp). The gag HMA was compared with sequencing and phylogenetic analysis of an evaluation panel of 79 HIV-1 group M isolates isolated from infected individuals from different geographic regions. Application of gag HMA in combination with env HMA on 252 HIV-1- positive plasma samples from Bénin, Cameroon, Kenya, and Zambia revealed a high prevalence of a variety of intersubtype recombinants in Yaoundé, Cameroon (53.8%); Kisumu, Kenya (26.8%); and Cotonou, Bénin (41%); no recombinants were identified among the samples from Ndola, Zambia. The AGIbNG circulating recombinant form, as determined by gag HMA, was found to be the most common intersubtype recombinant in Yaoundé (39.4%) and Cotonou (38.5%). Using a one-tube reverse transcriptase PCR protocol, this gag HMA in combination with env HMA is a useful tool for rapidly monitoring the prevalence of the various genetic subtypes as well as of recombinants of HIV-1. Moreover, this technology can easily be applied in laboratories in developing countries.
PMCID: PMC111547  PMID: 10590125

Results 1-8 (8)