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1.  First sero-prevalence of dengue fever specific immunoglobulin G antibodies in Western and North-Western provinces of Zambia: a population based cross sectional study 
Virology Journal  2014;11:135.
Dengue fever is a tropical infectious disease caused by dengue virus (DENV), a single positive-stranded RNA Flavivirus. There is no published evidence of dengue in Zambia. The objective of the study was to determine the sero-prevalence and correlates for dengue fever specific IgG antibodies in Western and North-Western provinces in Zambia.
A randomized cluster design was used to sample participants for yellow fever risk assessment. In order to rule out cross reactivity with other flaviviruses including dengue, differential antibody tests were done by ELISA. Data was processed using Epi Data version 3.1 and transferred to SPSS version 16.0 for analysis. Bivariate and multivariate analyses were performed to determine the association of dengue fever with various factors. Unadjusted odds ratios (OR), adjusted odds ratios (AOR) and their 95% confidence intervals (CI) are reported.
A total of 3,624 persons were sampled for dengue virus infection of whom 53.3% were female and 23.9% were in the 5–14 years age group. Most persons in the survey attained at least primary education (47.6%). No significant association was observed between sex and dengue virus infection (p = 1.000). Overall, 4.1% of the participants tested positive for Dengue IgG. In multivariate analysis, the association of age with Dengue infection showed that those below 5 years of age were 63% (AOR = 0.37; 95% CI [0.16, 0.86]) less likely to be infected with Dengue virus compared to those aged 45 years or older. A significant association was observed between grass thatched roofing and Dengue infection (AOR = 2.28; 95% CI [1.15, 4.53]) Respondents who used Insecticide Treated Nets (ITN) were 21% (AOR = 1.21; 95% CI [1.01, 1.44]) more likely to be infected with dengue infection than those who did not use ITNs. Meanwhile, participants who visited Angola were 73% (AOR = 1.73; 95% CI [1.27, 2.35]) more likely to be infected with Dengue virus than those who did not visit Angola.
This study provides the first evidence of dengue infection circulation in both North-Western and Western provinces of Zambia. It is important that surveillance activities for Dengue and diagnostic systems are expanded and strengthened, nationwide in order to capture information related to dengue virus and other flaviviruses.
PMCID: PMC4127398  PMID: 25078113
Dengue; Seroprevalence; Zambia; North-Western province; Western province
2.  A retrospective evaluation of the quality of malaria case management at twelve health facilities in four districts in Zambia 
To establish the appropriateness of malaria case management at health facility level in four districts in Zambia.
This study was a retrospective evaluation of the quality of malaria case management at health facilities in four districts conveniently sampled to represent both urban and rural settings in different epidemiological zones and health facility coverage. The review period was from January to December 2008. The sample included twelve lower level health facilities from four districts. The Pearson Chi-square test was used to identify characteristics which affected the quality of case management.
Out of 4 891 suspected malaria cases recorded at the 12 health facilities, more than 80% of the patients had a temperature taken to establish their fever status. About 67% (CI95 66.1-68.7) were tested for parasitemia by either rapid diagnostic test or microscopy, whereas the remaining 22.5% (CI95 21.3.1-23.7) were not subjected to any malaria test. Of the 2 247 malaria cases reported (complicated and uncomplicated), 71% were parasitologically confirmed while 29% were clinically diagnosed (unconfirmed). About 56% (CI95 53.9-58.1) of the malaria cases reported were treated with artemether-lumefantrine (AL), 35% (CI95 33.1-37.0) with sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine, 8% (CI95 6.9-9.2) with quinine and 1% did not receive any anti-malarial. Approximately 30% of patients WHO were found negative for malaria parasites were still prescribed an anti-malarial, contrary to the guidelines. There were marked inter-district variations in the proportion of patients in WHOm a diagnostic tool was used, and in the choice of anti-malarials for the treatment of malaria confirmed cases. Association between health worker characteristics and quality of case malaria management showed that nurses performed better than environmental health technicians and clinical officers on the decision whether to use the rapid diagnostic test or not. Gender, in service training on malaria, years of residence in the district and length of service of the health worker at the facility were not associated with diagnostic and treatment choices.
Malaria case management was characterised by poor adherence to treatment guidelines. The non-adherence was mainly in terms of: inconsistent use of confirmatory tests (rapid diagnostic test or microscopy) for malaria; prescribing anti-malarials which are not recommended (e.g. sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine) and prescribing anti-malarials to cases testing negative. Innovative approaches are required to improve health worker adherence to diagnosis and treatment guidelines.
PMCID: PMC3994361  PMID: 25182953
Malaria; Quality; Diagnosis; Treatment; Antimalarials; Microscopy; Rapid diagnostic tests; Zambia
3.  Review of the malaria epidemiology and trends in Zambia 
A comprehensive desk review of malaria trends was conducted between 2000-2010 in Zambia to study malaria epidemiology and trends to guide strategies and approaches for effective malaria control. This review considered data from the National Health Information Management System, Malaria Surveys and Programme Review reports and analyzed malaria in-patient cases and deaths in relation to intervention coverage for all ages. Data showed three distinct epidemiological strata after a notable malaria reduction (66%) in in-patient cases and deaths, particularly between 2000-2008. These changes occurred following the (re-)introduction and expansion of indoor residual spraying up to 90% coverage, scale-up of coverage of long-lasting insecticide-treated nets in household from 50% to 70%, and artemisin-based combination therapy nationwide. However, malaria cases and deaths re-surged, increasing in 2009-2010 in the northern-eastern parts of Zambia. Delays in the disbursement of funds affected the implementation of interventions, which resulted in resurgence of cases and deaths. In spite of a decline in malaria disease burden over the past decade in Zambia, a reversal in impact is notable in the year 2009-2010, signifying that control gains are fragile and must be sustained toeliminate malaria.
PMCID: PMC3627166  PMID: 23593585
Malaria; Epidemiology; Trends; Zambia
4.  Impact assessment of malaria vector control using routine surveillance data in Zambia: implications for monitoring and evaluation 
Malaria Journal  2012;11:437.
Malaria vector control using long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs) and indoor residual spraying (IRS), with pyrethroids and DDT, to reduce malaria transmission has been expansively implemented in Zambia. The impact of these interventions on malaria morbidity and mortality has not previously been formally assessed at the population level in Zambia.
The impact of IRS (15 urban districts) and LLINs (15 rural districts) implementation on severe malaria cases, deaths and case fatality rates in children below the age of five years were compared. Zambian national Health Management Information System data from 2007 to 2008 were retrospectively analysed to assess the epidemiological impact of the two interventions using odds ratios to compare the pre-scaling up year 2007 with the scaling-up year 2008.
Overall there were marked reductions in morbidity and mortality, with cases, deaths and case fatality rates (CFR) of severe malaria decreasing by 31%, 63% and 62%, respectively between 2007 and 2008. In urban districts with IRS introduction there was a significant reduction in mortality (Odds Ratio [OR] = 0.37, 95% CI = 0.31-0.43, P = 0.015), while the reduction in mortality in rural districts with LLINs implementation was not significant (OR = 0.83, 95% CI = 0.67-1.04, P = 0.666). A similar pattern was observed for case fatality rates with a significant reduction in urban districts implementing IRS (OR = 0.34, 95% CI = 0.33-0.36, P = 0.005), but not in rural districts implementing LLINs (OR = 0.96, 95% CI = 0.91-1.00, P = 0.913). No substantial difference was detected in overall reduction of malaria cases between districts implementing IRS and LLINs (P = 0.933).
Routine surveillance data proved valuable for determining the temporal effects of malaria control with two strategies, IRS and LLINs on severe malaria disease in different types of Zambian districts. However, this analysis did not take into account the effect of artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT), which were being scaled up countrywide in both rural and urban districts.
PMCID: PMC3543298  PMID: 23273109
5.  Finding parasites and finding challenges: improved diagnostic access and trends in reported malaria and anti-malarial drug use in Livingstone district, Zambia 
Malaria Journal  2012;11:341.
Understanding the impact of malaria rapid diagnostic test (RDT) use on management of acute febrile disease at a community level, and on the consumption of anti-malarial medicines, is critical to the planning and success of scale-up to universal parasite-based diagnosis by health systems in malaria-endemic countries.
A retrospective study of district-wide community-level RDT introduction was conducted in Livingstone District, Zambia, to assess the impact of this programmed on malaria reporting, incidence of mortality and on district anti-malarial consumption.
Reported malaria declined from 12,186 cases in the quarter prior to RDT introduction in 2007 to an average of 12.25 confirmed and 294 unconfirmed malaria cases per quarter over the year to September 2009. Reported malaria-like fever also declined, with only 4,381 RDTs being consumed per quarter over the same year. Reported malaria mortality declined to zero in the year to September 2009, and all-cause mortality declined. Consumption of artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) dropped dramatically, but remained above reported malaria, declining from 12,550 courses dispensed by the district office in the quarter prior to RDT implementation to an average of 822 per quarter over the last year. Quinine consumption in health centres also declined, with the district office ceasing to supply due to low usage, but requests for sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) rose to well above previous levels, suggesting substitution of ACT with this drug in RDT-negative cases.
RDT introduction led to a large decline in reported malaria cases and in ACT consumption in Livingstone district. Reported malaria mortality declined to zero, indicating safety of the new diagnostic regime, although adherence and/or use of RDTs was still incomplete. However, a deficiency is apparent in management of non-malarial fever, with inappropriate use of a low-cost single dose drug, SP, replacing ACT. While large gains have been achieved, the full potential of RDTs will only be realized when strategies can be put in place to better manage RDT-negative cases.
PMCID: PMC3496597  PMID: 23043557
6.  Community Health Workers Use Malaria Rapid Diagnostic Tests (RDTs) Safely and Accurately: Results of a Longitudinal Study in Zambia 
Malaria rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) could radically improve febrile illness management in remote and low-resource populations. However, reliance upon community health workers (CHWs) remains controversial because of concerns about blood safety and appropriate use of artemisinin combination therapy. This study assessed CHW ability to use RDTs safely and accurately up to 12 months post-training. We trained 65 Zambian CHWs, and then provided RDTs, job-aids, and other necessary supplies for village use. Observers assessed CHW performance at 3, 6, and 12 months post-training. Critical steps performed correctly increased from 87.5% at 3 months to 100% subsequently. However, a few CHWs incorrectly read faint positive or invalid results as negative. Although most indicators improved or remained stable over time, interpretation of faint positives fell to 76.7% correct at 12 months. We conclude that appropriately trained and supervised CHWs can use RDTs safely and accurately in community practice for up to 12 months post-training.
PMCID: PMC3391058  PMID: 22764292

Results 1-6 (6)