Most of the global neonatal deaths occur in developing nations, mostly in rural homes. Many of the newborns who receive formal medical care are treated in rural district hospitals and other peripheral health centres. However there are no published studies demonstrating trends in neonatal admissions and outcome in rural health care facilities in resource poor regions. Such information is critical in planning public health interventions. In this study we therefore aimed at describing the pattern of neonatal admissions to a Kenyan rural district hospital and their outcome over a 19 year period, examining clinical indicators of inpatient neonatal mortality and also trends in utilization of a rural hospital for deliveries.
Prospectively collected data on neonates is compared to non-neonatal paediatric (≤ 5 years old) admissions and deliveries' in the maternity unit at Kilifi District Hospital from January 1st 1990 up to December 31st 2008, to document the pattern of neonatal admissions, deliveries and changes in inpatient deaths. Trends were examined using time series models with likelihood ratios utilised to identify indicators of inpatient neonatal death.
The proportion of neonatal admissions of the total paediatric ≤ 5 years admissions significantly increased from 11% in 1990 to 20% by 2008 (trend 0.83 (95% confidence interval 0.45 -1.21). Most of the increase in burden was from neonates born in hospital and very young neonates aged < 7days. Hospital deliveries also increased significantly. Clinical diagnoses of neonatal sepsis, prematurity, neonatal jaundice, neonatal encephalopathy, tetanus and neonatal meningitis accounted for over 75% of the inpatient neonatal admissions. Inpatient case fatality for all ≤ 5 years declined significantly over the 19 years. However, neonatal deaths comprised 33% of all inpatient death among children aged ≤ 5 years in 1990, this increased to 55% by 2008. Tetanus 256/390 (67%), prematurity 554/1,280(43%) and neonatal encephalopathy 253/778(33%) had the highest case fatality. A combination of six indicators: irregular respiration, oxygen saturation of <90%, pallor, neck stiffness, weight < 1.5 kg, and abnormally elevated blood glucose > 7 mmol/l predicted inpatient neonatal death with a sensitivity of 81% and a specificity of 68%.
There is clear evidence of increasing burden in neonatal admissions at a rural district hospital in contrast to reducing numbers of non-neonatal paediatrics' admissions aged ≤ 5years. Though the inpatient case fatality for all admissions aged ≤ 5 years declined significantly, neonates now comprise close to 60% of all inpatient deaths. Simple indicators may identify neonates at risk of death.
We conducted a double-blind trial to determine whether a single intramuscular injection of fosphenytoin prevents seizures and neurologic sequelae in children with acute coma.
We conducted this study at Kilifi District Hospital in coastal Kenya and Kondele Children's Hospital in western Kenya. We recruited children (age, 9 months to 13 years) with acute nontraumatic coma. We administered fosphenytoin (20 phenytoin equivalents/kg) or placebo and examined the prevalence and frequency of clinical seizures and occurrence of neurocognitive sequelae.
We recruited 173 children (median age, 2.6 [interquartile range, 1.7-3.7] years) into the study; 110 had cerebral malaria, 8 had bacterial meningitis, and 55 had encephalopathies of unknown etiology. Eighty-five children received fosphenytoin and 88 received placebo. Thirty-three (38%) children who received fosphenytoin had at least 1 seizure compared with 32 (36%) who received placebo (P = .733). Eighteen (21%) and 15 (17%) children died in the fosphenytoin and placebo arms, respectively (P = .489). At 3 months after discharge, 6 (10%) children in the fosphenytoin arm had neurologic sequelae compared with 6 (10%) in the placebo arm (P = .952).
A single intramuscular injection of fosphenytoin (20 phenytoin equivalents/kg) does not prevent seizures or neurologic deficits in childhood acute nontraumatic coma.
Coma; Child; Seizure; Prophylaxis; Anticonvulsants
Severe childhood illnesses present a major public health challenge for Africa, which is aggravated by a suboptimal response to the child's health problems with reference to the health-seeking behaviour of the parents or guardians. We examined the health-seeking behaviour of parents at the Kenyan coast because understanding impediments to optimal health-seeking behaviour could greatly contribute to reducing the impact of severe illness on children's growth and development.
Methods and Results
Health-seeking behaviour, and the factors influencing this behaviour, were examined in two traditional communities. We held in-depth interviews with 53 mothers, fathers and caregivers from two rural clinics at the Kenyan Coast. Biomedical medicine (from health facilities and purchased over the counter) was found to be the most popular first point of treatment. However, traditional healing still plays a salient role in the health care within these two communities. Traditional healers were consulted for various reasons: a) attribution of causation of ill-health to supernatural sources, b) chronic illness (inability of modern medicine to cure the problem) and c) as prevention against possible ill-health. In developing an explanatory model of decision-making, we observed that this was a complex process involving consultation at various levels, with elders, but also between both parents, depending on the perceived nature and chronicity of the illness. However, it was reported that fathers were the ultimate decision makers in relation to decisions concerning where the child would be taken for treatment.
Health systems need to see traditional healing as a complementary system in order to ensure adequate access to health care. Importantly, fathers also need to be addressed in intervention and education programs.
The aim of the study was to investigate early executive functioning in young children from 6–35 months of age. The study involved 319 randomly selected children from the community, 17 HIV exposed but uninfected children and 31 HIV infected ARV-naive children. A variation of the A-not-B task was used. While there were no group differences in total correct, perseverative errors, nor maximum error run, a significant percentage of children were unable to complete the task as a consequence of the children becoming overtly distressed or refusing to continue. In a multivariate analysis we observed that the significant predictors of non-completion were HIV exposure (both infected and exposed) and being under 24 months of age. These patterns of results indicate that future work with a broader array of tasks need to look at the association of HIV and EF tasks and potential contribution of factors such as emotion regulation, persistence and motivation on performance on EF tasks.
HIV; executive functions; A-not-B task; Kenya; children
Clinical signs and symptoms of cerebral malaria in children are nonspecific and are seen in other common encephalopathies in malaria-endemic areas. This makes accurate diagnosis difficult in resource-poor settings. Novel malaria-specific diagnostic and prognostic methods are needed. We have used 2 proteomic strategies to identify differentially expressed proteins in plasma and cerebrospinal fluid from children with a diagnosis of cerebral malaria, compared with those with a diagnosis of malaria-slide-negative acute bacterial meningitis and other nonspecific encephalopathies. Here we report the presence of differentially expressed proteins in cerebral malaria in both plasma and cerebrospinal fluid that could be used to better understand pathogenesis and help develop more-specific diagnostic methods. In particular, we report the expression of 2 spectrin proteins that have known Plasmodium falciparum–binding partners involved in the stability of the infected red blood cell, suppressing further invasion and possibly enhancing the red blood cell's ability to sequester in microvasculature.
proteomics; P. falciparum; cerebral malaria; spectrin; platelet activation
Intervention Studies; Pediatric Epilepsy; Healthcare Providers; African Traditional Medicine
To define the prevalence and associations of co-morbidity and school attendance in older children with epilepsy (CWE) from a rural district of Tanzania by conducting a community-based case-control study.
Children aged 6 -14 years old with active epilepsy (at least two unprovoked seizures in the last five years) were identified in a cross-sectional survey in Tanzania. Co-morbidities were assessed and cases were compared with age-matched controls.
Co-morbidity was very common amongst cases (95/112, 85%), with 62/112 (55%) having multiple co-morbidities. Co-morbidities consisted of cognitive impairment (72/112, 64%), behaviour disorder 68/112 (61%), motor difficulties 29/112 (26%), burns and other previous injuries (29/112, 26%). These complications were significantly more common in cases than in controls (Odds Ratio 14.8, 95%CI 7.6–28.6, p<0.001). Co-morbidity in CWE was associated with structural cause, abnormal electroencephalogram and early onset seizures. Cognitive impairment was very common in CWE (64%) and was not associated with Phenobarbital use but was associated with motor difficulties, early onset and recurrent seizures. Poor school attendance was found in 56/112 (50%) of CWE, but not in the controls: it was associated with the presence of multiple co-morbidities, especially with motor difficulties in CWE.
Children with epilepsy in a rural area of sub-Saharan Africa had a high level of co-morbidity. Cognitive impairment and poor school attendance were very common. These associated difficulties in CWE in the region need to be addressed to reduce the negative impact of epilepsy on these children.
epilepsy; Africa; children; co-morbidity; cognitive impairment; education
Raised intracranial pressure is a feature of cerebral malaria in children living in Africa. We investigated specific clinical optic disc features of papilledema to establish their prognostic significance in this encephalopathy. We developed a classification of acute papilledema and tested it against disease outcome. Kenyan children admitted with severe falciparum malaria (cerebral or impaired consciousness) underwent dilated fundal examination using direct and indirect ophthalmoscopy. Clinical features of the optic disc were systematically recorded and compared to the child’s outcome. Poor outcome defined as death or neurological impairment on discharge was used to construct and test a clinical classification of papilledema. Forty-five children were examined (26 cerebral malaria, 17 severe malaria with an impaired conscious level or prostration) of whom seven had a poor outcome (three died, four had residual neurological impairment). Loss of the optic disc cup and marked optic disc elevation were significantly correlated with a poor outcome (P < 0.05). Increasing severity in the proposed classification of acute papilledema was positively correlated with a poor outcome (P < 0.05, chi-square test for trend). Loss of the optic disc cup and marked elevation of the optic disc head appear to be correlated with poor outcome in children with severe malaria whereas the presence of dilated veins suggests a good outcome. The proposed classification of acute papilledema is useful as a prognostic indicator and may be applicable to other encephalopathies with raised intracranial pressure.
Optic disc; papilledema; malaria; coma
The first African Child Neurology Association meeting identified key challenges that the continent faces to improve the health of children with neurology disorders. The capacity to diagnose common neurologic conditions and rare disorders is lacking. The burden of neurologic disease on the continent is not known, and this lack of knowledge limits the ability to lobby for better health care provision. Inability to practice in resource-limited settings has led to the migration of skilled professionals away from Africa. Referral systems from primary to tertiary are often unpredictable and chaotic. There is a lack of access to reliable supplies of basic neurology treatments such as antiepileptic drugs. Few countries have nationally accepted guidelines either for the management of epilepsy or status epilepticus. There is a great need to develop better training capacity across Africa in the recognition and management of neurologic conditions in children, from primary health care to the subspecialist level.
Africa; child neurology; resources
Low hemoglobin oxygen saturation (SpO2) is common in Sickle Cell Anemia (SCA) and associated with complications including stroke, although determinants remain unknown. We investigated potential hematological, genetic, and nutritional predictors of daytime SpO2 in Tanzanian children with SCA and compared them with non-SCA controls. Steady-state resting pulse oximetry, full blood count, transferrin saturation, and clinical chemistry were measured. Median daytime SpO2 was 97% (IQ range 94–99%) in SCA (N = 458), lower (P < 0.0001) than non-SCA (median 99%, IQ range 98–100%; N = 394). Within SCA, associations with SpO2 were observed for hematological variables, transferrin saturation, body-mass-index z-score, hemoglobin F (HbF%), genotypes, and hemolytic markers; mean cell hemoglobin (MCH) explained most variability (P < 0.001, Adj r2 = 0.09). In non-SCA only age correlated with SpO2. α-thalassemia 3.7 deletion highly correlated with decreased MCH (Pearson correlation coefficient −0.60, P < 0.0001). In multivariable models, lower SpO2 correlated with higher MCH (β-coefficient −0.32, P < 0.001) or with decreased copies of α-thalassemia 3.7 deletion (β-coefficient 1.1, P < 0.001), and independently in both models with lower HbF% (β-coefficient 0.15, P < 0.001) and Glucose-6-Phosphate Dehydrogenase genotype (β-coefficient −1.12, P = 0.012). This study provides evidence to support the hypothesis that effects on red cell rheology are important in determining SpO2 in children with SCA. Potential mechanisms and implications are discussed.
The prevalence of epilepsy in sub-Saharan Africa seems to be higher than in other parts of the world, but estimates vary substantially for unknown reasons. We assessed the prevalence and risk factors of active convulsive epilepsy across five centres in this region.
We did large population-based cross-sectional and case-control studies in five Health and Demographic Surveillance System centres: Kilifi, Kenya (Dec 3, 2007–July 31, 2008); Agincourt, South Africa (Aug 4, 2008–Feb 27, 2009); Iganga-Mayuge, Uganda (Feb 2, 2009–Oct 30, 2009); Ifakara, Tanzania (May 4, 2009–Dec 31, 2009); and Kintampo, Ghana (Aug 2, 2010–April 29, 2011). We used a three-stage screening process to identify people with active convulsive epilepsy. Prevalence was estimated as the ratio of confirmed cases to the population screened and was adjusted for sensitivity and attrition between stages. For each case, an age-matched control individual was randomly selected from the relevant centre's census database. Fieldworkers masked to the status of the person they were interviewing administered questionnaires to individuals with active convulsive epilepsy and control individuals to assess sociodemographic variables and historical risk factors (perinatal events, head injuries, and diet). Blood samples were taken from a randomly selected subgroup of 300 participants with epilepsy and 300 control individuals from each centre and were screened for antibodies to Toxocara canis, Toxoplasma gondii, Onchocerca volvulus, Plasmodium falciparum, Taenia solium, and HIV. We estimated odds ratios (ORs) with logistic regression, adjusted for age, sex, education, employment, and marital status.
586 607 residents in the study areas were screened in stage one, of whom 1711 were diagnosed as having active convulsive epilepsy. Prevalence adjusted for attrition and sensitivity varied between sites: 7·8 per 1000 people (95% CI 7·5–8·2) in Kilifi, 7·0 (6·2–7·4) in Agincourt, 10·3 (9·5–11·1) in Iganga-Mayuge, 14·8 (13·8–15·4) in Ifakara, and 10·1 (9·5–10·7) in Kintampo. The 1711 individuals with the disorder and 2032 control individuals were given questionnaires. In children (aged <18 years), the greatest relative increases in prevalence were associated with difficulties feeding, crying, or breathing after birth (OR 10·23, 95% CI 5·85–17·88; p<0·0001); abnormal antenatal periods (2·15, 1·53–3·02; p<0·0001); and head injury (1·97, 1·28–3·03; p=0·002). In adults (aged ≥18 years), the disorder was significantly associated with admission to hospital with malaria or fever (2·28, 1·06–4·92; p=0·036), exposure to T canis (1·74, 1·27–2·40; p=0·0006), exposure to T gondii (1·39, 1·05–1·84; p=0·021), and exposure to O volvulus (2·23, 1·56–3·19; p<0·0001). Hypertension (2·13, 1·08–4·20; p=0·029) and exposure to T solium (7·03, 2·06–24·00; p=0·002) were risk factors for adult-onset disease.
The prevalence of active convulsive epilepsy varies in sub-Saharan Africa and that the variation is probably a result of differences in risk factors. Programmes to control parasitic diseases and interventions to improve antenatal and perinatal care could substantially reduce the prevalence of epilepsy in this region.
Wellcome Trust, University of the Witwatersrand, and South African Medical Research Council.
We aimed to investigate the contribution of disease stage and weight for age to the variability in psychomotor outcome observed among children with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection.
This cross-sectional study involved 48 Kenyan children (20 females, 28 males) aged 6 to 35 months (mean 19.9mo SD 8.9) exposed prenatally to HIV. Two subgroups of HIV-exposed children were seen: those who were HIV-infected and those who were uninfected. The reference population was composed of 319 children (159 females, 160 males) aged 6–35 months, (mean age = 19 months, SD=8.43) randomly selected from the community. Disease stage varied from stage 1 to stage 3, reflecting progression from primary HIV infection to advanced HIV infection and acquired immune deficiency syndrome. A locally developed and validated measure, the Kilifi Developmental Inventory, was used to assess psychomotor development.
Using age-corrected psychomotor scores, a significant main effect of HIV status was observed (F(2,38.01)=7.89, p<0.001). Children in the HIV-infected group had lower mean psychomotor scores than the HIV-exposed children and the reference group. In the HIV-infected group, disease stage was a negative predictor and weight for age a positive predictor of psychomotor outcome.
Weight for age and disease stage provide viable, easily measurable benchmarks to specify when frequent developmental monitoring and psychomotor rehabilitation are required. Nutritional intervention and other measures aimed at slowing disease progression may delay the onset and severity of psychomotor impairment in the paediatric HIV population in Africa.
sickle cell anaemia; arginine; amino acids; Africa; mortality
In this study we aimed to assess site heterogeneity of early, intermediate, and late mortality prediction in children with severe Plasmodium falciparum malaria in sub-Saharan Africa.
Medical records of 26,036 children admitted with severe Plasmodium falciparum malaria in six hospital research centers between December 2000 to May 2005 were analyzed. Demographic, clinical and laboratory data of children who died within 24 hours (early), between 24 and 47 hours (intermediate) and thereafter (48 hours or later, late mortality) were compared between groups and survivors.
Overall mortality was 4·3% (N = 1,129). Median time to death varied across sites (P<0·001), ranging from 8h (3h–52h) in Lambaréné to 40h (10h–100h) in Kilifi. Fifty-eight percent of deaths occurred within 24 hours and intermediate and late mortality rate were 19% and 23%, respectively. Combining all sites, deep breathing, prostration and hypoglycemia were independent predictors for early, intermediate and late mortality (P<0·01). Site specific independent predictors for early death included prostration, coma and deep breathing at all sites (P<0·001). Site specific independent predictors for intermediate and late death largely varied between sites (P<0·001) and included between 1 and 7 different clinical and laboratory variables.
Site heterogeneity for mortality prediction is evident in African children with severe malaria. Prediction for early mortality has the highest consistency between sites.
In many developing countries, people with epilepsy do not receive appropriate treatment for their condition, a phenomenon called the treatment gap (TG). We carried out a systematic review to investigate the magnitude, causes and intervention strategies to improve outcomes in developing countries. We systematically searched MEDLINE, EMBASE and PsycINFO databases, supplemented by a hand search of references in the key papers. The degree of heterogeneity and a pooled TG estimate were determined using meta-analysis techniques. The estimates were further stratified by continent and location of study (urban, rural). Twenty-seven studies met the inclusion criteria: twelve from Africa, nine from Asia and six from Latin America. We observed a high degree of heterogeneity and inconsistency between studies. The overall estimate of the TG was 56/100 (95% CI: 31.1-100.0). The variation in estimates could possibly be explained by non-uniform TG estimation methods and the diverse study populations, among other factors. The TG was mainly attributed to inadequate skilled manpower, cost of treatment, cultural beliefs and unavailability of anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs). These factors have been addressed using different intervention strategies for instance education and supply of AEDs. Future research should estimate the TG coherently and develop sustainable interventions that will address the causes.
Epilepsy; treatment gap; anti-epileptic drugs; adherence; interventions; developing countries
Raised intracranial pressure (ICP) is a potentially treatable cause of morbidity and mortality but tools for monitoring are invasive. We sought to investigate the utility of the tympanic membrane displacement (TMD) analyser for non-invasive measurement of ICP in children.
We made TMD observations on normal and acutely comatose children presenting to Kilifi District Hospital (KDH) at the rural coast of Kenya and on children on follow-up for idiopathic intracranial hypertension at Evelina Children’s Hospital (ECH), in London, UK.
We recruited 63 patients (median age 3.3 (inter-quartile range (IQR) 2.0–4.3) years) at KDH and 14 children (median age 10 (IQR 5–11) years) at ECH. We observed significantly higher (more negative) TMD measurements in KDH children presenting with coma compared to normal children seen at the hospital’s outpatient department, in both semi-recumbent [mean −61.3 (95 % confidence interval (95 % CI) −93.5 to 29.1) nl versus mean −7.1 (95 % CI −54.0 to 68.3) nl, respectively; P = 0.03] and recumbent postures [mean −61.4 (95 % CI −93.4 to −29.3) nl, n = 59) versus mean −25.9 (95 % CI −71.4 to 123.2) nl, respectively; P = 0.03]. We also observed higher TMD measurements in ECH children with raised ICP measurements, as indicated by lumbar puncture manometry, compared to those with normal ICP, in both semi-recumbent [mean −259.3 (95 % CI −363.8 to −154.8) nl versus mean 26.7 (95 % CI −52.3 to 105.7) nl, respectively; P < 0.01] and recumbent postures [mean −137.5 (95 % CI −260.6 to −14.4) nl versus mean 96.6 (95 % CI 6.5 to 186.6) nl, respectively; P < 0.01].
The TMD analyser has a potential utility in monitoring ICP in a variety of clinical circumstances.
Intracranial pressure; Idiopathic intracranial hypertension; Coma; Child
Many people with epilepsy (PWE) in resource‐poor countries do not receive appropriate treatment, a phenomenon referred to as the epilepsy treatment gap (ETG). We conducted a qualitative study to explore the reasons for this gap and to identify possible interventions in Kilifi, Kenya. Focus group discussions (FGDs) were carried out of PWE and their caregivers. Individual interviews were conducted of PWE, their caregivers, traditional healers, community health workers and leaders, nurses and doctors. In addition, a series of workshops was conducted, and four factors contributing to the ETG were identified: 1) lack of knowledge about the causes, treatment and prognosis of epilepsy; 2) inaccessibility to antiepileptic drugs; 3) misconceptions about epilepsy derived from superstitions about its origin; 4) and dissatisfaction with the communication skills of health providers. These data indicated possible interventions: 1) education and support for PWE and their caregivers; 2) communication skills training for health providers; 3) and improved drug provision.
► Many with epilepsy do not receive appropriate treatment; epilepsy treatment gap (ETG). ► Qualitative study exploring reasons for ETG and identifying viable interventions in Kenya. ► ETG can be addressed through development of multifaceted interventions.
PWE, people with epilepsy; ETG, epilepsy treatment gap; FGDs, focus group discussions; RPCs, resource‐poor countries; AEDs, antiepileptic drugs; CHWs, community health workers; CWE, children with epilepsy; THs, traditional healers; Qualitative research; Epilepsy treatment gap; Adherence; Antiepileptic drugs; Interventions; Kenya
PfEMP1 is a family of cytoadhesive surface antigens expressed on erythrocytes infected with Plasmodium falciparum, the parasite that causes the most severe form of malaria. These surface antigens play a role in immune evasion and are thought to contribute to the pathogenesis of the malaria parasite. Previous studies have suggested a role for a specific subset of PfEMP1 called “group A” in severe malaria. To explore the role of group A PfEMP1 in disease, we measured the expression of the “var” genes that encode them in parasites from clinical isolates collected from children suffering from malaria. We also looked at the ability of these clinical isolates to induce rosetting of erythrocytes, which indicates a cytoadhesion phenotype that is thought to be important in pathogenesis. These two sets of data were correlated with the presence of two life-threatening manifestations of severe malaria in the children: impaired consciousness and respiratory distress. Using regression analysis, we show that marked rosetting was associated with respiratory distress, whereas elevated expression of group A-like var genes without elevated rosetting was associated with impaired consciousness. The results suggest that manifestations of malarial disease may reflect the distribution of cytoadhesion phenotypes expressed by the infecting parasite population.
Both helminthiases and epilepsy occur globally, and are particularly prevalent in developing regions of the world. Studies have suggested an association between epilepsy and helminth infection, but a causal relationship is not established in many helminths, except perhaps with neurocysticercosis. We review the available literature on the global burden of helminths, and the epidemiological evidence linking helminths to epilepsy. We discuss possible routes that helminths affect the central nervous system of humans and the immunological response to helminth infection in the central nervous system, looking at possible mechanisms of epileptogenesis. Finally, we discuss the current gaps in knowledge about the interaction between helminths and epilepsy.
helminths; epilepsy; seizures; burden; pathogenesis
Many people with epilepsy in low-income countries do not receive appropriate biomedical treatment. This epilepsy treatment gap might be caused by patients not seeking biomedical treatment or not adhering to prescribed antiepileptic drugs (AEDs). We measured the prevalence of and investigated risk factors for the epilepsy treatment gap in rural Kenya.
All people with active convulsive epilepsy identified during a cross-sectional survey of 232 176 people in Kilifi were approached. The epilepsy treatment gap was defined as the percentage of people with active epilepsy who had not accessed biomedical services or who were not on treatment or were on inadequate treatment. Information about risk factors was obtained through a questionnaire-based interview of sociodemographic characteristics, socioeconomic status, access to health facilities, seizures, stigma, and beliefs and attitudes about epilepsy. The factors associated with people not seeking biomedical treatment and not adhering to AEDs were investigated separately, adjusted for age.
673 people with epilepsy were interviewed, of whom 499 (74%) reported seeking treatment from a health facility. Blood samples were taken from 502 (75%) people, of whom 132 (26%) reported taking AEDs, but 189 (38%) had AEDs detectable in the blood. The sensitivity and specificity of self-reported adherence compared with AEDs detected in blood were 38·1% (95% CI 31·1–45·4) and 80·8% (76·0–85·0). The epilepsy treatment gap was 62·4% (58·1–66·6). In multivariable analysis, failure to seek biomedical treatment was associated with a patient holding traditional animistic religious beliefs (adjusted odds ratio 1·85, 95% CI 1·11–2·71), reporting negative attitudes about biomedical treatment (0·86, 0·78–0·95), living more than 30 km from health facilities (3·89, 1·77–8·51), paying for AEDs (2·99, 1·82–4·92), having learning difficulties (2·30, 1·29–4·11), having had epilepsy for longer than 10 years (4·60, 2·07–10·23), and having focal seizures (2·28, 1·50–3·47). Reduced adherence was associated with negative attitudes about epilepsy (1·10, 1·03–1·18) and taking of AEDs for longer than 5 years (3·78, 1·79–7·98).
The sensitivity and specificity of self-reported adherence is poor, but on the basis of AED detection in blood almost two-thirds of patients with epilepsy were not on treatment. Education about epilepsy and making AEDs freely available in health facilities near people with epilepsy should be investigated as potential ways to reduce the epilepsy treatment gap.
Epilepsy remains misunderstood, particularly in resource poor countries (RPC). We developed and validated a tool to assess beliefs and attitudes about epilepsy among people with epilepsy (PWE) in Kilifi, Kenya. The 50-item scale was developed through a literature review and qualitative study findings, and its reliability and validity were assessed with 673 PWE. A final scale of 34 items had Cronbach's alpha scores for the five subscales: causes of epilepsy (α = 0.71); biomedical treatment of epilepsy (α = 0.70); cultural treatment of epilepsy (α = 0.75); risk and safety concerns about epilepsy (α = 0.56); and negative attitudes about epilepsy (α = 0.76) and entire scale (α = 0.70). Test–retest reliability was acceptable for all the subscales.
The Kilifi Epilepsy Beliefs and Attitude Scale is a reliable and valid tool that measures beliefs and attitudes about epilepsy. It may be useful in other RPC or as a tool to assess the effectiveness of interventions to improve knowledge, beliefs, and attitudes about epilepsy.
► Kilifi Epilepsy Beliefs and Attitude Scale was developed for use in Africa. ► The scale consists of 34 items in 5 subscales. ► The scale has excellent psychometric properties.
Epilepsy; Attitudes; Beliefs; Stigma; Africa
Bacterial sepsis is thought to be a major cause of young infant deaths in low income countries, but there are few precise estimates of its burden or causes. We studied invasive bacterial infections (IBI) in young infants, born at home or in first level health units (“outborn”) who were admitted to a Kenyan rural district hospital during an 8-year period.
Clinical and microbiologic data from admission blood cultures and cerebrospinal fluid cultures on all outborn infants aged less than 60 days admitted from 2001 through 2009, were examined to determine etiology of IBI and antimicrobial susceptibilities.
Of the 4,467 outborn young infants admitted, 748 (17%) died. Five hundred and five (11%) had IBI (10% bacteremia,3% bacterial meningitis), with a case fatality of 33%. The commonest organisms were Klebsiella spp., Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Group B Streptococcus, Acinetobacter spp., Escherichia coli and Group A Streptococcus. Notably, some blood culture isolates were seen in outborn neonates in the first week of life, but not in inborns: Salmonella, Aeromonas and Vibrio spp. Eighty-one percent of isolates were susceptible to penicillin and/or gentamicin and 84% to ampicillin and/or gentamicin. There was a trend to increasing in vitro antimicrobial resistance to these combinations from 2008 but without a worse outcome.
IBI is common in outborn young infants admitted to rural African hospitals with a high mortality. Presumptive antimicrobial use is justified for all young infants admitted to hospital.
neonatal sepsis; bacteremia; meningitis; antibiotic resistance; Africa
The aim of this study was to develop and validate a tool to measure perceived stigma among people with epilepsy (PWE) in Kilifi, Kenya. We reviewed existing scales that measured stigma, particularly of epilepsy. We conducted a qualitative study to determine salient concerns related to stigma in Kilifi. Themes were generated, and those related to stigma were used to construct an 18-item stigma scale. A descriptive cross-sectional survey was then conducted among 673 PWE to assess the reliability and validity of the scale. Internal consistency was calculated using Cronbach's alpha and test–retest reliability with an interclass correlation coefficient. The final scale had 15 items, which had high internal consistency (Cronbach's α = 0.91) and excellent test–retest reliability (r = 0.92). Factor analysis indicated that the scale was unidimensional with one factor solution explaining 45.8% of the variance. The Kilifi Stigma Scale for Epilepsy is a culturally appropriate measure of stigma with strong psychometric properties.
► We developed and validated a scale to measure perceived stigma in epilepsy. ► The scale was unidimensional: one factor solution explained 45.8% of the variance.► It had high internal consistency and excellent test-retest reliability. ► It can be adapted and validated for use in other research settings.
Epilepsy; Stigma scale; Tool development; Validation; Kenya
The aims of this study were to record behavioral problems in children with epilepsy (CWE), compare the prevalence with that reported among healthy children without epilepsy, and investigate the risk factors. A child behavioral questionnaire for parents comprising 15 items was administered to the main caregiver of 108 CWE and 108 controls matched for age in Kilifi, Kenya. CWE had a higher mean score for reported behavioral problems than controls (6.9 vs 4.9, t = 4.7, P < 0.001). CWE with active epilepsy also recorded more behavioral problems than those with inactive epilepsy (8.2 vs 6.2, t = − 2.9, P = 0.005). A significantly greater proportion of CWE (49% vs 26% of controls) were reported to have behavioral problems. Active epilepsy, cognitive impairment, and focal seizures were the most significant independent covariates of behavioral problems. Behavioral problems in African CWE are common and need to be taken into consideration in planning comprehensive clinical services in this region.
► Behavioral problems in children with epilepsy were studied. ► Behavioral problems were reported in 49% of children with epilepsy and in 26% of the controls. ► Active epilepsy type, cognitive impairment, and focal seizures predicted behavioral problems. ► Behavioral problems are common in children with epilepsy and need to be considered in planning clinical services.
Behavioral problems; Children; Cognitive impairment; Epilepsy; Kenya
Epilepsy is common in sub-Saharan Africa but is poorly characterized. Most studies are hospital-based, and may not reflect the situation in rural areas with limited access to medical care. We examined people with active convulsive epilepsy (ACE), to determine if the clinical features could help elucidate the causes.
We conducted a detailed descriptive analysis of 445 people with ACE identified through a community-based survey of 151,408 people in rural Kenya, including the examination of electroencephalograms.
Approximately half of the 445 people with ACE were children or adolescents. Seizures began in childhood in 78% of those diagnosed. An episode of status epilepticus was recalled by 36% cases, with an episode of status epilepticus precipitated by fever in 26%. Overall 169 had an abnormal electroencephalogram, 29% had focal features, 34% had epileptiform activity. In the 146 individuals who reported generalised tonic-clonic seizures only, 22% had focal features on their electroencephalogram. Overall 71% of patients with ACE had evidence of focal abnormality, documented by partial onset seizures, focal neurological deficits or focal abnormalities on the electroencephalogram. Increased seizure frequency was strongly associated with age and cognitive impairment in all ages and non-attendance at school in children (p < 0.01).
Children and adolescents bear the brunt of epilepsy in a rural population in Africa. The predominance of focal features and the high proportion of patients with status epilepticus, suggests that much of the epilepsy in this region has identifiable causes, many of which could be prevented.
epilepsy; convulsions; partial seizures; electroencephalogram; status epilepticus; sub-Saharan Africa