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1.  International Clinical Trial Day and clinical trials in Ethiopia and Africa 
Trials  2014;15(1):493.
Low income countries like Ethiopia are underrepresented in clinical research. As a major public commitment to clinical research, Ethiopia celebrated the International Clinical Trial Day (ICTD) for the first time on 20 May 2014 under the auspices of Addis Ababa University. The motto for the day was ‘Clinical Trials for Excellence in Patient Care’. The celebration offered an opportunity to inform academic staff, researchers, students and the leadership about clinical trials being conducted and to discuss the future of clinical trials in the country. Although clear challenges to the conduct of trials abound, clinical trials registered from Ethiopia in trial registration databases is increasing. Cross-country collaborations, international funding support, motivation of academic staff to conduct clinical trials and the commitment and engagement of the leadership in research are all improving. The overall impact of clinical trials is also encouraging. For example, some of the trials conducted in Ethiopia have informed treatment guidelines. However, administrative capacity, research infrastructure as well as financial support remain weak. There is a need for enhanced university-industry linkage and translation of research findings into locally relevant evidence. Ethiopia, as well as the whole of Africa, has an unparalleled opportunity to lead the way in clinical trials, given its prospect of development and the need to have locally relevant evidence for its growing population. In this commentary we reflect on the celebration of ICTD, the status and opportunities for conducting clinical trials and the way forward for facilitating clinical trials in Ethiopia and Africa.
doi:10.1186/1745-6215-15-493
PMCID: PMC4300613  PMID: 25526797
Clinical trial; Developing country; Africa; Ethiopia; Trial registration
2.  Dynamics of Plasmodium falciparium and Plasmodium vivax in a micro-ecological setting, Southwest Ethiopia: effects of altitude and proximity to a dam 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2014;14(1):625.
Background
Refining the spatial and temporal data on malaria transmissions at a defined ecological setting has practical implications for targeted malaria control and enhancing efficient allocation of resources. Spatial and temporal distribution of P. falciparium and P. vivax were explored around the Gilgel Gibe Hydroelectric Dam (GGHD) in southwest Ethiopia.
Methods
A review of confirmed malaria episodes recorded over eight years at primary health services was conducted. Using individual identifiers and village names malaria records were cross-linked to location and individual records of Gilgel Gibe Health and Demographic Surveillance System (HDSS) data, which had already been geo-referenced. The study setting was categorized in to buffer zones with distance interval of one kilometer. Similarly, altitude of the area was categorized considering 100 meters height intervals. Incidence rate ratios were estimated using Poisson model for the buffer zones and for the altitudinal levels by adjusting for the underlying population density as an offset variable. Yearly temporal variations of all confirmed malaria cases were also evaluated based on the Poisson model using STATA statistical software version 12.
Results
A considerable proportion (45.0%) of the P. falciparium episodes were registered within one kilometer radius of the GGHD. P. falciparium showed increment with distance from the GGHD up to five kilometers and with altitude above 1900 meters while P. vivax exhibited the increase with distance but, decrease with the altitude. Both species showed significantly higher infection among males than females (P <0.01). Temporally, malaria episodes manifested significant increments in the years between 2006/7 to 2009/10 while reduction of the malaria episodes was indicated during 2004/5, 2005/6 and 2010/11 compared to 2003/4 (P <0.01). On average, P. vivax was 52% less than P. falciparium over the time period considered. P. vivax was significantly higher in the years 2004/5 to 2007/8 and 2010/11 (P <0.001).
Conclusions
Spatial and temporal variations of malaria were observed. The spatial and temporal variations of malaria episodes were also different for the two main malaria species in the area.
doi:10.1186/s12879-014-0625-x
PMCID: PMC4240866  PMID: 25407982
Ethiopia; Gilgel Gibe; Malaria episodes; Spatiotemporal dynamics
5.  Utilization of PMTCT services and associated factors among pregnant women attending antenatal clinics in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 
Background
Mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) remains the major source of HIV infection in young children. Targeting pregnant women attending antenatal clinics provide a unique opportunity for implementing prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) programmes against HIV infection of newborn babies. This study aimed to investigate factors associated with the acceptability and utilization of PMTCT of HIV.
Methods
An institution based cross-sectional study was conducted in April 2010 using exit interviews with 843 pregnant women attending antenatal care (ANC) clinics of 10 health centers and two hospitals in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Trained nurses administered structured questionnaires to collect data on socio-demographic characteristics, knowledge about MTCT, practice of HIV testing and satisfaction with the antenatal care services. Six focus group discussions among pregnant women and 22 in-depth interviews with service providers complemented the quantitative data.
Results
About 94% of the pregnant women visited the health facility for ANC check-up. Only 18% and 9% of respondents attended the facility for HIV counselling and testing (HCT) and receiving antiretroviral prophylaxis, respectively. About 90% knew that a mother with HIV can pass the virus to her child, and MTCT through breast milk was commonly cited by most women (72.4%) than transmission during pregnancy (49.7%) or delivery (49.5%). About 94% of them reported that they were tested for HIV in the current pregnancy and 60% replied that their partners were also tested for HIV. About 80% of the respondents reported adequacy of privacy and confidentiality during counseling (90.8% at hospitals and 78.6% at health centers), but 16% wished to have a different counselor. Absence of counselors, poor counselling, lack of awareness and knowledge about HCT, lack of interest and psychological unpreparedness were the main reasons cited for not undergoing HIV testing during the current pregnancy.
Conclusions
HIV testing among ANC attendees and knowledge about MTCT of HIV was quite high. Efforts should be made to improve the quality and coverage of HCT services and mitigate the barriers preventing mothers from seeking HIV testing. Further research should be conducted to evaluate the uptake of antiretroviral prophylaxis among HIV-positive pregnant women attending ANC clinics.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2393-14-328) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-14-328
PMCID: PMC4175621  PMID: 25234199
Human immunodeficiency virus; Prevention of mother to child transmission; Human immunodeficiency virus counselling and testing; Antenatal care; Addis Ababa; Ethiopia
6.  Concerns about covert HIV testing are associated with delayed presentation of suspected malaria in Ethiopian children: a cross-sectional study 
Malaria Journal  2014;13:301.
Background
Early diagnosis is important in preventing mortality from malaria. The hypothesis that guardians’ fear of covert human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) testing delays presentation of children with suspected malaria was tested.
Methods
The study design is a cross-sectional survey. The study population consisted of guardians of children with suspected malaria who presented to health centres in Oromia Region, Ethiopia. Data were collected on attitudes to HIV testing and the duration of children’s symptoms using interview administered questionnaires.
Results
Some 830 individuals provided data representing a response rate of 99% of eligible participants. Of these, 423 (51%) guardians perceived that HIV testing was routinely done on blood donated for malaria diagnosis, and 353 (43%) were aware of community members who delayed seeking medical advice because of these concerns. Children whose guardians suspected that blood was covertly tested for HIV had longer median delay to presentation for evaluation at health centres compared to those children whose guardians did not hold this belief (three days compared to two days, p < 0.001). Children whose guardians were concerned about covert HIV testing were at a higher odds of a prolonged delay before being seen at a health centre (odds ratio 1.73, 95% confidence intervals: 1.10 to 270 for a delay of ≥3 days compared to those seen in ≤2 days).
Conclusion
Children whose guardians believed that covert testing for HIV was routine clinical practice presented later for investigation of suspected malaria. This may account for up to 14% of the delay in presentation and represents a reversible risk factor for suboptimal management of malaria.
doi:10.1186/1475-2875-13-301
PMCID: PMC4126071  PMID: 25098338
Malaria; HIV; Diagnosis; Delay; Stigma; Ethiopia
7.  Analysis of trend of malaria prevalence in south-west Ethiopia: a retrospective comparative study 
Malaria Journal  2014;13:188.
Background
The temporal analysis of pertinent malaria data on the health care system is crucially important to measure success or failure of malaria programmes and identify remaining malaria hot spots. The objectives of this study were to analyse and compare trends of malaria prevalence around Gilgel-Gibe Hydroelectric Dam (GGHD), and a control site over an eight-year period.
Methods
A retrospective record review of health care services was conducted in southwest Ethiopia. Records of malaria cases over an eight-year period in primary health care units of two localities were reviewed. One study site was selected from villages around a man-made lake, GGHD, within a distance of 10 km, and a control site with similar geographic features was identified. Data were summarized in tables; prevalence of malaria was analysed and described by person, place and time using line graphs. Odds ratio was used to examine significant difference of malaria occurrence in the two sites.
Results
Records of 163,918 malaria cases registered over eight years (September 2003 to August 2011) were explored. Close to one thirds (32.7%) of these cases were from GGHD site and two-thirds (67.3%) of them were from the control site. Among the confirmed cases, Plasmodium falciparum constituted 54.6%, Plasmodium vivax accounted for 41.6%, and mixed infection was 3.8%. There were three peaks of malaria prevalence in the control site whereas only one major peak was identified during the eight-year period in GGHD site; and prevalence of malaria in GGHD site was lower than control site. Children in the age range ten to 14 years were the most affected by the disease, followed by children below the age group five to nine years, which demands due consideration in the effort of malaria control.
Conclusions
More malaria prevalence was observed in the control site compared to GGHD site almost throughout the time period considered. The present finding did not show evidence of the excess malaria burden in the GGHD site due to the presence of the dam.
doi:10.1186/1475-2875-13-188
PMCID: PMC4046071  PMID: 24886236
Ethiopia; Gilgel-Gibe; Health service; Malaria trend; Malaria prevalence
8.  Effect of combining mosquito repellent and insecticide treated net on malaria prevalence in Southern Ethiopia: a cluster-randomised trial 
Parasites & Vectors  2014;7:132.
Background
A mosquito repellent has the potential to prevent malaria infection, but there has been few studies demonstrating the effectiveness of combining this strategy with the highly effective long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs). This study aimed to determine the effect of combining community-based mosquito repellent with LLINs in the reduction of malaria.
Methods
A community-based clustered-randomised trial was conducted in 16 rural villages with 1,235 households in southern Ethiopia between September and December of 2008. The villages were randomly assigned to intervention (mosquito repellent and LLINs, eight villages) and control (LLINs alone, eight villages) groups. Households in the intervention villages received mosquito repellent (i.e., Buzz-Off® petroleum jelly, essential oil blend) applied every evening. The baseline survey was followed by two follow-up surveys, at one month interval. The primary outcome was detection of Plasmodium falciparum, Plasmodium vivax, or both parasites, through microscopic examination of blood slides. Analysis was by intention to treat. Baseline imbalances and clustering at individual, household and village levels were adjusted using a generalized linear mixed model.
Results
3,078 individuals in intervention and 3,004 in control group were enrolled into the study. Compared with the control arm, the combined use of mosquito repellent and LLINs significantly reduced malaria infection of all types over time [adjusted Odds Ratio (aOR) = 0.66; 95% CI = 0.45-0.97]. Similarly, a substantial reduction in P. falciparum malaria infection during the follow-up surveys was observed in the intervention group (aOR = 0.53, 95% CI = 0.31-0.89). The protective efficacy of using mosquito repellent and LLINs against malaria infection of both P. falciparum/P. vivax and P. falciparum was 34% and 47%, respectively.
Conclusions
Daily application of mosquito repellent during the evening followed by the use of LLINs during bedtime at community level has significantly reduced malaria infection. The finding has strong implication particularly in areas where malaria vectors feed mainly in the evening before bedtime.
Trial registration
ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT01160809.
doi:10.1186/1756-3305-7-132
PMCID: PMC3986599  PMID: 24678612
9.  Development of a clinical scoring system for assessment of immunosuppression in patients with tuberculosis and HIV infection without access to CD4 cell testing – results from a cross-sectional study in Ethiopia 
Global Health Action  2014;7:10.3402/gha.v7.23105.
Background
Currently, antiretroviral therapy (ART) is recommended for all HIV-positive patients with tuberculosis (TB). The timing of ART during the course of anti-TB treatment is based on CD4 cell counts. Access to CD4 cell testing is not universally available; this constitutes an obstacle for the provision of ART in low-income countries.
Objective
To determine clinical variables associated with HIV co-infection in TB patients and to identify correlations between clinical variables and CD4 cell strata in HIV/TB co-infected subjects, with the aim of developing a clinical scoring system for the assessment of immunosuppression.
Design
Cross-sectional study of adults with TB (with and without HIV co-infection) recruited in Ethiopian outpatient clinics. Clinical variables potentially associated with immunosuppression were recorded using a structured questionnaire, and they were correlated to CD4 cell strata used to determine timing of ART initiation. Variables found to be significant in multivariate analysis were used to construct a scoring system.
Results
Among 1,116 participants, the following findings were significantly more frequent in 307 HIV-positive patients compared to 809 HIV-negative subjects: diarrhea, odynophagia, conjunctival pallor, herpes zoster, oral candidiasis, skin rash, and mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC) <20 cm. Among HIV-positive patients, conjunctival pallor, MUAC <20 cm, dyspnea, oral hairy leukoplakia (OHL), oral candidiasis, and gingivitis were significantly associated with <350 CD4 cells/mm3. A scoring system based on these variables had a negative predictive value of 87% for excluding subjects with CD4 cell counts <100 cells/mm3; however, the positive predictive value for identifying such individuals was low (47%).
Conclusions
Clinical variables correlate with CD4 cell strata in HIV-positive patients with TB. The clinical scoring system had adequate negative predictive value for excluding severe immunosuppression. Clinical scoring systems could be of use to categorize TB/HIV co-infected patients with regard to the timing of ART initiation in settings with limited access to laboratory facilities.
doi:10.3402/gha.v7.23105
PMCID: PMC3925806  PMID: 24560255
HIV; tuberculosis; Ethiopia; scoring system; CD4 cell; timing of ART
10.  Ownership and use of long-lasting insecticidal nets for malaria prevention in Butajira area, south-central Ethiopia: complex samples data analysis 
BMC Public Health  2014;14:99.
Background
Despite the encroaching of endemic malaria to highland-fringe areas above 2000 meters above sea level in Ethiopia, there is limited information on ownership and use of mosquito nets for malaria prevention. Thus, this study was designed to assess long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLIN) possession and use for malaria prevention in highland-fringe of south-central Ethiopia.
Methods
A multi-stage sampling technique was employed to obtain household data from randomly selected households using household head interview in October and November 2008. Household LLIN possession and use was assessed using adjusted Odds Ratio obtained from complex samples logistic regression analysis.
Results
Only less than a quarter (23.1%) of 739 households interviewed owned LLINs with more differences between low (54.2%) high (3.5%) altitudes (Χ2 =253, P < 0.001). Higher LLIN ownership was observed in illiterate (adj.OR 35.1 [10.6-116.2]), male-headed (adj.OR 1.7 [1.051-2.89]), owning two or more beds (adj.OR 2.7 [1.6-4.6]), not doing draining/refilling of mosquito breeding sites (adj.OR 3.4 [2.1-5.5]) and absence of rivers or streams (adj.OR 6.4 [3.5-11.8]) of household variables. The presence of ≥2 LLINs hanging (adj.OR 21.0 [5.2-85.1]), owning two or more LLINs (adj.OR 4.8 [1.3-17.5]), not doing draining/refilling of mosquito breeding sites (adj.OR 4.2 [1.3-13.6]), low wealth status (adj.OR 3.55 [1.04-12.14]), and < 1 km distance from absence of rivers or streams (adj.OR 3.9 [1.2-12.1]) of households was associated with more likely use of LLIN. The LLIN ownership was low in the highlands, and most of the highland users bought the bed nets themselves.
Conclusions
This study found a low household LLIN ownership and use in the highland-fringe rural area. Therefore, improving the availability and teaching effective use of LLIN combined with removal of temporary mosquito breeding places should be prioritized in highland-fringe areas.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-14-99
PMCID: PMC3914706  PMID: 24479770
Long-lasting insecticidal nets; Ownership; Use; Highland-fringe; Ethiopia
11.  Predictors of long-lasting insecticide-treated bed net ownership and utilization: evidence from community-based cross-sectional comparative study, Southwest Ethiopia 
Malaria Journal  2013;12:406.
Background
Malaria is the notorious impediment of public health and economic development. Long-lasting insecticide-treated bed nets/insecticide-treated bed nets (LLINs/ITNs) are among major intervention strategies to avert the impact the disease. However, effectiveness of LLINs/ITNs depends on, inter alia, possessing sufficient number, proper utilization and timely replacement of nets. Thus, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends surveys to evaluate possession and proper use of LLINs/ITNs by households.
Methods
A cross-sectional comparative household survey was conducted during peak malaria transmission season using interviewer-introduced questionnaires in southwest Ethiopia. A study site was selected from villages around a man-made lake, Gilgel-Gibe (GG) and a control site, with similar geographic and socio-economic features but far away from the lake, was identified. A total of 2,373 households from randomly selected cluster of households were included into the study and heads/spouses of the households responded to interviews. Binary and multinomial logistic regressions were used to identify predictors of LLIN ownership and utilization.
Results
LLIN/ITN ownership among the study populations was 56.6%, while 43.4% of households did not own a net. A higher proportion of households in GG reported owning at least one LLITN/ITN compared to control village (OR =2. 2, P <0.001) and more households in GG reported having only one LLITN/ITN in contrast to households in the control village (OR = 2.1, P <0.001). The mean number of LLINs/ITNs owned was 1.6 for GG residents and 1.8 for control village with a mean difference of -0.26 (95% CI = - 0.34, -0.19). The age of household heads, household relative wealth index (RWI), distance to nearest health service and accessibility to transportation showed a significant association with ownership of LLINs/ITNs. The probability of owning two or more LLINs/ITNs was positively associated with age of household head. Marital status of household heads, RWI, distance to nearest health service, accessibility to transport, residence and household size showed a significant association with utilization of LLINs/ITNs.
Conclusion
Attention needs to be given to the poor, distant and inaccessible households in the efforts of malaria intervention programmes, such as free distribution of LLINs/ITNs. Well-tailored information, education and communication is needed to address the problem of non-users.
doi:10.1186/1475-2875-12-406
PMCID: PMC3827849  PMID: 24206749
Gilgel-gibe; Long-lasting insecticide-treated bed nets/insecticide-treated bed nets; Malaria; Ownership; Possession; Utilization
12.  Malaria risk factors in Butajira area, south-central Ethiopia: a multilevel analysis 
Malaria Journal  2013;12:273.
Background
The highlands of Ethiopia, situated between 1,500 and 2,500 m above sea level, experienced severe malaria epidemics. Despite the intensive control attempts, underway since 2005 and followed by an initial decline, the disease remained a major public health concern. The aim of this study was to identify malaria risk factors in highland-fringe south-central Ethiopia.
Methods
This study was conducted in six rural kebeles of Butajira area located 130 km south of Addis Ababa, which are part of demographic surveillance site in Meskan and Mareko Districts, Ethiopia. Using a multistage sampling technique 750 households was sampled to obtain the 3,398 people, the estimated sample size for this study. Six repeated cross-sectional surveys were conducted from October 2008 to June 2010. Multilevel, mixed-effects logistic regression models fitted to Plasmodium infection status (positive or negative) and six variables. Both fixed- and random-effects differences in malaria infection were estimated using median odds ratio and interval odds ratio 80%. The odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals were used to estimate the strength of association.
Results
Overall, 19,207 individuals were sampled in six surveys (median and inter-quartile range value three). Six of the five variables had about two-fold to eight-fold increase in prevalence of malaria. Furthermore, among these variables, October-November survey seasons of both during 2008 and 2009 were strongly associated with increased prevalence of malaria infection. Children aged below five years (adjusted OR= 3.62) and children aged five to nine years (adj. OR= 3.39), low altitude (adj. OR= 5.22), mid-level altitude (adj. OR= 3.80), houses with holes (adj. OR= 1.59), survey seasons such as October-November 2008 (adj. OR= 7.84), January-February 2009 (adj. OR= 2.33), June-July 2009 (adj. OR=3.83), October-November 2009 (adj. OR= 7.71), and January-February 2010 (adj. OR= 3.05) were associated with increased malaria infection.
The estimates of cluster variances revealed differences in malaria infection. The village-level intercept variance for the individual-level predictor (0.71 [95% CI: 0.28-1.82]; SE=0.34) and final (0.034, [95% CI: 0.002-0.615]; SE=0.05) were lower than that of empty (0.80, [95% CI: 0.32-2.01]; SE=0.21).
Conclusion
Malaria control efforts in highland fringes must prioritize children below ten years in designing transmission reduction of malaria elimination strategy.
doi:10.1186/1475-2875-12-273
PMCID: PMC3750841  PMID: 23914971
Malaria risk; Multilevel analysis; Highland-fringe; Butajira area; Ethiopia
13.  Evaluation of CareStart™ malaria Pf/Pv combo test for Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax malaria diagnosis in Butajira area, south-central Ethiopia 
Malaria Journal  2013;12:218.
Malaria is a major public health problem in Ethiopia. Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax co-exist and malaria rapid diagnostic test (RDTs) is vital in rendering parasite-confirmed treatment especially in areas where microscopy from 2008 to 2010 is not available. CareStartTM Malaria Pf/Pv combo test was evaluated compared to microscopy in Butajira area, south-central Ethiopia. This RDT detects histidine-rich protein-2 (HRP2) found in P. falciparum, and Plasmodium enzyme lactate dehydrogenase (pLDH) for diagnosis of P. vivax. The standard for the reporting of diagnostic accuracy studies was complied. Among 2,394 participants enrolled, 10.9% (n=87) were Plasmodium infected (household survey) and 24.5% (n=392) health facility-based using microscopy. In the household surveys, the highest positivity was caused by P. vivax (83.9%, n=73), P. falciparum (15.0%, n=13), and the rest due to mixed infections of both (1.1%, n=1). In health facility, P. vivax caused 78.6% (n=308), P. falciparum caused 20.4% (n=80), and the rest caused by mixed infections 1.0% (n=4). RDT missed 9.1% (n=8) in household and 4.3% (n=17) in health facility-based surveys among Plasmodium positive confirmed by microscopy while 3.3% (n=24) in household and 17.2% (n=208) in health facility-based surveys were detected false positive. RDT showed agreement with microscopy in detecting 79 positives in household surveys (n=796) and 375 positives in health centre survey (n=1,598).
RDT performance varied in both survey settings, lowest PPV (64.3%) for Plasmodium and P. falciparum (77.2%) in health centres; and Plasmodium (76.7%) and P. falciparum (87.5%) in household surveys. NPV was low in P. vivax in health centres (77.2%) and household (87.5%) surveys. Seasonally varying RDT precision of as low as 14.3% PPV (Dec. 2009), and 38.5% NPV (Nov. 2008) in health centre surveys; and 40-63.6% PPV was observed in household surveys. But the influence of age and parasite density on RDT performance was not ascertained. Establishing quality control of malaria RDT in the health system in areas with low endemic and where P. falciparum and P. vivax co-exist is recommendable. CareStartTM RDT might be employed for epidemiological studies that require interpreting the results cautiously. Future RDT field evaluation against microscopy should be PCR corrected.
doi:10.1186/1475-2875-12-218
PMCID: PMC3700775  PMID: 23805822
CareStartTM RDT; Microscopy; Precision; Season; Highland; Butajira; Ethiopia
14.  Analysis of malaria surveillance data in Ethiopia: what can be learned from the Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response System? 
Malaria Journal  2012;11:330.
Background
Routine malaria surveillance data is useful for assessing incidence and trends over time, and in stratification for targeting of malaria control. The reporting completeness and potential bias of such data needs assessment.
Methods
Data on 17 malaria indicators were extracted from the Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response System database for July 2004 to June 2009 (Ethiopian calendar reporting years 1997 to 2001). Reporting units were standardized over time with 2007 census populations. The data were analysed to show reporting completeness, variation in risk by reporting unit, and incidence trends for malaria indicators.
Results
Reporting completeness, estimated as product of unit-month and health facility reporting, was over 80% until 2009, when it fell to 56% during a period of reorganization in the Ministry of Health. Nationally the average estimated annual incidence of reported total malaria for the calendar years 2005 to 2008 was 23.4 per 1000 persons, and of confirmed malaria was 7.6 per 1,000, with no clear decline in out-patient cases over the time period. Reported malaria in-patient admissions and deaths (averaging 6.4 per 10,000 and 2.3 per 100,000 per year respectively) declined threefold between 2005 and 2009, as did admissions and deaths reported as malaria with severe anaemia. Only 8 of 86 reporting units had average annual estimated incidence of confirmed malaria above 20 per 1,000 persons, while 26 units were consistently below five reported cases per 1,000 persons per year.
Conclusion
The Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response System functioned well over the time period mid 2004 to the end of 2008. The data suggest that the scale up of interventions has had considerable impact on malaria in-patient cases and mortality, as reported from health centres and hospitals. These trends must be regarded as relative (over space and time) rather than absolute. The data can be used to stratify areas for improved targeting of control efforts to steadily reduce incidence. They also provide a baseline of incidence estimates against which to gauge future progress towards elimination. Inclusion of climate information over this time period and extension of the dataset to more years is needed to clarify the impact of control measures compared to natural cycles on malaria.
doi:10.1186/1475-2875-11-330
PMCID: PMC3528460  PMID: 22985409
Surveillance; Ethiopia; Malaria indicators; Incidence; Reporting completeness
15.  Attitudes of undergraduate medical students of Addis Ababa University towards medical practice and migration, Ethiopia 
BMC Medical Education  2012;12:68.
Background
The health care system of Ethiopia is facing a serious shortage of health workforce. While a number of strategies have been developed to improve the training and retention of medical doctors in the country, understanding the perceptions and attitudes of medical students towards their training, future practice and intent to migrate can contribute in addressing the problem. This study was carried out to assess the attitudes of Ethiopian medical students towards their training and future practice of medicine, and to identify factors associated with the intent to practice in rural or urban settings, or to migrate abroad.
Methods
A cross-sectional study was conducted in June 2009 among 600 medical students (Year I to Internship program) of the Faculty of Medicine at Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia. A pre-tested self-administered structured questionnaire was used for data collection. Descriptive statistics were used for data summarization and presentation. Degree of association was measured by Chi Square test, with significance level set at p < 0.05. Bivariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses were used to assess associations.
Results
Only 20% of the students felt ‘excellent’ about studying medicine; followed by ‘very good’ (19%), ‘good’ (30%), ‘fair’ (21%) and ‘bad’ (11%). About 35% of respondents responded they felt the standard of medical education was below their expectation. Only 30% of the students said they would like to initially practice medicine in rural settings in Ethiopia. However, students with rural backgrounds were more likely than those with urban backgrounds to say they intended to practice medicine in rural areas (adjusted OR = 2.50, 95% CI = 1.18-5.26). Similarly, students in clinical training program preferred to practice medicine in rural areas compared to pre-clinical students (adjusted OR = 1.83, 95% CI = 1.12-2.99). About 53% of the students (57% males vs. 46% females, p = 0.017) indicated aspiration to emigrate following graduation, particularly to the United States of America (42%) or European countries (15%). The attitude towards emigration was higher among Year IV (63%) and Internship (71%) students compared to Year I to Year III students (45-54%). Male students were more likely to say they would emigrate than females (adjusted OR = 1.57, 95% CI = 1.10-2.29). Likewise, students with clinical training were more likely to want to emigrate than pre-clinical students, although the difference was marginally significant (adjusted OR = 1.58, 95% CI = 1.00-2.49).
Conclusions
The attitudes of the majority of Ethiopian medical students in the capital city towards practicing medicine in rural areas were found to be poor, and the intent to migrate after completing medical training was found to be very high among the study participants, creating a huge potential for brain drain. This necessitates the importance of improving the quality of education and career choice satisfaction, creating conducive training and working conditions including retention efforts for medical graduates to serve their nation. It follows that recruiting altruistic and rural background students into medical schools is likely to produce graduates who are more likely to practice medicine in rural settings.
doi:10.1186/1472-6920-12-68
PMCID: PMC3492144  PMID: 22867022
16.  Factors associated with complete immunization coverage in children aged 12–23 months in Ambo Woreda, Central Ethiopia 
BMC Public Health  2012;12:566.
Background
Vaccination is a proven tool in preventing and eradicating communicable diseases, but a considerable proportion of childhood morbidity and mortality in Ethiopia is due to vaccine preventable diseases. Immunization coverage in many parts of the country remains low despite the efforts to improve the services. In 2005, only 20% of the children were fully vaccinated and about 1 million children were unvaccinated in 2007. The objective of this study was to assess complete immunization coverage and its associated factors among children aged 12–23 months in Ambo woreda.
Methods
A cross-sectional community-based study was conducted in 8 rural and 2 urban kebeles during January- February, 2011. A modified WHO EPI cluster sampling method was used for sample selection. Data on 536 children aged 12–23 months from 536 representative households were collected using trained nurses. The data collectors assessed the vaccination status of the children based on vaccination cards or mother’s verbal reports using a pre-tested structured questionnaire through house-to-house visits. Bivariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses were used to assess factors associated with immunization coverage.
Results
About 96% of the mothers heard about vaccination and vaccine preventable diseases and 79.5% knew the benefit of immunization. About 36% of children aged 12–23 months were fully vaccinated by card plus recall, but only 27.7% were fully vaccinated by card alone and 23.7% children were unvaccinated. Using multivariate logistic regression models, factors significantly associated with complete immunization were antenatal care follow-up (adjusted odds ratio(AOR = 2.4, 95% CI: 1.2- 4.9), being born in the health facility (AOR = 2.1, 95% CI: 1.3-3.4), mothers’ knowledge about the age at which vaccination begins (AOR = 2.9, 95% CI: 1.9-4.6) and knowledge about the age at which vaccination completes (AOR = 4.3, 95% CI: 2.3-8), whereas area of residence and mother’s socio-demographic characteristics were not significantly associated with full immunization among children.
Conclusion
Complete immunization coverage among children aged 12–23 months remains low. Maternal health care utilization and knowledge of mothers about the age at which child begins and finishes vaccination are the main factors associated with complete immunization coverage. It is necessary that, local interventions should be strengthened to raising awareness of the community on the importance of immunization, antenatal care and institutional delivery.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-12-566
PMCID: PMC3508824  PMID: 22839418
Complete immunization; Immunization; Ambo
17.  Assessment of the effect of insecticide-treated nets and indoor residual spraying for malaria control in three rural kebeles of Adami Tulu District, South Central Ethiopia 
Malaria Journal  2012;11:127.
Background
In the Adami Tulu District, indoor residual spraying (IRS) and insecticide-treated nets (ITNs) has been the main tool used to control malaria. The purpose of this study was to assess the effect of IRS and ITNs control strategies in Aneno Shisho kebele (lowest administrative unit of Ethiopia) compared with Kamo Gerbi (supplied ITN only) and Jela Aluto (no IRS and ITNs), with regards to the prevalence of malaria and mosquito density.
Methods
Cross-sectional surveys were conducted after heavy rains (October/November, 2006) and during the sporadic rains (April, 2007) in the three kebeles of Adami Tulu District. Malaria infection was measured by means of thick and thin film. Monthly collection of adult mosquitoes from October-December 2006 and April-May 2007 and sporozoite enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) on the collected mosquitoes were detected. Data related to the knowledge of mode of malaria transmission and its control measures were collected. Data collected on parasitological and knowledge, attitude and practice (KAP) surveys were managed and analysed using a statistical computer program SPSS version 13.0. A P-value <0.05 was considered to be statistically significant.
Results
The overall prevalence of malaria was 8.6% in Jela Aluto, 4.4% in Kamo Gerbi and 1.3% in Aneno Shisho in the two season surveys. The vector, Anopheles gambiae s.l., Anopheles pharoensis and Anopheles coustani were recorded. However, sporozoite ELISA on mosquito collections detected no infection. The difference in overall malaria prevalence and mosquito density between the three kebeles was significant (P<0.05).
Conclusions
The present study has provided some evidence for the success of ITNs/IRS combined malaria control measures in Aneno Shisho kebele in Adami Tulu District. Therefore, the combined ITNs/IRS malaria control measures must be expanded to cover all kebeles in the District of Ethiopia.
doi:10.1186/1475-2875-11-127
PMCID: PMC3407491  PMID: 22533789
18.  Prevalence of malaria infection in Butajira area, south-central Ethiopia 
Malaria Journal  2012;11:84.
Background
In 2005, the Ethiopian government launched a massive expansion of the malaria prevention and control programme. The programme was aimed mainly at the reduction of malaria in populations living below 2,000 m above sea level. Global warming has been implicated in the increase in the prevalence of malaria in the highlands. However, there is still a paucity of information on the occurrence of malaria at higher altitudes. The objective of this study was to estimate malaria prevalence in highland areas of south-central Ethiopia, designated as the Butajira area.
Methods
Using a multi-stage sampling technique, 750 households were selected. All consenting family members were examined for malaria parasites in thick and thin blood smears. The assessment was repeated six times for two years (October 2008 to June 2010).
Results
In total, 19,207 persons were examined in the six surveys. From those tested, 178 slides were positive for malaria, of which 154 (86.5%) were positive for Plasmodium vivax and 22 (12.4%) for Plasmodium falciparum; the remaining two (1.1%) showed mixed infections of Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax. The incidence of malaria was higher after the main rainy season, both in lower lying and in highland areas. The incidence in the highlands was low and similar for all age groups, whereas in the lowlands, malaria occurred mostly in those of one to nine years of age.
Conclusion
This study documented a low prevalence of malaria that varied with season and altitudinal zone in a highland-fringe area of Ethiopia. Most of the malaria infections were attributable to Plasmodium vivax.
doi:10.1186/1475-2875-11-84
PMCID: PMC3383546  PMID: 22443307
Malaria prevalence; Cross-sectional survey; Highland malaria; Ethiopia
19.  Substance use and its predictors among undergraduate medical students of Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia 
BMC Public Health  2011;11:660.
Background
Substance use remains high among Ethiopian youth and young adolescents particularly in high schools and colleges. The use of alcohol, khat and tobacco by college and university students can be harmful; leading to decreased academic performance, increased risk of contracting HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. However, the magnitude of substance use and the factors associated with it has not been investigated among medical students in the country. This study was conducted to determine the prevalence of substance use and identify factors that influenced the behavior among undergraduate medical students of Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia.
Methods
A cross-sectional study using a pre-tested structured self-administered quantitative questionnaire was conducted in June 2009 among 622 medical students (Year I to Internship program) at the School of Medicine. The data were entered into Epi Info version 6.04d and analyzed using SPSS version 15 software program. Descriptive statistics were used for data summarization and presentation. Differences in proportions were compared for significance using Chi Square test, with significance level set at p < 0.05. Multivariate logistic regression analyses were used to assess the magnitude of associations between substance use and socio-demographic and behavioral correlates.
Results
In the last 12 months, alcohol was consumed by 22% (25% males vs. 14% females, p = 0.002) and khat use was reported by 7% (9% males vs. 1.5% females, p < 0.001) of the students. About 9% of the respondents (10.6% males vs. 4.6% females, p = 0.014) reported ever use of cigarette smoking, and 1.8% were found to be current smokers. Using multiple logistic regression models, being male was strongly associated with alcohol use in the last 12 months (adjusted OR = 2.14, 95% CI = 1.22-3.76). Students whose friends currently consume alcohol were more likely to consume alcohol (adjusted OR = 2.47, 95% CI = 1.50-4.08) and whose friends' use tobacco more likely to smoke (adjusted OR = 3.89, 95% CI = 1.83-8.30). Khat use within the past 12 months was strongly and positively associated with alcohol consumption (adjusted OR = 15.11, 95% CI = 4.24-53.91). Similarly, ever use of cigarette was also significantly associated with alcohol consumption (adjusted OR = 8.65, 95% CI = 3.48-21.50).
Conclusions
Concordant use of alcohol, khat and tobacco is observed and exposure to friends' use of substances is often implicated. Alcohol consumption or khat use has been significantly associated with tobacco use. While the findings of this study suggest that substance use among the medical students was not alarming, but its trend increased among students from Year I to Internship program. The university must be vigilant in monitoring and educating the students about the consequences of substance use.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-11-660
PMCID: PMC3170623  PMID: 21859483
20.  Prevalence and associated factors of female genital mutilation among Somali refugees in eastern Ethiopia: a cross-sectional study 
BMC Public Health  2009;9:264.
Background
Eastern Ethiopia hosts a substantial number of refugees originated from Somalia. Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a common practice in the area, despite the campaigns to eliminate it.
Methods
A cross-sectional study was conducted among 492 respondents sampled from three refugee camps in Somali Regional State, Eastern Ethiopia, to determine the prevalence and associated factors of FGM. Data were collected using pre-tested structured questionnaires.
Results
Although the intention of the parents to circumcise their daughters was high (84%), 42.4% of 288 ≤12 girls were reported being undergone FGM. The prevalence increased with age, and about 52% and 95% were circumcised at the age of 7–8 and 11–12 years, respectively. Almost all operations were performed by traditional circumcisers (81%) and birth attendants (18%). Clitoral cutting (64%) and narrowing of the vaginal opening through stitching (36%) were the two common forms of FGM reported by the respondents. Participation of the parents in anti-FGM interventions is statistically associated with lower practice and intention of the procedures.
Conclusion
FGM is widely practised among the Somali refugee community in Eastern Ethiopia, and there was a considerable support for the continuation of the practice particularly among women. The findings indicate a reported shift of FGM from its severe form to milder clitoral cutting. More men than women positively viewed anti-FGM interventions, and fewer men than women had the intention to let their daughters undergo FGM, indicating the need to involve men in anti-FGM activities.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-9-264
PMCID: PMC2724517  PMID: 19635149
21.  Malaria-related perceptions and practices of women with children under the age of five years in rural Ethiopia 
BMC Public Health  2009;9:259.
Background
Malaria remains to be the major cause of morbidity and mortality among pregnant women and children in Ethiopia. The aim of this study was to investigate the local perceptions, practices and treatment seeking behaviour for malaria among women with children under the age of five years.
Methods
This community-based study was conducted in 2003 in an area of seasonal malaria transmission in Adami Tulu District, south-central Ethiopia. Total samples of 2087 rural women with children less than five years of age from 18 rural kebeles (the smallest administrative units) were interviewed about their perceptions and practices regarding malaria. In addition, focus group discussions and in-depth interviews were conducted on similar issues to complement the quantitative data.
Results
Malaria, locally known as busaa, is perceived as the main health problem in the study area. Mosquitoes are perceived to be the main cause of the disease, and other misperceptions were also widespread. The use of prevention measures was very low. Most mothers were familiar with the main signs and symptoms of mild malaria, and some of them indicated high grade fever, convulsions and mental confusion as a manifestation of severe malaria. Very few households (5.6%) possessed one or two nets. More than 60% of the mothers with recent episodes of malaria received initial treatment from non-public health facilities such as community health workers (CHWs) (40%) and private care providers (21%). Less than 40% of the reported malaria cases among women were treated by public health facilities.
Conclusion
Malaria was perceived as the main health problem among women and children. The use of malaria preventive measures was low. A significant proportion of the respondents received initial malaria treatments from CHWs, private care providers and public health facilities. Concerted effort is needed to scale-up the distribution of insecticide-treated nets and improve the knowledge of the community about the link between malaria and mosquitoes. Effective antimalarial drugs should also be available at the grassroots level where the problem of malaria is rampant.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-9-259
PMCID: PMC2724516  PMID: 19627572
22.  Malaria-related mortality based on verbal autopsy in an area of low endemicity in a predominantly rural population in Ethiopia 
Malaria Journal  2007;6:128.
Background
Although malaria is one of the most important causes of death in Ethiopia, measuring the magnitude of malaria-attributed deaths at community level poses a considerable difficulty. Nevertheless, despite its low sensitivity and specificity, verbal autopsy (VA) has been the most important technique to determine malaria-specific cause of death for community-based studies. The present study was undertaken to assess the magnitude of malaria mortality in a predominantly rural population of Ethiopia using VA technique at Butajira Rural Health Programme (BRHP) Demographic Surveillance Site (DSS).
Methods
A verbal autopsy was carried out for a year from August 2003 to July 2004 for all deaths identified at BRPH-DSS. Two trained physicians independently reviewed each VA questionnaire and indicated the most likely causes of death. Finally, all malaria related deaths were identified and used for analysis.
Results
A verbal autopsy study was successfully conducted in 325 deaths, of which 42 (13%) were attributed to malaria. The majority of malaria deaths (47.6%) were from the rural lowlands compared to those that occurred in the rural highlands (31%) and urban (21.4%) areas. The proportional mortality attributable to malaria was not statistically significant among the specific age groups and ecological zones. Mortality from malaria was reckoned to be seasonal; 57% occurred during a three-month period at the end of the rainy season between September and November. About 71% of the deceased received some form of treatment before death, while 12 (28.6%) of those who died neither sought care from a traditional healer nor were taken to a conventional health facility before death. Of those who sought treatment, 53.3% were first taken to a private clinic, 40% sought care from public health facilities, and the remaining two (6.7%) received traditional medicine. Only 11.9% of the total malaria-related deaths received some sort of treatment within 24h after the onset of illness.
Conclusion
The results of this study suggest that malaria plays a considerable role as a cause of death in the study area. Further data on malaria mortality with a relatively large sample size for at least two years will be needed to substantially describe the burden of malaria mortality in the study area.
doi:10.1186/1475-2875-6-128
PMCID: PMC2039745  PMID: 17883879
23.  Treatment-seeking behaviour for febrile illness in an area of seasonal malaria transmission in rural Ethiopia 
Malaria Journal  2007;6:49.
Background
Very little is known about the management of malaria and treatment-seeking patterns among children and adults in areas of seasonal malaria transmission particularly in east Africa.
Objectives
The aim of this study was to assess treatment-seeking behaviour for reported malaria among all age groups in an area of seasonal transmission.
Methods
A community-based cross-sectional study was carried out among 2,253 households in 12 randomly selected rural kebeles in Adami Tulu district in south-central Ethiopia, during October-November 2003, using a pre-tested interviewer-administered structured questionnaire.
Results
Reported malaria was 14% among 12,225 people assessed during the last 14 days. Family/self-diagnosis was most common and the main first responses included visiting village-based community health workers (CHWs) (33%), public health facility (23%) and private clinic (17%). Home treatment was the least reported first response (3%). Only 13% had sought treatment within the first 24 hours of symptom onset. Early treatment-seeking pattern was reported among those who visited CHWs and practiced home treatment, with more delays among public facility users. Treatment-seeking behaviour was similar in all age groups.
Conclusion
A considerable proportion of visits were made to CHWs and private providers, necessitating the importance of strengthening both community-based interventions and peripheral public and private facilities. Finally, the community should be informed and educated about the importance of early diagnosis and prompt treatment with effective antimalarials.
doi:10.1186/1475-2875-6-49
PMCID: PMC1866240  PMID: 17462087

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