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1.  HIV associated hypocalcaemia among diarrheic patients in northwest Ethiopia: a cross sectional study 
BMC Public Health  2014;14:679.
Hypocalcaemia, defined by serum calcium level less than 8.5 mg/dl, could be caused by human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and diarrheal diseases. In Ethiopia, while morbidities from diarrheal diseases and HIV are serious health problems, studies assessing the interactions amongst of the three do not exist. Therefore, the present study was undertaken to investigate the level of calcium among diarrheic patients with and without HIV co-infection.
Consecutive diarrheic patients attending Gondar University Hospital in Ethiopia were enrolled and screened for HIV, intestinal parasites, Shigella and Salmonella. Concentration of calcium in serum was determined using an inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer.
A total of 206 diarrheic patients were included in the study (109 = HIV positive, 97 = HIV negative). Intestinal parasites and Shigella species were detected in 32.2% and 8.5% of the patients, respectively. The serum calcium levels in the patients who were found positive for Shigella species or intestinal parasites was not significantly different by the presence or absence of HIV co-infection. HIV infected diarrheic patients had significantly lower mean serum calcium levels (7.82 ± 1.23 mg/dl) than those negative for HIV (8.38 ± 1.97) (P = 0.015). The age groups 25–35 and greater than 45 years showed significantly lower mean serum calcium levels (7.77 ± 1.55 mg/dl) in comparison to the other age groups (7.84 ± 1.41 mg/dl, P = 0.009). On the other hand, females presented with significantly lower mean serum calcium levels (7.79 ± 1.60 mg/dl, P = 0.044) than males (8.26 ± 1.65 mg/dl).
There is high prevalence of hypocalcaemia among diarrheic patients in northwest Ethiopia. And HIV stood out to be a major risk factor for development of hypocalcaemia among the diarrheic patients in northwest Ethiopia. Further studies are required to substantiate and characterize the mechanisms and consequences of calcium metabolism disorders among HIV infected individuals in the study area.
PMCID: PMC4100039  PMID: 24993127
Hypocalcaemi; Hypercalcaemia; HIV; Diarrhea; Ethiopia
2.  Sexually transmitted infections based on the syndromic approach in Gondar town, northwest Ethiopia: a retrospective study 
BMC Public Health  2013;13:143.
Sexually transmitted infections are among the most common causes of illnesses in the world and have far reaching health, social and economic consequences. They are important because of their magnitude, potential complications and interactions with HIV/AIDS. Though the problem may be generally similar to other developing countries, there is scarce information on the incidence and prevalence of sexually transmitted infections in Ethiopia. This study was then aimed to determine the magnitude of sexually transmitted infections among patients visiting a clinic in Gondar town, Northwest Ethiopia.
Medical records of patients who visited the clinic from January 2011 to December 2011 were reviewed. Sociodemographic and clinical data were extracted using data extraction form. The data were entered and analyzed using SPSS version 16 statistical package. Descriptive statistics and Chi-square tests were carried out.
A total of 1071 clients visited the clinic during the study period. Among these, 383 (35.8%) had complained symptoms of sexually transmitted infections. The mean (SD) age of the patients was 26.8 ± 7.4 years. The commonest chief complaints were vaginal discharge (38.4%) and urethral discharge (13.6%). Seventy seven percent of the cases did not bring their sexual partners for treatment.
There was a high magnitude of STIs in the clinic according to the syndromic approach. However, the actual prevalence of STIs and the associated factors in the community need to be determined through further studies. The results of this study also urge the need for evaluation of the syndromic approach and test for antimicrobial resistance.
PMCID: PMC3586370  PMID: 23414518
Sexually transmitted infections; Syndromic approach; Ethiopia
3.  Nutritional status, intestinal parasite infection and allergy among school children in Northwest Ethiopia 
BMC Pediatrics  2013;13:7.
Parasitic infections have been shown to have deleterious effects on host nutritional status. In addition, although helmintic infection can modulate the host inflammatory response directed against the parasite, a causal association between helminths and allergy remains uncertain. The present study was therefore designed to evaluate the relationship between nutritional status, parasite infection and prevalence of allergy among school children.
A cross sectional study was performed involving school children in two elementary schools in Gondar, Ethiopia. Nutritional status of these children was determined using anthropometric parameters (weight-for-age, height-for-age and BMI-for-age). Epi-Info software was used to calculate z-scores. Stool samples were examined using standard parasitological procedures. The serum IgE levels were quantified by total IgE ELISA kit following the manufacturer’s instruction.
A total of 405 children (with mean age of 12.09.1 ± 2.54 years) completed a self-administered allergy questionnaire and provided stool samples for analysis. Overall prevalence of underweight, stunting and thinness/wasting was 15.1%, 25.2%, 8.9%, respectively. Of the total, 22.7% were found to be positive for intestinal parasites. The most prevalent intestinal parasite detected was Ascaris lumbricoides (31/405, 7.6%). There was no statistically significant association between prevalence of malnutrition and the prevalence of parasitic infections. Median total serum IgE level was 344 IU/ml (IQR 117–2076, n = 80) and 610 IU/ml (143–1833, n = 20), respectively, in children without and with intestinal parasite infection (Z = −0.198, P > 0.8). The prevalence of self reported allergy among the subset was 8%. IgE concentration was not associated either with the presence of parasitic infection or history of allergy.
The prevalence of malnutrition, intestinal parasitism and allergy was not negligible in this population. In addition, there was no significant association between the prevalence of allergy and their nutritional status, and parasite infection. Further research prospective observational and intervention studies are required to address the question of causality between nutritional factors, parasites, and allergy.
PMCID: PMC3565883  PMID: 23311926
Nutritional status; Parasite infection; Allergy; Ethiopia
4.  Prevalence of smear positive pulmonary tuberculosis among prisoners in North Gondar Zone Prison, northwest Ethiopia 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2012;12:352.
People concentrated in congregated systems, such as prisons, are important but often neglected reservoirs for TB transmission, and threaten those in the outside community. Therefore, this study was conducted to determine the prevalence of tuberculosis in a prison system of North Gondar Zone.
An active case-finding survey in North Gondar Prison was carried out from March to May 2011. All prison inmates who had history of cough for at least a week were included in the study. Three morning sputum samples were collected from suspected inmates and examined through fluorescence microscopy. Fine needle aspiration cytology was done for those having significant lymphadenopathy. Pre and post HIV test counseling was provided after written consent. Binary logistic and multivariable analysis was performed using SPSS version 16.
A total of 250 prisoners were included in the survey. Among these, 26 (10.4%) prisoners were found to have TB giving a point prevalence of 1482.3 per 100,000 populations of smear positive TB among the TB suspects. All the inmates who participated in the study volunteered for HIV testing and a total of 19(7.6%) inmates were found to be reactive for the HIV antibody test amongst of which 9(47.4%) had TB co-infection. The prevalence of HIV infection in the TB infected inmates was found to be 34.6% (9/26). From the 26 TB cases identified 12 (46.2%) were having under nutrition (BMI < 18.5kg/m2).
There is high prevalence of TB in North Gondar Prison with possible active transmission of TB within the prison. There was a high prevalence of HIV among the TB suspects. Strong cooperation between prison authorities and the national tuberculosis control programmes is urgently required to develop locally appropriate interventions to reduce transmission. The determinants for poor nutrition in the prison need also further investigation.
PMCID: PMC3531261  PMID: 23241368
Prison; Tuberculosis; TB/HIV co-infection; Ethiopia
5.  Micronutrient levels and nutritional status of school children living in Northwest Ethiopia 
Nutrition Journal  2012;11:108.
Several micronutrients are essential for adequate growth of children. However, little information is available on multiple micronutrient status of school children in Ethiopia. The present study was designed to evaluate the relationship between multiple micronutrient levels and nutritional status among school children.
In this cross-sectional study, anthropometric data, blood and stool samples were collected from 100 children at Meseret Elementary School in Gondar town, Northwest Ethiopia. Serum concentration of magnesium, calcium, iron, copper, zinc, selenium and molybdenum were measured by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer. Anthropometric indices of weight-for-age, height-for-age and BMI-for-age were used to estimate the children's nutritional status. Stool samples were examined by standard microscopic methods for intestinal parasites.
The prevalence of stunting, underweight, wasting and intestinal parasitoses among school children was 23%, 21%, 11% and18%, respectively. The mean serum levels of magnesium, calcium, iron, copper, zinc, selenium and molybdenum were 2.42±0.32 (mg/dl), 15.31±2.14 (mg/dl), 328.19±148.91 (μg/dl), 191.30±50.17 (μg/dl), 86.40±42.40 (μg/dl), 6.32±2.59 (μg/dl), and 0.23±0.15 (μg/dl), respectively. Selenium deficiency, zinc deficiency and magnesium deficiency occurred in 62%, 47%, and 2% of the school children, respectively. Height-for-age showed significant positive correlation with the levels of copper and molybdenum (p = 0.01) and with the levels of magnesium (p = 0.05).
Deficiencies of selenium and zinc were high among the school children although the deficiencies were not significantly related with their nutritional status. The prevalence of both malnutrition and intestinal parasitism was not negligible. These calls for the need to undertake multicentre studies in various parts of the country to substantiate the data obtained in the present study so that appropriate and beneficial strategies for micronutrient supplementation and interventions on nutritional deficiencies can be planned.
PMCID: PMC3574837  PMID: 23237638
School children; Nutritional status; Micronutrients; Gondar; Ethiopia
6.  Effect of emergency oral contraceptive use on condom utilization and sexual risk taking behaviours among university students, Northwest Ethiopia: a cross-sectional study 
BMC Research Notes  2012;5:501.
Young people between the ages of 15 and 24 years are both the most at risk of HIV and the greatest hope for turning the tide against HIV/AIDS. Although various surveys have been done on sexual behaviour of youth in Ethiopia, studies assessing the effect of emergency oral contraceptives on condom utilization of university students are lacking.
A cross-sectional study was conducted in two major universities of Ethiopia from January to May 2011 using structured self administered questionnaire with the aim to assess the effect of introducing oral emergency contraceptive pills on condom utilization and sexual risk taking behaviours among female university students. Study participants were selected by simple random sampling using the list from the associate registrars of each University. Data were entered, cleaned and analyzed using SPSS version 17.0. Bivariate and multiple logistic regression analyses were used to determine factors associated with condom utilization.
a total of 623 students out of 660 were included giving response rate of 94.4%. A total of 103(16.5%) had history of sexual intercourse and nearly half (45.6%) of them had sex before the age of 20 years. Forty (6.4%) students had history of sexually transmitted infections (STI). Sixty seven percent of students had heard about emergency oral contraceptives. One hundred and ninety one (45.7%) of students believe that EOC is effective in preventing pregnancy. Believing that EOC is effective in preventing pregnancy (adjusted Odds ratio, AOR = 0.22 95% CI 0.06, 0.87), condom prevents STI (AOR = 10.37, 95% CI 1.73, 62.24) and younger age below 20 years (AOR = 11.68 95% CI 1.25, 109.19) were statistically significantly associated with condom use.
a significant number of students had history of sexual intercourse and used emergency contraception. The belief in the effectiveness of EOC negatively affects condom use. The preference for the pill may make teenagers less prepared to practice STI protective behaviours in specific situations. Therefore, there is an urgent need to educate young people in universities about reproductive health and family planning and skills on how to prevent HIV/STIs including unwanted pregnancy.
PMCID: PMC3494538  PMID: 22971668
University students; Emergency contraceptive; Risky sexual behaviour; Condom use; Northwest Ethiopia
7.  Nutritional status and dietary intake of urban residents in Gondar, Northwest Ethiopia 
BMC Public Health  2012;12:752.
There is paucity of data on the dietary intake and nutritional status of urban Ethiopians which necessitates comprehensive nutritional assessments. Therefore, the present study was aimed at evaluating the dietary intake and nutritional status of urban residents in Northwest Ethiopia.
This cross-sectional community based nutrition survey was conducted by involving 356 participants (71.3% female and 28.7% male with mean age of 37.3 years). Subjects were selected by random sampling. Socio demographic data was collected by questionnaire. Height, weight, hip circumference and waist circumference were measured following standard procedures. Dietary intake was assessed by a food frequency questionnaire and 24-h dietary recall. The recommended dietary allowance was taken as the cut-off point for the assessment of the adequacy of individual nutrient intake.
Undernourished, overweight and obese subjects composed 12.9%, 21.3% and 5.9% of the participants, respectively. Men were taller, heavier and had higher waist to hip ratio compared to women (P < 0.05). Fish, fruits and vegetables were consumed less frequently or never at all by a large proportion of the subjects. Oil and butter were eaten daily by most of the participants. Mean energy intakes fell below the estimated energy requirements in women (1929 vs 2031 kcal/day, P = 0.05) while it was significantly higher in men participants (3001 vs 2510 kcal/day, P = 0.007). Protein intake was inadequate (<0.8 g/kg/day) in 11.2% of the participants whereas only 2.8% reported carbohydrate intake below the recommended dietary allowances (130 g/day). Inadequate intakes of calcium, retinol, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin and ascorbic acid were seen in 90.4%, 100%, 73%, 92.4%, 86.2% and 95.5% of the participants.
The overall risk of nutritional inadequacy among the study participants was high along with their poor dietary intake. Hence, more stress should be made on planning and implementing nutritional programmes in urban settings aimed at preventing or correcting micronutrient and some macronutrient deficiencies which may be useful in preventing nutrition related diseases in life.
PMCID: PMC3490783  PMID: 22958394
Urban Ethiopia; Dietary intake; Nutritional status
8.  Comparison of CareStart™ HRP2/pLDH COMBO rapid malaria test with light microscopy in north-west Ethiopia 
Malaria Journal  2012;11:234.
In Ethiopia, light microscopy is the gold standard for malaria diagnosis although it is not available in most peripheral health facilities. It is time consuming, requires trained personnel and needs careful preparation and application of reagents to ensure quality results. This study was aimed at testing the diagnostic performance of CareStart™ malaria rapid diagnostic test (RDT) with reference to light microscopy for the diagnosis of falciparum and vivax malaria in Ethiopia.
Blood samples were collected from 254 patients suspected to have malaria at Kola Diba Health Center in the late malaria transmission peak season from November 2011 to December 2011. The samples were examined immediately by light microscopy and the RDT (CareStart™ Malaria HRP2/pLDH COMBO Test kit). Statistical analysis was performed using SPSS version 16 and the JavaStat two-way contingency table analysis.
The overall sensitivity and specificity of CareStartTM RDT was found to be 95% (90–97.9%, 95% CI) and 94.2% (90.9–96%, 95% CI), respectively. The sensitivity of the CareStartTM RDT for Plasmodium falciparum or mixed infection was calculated to be 92.9% (82.5–98%, 95%CI) while a sensitivity of 90.9% (74.1–98.4%, 95%CI) was found for non-falciparum species. The specificity for P. falciparum or mixed infections was found to be 95.4% (92.5–96.8%, 95%CI) while it was 97.3% (94.8–98.4%, 95%CI) for non-falciparum species. There was an excellent agreement between the two tests with a kappa value of 0.918.
The CareStartTM RDT test showed good sensitivity and specificity with an excellent agreement to the reference light microscopy. The RDT could therefore be used in place of light microscopy, which in poor set-ups cannot be used routinely.
PMCID: PMC3411439  PMID: 22818643
CareStart™; Light microscopy; Malaria; Rapid diagnostic test; Ethiopia

Results 1-8 (8)