CIDRZ Plays Key Role in Successful 8th African Rotavirus Symposium

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For the first time in Zambia, the 8th African Rotavirus Symposium (ARS) took place on 12-13th June in the Zambian tourism capital, Livingstone. This meeting was the largest symposium since inception attracting over 134 delegates representing 34 countries: 27 of which were African.

Under the theme ‘Rotavirus Landscape in Africa – Towards Prevention and Control’, leading global and African scientists academics, government immunisation programme officials and representatives from pharmaceutical companies met to discuss the achievements and challenges in the field of preventing deadly childhood diarrhoea caused by the rotavirus pathogen in Africa. Rotavirus causes the majority of diarrhoea in under-5 year olds and is a leading cause of death due to diarrhoea and dehydration.

CIDRZ played a key role as a local organizer of the event which was graced by the Honourable Minister of Community Development Mother and Child Health, Emerine Kabanshi, who gave the officially opening speech. The Hon. Minister congratulated CIDRZ for assisting the Ministry of Community Development Mother and Child Health to successfully conduct the pilot introduction of rotavirus vaccine which led to the National rollout of the vaccine in November 2013. “Zambia recently introduced three lifesaving vaccines—pneumococcal, measles second dose, and rotavirus—into our National Immunization Program. My Ministry has made the political and financial commitment to ensure that no Zambian child dies from vaccine preventable diseases.”

During the two-day event, over 35 scientific presentations and posters were discussed with representation from Mali, Mozambique, Kenya, Sao Tome and Angola, Mauritius, Ghana, Malawi, Rwanda and India with Deputy Director of Child Health, Dr Penelope Kalesha delivering Lessons Learnt from Rotavirus Vaccine in Zambia. Key leaders in the rotavirus field attended the symposium including Dr Roger Glass Associate Director of International Research at the U.S. National Institutes of Health, Dr Duncan Steel Senior Programme Officer of the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation; Dr Umesh Parashar Lead in the Division of Enteric Viruses Epidemiology Team of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); Dr Jeffrey Mphahlele, Professor of Virology, University of Limpopo South Africa, Dr Jason Mwenda, WHO/AFRO  Regional Coordinator for Vaccine Disease Surveillance, Dr George Armah, Head of the West African Regional Rotavirus Reference Laboratory, Ghana, and Dr Roma Chilengi, Director of Primary Care and Health Systems Strengthening, Centre for Infectious Disease Research in Zambia (CIDRZ).

Derivation of a tuberculosis screening rule for sub-Saharan African prisons.

Int J Tuberc Lung Dis. 2014 Jul;18(7):774-80. doi: 10.5588/ijtld.13.0732.

Harris JB, Siyambango M, Levitan EB, Maggard KRHatwiinda S, Foster EM, Chamot E, Kaunda K, Chileshe C, Krüüner AHenostroza G, Reid SE.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To derive screening rules for tuberculosis (TB) using data collected during a prison-wide TB and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) screening program.

DESIGN

We derived rules with two methodologies: logistic regression and classification and regression trees (C&RT). We evaluated the performance of the derived rules as well as existing World Health Organization (WHO) screening recommendations in our cohort of inmates, as measured by sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative predictive values.

RESULTS

The C&RT-derived rule recommended diagnostic testing of all inmates who were underweight (defined as body mass index [BMI] < 18.5 kg/m(2)] or HIV-infected; the C&RT-derived rule had 60% sensitivity and 71% specificity. The logistic regression-derived rule recommended diagnostic testing of inmates who were underweight, HIV-infected or had chest pain; the logistic regression-derived rule had 74% sensitivity and 57% specificity. Two of the WHO recommendations had sensitivities that were similar to our logistic regression rule but had poorer specificities, resulting in a greater testing burden.

CONCLUSION

Low BMI and HIV infection were the most robust predictors of TB in our inmates; chest pain was additionally retained in one model. BMI and HIV should be further evaluated as the basis for TB screening rules for inmates, with modification as needed to improve the performance of the rules.

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Annabelle Degroot joins CIDRZ Board of Directors

Annabelle is the Finance Director for the three SABMiller businesses in Zambia managing finances of a $450 million revenue group with multiple complexities. She plays an instrumental role in Strategic, Sales and Operating planning and receives reports from Internal Audit. Previously, Annabelle served for four years as CIDRZ Chief Financial Officer and was responsible for fraud management, and establishing an internal audit department among other key accomplishments. She has broad experience in international financial management and consulting. Annabelle holds a MA in Economics from Cambridge and an A.C.A. from the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. Annabelle was born in Zambia, and holds a Resident’s permit. She has resided full-time in Zambia since 2001.

 

Dr Kevin Marsh joins CIDRZ Board of Directors

Kevin Marsh is a Professor of Tropical Medicine University of Oxford and has been based for the last twenty five years in Kenya. Qualified in medicine at the University of Liverpool in 1978 he began his research career at the Medical Research Council Unit in the Gambia. From 1985-89, Dr Marsh was at the Institute of Molecular Medicine in Oxford and in 1989 established with colleagues a series of research projects on the clinical epidemiology and immunology of malaria on the Kenyan coast which subsequently developed into an international programme working across a number of east African countries.

Dr Marsh has a particular interest in developing and strengthening research capacity and scientific leadership in Africa and has sponsored or supervised over 40 research fellows and doctoral students. He is chair of the World Health Organisation Malaria Policy Advisory Committee and sits on international advisory committees relating to malaria and to global health research.  He was elected a fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2004 and was awarded the Prince Mahidol prize for medicine in 2010.

 

Ambassador Dr Eric Goosby joins CIDRZ Board of Directors

Ambassador Eric Goosby is Distinguished Professor of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco. He served from 2009 to 2013 as the United States Global AIDS Coordinator, leading all U.S. Government international HIV/AIDS efforts. In this role, Ambassador Goosby oversaw implementation of the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), as well as U.S. Government engagement with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

He also led the new Office of Global Health Diplomacy at the U.S. Department of State. Ambassador Goosby previously served as CEO and Chief Medical Officer of Pangaea Global AIDS Foundation, and was Professor of Clinical Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.

He has over 25 years of experience with HIV/AIDS, ranging from treating patients at San Francisco General Hospital when AIDS first emerged, to engagement at the highest level of policy leadership.

As the first Director of the Ryan White Care Act at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Ambassador Goosby helped develop HIV/AIDS delivery systems in the United States.

During the Clinton Administration, he served as Deputy Director of the White House National AIDS Policy Office and Director of the Office of HIV/AIDS Policy of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Ambassador Goosby has longstanding working relationships with leading multilateral organizations, including UNAIDS, the Global Fund and the World Health Organization.

Health systems implications of the 2013 WHO consolidated antiretroviral guidelines and strategies for successful implementation

AIDS. 2014 Mar;28 Suppl 2:S231-9. doi: 10.1097/QAD.0000000000000250.

Holmes C, Pillay Y, Mwango A, Perriens J, Ball A, Barreneche O, Wignall S, Hirnschall G, Doherty MC.

Introduction

To successfully implement the 2013 WHO consolidated guidelines on the use of antiretroviral drugs for treating and preventing HIV infection at country level, the implications for national and regional health systems need to be considered and addressed. The guidelines target the entire continuum of care for the HIV-infected individual, and in some cases, their partners, and those with unknown status. The guidelines include not only a more inclusive treatment initiation threshold of CD4+ T-cell count of 500 cells/μl or less for adults and adolescents, treatment for life for pregnant and breastfeeding women (or treatment for the duration of pregnancy and breastfeeding regardless of CD4+ T-cell count), treatment regardless of CD4+ T-cell count for children under 5 years of age, discordant couples, those co-infected with either tuberculosis (TB) or severe hepatitis B virus (HBV), and diversification of effective strategies to reach those with unknown status through couples testing and community-based testing.


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