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      Factors associated with a malaria outbreak at Tongogara refugee camp in Chipinge District, Zimbabwe, 2021: a case–control study

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          Abstract

          Background

          Malaria is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality among forcibly displaced populations, including refugees, approximately two-thirds of whom reside in malaria endemic regions. Data from the rapid disease notification system (RDNS) reports for Manicaland Province in Zimbabwe showed that despite implementation of malaria control initiatives, there was an increase in number of malaria cases above action thresholds at Tongogara refugee camp in Chipinge district during weeks 12–14 of 2021. An investigation that described the outbreak by person, place and time was conducted. Malaria emergency preparedness, response, and appropriateness of case management were assessed. The factors associated with contracting malaria were determined to enable the formulation of appropriate interventions, establish control, and prevent future malaria outbreaks among this vulnerable population.

          Methods

          A 1:1 unmatched case–control study involving 80 cases and 80 controls was conducted using interviewer-administered questionnaires at household level. Data was entered into Epi Data version 3.1 and quantitative analysis was done using Epi Info™ version 7.2.2.6 to generate medians, proportions, odds ratios and their 95% confidence intervals.

          Results

          Malaria cases were distributed throughout the 10 residential sections within Tongogara refugee camp, the majority being from section 7, 28 (35%). Despite constituting 11% of the total population, Mozambican nationals accounted for 36 (45%) cases. Males constituted 47 (59%) among cases which was comparable to controls 43 (54%), p = 0.524. The median age for cases was 15 years [Interquartile range (IQR), 9–26] comparable to controls, which was 17 years (IQR, 10–30) (p = 0.755). Several natural and man-made potential vector breeding sites were observed around the camp. Risk factors associated with contracting malaria were engaging in outdoor activities at night [AOR = 2.74 (95% CI 1.04–7.22), wearing clothes that do not cover the whole body during outdoor activities [AOR 4.26 (95% CI, 1.43–12.68)], while residing in a refugee housing unit reduced the risk of contracting malaria [AOR = 0.18 (CI, 0.06–0.55)].

          Conclusions

          The malaria outbreak at Tongogara refugee camp reemphasizes the role of behavioural factors in malaria transmission. Intensified health education to address human behaviours that expose residents to malaria, habitat modification, and larviciding to eliminate mosquito breeding sites were recommended.

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          Factors affecting adherence to national malaria treatment guidelines in management of malaria among public healthcare workers in Kamuli District, Uganda

          Background Malaria remains a major public health threat accounting for 30.4 % of disease morbidity in outpatient clinic visits across all age groups in Uganda. Consequently, malaria control remains a major public health priority in endemic countries such as Uganda. Experiences from other countries in Africa that revised their malaria case management suggest that health workers adherence may be problematic. Methods A descriptive, cross-sectional design was used and collected information on health system, health workers and patients. Using log-binomial regression model, adjusted prevalence risk ratios (PRRs) and their associated 95 % confidence intervals were determined in line with adherence to new treatment guidelines of parasitological diagnosis and prompt treatment with artemisinin combination therapy (ACT). Results Nine health centres, 24 health workers and 240 patient consultations were evaluated. Overall adherence to national malaria treatment guidelines (NMTG) was 50.6 % (122/241). It was significantly high at HC III [115 (53 %)] than at HC IV (29 %) [PRR = 0.28 (95 % CI 0.148 0.52), p = 0.000]. Compared to the nursing aide, the adherence level was 1.57 times higher among enrolled nurses (p = 0.004) and 1.68 times higher among nursing officers, p = 0.238, with statistical significance among the former. No attendance of facility malaria-specific continuing medical education (CME) sessions [PRR = 1.9 (95 % CI 1.29 2.78), p = 0.001] and no display of malaria treatment job aides in consultation rooms [PRR = 0.64 (95 % CI 0.4 1.03), p = 0.07] was associated with increased adherence to guidelines with the former showing a statistical significance and the association of the latter borderline statistical significance. The adherence was higher when the laboratory was functional [PRR = 0.47 (95 % CI 0.35 0.63)] when the laboratory was functional in previous 6 months. Age of health worker, duration of employment, supervision, educational level, and age of patient were found not associated with adherence to new treatment guidelines. Conclusion Adherence to malaria treatment guidelines in Uganda is sub-optimal. There is an urgent need for deliberate interventions to improve adherence to these guidelines. Possible interventions to be explored should include: provision of job aides and improved access to laboratory services. There is also a need for continuous medical educational sessions for health workers, especially those at higher-level facilities and higher cadres, on adherence to guidelines in management of fever, including management of other causes of fever.
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            The burden of malaria in post-emergency refugee sites: A retrospective study

            Background Almost two-thirds of refugees, internally displaced persons, returnees and other persons affected by humanitarian emergencies live in malaria endemic regions. Malaria remains a significant threat to the health of these populations. Methods Data on malaria incidence and mortality were analyzed from January 2006 to December 2009 from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Health Information System database collected at sites in Burundi, Chad, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan, Tanzania, Thailand, and Uganda. Data from three countries during 2006 and 2007, and all nine countries from 2008 to 2009, were used to describe trends in malaria incidence and mortality. Monthly counts of malaria morbidity and mortality were aggregated into an annual country rate averaged over the study period. Results An average of 1.18 million refugees resided in 60 refugee sites within nine countries with at least 50 cases of malaria per 1000 refugees during the study period 2008-2009. The highest incidence of malaria was in refugee sites in Tanzania, where the annual incidence of malaria was 399 confirmed cases per 1,000 refugees and 728 confirmed cases per 1,000 refugee children younger than five years. Malaria incidence in children younger than five years of age, based on the sum of confirmed and suspected cases, declined substantially at sites in two countries between 2006 and 2009, but a slight increase was reported at sites within four of seven countries between 2008 and 2009. Annual malaria mortality rates were highest in sites in Sudan (0.9 deaths per 1,000 refugees), Uganda and Tanzania (0.7 deaths per 1000 refugees each). Malaria was the cause of 16% of deaths in refugee children younger than five years of age in all study sites. Conclusions These findings represent one of the most extensive reports on malaria among refugees in post-emergency sites. Despite declines in malaria incidence among refugees in several countries, malaria remains a significant cause of mortality among children younger than five years of age. Further progress in malaria control, both within and outside of post-emergency sites, is necessary to further reduce malaria incidence and mortality among refugees and achieve global goals in malaria control and elimination.
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              Immunoregulation in human malaria: the challenge of understanding asymptomatic infection

              Asymptomatic Plasmodium infection carriers represent a major threat to malaria control worldwide as they are silent natural reservoirs and do not seek medical care. There are no standard criteria for asymptomaticPlasmodium infection; therefore, its diagnosis relies on the presence of the parasite during a specific period of symptomless infection. The antiparasitic immune response can result in reducedPlasmodium sp. load with control of disease manifestations, which leads to asymptomatic infection. Both the innate and adaptive immune responses seem to play major roles in asymptomatic Plasmodiuminfection; T regulatory cell activity (through the production of interleukin-10 and transforming growth factor-β) and B-cells (with a broad antibody response) both play prominent roles. Furthermore, molecules involved in the haem detoxification pathway (such as haptoglobin and haeme oxygenase-1) and iron metabolism (ferritin and activated c-Jun N-terminal kinase) have emerged in recent years as potential biomarkers and thus are helping to unravel the immune response underlying asymptomatic Plasmodium infection. The acquisition of large data sets and the use of robust statistical tools, including network analysis, associated with well-designed malaria studies will likely help elucidate the immune mechanisms responsible for asymptomatic infection.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                achadambuka1@yahoo.co.uk
                Journal
                Malar J
                Malar J
                Malaria Journal
                BioMed Central (London )
                1475-2875
                19 March 2022
                19 March 2022
                2022
                : 21
                : 94
                Affiliations
                [1 ]GRID grid.13001.33, ISNI 0000 0004 0572 0760, Department of Primary Health Care Sciences, Global and Public Health Unit, , University of Zimbabwe, ; Harare, Zimbabwe
                [2 ]Provincial Medical Directorate, Zimbabwe Ministry of Health and Child Care, Manicaland , Zimbabwe
                [3 ]African Field Epidemiology Network, Harare, Zimbabwe
                [4 ]Zimbabwe Field Epidemiology Training Health Studies Office, Office 3-68 Kaguvi Building, Harare, Zimbabwe
                Author information
                http://orcid.org/0000-0003-2407-1172
                Article
                4106
                10.1186/s12936-022-04106-9
                8933855
                35305666
                41c79832-0bfc-4ee3-b8fc-3d0c21f3cd82
                © The Author(s) 2022

                Open AccessThis article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.

                History
                : 23 November 2021
                : 24 February 2022
                Categories
                Research
                Custom metadata
                © The Author(s) 2022

                Infectious disease & Microbiology
                malaria outbreak,tongogara refugee camp,refugee housing unit (rhu),zimbabwe

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