The publication data currently available has been vetted by Vanderbilt faculty, staff, administrators and trainees. The data itself is retrieved directly from NCBI's PubMed and is automatically updated on a weekly basis to ensure accuracy and completeness.
If you have any questions or comments, please contact us.
OBJECTIVES - To document HIV knowledge, treatment practices, and the willingness of traditional healers to engage with the health system in Zambézia Province, Mozambique.
SETTINGS/LOCATION - Traditional healers offer culturally acceptable services and are more numerous in Mozambique than are allopathic providers. Late presentation of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is reported among persons who have first sought care from traditional healers.
DESIGN - One hundred and thirty-nine (139) traditional healers were interviewed in their native languages (Chuabo or Lomwe) in Zambézia Province. Furthermore, 24 traditional healers were observed during patient encounters. Healers answered a semistructured questionnaire regarding their knowledge of HIV/AIDS, general treatment practices, attitudes toward the allopathic health system, and their beliefs in their abilities to cure AIDS.
RESULTS - Traditional healers were older and had less formal education than the general population. Razor cutting in order to rub herbs into blooded skin was observed, and healers reported razor cutting as a routine practice. Healers stated that they did not refer HIV patients to clinics for two principal reasons: (1) patient symptoms/signs of HIV were unrecognized, and (2) practitioners believed they could treat the illness effectively themselves. Traditional healers were far more likely to believe in a spiritual than an infectious origin of HIV disease. Prior HIV/AIDS training was not associated with better knowledge or referral practices, though 81% of healers were interested in engaging allopathic providers.
CONCLUSIONS - It was found that the HIV-related practices of traditional healers probably increase risk for both HIV-infected and uninfected persons through delayed care and reuse of razors. Mozambican traditional healers attribute HIV pathogenesis to spiritual, not infectious, etiologies. Healers who had received prior HIV training were no more knowledgeable, nor did they have better practices. The willingness expressed by 4 in 5 healers to engage local formal health providers in HIV/AIDS care suggests a productive way forward, though educational efforts must be effective and income concerns considered.
BACKGROUND - The relationship between HIV knowledge and HIV-related behaviors in settings like Mozambique has been limited by a lack of rigorously validated measures.
METHODS - A convenience sample of women seeking prenatal care at two clinics were administered an adapted, orally-administered, 27 item HIV-knowledge scale, the HK-27. Validation analyses were stratified by survey language (Portuguese and Echuabo). Kuder-Richardson (KR-20) coefficients estimated internal reliability. Construct validity was assessed with bivariate associations between HK-27 scores (% correct) and selected participant characteristics. The association between knowledge, self-reported HIV testing, and HIV infection were evaluated with multivariable logistic regression.
RESULTS - Participants (N = 348) had a median age of 24; 188 spoke Portuguese, and 160 spoke Echuabo. Mean HK-27 scores were higher for Portuguese-speaking participants than Echuabo-speaking participants (68% correct vs. 42%, p<0.001). Internal reliability was strong (KR-20>0.8) for scales in both languages. Higher HK-27 scores were significantly (p≤0.05) correlated with more education, more media items in the home, a history of HIV testing, and participant work outside of the home for women of both languages. HK-27 scores were independently associated with completion of HIV testing in multivariable analysis (per 1% correct: aOR:1.02, 95%CI:0.01-0.03, p = 0.01), but not with HIV infection.
CONCLUSIONS - HK-27 is a reliable and valid measure of HIV knowledge among Portuguese and Echuabo-speaking Mozambican women. The HK-27 demonstrated significant knowledge deficits among women in the study, and higher scores were associated with higher HIV testing probability. Future studies should evaluate the role of the HK-27 in longitudinal studies and in other populations.
BACKGROUND - Limited literacy skills are common in the United States (US) and are related to lower HIV knowledge and worse health behaviors and outcomes. The extent of these associations is unknown in countries like Mozambique, where no rigorously validated literacy and numeracy measures exist.
METHODS - A validated measure of literacy and numeracy, the Wide Range Achievement Test, version 3 (WRAT-3) was translated into Portuguese, adapted for a Mozambican context, and administered to a cross-section of female heads-of-household during a provincially representative survey conducted from August 8 to September 25, 2010. Construct validity of each subscale was examined by testing associations with education, income, and possession of socioeconomic assets, stratified by Portuguese speaking ability. Multivariable regression models estimated the association among literacy/numeracy and HIV knowledge, self-reported HIV testing, and utilization of prenatal care.
RESULTS - Data from 3,557 women were analyzed; 1,110 (37.9%) reported speaking Portuguese. Respondents' mean age was 31.2; 44.6% lacked formal education, and 34.3% reported no income. Illiteracy was common (50.4% of Portuguese speakers, 93.7% of non-Portuguese speakers) and the mean numeracy score (10.4) corresponded to US kindergarten-level skills. Literacy or numeracy was associated (p<0.01) with education, income, age, and other socioeconomic assets. Literacy and numeracy skills were associated with HIV knowledge in adjusted models, but not with HIV testing or receipt of clinic-based prenatal care.
CONCLUSION - The adapted literacy and numeracy subscales are valid for use with rural Mozambican women. Limited literacy and numeracy skills were common and associated with lower HIV knowledge. Further study is needed to determine the extent to which addressing literacy/numeracy will lead to improved health outcomes.
BACKGROUND - In order to maximize the benefits of HIV care and treatment investments in sub-Saharan Africa, programs can broaden to target other diseases amenable to screening and efficient management. We nested cervical cancer screening into family planning clinics at select sites also receiving PEPFAR support for antiretroviral therapy (ART) rollout. This was done using visual inspection with acetic acid (VIA) by maternal child health nurses. We report on achievements and obstacles in the first year of the program in rural Mozambique.
METHODS - VIA was taught to clinic nurses and hospital physicians, with a regular clinical feedback loop for quality evaluation and retraining. Cryotherapy using carbon dioxide as the refrigerant was provided at clinics; loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP) and surgery were provided at the provincial hospital for serious cases. No pathology services were available.
RESULTS - Nurses screened 4651 women using VIA in Zambézia Province in year one of the program, more than double the Ministry of Health service target. VIA was judged positive for squamous intraepithelial lesions in 8% (n=380) of the women (9% if age ≥ 30 years (n=3154) and 7% if age <30 years (n=1497); p=0.02). Of the 380 VIA-positive women, 4% (n=16) had lesions (0.3% of 4651 total screened) requiring referral to Quelimane Provincial Hospital. Fourteen (88%) of these 16 women were seen at the hospital, but records were inadequate to judge outcomes. Of women screened, 2714 (58%) either had knowledge of their HIV status prior to VIA or were subsequently sent for HIV testing, of which 583 (21%) were HIV positive.
CONCLUSIONS - Screening and clinical services were successfully provided on a large scale for the first time ever in these rural clinics. However, health manpower shortages, equipment problems, poor paper record systems and a limited ability to follow-up patients inhibited the quality of the cervical cancer screening services. Using prior HIV investments, chronic disease screening and management for cervical cancer is feasible even in severely resource-constrained rural Africa.
Global AIDS programs such as the US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) face a challenging health care management transition. HIV care must evolve from vertically-organized, externally-supported efforts to sustainable, locally controlled components that are integrated into the horizontal primary health care systems of host nations. We compared four southern African nations in AIDS care, financial, literacy, and health worker capacity parameters (2005 to 2009) to contrast in their capacities to absorb the huge HIV care and prevention endeavors that are now managed with international technical and fiscal support. Botswana has a relatively high national income, a small population, and an advanced HIV/AIDS care program; it is well poised to take on management of its HIV/AIDS programs. South Africa has had a slower start, given HIV denialism philosophies of the previous government leadership. Nonetheless, South Africa has the national income, health care management, and health worker capacity to succeed in fully local management. The sheer magnitude of the burden is daunting, however, and South Africa will need continuing fiscal assistance. In contrast, Zambia and Mozambique have comparatively lower per capita incomes, many fewer health care workers per capita, and lower national literacy rates. It is improbable that fully independent management of their HIV programs is feasible on the timetable being contemplated by donors, nor is locally sustainable financing conceivable at present. A tailored nation-by-nation approach is needed for the transition to full local capacitation; donor nation policymakers must ensure that global resources and technical support are not removed prematurely.
OBJECTIVE - Early infant diagnosis (EID) is the first step in HIV care, yet 75% of HIV-exposed infants born at 2 hospitals in Mozambique failed to access EID.
DESIGN - Before/after study.
SETTING - Two district hospitals in rural Mozambique.
PARTICIPANTS - HIV-infected mother/HIV-exposed infant pairs (n = 791).
INTERVENTION - We planned 2 phases of improvement using quality improvement methods. In phase 1, we enhanced referral by offering direct accompaniment of new mothers to the EID suite, increasing privacy, and opening a medical record for infants before postpartum discharge. In phase 2, we added enhanced referral activity as an item on the maternity register to standardize the process of referral.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE - The proportion of HIV-infected mothers who accessed EID for their infant <90 days of life.
RESULTS - We tracked mother/infant pairs from June 2009 to March 2011 (phase 0: n = 144; phase 1: n = 479; phase 2: n = 168), compared study measures for mother/infant pairs across intervention phases with χ², estimated time-to-EID by Kaplan-Meier, and determined the likelihood of EID by Cox regression after adjusting for likely barriers to follow-up. At baseline (phase 0), 25.7% of infants accessed EID <90 days. EID improved to 32.2% after phase 1, but only 17.3% had received enhanced referral. After phase 2, 61.9% received enhanced referral and 39.9% accessed EID, a significant 3-phase improvement (P = 0.007). In adjusted analysis, the likelihood of EID at any time was higher in the phase 2 group versus phase 0 (adjusted hazard ratio: 1.68, 95% confidence interval: 1.19 to 2.37, P = 0.003).
CONCLUSIONS - Retention improved by 55% with a simple referral enhancement. Quality improvement efforts could help improve care in Mozambique and other low-resource countries [added].
Low mother/infant retention has impeded early infant diagnosis of HIV in rural Mozambique. We enhanced the referral process for postpartum HIV-infected women by offering direct accompaniment to the location of exposed infant testing before discharge. Retrospective record review for 395 women/infants (September 2009 to June 2010) found enhanced referral was associated with higher odds of follow-up (adjusted odds ratio = 3.18, 95% confidence interval: 1.76 to 5.73, P < 0.001); and among those followed-up, earlier infant testing (median follow-up: 33 days vs. 59 days, P = 0.01) compared with women receiving standard referral. This simple intervention demonstrates benefits gleaned from attention to system improvement through service integration without increasing staff.
BACKGROUND - A key challenge inhibiting the timely initiation of pediatric antiretroviral treatment is the loss to follow-up of mothers and their infants between the time of mothers' HIV diagnoses in pregnancy and return after delivery for early infant diagnosis of HIV. We sought to identify barriers to follow-up of HIV-exposed infants in rural Zambézia Province, Mozambique.
METHODS - We determined follow-up rates for early infant diagnosis and age at first test in a retrospective cohort of 443 HIV-infected mothers and their infants. Multivariable logistic regression models were used to identify factors associated with successful follow-up.
RESULTS - Of the 443 mother-infant pairs, 217 (49%) mothers enrolled in the adult HIV care clinic, and only 110 (25%) infants were brought for early infant diagnosis. The predictors of follow-up for early infant diagnosis were larger household size (odds ratio [OR], 1.29; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.09-1.53), independent maternal source of income (OR, 10.8; 95% CI, 3.42-34.0), greater distance from the hospital (OR, 2.14; 95% CI, 1.01-4.51), and maternal receipt of antiretroviral therapy (OR, 3.15; 95% CI, 1.02-9.73). The median age at first test among 105 infants was 5 months (interquartile range, 2-7); 16% of the tested infants were infected.
CONCLUSIONS - Three of four HIV-infected women in rural Mozambique did not bring their children for early infant HIV diagnosis. Maternal receipt of antiretroviral therapy has favorable implications for maternal health that will increase the likelihood of early infant diagnosis. We are working with local health authorities to improve the linkage of HIV-infected women to HIV care to maximize early infant diagnosis and care.