African Health Sciences, Vol. 2, No. 3, December, 2002, pp. 81
Code Number: hs02044
In this X-mas bumper issue we bring you six original research articles, three case reports and a few practice points. They are very informative and worth reading: making an important contribution to professional development and continuing medical (read health) education.
The diagnosis of tuberculosis especially among HIV infected children remains a big challenge. Thus Dr. Kiwanuka’s paper in to day’s African Health Sciences1 is a welcome addition to the literature on the diagnosis and treatment of TB in this region. In a study of 128 children in western Uganda, Kiwanuka has established that HIV positive patients with TB are more likely to be wasted, have digital clubbing, adenopathy and lower frequency of positive tuberculosis test.
As Road Traffic Accidents, become important causes of morbidity, mortality and disability in the developing countries, their prevention will need to be planned through evidence-based policy changes and interventions. In their innovative study of the effect of an overpass on pedestrian injuries in Uganda’s capital city, Kampala, Mutto, Kobusingye and Lett2 demonstrate that despite costly interventions such as road bye-passes will remain largely unused unless there are practical steps to involve stakeholders before putting such interventions into place.
Thinking of primary health care, one is reminded of the role of the private sector as an important player in health care provision in a country with liberal approach to privatization and liberalization of many aspects of life. Tumwesigire and Watson’s study of health seeking behaviour of families with children suspected to have malaria in Kabale district where the so called “highland malaria” is rampart has shocking news3. A staggering 53% of respondents sought treatment from private drug shops/vendors despite the fact that only 25% would afford to pay for a full course of treatment for malaria. Worse still 90% knew at least one method of prevention yet only 21% used any of the known methods.
Odong-Aginya et al4 have found that over 80% of the residents of the two fishing villagers in the West Nile region along the Albert Nile were excretingSchistosoma mansoni eggs in their schools. Just under 50% had evidence of periportal thickening in their livers on ultrasonography indicating a serious complication of this ancient parasite. Urgent studies into the most cost effective and feasible prevention strategies are needed.
Swedish researchers report on their interesting findings of a study of the views and experiences of sex advice of the youth in a health center in Kampala. Most of the youth had been told to abstain from sex or use condoms if abstinence was impossible and remain faithful to one partner. Familiar territory? Well most of the respondents thought this was good advice and helpful but not free of obstacles. The youth were concerned about the risks of being HIV positive and the expected lack of support if the test is positive was a common reason for refusing HIV testing.
Adome and colleagues shows that the spectrophotometric method depends on the optimum pH which, in their study, ranges from 4 to 5. Useful stuff for pharmacologists/pharmasts wishing to further their research in this field.
Despite the adage that “common things move commonly” we have decided to break with tradition and publish rare but interesting care reports: one of a 26 year old woman, who has been suffering with bone pains for 20 years. Clinical as well as radiological evaluation led to a diagnosis of Engelmann’s disease with good response to steroids and analgesics.The next case report is that of a 2 months old infant who presented in severe respiratory distress unresponsive to antibiotics! Imaging confirmed the diagnosis of congenital lobar emplysema and the patient improved dramatically after surgery. The last case comes from Port Harcout in Nigeria where Onwuchekwa et al report idiopathic intracranial hypertension.
Business, HIV/AIDS or the government? Familiar words? Well, Kironde and Lukwago propose a conceptual framework to assist private companies tackle the issues raised by HIV/AIDS pandemic in a developing country setting. They argue that well planned comprehensive interventions by the private sector would bring in financial returns. Food for thought.
For those interested in bioethics, there is some good news! The Wellcome Trust has set aside 4 million pounds sterling for biomedical research in developing countries. The fund supports research, studentship seminars and capacity building initiatives. If you are short of research/capacity building money like most of us are, please read the article carefully.
We have submitted copies of our journal for review for MEDLINE/PUBMED. We should let you know of the results in the April 2003 issue. In the meantime I wish you enjoyable reading of Africa Health Sciences over a Merry Christmas!
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