Publications by authors named "Noshad Ali"

6 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Oral Ondansetron Administration to Nondehydrated Children With Diarrhea and Associated Vomiting in Emergency Departments in Pakistan: A Randomized Controlled Trial.

Ann Emerg Med 2019 03 2;73(3):255-265. Epub 2018 Nov 2.

Centre of Excellence in Women and Child Health, Aga Khan University, Karachi, Pakistan; Centre for Global Child Health, The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Study Objective: We determine whether single-dose oral ondansetron administration to children with vomiting as a result of acute gastroenteritis without dehydration reduces administration of intravenous fluid rehydration.

Methods: In this 2-hospital, double-blind, placebo-controlled, emergency department-based, randomized trial conducted in Karachi Pakistan, we recruited children aged 0.5 to 5.0 years, without dehydration, who had diarrhea and greater than or equal to 1 episode of vomiting within 4 hours of arrival. Patients were randomly assigned (1:1), through an Internet-based randomization service using a stratified variable-block randomization scheme, to single-dose oral ondansetron or placebo. The primary endpoint was intravenous rehydration (administration of ≥20 mL/kg of an isotonic fluid during 4 hours) within 72 hours of randomization.

Results: Participant median age was 15 months (interquartile range 10 to 26) and 59.4% (372/626) were male patients. Intravenous rehydration use was 12.1% (38/314) and 11.9% (37/312) in the placebo and ondansetron groups, respectively (odds ratio 0.98; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.60 to 1.61; difference 0.2%; 95% CI of the difference -4.9% to 5.4%). Bolus fluid administration occurred within 72 hours of randomization in 10.8% (34/314) and 10.3% (27/312) of children administered placebo and ondansetron, respectively (odds ratio 0.95; 95% CI 0.56 to 1.59). A multivariable regression model fitted with treatment group and adjusted for antiemetic administration, antibiotics, zinc prerandomization, and vomiting frequency prerandomization yielded similar results (odds ratio 0.91; 95% CI 0.55 to 1.53). There was no interaction between treatment group and age, greater than or equal to 3 stools in the preceding 24 hours, or greater than or equal to 3 vomiting episodes in the preceding 24 hours.

Conclusion: Oral administration of a single dose of ondansetron did not result in a reduction in intravenous rehydration use. In children without dehydration, ondansetron does not improve clinical outcomes.
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March 2019

Assessment of knowledge, attitudes and practices towards newborn screening for congenital hypothyroidism before and after a health education intervention in pregnant women in a hospital setting in Pakistan.

Int Health 2018 Mar;10(2):100-107

Aga Khan University, Karachi, Pakistan.

Background: Most congenital hypothyroidism (CH) is not avertable; however, the adverse effects of CH are preventable with early detection and treatment. It is a common congenital endocrine disorder that affects 1 in 2000-4000 newborns globally. The true incidence in Pakistan is unknown. Data from hospital studies quote an incidence of 1 in 1600-2000. The aim of this study was to uncover existing knowledge of CH and screening for the condition and to assess the impact of health education on mothers' knowledge and attitudes towards having their newborns screened.

Methods: The study was conducted from January 2012 to August 2013 at a local hospital in Karachi, Pakistan. This was a prospective, interventional cohort study implemented through a pre- and post-cross-sectional knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAP) survey. Interviews were conducted using structured questionnaires on CH.

Results: At baseline (pre-intervention survey), 400 participants consented and 355 (88.9%) completed the study. There was a significant increase in awareness among participating women following the intervention (20% to approximately 98%). Similarly, 78.9% agreed to opt for a screening test for their newborns following delivery as compared with 57.7% in the pre-intervention KAP survey (relative risk 1.38, p-value <0.0001).

Conclusion: Unfortunately, the majority of mothers were unaware of CH and its implications, leading to less screening and fewer diagnoses. This study underlines the importance of education in screening programmes to create awareness and maximize uptake.
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March 2018

Prevalence and determinants of iron deficiency anemia among non-pregnant women of reproductive age in Pakistan.

Asia Pac J Clin Nutr 2018;27(1):195-203

Discipline of Obstetrics, Gynaecology and Neonatology, Central Clinical School, University of Sydney, Sydney NSW, Australia.

Background And Objectives: Iron deficiency Anemia (IDA) in women of reproductive age is a recognized public health concern that impairs health and well-being in women and is associated with adverse reproductive outcomes. In Pakistan there is a dearth of up-to-date information on the prevalence and predictors of IDA. This study sought to investigate IDA in Pakistani women.

Methods And Study Design: Secondary analysis was performed using the National Nutrition Survey in Pakistan 2011- 2012. We used a pre-structured instrument to collect socio demographic, reproductive and nutritional data on women. We also collected anthropometric measurements and blood samples for micronutrient deficiencies. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression were used to analyse the data.

Results: A total of 7491 non-pregnant women aged between 15-49 years were included in the analysis. The prevalence of IDA was 18.1%. In the multivariate regression analysis; not using iron folic acid supplementation during the last pregnancy adjusted odds ratio (AOR) (95% CI) 1.31 (1.05, 1.64), a history of four or more pregnancies AOR (95% CI) 1.30 (1.04, 1.60), birth interval of <24 months AOR (95% CI) 1.27 (1.06, 1.71), household food insecurity AOR (95% CI) 1.42 (1.23, 1.63) and presence of clinical anemia AOR (95% CI) 5.82 (4.82, 7.02) were significantly associated with increased odds of IDA while with obesity AOR (95% CI) 0.60 (0.4, 0.88) showed a protective effect on IDA.

Conclusion: To reduce IDA in Pakistani women, the country needs a multifaceted approach that incorporates iron supplementation, food fortification, improved family planning services and efforts to reduce food insecurity.
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September 2019

Community engagement and integrated health and polio immunisation campaigns in conflict-affected areas of Pakistan: a cluster randomised controlled trial.

Lancet Glob Health 2017 06;5(6):e593-e603

Centre of Excellence in Women and Child Health, Aga Khan University, Karachi, Pakistan; London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, London, UK; Centre for Global Child Health, The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, ON, Canada. Electronic address:

Background: Pakistan faces huge challenges in eradicating polio due to widespread poliovirus transmission and security challenges. Innovative interventions are urgently needed to strengthen community buy-in, to increase the coverage of oral polio vaccine (OPV) and other routine immunisations, and to enhance immunity through the introduction of inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) in combination with OPV. We aimed to evaluate the acceptability and effect on immunisation coverage of an integrated strategy for community engagement and maternal and child health immunisation campaigns in insecure and conflict-affected polio-endemic districts of Pakistan.

Methods: We did a community-based three-arm cluster randomised trial in healthy children aged 1 month to 5 years that resided within the study sites in three districts of Pakistan at high risk of polio. Clusters were randomly assigned by a computer algorithm using restricted randomisation in blocks of 20 by an external statistician (1:1:1) to receive routine polio programme activities (control, arm A), additional interventions with community outreach and mobilisation using an enhanced communication package and provision of short-term preventive maternal and child health services and routine immunisation (health camps), including OPV (arm B), or all interventions of arm B with additional provision of IPV delivered at the maternal and child health camps (arm C). An independent team conducted surveys at baseline, endline, and after each round of supplementary immunisation activity for acceptability and effect. The primary outcome measures for the study were coverage of OPV, IPV, and routine extended programme on immunisation vaccines and changes in the proportion of unvaccinated and fully vaccinated children. This trial is registered with, number NCT01908114.

Findings: Between June 4, 2013, and May 31, 2014, 387 clusters were randomised (131 to arm A, 127 to arm B, and 129 to arm C). At baseline, 28 760 children younger than 5 years were recorded in arm A, 30 098 in arm B, and 29 126 in arm C. 359 clusters remained in the trial until the end (116 in arm A, 120 in arm B, and 123 in arm C; with 23 334 children younger than 5 years in arm A, 26 110 in arm B, and 25 745 in arm C). The estimated OPV coverage was 75% in arm A compared with 82% in arm B (difference vs arm A 6·6%; 95% CI 4·8-8·3) and 84% in arm C (8·5%, 6·8-10·1; overall p<0·0001). The mean proportion of routine vaccine doses received by children younger than 24 months of age was 43% in arm A, 52% in arm B (9%, 7-11) and 54% in arm C (11%, 9-13; overall p<0·0001). No serious adverse events requiring hospitalisation were reported after immunisation.

Interpretation: Despite the challenges associated with the polio end-game in high-risk, conflict-affected areas of Pakistan, a strategy of community mobilisation and targeted community-based health and immunisation camps during polio immunisation campaigns was successful in increasing vaccine coverage, including polio vaccine coverage.

Funding: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
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June 2017

Knowledge and perceptions of polio and polio immunization in polio high-risk areas of Pakistan.

J Public Health Policy 2017 Feb;38(1):16-36

Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Women and Child Health Division, Aga Khan University, Stadium Road, Karachi, Pakistan.

Pakistan and Afghanistan remain the only countries where polio is endemic, and Pakistan reports the most cases in the world. Although the rate is lower than in previous years, the situation remains alarming. We conducted a mixed methods study in high-risk areas of Pakistan to identify knowledge, attitudes, and practices of target populations about polio vaccine and its eradication, and to estimate coverage of routine immunization and oral polio vaccine. We surveyed 10,685 households in Karachi, 2522 in Pishin, and 2005 in Bajaur. Some knowledge of polio is universal, but important misconceptions persist. The findings of this study carry strategic importance for program direction and implementation.
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February 2017

Immunogenicity and safety of the Vi-CRM197 conjugate vaccine against typhoid fever in adults, children, and infants in south and southeast Asia: results from two randomised, observer-blind, age de-escalation, phase 2 trials.

Lancet Infect Dis 2014 Feb 28;14(2):119-29. Epub 2013 Nov 28.

Novartis Vaccines Institute for Global Health, Siena, Italy. Electronic address:

Background: Typhoid vaccination is a public health priority in developing countries where young children are greatly affected by typhoid fever. Because present vaccines are not recommended for children younger than 2 years, the Novartis Vaccines Institute for Global Health developed a conjugate vaccine (Vi-CRM197) for infant immunisation. We aimed to assess the immunogenicity and safety of Vi-CRM197 in participants of various ages in endemic countries in south and southeast Asia.

Methods: We did two randomised, observer-blind, age de-escalation, phase 2 trials at two sites in Pakistan and India (study A), and at one site in the Philippines (study B), between March 2, 2011, and Aug 9, 2012. Adults aged 18-45 years, children aged 24-59 months, older infants aged 9-12 months, and infants aged 6-8 weeks were randomly assigned (1:1) with a computer-generated randomisation list (block size of four) to receive either 5 μg Vi-CRM197 or 25 μg Vi-polysaccharide vaccine (or 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine in children younger than 2 years). Both infant populations received Vi-CRM197 concomitantly with vaccines of the Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI), according to WHO schedule. With the exception of designated study site personnel responsible for vaccine preparation, study investigators, those assessing outcomes, and data analysts were masked to treatment allocation. We specified no a-priori null hypothesis for the immunogenicity or safety objectives and all analyses were descriptive. Analyses were by modified intention-to-treat. These studies are registered with, numbers NCT01229176 and NCT01437267.

Findings: 320 participants were enrolled and vaccinated in the two trials: 200 in study A (all age groups) and 120 in study B (children and infants only), of whom 317 (99%) were included in the modified intention-to-treat analysis. One dose of Vi-CRM197 significantly increased concentrations of anti-Vi antibody in adults (from 113 U/mL [95% CI 67-190] to 208 U/mL [117-369]), children (201 U/mL [138-294] to 368 U/mL [234-580]), and older infants (179 U/mL [129-250] to 249 U/mL [130-477]). However, in children and older infants, a second dose of conjugate vaccine had no incremental effect on antibody titres and, at all ages, concentrations of antibodies increased substantially 6 months after vaccination (from 55 U/mL [33-94] to 63 U/mL [35-114] in adults, from 23 U/mL [15-34] to 51 U/mL [34-76] in children, and from 21 U/mL [14-31] to 22 U/mL [14-33] in older infants). Immune response in infants aged 6-8 weeks was lower than that in older participants and, 6 months after third vaccination, antibody concentrations were significantly higher than pre-vaccination concentrations in Filipino (21 U/mL [16-28] vs 2.88 U/mL [1.95-4.25]), but not Pakistani (3.76 U/mL [2.77-5.08] vs 2.77 U/mL [2.1-3.66]), infants. Vi-CRM197 was safe and well tolerated and did not induce any significant interference with EPI vaccines. No deaths or vaccine-related serious adverse events were reported throughout the studies.

Interpretation: Vi-CRM197 is safe and immunogenic in endemic populations of all ages. Given at 9 months of age, concomitantly with measles vaccine, Vi-CRM197 shows a promise for potential inclusion in EPI schedules of countries endemic for typhoid. An apparent absence of booster response and a reduction in antibody titres 6 months after immunisation should be further investigated, but data show that an immunogenic typhoid vaccine can be safely delivered to infants during EPI visits recommended by WHO.

Funding: Sclavo Vaccines Association and Regione Toscana.
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February 2014