Publications by authors named "Sarian Kamara"

7 Publications

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Establishing National Multisectoral Coordination and collaboration mechanisms to prevent, detect, and respond to public health threats in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone 2016-2018.

One Health Outlook 2019 27;1. Epub 2019 Nov 27.

USAID/EPT-2 Preparedness and Response Project (P&R Project) -Africa, Kihonda, White House Plot 980, /81 Morogoro, Tanzania.

Background: The governments of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone have acknowledged that weak health systems and poor coordination of efforts hampered effectiveness of the 2014-2016 Ebola outbreak response. The bitter experience of the Ebola outbreak response served as an important catalyst for increased efforts to comply with World Health Organization (WHO) International Health Regulations (IHR 2005), Performance of Veterinary Services (PVS) Pathway capacities, and Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) goals. In November 2016, an interministerial meeting held in Dakar, Senegal, resulted in formalized commitments from the three nations to strengthen resilience to health threats by establishing a Regional Strategic Roadmap to institutionalize the One Health approach. Since then, each country has made significant progress towards establishing National One Health Platforms to coordinate health security interventions, in collaboration with international partners. This paper outlines the methodology and results of these efforts for the period June 2016-January 2019, with a specific focus on activities supported by the US Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded Preparedness & Response (P&R) project.

Objectives: In support of the West African Health Organization's November 2016 Regional Strategic Roadmap for institutionalization of the One Health approach, the Preparedness & Response (P&R) project worked in coordination with national partners in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone to establish multisectoral, One Health coordinating mechanisms.

Methodology: The global USAID-funded P&R project was launched in 2014 to support the achievement of this objective, and began coordinating with partners in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone in 2016 to tailor its multi-step conceptual framework to fit the priorities and operating constraints of national stakeholders. Organized in phases of Collaboration (building key relationships), Formalization (defining and establishing a coordination structure), and Implementation (using newfound coordination to produce better health security outcomes), the framework features steps such as One Health sensitizations for multisectoral national stakeholders, development of One Health platform terms of reference and other operating guidelines, and application of these tools to coordination of technical assistance during outbreaks.

Results: In Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, in less than 3 yrs there has been a marked improvement in cross-sectoral coordination on health security actions. All three countries have passed legislation establishing permanent multisectoral coordination mechanisms referred to in this document as National One Health Platforms, or simply Platforms; instituted an annual mechanism for assessing capacity and performance of these platforms to lead health security actions; and have undertaken key steps towards developing and updating National Preparedness & Response Plans which truly reflect the multisectoral nature of emerging disease threats. However, multisectoral coordination is a work in progress: government stakeholders and their international partners continue to work together to further strengthen national ownership and investment in the newly established Platforms.

Conclusion And Next Steps: Newly established Platforms in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone offer a long-term structure for coordinating health security actions. However, given the short period of time since their formalization, they depend on continued national, regional, and international resources to build from recent progress and further improve capacity and performance. Regional programs such as the World Bank Regional Disease Surveillance Systems Enhancement (REDISSE) project are of critical importance in keeping the momentum going. The highlighted progress and outputs to date provide reasons and motivation for continued, longer-term investment in the Platforms.
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November 2019

Ebola Virus Persistence in Ocular Tissues and Fluids (EVICT) Study: Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction and Cataract Surgery Outcomes of Ebola Survivors in Sierra Leone.

EBioMedicine 2018 Apr 23;30:217-224. Epub 2018 Mar 23.

University of California San Francisco, Proctor Foundation, San Francisco, CA, United States.

Background: Ebola virus disease (EVD) survivors are at risk for uveitis during convalescence. Vision loss has been observed following uveitis due to cataracts. Since Ebola virus (EBOV) may persist in the ocular fluid of EVD survivors for an unknown duration, there are questions about the safety and feasibility of vision restorative cataract surgery in EVD survivors.

Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study of EVD survivors anticipating cataract surgery and patients with active uveitis to evaluate EBOV RNA persistence in ocular fluid, as well as vision outcomes post cataract surgery. Patients with aqueous humor that tested negative for EBOV RNA were eligible to proceed with manual small incision cataract surgery (MSICS).

Findings: We screened 137 EVD survivors from June 2016 - August 2017 for enrolment. We enrolled 50 EVD survivors; 46 with visually significant cataract, 1 with a subluxated lens, 2 with active uveitis and 1 with a blind painful eye due to uveitis. The median age was 24.0years (IQR 17-35) and 35 patients (70%) were female. The median logMAR visual acuity (VA) was 3.0 (Snellen VA Hand motions; Interquartile Range, IQR: 1.2-3.0, Snellen VA 20/320 - Hand motions). All patients tested negative for EBOV RNA by RT-PCR in aqueous humor/vitreous fluid and conjunctiva at a median of 19months (IQR 18-20) from EVD diagnosis in Phase 1 of ocular fluid sampling and 34months (IQR 32-36) from EVD diagnosis in Phase 2 of ocular fluid sampling. Thirty-four patients underwent MSICS, with a preoperative median VA improvement from hand motions to 20/30 at three-month postoperative follow-up (P<0.001).

Interpretation: EBOV persistence by RT-PCR was not identified in ocular fluid or conjunctivae of fifty EVD survivors with ocular disease. Cataract surgery can be performed safely with vision restorative outcomes in patients who test negative for EBOV RNA in ocular fluid specimens. These findings impact the thousands of West African EVD survivors at-risk for ocular complications who may also require eye surgery during EVD convalescence.
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April 2018

Notes from the Field: Ebola Virus Disease Response Activities During a Mass Displacement Event After Flooding--Freetown, Sierra Leone, September-November, 2015.

MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2016 Feb 26;65(7):188-9. Epub 2016 Feb 26.

Since the start of the Ebola virus disease (Ebola) outbreak in West Africa, Sierra Leone has reported 8,706 confirmed Ebola cases and 3,956 deaths. During September 15-16, 2015, heavy rains flooded the capital, Freetown, resulting in eight deaths, home and property destruction, and thousands of persons in need of assistance. By September 27, approximately 13,000 flood-affected persons registered for flood relief services from the government. On September 17, two stadiums in Freetown were opened to provide shelter and assistance to flood-affected residents; a total of approximately 3,000 persons stayed overnight in both stadiums (Sierra Leone Ministry of Health and Sanitation, personal communication, September 2015). On the same day the stadiums were opened to flood-affected persons, the Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MoHS) and Western Area Ebola Response Center (WAERC) staff members from CDC, the World Health Organization (WHO), and the African Union evaluated the layout, logistics, and services at both stadiums and identified an immediate need to establish Ebola response activities. The patient in the last Ebola case in the Western Area, which includes Freetown, had died 37 days earlier, on August 11; however, transmission elsewhere in Sierra Leone was ongoing, and movement of persons throughout the country was common.
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February 2016

Epidemiology of Ebola virus disease transmission among health care workers in Sierra Leone, May to December 2014: a retrospective descriptive study.

BMC Infect Dis 2015 Oct 13;15:416. Epub 2015 Oct 13.

WHO African Regional Office (AFRO), Brazzaville, Congo.

Background: Anecdotal evidence suggests that much of the continuing infection of health care workers (HCWs) with Ebola virus during the current outbreak in Sierra Leone has occurred in settings other than Ebola isolation units, and it is likely that some proportion of acquisition by HCWs occurs outside the workplace. There is a critical need to define more precisely the pathways of Ebola infection among HCWs, to optimise measures for reducing risk during current and future outbreaks.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective descriptive study of Ebola acquisition among health workers in Sierra Leone during May-December 2014. The data used were obtained mainly from the national Ebola database, a cross-sectional survey conducted through administration of a structured questionnaire to infected HCWs, and key informant interviews of select health stakeholders.

Results: A total of 293 HCWs comprising 277 (95 %) confirmed, 6 (2 %) probable, and 10 (3 %) suspected cases of infection with Ebola virus were enrolled in the study from nine districts of the country. Over half of infected HCWs (153) were nurses; others included laboratory staff (19, 6.5 %), doctors (9, 3.1 %), cleaners and porters (9, 3.1 %), Community Health Officers (8, 2.7 %), and pharmacists (2, 0.7 %). HCW infections were mainly reported from the Western Area (24.9 %), Kailahun (18.4 %), Kenema (17.7 %), and Bombali (13.3 %) districts. Almost half of the infected HCWs (120, 47.4 %) believed that their exposure occurred in a hospital setting. Others believed that they were exposed in the home (48, 19 %), at health centres (45, 17.8 %), or at other types of health facilities (13, 5.1 %). Only 27 (10.7 %) of all HCW infections were associated with Ebola virus disease (EVD) isolation units. Over half (60 %, 150) of infected HCWs said they had been trained in infection prevention and control prior to their infection, whereas 34 % (85) reported that they had not been so trained.

Conclusions: This study demonstrated the perception that most HCW infections are associated with general health care and home settings and not with dedicated EVD settings, which should provide substantial reassurance to HCWs that measures in place at dedicated EVD facilities generally provide substantial protection when fully adhered to.
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October 2015

Insecticide-treated plastic sheeting for emergency malaria prevention and shelter among displaced populations: an observational cohort study in a refugee setting in Sierra Leone.

Am J Trop Med Hyg 2012 Aug;87(2):242-250

A double-blind phase III malaria prevention trial was conducted in two refugee camps using pre-manufactured insecticide-treated plastic sheeting (ITPS) or untreated polyethylene sheeting (UPS) randomly deployed to defined sectors of each camp. In Largo camp the ITPS or UPS was attached to inner walls and ceilings of shelters, whereas in Tobanda the ITPS or UPS was used to line only the ceiling and roof. In Largo the Plasmodium falciparum incidence rate in children up to 3 years of age who were cleared of parasites and monitored for 8 months was 163/100 person-years under UPS and 63 under ITPS (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 0.40, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.33-0.47). In Tobanda incidence was 157/100 person-years under UPS and 134 under ITPS (AOR = 0.85, 95% CI = 0.75-0.95). Protective efficacy was 61% under fully lined ITPS and 15% under roof lined ITPS. Anemia rates improved under ITPS in both camps. This novel tool proved to be a convenient, safe, and long-lasting method of malaria control when used as a full shelter lining in an emergency setting.
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August 2012

Low efficacy of the combination artesunate plus amodiaquine for uncomplicated falciparum malaria among children under 5 years in Kailahun, Sierra Leone.

Trop Med Int Health 2006 Jul;11(7):1017-21

Epicentre, Paris, France.

Objective: In 2004, Sierra Leone adopted artesunate plus amodiaquine as first-line antimalarial treatment. We evaluated the efficacy of this combination in Kailahun, where a previous study had shown 70.2% efficacy of amodiaquine in monotherapy.

Methods: Method and outcome classification of the study complied with WHO guidelines. Children 6-59 months with uncomplicated malaria were followed-up for 28 days. PCR genotyping was used to distinguish recrudescence from reinfection. Reinfections were reclassified as cured.

Results: Of 172 children who were referred to the study clinic, 126 satisfied inclusion criteria and were enrolled. No early treatment failures were reported. The day 14, efficacy was 98.2% (95% CI: 93.8-99.8). Of 65 recurrent parasitaemias analysed by PCR, 17 were recrudescences. The PCR-adjusted day 28 efficacy was 84.5% (95% CI: 76.4-90.7). All true failures occurred in the last 8 days of follow-up. Of 110 children who completed the 28-day follow-up, 54 (49.1%) experienced a novel infection.

Conclusion: The efficacy of this combination was disappointing. The high reinfection rate suggested little prophylactic effect. In Kailahun a more efficacious combination might be necessary in the future. The efficacy of AS + AQ needs to be monitored in Kailahun and in the other regions of Sierra Leone.
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July 2006

Evidence basis for antimalarial policy change in Sierra Leone: five in vivo efficacy studies of chloroquine, sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine and amodiaquine.

Trop Med Int Health 2005 Feb;10(2):146-53

Epicentre, 8 rue Saint-Sabin, 75011 Paris, France.

Objectives: To provide nationally relevant information on the antimalarial efficacy of chloroquine (CQ), sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) and amodiaquine (AQ) in Sierra Leone, with a view to updating antimalarial policy in the country.

Methods: Between October 2002 and May 2003, standard WHO methodology for in vivo efficacy assessment was used in five sites to study the therapeutic response of 6-59 months old uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria cases treated with CQ (n = 247), SP (n = 353) or AQ (n = 434). Follow-up was of 28 days, with polymerase chain reaction genotyping to distinguish late recrudescences from re-infections.

Results: Overall 85.3% of patients reached an analysable endpoint. CQ failure proportions were very high, ranging from 39.5% (95% CI: 25.0-55.6) in Kabala to 78.8% (65.3-88.9) in Kailahun. Early failures under CQ were frequent. SP efficacy was also disappointing, with failure from 23.2% (13.9-34.9) in Kabala to 46.1% (35.4-57.0) in Kailahun. AQ resistance was more moderate, ranging from 5.4% (1.8-12.1) in Makeni to 29.8% (20.3-40.8) in Kailahun, with almost no early failures. AQ also provided more rapid fever and parasite clearance.

Conclusion: In a consensus meeting organized by the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, and based on these findings, artesunate (AS) + AQ and artemether-lumefantrine (Coartemtrade mark) were identified as the only options to rapidly replace CQ. The choice fell on AS + AQ because of expected high efficacy, lower cost in a blister presentation, and the absence of safety data on artemether-lumefantrine in pregnancy. Donor support is required to support this policy change. Throughout Africa, as SP resistance increases, these two regimens are probably the only options available while newer combinations are developed. Efficacy studies should focus on testing AQ and AS + AQ.
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February 2005