Doctor of Medicine, Addis Ababa University (2007)
Robert Cowan, Postdoctoral Faculty Sponsor
Ethiopia has a population of more than 84 million people and is expected to become the ninth most populous country in the world by 2050. The growing population coupled with lifestyle changes will mean an increasing burden of cancer. However, oncology services are wholly inadequate--no cancer registry exists, and only one cancer centre, with a handful of doctors and nurses, struggles to serve the entire country.
View details for Web of Science ID 000317390300034
View details for PubMedID 23561741
Tuberculous meningitis (TBM) is a preventable and curable common health problem among African adults. Poor nutrition, poverty, household crowding, drug resistant tuberculosis (TB) strains, AIDS, and malfunctioning TB control programs are important risk factors. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of published literature reporting case-fatalities of TBM among adults in African countries from 1970 till date. A PubMed search identified relevant papers. Employed terms include 'adult tuberculous meningitis' AND 'tuberculosis Africa'. PRISMA review guidelines were applied. Adult TBM case-fatalities, odds ratio (OR), relative risk (RR), forest-plot meta-analysis for weighted OR and RR, funnel plots, L'Abbé plots, meta-regressed bubble plots, and inter-study homogeneity were computed. Among 15 studies included, adult TBM occurred in up to 28 % of all meningitis forms with case-fatality of 60 % (inverse-variance weighted 54 %). Fixed-effect meta-analysis revealed weighted OR and RR of adult TBM fatalities to be 4.37 (95 % CI 3.92, 4.88) and 2.53 (95 % CI 2.38, 2.69), respectively. Inter-study homogeneity was reliable, regional representativeness was adequate allowing generalizability, and funnel-plots behaved symmetrically with insignificant inconsistency. All cases were initiated with anti-TB medication, while some had 'breakthrough' TBM. In Africa, adult TBM has a significant public health importance with a very high fatality which has remained stagnant for the past half-century. This reflects ongoing low quality of medical care at facilities where lengthy referrals end up. Community-based studies can reveal higher unaccounted morbidity, accrued disability, and larger mortality. Improving access points for early TB management at community-level, developing health infra-structure for comprehensive case management at facility-level, and poverty reduction can help combat this multi-faceted problem-whose reduction can in return help fight poverty.
View details for DOI 10.1007/s00415-013-7060-6
View details for PubMedID 23963469
Today, tetanus exacts its toll only in resource-poor countries like Ethiopia. Agrarian rural life with limited vaccine typifies tetanus risk in Ethiopia where current tetanus control trends on expanding infant immunization and eliminating highly prevalent maternal and neonatal tetanus (MNT). Protection by infant tetanus immunization primers disappears within an average of 3 years, if not followed by boosters. Second-year of life, school-based, and universal 10-yearly tetanus immunizations need to be supplemented. Facility-based reviews in Ethiopia reveal a continued burden of tetanus at tertiary-level hospitals where ICU care is suboptimal. Quality of medical care for tetanus is low - reflected by high case-fatality-rates. Opportunities at primary-health-care-units (antenatal-care, family planning, abortion, wound-care, tetanus-survivors) need to be fully-utilized to expand tetanus immunization. Prompt wound-care with post-exposure prophylaxis and proper footwear must be promoted. Standard ICU care needs to exist. Realization of cold-chain-flexible, needle-less and mono-dose vaccine programs allow avoiding boosters, vaccine-refrigeration, and improve compliance.
View details for DOI 10.1007/s11910-012-0314-3
View details for Web of Science ID 000310393500005
View details for PubMedID 22996275
Neurolathyrism is a toxic myelopathy caused by ingestion of the Lathyrus sativus grasspea. An irreversible acute to subacute spastic paraparesis or quadriparesis ensues. Despite public education, new cases of this preventable disease still occur. Two Ethiopian cases of neurolathyrism are reported to illustrate the disease, followed by a literature review. Two teenage male farmers from the same village developed irreversible spastic myelopathy following L. sativus ingestion. There was no sensory, sphincter or bulbar dysfunction. Likely causative factors identified were increased consumption of L. sativus prior to and following disease onset, heavy physical exertion and male gender, similar to those reported in the literature. Neurolathyrism is an entirely preventable neurotoxic myelopathy with permanent disability accrued. Treatment is symptomatic. Because of personal disability and subsequent socioeconomic effects, this disease warrants further public health measures to prevent occurrence. Education, avoidance of the grasspea and measures to reduce toxin burden are possible methods.
View details for DOI 10.1007/s00415-011-6306-4
View details for Web of Science ID 000306125700001
View details for PubMedID 22081101