• Assessment of Clinical Outcomes Among Children and Adolescents Hospitalized With COVID-19 in 6 Sub-Saharan African Countries.

      Nachega, Jean B; Sam-Agudu, Nadia A; Machekano, Rhoderick N; Rabie, Helena; van der Zalm, Marieke M; Redfern, Andrew; Dramowski, Angela; O'Connell, Natasha; Pipo, Michel Tshiasuma; Tshilanda, Marc B; et al. (American Medical Association, 2022-01-19)
      Importance: Little is known about COVID-19 outcomes among children and adolescents in sub-Saharan Africa, where preexisting comorbidities are prevalent. Objective: To assess the clinical outcomes and factors associated with outcomes among children and adolescents hospitalized with COVID-19 in 6 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Design, Setting, and Participants: This cohort study was a retrospective record review of data from 25 hospitals in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, and Uganda from March 1 to December 31, 2020, and included 469 hospitalized patients aged 0 to 19 years with SARS-CoV-2 infection. Exposures: Age, sex, preexisting comorbidities, and region of residence. Main Outcomes and Measures: An ordinal primary outcome scale was used comprising 5 categories: (1) hospitalization without oxygen supplementation, (2) hospitalization with oxygen supplementation, (3) ICU admission, (4) invasive mechanical ventilation, and (5) death. The secondary outcome was length of hospital stay. Results: Among 469 hospitalized children and adolescents, the median age was 5.9 years (IQR, 1.6-11.1 years); 245 patients (52.4%) were male, and 115 (24.5%) had comorbidities. A total of 39 patients (8.3%) were from central Africa, 172 (36.7%) from eastern Africa, 208 (44.3%) from southern Africa, and 50 (10.7%) from western Africa. Eighteen patients had suspected (n = 6) or confirmed (n = 12) multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children. Thirty-nine patients (8.3%) died, including 22 of 69 patients (31.9%) who required intensive care unit admission and 4 of 18 patients (22.2%) with suspected or confirmed multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children. Among 468 patients, 418 (89.3%) were discharged, and 16 (3.4%) remained hospitalized. The likelihood of outcomes with higher vs lower severity among children younger than 1 year expressed as adjusted odds ratio (aOR) was 4.89 (95% CI, 1.44-16.61) times higher than that of adolescents aged 15 to 19 years. The presence of hypertension (aOR, 5.91; 95% CI, 1.89-18.50), chronic lung disease (aOR, 2.97; 95% CI, 1.65-5.37), or a hematological disorder (aOR, 3.10; 95% CI, 1.04-9.24) was associated with severe outcomes. Age younger than 1 year (adjusted subdistribution hazard ratio [asHR], 0.48; 95% CI, 0.27-0.87), the presence of 1 comorbidity (asHR, 0.54; 95% CI, 0.40-0.72), and the presence of 2 or more comorbidities (asHR, 0.26; 95% CI, 0.18-0.38) were associated with reduced rates of hospital discharge. Conclusions and Relevance: In this cohort study of children and adolescents hospitalized with COVID-19 in sub-Saharan Africa, high rates of morbidity and mortality were observed among infants and patients with noncommunicable disease comorbidities, suggesting that COVID-19 vaccination and therapeutic interventions are needed for young populations in this region..
    • Effect of SARS-CoV-2 infection in pregnancy on maternal and neonatal outcomes in Africa: An AFREhealth call for evidence through multicountry research collaboration

      Nachega, Jean B.; Sam-Agudu, Nadia A.; Budhram, Samantha; Taha, Taha E.; Vannevel, Valerie; Somapillay, Priya; Ishoso, Daniel Katuashi; Pipo, Michel Tshiasuma; Nswe, Christian Bongo Pasi; Ditekemena, John; et al. (American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 2021-02-01)
      In the African context, there is a paucity of data on SARS-CoV-2 infection and associated COVID-19 in pregnancy. Given the endemicity of infections such as malaria, HIV, and tuberculosis (TB) in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), it is important to evaluate coinfections with SARS-CoV-2 and their impact on maternal/infant outcomes. Robust research is critically needed to evaluate the effects of the added burden of COVID-19 in pregnancy, to help develop evidence-based policies toward improving maternal and infant outcomes. In this perspective, we briefly review current knowledge on the clinical features of COVID-19 in pregnancy; the risks of preterm birth and cesarean delivery secondary to comorbid severity; the effects of maternal SARS-CoV-2 infection on the fetus/neonate; and in utero mother-to-child SARS-CoV-2 transmission. We further highlight the need to conduct multicountry surveillance as well as retrospective and prospective cohort studies across SSA. This will enable assessments of SARS-CoV-2 burden among pregnant African women and improve the understanding of the spectrum of COVID-19 manifestations in this population, which may be living with or without HIV, TB, and/or other coinfections/comorbidities. In addition, multicountry studies will allow a better understanding of risk factors and outcomes to be compared across countries and subregions. Such an approach will encourage and strengthen much-needed intra-African, south-to-south multidisciplinary and interprofessional research collaborations. The African Forum for Research and Education in Health's COVID-19 Research Working Group has embarked upon such a collaboration across Western, Central, Eastern and Southern Africa.