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Publications by Afrehealth Members

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Abstract
 
Background

Few data are available on COVID-19 outcomes among pregnant women in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), where high-risk comorbidities are prevalent. We investigated the impact of pregnancy on SARS-CoV-2 infection and of SARS-CoV-2 infection on pregnancy to generate evidence for health policy and clinical practice.

Methods

We conducted a 6-country retrospective cohort study among hospitalized women of childbearing age between 1 March 2020 and 31 March 2021. Exposures were (1) pregnancy and (2) a positive SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR test. The primary outcome for both analyses was intensive care unit (ICU) admission. Secondary outcomes included supplemental oxygen requirement, mechanical ventilation, adverse birth outcomes, and in-hospital mortality. We used log-binomial regression to estimate the effect between pregnancy and SARS-CoV-2 infection. Factors associated with mortality were evaluated using competing-risk proportional subdistribution hazards models.

Results

Our analyses included 1315 hospitalized women: 510 pregnant women with SARS-CoV-2, 403 nonpregnant women with SARS-CoV-2, and 402 pregnant women without SARS-CoV-2 infection. Among women with SARS-CoV-2 infection, pregnancy was associated with increased risk for ICU admission (adjusted risk ratio [aRR]: 2.38; 95% CI: 1.42–4.01), oxygen supplementation (aRR: 1.86; 95% CI: 1.44–2.42), and hazard of in-hospital death (adjusted sub-hazard ratio [aSHR]: 2.00; 95% CI: 1.08–3.70). Among pregnant women, SARS-CoV-2 infection increased the risk of ICU admission (aRR: 2.0; 95% CI: 1.20–3.35), oxygen supplementation (aRR: 1.57; 95% CI: 1.17–2.11), and hazard of in-hospital death (aSHR: 5.03; 95% CI: 1.79–14.13).

Conclusions

Among hospitalized women in SSA, both SARS-CoV-2 infection and pregnancy independently increased risks of ICU admission, oxygen supplementation, and death. These data support international recommendations to prioritize COVID-19 vaccination among pregnant women.

Abstract

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in pregnancy is associated with excess maternal and infant morbidity and mortality in both African and higher-resource settings. Furthermore, mounting evidence demonstrates the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccination for pregnant women and infants. However, national guidelines in many African countries are equivocal or lack recommendations on COVID-19 vaccine in pregnancy. We summarize key data on COVID-19 epidemiology and vaccination among pregnant African women to highlight major barriers to vaccination and recommend 4 interventions. First, policymakers should prioritize pregnant women for COVID-19 vaccination, with a target of 100% coverage. Second, empirically supported public health campaigns should be sustainably implemented to inform and support pregnant women and their healthcare providers in overcoming vaccine hesitancy. Third, COVID-19 vaccination for pregnant women should be expanded to include antenatal care, obstetrics/gynecology, and targeted mass vaccination campaigns. Fourth, national monitoring and evaluation of COVID-19 vaccine uptake, safety, surveillance, and prospective outcomes assessment should be conducted.

Development of an interprofessional curriculum to improve team-based HIV care in sub-Saharan Africa: a training programme for undergraduate and early career health professionals

The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic: An urgent need to relook at the training of the African health workforce

About us

The African Forum for Research and Education in Health (AFREhealth) is an interprofessional health grouping that seeks to work all stakeholders interested in health profession education , research and service delivery to improve the quality of health care in Africa through research, education and capacity building. It is a conglomerate of individuals, institutions, associations and networks from all the geographic and linguistic regions of Africa namely Anglophone, Francophone, Lusophone and Arabophone. Read More...

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School of Public Health
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Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana

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