Articles

Evaluating health and disease in Sub-Saharan Africa: minimally invasive collection of plasma in the Malawi Longitudinal Study of Families and Health (MLSFH)

Iliana V. Kohler, Philip Anglewcz, Hans-Peter Kohler, John McCabe, Ben Chilima, Beth J. Soldo

Abstract


The collection of biomarker-based indicators of adult health is an important addition to socioeconomic surveys since they can provide valuable insights into the biological functions, and the complex causal pathways between socioeconomic environments and health outcomes. We document the collection of blood-plasma based biomarkers as a pilot project within the Malawi Longitudinal Study of Families and Health (MLSFH). Using the LabAnywhere system as a minimally-invasive approach previously not used in less-developed countries, we collected biomarkers of lipids, metabolic processes, organ function, and the immune system. Overall, only small proportions of the collected samples are above the upper limits of the normal clinical ranges as defined by western standards. The correlational patterns between the biomarkers are consistent with observations from developed countries and the comparison with other low-income populations shows remarkably similar age-specific patterns of the biomarkers despite differences in the mode of blood sampling. The present study confirms that the collection of biomarker-based indicators of adult health using the LabAnywhere system is feasible in rural sub-Saharan contexts and this approach provides an attractive alternative to the collection of dried blood spots (DBS) and venous blood samples.

Iliana V. KOHLER, Researcher and Associate Director, Population Aging Research Center, and  Population Studies Center, University of Pennsylvania, 3718 Locust Walk, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA. E-mail: iliana@pop.upenn.edu.

Philip ANGLEWCZ, Assistant Professor, School of Public Health & Tropical Medicine and Department of Global Health System and Development, 1440 Canal St., Suite 2200, New Orleans, LA 70112-2737, USA. E-mail: panglewi@tulane.edu.

Hans-Peter KOHLER, Frederick J.\ Warren Professor of Demography and Professor in Sociology, Department of Sociology and Population Studies Center, University of Pennsylvania, 3718 Locust Walk, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6299, USA;. E-mail: hpkohler@pop.upenn.edu.

John F. McCABE, Programmer/Data Analyst, Population Aging Research Center (PARC), University of Pennsylvania, 3718 Locust Walk, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA. E-mail: mccabef@pop.upenn.edu.

Ben CHILIMA, Director, Community Health Sciences Unit, Ministry of Health and Population Community Health Sciences Unit, Private Bag 65, Lilonge, Malawi. E-mail: bchilima2@yahoo.com.

Beth J. SOLDO, Distinguished Senior Scholar in Sociology, University of Pennsylvania, 3718 Locust Walk, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA. E-mail: bsoldo@pop.upen.edu

Keywords


biomarkers, aging, Malawi, SSA, LabAnywhere

Full Text

PDF

Identifiers



ISSN: 2035-5556

Reg. Tribunale di Roma n. 3321/54