Namibia is a sub-Saharan country with one of the highest HIV infection rates in the world. Although care and support services are available that cater for opportunistic infections related to HIV, the main focus is narrow and predominantly aimed at tuberculosis. We aimed to estimate the burden of serious fungal infections in Namibia, currently unknown, based on the size of the population at risk and available epidemiological data. Data were obtained from the World Health Organization (WHO), Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), and published reports. When no data existed, risk populations were used to estimate the frequencies of fungal infections, using the previously described methodology. The population of Namibia in 2011 was estimated at 2,459,000 and 37% were children. Among approximately 516,390 adult women, recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis (≥4 episodes /year) is estimated to occur in 37,390 (3003/100,000 females). Using a low international average rate of 5/100,000, we estimated 125 cases of candidemia, and 19 patients with intra-abdominal candidiasis. Among survivors of pulmonary tuberculosis (TB) in Namibia 2017, 112 new cases of chronic pulmonary aspergillosis (CPA) are likely, a prevalence of 354 post-TB and a total prevalence estimate of 453 CPA patients in all. Asthma affects 11.2% of adults, 178,483 people, and so allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis (ABPA) and severe asthma with fungal sensitization (SAFS) were estimated in approximately 179/100,000 and 237/100,000 people, respectively. Invasive aspergillosis (IA) is estimated to affect 15 patients following leukaemia therapy, and an estimated 0.13% patients admitted to hospital with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) (259) and 4% of HIV-related deaths (108) — a total of 383 people. The total HIV-infected population is estimated at 200,000, with 32,371 not on antiretroviral therapy (ART). Among HIV-infected patients, 543 cases of cryptococcal meningitis and 836 cases of Pneumocystis
pneumonia are estimated each year. Tinea capitis infections were estimated at 53,784 cases, and mucormycosis at five cases. Data were missing for fungal keratitis and skin neglected fungal tropical diseases such as mycetoma. The present study indicates that approximately 5% of the Namibian population is affected by fungal infections. This study is not an epidemiological study—it illustrates estimates based on assumptions derived from similar studies. The estimates are incomplete and need further epidemiological and diagnostic studies to corroborate, amend them, and improve the diagnosis and management of these diseases.
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