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1.  A Population-Based Evaluation of a Publicly Funded, School-Based HPV Vaccine Program in British Columbia, Canada: Parental Factors Associated with HPV Vaccine Receipt 
PLoS Medicine  2010;7(5):e1000270.
Analysis of a telephone survey by Gina Ogilvie and colleagues identifies the parental factors associated with HPV vaccine uptake in a school-based program in Canada.
Background
Information on factors that influence parental decisions for actual human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine receipt in publicly funded, school-based HPV vaccine programs for girls is limited. We report on the level of uptake of the first dose of the HPV vaccine, and determine parental factors associated with receipt of the HPV vaccine, in a publicly funded school-based HPV vaccine program in British Columbia, Canada.
Methods and Findings
All parents of girls enrolled in grade 6 during the academic year of September 2008–June 2009 in the province of British Columbia were eligible to participate. Eligible households identified through the provincial public health information system were randomly selected and those who consented completed a validated survey exploring factors associated with HPV vaccine uptake. Bivariate and multivariate analyses were conducted to calculate adjusted odds ratios to identify the factors that were associated with parents' decision to vaccinate their daughter(s) against HPV. 2,025 parents agreed to complete the survey, and 65.1% (95% confidence interval [CI] 63.1–67.1) of parents in the survey reported that their daughters received the first dose of the HPV vaccine. In the same school-based vaccine program, 88.4% (95% CI 87.1–89.7) consented to the hepatitis B vaccine, and 86.5% (95% CI 85.1–87.9) consented to the meningococcal C vaccine. The main reasons for having a daughter receive the HPV vaccine were the effectiveness of the vaccine (47.9%), advice from a physician (8.7%), and concerns about daughter's health (8.4%). The main reasons for not having a daughter receive the HPV vaccine were concerns about HPV vaccine safety (29.2%), preference to wait until the daughter is older (15.6%), and not enough information to make an informed decision (12.6%). In multivariate analysis, overall attitudes to vaccines, the impact of the HPV vaccine on sexual practices, and childhood vaccine history were predictive of parents having a daughter receive the HPV vaccine in a publicly funded school-based HPV vaccine program. By contrast, having a family with two parents, having three or more children, and having more education was associated with a decreased likelihood of having a daughter receive the HPV vaccine.
Conclusions
This study is, to our knowledge, one of the first population-based assessments of factors associated with HPV vaccine uptake in a publicly funded school-based program worldwide. Policy makers need to consider that even with the removal of financial and health care barriers, parents, who are key decision makers in the uptake of this vaccine, are still hesitant to have their daughters receive the HPV vaccine, and strategies to ensure optimal HPV vaccine uptake need to be employed.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
About 10% of cancers in women occur in the cervix, the structure that connects the womb to the vagina. Every year, globally, more than a quarter of a million women die because of cervical cancer, which only occurs after the cervix has been infected with a human papillomavirus (HPV) through sexual intercourse. There are many types of HPV, a virus that infects the skin and the mucosa (the moist membranes that line various parts of the body, including the cervix). Although most people become infected with HPV at some time in their life, most never know they are infected. However, some HPV types cause harmless warts on the skin or around the genital area and several—in particular, HPV 16 and HPV 18, so-called high-risk HPVs—can cause cervical cancer. HPV infections are usually cleared by the immune system, but about 10% of women infected with a high-risk HPV develop a long-term infection that puts them at risk of developing cervical cancer.
Why Was This Study Done?
Screening programs have greatly reduced cervical cancer deaths in developed countries in recent decades by detecting the cancer early when it can be treated; but it would be better to prevent cervical cancer ever developing. Because HPV is necessary for the development of cervical cancer, vaccination of girls against HPV infection before the onset of sexual activity might be one way to do this. Scientists recently developed a vaccine that prevents infection with HPV 16 and HPV 18 (and with two HPVs that cause genital warts) and that should, therefore, reduce the incidence of cervical cancer. Publicly funded HPV vaccination programs are now planned or underway in several countries; but before girls can receive the HPV vaccine, parental consent is usually needed, so it is important to know what influences parental decisions about HPV vaccination. In this study, the researchers undertake a telephone survey to determine the uptake of the HPV vaccine by 11-year-old girls (grade 6) in British Columbia, Canada, and to determine the parental factors associated with vaccine uptake; British Columbia started a voluntary school-based HPV vaccine program in September 2008.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
In early 2009, the researchers contacted randomly selected parents of girls enrolled in grade 6 during the 2008–2009 academic year and asked them to complete a telephone survey that explored factors associated with HPV vaccine uptake. 65.1% of the 2,025 parents who completed the survey had consented to their daughter receiving the first dose of HPV vaccine. By contrast, more than 85% of the parents had consented to hepatitis B and meningitis C vaccination of their daughters. Nearly half of the parents surveyed said their main reason for consenting to HPV vaccination was the effectiveness of the vaccine. Conversely, nearly a third of the parents said concern about the vaccine's safety was their main reason for not consenting to vaccination and one in eight said they had been given insufficient information to make an informed decision. In a statistical analysis of the survey data, the researchers found that a positive parental attitude towards vaccination, a parental belief that HPV vaccination had limited impact on sexual practices, and completed childhood vaccination increased the likelihood of a daughter receiving the HPV vaccine. Having a family with two parents or three or more children and having well-educated parents decreased the likelihood of a daughter receiving the vaccine.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings provide one of the first population-based assessments of the factors that affect HPV vaccine uptake in a setting where there are no financial or health care barriers to vaccination. By identifying the factors associated with parental reluctance to agree to HPV vaccination for their daughters, these findings should help public-health officials design strategies to ensure optimal HPV vaccine uptake, although further studies are needed to discover why, for example, parents with more education are less likely to agree to vaccination than parents with less education. Importantly, the findings of this study, which are likely to be generalizable to other high-income countries, indicate that there is a continued need to ensure that the public receives credible, clear information about both the benefits and long-term safety of HPV vaccination.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000270.
The US National Cancer Institute provides information about cervical cancer for patients and for health professionals, including information on HPV vaccines (in English and Spanish)
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also has information about cervical cancer and about HPV
The UK National Health Service Choices website has pages on cervical cancer and on HPV vaccination
More information about cervical cancer and HPV vaccination is available from the Macmillan cancer charity
ImmunizeBC provides general information about vaccination and information about HPV vaccination in British Columbia
MedlinePlus provides links to additional resources about cervical cancer (in English and Spanish)
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000270
PMCID: PMC2864299  PMID: 20454567
2.  Barriers to Provider-Initiated Testing and Counselling for Children in a High HIV Prevalence Setting: A Mixed Methods Study 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(5):e1001649.
Rashida Ferrand and colleagues combine quantitative and qualitative methods to investigate HIV prevalence among older children receiving primary care in Harare, Zimbabwe, and reasons why providers did not pursue testing.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
There is a substantial burden of HIV infection among older children in sub-Saharan Africa, the majority of whom are diagnosed after presentation with advanced disease. We investigated the provision and uptake of provider-initiated HIV testing and counselling (PITC) among children in primary health care facilities, and explored health care worker (HCW) perspectives on providing HIV testing to children.
Methods and Findings
Children aged 6 to 15 y attending six primary care clinics in Harare, Zimbabwe, were offered PITC, with guardian consent and child assent. The reasons why testing did not occur in eligible children were recorded, and factors associated with HCWs offering and children/guardians refusing HIV testing were investigated using multivariable logistic regression. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with clinic nurses and counsellors to explore these factors. Among 2,831 eligible children, 2,151 (76%) were offered PITC, of whom 1,534 (54.2%) consented to HIV testing. The main reasons HCWs gave for not offering PITC were the perceived unsuitability of the accompanying guardian to provide consent for HIV testing on behalf of the child and lack of availability of staff or HIV testing kits. Children who were asymptomatic, older, or attending with a male or a younger guardian had significantly lower odds of being offered HIV testing. Male guardians were less likely to consent to their child being tested. 82 (5.3%) children tested HIV-positive, with 95% linking to care. Of the 940 guardians who tested with the child, 186 (19.8%) were HIV-positive.
Conclusions
The HIV prevalence among children tested was high, highlighting the need for PITC. For PITC to be successfully implemented, clear legislation about consent and guardianship needs to be developed, and structural issues addressed. HCWs require training on counselling children and guardians, particularly male guardians, who are less likely to engage with health care services. Increased awareness of the risk of HIV infection in asymptomatic older children is needed.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Over 3 million children globally are estimated to be living with HIV (the virus that causes AIDS). While HIV infection is most commonly spread through unprotected sex with an infected person, most HIV infections among children are the result of mother-to-child HIV transmission during pregnancy, delivery, or breastfeeding. Mother-to-child transmission can be prevented by administering antiretroviral therapy to mothers with HIV during pregnancy, delivery, and breast feeding, and to their newborn babies. According to a report by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS published in 2012, 92% of pregnant women with HIV were living in sub-Saharan Africa and just under 60% were receiving antiretroviral therapy. Consequently, sub-Saharan Africa is the region where most children infected with HIV live.
Why Was This Study Done?
If an opportunity to prevent mother-to-child transmission around the time of birth is missed, diagnosis of HIV infection in a child or adolescent is likely to depend on HIV testing in health care facilities. Health care provider–initiated HIV testing and counselling (PITC) for children is important in areas where HIV infection is common because earlier diagnosis allows children to benefit from care that can prevent the development of advanced HIV disease. Even if a child or adolescent appears to be in good health, access to care and antiretroviral therapy provides a health benefit to the individual over the long term. The administration of HIV testing (and counselling) to children relies not only on health care workers (HCWs) offering HIV testing but also on parents or guardians consenting for a child to be tested. However, more than 30% of children in countries with severe HIV epidemics are AIDS orphans, and economic conditions in these countries cause many adults to migrate for work, leaving children under the care of extended families. This study aimed to investigate the reasons for acceptance and rejection of PITC in primary health care settings in Harare, Zimbabwe. By exploring HCW perspectives on providing HIV testing to children and adolescents, the study also sought to gain insight into factors that could be hindering implementation of testing procedures.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers identified all children aged 6 to 15 years old at six primary care clinics in Harare, who were offered HIV testing as part of routine care between 22 January and 31 May 2013. Study fieldworkers collected data on numbers of child attendances, numbers offered testing, numbers who underwent HIV testing, and reasons why HIV testing did not occur. During the study 2,831 children attending the health clinics were eligible for PITC, and just over half (1,534, 54.2%) underwent HIV testing. Eighty-two children tested HIV-positive, and nearly all of them received counselling, medication, and follow-up care. HCWs offered the test to around 75% of those eligible. The most frequent explanation given by HCWs for a diagnostic test not being offered was that the child was accompanied by a guardian not appropriate for providing consent (401 occasions, 59%); Other reasons given were a lack of available counsellors or test kits and counsellors refusing to conduct the test. The likelihood of being offered the test was lower for children not exhibiting symptoms (such as persistent skin problems), older children, or those attending with a male or a younger guardian. In addition, over 100 guardians or parents provided consent but left before the child could be tested.
The researchers also conducted semi-structured interviews with 12 clinic nurses and counsellors (two from each clinic) to explore challenges to implementation of PITC. The researchers recorded the factors associated with testing not taking place, either when offered to eligible children or when HCWs declined to offer the test. The interviewees identified the frequent absence or unavailability of parents or legal guardians as an obstacle, and showed uncertainty or misconceptions around whether testing of the guardian was mandatory (versus recommended) and whether specifically a parent (if one was living) must provide consent. The interviews also revealed HCW concerns about the availability of adequate counselling and child services, and fears that a child might experience maltreatment if he or she tested positive. HCWs also noted long waiting times and test kits being out of stock as practical hindrances to testing.
What Do These Findings Mean?
Prevalence of HIV was high among the children tested, validating the need for PITC in sub-Saharan health care settings. Although 76% of eligible attendees were offered testing, the authors note that this is likely higher than in routine settings because the researchers were actively recording reasons for not offering testing and counselling, which may have encouraged heath care staff to offer PITC more often than usual. The researchers outline strategies that may improve PITC rates and testing acceptance for Zimbabwe and other sub-Saharan settings. These strategies include developing clear laws and guidance concerning guardianship and proxy consent when testing older children for HIV, training HCWs around these policies, strengthening legislation to address discrimination, and increasing public awareness about HIV infection in older children.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001649.
This study is further discussed in a PLOS Medicine Perspective by Davies and Kalk
The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS publishes an annual report on the global AIDS epidemic, which provides information on progress towards eliminating new HIV infections
The World Health Organization has more information on mother-to-child transmission of HIV
The World Health Organization's website also has information about treatment for children living with HIV
Personal stories about living with HIV/AIDS, including stories from young people infected with HIV, are available through Avert, through NAM/aidsmap, and through the charity website Healthtalkonline
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001649
PMCID: PMC4035250  PMID: 24866209
3.  A Study of Knowledge, Attitude and Practices on Immunization of Children in Urban Slums of Bijapur City, Karnataka, India 
Background: The immunization coverage is not uniform in India. In Karnataka, except for Uttar Kannada District (very high immunization coverage of 95%) and 14 districts that have shown a better immunization coverage (>85% coverage), the remaining 15 districts (including Bijapur District) have poor coverage. The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) 2002 report on Bijapur district shows that only a little over one fourth of the children were fully immunized (25.8%). The state’s fully vaccinated figure was more than two and a half times higher than that of the district. In this prevailing scenario, it becomes the need of the hour to find factors which influence routine immunization in Bijapur district, which will help the planners in implementing the immunization programme in a better way, to achieve >85% coverage.
Objectives: To determine the knowledge, attitude and practices of respondents among guardians of children aged 12-23 months with respect to immunization.
Material and Methods: A community based, cross-sectional study was conducted in the urban slums of Bijapur city, India. Out of the 20 enlisted slums, 7 slums were chosen by using convenience sampling. House to house survey was done. After obtaining oral consents, information regarding knowledge, attitude and practices was collected by using a semi-structured proforma.
Results: A total of 155 mothers/ responsible guardians of children in the age group of 12 to 23 months were included in the study. Children of 54 out of 155 respondents (34.84%) were fully immunized, 97 (62.58%) were partially immunized and 4 (2.58%) were unimmunized. The main reason for partial and non-immunization was found to be lack of information.
Conclusion: Immunization coverage in the urban slums of Bijapur is still way short of the 85% coverage mark. A lack of information and motivation among the parents is the main reason for this dismal scenario, that needs to be rectified at the earliest.
doi:10.7860/JCDR/2013/6565.3763
PMCID: PMC3919404  PMID: 24551642
Immunization; Attitude; Urban slums
4.  Decline in Diarrhea Mortality and Admissions after Routine Childhood Rotavirus Immunization in Brazil: A Time-Series Analysis 
PLoS Medicine  2011;8(4):e1001024.
A time series analysis by Manish Patel and colleagues shows that the introduction of rotavirus vaccination in Brazil is associated with reduced diarrhea-related deaths and hospital admissions in children under 5 years of age.
Background
In 2006, Brazil began routine immunization of infants <15 wk of age with a single-strain rotavirus vaccine. We evaluated whether the rotavirus vaccination program was associated with declines in childhood diarrhea deaths and hospital admissions by monitoring disease trends before and after vaccine introduction in all five regions of Brazil with varying disease burden and distinct socioeconomic and health indicators.
Methods and Findings
National data were analyzed with an interrupted time-series analysis that used diarrhea-related mortality or hospitalization rates as the main outcomes. Monthly mortality and admission rates estimated for the years after rotavirus vaccination (2007–2009) were compared with expected rates calculated from pre-vaccine years (2002–2005), adjusting for secular and seasonal trends. During the three years following rotavirus vaccination in Brazil, rates for diarrhea-related mortality and admissions among children <5 y of age were 22% (95% confidence interval 6%–44%) and 17% (95% confidence interval 5%–27%) lower than expected, respectively. A cumulative total of ∼1,500 fewer diarrhea deaths and 130,000 fewer admissions were observed among children <5 y during the three years after rotavirus vaccination. The largest reductions in deaths (22%–28%) and admissions (21%–25%) were among children younger than 2 y, who had the highest rates of vaccination. In contrast, lower reductions in deaths (4%) and admissions (7%) were noted among children two years of age and older, who were not age-eligible for vaccination during the study period.
Conclusions
After the introduction of rotavirus vaccination for infants, significant declines for three full years were observed in under-5-y diarrhea-related mortality and hospital admissions for diarrhea in Brazil. The largest reductions in diarrhea-related mortality and hospital admissions for diarrhea were among children younger than 2 y, who were eligible for vaccination as infants, which suggests that the reduced diarrhea burden in this age group was associated with introduction of the rotavirus vaccine. These real-world data are consistent with evidence obtained from clinical trials and strengthen the evidence base for the introduction of rotavirus vaccination as an effective measure for controlling severe and fatal childhood diarrhea.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Diarrheal disease, usually caused by infectious agents, is the second major cause of death in children aged under five years. As highlighted in a recent PLoS Medicine series, access to clean water and improved sanitation is the key to the primary prevention of diarrheal illnesses. Yet despite the targets of Millennium Development Goal 7 to half the number of people without access to clean water or improved sanitation by 2015, over one billion people worldwide do not currently have access to clean water and over two billion do not currently have access to improved sanitation.
Since enteric viruses are primarily transmitted directly from one person to another, they cannot be controlled completely by improvements in sanitation. Therefore, although not replacing the urgent need to provide access to clean water and improved sanitation for all, vaccination programs that protect young children against some infections that cause diarrhea, such as rotavirus, which accounts for one-third of all child deaths caused by diarrhea, are a pragmatic way forward. As large clinical trials have shown the safety and efficacy of rotavirus vaccines in population settings, in July 2009, the World Health Organization recommended including rotavirus vaccines into every country's national immunization programs.
Why Was This Study Done?
Although the protective effect of rotavirus vaccines has been assessed in various high-, middle-, and low-income settings, for reasons that remain unclear, the efficacy of live, oral rotavirus vaccines appears to be dependent on geographical location and correlated to the socioeconomic status of the population. Because of these concerns, evaluating the health impact of large-scale rotavirus vaccine programs and ensuring their equity in a real-world setting (rather than in clinical trial conditions) is important.
Therefore, the researchers addressed this issue by conducting this study to evaluate the effect of rotavirus vaccination on mortality and hospital admissions for diarrhea due to all causes among young children in the five regions of Brazil. The researchers chose to do this study in Brazil because of the high incidence of diarrhea-related deaths and hospital admissions and because five years ago, in July 2006, the Brazilian Ministry of Health introduced the single-strain rotavirus vaccine simultaneously in all 27 states through its national immunization program—allowing for “before” and “after” intervention analysis.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers obtained data on diarrheal deaths and hospital admissions in children aged under five years for the period 2002–2005 and 2007–2009 and data on rotavirus vaccination rates. The researchers got the data on diarrhea deaths from the Brazilian Mortality Information System—the national database of information collected from death certificates that covers 90% of all deaths in Brazil. The data on hospital admissions came from the electronic Hospital Information System of Brazil's Unified Health System (Sistema Unico de Saúde, SUS)—the publicly funded health-care system that covers roughly 70% of the hospitalizations and includes information on all admissions (from public hospitals and some private hospitals) authorized for payment by the Unified Health System. The researchers got regional rotavirus vaccination coverage estimates for 2007–2009 from the information department of the Ministry of Health, and estimated coverage of the two doses of oral rotavirus vaccine by taking the annual number of second doses administered divided by the number of infants in the region.
In 2007, an estimated 80% of infants received two doses of rotavirus vaccine, and by 2009, this proportion rose to 84% of children younger than one year of age. The researchers found that in the three years following the introduction of rotavirus vaccination, diarrhea-related mortality rates and admissions among children aged under five years were respectively 22% and 17% lower than expected, with a cumulative total of 1,500 fewer diarrhea deaths and 130,000 fewer admissions. Furthermore, the largest reductions in deaths and admissions were among children who had the highest rates of vaccination (less than two years of age), and the lowest reductions were among children who were not eligible for vaccination during the study period (aged 2–4 years).
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that the introduction of rotavirus vaccination in all areas of Brazil is associated with reduced diarrhea-related deaths and hospital admissions in children aged under five years. These real-world impact data are consistent with the clinical trials and strengthen the evidence base for rotavirus vaccination as an effective measure for controlling severe and fatal childhood diarrhea.
These findings have important global policy implications. In middle-income countries, such as Brazil, that are not eligible for financial support from donors, the potential reductions in admissions and other health-care costs will be important for cost-effectiveness considerations to justify the purchase of these still relatively expensive vaccines.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001024
PLoS Medicine has published a series on water and sanitation
More information is available from the World Health Organization on diarrheal illness in children
More information is available about rotavirus vaccines from the World Health Organization, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Rotavirus Vaccine Program
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001024
PMCID: PMC3079643  PMID: 21526228
5.  Parenting approaches and digital technology use of preschool age children in a Chinese community 
Background
Young children are using digital technology (DT) devices anytime and anywhere, especially with the invention of smart phones and the replacement of desktop computers with digital tablets. Although research has shown that parents play an important role in fostering and supporting preschoolers’ developing maturity and decisions about DT use, and in protecting them from potential risk due to excessive DT exposure, there have been limited studies conducted in Hong Kong focusing on parent-child DT use. This study had three objectives: 1) to explore parental use of DTs with their preschool children; 2) to identify the DT content that associated with child behavioral problems; and 3) to investigate the relationships between approaches adopted by parents to control children’s DT use and related preschooler behavioral problems.
Methods
This exploratory quantitative study was conducted in Hong Kong with 202 parents or guardians of preschool children between the ages of 3 and 6 attending kindergarten. The questionnaire was focused on four aspects, including 1) participants’ demographics; 2) pattern of DT use; 3) parenting approach to manage the child’s DT use; and 4) child behavioral and health problems related to DT use. Multiple regression analysis was adopted as the main data analysis method for identifying the DT or parental approach-related predictors of the preschooler behavioral problems.
Results
In the multiple linear regression model, the ‘restrictive approach score’ was the only predictor among the three parental approaches (B:1.66, 95% CI: [0.21, 3.11], p < 0.05). Moreover, the viewing of antisocial behavior cartoons by children also significantly increased the tendency of children to have behavioral problem (B:3.84, 95% CI: [1.66, 6.02], p < 0.01).
Conclusions
Since preschool children’s cognitive and functional abilities are still in the developmental stage, parents play a crucial role in fostering appropriate and safe DT use. It is suggested that parents practice a combination of restrictive, instructive and co-using approaches, rather than a predominately restrictive approach, to facilitate their child’s growth and development. Further studies are needed to explore the parent-child relationship and parents’ self-efficacy when managing the parent-child DT use, to develop strategies to guide children in healthy DT use.
doi:10.1186/1824-7288-40-44
PMCID: PMC4046626  PMID: 24887105
Child health; Digital technologies; Internet; Parenting; Preschooler; Screen time
6.  Immunization Status of Children Admitted to a Tertiary-care Hospital of North India: Reasons for Partial Immunization or Non-immunization 
Reasons for the low coverage of immunization vary from logistic ones to those dependent on human behaviour. The study was planned to find out: (a) the immunization status of children admitted to a paediatric ward of tertiary-care hospital in Delhi, India and (b) reasons for partial immunization and non-immunization. Parents of 325 consecutively-admitted children aged 12–60 months were interviewed using a semi-structured questionnaire. A child who had missed any of the vaccines given under the national immunization programme till one year of age was classified as partially-immunized while those who had not received any vaccine up to 12 months of age or received only pulse polio vaccine were classified as non-immunized. Reasons for partial/non-immunization were recorded using open-ended questions. Of the 325 children (148 males, 177 females), 58 (17.84%) were completely immunized, 156 (48%) were partially immunized, and 111 (34.15%) were non-immunized. Mothers were the primary respondents in 84% of the cases. The immunization card was available with 31.3% of the patients. All 214 partially- or completely-immunized children received BCG, 207 received OPV/DPT1, 182 received OPV/DPT2, 180 received OPV/DPT3, and 115 received measles vaccines. Most (96%) received pulse polio immunization, including 98 of the 111 non-immunized children. The immunization status varied significantly (p<0.05) with sex, education of parents, urban/rural background, route and place of delivery. On logistic regression, place of delivery [odds ratio (OR): 2.3, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.3–4.1], maternal education (OR=6.94, 95% CI 3.1–15.1), and religion (OR=1.75, 95% CI 1.2–3.1) were significant (p<0.05). The most common reasons for partial or non-immunization were: inadequate knowledge about immunization or subsequent dose (n=140, 52.4%); belief that vaccine has side-effects (n=77, 28.8%); lack of faith in immunization (n=58, 21.7%); or oral polio vaccine is the only vaccine required (n=56, 20.9%. Most (82.5%) children admitted to a tertiary-care hospital were partially immunized or non-immunized. The immunization status needs to be improved by education, increasing awareness, and counselling of parents and caregivers regarding immunizations and associated misconceptions as observed in the study.
PMCID: PMC2980896  PMID: 20635642
Child; Immunization; Vaccination; India
7.  Barriers to the Early Cochlear Implantation of Deaf Children 
Objective
Identify social and healthcare system factors which prevent congenitally deaf children from receiving cochlear implants in a timely fashion.
Study Design
Retrospective chart review and parental interviews.
Setting
University medical center hospital in a state with mandatory newborn hearing screening (NBHS).
Patients
59 congenitally deaf children who received cochlear implant(s) between 1/1/2002 and 5/1/2009.
Interventions
Demographic and healthcare details were collected from the 59 patients.
Main Outcome Measure
Age at implantation.
Results
Thirty-four patients received implants at or before age 2 years (average age at implant surgery = 14 months) and 25 patients received implants after age 2 (average age = 65 months). The presence of NBHS (p<0.001) and type of health insurance (p=0.05) the child had at the time of CI surgery were significant predictors of age at implantation. The following factors were associated with increased risk of delayed implantation: no NBHS (RR=2.63), NBHS not identifying hearing loss (RR=1.63), Medicaid insurance alone (RR=1.21) or in combination with private insurance (RR=1.79), family physician as primary care provider (RR=1.50), audiologist (RR=1.30) or otolaryngologist (RR=1.31) as secondary care providers (vs. implant center RR=0.23). The main reasons for delay in CI surgery after age 2 were also identified and include slow referrals for care (n=8) and parental delays (n=5).
Conclusions
The data suggest placing special focus on children with associated risk factors, ensuring newborn hearing screening, and parent and primary care provider education on the importance of early intervention and referral to an implant center would likely limit delays in children receiving CIs.
doi:10.1097/MAO.0b013e3182040c22
PMCID: PMC3136574  PMID: 21221048
newborn hearing screen; health insurance
8.  Schistosoma haematobium Treatment in 1–5 Year Old Children: Safety and Efficacy of the Antihelminthic Drug Praziquantel 
Background
Morbidity due to schistosomiasis is currently controlled by treatment of schistosome infected people with the antihelminthic drug praziquantel (PZQ). Children aged up to 5 years are currently excluded from schistosome control programmes largely due to the lack of PZQ safety data in this age group. This study investigated the safety and efficacy of PZQ treatment in such children.
Methods
Zimbabwean children aged 1–5 years (n = 104) were treated with PZQ tablets and side effects were assessed by questionnaire administered to their caregivers within 24 hours of taking PZQ. Treatment efficacy was determined 6 weeks after PZQ administration through schistosome egg counts in urine. The change in infection levels in the children 1–5 years old (n = 100) was compared to that in 6–10 year old children (n = 435).
Principal Findings
Pre-treatment S. haematobium infection intensity in 1–5 year olds was 14.6 eggs/10 ml urine and prevalence was 21%. Of the 104 children, 3.8% reported side effects within 24 hours of taking PZQ treatment. These were stomach ache, loss of appetite, lethargy and inflammation of the face and body. PZQ treatment significantly reduced schistosome infection levels in 1–5 year olds with an egg reduction rate (ERR) of 99% and cure rate (CR) of 92%. This was comparable to the efficacy of praziquantel in 6–10 year olds where ERR was 96% and CR was 67%.
Interpretation/Significance
PZQ treatment is as safe and efficacious in children aged 1–5 years as it is in older children aged 6–10 years in whom PZQ is the drug of choice for control of schistosome infections.
Author Summary
Urogenital schistosomiasis is an important, but neglected, infectious disease affecting over 100 million people, mainly in Africa. Children carry the heaviest burden of infection with children as young as 1 year old showing signs of infection. Children aged 5 years and below are currently excluded from schistosome control programmes for several reasons, including operational difficulties associated with accessing preschool children, misconceptions about their level of exposure to infective water and lack of safety data on the drug of choice for schistosome control, praziquantel, in children aged 5 years and below. This study was one of a small number of studies recently funded by the World Health Organization to investigate the need for praziquantel treatment in preschool children (aged 1–5 years) and to subsequently assess the safety and efficacy of the drug praziquantel in this age group. This study confirmed that preschool children carry significant levels of schistosome infection, exceeding those carried by their parents/guardians, highlighting the urgent need for their immediate inclusion in schistosome control programmes. The study also showed that praziquantel treatment is as safe and efficacious in children aged 1–5 years as it is in older children aged 6–10 years who are currently the target for mass drug administration.
doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0001143
PMCID: PMC3096601  PMID: 21610855
9.  Measles in a Tertiary Institution in Bida, Niger State, Nigeria: Prevalence, Immunization Status and Mortality Pattern 
Oman Medical Journal  2011;26(2):114-117.
Objectives
Measles is a highly infectious immunizable disease with potential for eradication but is still responsible for high mortality among children, particularly in developing nations like Nigeria. This study aims to determine the hospital based prevalence of measles, describe the vaccination status of children managed for measles at the Federal Medical Centre, Bida, Niger state and to identify the parental disposition to measles vaccination.
Methods
This is a cross-sectional study carried out over a period of 18 months beginning from July 2007. All children with a diagnosis of measles made clinically and reinforced with serological test in the WHO Measles, Rubella and Yellow Fever laboratory in Maitama District Hospital, Abuja were recruited. Informed consent was obtained from the parents/care givers. Structured questionnaire was used to obtain information and data analysis was by SPSS version 15.
Results
One hundred and nine children were managed for measles, constituting 8% of total admission over the study period. The male to female ratio was 1.2:1. Of the 109 children with measles, 90 (82%) did not receive measles vaccination. Eighty-eight (80%) of the parents or guardian felt vaccination was bad for various reasons. Of the 23 (21.1%) children whose parents or guardians were positively disposed to vaccination, one death was recorded while the remaining seven deaths were recorded among children whose parents were negatively disposed to vaccination. All the deaths were in the non-vaccinated group below 2 years of age.
Conclusion
Measles is still a major health burden in our community. The majority of affected children were not vaccinated due to negative parental disposition. Continuous health education is required for change the disposition of the parents/guardian and improve vaccination coverage to minimize measles associated morbidity and mortality.
doi:10.5001/omj.2011.28
PMCID: PMC3191671  PMID: 22043396
Measles; Vaccination; Parental disposition; Outcome
10.  Oral Health Disparities and Unmet Dental Needs among Preschool Children in Chelsea, MA: Exploring Mechanisms, Defining Solutions 
Background
Significant disparities exist in children’s receipt of preventive dental care (PDC) in the United States. Many of the children at greatest risk of dental disease do not receive timely PDC; when they do receive dental care, it is often more for relief of dental pain. Chelsea is a low-income, diverse Massachusetts community with high rates of untreated childhood caries. There are various dental resources available in Chelsea, yet many children do not access dental care at levels equivalent to their needs.
Objective
Using Chelsea as a case-study, to explore factors contributing to forgone PDC (including the age 1 dental visit) in an in-depth way.
Methods
We used a qualitative study design that included semi-structured interviews with parents of preschool children residing in Chelsea, and Chelsea-based providers including pediatricians, dentists, a dental hygienist and early childhood care providers. We examined: a) parents’ dental attitudes and oral health cultural beliefs; b) parents’ and providers’ perspectives on facilitators and barriers to PDC, reasons for unmet needs, and proposed solutions to address the problem. We recorded, transcribed and independently coded all interviews. Using rigorous, iterative qualitative data analyses procedures, we identified emergent themes.
Results
Factors perceived to facilitate receipt of PDC included Head-Start oral health policies, strong pediatric primary care/dental linkages, community outreach and advertising, and parents’ own oral health experiences. Most parents and providers perceived there to be an adequate number of accessible dental services and resources in Chelsea, including for Medicaid enrollees. However, several barriers impeded children from receiving timely PDC, the most frequently cited being insurance related problems for children and adults. Other barriers included limited dental services for children <2 years, perceived poor quality of some dental practices, lack of emphasis on prevention-based dental care, poor care-coordination, and insufficient culturally-appropriate care. Important family-level barriers included parental oral health literacy, cultural factors, limited English proficiency and competing priorities. Several solutions were proposed to address identified barriers.
Conclusion
Even in a community with a considerable number of dental resources, various factors may preclude access to these services by preschool-aged children. Opportunities exist to address modifiable factors through strategic oral health policies, community outreach and improved care coordination between physicians, dentists and early childhood care providers.
doi:10.4172/2332-0702.1000138
PMCID: PMC4299657  PMID: 25614878
Children; Preventive dental care; Oral health; Early childhood caries
11.  Advanced Paternal Age Is Associated with Impaired Neurocognitive Outcomes during Infancy and Childhood 
PLoS Medicine  2009;6(3):e1000040.
Background
Advanced paternal age (APA) is associated with an increased risk of neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism and schizophrenia, as well as with dyslexia and reduced intelligence. The aim of this study was to examine the relationship between paternal age and performance on neurocognitive measures during infancy and childhood.
Methods and Findings
A sample of singleton children (n = 33,437) was drawn from the US Collaborative Perinatal Project. The outcome measures were assessed at 8 mo, 4 y, and 7 y (Bayley scales, Stanford Binet Intelligence Scale, Graham-Ernhart Block Sort Test, Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, Wide Range Achievement Test). The main analyses examined the relationship between neurocognitive measures and paternal or maternal age when adjusted for potential confounding factors. Advanced paternal age showed significant associations with poorer scores on all of the neurocognitive measures apart from the Bayley Motor score. The findings were broadly consistent in direction and effect size at all three ages. In contrast, advanced maternal age was generally associated with better scores on these same measures.
Conclusions
The offspring of older fathers show subtle impairments on tests of neurocognitive ability during infancy and childhood. In light of secular trends related to delayed fatherhood, the clinical implications and the mechanisms underlying these findings warrant closer scrutiny.
Using a sample of children from the US Collaborative Perinatal Project, John McGrath and colleagues show that the offspring of older fathers exhibit subtle impairments on tests of neurocognitive ability during infancy and childhood.
Editors' Summary
Background.
Over the last few decades, changes in society in the developed world have made it increasingly common for couples to wait until their late thirties to have children. In 1993, 25% of live births within marriage in England and Wales were to fathers aged 35–54 years, but by 2003 it was 40%. It is well known that women's fertility declines with age and that older mothers are more likely to have children with disabilities such as Down's syndrome. In contrast, many men can father children throughout their lives, and little attention has been paid to the effects of older fatherhood.
More recent evidence shows that a man's age does affect both fertility and the child's health. “Advanced paternal age” has been linked to miscarriages, birth deformities, cancer, and specific behavioral problems such as autism or schizophrenia.
Rates of autism have increased in recent decades, but the cause is unknown. Studies of twins and families have suggested there may be a complex genetic basis, and it is suspected that damage to sperm, which can accumulate over a man's lifetime, may be responsible. A woman's eggs are formed largely while she is herself in the womb, but sperm-making cells divide throughout a man's lifetime, increasing the chance of mutations in sperm.
Why Was This Study Done?
There is good evidence linking specific disorders with older fathers, but the link between a father's age and a child's more general intelligence is not as clear. A recent study suggested a link between reduced intelligence and both very young and older fathers. The authors wanted to use this large dataset to test the idea that older fathers have children who do worse on tests of intelligence. They also wanted to re-examine others' findings using this same dataset that older mothers have more intelligent children.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers gathered no new data but reanalyzed data on children from the US Collaborative Perinatal Project (CPP), which had used a variety of tests given to children at ages 8 months, 4 years, and 7 years, to measure cognitive ability—the ability to think and reason, including concentration, memory, learning, understanding, speaking, and reading. Some tests included assessments of “motor skills”—physical co-ordination.
The CPP dataset holds information on children of 55,908 expectant mothers who attended 12 university-affiliated hospital clinics in the United States from 1959 to 1965. The researchers excluded premature babies and multiple births and chose one pregnancy at random for each eligible woman, to keep their analysis simpler. This approach reduced the number of children in their analysis to 33,437.
The researchers analyzed the data using two models. In one, they took into account physical factors such as the parents' ages. In the other, they also took into account social factors such as the parents' level of education and income, which are linked to intelligence. In addition, the authors grouped the children by their mother's age and, within each group, looked for a link between the lowest-scoring children and the age of their father.
The researchers found that children with older fathers had lower scores on all of the measures except one measure of motor skills. In contrast, children with older mothers had higher scores. They found that the older the father, the more likely was this result found.
What Do These Findings Mean?
This study is the first to show that children of older fathers perform less well in a range of tests when young, but cannot say whether those children catch up with their peers after the age of 7 years. Results may also be biased because information was more likely to be missing for children whose father's age was not recorded.
Previous researchers had proposed that children of older mothers may perform better in tests because they experience a more nurturing home environment. If this is the case, children of older fathers do not experience the same benefit.
However, further work needs to be done to confirm these findings. Especially in newer datasets, current trends to delay parenthood mean these findings have implications for individuals, couples, and policymakers. Individuals and couples need to be aware that the ages of both partners can affect their ability to have healthy children, though the risks for individual children are small. Policymakers should consider promoting awareness of the risks of delaying parenthood or introducing policies to encourage childbearing at an optimal age.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000040.
Mothers 35+ is a UK Web site with resources and information for older mothers, mothers-to-be, and would-be mothers, including information on the health implications of fathering a child late in life
The American Society for Reproductive Medicine published a Patient Information Booklet on Age and Fertility in 2003, which is available online; it contains a small section called “Fertility in the Aging Male,” but otherwise focuses on women
The online encyclopedia Wikipedia has a short article on the “Paternal age effect” (note that Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit; available in several languages)
In 2005, the UK Office of National Statistics published a booklet entitled “Perpetual postponers? Women's, men's and couple's fertility intentions and subsequent fertility behaviour” looking at data from the British Household Panel Survey
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000040
PMCID: PMC2653549  PMID: 19278291
12.  A Multifaceted Intervention to Implement Guidelines and Improve Admission Paediatric Care in Kenyan District Hospitals: A Cluster Randomised Trial 
PLoS Medicine  2011;8(4):e1001018.
Philip Ayieko and colleagues report the outcomes of a cluster-randomized trial carried out in eight Kenyan district hospitals evaluating the effects of a complex intervention involving improved training and supervision for clinicians. They found a higher performance of hospitals assigned to the complex intervention on a variety of process of care measures, as compared to those receiving the control intervention.
Background
In developing countries referral of severely ill children from primary care to district hospitals is common, but hospital care is often of poor quality. However, strategies to change multiple paediatric care practices in rural hospitals have rarely been evaluated.
Methods and Findings
This cluster randomized trial was conducted in eight rural Kenyan district hospitals, four of which were randomly assigned to a full intervention aimed at improving quality of clinical care (evidence-based guidelines, training, job aides, local facilitation, supervision, and face-to-face feedback; n = 4) and the remaining four to control intervention (guidelines, didactic training, job aides, and written feedback; n = 4). Prespecified structure, process, and outcome indicators were measured at baseline and during three and five 6-monthly surveys in control and intervention hospitals, respectively. Primary outcomes were process of care measures, assessed at 18 months postbaseline.
In both groups performance improved from baseline. Completion of admission assessment tasks was higher in intervention sites at 18 months (mean = 0.94 versus 0.65, adjusted difference 0.54 [95% confidence interval 0.05–0.29]). Uptake of guideline recommended therapeutic practices was also higher within intervention hospitals: adoption of once daily gentamicin (89.2% versus 74.4%; 17.1% [8.04%–26.1%]); loading dose quinine (91.9% versus 66.7%, 26.3% [−3.66% to 56.3%]); and adequate prescriptions of intravenous fluids for severe dehydration (67.2% versus 40.6%; 29.9% [10.9%–48.9%]). The proportion of children receiving inappropriate doses of drugs in intervention hospitals was lower (quinine dose >40 mg/kg/day; 1.0% versus 7.5%; −6.5% [−12.9% to 0.20%]), and inadequate gentamicin dose (2.2% versus 9.0%; −6.8% [−11.9% to −1.6%]).
Conclusions
Specific efforts are needed to improve hospital care in developing countries. A full, multifaceted intervention was associated with greater changes in practice spanning multiple, high mortality conditions in rural Kenyan hospitals than a partial intervention, providing one model for bridging the evidence to practice gap and improving admission care in similar settings.
Trial registration
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN42996612
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
In 2008, nearly 10 million children died in early childhood. Nearly all these deaths were in low- and middle-income countries—half were in Africa. In Kenya, for example, 74 out every 1,000 children born died before they reached their fifth birthday. About half of all childhood (pediatric) deaths in developing countries are caused by pneumonia, diarrhea, and malaria. Deaths from these common diseases could be prevented if all sick children had access to quality health care in the community (“primary” health care provided by health centers, pharmacists, family doctors, and traditional healers) and in district hospitals (“secondary” health care). Unfortunately, primary health care facilities in developing countries often lack essential diagnostic capabilities and drugs, and pediatric hospital care is frequently inadequate with many deaths occurring soon after admission. Consequently, in 1996, as part of global efforts to reduce childhood illnesses and deaths, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) introduced the Integrated Management of Childhood Illnesses (IMCI) strategy. This approach to child health focuses on the well-being of the whole child and aims to improve the case management skills of health care staff at all levels, health systems, and family and community health practices.
Why Was This Study Done?
The implementation of IMCI has been evaluated at the primary health care level, but its implementation in district hospitals has not been evaluated. So, for example, interventions designed to encourage the routine use of WHO disease-specific guidelines in rural pediatric hospitals have not been tested. In this cluster randomized trial, the researchers develop and test a multifaceted intervention designed to improve the implementation of treatment guidelines and admission pediatric care in district hospitals in Kenya. In a cluster randomized trial, groups of patients rather than individual patients are randomly assigned to receive alternative interventions and the outcomes in different “clusters” of patients are compared. In this trial, each cluster is a district hospital.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers randomly assigned eight Kenyan district hospitals to the “full” or “control” intervention, interventions that differed in intensity but that both included more strategies to promote implementation of best practice than are usually applied in Kenyan rural hospitals. The full intervention included provision of clinical practice guidelines and training in their use, six-monthly survey-based hospital assessments followed by face-to-face feedback of survey findings, 5.5 days training for health care workers, provision of job aids such as structured pediatric admission records, external supervision, and the identification of a local facilitator to promote guideline use and to provide on-site problem solving. The control intervention included the provision of clinical practice guidelines (without training in their use) and job aids, six-monthly surveys with written feedback, and a 1.5-day lecture-based seminar to explain the guidelines. The researchers compared the implementation of various processes of care (activities of patients and doctors undertaken to ensure delivery of care) in the intervention and control hospitals at baseline and 18 months later. The performance of both groups of hospitals improved during the trial but more markedly in the intervention hospitals than in the control hospitals. At 18 months, the completion of admission assessment tasks and the uptake of guideline-recommended clinical practices were both higher in the intervention hospitals than in the control hospitals. Moreover, a lower proportion of children received inappropriate doses of drugs such as quinine for malaria in the intervention hospitals than in the control hospitals.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings show that specific efforts are needed to improve pediatric care in rural Kenya and suggest that interventions that include more approaches to changing clinical practice may be more effective than interventions that include fewer approaches. These findings are limited by certain aspects of the trial design, such as the small number of participating hospitals, and may not be generalizable to other hospitals in Kenya or to hospitals in other developing countries. Thus, although these findings seem to suggest that efforts to implement and scale up improved secondary pediatric health care will need to include more than the production and dissemination of printed materials, further research including trials or evaluation of test programs are necessary before widespread adoption of any multifaceted approach (which will need to be tailored to local conditions and available resources) can be contemplated.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001018.
WHO provides information on efforts to reduce global child mortality and on Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI); the WHO pocket book “Hospital care for children contains guidelines for the management of common illnesses with limited resources (available in several languages)
UNICEF also provides information on efforts to reduce child mortality and detailed statistics on child mortality
The iDOC Africa Web site, which is dedicated to improving the delivery of hospital care for children and newborns in Africa, provides links to the clinical guidelines and other resources used in this study
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001018
PMCID: PMC3071366  PMID: 21483712
13.  Uninsurance among Children Whose Parents Are Losing Medicaid Coverage: Results from a Statewide Survey of Oregon Families 
Health Services Research  2008;43(1 Pt 2):401-418.
Context
Thousands of adults lost coverage after Oregon's Medicaid program implemented cost containment policies in March 2003. Despite the continuation of comprehensive public health coverage for children, the percentage of uninsured children in the state rose from 10.1 percent in 2002 to 12.3 percent in 2004 (over 110,000 uninsured children). Among the uninsured children, over half of them were likely eligible for public health insurance coverage.
Research Objective
To examine barriers low-income families face when attempting to access children's health insurance. To examine possible links between Medicaid cutbacks in adult coverage and children's loss of coverage.
Data Source/Study Setting
Statewide primary data from low-income households enrolled in Oregon's food stamp program.
Study Design
Cross-sectional analysis. The primary predictor variable was whether or not any adults in the household recently lost Medicaid coverage. The main outcome variables were children's current insurance status and children's insurance coverage gaps.
Data Collection
A mail-return survey instrument was designed to collect information from a stratified, random sample of households with children presumed eligible for publicly funded health insurance programs.
Principal Findings
Over 10 percent of children in the study population eligible for publicly funded health insurance programs were uninsured, and over 25 percent of these children had gaps in insurance coverage during a 12-month period. Low-income children who were most likely to be uninsured or have coverage gaps were Hispanic; were teenagers older than 14; were in families at the higher end of the income threshold; had an employed parent; or had a parent who was uninsured. Fifty percent of the uninsured children lived in a household with at least one adult who had recently lost Medicaid coverage, compared with only 40 percent of insured children (p=.040). Similarly, over 51 percent of children with a recent gap in insurance coverage had an adult in the household who lost Medicaid, compared with only 38 percent of children without coverage gaps (p<.0001). After adjusting for ethnicity, age, household income, and parental employment, children living in a household with an adult who lost Medicaid coverage after recent cutbacks had a higher likelihood of having no current health insurance (OR 1.44, 95 percent CI 1.02, 2.04), and/or having an insurance gap (OR 1.79, 95 percent CI 1.36, 2.36).
Conclusions
Uninsured children and those with recent coverage gaps were more likely to have adults in their household who lost Medicaid coverage after recent cutbacks. Although current fiscal constraints prevent many states from expanding public health insurance coverage to more parents, states need to be aware of the impact on children when adults lose coverage. It is critical to develop strategies to keep parents informed regarding continued eligibility and benefits for their children and to reduce administrative barriers to children's enrollment and retention in public health insurance programs.
doi:10.1111/j.1475-6773.2007.00764.x
PMCID: PMC2323132  PMID: 18199193
Insurance coverage; health care access; primary health care; Medicaid; children's health care
14.  Silent loss and the clinical encounter: Parents’ and physicians’ experiences of stillbirth–a qualitative analysis 
Background
In the United States, an estimated 70 stillbirths occur each day, on average 25,000 each year. Research into the prevalence and causes of stillbirth is ongoing, but meanwhile, many parents suffer this devastating loss, largely in silence, due to persistent stigma and taboo; and many health providers report feeling ill equipped to support grieving parents. Interventions to address bereavement after neonatal death are increasingly common in U.S. hospitals, and there is growing data on the nature of parent bereavement after a stillbirth. However, further research is needed to evaluate supportive interventions and to investigate the parent-clinician encounter during hospitalization following a stillbirth. Qualitative inquiry offers opportunities to better understand the lived experience of parents against the backdrop of clinicians’ beliefs, intentions, and well-meaning efforts to support grieving parents.
Methods
We present a secondary qualitative analysis of transcript data from 3 semi-structured focus groups conducted with parents who had experienced a stillbirth and delivered in a hospital, and 2 focus groups with obstetrician-gynecologists. Participants were drawn from the greater Seattle region in Washington State. We examine parents’ and physicians’ experiences and beliefs surrounding stillbirth during the clinical encounter using iterative discourse analysis.
Results
Women reported that the cheery, bustling environment of the labor and delivery setting was a painful place for parents who had had a stillbirth, and that the well-meaning attempts of physicians to offer comfort often had the opposite effect. Parents also reported that their grief is deeply felt but not socially recognized. While physicians recognized patients’ grief, they did not grasp its depth or duration. Physicians viewed stillbirth as an unexpected clinical tragedy, though several considered stillbirth less traumatic than the death of a neonate. In the months and years following a stillbirth, these parents continue to memorialize their children as part of their family.
Conclusions
Hospitals need to examine the physical environment for deliveries and, wherever possible, offer designated private areas with staff trained in stillbirth care. Training programs in obstetrics need to better address the bereavement needs of parents following a stillbirth, and research is needed to evaluate effective bereavement interventions, accounting for cultural variation. Critical improvements are also needed for mental health support beyond hospitalization. Finally, medical professionals and parents can play an important role in reversing the stigma that surrounds stillbirth.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-12-137
PMCID: PMC3533522  PMID: 23181615
Stillbirth; Perinatal death; Perinatal bereavement; Parental support
15.  Immunization history of children with inflammatory bowel disease 
BACKGROUND:
Protection against vaccine-preventable diseases is important in children with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) due to frequent immunosuppressive therapy use. The chronic relapsing nature and treatment regimen of IBD may necessitate modified timing of immunizations.
OBJECTIVE:
To evaluate the completeness of immunizations in children with IBD.
METHODS:
Immunization records of all children with IBD followed at the Alberta Children’s Hospital (Calgary, Alberta) were reviewed. For children with incomplete immunization according to the province of Alberta schedule, the reasons for such were clarified. Demographic data and age at diagnosis were also collected.
RESULTS:
Immunization records were obtained from 145 (79%) children with IBD. Fifteen children had incomplete routine childhood immunizations, including two with no previous immunizations. The most common incomplete immunizations included hepatitis B (n=9), diphtheria, tetanus, acellular pertussis at 14 to 16 years of age (n=7), and diphtheria, tetanus, acellular pertussis, inactivated polio at four to six years of age (n=6). The reasons for incomplete immunization included use of immunosuppressive therapy at time of scheduled immunization; IBD-related symptoms at time of scheduled immunization; parental refusal; recent move from elsewhere with different immunization schedule; unawareness of routine immunization; and needle phobia.
CONCLUSIONS:
Although the majority of children with IBD had complete childhood immunizations, suboptimal immunizations were present in 10%. With increasing use of immunosuppressive therapy in IBD, physicians caring for children with IBD must periodically evaluate immunization status and ensure the completeness of childhood immunizations.
PMCID: PMC3742478  PMID: 23616959
Immunization; Immunosuppressive agents; Inflammatory bowel diseases
16.  Mutans Streptococci Colonization in Relation to Feeding Practices, Age and the Number of Teeth in 6 to 30-Month-Old Children: An in vivo Study 
ABSTRACT
Background: Early childhood caries has been characterized as first affecting the primary maxillary anterior teeth, followed by the involvement of the primary molars. Other terms for dental caries in preschool children, which inappropriately may imply cause for the disease, includes baby bottle tooth decay, nursing caries, milk bottle syndrome, baby bottle caries, nursing bottle mouth and nursing mouth.
Aim: To explore the relationships of feeding practices, age and number of teeth present with mutans streptococci colonization in infants.
Design and setting: A comparative clinical study conducted on 160 children aged from 6 to 30 months in the Department of Pedodontics and Preventive Dentistry, Bapuji Dental College and Hospital in collaboration with Child Health Institute and Research Center and Department of Oral Pathology and Microbiology, Bapuji Dental College and Hospital, Davangere.
Materials and methods: Baseline data collection included: (i) Parents of the infants were asked open ended questions about the baby feeding practices, (ii) The age of the subjects were obtained from the immunization register maintained at Child Health Institute and Research Center and were grouped into group I (6-11 months), group II (12-17 months), group III (18-23 months) and group IV (24-30 months), (iii) Clinical examination of children was done by using mouth mirror and explorer in flash light.6 For each child number and location of erupted teeth was recorded, (iv) Microbial screening for mutans streptococci involved sampling of saliva from each child was performed by placing a sterile wooden tongue blade on the dorsum of the tongue and the number of colony forming units (CFU) were recorded.
Results: According to feeding practices, 34 children were in breastfed category, 39 were in baby bottle category and 87 children reported no bottle usage. Out of 160 children examined, a total 142 children were colonized with mutans streptococci. 18 children were found to be colonized with low colony forming units, 78 children were found to be colonized with moderate colony forming units and 64 children were colonized with high colony forming units. In baby bottle group, all of 39 subjects were reported to have sweetened milk, sugar in the bottle.
Conclusion: Among different feeding practices, all the three subgroups viz breastfed children, children with nursing bottle usage and children with no bottle usage, all have shown mutans streptococci acquisition. But breastfed children have shown least number of high colony forming units, which is increased in the case of children using nursing bottle and is maximum in the children who were neither breastfed nor fed with nursing bottle. Percentage of children colonized with mutans streptococci increases with age and as the number of teeth increase, number of colony forming units were also found to be increasing.
How to cite this article: Sharma R, Prabhakar AR, Gaur A. Mutans Streptococci Colonization in Relation to Feeding Practices, Age and the Number of Teeth in 6 to 30-Month-Old Children: An in vivo Study. Int J Clin Pediatr Dent 2012;5(2): 124-131.
doi:10.5005/jp-journals-10005-1149
PMCID: PMC4148738  PMID: 25206151
Mutans streptococci; Feeding practices; Early childhood caries (ECC); Colony forming units (CFU); Saliva
17.  Patterns of susceptibility in an outbreak of Bordetella pertussis: Evidence from a community-based study 
OBJECTIVE:
To describe an outbreak of Bordetella pertussis and to assess which factors were associated with the development of clinical pertussis in children and adults during the outbreak.
DESIGN:
A case series was described to define the epidemiology of the pertussis outbreak. A school-based survey of children was used to measure the incidence of clinical pertussis over the previous six months. Vaccination records from the local public health facility were used to look at the relationship between age and vaccination parameters, and susceptibility to clinically diagnosed pertussis. A cross-sectional survey of teachers, parents and some hospital workers was used to assess these associations in adults.
SETTING:
An outbreak of pertussis in an isolated northern community in British Columbia.
POPULATION STUDIED:
All children in the community who attend daycare, kindergarten or school, and their parents were surveyed. In addition, some health care workers and mothers of preschool children were surveyed.
MAIN RESULTS:
A total of 31 suspected cases of pertussis were identified over a three-month period. Ninety per cent of the affected children who had available vaccination records had received four or five doses of pertussis vaccine. Sixty per cent of the town's 209 children returned completed surveys. Of these, 69% had available vaccination records. Thirty-six children (28%) reported symptoms that fit the case definition for pertussis over the previous three months. Attack rates were highest for the group of children aged 10 to 14 years. In a multivariate logistic regression analysis, receiving prophylactic medication and an increased number of years from the last vaccine dose were found to be significant predictors for developing pertussis. Thirty-four per cent of the estimated 291 adults in the community returned completed surveys. The attack rate of pertussis in the adults was only 9%. Being a member of the school staff and/or having a household contact with pertussis were significant predictors of developing pertussis.
CONCLUSIONS:
Immunity to pertussis appears to wane during childhood. Peak susceptibility appears to be during early adolescence. Adults do not seem to be at greater risk than adolescents for developing the disease, but it seems unlikely that this is due to better immunity. Rather, it is probably related to a lower risk of exposure to pertussis and a lower rate of progression to symptomatic disease when adults are infected.
PMCID: PMC2094882  PMID: 18159406
Immunity; Pertussis; Vaccination
18.  Developmental delays and dental caries in low-income preschoolers in the USA: a pilot cross-sectional study and preliminary explanatory model 
BMC Oral Health  2013;13:53.
Background
Anecdotal evidence suggests that low-income preschoolers with developmental delays are at increased risk for dental caries and poor oral health, but there are no published studies based on empirical data. The purpose of this pilot study was two-fold: to examine the relationship between developmental delays and dental caries in low-income preschoolers and to present a preliminary explanatory model on the determinants of caries for enrollees in Head Start, a U.S. school readiness program for low-income preschool-aged children.
Methods
Data were collected on preschoolers ages 3–5 years at two Head Start centers in Washington, USA (N = 115). The predictor variable was developmental delay status (no/yes). The outcome variable was the prevalence of decayed, missing, and filled surfaces (dmfs) on primary teeth. We used multiple variable Poisson regression models to test the hypothesis that within a population of low-income preschoolers, those with developmental delays would have increased dmfs prevalence than those without developmental delays.
Results
Seventeen percent of preschoolers had a developmental delay and 51.3% of preschoolers had ≥1 dmfs. Preschoolers with developmental delays had a dmfs prevalence ratio that was 1.26 times as high as preschoolers without developmental delays (95% CI: 1.01, 1.58; P < .04). Other factors associated with increased dmfs prevalence ratios included: not having a dental home (P = .01); low caregiver education (P < .001); and living in a non-fluoridated community (P < .001).
Conclusions
Our pilot data suggest that developmental delays among low-income preschoolers are associated with increased primary tooth dmfs. Additional research is needed to further examine this relationship. Future interventions and policies should focus on caries prevention strategies within settings like Head Start classrooms that serve low-income preschool-aged children with additional targeted home- and community-based interventions for those with developmental delays.
doi:10.1186/1472-6831-13-53
PMCID: PMC3906997  PMID: 24119240
19.  Children with Severe Malnutrition: Can Those at Highest Risk of Death Be Identified with the WHO Protocol? 
PLoS Medicine  2006;3(12):e500.
Background
With strict adherence to international recommended treatment guidelines, the case fatality for severe malnutrition ought to be less than 5%. In African hospitals, fatality rates of 20% are common and are often attributed to poor training and faulty case management. Improving outcome will depend upon the identification of those at greatest risk and targeting limited health resources. We retrospectively examined the major risk factors associated with early (<48 h) and late in-hospital death in children with severe malnutrition with the aim of identifying admission features that could distinguish a high-risk group in relation to the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines.
Methods and Findings
Of 920 children in the study, 176 (19%) died, with 59 (33%) deaths occurring within 48 h of admission. Bacteraemia complicated 27% of all deaths: 52% died before 48 h despite 85% in vitro antibiotic susceptibility of cultured organisms. The sensitivity, specificity, and likelihood ratio of the WHO-recommended “danger signs” (lethargy, hypothermia, or hypoglycaemia) to predict early mortality was 52%, 84%, and 3.4% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 2.2 to 5.1), respectively. In addition, four bedside features were associated with early case fatality: bradycardia, capillary refill time greater than 2 s, weak pulse volume, and impaired consciousness level; the presence of two or more features was associated with an odds ratio of 9.6 (95% CI = 4.8 to 19) for early fatality (p < 0.0001). Conversely, the group of children without any of these seven features, or signs of dehydration, severe acidosis, or electrolyte derangements, had a low fatality (7%).
Conclusions
Formal assessment of these features as emergency signs to improve triage and to rationalize manpower resources toward the high-risk groups is required. In addition, basic clinical research is necessary to identify and test appropriate supportive treatments.
A retrospective examination of major risk factors associated with in-hospital deaths in children with severe malnutrition has identified admission features that could help distinguish those at highest risk.
Editors' Summary
Background.
Severe malnutrition is thought to be responsible, at least in part, for a large proportion of the many millions of deaths every year among children below the age of five years. The World Health Organization (WHO) has developed guidelines for management of the severely malnourished child in the hospital. These guidelines outline ten initial steps for routine care, followed by treatment of associated conditions and rehabilitation. However, death rates among children admitted to hospital with severe malnutrition are worryingly high, commonly 20% or sometimes even higher. Many hospitals have reported that following introduction of the WHO guidelines, the death rates have been cut, but not to a level that the WHO defines as acceptable (5% or lower).
Why Was This Study Done?
In the region where this study was done, an area on the coast of Kenya, East Africa, malnutrition is very common. The local hospital, Kilifi District Hospital, currently reports a death rate of approximately 19% among children admitted with severe malnutrition, even with implementation of the WHO guidelines. A group of researchers based at the hospital wanted to see if they could identify those children who were most likely to die. Their aim was to see which aspects of the children's medical condition put them at highest risk. This information would be useful in ensuring that high-risk children received the most appropriate care.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers studied all severely malnourished children over three months of age who were admitted to the Kilifi District Hospital between September 2000 and June 2002. The children were treated according to the WHO guidelines, and the research group collected data on the condition of the children after treatment (their “outcomes”), as well as for relevant clinical signs and symptoms. The study involved 920 children, of whom 176 died in hospital (a death rate of 19%). They then examined the data to see which characteristics on admission were associated with early death (less than 48 h) and later deaths. They found that four clinical features, which could be easily ascertained at the bedside on admission, were associated with a large proportion of the early deaths. These four signs were slow heart rate, weak pulse volume, depressed consciousness level, and a delayed capillary refilling time (as tested by pressing a fingernail bed to blanche the finger, releasing it, and observing the time taken to reperfuse the capillaries—or recolor the nailbed). The researchers proposed that these findings, together with a number of other features that were associated with the later deaths could be used to identify three groups of patients differing in their need for emergency care: a high-risk group (with any of the four signs listed above, or hypoglycemia, and among whom mortality was 34%); a moderate-risk group (among whom mortality was 23%); and a low-risk group (mortality 7%).
What Do These Findings Mean?
First, the death rate amongst these children was very high even though WHO guidelines were used to guide management. The signs reported here as indicators of poor outcome may prove useful in future in identifying high-risk individuals to ensure they receive the right treatment. However, the indicators proposed here would need further evaluation before current guidelines for treatment of the severely malnourished child could be changed.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0030500.
• Information on severe malnutrition is available from the World Health Organization
• Management guidelines from the WHO can also be downloaded in many languages
• UNICEF, the United Nations Children's Fund, provides relevant resources and statistics as well as information about its programs addressing malnutrition worldwide
• Information from Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) on acute malnutrition worldwide and MSF's response to current emergencies
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0030500
PMCID: PMC1716191  PMID: 17194194
20.  Support for immunization registries among parents of vaccinated and unvaccinated school-aged children: a case control study 
BMC Public Health  2006;6:236.
Background
Immunizations have reduced childhood vaccine preventable disease incidence by 98–100%. Continued vaccine preventable disease control depends on high immunization coverage. Immunization registries help ensure high coverage by recording childhood immunizations administered, generating reminders when immunizations are due, calculating immunization coverage and identifying pockets needing immunization services, and improving vaccine safety by reducing over-immunization and providing data for post-licensure vaccine safety studies. Despite substantial resources directed towards registry development in the U.S., only 48% of children were enrolled in a registry in 2004. Parental attitudes likely impact child participation. Consequently, the purpose of this study was to assess the attitudes of parents of vaccinated and unvaccinated school-aged children regarding: support for immunization registries; laws authorizing registries and mandating provider reporting; opt-in versus opt-out registry participation; and financial worth and responsibility of registry development and implementation.
Methods
A case control study of parents of 815 children exempt from school vaccination requirements and 1630 fully vaccinated children was conducted. Children were recruited from 112 elementary schools in Colorado, Massachusetts, Missouri, and Washington. Surveys administered to the parents, asked about views on registries and perceived utility and safety of vaccines. Parental views were summarized and logistic regression models compared differences between parents of exempt and vaccinated children.
Results
Surveys were completed by 56.1% of respondents. Fewer than 10% of parents were aware of immunization registries in their communities. Among parents aware of registries, exempt children were more likely to be enrolled (65.0%) than vaccinated children (26.5%) (p value = 0.01). A substantial proportion of parents of exempt children support immunization registries, particularly if registries offer choice for participation. Few parents of vaccinated (6.8%) and exempt children (6.7%) were aware of laws authorizing immunization registries. Support for laws authorizing registries and requiring health care providers to report to registries was more common among parents of vaccinated than exempt children. Most parents believed that the government, vaccine companies or insurance companies should pay for registries.
Conclusion
Parental support for registries was relatively high. Parental support for immunization registries may increase with greater parental awareness of the risks of vaccine preventable diseases and utility of vaccination.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-6-236
PMCID: PMC1592086  PMID: 16995946
21.  Implementing the 2009 Institute of Medicine recommendations on resident physician work hours, supervision, and safety 
Long working hours and sleep deprivation have been a facet of physician training in the US since the advent of the modern residency system. However, the scientific evidence linking fatigue with deficits in human performance, accidents and errors in industries from aeronautics to medicine, nuclear power, and transportation has mounted over the last 40 years. This evidence has also spawned regulations to help ensure public safety across safety-sensitive industries, with the notable exception of medicine.
In late 2007, at the behest of the US Congress, the Institute of Medicine embarked on a year-long examination of the scientific evidence linking resident physician sleep deprivation with clinical performance deficits and medical errors. The Institute of Medicine’s report, entitled “Resident duty hours: Enhancing sleep, supervision and safety”, published in January 2009, recommended new limits on resident physician work hours and workload, increased supervision, a heightened focus on resident physician safety, training in structured handovers and quality improvement, more rigorous external oversight of work hours and other aspects of residency training, and the identification of expanded funding sources necessary to implement the recommended reforms successfully and protect the public and resident physicians themselves from preventable harm.
Given that resident physicians comprise almost a quarter of all physicians who work in hospitals, and that taxpayers, through Medicare and Medicaid, fund graduate medical education, the public has a deep investment in physician training. Patients expect to receive safe, high-quality care in the nation’s teaching hospitals. Because it is their safety that is at issue, their voices should be central in policy decisions affecting patient safety. It is likewise important to integrate the perspectives of resident physicians, policy makers, and other constituencies in designing new policies. However, since its release, discussion of the Institute of Medicine report has been largely confined to the medical education community, led by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME).
To begin gathering these perspectives and developing a plan to implement safer work hours for resident physicians, a conference entitled “Enhancing sleep, supervision and safety: What will it take to implement the Institute of Medicine recommendations?” was held at Harvard Medical School on June 17–18, 2010. This White Paper is a product of a diverse group of 26 representative stakeholders bringing relevant new information and innovative practices to bear on a critical patient safety problem. Given that our conference included experts from across disciplines with diverse perspectives and interests, not every recommendation was endorsed by each invited conference participant. However, every recommendation made here was endorsed by the majority of the group, and many were endorsed unanimously. Conference members participated in the process, reviewed the final product, and provided input before publication. Participants provided their individual perspectives, which do not necessarily represent the formal views of any organization.
In September 2010 the ACGME issued new rules to go into effect on July 1, 2011. Unfortunately, they stop considerably short of the Institute of Medicine’s recommendations and those endorsed by this conference. In particular, the ACGME only applied the limitation of 16 hours to first-year resident physicans. Thus, it is clear that policymakers, hospital administrators, and residency program directors who wish to implement safer health care systems must go far beyond what the ACGME will require. We hope this White Paper will serve as a guide and provide encouragement for that effort.
Resident physician workload and supervision
By the end of training, a resident physician should be able to practice independently. Yet much of resident physicians’ time is dominated by tasks with little educational value. The caseload can be so great that inadequate reflective time is left for learning based on clinical experiences. In addition, supervision is often vaguely defined and discontinuous. Medical malpractice data indicate that resident physicians are frequently named in lawsuits, most often for lack of supervision. The recommendations are: The ACGME should adjust resident physicians workload requirements to optimize educational value. Resident physicians as well as faculty should be involved in work redesign that eliminates nonessential and noneducational activity from resident physician dutiesMechanisms should be developed for identifying in real time when a resident physician’s workload is excessive, and processes developed to activate additional providersTeamwork should be actively encouraged in delivery of patient care. Historically, much of medical training has focused on individual knowledge, skills, and responsibility. As health care delivery has become more complex, it will be essential to train resident and attending physicians in effective teamwork that emphasizes collective responsibility for patient care and recognizes the signs, both individual and systemic, of a schedule and working conditions that are too demanding to be safeHospitals should embrace the opportunities that resident physician training redesign offers. Hospitals should recognize and act on the potential benefits of work redesign, eg, increased efficiency, reduced costs, improved quality of care, and resident physician and attending job satisfactionAttending physicians should supervise all hospital admissions. Resident physicians should directly discuss all admissions with attending physicians. Attending physicians should be both cognizant of and have input into the care patients are to receive upon admission to the hospitalInhouse supervision should be required for all critical care services, including emergency rooms, intensive care units, and trauma services. Resident physicians should not be left unsupervised to care for critically ill patients. In settings in which the acuity is high, physicians who have completed residency should provide direct supervision for resident physicians. Supervising physicians should always be physically in the hospital for supervision of resident physicians who care for critically ill patientsThe ACGME should explicitly define “good” supervision by specialty and by year of training. Explicit requirements for intensity and level of training for supervision of specific clinical scenarios should be providedCenters for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) should use graduate medical education funding to provide incentives to programs with proven, effective levels of supervision. Although this action would require federal legislation, reimbursement rules would help to ensure that hospitals pay attention to the importance of good supervision and require it from their training programs
Resident physician work hours
Although the IOM “Sleep, supervision and safety” report provides a comprehensive review and discussion of all aspects of graduate medical education training, the report’s focal point is its recommendations regarding the hours that resident physicians are currently required to work. A considerable body of scientific evidence, much of it cited by the Institute of Medicine report, describes deteriorating performance in fatigued humans, as well as specific studies on resident physician fatigue and preventable medical errors.
The question before this conference was what work redesign and cultural changes are needed to reform work hours as recommended by the Institute of Medicine’s evidence-based report? Extensive scientific data demonstrate that shifts exceeding 12–16 hours without sleep are unsafe. Several principles should be followed in efforts to reduce consecutive hours below this level and achieve safer work schedules. The recommendations are: Limit resident physician work hours to 12–16 hour maximum shiftsA minimum of 10 hours off duty should be scheduled between shiftsResident physician input into work redesign should be actively solicitedSchedules should be designed that adhere to principles of sleep and circadian science; this includes careful consideration of the effects of multiple consecutive night shifts, and provision of adequate time off after night work, as specified in the IOM reportResident physicians should not be scheduled up to the maximum permissible limits; emergencies frequently occur that require resident physicians to stay longer than their scheduled shifts, and this should be anticipated in scheduling resident physicians’ work shiftsHospitals should anticipate the need for iterative improvement as new schedules are initiated; be prepared to learn from the initial phase-in, and change the plan as neededAs resident physician work hours are redesigned, attending physicians should also be considered; a potential consequence of resident physician work hour reduction and increased supervisory requirements may be an increase in work for attending physicians; this should be carefully monitored, and adjustments to attending physician work schedules made as needed to prevent unsafe work hours or working conditions for this group“Home call” should be brought under the overall limits of working hours; work load and hours should be monitored in each residency program to ensure that resident physicians and fellows on home call are getting sufficient sleepMedicare funding for graduate medical education in each hospital should be linked with adherence to the Institute of Medicine limits on resident physician work hours
Moonlighting by resident physicians
The Institute of Medicine report recommended including external as well as internal moonlighting in working hour limits. The recommendation is: All moonlighting work hours should be included in the ACGME working hour limits and actively monitored. Hospitals should formalize a moonlighting policy and establish systems for actively monitoring resident physician moonlighting
Safety of resident physicians
The “Sleep, supervision and safety” report also addresses fatigue-related harm done to resident physicians themselves. The report focuses on two main sources of physical injury to resident physicians impaired by fatigue, ie, needle-stick exposure to blood-borne pathogens and motor vehicle crashes. Providing safe transportation home for resident physicians is a logistical and financial challenge for hospitals. Educating physicians at all levels on the dangers of fatigue is clearly required to change driving behavior so that safe hospital-funded transport home is used effectively. Fatigue-related injury prevention (including not driving while drowsy) should be taught in medical school and during residency, and reinforced with attending physicians; hospitals and residency programs must be informed that resident physicians’ ability to judge their own level of impairment is impaired when they are sleep deprived; hence, leaving decisions about the capacity to drive to impaired resident physicians is not recommendedHospitals should provide transportation to all resident physicians who report feeling too tired to drive safely; in addition, although consecutive work should not exceed 16 hours, hospitals should provide transportation for all resident physicians who, because of unforeseen reasons or emergencies, work for longer than consecutive 24 hours; transportation under these circumstances should be automatically provided to house staff, and should not rely on self-identification or request
Training in effective handovers and quality improvement
Handover practice for resident physicians, attendings, and other health care providers has long been identified as a weak link in patient safety throughout health care settings. Policies to improve handovers of care must be tailored to fit the appropriate clinical scenario, recognizing that information overload can also be a problem. At the heart of improving handovers is the organizational effort to improve quality, an effort in which resident physicians have typically been insufficiently engaged. The recommendations are: Hospitals should train attending and resident physicians in effective handovers of careHospitals should create uniform processes for handovers that are tailored to meet each clinical setting; all handovers should be done verbally and face-to-face, but should also utilize written toolsWhen possible, hospitals should integrate hand-over tools into their electronic medical records (EMR) systems; these systems should be standardized to the extent possible across residency programs in a hospital, but may be tailored to the needs of specific programs and services; federal government should help subsidize adoption of electronic medical records by hospitals to improve signoutWhen feasible, handovers should be a team effort including nurses, patients, and familiesHospitals should include residents in their quality improvement and patient safety efforts; the ACGME should specify in their core competency requirements that resident physicians work on quality improvement projects; likewise, the Joint Commission should require that resident physicians be included in quality improvement and patient safety programs at teaching hospitals; hospital administrators and residency program directors should create opportunities for resident physicians to become involved in ongoing quality improvement projects and root cause analysis teams; feedback on successful quality improvement interventions should be shared with resident physicians and broadly disseminatedQuality improvement/patient safety concepts should be integral to the medical school curriculum; medical school deans should elevate the topics of patient safety, quality improvement, and teamwork; these concepts should be integrated throughout the medical school curriculum and reinforced throughout residency; mastery of these concepts by medical students should be tested on the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) stepsFederal government should support involvement of resident physicians in quality improvement efforts; initiatives to improve quality by including resident physicians in quality improvement projects should be financially supported by the Department of Health and Human Services
Monitoring and oversight of the ACGME
While the ACGME is a key stakeholder in residency training, external voices are essential to ensure that public interests are heard in the development and monitoring of standards. Consequently, the Institute of Medicine report recommended external oversight and monitoring through the Joint Commission and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The recommendations are: Make comprehensive fatigue management a Joint Commission National Patient Safety Goal; fatigue is a safety concern not only for resident physicians, but also for nurses, attending physicians, and other health care workers; the Joint Commission should seek to ensure that all health care workers, not just resident physicians, are working as safely as possibleFederal government, including the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, should encourage development of comprehensive fatigue management programs which all health systems would eventually be required to implementMake ACGME compliance with working hours a “ condition of participation” for reimbursement of direct and indirect graduate medical education costs; financial incentives will greatly increase the adoption of and compliance with ACGME standards
Future financial support for implementation
The Institute of Medicine’s report estimates that $1.7 billion (in 2008 dollars) would be needed to implement its recommendations. Twenty-five percent of that amount ($376 million) will be required just to bring hospitals into compliance with the existing 2003 ACGME rules. Downstream savings to the health care system could potentially result from safer care, but these benefits typically do not accrue to hospitals and residency programs, who have been asked historically to bear the burden of residency reform costs. The recommendations are: The Institute of Medicine should convene a panel of stakeholders, including private and public funders of health care and graduate medical education, to lay down the concrete steps necessary to identify and allocate the resources needed to implement the recommendations contained in the IOM “Resident duty hours: Enhancing sleep, supervision and safety” report. Conference participants suggested several approaches to engage public and private support for this initiativeEfforts to find additional funding to implement the Institute of Medicine recommendations should focus more broadly on patient safety and health care delivery reform; policy efforts focused narrowly upon resident physician work hours are less likely to succeed than broad patient safety initiatives that include residency redesign as a key componentHospitals should view the Institute of Medicine recommendations as an opportunity to begin resident physician work redesign projects as the core of a business model that embraces safety and ultimately saves resourcesBoth the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Director of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services should take the Institute of Medicine recommendations into consideration when promulgating rules for innovation grantsThe National Health Care Workforce Commission should consider the Institute of Medicine recommendations when analyzing the nation’s physician workforce needs
Recommendations for future research
Conference participants concurred that convening the stakeholders and agreeing on a research agenda was key. Some observed that some sectors within the medical education community have been reluctant to act on the data. Several logical funders for future research were identified. But above all agencies, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is the only stakeholder that funds graduate medical education upstream and will reap savings downstream if preventable medical errors are reduced as a result of reform of resident physician work hours.
doi:10.2147/NSS.S19649
PMCID: PMC3630963  PMID: 23616719
resident; hospital; working hours; safety
22.  Geographic Differences in Use of Home Oxygen for Obstructive Lung Disease: A National Medicare Study 
Rationale
Home oxygen is the most expensive equipment item that Medicare purchases ($1.7 billion/year).
Objectives
To assess geographic differences in supplemental oxygen use.
Methods
Retrospective cohort analysis of oxygen claims for a 20% random sample of Medicare patients hospitalized for obstructive lung disease in 1999 and alive at the end of 2000.
Measurements and Main Results
While 33.7% of the 34,916 hospitalized patients used supplemental oxygen, there was more than a 4-fold difference between states and a greater than 6-fold difference between hospital referral regions with high/low utilization. Rocky Mountain States and Alaska had the highest utilization, while the District of Columbia and Louisiana had the lowest utilization. After adjusting for patient characteristics and elevation, high-utilization communities included low-lying areas in California, Florida, Michigan, Missouri, and Washington. Patients who were younger, male, white, and who had more comorbidities, more hospital admissions, and lived at higher altitudes and in areas of greater income also had higher odds of using supplemental oxygen. Residing in rural areas was associated with higher unadjusted oxygen use rates. After adjustment, patients living in large rural areas had higher odds of using oxygen than patients living in urban areas or in small rural areas.
Conclusions
There is significant geographic variation in supplemental oxygen use, even after controlling for patient and contextual factors. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services should examine these issues further and enact changes that ensure patient health and fiscal responsibility.
doi:10.1111/j.1748-0361.2010.00275.x
PMCID: PMC3413948  PMID: 20447000
durable medical equipment; health services accessibility; oxygen inhalation therapy; pulmonary disease (chronic obstructive); rural health services
23.  Factors influencing time to diagnosis and initiation of treatment of endemic Burkitt Lymphoma among children in Uganda and western Kenya: a cross-sectional survey 
Background
Survival rates for children diagnosed with Burkitt lymphoma (BL) in Africa are far below those achieved in developed countries. Late stage of presentation contributes to poor prognosis, therefore this study investigated factors leading to delays in BL diagnosis and treatment of children in Uganda and western Kenya.
Methods
Guardians of children diagnosed with BL were interviewed at the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital (JTRH) and Uganda Cancer Institute (UCI) from Jan-Dec 2010. Information on sociodemographics, knowledge, attitudes, illness perceptions, health-seeking behaviors and prior health encounters was collected using a standardized, pre-tested questionnaire.
Results
Eighty-two guardians were interviewed (20 JTRH, 62 UCI). Median "total delay" (1st symptoms to BL diagnosis) was 12.1 weeks [interquartile range (IQR) 4.9-19.9] in Kenya and 12.9 weeks (IQR 4.3-25.7) in Uganda. In Kenya, median "guardian delay" (1st symptoms to 1st health encounter) and "health system delay" (1st health encounter to BL diagnosis) were 9.0 weeks (IQR 3.6-15.7) and 2.0 weeks (IQR 1.6-5.8), respectively. Data on guardian and health system delay in Uganda were only available for those with < 4 prior health encounters (n = 26). Of these, median guardian delay was 4.3 weeks (range 0.7-149.9), health system delay 2.6 weeks (range 0.1-16.0), and total delay 10.7 weeks (range 1.7-154.3). Guardians in Uganda reported more health encounters than those in Kenya (median 5, range 3–16 vs. median 3, range 2–6). Among Kenyan guardians, source of income was the only independent predictor of delay, whereas in Uganda, guardian delay was influenced by guardians’ beliefs on the curability of cancer, health system delay, by guardians’ perceptions of cancer as a contagious disease, and total delay, by the number of children in the household and guardians’ role as caretaker. Qualitative findings suggest financial costs, transportation, and other household responsibilities were major barriers to care.
Conclusions
Delays from symptom onset to BL treatment were considerable given the rapid growth rate of this cancer, with guardian delay constituting the majority of total delay in both settings. Future interventions should aim to reduce structural barriers to care and increase awareness of BL in particular and cancer in general within the community, as well as among health professionals.
doi:10.1186/1750-9378-8-36
PMCID: PMC3849966  PMID: 24079452
Africa; Kenya; Uganda; Cancer; Children; Burkitt lymphoma; Delay; Delayed diagnosis
24.  Necropsies in African children: consent dilemmas for parents and guardians 
Archives of Disease in Childhood  2001;84(6):463-467.
BACKGROUND—Necropsy examination provides a good index of the accuracy of clinical diagnosis and the quality of treatment, but its use in sub-Saharan Africa is limited.
AIMS—To identify the main reasons for parents'/guardians' refusal of consent for necropsy and to explore the issues affecting their decision.
METHODS—A sequential necropsy study of Zambian children between 2 months and 15 years dying of respiratory disease. When the parent/guardian refused permission for necropsy, the main reason given was recorded, after encouragement to express their specific concerns in their own words.
RESULTS—Parents/guardians of 891 of 1181 children (75.4%) refused to give permission, and 290 (24.6%) consented. Of those who refused, 43% did so on the grounds that it would be a "waste of time," as the diagnosis should have been made in life and the findings would now be of no benefit to them. More than one quarter of those who refused did so because a death certificate had already been issued and arrangements to transport the body had been made and could not be delayed. Traditional beliefs that ancestral spirits forbade the mutilation of dead bodies were cited by 77 (8.6%). Other reasons included the child not being their own or that they must seek permission from other family members who were not available (6%). Religious beliefs were not a major cause of refusal.
CONCLUSIONS—It is possible to achieve a rate of necropsy consent sufficient to undertake valuable clinical pathology studies on children in sub-Saharan Africa. The wide range of reasons cited for refusal points to the diverse and complex interaction of social and cultural factors affecting attitudes to necropsy examination. Medical staff need training and support to improve the uptake of clinical pathology services.

doi:10.1136/adc.84.6.463
PMCID: PMC1718810  PMID: 11369557
25.  Increasing access to dental care for medicaid preschool children: the Access to Baby and Child Dentistry (ABCD) program. 
Public Health Reports  2000;115(5):448-459.
OBJECTIVE: Washington State's Access to Baby and Child Dent stry (ABCD) Program, first implemented in Spokane County in 1995, offers extended dental benefits to participating Medicaid-enrolled children and higher fees for certified providers. This study aimed to determine the program's effect on children's dental utilization and dental fear, and on parent satisfaction and knowledge. METHODS: The study used a posttest-only comparison group design. Trained interviewers conducted telephone interviews with 465 parents of chi dren ages 13 to 36 months (49% ABCD, 51% Medicaid-enrolled children not in ABCD). One year later, 282 of 465 parents completed a follow-up survey. Utilization and expenditures were calculated from Medicaid claims. RESULTS: Forty-three percent of children in the ABCD Program visited a dentist in the follow-up year, compared with 12% of Medicaid-enrolled children not in the ABCD Program. An ABCD child was 5.3 times as likely to have had at least one dental visit as a child not in the program. ABCD children were 4 to 13 times as likely to have used specific dental services. Parents of ABCD children were more likely to report having ever tried to make a dental appointment, less likely to report that their children were fearful of the dentist, and were more satisfied, compared to parents of non-ABCD children. CONCLUSION: The authors conclude that the ABCD Program was effective in increasing access for preschool children enrolled in Medicaid, reducing dental fear, and increasing parent satisfaction.
PMCID: PMC1308601  PMID: 11236017

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