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1.  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
2.  Oral Health Education for Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Students 
Journal of dental education  2013;77(5):581-590.
The aim of this study was to evaluate whether an interdisciplinary, multifaceted oral health education program delivered to pediatric nurse practitioner students at the University of California, San Francisco, would improve their knowledge, confidence, attitudes, and behaviors regarding the provision of oral health assessments, consultations, referrals, and services to young children during well-child visits. Thirty pediatric nurse practitioner students were included in the study. Participants completed a written survey before and after receiving an interdisciplinary educational intervention that included didactic education, simulation exercises, and clinical observation by a pediatric dental resident. Between pre-intervention and post-intervention, a significant improvement was seen in the pediatric nurse practitioners’ knowledge of oral health topics (p<0.001), confidence when providing oral health counseling (p<0.001), and attitudes about including oral health counseling in their examinations (p=0.006). In the post-intervention survey, 83 percent of the subjects reported having incorporated oral examinations into their well-child visits. Our study suggests that providing an interdisciplinary oral health educational program for pediatric nurse practitioner students can improve their knowledge, confidence, attitudes, and behaviors regarding the incorporation of oral health care services during routine well-child visits.
PMCID: PMC4259151  PMID: 23658403
oral health education; pediatric nurse practitioner students; interdisciplinary education; interprofessional education; well-child visits
3.  Innovative interventions to promote positive dental health behaviors and prevent dental caries in preschool children: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial 
Trials  2013;14:118.
Background
Dental caries (tooth decay) is highly prevalent and is largely attributable to unhealthy self-care behaviors (diet and oral hygiene). The conventional (health) education (CE), focusing on disseminating information and giving normative advice, often fails to achieve sustained behavioral changes. This study incorporates two innovative elements into CE: (i) motivational interviewing (MI), a client-centered counseling for changing behaviors, and (ii) an interactive caries risk assessment (RA) tool, which is devised to facilitate dental counseling and may enhance MI in several ways. Through a randomized, controlled, evaluator-blinded trial, three intervention schemes (CE, CE + MI, and CE + MI + RA) will be compared for their effectiveness in eliciting dentally healthy behaviors and preventing caries in preschool children.
Methods/Design
This study targets 3-year-old children who are at a critical stage for embedding health habits. Children with unfavorable dental behaviors (insufficient toothbrushing and/or frequent snacking) and their parents will be recruited from 12 participating kindergartens. Parent-child dyads (n = 690) will be randomly assigned into three groups. In the first group (CE), oral health information and advice will be delivered to parents through pamphlets. In the second group (CE + MI), in addition to the pamphlets, individual MI counseling with each parent will be performed by one of two trained dental hygienists. In the third group (CE + MI + RA), besides pamphlets and MI, interactive RA will be integrated into MI to motivate parents and facilitate their informed decision making and goal planning. At baseline and after 12 and 24 months, parents will complete a questionnaire and children will undergo a dental examination. The effectiveness of the intervention schemes will be compared over 12 and 24 months. The primary outcome will be caries increment in children and proportion of caries-free children. Secondary outcomes will be changes in parental efficacy for protecting children’s oral health and changes in children’s dental behaviors.
Discussion
Motivating and empowering parents to cultivate dentally healthy habits of young children presents both promises and challenges. With careful methodological considerations, this study is expected to provide scientific evidence for public health workers, dentists, and dental auxiliaries (nurses and hygienists) to choose appropriate interventions to advance children’s oral health.
Trial registration
HKCTR-1455
doi:10.1186/1468-6708-14-118
PMCID: PMC3658868  PMID: 23782918
Motivational interviewing; Caries risk assessment; Oral health intervention; Oral health education; Dental counseling; Children; Preschool; Parents; Randomized controlled trial
4.  Primary care nurses’ awareness of and willingness to perform children’s oral health care 
BMC Oral Health  2014;14:26.
Background
The majority of young children receive no early dental examination while attending primary health care for routine check-ups. Our aim was to study primary care nurses’ knowledge of oral health care (OHC) and their attitudes toward delivering OHC, as well as to assess their willingness to obtain OHC information.
Methods
We conducted a cross-sectional survey of all primary-care nurses working in the public health centres of Tehran city. An anonymous self-administered questionnaire queried their knowledge in paediatric-, general and medicine-related areas of dentistry, providing knowledge scores for three domains. The nurses’ attitudes toward OHC and their willingness to obtain OHC information underwent evaluation with statements utilizing a five-point Likert scale. Altogether 680 nurses took part in the survey. The Chi-square test, t-test, one-way ANOVA and logistic regression model served for statistical analyses.
Result
The mean score for the paediatric dentistry domain (3.6, SD: 1.5) was lower than for the medical (4.4, SD: 2.3) and dental domains (5.8, SD: 1.5). Obtaining higher scores in the paediatric (OR = 1.2) and dental (OR = 1.3) domains, and a greater willingness to receive OHC information (OR = 5.3), were associated with a positive attitude toward OHC. Nurses with a lower education (OR = 1.9) and better oral health behaviour (OR = 1.1) as well as those working in a non-affluent region (OR = 1.6) had a more positive attitude toward OHC.
Conclusion
Primary care nurses’ low level of knowledge in OHC and their positive attitude and willingness to obtain more information point to the need for appropriate OHC training and encouragement for the nurses to promote oral health and prevent dental diseases.
doi:10.1186/1472-6831-14-26
PMCID: PMC3986874  PMID: 24670004
Attitude; Children; Knowledge; Nurses; Oral health; Primary care providers
5.  Nutrition training in medical and other health professional schools in West Africa: the need to improve current approaches and enhance training effectiveness 
Global Health Action  2014;7:10.3402/gha.v7.24827.
Background
Health professionals play a key role in the delivery of nutrition interventions. Improving the quality of nutrition training in health professional schools is vital for building the necessary human resource capacity to implement effective interventions for reducing malnutrition in West Africa. This study was undertaken to assess the current status of nutrition training in medical, nursing and midwifery schools in West Africa.
Design
Data were collected from 127 training programs organized by 52 medical, nursing, and midwifery schools. Using a semi-structured questionnaire, we collected information on the content and distribution of nutrition instruction throughout the curriculum, the number of hours devoted to nutrition, the years of the curriculum in which nutrition was taught, and the prevailing teaching methods. Simple descriptive and bivariate analyses were performed.
Results
Nutrition instruction occurred mostly during the first 2 years for the nursing (84%), midwifery (87%), and nursing assistant (77%) programs and clinical years in medical schools (64%). The total amount of time devoted to nutrition was on average 57, 56, 48, and 28 hours in the medical, nursing, midwifery, and nursing assistant programs, respectively. Nutrition instruction was mostly provided within the framework of a dedicated nutrition course in nursing (78%), midwifery (87%), and nursing assistant programs (100%), whereas it was mainly embedded in other courses in medical schools (46%). Training content was heavily weighted to basic nutrition in the nursing (69%), midwifery (77%), and nursing assistant (100%) programs, while it was oriented toward clinical practice in the medical programs (64%). For all the programs, there was little focus (<6 hours contact time) on public health nutrition. The teaching methods on nutrition training were mostly didactic in all the surveyed schools; however, we found an integrated model in some medical schools (12%). None of the surveyed institutions had a dedicated nutrition faculty. The majority (55%) of the respondents rated nutrition instruction in their institutions as insufficient.
Conclusions
The results of our study reveal important gaps in current approaches to nutrition training in health professional schools in West Africa. Addressing these gaps is critical for the development of a skilled nutrition workforce in the region. Nutrition curricula that provide opportunities to obtain more insights about the basic principles of human nutrition and their application to public health and clinical practice are recommended.
doi:10.3402/gha.v7.24827
PMCID: PMC4119290  PMID: 25084833
nutrition; training; curriculum revision; capacity development; health professional schools; West Africa
6.  Brief oral health promotion intervention among parents of young children to reduce early childhood dental decay 
BMC Public Health  2013;13:245.
Background
Severe untreated dental decay affects a child’s growth, body weight, quality of life as well as cognitive development, and the effects extend beyond the child to the family, the community and the health care system. Early health behavioural factors, including dietary practices and eating patterns, can play a major role in the initiation and development of oral diseases, particularly dental caries. The parent/caregiver, usually the mother, has a critical role in the adoption of protective health care behaviours and parental feeding practices strongly influence children’s eating behaviours. This study will test if an early oral health promotion intervention through the use of brief motivational interviewing (MI) and anticipatory guidance (AG) approaches can reduce the incidence of early childhood dental decay and obesity.
Methods
The study will be a randomised controlled study with parents and their new-born child/ren who are seen at 6–12 weeks of age by a child/community health nurse. Consenting parents will complete a questionnaire on oral health knowledge, behaviours, self-efficacy, oral health fatalism, parenting stress, prenatal and peri-natal health and socio-demographic factors at study commencement and at 12 and 36 months. Each child–parent pair will be allocated to an intervention or a standard care group, using a computer-generated random blocks. The standard group will be managed through the standard early oral health screening program; “lift the lip”. The intervention group will be provided with tailored oral health counselling by oral health consultants trained in MI and AG.
Participating children will be examined at 24, and 36 months for the occurrence of dental decay and have their height and weight recorded. Dietary information obtained from a food frequency chart will be used to determine food and dietary patterns. Data analysis will use intention to treat and per protocol analysis and will use tests of independent proportions and means. Multivariate statistical tests will also be used to take account of socio-economic and demographic factors in addition to parental knowledge, behaviour, self-efficacy, and parent/child stress.
Discussion
The study will test the effects of an oral health promotion intervention to affect oral health and general health and have the potential to demonstrate the “common risk factor” approach to health promotion.
Trial registration
Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry: http://ACTRN12611000997954
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-245
PMCID: PMC3610190  PMID: 23509932
Motivational interviewing; Anticipatory guidance; Early childhood dental decay; Oral health promotion
7.  Swedish Child Health Care nurses conceptions of overweight in children: a qualitative study 
BMC Family Practice  2012;13:57.
Background
Registered Sick Children’s Nurses and District Nurses employed at Child Health Care centres are in a position to help prevent childhood overweight and obesity. Prevention of this challenging public health threat could be improved through having a better understanding of how this group of nurses perceives childhood obesity. The aim of this study was to elucidate the conceptions of childhood overweight, including obesity, among nurses working in Child Health Care.
Method
A qualitative study using a phenomenographic approach, based on open-ended interviews with 18 Child Health Care nurses (CHC-nurses) strategically selected from 17 Child Health Care Centres in the southern part of Sweden.
Results
Four categories of description emerged from the data: Perception of childhood overweight changes, Overweight in younger children a neglected concern, Overweight a delicate issue and Importance of family lifestyle. The participating CHC-nurses conceived overweight in children, primarily obesity in children to be an extensive and serious problem which affects children, families and the surrounding society. Overweight in children was further perceived as a consequence of their parent’s lifestyle and their awareness of the problem, which was considered by the CHC-nurses as a sensitive and a provoking issue. It was also perceived that overweight in children is not taken seriously during the pre-school period and that concerns regarding overweight in younger children were mainly about the appearance and not the health of the child. The CHC-nurses perceived that the proportion of overweight children has increased, which Swedish society and the CHC-nurses have adapted to. This adaptation makes it difficult for CHC-nurses to define those children who are overweight.
Conclusion
CHC-nurses provide a comprehensive and complex picture of childhood overweight, which includes several difficulties dealing with this issue. Attention to CHC-nurse’s conceptions of overweight in children is important since it can affect the parent-nurse relationship and thereby the nurse’s, as well as the parent’s efforts to influence the children’s weight. It is suggested that CHC- nurses should work with person centered counseling and empowerment concerning parent to child relations in cases involving overweight.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-13-57
PMCID: PMC3426496  PMID: 22697580
Child; Conceptions; Nurses; Overweight; Perceptions; Primary health care; Qualitative research
8.  Assessment of knowledge about childhood autism among paediatric and psychiatric nurses in Ebonyi state, Nigeria 
Background
There is increasing public and professional awareness of autism spectrum disorders with early recognition, diagnosis and interventions that are known to improve prognosis. Poor knowledge about childhood autism among paediatric and psychiatric nurses who are members of multidisciplinary teams that care for such children may be a major barrier to early interventions that could improve quality of life and prognosis in childhood autism. Factors that influence knowledge about childhood autism among these nurses are not known. This study assessed knowledge about childhood autism among paediatric and psychiatric nurses in Ebonyi state, Nigeria and determined the factors that could be influencing such knowledge.
Methods
Forty specialist paediatric and forty psychiatric nurses, making a total sample of eighty, were randomly selected from all the health care facilities in Ebonyi state, Nigeria. A socio-demographic questionnaire and knowledge about childhood autism among health workers (KCAHW) questionnaire were administered to them and the study was a point survey.
Results
The total mean score on the KCAHW questionnaire among the nurses that participated in the study was 12.56 ± 3.23 out of a total of 19 possible. The mean score for the paediatric nurses was 11.78 ± 3.64 while psychiatric nurses had mean score of 13.35 ± 2.58. The mean scores in Domain 1 were 6.17 ± 1.75 for the paediatric nurses and 6.52 ± 1.43 for the psychiatric nurses. The mean scores in Domain 2 were 0.65 ± 0.48 for the paediatric nurses and 0.80 ± 0.41 for the psychiatric nurses. Domain 3 showed mean scores of 1.97 ± 1.25 for the paediatric nurses while psychiatric nurses scored 2.62 ± 1.23. Domain 4 yielded the mean scores of 2.97 ± 1.54 and 3.42 ± 0.98 for the paediatric and psychiatric nurses respectively.
There was significant relationship between the total mean score on the KCAHW questionnaire for the two groups and the area of specialisation of the nurses (t = -2.23, df = 78, p = 0.03) and there was also significant relationship between previous involvement in managing children with childhood autism as a specialist paediatric or psychiatric nurse and the total mean score on the KCAHW questionnaire (t = 6.90, df = 78, p = 0.00).
Conclusion
The scores reflect deficits in knowledge about childhood autism among the study cohorts. Paediatric and psychiatric nurses as members of multidisciplinary teams that care for children with childhood autism are expected to provide holistic care and adequate counselling to the families of these children. Unfortunately in this environment, they are not fully equipped with enough knowledge about childhood autism. Education on childhood autism is therefore needed and can be provided through continuing medical education and emphasizing childhood autism in their training curriculum. This will enhance early identification and diagnosis of childhood autism with early interventions that are known to improve prognosis.
doi:10.1186/1753-2000-5-1
PMCID: PMC3022827  PMID: 21214953
9.  Smoking behaviour, knowledge and attitudes among Family Medicine physicians and nurses in Bosnia and Herzegovina 
BMC Family Practice  2004;5:12.
Background
Smoking rates among the general population in Bosnia and Herzegovina are extremely high, and national campaigns to lower smoking rates have not yet begun. As part of future activities of the Queen's University Family Medicine Development Program in the Balkans Region, technical assistance may be provided to Bosnia and Herzegovina to develop of national tobacco control strategies. This assistance may focus on training doctors and nurses on smoking cessation strategies with a view to helping their patients to stop smoking. Given this important role that health professionals have, data is needed on smoking rates as well as on smoking behaviour among doctors and nurses in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This study therefore seeks to determine the smoking rates and behaviour of family medicine physicians and nurses in Bosnia and Herzegovina and to determine how well prepared they feel with respect to counselling their patients on smoking cessation strategies.
Methods
The WHO Global Health Professional Survey, a self-administered questionnaire, was distributed to physicians and nurses in 19 Family Medicine Teaching Centres in Bosnia and Herzegovina in June 2002. Smoking rates and behaviour, as well as information on knowledge and attitudes regarding smoking were determined for both physicians and nurses.
Results
Of the 273 physicians and nurses currently working in Family Medicine Teaching Centres, 209 (77%) completed the questionnaire. Approximately 45% of those surveyed currently smoke, where 51% of nurses smoked, compared to 40% of physicians. With respect to knowledge and attitudes, all respondents agreed that smoking is harmful to one's health. However, "ever" smokers, compared to "never" smokers, were less likely to agree that health professionals who smoke were less likely to advise patients to quit smoking than non-smoking health professionals. Less than half of physicians and nurses had received formal training in smoking cessations strategies, but about two thirds of health professionals felt very or somewhat prepared to counsel their patients on how to quit smoking.
Conclusions
Our study indicates that almost half of Family Medicine health professionals in Bosnia and Herzegovina are smokers. This indicates a severe public health problem throughout the country. Steps need to be taken at a national level to address the fight against tobacco.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-5-12
PMCID: PMC449709  PMID: 15193160
10.  Associations between Stroke Mortality and Weekend Working by Stroke Specialist Physicians and Registered Nurses: Prospective Multicentre Cohort Study 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(8):e1001705.
In a multicenter observational study, Benjamin Bray and colleagues evaluate whether weekend rounds by stroke specialist physicians, or the ratio of registered nurses to beds on weekends, is associated with patient mortality after stroke.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
Observational studies have reported higher mortality for patients admitted on weekends. It is not known whether this “weekend effect” is modified by clinical staffing levels on weekends. We aimed to test the hypotheses that rounds by stroke specialist physicians 7 d per week and the ratio of registered nurses to beds on weekends are associated with mortality after stroke.
Methods and Findings
We conducted a prospective cohort study of 103 stroke units (SUs) in England. Data of 56,666 patients with stroke admitted between 1 June 2011 and 1 December 2012 were extracted from a national register of stroke care in England. SU characteristics and staffing levels were derived from cross-sectional survey. Cox proportional hazards models were used to estimate hazard ratios (HRs) of 30-d post-admission mortality, adjusting for case mix, organisational, staffing, and care quality variables. After adjusting for confounders, there was no significant difference in mortality risk for patients admitted to a stroke service with stroke specialist physician rounds fewer than 7 d per week (adjusted HR [aHR] 1.04, 95% CI 0.91–1.18) compared to patients admitted to a service with rounds 7 d per week. There was a dose–response relationship between weekend nurse/bed ratios and mortality risk, with the highest risk of death observed in stroke services with the lowest nurse/bed ratios. In multivariable analysis, patients admitted on a weekend to a SU with 1.5 nurses/ten beds had an estimated adjusted 30-d mortality risk of 15.2% (aHR 1.18, 95% CI 1.07–1.29) compared to 11.2% for patients admitted to a unit with 3.0 nurses/ten beds (aHR 0.85, 95% CI 0.77–0.93), equivalent to one excess death per 25 admissions. The main limitation is the risk of confounding from unmeasured characteristics of stroke services.
Conclusions
Mortality outcomes after stroke are associated with the intensity of weekend staffing by registered nurses but not 7-d/wk ward rounds by stroke specialist physicians. The findings have implications for quality improvement and resource allocation in stroke care.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
In a perfect world, a patient admitted to hospital on a weekend or during the night should have as good an outcome as a patient admitted during regular working hours. But several observational studies (investigations that record patient outcomes without intervening in any way; clinical trials, by contrast, test potential healthcare interventions by comparing the outcomes of patients who are deliberately given different treatments) have reported that admission on weekends is associated with a higher mortality (death) rate than admission on weekdays. This “weekend effect” has led to calls for increased medical and nursing staff to be available in hospitals during the weekend and overnight to ensure that the healthcare provided at these times is of equal quality to that provided during regular working hours. In the UK, for example, “seven-day working” has been identified as a policy and service improvement priority for the National Health Service.
Why Was This Study Done?
Few studies have actually tested the relationship between patient outcomes and weekend physician or nurse staffing levels. It could be that patients who are admitted to hospital on the weekend have poor outcomes because they are generally more ill than those admitted on weekdays. Before any health system introduces potentially expensive increases in weekend staffing levels, better evidence that this intervention will improve patient outcomes is needed. In this prospective cohort study (a study that compares the outcomes of groups of people with different baseline characteristics), the researchers ask whether mortality after stroke is associated with weekend working by stroke specialist physicians and registered nurses. Stroke occurs when the brain's blood supply is interrupted by a blood vessel in the brain bursting (hemorrhagic stroke) or being blocked by a blood clot (ischemic stroke). Swift treatment can limit the damage to the brain caused by stroke, but of the 15 million people who have a stroke every year, about 6 million die within a few hours and another 5 million are left disabled.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers extracted clinical data on 56,666 patients who were admitted to stroke units in England over an 18-month period from a national stroke register. They obtained information on the characteristics and staffing levels of the stroke units from a biennial survey of hospitals admitting patients with stroke, and information on deaths among patients with stroke from the national register of deaths. A quarter of the patients were admitted on a weekend, almost half the stroke units provided stroke specialist physician rounds seven days per week, and the remainder provided rounds five days per week. After adjustment for factors that might have affected outcomes (“confounders”) such as stroke severity and the level of acute stroke care available in each stroke unit, there was no significant difference in mortality risk between patients admitted to a stroke unit with rounds seven days/week and patients admitted to a unit with rounds fewer than seven days/week. However, patients admitted on a weekend to a stroke unit with 1.5 nurses/ten beds had a 30-day mortality risk of 15.2%, whereas patients admitted to a unit with 3.0 nurses/ten beds had a mortality risk of 11.2%, a mortality risk difference equivalent to one excess death per 25 admissions.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings show that the provision of stroke specialist physician rounds seven days/week in stroke units in England did not influence the (weak) association between weekend admission for stroke and death recorded in this study, but mortality outcomes after stroke were associated with the intensity of weekend staffing by registered nurses. The accuracy of these findings may be affected by the measure used to judge the level of acute care available in each stroke unit and by residual confounding. For example, patients admitted to units with lower nursing levels may have shared other unknown characteristics that increased their risk of dying after stroke. Moreover, this study considered the impact of staffing levels on mortality only and did not consider other relevant outcomes such as long-term disability. Despite these limitations, these findings support the provision of higher weekend ratios of registered nurses to beds in stroke units, but given the high costs of increasing weekend staffing levels, it is important that controlled trials of different models of physician and nursing staffing are undertaken as soon as possible.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001705.
This study is further discussed in a PLOS Medicine Perspective by Meeta Kerlin
Information about plans to introduce seven-day working into the National Health Service in England is available; the 2013 publication “NHS Services—Open Seven Days a Week: Every Day Counts” provides examples of how hospitals across England are working together to provide routine healthcare services seven days a week; a “Behind the Headlines” article on the UK National Health Service Choices website describes a recent observational study that investigated the association between admission to hospital on the weekend and death, and newspaper coverage of the study's results; the Choices website also provides information about stroke for patients and their families, including personal stories
A US nurses' site includes information on the association of nurse staffing with patient safety
The US National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke provides information about all aspects of stroke (in English and Spanish); its Know Stroke site provides educational materials about stroke prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation, including personal stories (in English and Spanish); the US National Institute of Health SeniorHealth website has additional information about stroke
The Internet Stroke Center provides detailed information about stroke for patients, families, and health professionals (in English and Spanish)
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001705
PMCID: PMC4138029  PMID: 25137386
11.  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
12.  Parent experiences of inpatient pediatric care in relation to health care delivery and sociodemographic characteristics: results of a Norwegian national survey 
Background
The national survey of parent experiences with inpatient pediatric care contribute to the Norwegian system of health care quality indicators. This article reports on the statistical association between parent experiences of inpatient pediatric care and aspects of health care delivery, child health status and health outcome as assessed by the parents, and the parents’ sociodemographic characteristics.
Methods
6,160 parents of children who were inpatients at one of Norway’s 20 pediatric departments in 2005 were contacted to take part in a survey that included the Parent Experience of Pediatric Care questionnaire. It includes 25 items that form six scales measuring parent experiences: doctor services, hospital facilities, information discharge, information about examinations and tests, nursing services and organization. The six scales were analyzed using OLS-regression.
Results
3,308 (53.8%) responded. Mean scores ranged from 62.81 (organization) to 72.80 (hospital facilities) on a 0–100 scale where 100 is the best possible experience. Disappointment with staff, unexpected waiting, information regarding new medication, whether the staff were successful in easing the child’s pain, incorrect treatment and number of previous admissions had a statistically significant association with at least five of the PEPC scale scores. Disappointment with staff had the strongest association. Most sociodemographic characteristics had weak or no associations with parent experiences.
Conclusions
The complete relief of the child’s pain, reducing unexpected waiting and disappointment with staff, and providing good information about new medication are aspects of health care that should be considered in initiatives designed to improve parent experiences. In the Norwegian context parent experiences vary little by parents’ sociodemographic characteristics.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-13-512
PMCID: PMC3866943  PMID: 24325153
Parent experiences; Parent satisfaction; Quality of care; Inpatient pediatric care; Norway
13.  Advancing adolescent health and health services in Saudi Arabia: exploring health-care providers’ training, interest, and perceptions of the health-care needs of young people 
Background
Adolescent health is regarded as central to global health goals. Investments made in adolescent health and health services protect the improvements witnessed in child health. Though Saudi Arabia has a large adolescent population, adolescent health-care only began to emerge in recent years, yet widespread uptake has been very limited. Health-care providers are key in addressing and providing the necessary health-care services for adolescents, and so this study was conducted with the aim of identifying opportunities for the advancement of knowledge transfer for adolescent health services in Saudi Arabia.
Methods
This Web-based, cross-sectional study was carried out at four hospitals in Saudi Arabia. Physicians and nurses were invited to participate in an online survey addressing their contact with adolescent patients, and training, knowledge, and attitudes towards adolescent health-care.
Results
A total of 232 professionals participated. The majority (82.3%) reported sometimes or always coming into contact with adolescent patients. Less than half (44%), however, had received any sort of training on adolescent health during their undergraduate or postgraduate education, and only 53.9% reported having adequate knowledge about the health-care needs of adolescents. Nurses perceived themselves as having more knowledge in the health-care needs of adolescents and reported feeling more comfortable in communicating with adolescents as compared with physicians. The majority of participants were interested in gaining further skills and knowledge in adolescent health-care and agreed or strongly agreed that adolescents have specific health-care needs that are different than children or adults (82.3% and 84.0%, respectively). With respect to health services, the majority (85.8%) believed that adolescents should be hospitalized in adolescent-specific wards. Only 26.7% of health-care providers believed that patients should be transferred from child to adult health-care services at 12–13 years of age, as is currently practiced in the country.
Conclusion
A gap exists between the training, knowledge and skills of health-care providers, and the needs to address health-care issues of adolescents in Saudi Arabia. This coupled with the fact that health-care providers are interested in gaining more knowledge and skills and are supportive of changes in the health-care system provides an opportunity for building local capacity and instituting medical and nursing education and health-care reform that can better serve the needs of the country’s young population.
doi:10.2147/AMEP.S66272
PMCID: PMC4159223  PMID: 25214805
medical education; young population; knowledge transfer
14.  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
15.  Assessment of the nursing skill mix in Mozambique using a task analysis methodology 
Background
The density of the nursing and maternal child health nursing workforce in Mozambique (0.32/1000) is well below the WHO minimum standard of 1 nurse per 1000. Two levels of education were being offered for both nurses and maternal child health nurses, in programmes ranging from 18 to 30 months in length. The health care workforce in Mozambique also includes Medical Technicians and Medical Agents, who are also educated at either basic or mid-level. The Ministry of Health determined the need to document the tasks that each of the six cadres was performing within various health facilities to identify gaps, and duplications, in order to identify strategies for streamlining workforce production, while retaining highest educational and competency standards. The methodology of task analysis (TA) was used to achieve this objective. This article provides information about the TA methodology, and selected outcomes of the very broad study.
Methods
A cross-sectional descriptive task analysis survey was conducted over a 15 month period (2008–2009). A stratified sample of 1295 individuals was recruited from every type of health facility in all of Mozambique’s 10 provinces and in Maputo City. Respondents indicated how frequently they performed any of 233 patient care tasks. Data analysis focused on identifying areas where identical tasks were performed by the various cadres. Analyses addressed frequency of performance, grouped by level of educational preparation, within various types of health facilities.
Results
Task sharing ranged from 74% to 88% between basic and general nurse cadres and from 54% to 88% between maternal and child health nurse cadres, within various health facility types. Conversely, there was distinction between scope of practice for nursing and maternal/child health nursing cadres.
Conclusion
The educational pathways to general nursing and maternal/child health nursing careers were consolidated into one 24 month programme for each career. The scopes of practice were affirmed based on task analysis survey data.
doi:10.1186/1478-4491-12-5
PMCID: PMC3909508  PMID: 24460789
16.  The Long-Term Effects of a Peer-Led Sex Education Programme (RIPPLE): A Cluster Randomised Trial in Schools in England 
PLoS Medicine  2008;5(11):e224.
Background
Peer-led sex education is widely believed to be an effective approach to reducing unsafe sex among young people, but reliable evidence from long-term studies is lacking. To assess the effectiveness of one form of school-based peer-led sex education in reducing unintended teenage pregnancy, we did a cluster (school) randomised trial with 7 y of follow-up.
Methods and Findings
Twenty-seven representative schools in England, with over 9,000 pupils aged 13–14 y at baseline, took part in the trial. Schools were randomised to either peer-led sex education (intervention) or to continue their usual teacher-led sex education (control). Peer educators, aged 16–17 y, were trained to deliver three 1-h classroom sessions of sex education to 13- to 14-y-old pupils from the same schools. The sessions used participatory learning methods designed to improve the younger pupils' skills in sexual communication and condom use and their knowledge about pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), contraception, and local sexual health services. Main outcome measures were abortion and live births by age 20 y, determined by anonymised linkage of girls to routine (statutory) data. Assessment of these outcomes was blind to sex education allocation. The proportion of girls who had one or more abortions before age 20 y was the same in each arm (intervention, 5.0% [95% confidence interval (CI) 4.0%–6.3%]; control, 5.0% [95% CI 4.0%–6.4%]). The odds ratio (OR) adjusted for randomisation strata was 1.07 (95% CI 0.80–1.42, p = 0.64, intervention versus control). The proportion of girls with one or more live births by 20.5 y was 7.5% (95% CI 5.9%–9.6%) in the intervention arm and 10.6% (95% CI 6.8%–16.1%) in the control arm, adjusted OR 0.77 (0.51–1.15). Fewer girls in the peer-led arm self-reported a pregnancy by age 18 y (7.2% intervention versus 11.2% control, adjusted OR 0.62 [95% CI 0.42–0.91], weighted for non-response; response rate 61% intervention, 45% control). There were no significant differences for girls or boys in self-reported unprotected first sex, regretted or pressured sex, quality of current sexual relationship, diagnosed sexually transmitted diseases, or ability to identify local sexual health services.
Conclusion
Compared with conventional school sex education at age 13–14 y, this form of peer-led sex education was not associated with change in teenage abortions, but may have led to fewer teenage births and was popular with pupils. It merits consideration within broader teenage pregnancy prevention strategies.
Trial registration:
ISRCTN (ISRCTN94255362).
Judith Stephenson and colleagues report on a cluster randomized trial in London of school-based peer-led sex education and whether it reduced unintended teenage pregnancy.
Editors' Summary
Background.
Teenage pregnancies are fraught with problems. Children born to teenage mothers are often underweight, which can affect their long-term health; young mothers have a high risk of poor mental health after the birth; and teenage parents and their children are at increased risk of living in poverty. Little wonder, then, that faced with one of the highest teenage pregnancy rates in Western Europe, the Department of Health in England launched a national Teenage Pregnancy Strategy in 2000 to reduce teenage pregnancies. The main goal of the strategy is to halve the 1998 under-18 pregnancy rate—there were 46.6 pregnancies for every 1,000 young women in this age group in that year—by 2010. Approaches recommended in the strategy to achieve this goal include the provision of effective sexual health advice services for young people, active engagement of health, social, youth support, and other services in the reduction of teenage pregnancies, and the improvement of sex and relationships education (SRE).
Why Was This Study Done?
Although the annual under-18 pregnancy rate in England is falling, it is still very high, and it is extremely unlikely that the main goal of the Teenage Pregnancy Strategy will be achieved. Experts are, therefore, looking for better ways to reduce both teenage pregnancy rates and the high rates of sexual transmitted diseases among teenagers. Many believe that peer-led SRE—the teaching (sharing) of sexual health information, values, and behaviours by people of a similar age or status group—might be a good approach to try. Peers, they suggest, might convey information about sexual health and relationships better than teachers. However, little is known about the long-term effectiveness of peer-led SRE. In this randomized cluster trial, the researchers compare the effects of a peer-led SRE program and teacher-led sex education given to13- to 14-y-old pupils on abortion and live birth numbers among young women up to age 20 y. In a cluster randomized trial, participants are randomly assigned to the interventions being compared in “clusters”; in this trial, each “cluster” is a school.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
Twenty-seven schools in England (about 9,000 13- to 14-y-old pupils) participated in the RIPPLE (Randomized Intervention of PuPil-Led sex Education) trial. Each school was randomly assigned to peer-led SRE (the intervention arm) or to existing teacher-led SRE (the control arm). For peer-led SRE, trained 16- to 17-y-old peer educators gave three 1-h SRE sessions to the younger pupils in their schools. These sessions included practice with condoms, role play to improve sexual negotiating skills, and exercises to improve knowledge about sexual health. The researchers then used routine data on abortions and live births to find out how many female study participants had had an unintended pregnancy before the age of 20 y. One in 20 girls in both study arms had had one or more abortions. Slightly more girls in the control arm than in the intervention arm had had live births, but the difference was small and might have occurred by chance. However, significantly more girls in the intervention arm (11.2%) self-reported a pregnancy by age 18 than in the intervention arm (7.2%). There were no differences between the two arms for girls or boys in any other aspect of sexual health, including sexually transmitted diseases.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate that the peer-led SRE program used in this trial had no effect on the number of teenage abortions but may have led to slightly fewer live births among the young women in the study. This particular peer-led SRE program was very short so a more extended program might have had a more marked effect on teenage pregnancy rates; this possibility needs to be tested, particularly since the pupils preferred peer-led SRE to teacher-led SRE. Even though peer-led SRE requires more resources than teacher-led SRE, this form of SRE should probably still be considered as part of a broad teenage prevention strategy, suggest the researchers. But, they warn, their findings should also “temper high expectations about the long-term impact of peer-led approaches” on young people's sexual health.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0050224.
This study is further discussed in a PLoS Medicine Perspective by David Ross
Every Child Matters, a Web site produced by the UK government, includes information on teenage pregnancy, the Teenage Pregnancy Strategy, and teenage pregnancy statistics in England
Directgov, an official government Web site for UK citizens, provides advice for parents on talking to children about sex and teenage pregnancyand advice for young people on sexual health and preventing pregnancy
Teachernet, a UK source of online publications for schools, also provides information for parents about sex and relationships education and the UK government's current guidance on SRE in schools
Avert, an international AIDS charity, also provides a fact sheet on sex education
The Sex Education Forum in the UK is the national authority on Sex and Relationships Education
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0050224
PMCID: PMC2586352  PMID: 19067478
17.  Dental neglect as a marker of broader neglect: a qualitative investigation of public health nurses’ assessments of oral health in preschool children 
BMC Public Health  2013;13:370.
Background
Child neglect is a pernicious child protection issue with adverse consequences that extend to adulthood. Simultaneously, though it remains prevalent, childhood dental caries is a preventable disease. Public health nurses play a pivotal role in assessing oral health in children as part of general health surveillance. However, little is known about how they assess dental neglect or what their thresholds are for initiating targeted support or instigating child protection measures. Understanding these factors is important to allow improvements to be made in care pathways.
Methods
We investigated public health nurses’ assessment of oral health in preschool children in relation to dental neglect and any associations they make with child neglect more broadly. A qualitative study was conducted in Scotland during 2011/12. Sixteen public health nurses were recruited purposively from one health region. Individual, semi-structured interviews were undertaken and data were analyzed inductively using a framework approach. Categories were subsequently mapped to the research questions.
Results
Public health nurses assess oral health through proxy measures, opportunistic observation and through discussion with parents. Dental neglect is rarely an isolated issue that leads on its own to child protection referral. It tends to be other presenting issues that initiate a response. Threshold levels for targeted support were based on two broad indicators: social issues and concerns about child (and parental) dental health. Thresholds for child protection intervention were untreated dental caries or significant dental pain. Barriers to intervention are that dental neglect may be ‘unseen’ and ‘unspoken’. The study revealed a communication gap in the care pathway for children where a significant dental problem is identified.
Conclusions
Public health nurses take their child protection role seriously, but rarely make a link between dental caries and child neglect. Clear guidance on oral health assessment is required for public health nurses. Establishing formal communication pathways between child dental care providers and public health nurses may help close gaps in care pathways. However, further research is required into how these communication mechanisms can be improved.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-370
PMCID: PMC3641996  PMID: 23601415
Children; Dental; Neglect; Nurse; Oral; Public health; Qualitative; Threshold
18.  'BeSAFE', effect-evaluation of internet-based, tailored safety information combined with personal counselling on parents' child safety behaviours: study design of a randomized controlled trial 
BMC Public Health  2010;10:466.
Background
Injuries in or around the home are the most important cause of death among children aged 0-4 years old. It is also a major source of morbidity and loss of quality of life. In order to reduce the number of injuries, the Consumer Safety Institute introduced the use of Safety Information Leaflets in the Netherlands to provide safety education to parents of children aged 0-4 years. Despite current safety education, necessary safety behaviours are still not taken by a large number of parents, causing unnecessary risk of injury among young children. In an earlier study an E-health module with internet-based, tailored safety information was developed and applied. It concerns an advice for parents on safety behaviours in their homes regarding their child. The aim of this study is to evaluate the effect of this safety information combined with personal counselling on parents' child safety behaviours.
Methods/Design
Parents who are eligible for the regular well-child visit with their child at child age 5-8 months are invited to participate in this study. Participating parents are randomized into one of two groups: 1) internet-based, tailored safety information combined with personal counselling (intervention group), or 2) personal counselling using the Safety Information Leaflets of the Consumer Safety Institute in the Netherlands for children aged 12 to 24 months (control group). All parents receive safety information on safety topics regarding the prevention of falling, poisoning, drowning and burning. Parents of the intervention group will access the internet-based, tailored safety information module when their child is approximately 10 months old. After completion of the assessment questions, the program compiles a tailored safety advice. The parents are asked to devise and inscribe a personal implementation intention. During the next well-child visit, the Child Health Clinic professional will discuss this tailored safety information and the implementation intention with the parents. The control group will receive usual care, i.e. the provision of Safety Information Leaflets during their well-child visit at the child's age of 11 months.
Discussion
It is hypothesized that the intervention, internet-based, tailored safety information combined with personal counselling results in more parents' child safety behaviours.
Trial registration
Current Controlled Trials NTR1836
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-10-466
PMCID: PMC2924290  PMID: 20696070
19.  Educating nursing students about quality care and safe practices in the AIDS epidemic. 
Public Health Reports  1988;103(3):278-281.
Nursing students, as future health care providers, need comprehensive instruction about AIDS--the many manifestations of both the disease itself and the pandemic. As health educators and practitioners, nurses play a major role in safeguarding the health care setting and the community by their efforts in preventing transmission of the AIDS virus. Nurses are and will continue to be responsible for administering the major portion of the direct health care that AIDS patients require and for teaching basic nursing skills to other care givers. According to a 1987 survey of 461 nursing programs conducted by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, AIDS content is being incorporated into the curriculums of the majority of programs that responded. Students require an in-depth knowledge of AIDS to enable them to address effectively the needs of AIDS patients and their families. Because of the complex psychosocial, ethical, and legal issues, careful attention must be given to the development of students' skills in making clinical decisions that will promote effective nursing intervention when addressing problems in nursing care. Curriculums should also include assessment of the special needs of members of minority groups that are disproportionately affected by AIDS. Schools of nursing in colleges and universities can serve as key resources for developing curriculums, policies, and practice patterns that will assist the nursing community and the public in responding to the AIDS epidemic.
PMCID: PMC1478075  PMID: 3131818
20.  Overview of 71 European community-based initiatives against childhood obesity starting between 2005 and 2011: general characteristics and reported effects 
BMC Public Health  2014;14(1):758.
Background
Community-based initiatives (CBIs) on childhood obesity are considered a good practice approach against childhood obesity. The European Commission called for an overview of CBIs implemented from 2005–2011. A survey was executed by the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment of the Netherlands, in collaboration with the World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe. The objective of this paper is to provide an overview of the European CBIs, as identified in the survey, presenting their general characteristics, applied strategies (separately for actions targeting the environment and/or directly the children’s behaviour) and the reported effects on weight indicators.
Methods
Potentially eligible CBIs were identified by informants in 27 European Union countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland, and through desk research. School based approaches could be included if they complied with criteria related to being ‘community-based’. In total, 278 potential eligible CBIs were identified and of these, 260 projects were approached. For 88 an electronic questionnaire was completed; of these 71 met all criteria. The included projects were reported by 15 countries.
Results
66% of the 71 CBIs implemented actions in more than one setting or throughout the neighbourhood. Most frequently reported environmental actions were professional training (78%), actions for parents (70%), and changing the social (62%) and physical (52%) environment. Most frequently reported educational activities were group education (92%), general educational information (90%), and counselling sessions (58%). The vast majority (96%) implemented both environmental and individual strategies and about half of the CBIs reported a public-private partnership. Eight CBIs provided evidence supporting positive effects on weight indicators and/or overweight prevalence in a general population of children (aged 6 to 12 yrs), and one CBI did not support this. Two of those CBIs were also conducted among adolescents (aged 12 to 16,5 yrs), but showed no effect in this age-group.
Conclusions
Despite diversity of included CBIs, common characteristics were the application of integrated actions at a local level, aimed at changing the environment and the children’s behaviour directly. Evidence supporting effectiveness on weight indicators is available, although the design and conduct of most of these studies were suboptimal (i.e. no control group, a small sample size, not random).
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2458-14-758) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-14-758
PMCID: PMC4125700  PMID: 25065451
Children; Obesity; Community health services; Programme evaluation; Effectiveness
21.  Ohio Appalachia public health department personnel: Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine availability, and acceptance and concerns among parents of male and female adolescents 
Journal of community health  2012;37(6):1157-1163.
Public health departments (n=48) serving the 32 counties of Ohio Appalachia were contacted to determine human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine availability and to assess patient and parental attitudes, perceived barriers, and decisional differences about vaccination for male and female adolescents. Nurses or nursing supervisors in 46 of 48 health departments agreed to participate with 45 (97.8%) reporting that HPV vaccines were available for males and females. HPV vaccination barriers reported most frequently were lack of knowledge about the vaccines, concerns about potential side effects, the newness of the HPV vaccines, and parents believing their children were not sexually active or were too young to receive an HPV vaccine. Provider reports of the primary differences in the acceptability of an HPV vaccine among parents of males compared to the parents of females were lack of awareness that an HPV vaccine was available for males, not understanding why the vaccine should be given to males, and fear of vaccination increasing sexual promiscuity among female adolescents. Half of the health departments (n=24) reported that parents of females were more receptive toward HPV vaccination, 16 health departments reported no difference in acceptability based on gender of the child, and 5 health departments reported that parents of males were more receptive. This study suggests that there are different informational needs of males and females and parents of male and female children when making an informed decision about HPV vaccination. Findings highlight content to include in strategies to increase HPV vaccination rates among Appalachia Ohio residents.
doi:10.1007/s10900-012-9613-5
PMCID: PMC3490016  PMID: 22968822
HPV vaccines; cervical cancer; health care disparities; adolescent; Appalachian region
22.  Interactions between Non-Physician Clinicians and Industry: A Systematic Review 
PLoS Medicine  2013;10(11):e1001561.
In a systematic review of studies of interactions between non-physician clinicians and industry, Quinn Grundy and colleagues found that many of the issues identified for physicians' industry interactions exist for non-physician clinicians.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
With increasing restrictions placed on physician–industry interactions, industry marketing may target other health professionals. Recent health policy developments confer even greater importance on the decision making of non-physician clinicians. The purpose of this systematic review is to examine the types and implications of non-physician clinician–industry interactions in clinical practice.
Methods and Findings
We searched MEDLINE and Web of Science from January 1, 1946, through June 24, 2013, according to PRISMA guidelines. Non-physician clinicians eligible for inclusion were: Registered Nurses, nurse prescribers, Physician Assistants, pharmacists, dieticians, and physical or occupational therapists; trainee samples were excluded. Fifteen studies met inclusion criteria. Data were synthesized qualitatively into eight outcome domains: nature and frequency of industry interactions; attitudes toward industry; perceived ethical acceptability of interactions; perceived marketing influence; perceived reliability of industry information; preparation for industry interactions; reactions to industry relations policy; and management of industry interactions. Non-physician clinicians reported interacting with the pharmaceutical and infant formula industries. Clinicians across disciplines met with pharmaceutical representatives regularly and relied on them for practice information. Clinicians frequently received industry “information,” attended sponsored “education,” and acted as distributors for similar materials targeted at patients. Clinicians generally regarded this as an ethical use of industry resources, and felt they could detect “promotion” while benefiting from industry “information.” Free samples were among the most approved and common ways that clinicians interacted with industry. Included studies were observational and of varying methodological rigor; thus, these findings may not be generalizable. This review is, however, the first to our knowledge to provide a descriptive analysis of this literature.
Conclusions
Non-physician clinicians' generally positive attitudes toward industry interactions, despite their recognition of issues related to bias, suggest that industry interactions are normalized in clinical practice across non-physician disciplines. Industry relations policy should address all disciplines and be implemented consistently in order to mitigate conflicts of interest and address such interactions' potential to affect patient care.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Making and selling health care goods (including drugs and devices) and services is big business. To maximize the profits they make for their shareholders, companies involved in health care build relationships with physicians by providing information on new drugs, organizing educational meetings, providing samples of their products, giving gifts, and holding sponsored events. These relationships help to keep physicians informed about new developments in health care but also create the potential for causing harm to patients and health care systems. These relationships may, for example, result in increased prescription rates of new, heavily marketed medications, which are often more expensive than their generic counterparts (similar unbranded drugs) and that are more likely to be recalled for safety reasons than long-established drugs. They may also affect the provision of health care services. Industry is providing an increasingly large proportion of routine health care services in many countries, so relationships built up with physicians have the potential to influence the commissioning of the services that are central to the treatment and well-being of patients.
Why Was This Study Done?
As a result of concerns about the tension between industry's need to make profits and the ethics underlying professional practice, restrictions are increasingly being placed on physician–industry interactions. In the US, for example, the Physician Payments Sunshine Act now requires US manufacturers of drugs, devices, and medical supplies that participate in federal health care programs to disclose all payments and gifts made to physicians and teaching hospitals. However, other health professionals, including those with authority to prescribe drugs such as pharmacists, Physician Assistants, and nurse practitioners are not covered by this legislation or by similar legislation in other settings, even though the restructuring of health care to prioritize primary care and multidisciplinary care models means that “non-physician clinicians” are becoming more numerous and more involved in decision-making and medication management. In this systematic review (a study that uses predefined criteria to identify all the research on a given topic), the researchers examine the nature and implications of the interactions between non-physician clinicians and industry.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers identified 15 published studies that examined interactions between non-physician clinicians (Registered Nurses, nurse prescribers, midwives, pharmacists, Physician Assistants, and dieticians) and industry (corporations that produce health care goods and services). They extracted the data from 16 publications (representing 15 different studies) and synthesized them qualitatively (combined the data and reached word-based, rather than numerical, conclusions) into eight outcome domains, including the nature and frequency of interactions, non-physician clinicians' attitudes toward industry, and the perceived ethical acceptability of interactions. In the research the authors identified, non-physician clinicians reported frequent interactions with the pharmaceutical and infant formula industries. Most non-physician clinicians met industry representatives regularly, received gifts and samples, and attended educational events or received educational materials (some of which they distributed to patients). In these studies, non-physician clinicians generally regarded these interactions positively and felt they were an ethical and appropriate use of industry resources. Only a minority of non-physician clinicians felt that marketing influenced their own practice, although a larger percentage felt that their colleagues would be influenced. A sizeable proportion of non-physician clinicians questioned the reliability of industry information, but most were confident that they could detect biased information and therefore rated this information as reliable, valuable, or useful.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These and other findings suggest that non-physician clinicians generally have positive attitudes toward industry interactions but recognize issues related to bias and conflict of interest. Because these findings are based on a small number of studies, most of which were undertaken in the US, they may not be generalizable to other countries. Moreover, they provide no quantitative assessment of the interaction between non-physician clinicians and industry and no information about whether industry interactions affect patient care outcomes. Nevertheless, these findings suggest that industry interactions are normalized (seen as standard) in clinical practice across non-physician disciplines. This normalization creates the potential for serious risks to patients and health care systems. The researchers suggest that it may be unrealistic to expect that non-physician clinicians can be taught individually how to interact with industry ethically or how to detect and avert bias, particularly given the ubiquitous nature of marketing and promotional materials. Instead, they suggest, the environment in which non-physician clinicians practice should be structured to mitigate the potentially harmful effects of interactions with industry.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001561.
This study is further discussed in a PLOS Medicine Perspective by James S. Yeh and Aaron S. Kesselheim
The American Medical Association provides guidance for physicians on interactions with pharmaceutical industry representatives, information about the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, and a toolkit for preparing Physician Payments Sunshine Act reports
The International Council of Nurses provides some guidance on industry interactions in its position statement on nurse-industry relations
The UK General Medical Council provides guidance on financial and commercial arrangements and conflicts of interest as part of its good medical practice website, which describes what is required of all registered doctors in the UK
Understanding and Responding to Pharmaceutical Promotion: A Practical Guide is a manual prepared by Health Action International and the World Health Organization that schools of medicine and pharmacy can use to train students how to recognize and respond to pharmaceutical promotion.
The Institute of Medicine's Report on Conflict of Interest in Medical Research, Education, and Practice recommends steps to identify, limit, and manage conflicts of interest
The University of California, San Francisco, Office of Continuing Medical Education offers a course called Marketing of Medicines
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001561
PMCID: PMC3841103  PMID: 24302892
23.  Will mothers of sick children help their husbands to stop smoking after receiving a brief intervention from nurses? Secondary analysis of a randomised controlled trial 
BMC Pediatrics  2013;13:50.
Background
Second-hand smoke is a severe health hazard for children. Clinical guidelines suggest that nurses advise smoking parents to quit when they accompany their sick children to paediatric settings, but the guidelines did not mention what nurses can do if the parents are not with the children. This study examines the effectiveness of a low-intensity, nurse-led health instructional initiative for non-smoking mothers, to motivate them to take action to help their husbands stop smoking.
Methods
This was a randomised controlled trial and 1,483 non-smoking women, who were living with husbands who do smoke, were recruited when they accompanied with their sick children on hospital admission in general paediatic wards/outpatient departments of four hospitals in Hong Kong. The women were randomly allocated into intervention and control groups. The former received brief health education counselling from nurses, a purpose-designed health education booklet, a “no smoking” sticker, and a telephone reminder one week later; the control group received usual care. The primary outcome was the women”s action to help their smoking husbands stop smoking at 3-, 6- and 12-month follow-ups.
Results
A higher proportion of women in the intervention than the control group had taken action to help their husbands stop smoking at the 3-month (76% vs. 65%, P < .001), 6-month (66% vs. 49%, P < .001) and 12-month (52% vs. 40%, P < .001) follow-ups. Women who had received the intervention, had better knowledge of the health hazards of smoking, higher intention to take action, perceived their husbands’ willingness to stop/reduce smoking, had previously advised their husbands to give up smoking, were aware of their husbands’ history of smoking and, were aware that their husbands had made an earlier quit attempt and intended to help them stop smoking at the follow-ups.
Conclusions
A brief health education intervention by nurses in paediatric settings can be effective in motivating the mothers of sick children to take action to help their husbands quit smoking. We recommend adding the following to the clinical practice guidelines on treating tobacco use and dependence: ‘Nurses should offer every non-smoking mother of a sick child brief advice to encourage their husbands to stop smoking’.
Trial registration
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN72290421.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-13-50
PMCID: PMC3626671  PMID: 23565835
Mothers of sick children; Nurse-led education; Paediatric settings; Randomised controlled trial; Smoking husband
24.  A qualitative study to assess school nurses' views on vaccinating 12–13 year old school girls against human papillomavirus without parental consent 
BMC Public Health  2009;9:254.
Background
In the UK, parental consent for the routine vaccination of 12–13 year olds schoolgirls against human papillomavirus (HPV) is recommended, although legally girls may be able to consent themselves. As part of a vaccine study conducted ahead of the National HPV Vaccine Programme we sought the views of school nurses on vaccinating girls who did not have parental consent.
Methods
HPV vaccination was offered to all 12 year old girls attending schools in two Primary Care Trusts in Greater Manchester. At the end of the study semi-structured, tape-recorded interviews were conducted with school nurses who had delivered the vaccine (Cervarix™). The interview template was based on concepts derived from the Theory of Planned Behaviour. Transcripts were analysed thematically in order to understand school nurses' intentions to implement vaccination based on an assessment of Gillick competency.
Results
School nurses knew how to assess the competency of under-16s but were still unwilling to vaccinate if parents had refused permission. If parents had not returned the consent form, school nurses were willing to contact parents, and also to negotiate with parents who had refused consent. They seemed unaware that parental involvement required the child's consent to avoid breaking confidentiality. Nurses' attitudes were influenced by the young appearance and age of the school year group rather than an individual's level of maturity. They were also confused about the legal guidelines governing consent. School nurses acknowledged the child's right to vaccination and strongly supported prevention of HPV infection but ultimately believed that it was the parents' right to give consent. Most were themselves parents and shared other parents' concerns about the vaccine's novelty and unknown long-term side effects. Rather than vaccinate without parental consent, school nurses would defer vaccination.
Conclusion
Health providers have a duty of care to girls for whom no parental consent for HPV vaccination has been given, and in the UK, this includes conducting, and acting upon, an assessment of the maturity and competence of an adolescent minor. To facilitate this, policies, training and support structures for health providers should be implemented.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-9-254
PMCID: PMC2718887  PMID: 19622145
25.  Supporting parents of preschool children in adopting a healthy lifestyle 
BMC Nursing  2012;11:12.
Background
Childhood obesity is a public health epidemic. In Canada 21.5% of children aged 2–5 are overweight, with psychological and physical consequences for the child and economic consequences for society. Parents often do not view their children as overweight. One way to prevent overweight is to adopt a healthy lifestyle (HL). Nurses with direct access to young families could assess overweight and support parents in adopting HL. But what is the best way to support them if they do not view their child as overweight? A better understanding of parents’ representation of children’s overweight might guide the development of solutions tailored to their needs.
Methods/design
This study uses an action research design, a participatory approach mobilizing all stakeholders around a problem to be solved. The general objective is to identify, with nurses working with families, ways to promote HL among parents of preschoolers. Specific objectives are to: 1) describe the prevalence of overweight in preschoolers at vaccination time; 2) describe the representation of overweight and HL, as reported by preschoolers’ parents; 3) explore the views of nurses working with young families regarding possible solutions that could become a clinical tool to promote HL; and 4) try to identify a direction concerning the proposed strategies that could be used by nurses working with this population. First, an epidemiological study will be conducted in vaccination clinics: 288 4–5-year-olds will be weighed and measured. Next, semi-structured interviews will be conducted with 20 parents to describe their representation of HL and their child’s weight. Based on the results from these two steps, by means of a focus group nurses will identify possible strategies to the problem. Finally, focus groups of parents, then nurses and finally experts will give their opinions of these strategies in order to find a direction for these strategies. Descriptive and correlational statistical analyses will be done on the quantitative survey data using SPSS. Qualitative data will be analyzed using Huberman and Miles’ (2003) approach. NVivo will be used for the analysis and data management.
Discussion
The anticipated benefits of this rigorous approach will be to identify and develop potential intervention strategies in partnership with preschoolers’ parents and produce a clinical tool reflecting the views of parents and nurses working with preschoolers’ parents.
doi:10.1186/1472-6955-11-12
PMCID: PMC3489519  PMID: 22852762
Overweight; Childhood; Preschool; Parental opinion; Health promotion; Action research

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