Improving perinatal health is the key to achieving the Millennium Development Goal for child survival. Recently, several reviews suggest that scaling up available effective perinatal interventions in an integrated approach can substantially reduce the stillbirth and neonatal death rates worldwide. We evaluated the effect of packaged interventions given in pregnancy, delivery and post-partum periods through integration of community- and facility-based services on perinatal mortality.
This study took advantage of an ongoing health and demographic surveillance system (HDSS) and a new Maternal, Neonatal and Child Health (MNCH) Project initiated in 2007 in Matlab, Bangladesh in half (intervention area) of the HDSS area. In the other half, women received usual care through the government health system (comparison area). The MNCH Project strengthened ongoing maternal and child health services as well as added new services. The intervention followed a continuum of care model for pregnancy, intrapartum, and post-natal periods by improving established links between community- and facility-based services. With a separate pre-post samples design, we compared the perinatal mortality rates between two periods--before (2005-2006) and after (2008-2009) implementation of MNCH interventions. We also evaluated the difference-of-differences in perinatal mortality between intervention and comparison areas.
Antenatal coverage, facility delivery and cesarean section rates were significantly higher in the post- intervention period in comparison with the period before intervention. In the intervention area, the odds of perinatal mortality decreased by 36% between the pre-intervention and post-intervention periods (odds ratio: 0.64; 95% confidence intervals: 0.52-0.78). The reduction in the intervention area was also significant relative to the reduction in the comparison area (OR 0.73, 95% CI: 0.56-0.95; P = 0.018).
The continuum of care approach provided through the integration of service delivery modes decreased the perinatal mortality rate within a short period of time. Further testing of this model is warranted within the government health system in Bangladesh and other low-income countries.
This article is based on information collected about the situation of double orphans who are heading households in Rakai District, Uganda. The information will be used as justification and guidance for planning actions to improve the situation of these and similar children. This research is thus the first step in an Action Research approach leading to specific interventions. The aim of this article is to describe the situation of these orphaned children, with an emphasis on the psychosocial challenges they face.
The study involved interviews, focus group discussions, observations and narratives. Forty-three heads of sibling-headed households participated. Information derived from informal discussions with local leaders is also included. The responses were analyzed using a modified version of Giorgi's psychological phenomenological method as described by Malterud .
Factors such as lack of material resources, including food and clothes, limited possibilities to attend school on a regular basis, vast responsibilities and reduced possibilities for social interaction all contribute to causing worries and challenges for the child heads of households. Most of the children claimed that they were stigmatized and, to a great extent, ignored and excluded from their community. The Local Council Secretary ("Chairman") seemed to be the person in the community most responsible and helpful, but some chairmen seemed not to care at all. The children requested counseling for themselves as well as for community members because they experienced lack of understanding from other children and from adult community members.
The children experienced their situation as a huge and complex problem for themselves as well as for people in their villages. However, the situation might improve if actions focused on practical and psychological issues as well as on sensitization about the children's situation could be initiated. In addition to the fact that these children need adult guidance to become citizens who act in accordance with the expectations in their communities, material aid is important in order to reduce the children's experiences of being "different" and constantly experiencing survival anxieties.
Before my parents died, I was schooling without facing any problems and my heart was at rest. When they died I went to live with Jjajja [grandmother]. She fell very sick and I came out of school for a full term to look after her. I was treating Jjajja but she was not getting better. She died...so...I got my schoolmates' books and copied notes that they had taken while I was away from school...I face the problem of not having good friends. Some see me as a disease...other people are not bad. Some call me names and say that I am stupid, that I probably inherited the stupidity from my mother or father...Ever since my parents died, I have not had peace. I spend most of the time thinking, crying and struggling within myself asking God why He really had to do such a thing and saying to myself that: "God, help me overcome these problems!"
To achieve a child mortality reduction according to millennium development goal 4, it is necessary to considerably reduce neonatal mortality. We report stillbirth and early neonatal mortality risks as well as determinants of perinatal mortality in Eastern Uganda.
A community-based prospective cohort study was conducted between 2006 and 2008. A total of 835 pregnant women were followed up for pregnancy outcome and survival of their children until 7 days after delivery. Mother's residence, age, parity, bed net use and whether delivery took place at home were included in multivariable regression analyses to identify risk factors for perinatal death.
The stillbirth risk was 19 per 1,000 pregnancies and the early neonatal death risk 22 per 1,000 live births. Overall, the perinatal mortality risk was 41 [95%CI: 27, 54] per 1,000 pregnancies. Of the deaths, 47% followed complicated deliveries and 24% preterm births. Perinatal mortality was 63/1,000 pregnancies among teenage mothers, 76/1,000 pregnancies among nulliparous women and 61/1,000 pregnancies among women delivering at home who, after controlling for potential confounders, had a 3.7 (95%CI: 1.8, 7.4) times higher perinatal mortality than women who gave birth in a health facility. This association was considerably stronger among nulliparous women [RR 8.0 (95%CI: 2.9, 21.6)] than among women with a previous live birth [RR 1.8 (95%CI: 0.7, 4.5)]. All perinatal deaths occurred among women who did not sleep under a mosquito net. Women living in urban slums had a higher risk of losing their babies than those in rural areas [RR: 2.7 (95%CI: 1.4, 5.3)].
Our findings strengthen arguments for ensuring that pregnant women have access to and use adequate delivery facilities and bed nets.
Objective: To identify barriers to accessing sexual health care among the Bangladeshi community of east London and to develop a model of community participation in service development.
Methods: Qualitative study using one to one interviews with sexual health service users plus focus groups in community settings.
Results: 58 people participated in the study, 12 in individual interviews and the remainder in six focus groups. All were of Bangladeshi origin. Four main themes were reported as impacting on access to services; confidentiality concerns, relevance of services to the community, problems with discussing sexual issues, and problems with previous experiences of health promotion. Community values regarding sex outside of marriage were an important underlying factor in participants' responses. Existing sexual health services were seen as culturally insensitive by patients and community groups.
Conclusions: Community based health initiatives among hard to reach ethnic minority groups should use existing networks of statutory and non-statutory groups to benefit from local expertise and relationships. Steering groups composed of members of the local communities served by the clinic can usefully inform service development.
Parent-healthcare provider (HCP) communication is an important component of pediatric asthma management. Given the high prevalence of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) and over-the-counter (OTC) medication use among this population, it is important to examine parental nondisclosure of these asthma management strategies.
One-time interview and one-year retrospective medical record review with 228 parents of 5–12 year old children with asthma enrolled from 6 pediatric primary care practices examining parental nondisclosure of CAM and OTC medication use, reasons for nondisclosure, medical record documentation of CAM usage, and association between parent-HCP relationship and nondisclosure.
Seventy-one percent of parents reported using CAM and/or OTC medication for children’s asthma management and 54% of those parents did not disclose usage. Seventy-five percent “did not think” to discuss it. Better parent-HCP relationship led to decreased nondisclosure.
HCPs can play an important role in creating an environment where parents feel comfortable sharing information about their children’s asthma management strategies in order to arrive at a shared asthma management plan for the child leading to improved asthma health outcomes.
Perinatal (mortality) audit can be considered to be a way to improve the careprocess for all pregnant women and their newborns by creating an opportunity to learn from unwanted events in the care process. In unit-based perinatal audit, the caregivers involved in cases that result in mortality are usually part of the audit group. This makes such an audit a delicate matter.
The purpose of this study was to implement unit-based perinatal mortality audit in all 15 perinatal cooperation units in the northern region of the Netherlands between September 2007 and March 2010. These units consist of hospital-based and independent community-based perinatal caregivers. The implementation strategy encompassed an information plan, an organization plan, and a training plan. The main outcomes are the number of participating perinatal cooperation units at the end of the project, the identified substandard factors (SSF), the actions to improve care, and the opinions of the participants.
The perinatal mortality audit was implemented in all 15 perinatal cooperation units. 677 different caregivers analyzed 112 cases of perinatal mortality and identified 163 substandard factors. In 31% of cases the guidelines were not followed and in 23% care was not according to normal practice. In 28% of cases, the documentation was not in order, while in 13% of cases the communication between caregivers was insufficient. 442 actions to improve care were reported for ‘external cooperation’ (15%), ‘internal cooperation’ (17%), ‘practice organization’ (26%), ‘training and education’ (10%), and ‘medical performance’ (27%). Valued aspects of the audit meetings were: the multidisciplinary character (13%), the collective and non-judgmental search for substandard factors (21%), the perception of safety (13%), the motivation to reflect on one’s own professional performance (5%), and the inherent postgraduate education (10%).
Following our implementation strategy, the perinatal mortality audit has been successfully implemented in all 15 perinatal cooperation units. An important feature was our emphasis on the delicate character of the caregivers evaluating the care they provided. However, the actual implementation of the proposed actions for improving care is still a point of concern.
Of growing concern over Jehovah's Witnesses' (JWs) refusal of blood is the intrusion of the religious organisation into its members' personal decision making about medical care. The organisation currently may apply severe religious sanctions to JWs who opt for certain forms of blood-based treatment. While the doctrine may be maintained as the unchangeable "law of God", the autonomy of individual JW patients could still be protected by the organisation modifying its current policy so that it strictly adheres to the right of privacy regarding personal medical information. The author proposes that the controlling religious organisation adopt a "don't-ask-don't-tell" policy, which assures JWs that they would neither be asked nor compelled to reveal personal medical information, either to one another or to the church organisation. This would relieve patients of the fear of breach of medical confidentiality and ensure a truly autonomous decision on blood-based treatments without fear of organisational control or sanction.
We sought to understand how African American women’s beliefs regarding depression and depression care are influenced by racism, violence, and social context.
We conducted a focus group study using a community-based participatory research approach. Participants were low-income African American women with major depressive disorder and histories of violence victimization.
Thirty women participated in 4 focus groups. Although women described a vicious cycle of violence, depression, and substance abuse that affected their health, discussions about health care revolved around their perception of racism, with a deep mistrust of the health care system as a “White” system. The image of the “strong Black woman” was seen as a barrier to both recognizing depression and seeking care. Women wanted a community-based depression program staffed by African Americans that addressed violence and drug use.
Although violence and drug use were central to our participants’ understanding of depression, racism was the predominant issue influencing their views on depression care. Providers should develop a greater appreciation of the effects of racism on depression care. Depression care programs should address issues of violence, substance use, and racism.
Old-age mortality is notoriously difficult to predict because it requires not only an understanding of the process of senescence—which is influenced by genetic, environmental, and behavioral factors—but also a prediction of how these factors will evolve. In this paper, I argue that individuals are uniquely qualified to predict their own mortality based on their own genetic background, as well as environmental and behavioral risk factors that are often known only to the individual. Given this private information, individuals form expectations about survival probabilities that may provide additional information to demographers and policymakers in their challenge to predict mortality. From expectations data from the 1992 Health and Retirement Study (HRS), I construct subjective, cohort life tables that are shown to predict the unusual direction of revisions to U.S. life expectancy by gender between 1992 and 2004: that is, for these cohorts, the Social Security Actuary (SSA) raised male life expectancy in 2004 and at the same lowered female life expectancy, narrowing the gender gap in longevity by 25% over this period. Further, although the subjective life expectancies for men appear to be roughly in line with the 2004 life tables, the subjective expectations of women suggest that female life expectancies estimated by the SSA might still be on the high side.
There has been little research on the effectiveness of different training strategies or the impact of exposure to treatment manuals alone on clinicians' ability to effectively implement empirically supported therapies. Seventy-eight community-based clinicians were assigned to 1 of 3 training conditions: review of a cognitive–behavioral therapy (CBT) manual only, review of the manual plus access to a CBT training Web site, or review of the manual plus a didactic seminar followed by supervised casework. The primary outcome measure was the clinicians' ability to demonstrate key CBT interventions, as assessed by independent ratings of structured role plays. Statistically significant differences favoring the seminar plus supervision over the manual only condition were found for adherence and skill ratings for 2 of the 3 role plays, with intermediate scores for the Web condition.
Neonatal mortality rates are high in rural Nepal where more than 90% of deliveries are in the home. Evidence suggests that death rates can be reduced by interventions at community level. We describe an intervention which aimed to harness the power of community planning and decision making to improve maternal and newborn care in rural Nepal.
The development of 111 women's groups in a population of 86 704 in Makwanpur district, Nepal is described. The groups, facilitated by local women, were the intervention component of a randomized controlled trial to reduce perinatal and neonatal mortality rates. Through participant observation and analysis of reports, we describe the implementation of this intervention: the community entry process, the facilitation of monthly meetings through a participatory action cycle of problem identification, community planning, and implementation and evaluation of strategies to tackle the identified problems.
In response to the needs of the group, participatory health education was added to the intervention and the women's groups developed varied strategies to tackle problems of maternal and newborn care: establishing mother and child health funds, producing clean home delivery kits and operating stretcher schemes. Close linkages with community leaders and community health workers improved strategy implementation. There were also indications of positive effects on group members and health services, and most groups remained active after 30 months.
A large scale and potentially sustainable participatory intervention with women's groups, which focused on pregnancy, childbirth and the newborn period, resulted in innovative strategies identified by local communities to tackle perinatal care problems.
The relationship between perinatal outcome and antenatal care was investigated at King Edward VIII Hospital, Durban, by a case control retrospective study of pregnancy records in 165 perinatal deaths and 156 infants surviving the perinatal period. 82% of the mothers of live infants had booked for antenatal care compared with only 60% of those who experienced a perinatal death. Hospital booking was associated with a higher infant birthweight. For those who booked earlier there was no reduction in total perinatal mortality or the stillbirth:neonatal death ratio, and many of the mothers of highest risk failed to book. This suggests that the better perinatal outcome in booked mothers may have been secondary to the type of mother who chose to book, rather than the actual antenatal care. To help reduce perinatal mortality, methods must be employed which reach those mothers who are most likely to fail to book.
Approximately one million stillbirths occur annually during labour; most of these stillbirths occur in low and middle-income countries and are associated with absent, inadequate, or delayed obstetric care. The low proportion of intrapartum stillbirths in high-income countries suggests that intrapartum stillbirths are largely preventable with quality intrapartum care, including prompt recognition and management of intrapartum complications. The evidence for impact of intrapartum interventions on stillbirth and perinatal mortality outcomes has not yet been systematically examined.
We undertook a systematic review of the published literature, searching PubMed and the Cochrane Library, of trials and reviews (N = 230) that reported stillbirth or perinatal mortality outcomes for eight interventions delivered during labour. Where eligible randomised controlled trials had been published after the most recent Cochrane review on any given intervention, we incorporated these new trial findings into a new meta-analysis with the Cochrane included studies.
We found a paucity of studies reporting statistically significant evidence of impact on perinatal mortality, especially on stillbirths. Available evidence suggests that operative delivery, especially Caesarean section, contributes to decreased stillbirth rates. Induction of labour rather than expectant management in post-term pregnancies showed strong evidence of impact, though there was not enough evidence to suggest superior safety for the fetus of any given drug or drugs for induction of labour. Planned Caesarean section for term breech presentation has been shown in a large randomised trial to reduce stillbirths, but the feasibility and consequences of implementing this intervention routinely in low-/middle-income countries add caveats to recommending its use. Magnesium sulphate for pre-eclampsia and eclampsia is effective in preventing eclamptic seizures, but studies have not demonstrated impact on perinatal mortality. There was limited evidence of impact for maternal hyperoxygenation, and concerns remain about maternal safety. Transcervical amnioinfusion for meconium staining appears promising for low/middle income-country application according to the findings of many small studies, but a large randomised trial of the intervention had no significant impact on perinatal mortality, suggesting that further studies are needed.
Although the global appeal to prioritise access to emergency obstetric care, especially vacuum extraction and Caesarean section, rests largely on observational and population-based data, these interventions are clearly life-saving in many cases of fetal compromise. Safe, comprehensive essential and emergency obstetric care is particularly needed, and can make the greatest impact on stillbirth rates, in low-resource settings. Other advanced interventions such as amnioinfusion and hyperoxygenation may reduce perinatal mortality, but concerns about safety and effectiveness require further study before they can be routinely included in programs.
Reducing maternal and perinatal mortality in sub Saharan Africa remains challenging and requires effective and context specific interventions.
The aims of this paper were to demonstrate the impact of the community mobilisation of the Skilled Care Initiative (SCI) in reducing maternal and perinatal mortality and to describe the concept and implementation in order to guide replication and scaling up.
A quasi experimental design was used to assess the extent to which the SCI was associated with increased institutional births, maternal and perinatal mortality reduction in an intervention (Ouargaye) versus a comparison (Diapaga) district. A geo-referenced census was conducted to retrospectively assess changes in outcomes and process measures. A detailed description of activities, rationale and timing of implementation were gathered from the SCI project officers and summarised. Data analyses included descriptive statistics and multivariate analyses.
At macro level, the main significant difference between Ouargaye and Diapaga districts was the scope and intensity of the community-based interventions implemented in Ouargaye. There was a temporal association relationship before and after the implementation of the demand-driven interventions and a remarkable 30% increase in institutional births in the intervention district compared to 10% increase in comparison district. There was a significant reduction of perinatal mortality rates (OR =0.75, CI 0.70–0.80) in intervention district and a larger decrease in maternal mortality ratios in intervention district, although statistical significance was not reached. A comprehensive framework of community mobilisation strategy is proposed to improve maternal and child health in poorest communities.
Controlling for the availability and quality of health services, working in partnership and effectively with communities, and not for them – hence characterising communities as not being empty vessels – can have impacts on outcomes. Here, in the district with a community mobilisation programme, there was a marked increase in institutional births and reductions in maternal and perinatal deaths.
community mobilisation; effectiveness; maternal and perinatal mortality; Burkina Faso
Common ground refers to the knowledge shared by two communicating parties to enable communication to occur. We suggest that common ground could enhance collaborative care delivery by serving as the linkage between different healthcare team members. Despite research describing the importance of common ground to facilitate communication, little is known about how common ground forms, moments where it is necessary, and barriers to achieving it. To address this shortcoming we studied collaborative care delivery in two settings and then used Grounded Theory methodology to develop a model of common ground. The model contains four main concepts: moments of common ground, barriers to common ground, fabric of common ground, and consequences of weak common ground. Our findings show that common ground is multi-dimensional with both static and dynamic aspects. The results from this paper help us to better understand collaborative care delivery and how to design information and communication technologies to support it.
common ground; collaboration; communication; healthcare teams
Preterm birth is a major cause of neonatal mortality, responsible for 28% of neonatal deaths overall. The administration of antenatal corticosteroids to women at high risk of preterm birth is a powerful perinatal intervention to reduce neonatal mortality in resource rich environments. The effect of antenatal steroids to reduce mortality and morbidity among preterm infants in hospital settings in developed countries with high utilization is well established, yet they are not routinely used in developing countries. The impact of increasing antenatal steroid use in hospital or community settings with low utilization rates and high infant mortality among premature infants due to lack of specialized services has not been well researched. There is currently no clear evidence about the safety of antenatal corticosteroid use for community-level births.
We hypothesize that a multi country, two-arm, parallel cluster randomized controlled trial to evaluate whether a multifaceted intervention to increase the use of antenatal corticosteroids, including components to improve the identification of pregnancies at high risk of preterm birth and providing and facilitating the appropriate use of steroids, will reduce neonatal mortality at 28 days of life in preterm newborns, compared with the standard delivery of care in selected populations of six countries. 102 clusters in Argentina, Guatemala, Kenya, India, Pakistan, and Zambia will be randomized, and around 60,000 women and newborns will be enrolled. Kits containing vials of dexamethasone, syringes, gloves, and instructions for administration will be distributed. Improving the identification of women at high risk of preterm birth will be done by (1) diffusing recommendations for antenatal corticosteroids use to health providers, (2) training health providers on identification of women at high risk of preterm birth, (3) providing reminders to health providers on the use of the kits, and (4) using a color-coded tape to measure uterine height to estimate gestational age in women with unknown gestational age. In both intervention and control clusters, health providers will be trained in essential newborn care for low birth weight babies. The primary outcome is neonatal mortality at 28 days of life in preterm infants.
ClinicalTrials.gov. Identifier: NCT01084096
Neonatal mortality; Antenatal corticosteroids; Implementation research; Preterm birth
The perinatal mortality rate among Indigenous Australians is still double that of the rest of the community. The aim of our study was to estimate the extent to which increased risk of low birthweight and preterm birth among Indigenous babies in Queensland account for their continuing mortality excess. If a large proportion of excess deaths can be explained by the unfavourable birthweight and gestational age distribution of Indigenous babies, then that would suggest that priority should be given to implementing primary health care interventions to reduce the risk of low birthweight and preterm birth (eg, interventions to reduce maternal smoking or genitourinary infections). Conversely, if only a small proportion is explained by birthweight and gestational age, then other strategies might need to be considered such as improving access to high-quality hospital care around the time of confinement.
Population-based, descriptive study of perinatal mortality rates among Indigenous and non-Indigenous babies, in Queensland, stratified by birthweight and gestational age.
Indigenous babies are twice as likely to die as their non-Indigenous counterparts (rate ratio1998–2002: 2.01; 95%ci 1.77, 2.28). However, within separate strata of birth weight and gestational age, Indigenous and non-Indigenous rates are similar. The Mantel-Haenszel rate ratio adjusted for birth weight and gestational age was 1.13 (0.99, 1.28). This means that most of the excess mortality in Indigenous babies is largely due to their unfavourable birth weight and gestational-age distributions. If Indigenous babies had the same birth weight and gestational age distribution as their non-Indigenous counterparts, then the relative disparity would be reduced by 87% and 20 fewer Indigenous babies would die in Queensland each year.
Our results suggest that Indigenous mothers at high risk of poor outcome (for example those Indigenous mothers in preterm labour) have good access to high quality medical care around the time of confinement. The main reason Indigenous babies have a high risk of death is because they are born too early and too small. Thus, to reduce the relative excess of deaths among Indigenous babies, priority should be given to primary health care initiatives aimed at reducing the prevalence of low birth weight and preterm birth.
Antenatal, delivery and postnatal care services are amongst the recommended interventions aimed at preventing maternal and newborn deaths worldwide. West Java is one of the provinces of Java Island in Indonesia with a high proportion of home deliveries, a low attendance of four antenatal services and a low postnatal care uptake. This paper aims to explore community members' perspectives on antenatal and postnatal care services, including reasons for using or not using these services, the services received during antenatal and postnatal care, and cultural practices during antenatal and postnatal periods in Garut, Sukabumi and Ciamis districts of West Java province.
A qualitative study was conducted from March to July 2009 in six villages in three districts of West Java province. Twenty focus group discussions (FGDs) and 165 in-depth interviews were carried out involving a total of 295 respondents. The guidelines for FGDs and in-depth interviews included the topics of community experiences with antenatal and postnatal care services, reasons for not attending the services, and cultural practices during antenatal and postnatal periods.
Our study found that the main reason women attended antenatal and postnatal care services was to ensure the safe health of both mother and infant. Financial difficulty emerged as the major issue among women who did not fulfil the minimum requirements of four antenatal care services or two postnatal care services within the first month after delivery. This was related to the cost of health services, transportation costs, or both. In remote areas, the limited availability of health services was also a problem, especially if the village midwife frequently travelled out of the village. The distances from health facilities, in addition to poor road conditions were major concerns, particularly for those living in remote areas. Lack of community awareness about the importance of these services was also found, as some community members perceived health services to be necessary only if obstetric complications occurred. The services of traditional birth attendants for antenatal, delivery, and postnatal care were widely used, and their roles in maternal and child care were considered vital by some community members.
It is important that public health strategies take into account the availability, affordability and accessibility of health services. Poverty alleviation strategies will help financially deprived communities to use antenatal and postnatal health services. This study also demonstrated the importance of health promotion programs for increasing community awareness about the necessity of antenatal and postnatal services.
Backstage communication has been shown to play a vital role in a bona fide group’s teamwork. Hospice interdisciplinary teams are considered bona fide groups, and hospice interdisciplinary team meetings constitute backstage communication because they occur away from patients and families. Video recordings of interdisciplinary team meetings were systematically coded for backstage communication mess ages and the extent to which different interdisciplinary team members participated in backstage communication was explored. Results revealed that predominant backstage communication messages included offering of impressions and formal reporting. The sharing of backstage messages in interdisciplinary team meetings enable hospice staff to manage emotions in the safety of the backstage as well as prepare for frontstage professionalism.
Bona fide groups; hospice; backstage communication
In recent years, a significant volume of hospital-based literature has been produced about the management of women and their families after a perinatal death. There has also been a considerable amount of work in the voluntary sector which has recognized this as an area of unmet need. The introduction of regional neonatal intensive care units and the shift from secondary to primary care make the development of a structured community-based approach for this group of vulnerable patients increasingly important. This article documents the evidence for high levels of psychological morbidity following perinatal death, reviews a variety of interventions designed to reduce morbidity, and makes some tentative proposals about the key elements of an effective community-based support programme.
Falls remain a major public health problem, despite strong growth in the research evidence of effective single and multifactorial interventions, particularly in the community setting. A number of aspects of falls prevention require individual tailoring, despite limitations being reported regarding some of these, including questions being raised regarding the role of falls risk screening and falls risk assessment. Being able to personalise an individual's specific risk and risk factors, increase their understanding of what interventions are likely to be effective, and exploring options of choice and preference, can all impact upon whether or not an individual undertakes and sustains participation in one or more recommendations, which will ultimately influence outcomes. On all of these fronts, the individual patient receiving appropriate and targeted interventions that are meaningful, feasible and that they are motivated to implement, remains central to effective translation of falls prevention research evidence into practice.
High prevalence of infant macrosomia (up to 36%, the highest in the world) has been reported in some First Nations communities in the Canadian province of Quebec and the eastern area of the province of Ontario. We aimed to assess whether infant macrosomia was associated with elevated risks of perinatal and postneonatal mortality among First Nations people in Quebec.
We calculated risk ratios (RRs) of perinatal and postneonatal mortality by birthweight for gestational age, comparing births to First Nations women (n = 5193) versus women whose mother tongue is French (n = 653 424, the majority reference group) in Quebec 1991–2000.
The prevalence of infant macrosomia (birthweight for gestational age > 90th percentile) was 27.5% among births to First Nations women, which was 3.3 times (confidence interval [CI] 3.2–3.5) higher than the prevalence (8.3%) among births to women whose mother tongue is French. Risk ratios for perinatal mortality among births to First Nations women were 1.8 (95% CI 1.3–2.5) for births with weight appropriate for gestational age, 4.1 (95% CI 2.4–7.0) for small-for-gestational-age (< 10th percentile) births and < 1 (not significant) for macrosomic births compared to births among women whose mother tongue is French. The RRs for postneonatal mortality were 4.3 (95% CI 2.7–6.7) for infants with appropriate-for-gestational-age birthweight and 8.3 (95% CI 4.0–17.0) for infants with macrosomia.
Macrosomia was associated with a generally protective effect against perinatal death, but substantially greater risks of postneonatal death among births to First Nations women in Quebec versus women whose mother tongue is French.
Between 1976 and 1981 some 939 perinatal deaths occurred to women living in Leicestershire, of which 128 (14%) were to Asian women. The qualifications of the general practitioners, the gestation at which women start antenatal care, and perinatal death were used as structural, process, and outcome measures for evaluating the services provided to Asian immigrants within this population. Perinatal deaths were divided into four groups: congenital malformation, macerated stillbirth, asphyxia in labour, and immaturity. Asian mothers had one and a half times the risk of perinatal mortality when social class, parity, height, legitimacy, and the general practitioner's qualifications were taken into account. Asian and non-Asian mothers with general practitioners who were not on the obstetric list had more than twice the risk of a perinatal death when a similar adjustment was made. Recommendations include priority allocation of community midwives to practitioners not on the obstetric list, the establishment of postgraduate courses for such doctors, and the continued evaluation of the effect of such proposals on perinatal mortality.
Recent literature has highlighted issues of racial discrimination in medicine. In order to explore the sometimes subtle influence of racial determinants in decisions about resource allocation, we present the case of a 53-year-old Australian Aboriginal woman with end-stage renal failure. The epidemiology of renal failure in the Australian Aboriginal population and amongst other indigenous peoples is discussed. We show that the use of utilitarian outcome criteria for resource allocation may embody subtle racial discrimination where consideration is not given to issues of justice, race, culture and gender. It is only where the processes by which resources are allocated are transparent, clearly defined and based upon consultation with individual patients that issues and justice are likely to be adequately addressed.
Life expectancy (LE) is an important indicator of health used widely by government and healthcare agencies to monitor trends over time and to determine resource allocation, as well as by insurance companies and pension providers. LE of the HIV-positive population has increased dramatically since the introduction of combination antiretroviral therapy (cART); indeed, it is now believed that LE may be similar to that of the general population in some subgroups. There are, however, specific subgroups in which LE remains substantially impaired. The impact of HIV and of cART on mortality may be expressed in several ways. LE itself provides an estimate of the average additional number of years that an individual would be expected to live beyond a particular age. However, the detrimental impact of HIV may also be described in terms of the number of years of life lost or the gains in LE if HIV were to be eliminated as a cause of morbidity in the population. My presentation will start with a description of the different methods that researchers have used to describe the mortality outcomes of those with HIV, and the impact of cART on these. I will then consider how LE in the HIV-positive population has changed over time and will describe the impact of demographic factors (e.g. gender, age, ethnic group) on LE. To investigate the circumstances under which LE may return to normal levels, I will also consider the potential impact of timely diagnosis and linkage into care, continued engagement with care, optimal initiation of cART and maintenance of viral suppression on LE. Finally, I will discuss some of the limitations of the approaches used to estimate LE, with particular emphasis on the confounding effects of lifestyle and behavioural factors when making any comparison with LE in the general population.