Systematic planning could improve the generally moderate effectiveness of interventions to enhance adherence to clinical practice guidelines. The aim of our study was to demonstrate how the process of Intervention Mapping was used to develop an intervention to address the lack of adherence to the national CPG for low back pain by Dutch physical therapists.
We systematically developed a program to improve adherence to the Dutch physical therapy guidelines for low back pain. Based on multi-method formative research, we formulated program and change objectives. Selected theory-based methods of change and practical applications were combined into an intervention program. Implementation and evaluation plans were developed.
Formative research revealed influential determinants for physical therapists and practice quality managers. Self-regulation was appropriate because both the physical therapists and the practice managers needed to monitor current practice and make and implement plans for change. The program stimulated interaction between practice levels by emphasizing collective goal setting. It combined practical applications, such as knowledge transfer and discussion-and-feedback, based on theory-based methods, such as consciousness raising and active learning. The implementation plan incorporated the wider environment. The evaluation plan included an effect and process evaluation.
Intervention Mapping is a useful framework for formative data in program planning in the field of clinical guideline implementation. However, a decision aid to select determinants of guideline adherence identified in the formative research to analyse the problem may increase the efficiency of the application of the Intervention Mapping process.
Guideline implementation; Low back pain; Quality improvement; Multilevel program; Individual professional; Practice management; Physical therapy
HIV/AIDS is affecting the majority of the population, particularly the productive age group between 15–49 years resulting in social and economic crisis. The rate of HIV infection would undoubtedly be lowered if safe sexual practices such as correct and consistent use of condoms had been followed. The aim of this study was therefore to assess intention to use condom among students in Agena preparatory school, Guraghe zone, Ethiopia. Agena is an urban area in south Ethiopia.
Institution based cross-sectional study was conducted. A two stage sampling was applied by stratifying students in to (grade 11 and 12) with each grade having four section (A, B, C, D). Then systematic random sampling was used to select students in each section. Analyses of frequencies and summary measures like mean and Standard Deviation of selected variables were done. Bivariate and multivariate analysis was done to measure the association between different variables.
Out of 450 respondents 122(27.1%) had history of sexual intercourse. Of whom the majority 86(70.5%) had two or more sexual partners. And 45(37%) never used condom, 12(9.8%) used condom sometimes and 65(53.2%) used condom every time during sex. About 300(67.7%) of the respondents have no intention to use condom in the next sexual encounter. On multivariate analysis those students who have high perceived susceptibility (AOR = 1.94 (1.16-3.2)) and high self-efficacy (AOR = 27 (14.4-54.2)) were more likely to have intention to use condom than others.
Intention to use condom in the next sexual intercourse is very low. Information Education and Communication (IEC) on reducing number of sexual partners along with condom use promotion targeting in-school adolescents should be the primary strategy of HIV/AIDS prevention process.
Condom; Intention to use; Health believe model; Students
Mass media campaigns are frequently used to influence the health behaviors of various populations. There are currently no quantitative meta-analyses of the effect of mass media campaigns on physical activity in adults.
We searched six electronic databases from their inception to August 2012 and selected prospective studies that evaluated the effect of mass media campaigns on physical activity in adults. We excluded studies that did not have a proper control group or did not report the uncertainties of the effect estimates. Two reviewers independently screened the title/abstracts and full articles. We used random-effects models to pool effect estimates across studies for 3 selected outcomes.
Nine prospective cohorts and before-after studies that followed-up 27,601 people over 8 weeks to 3 years met the inclusion criteria. Based on the pooled results from these studies, mass media campaigns had a significant effect on promoting moderate intensity walking (pooled relative risk (RR) from 3 studies=1.53, 95% Confidence Interval: 1.25 to 1.87), but did not help participants achieve sufficient levels of physical activity [4 studies pooled RR=1.02, 95% CI: 0.91 to 1.14)]. The apparent effect of media campaigns on reducing sedentary behavior (pooled RR=1.15, 95% CI: 1.03 to 1.30) was lost when a relatively low-quality study with large effects was excluded in a sensitivity analysis. In subgroup analyses, campaigns that promoted physical activity as a ‘social norm’ seemed to be more effective in reducing sedentary behavior.
Mass media campaigns may promote walking but may not reduce sedentary behavior or lead to achieving recommended levels of overall physical activity. Further research is warranted on different campaign types and in low- and middle- income countries.
Physical activity; Mass media; Systematic review; Meta-analysis; Prospective studies; Sedentary behavior
This study assessed the prevalence of six alcohol consumption indicators in a sample of university students. We also examined whether students’ sociodemographic and educational characteristics were associated with any of the six alcohol consumption indicators; and whether associations between students’ sociodemographic and educational characteristics and the six alcohol consumption indicators differed by gender.
A cross-sectional study of 3706 students enrolled at 7 universities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. A self-administered questionnaire assessed six alcohol consumption measures: length of time of last (most recent) drinking occasion; amount consumed during last drinking occasion; frequency of alcohol consumption; heavy episodic drinking (≥ 5 drinks in a row); problem drinking; and possible alcohol dependence as measured by CAGE. The questionnaire also collected information on seven relevant student sociodemographic characteristics (age, gender, academic year of study, current living circumstances - accommodation with parents, whether student was in intimate relationship, socioeconomic status of parents - parental education, income sufficiency) and two academic achievement variables (importance of achieving good grades at university, and one’s academic performance in comparison with one’s peers).
The majority of students (65% of females, 76% of males) reported heavy episodic drinking at least once within the last 2 weeks, and problem drinking was prevalent in 20% of females and 29% of males. Factors consistently positively associated with all six indicators of alcohol consumption were male gender and perceived insufficient income. Other factors such as living away from home, being in 1st or 2nd year of studies, having no intimate partner, and lower academic achievement were associated with some, but not all indicators of alcohol consumption.
The high level of alcohol consumption calls for regular/periodic monitoring of student use of alcohol, and for urgent preventive actions and intervention programmes at the universities in the UK.
Heavy episodic drinking; Problem drinking; Alcohol dependence; University students; Sociodemographic and educational characteristics; Gender
Accurate estimates of the size of the drug-using populations are essential for evidence-based policy making. However, drug users form a ‘hidden’ population, necessitating the use of indirect methods to estimate population sizes.
The benchmark-multiplier method was applied to estimate the population size of ever injecting drug users (ever-IDUs), aged 18–64 years, in Belgium using data from the national HIV/AIDS register and from a sero-behavioral study among injecting drug users. However, missing risk factor information and absence of follow-up of the HIV+/AIDS– cases, limits the usefulness of the Belgian HIV/AIDS register as benchmark. To overcome these limitations, statistical corrections were required. In particular, Imputation by Chained Equations was used to correct for the missing risk factor information whereas stochastic mortality modelling was applied to account for the mortality among the HIV+/AIDS– cases. Monte Carlo simulation was used to obtain confidence intervals, properly reflecting the uncertainty due to random error as well as the uncertainty associated with the two statistical corrections mentioned above.
In 2010, the prevalence (/1000) of ever-IDUs was estimated to be 3.5 with 95% confidence interval [2.5;4.8]. No significant time trends were observed for the period 2000–2010.
To be able to estimate the ever-IDU population size using the Belgian HIV/AIDS register as benchmark, statistical corrections were required without which seriously biased estimates would result. By developing the improved methodology, Belgium is again able to provide ever-IDU population estimates, which are essential to assess the coverage of treatment and to forecast health care needs and costs.
Population size estimation; Ever injecting drug use; Benchmark-multiplier method; HIV/AIDS register; Imputation by Chained Equations; Stochastic mortality modelling
Medical data recording is one of the basic clinical tools. Electronic Health Record (EHR) is important for data processing, communication, efficiency and effectiveness of patients’ information access, confidentiality, ethical and/or legal issues. Clinical record promote and support communication among service providers and hence upscale quality of healthcare. Qualities of records are reflections of the quality of care patients offered.
Qualitative analysis was undertaken for this systematic review. We reviewed 40 materials Published from 1999 to 2013. We searched these materials from databases including ovidMEDLINE and ovidEMBASE. Two reviewers independently screened materials on medical data recording, documentation and information processing and communication. Finally, all selected references were summarized, reconciled and compiled as one compatible document.
Patients were dying and/or getting much suffering as the result of poor quality medical records. Electronic health record minimizes errors, saves unnecessary time, and money wasted on processing medical data.
Many countries have been complaining for incompleteness, inappropriateness and illegibility of records. Therefore creating awareness on the magnitude of the problem has paramount importance. Hence available correct patient information has lots of potential in reducing errors and support roles.
Medical data; Documentation; Decision making; Electronic health record; Health service quality
High concomitant intolerance attributed to odorous/pungent chemicals, certain buildings, electromagnetic fields (EMF), and everyday sounds calls for a questionnaire instrument that can assess symptom prevalence in various environmental intolerances. The Environmental Hypersensitivity Symptom Inventory (EHSI) was therefore developed and metrically evaluated, and normative data were established. The EHSI consists of 34 symptom items, requires limited time to respond to, and provides a detailed and broad description of the individual’s symptomology.
Data from 3406 individuals who took part in the Västerbotten Environmental Health Study were used. The participants constitute a random sample of inhabitants in the county of Västerbotten in Sweden, aged 18 to 79 years, stratified for age and gender.
Exploratory factor analysis identified five significant factors: airway symptoms (9 items; Kuder-Richardson Formula 20 coefficient, KR-20, of internal consistency = 0.74), skin and eye symptoms (6 items; KR-20 = 0.60), cardiac, dizziness and nausea symptoms (4 items; KR-20 = 0.55), head-related and gastrointestinal symptoms (5 items; KR-20 = 0.55), and cognitive and affective symptoms (10 items; KR-20 = 0.80). The KR-20 was 0.85 for the entire 34-item EHSI. Symptom prevalence rates in percentage for having the specific symptoms every week over the preceding three months constitute normative data.
The EHSI can be recommended for assessment of symptom prevalence in various types of environmental hypersensitivity, and with the advantage of comparing prevalence rates with normality.
Chemical intolerance; Electromagnetic fields; Hyperacusis; Idiopathic environmental intolerance; Prevalence; Sick building syndrome
The Belgian Health Interview Survey (BHIS) is organised every 4 to 5 years and collects health information from around 10,000 individuals in a face-to-face setting. This manuscript describes the methodological choices made in the sampling design, the outcomes of the previous surveys in terms of participation rates and achieved targets and the factors to be accounted for in data-analysis.
The BHIS targets all persons residing in Belgium with no restrictions on age or nationality. Trimestral copies of the National Population Registry are used as the sampling frame. To select the respondents, a multistage sampling design is applied involving a geographical stratification, a selection of clusters, a selection of households within each cluster and a selection of respondents within each household. Using matched substitution of non-participating households assures the realisation of the predefined net-sample.
For each BHIS the required number of participants is achieved, including the years when an oversampling of provinces and of the elderly occurred. The sampling design guarantees that the survey is implemented in large cities as well as in small municipalities. A growing problem is related to the sampling frame: it is increasingly subject of deterioration, especially in the Brussels-Capital Region.
The methodological approach developed for the first BHIS proves to be accurate and was kept nearly unchanged throughout the following surveys. Fieldwork substitution contributes to a considerable extent to the success of the fieldwork but yields in higher percentages of non-participation. The sampling design requires special attention when analysing the data: the unequal selection probability, e.g. due to the non-proportional stratification at the regional level, necessitates the use of weights. The BHIS is progressively embedded in the European Health Survey, a process that doesn’t jeopardise the comparability of the Belgian results throughout time.
Health interview survey; Survey-methodology; Fieldwork substitution
Available evidence in Ghana shows the implementation of tuberculosis (TB) control activities efforts since the beginning of the 1900s. In spite of that, TB continues to be one of the common diseases in the country. In 1994, local and international policy windows opened for renewed strategies for the control of TB. This paper explores some of the approaches which have been in place since 1994 and their implications for treatment outcomes.
The study combines quantitative and qualitative data. The quantitative data consist of treatment outcome from 1997–2010 and the qualitative data are derived from in-depth interviews with some staff of the TB control programme. Poisson regression and inductive coding were applied to the quantitative and qualitative data respectively.
Reported cure rates increased from 43.6% to 87.7% between 1997 and 2010. The data from the in-depth interviews (IDIs) suggested that improvements in diagnosis, community TB care, stigma reduction among community and health workers towards TB patients, the public-private partnership, and the enablers’ package contributed to the improved better treatment outcomes, particularly from 2008.
Lessons learnt include the achievement of objectives with varying strategies and stakeholder interventions. Further studies would be needed to quantify the contributions of the various interventions to help determine those that are cost effective as well as efficient and effective for TB control.
Tuberculosis control; Diagnosis; Treatment outcomes
Systematic review is a powerful research tool which aims to identify and synthesize all evidence relevant to a research question. The approach taken is much like that used in a scientific experiment, with high priority given to the transparency and reproducibility of the methods used and to handling all evidence in a consistent manner.
Early career researchers may find themselves in a position where they decide to undertake a systematic review, for example it may form part or all of a PhD thesis. Those with no prior experience of systematic review may need considerable support and direction getting started with such a project. Here we set out in simple terms how to get started with a systematic review.
Advice is given on matters such as developing a review protocol, searching using databases and other methods, data extraction, risk of bias assessment and data synthesis including meta-analysis. Signposts to further information and useful resources are also given.
A well-conducted systematic review benefits the scientific field by providing a summary of existing evidence and highlighting unanswered questions. For the individual, undertaking a systematic review is also a great opportunity to improve skills in critical appraisal and in synthesising evidence.
Systematic review; Systematic review methods; Meta-analysis; Early career researchers; Evidence synthesis; Observational studies
The Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) was initiated by World Health Organization (WHO) in 1974 in order to save children from life threatening, disabling vaccine-preventable diseases (VPDs). In Pakistan, this program was launched in 1978 with the main objectives of eradicating polio by 2012, eliminating measles and neonatal tetanus by 2015, and minimizing the incidence of other VPDs. However, despite the efforts of government and WHO, this program has not received the amount of success that was desired. Hence, the objectives of this study were to elucidate the main reasons behind not achieving the full immunization coverage in Pakistan, the awareness of children’s attendant about the importance of vaccination, their attitudes, thoughts and fears regarding childhood immunization, and the major hurdles faced in pursuit of getting their children vaccinated.
This was an observational, cross-sectional, questionnaire-based study conducted during a one year period from 4th January, 2012 to 6th January, 2013 at the pediatric outpatient clinics of Civil Hospital (CHK) and National Institute of Child Health (NICH). We attempted to interview all the parents who could be approached during the period of the study. Thus, convenience sampling was employed. The parents were approached in the clinics and interviewed after seeking informed, written consent. Those patients who were not accompanied by either of their parents were excluded from the study. The study instrument comprised of three sections. The first section consisted was concerned with the demographics of the patient and the parents. The second section dealt with the reasons for complete vaccination or under-vaccination. The last section aimed to assess the knowledge, attitudes and beliefs of the respondents.
Out of 1044 patients, only 713(68.3%) were fully vaccinated, 239(22.9%) were partially vaccinated while 92(8.8%) had never been vaccinated. The vaccination status showed statistically significant association with ethnicity, income, residence, number of children and paternal occupation (p < 0.05 for all). The most common provocative factor for vaccination compliance was mass media (61.9%). The most common primary reason for non-vaccination was lack of knowledge (18.1%), whereas the most common secondary reason for non-vaccination was religious taboos (31.4%). Majority of the respondents demonstrated poor knowledge of EPI schedules or VPDs. However, most believed that there was a need for more active government/NGO involvement in this area.
The most common primary reason for non-vaccination, i.e. lack of knowledge, and the most common secondary reason, i.e. religious taboos, imply that there is dire need to promote awareness among the masses in collaboration with NGOs, and major religious and social organizations.
Literatures on prevalence and factors associated with malnutrition among peoples living with HIV/AIDS are limited in Ethiopia and not well documented either. The proper implementation of nutritional support and its integration with the routine highly active antiretroviral therapy package demands a clear picture of the magnitude and associated factors of malnutrition. The objective of this study is, therefore, to assess the prevalence and factors associated with malnutrition among peoples living with HIV/AIDS.
Institution based cross sectional study was conducted in Dilla University referral Hospital including adult HIV patients who were in highly active anti retroviral therapy. Interview administered questionnaires were used to collect data on socio demographic factors. Besides, HIV related clinical information was extracted from anti retro viral therapy data base and clinical charts. The nutritional status of the patients was determined by Body Mass Index (BMI) where BMI < 18kg/m2 was defined as malnutrition according to World Health Organization (WHO). Binary logistic regression was used to assess association between different risk factors and malnutrition. Confidence interval of 95% was considered to see the precision of the study and the level of significance was taken at α <0.05.
A total of 520 patients were included in the analysis. The overall prevalence of malnutrition was 12.3% (95% CI 9.5–15.0). After full control of all variables; unemployment (OR = 3.61, 95% CI: 3.6 − 7.76), WHO clinical stage four (OR = 12.9, 95% CI: 2.49− 15.25), gastrointestinal symptoms (OR = 5.3, 95% CI: 2.56 − 10.78) and previous (one) opportunistic infection (OR = 3.1, 95% CI 2.06 − 5.46), and two & above previous opportunistic infections (OR = 4.5, 95% CI: 3.38 − 10.57) were significantly associated with malnutrition. However, moderately poor economic condition was found to be protective factor for malnutrition (OR = 0.4, 95% CI: 0.14 − 0.95).
Unemployment, WHO clinical AIDS stage four, one & more number of previous opportunistic infections and gastrointestinal symptoms were found to be important risk factors for malnutrition among People Living with HIV/AIDS. From this study it has been learnt that nutritional programs should be an integral part of HIV/AIDS continuum of care. Furthermore, it needs to improve household income of PLHIV with employment opportunity and to engage them in income generating activities as well.
Prevalence; Malnutrition; HIV; Ethiopia; Dilla University Hospital
The burden of chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease (CVD) is increasing rapidly in Nigeria, but fewer studies have evaluated the role of physical activity in the development of CVD in this country. We examined the relationship between health enhancing physical activity and risk factors of CVD in a working population of adults in Maiduguri, Nigeria.
In a cross-sectional study, we assessed health enhancing moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) among 292 government employees (age: 20–65 years, 40% female, 24% obese and 79.8% response) using the self-administered version of International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ-SF). Time spent in walking and sitting during occupational activity was assessed as well. Anthropometric measurement of height, weight and waist circumference, and blood pressure were also measured. Independent t-test and One- Way ANOVA were conducted, and the relationships between MVPA and body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, blood pressure and heart rate were explored using Pearson correlations coefficients and multiple regression analyses.
The mean time spent in health enhancing MVPA (116.4 ± 101.3 min/wk) was lower than the recommended guideline of 150 min/wk sufficient for health benefits. Compared with men, more women were less physically active, obese and reported more diagnoses of component of metabolic syndrome (p < 0.05). Participants whose work activities were highly sedentary tend to accumulate less minutes of MVPA compared with those who reported their work as moderately active or highly active (p < 0.001). Health enhancing MVPA was inversely related with body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, heart rate, and systolic and diastolic blood pressure (p < 0.05).
Physical activity level of the working population of Nigerian adults was low and was related with adverse risk factors for CVD. Promoting health enhancing physical activity at work places may be important for prevention and control of CVD among the working population in Maiduguri, Nigeria.
Health-related physical activity; Obesity; Chronic diseases; Nigeria
The phasing out of lead from gasoline has resulted in a significant decrease in blood lead levels (BLLs) in children during the last two decades. Tetraethyl lead was phased out in DRC in 2009. The objective of this study was to test for reduction in pediatric BLLs in Kinshasa, by comparing BLLs collected in 2011 (2 years after use of leaded gasoline was phased out) to those collected in surveys conducted in 2004 and 2008 by Tuakuila et al. (when leaded gasoline was still used).
We analyzed BLLs in a total of 100 children under 6 years of age (Mean ± SD: 2.9 ± 1.6 age, 64% boys) using inductively coupled argon plasma mass spectrometry (ICP – MS).
The prevalence of elevated BLLs (≥ 10 μg/dL) in children tested was 63% in 2004 [n = 100, GM (95% CI) = 12.4 μg/dL (11.4 – 13.3)] and 71% in 2008 [(n = 55, GM (95% CI) = 11.2 μg/dL (10.3 – 14.4)]. In the present study, this prevalence was 41%. The average BLLs for the current study population [GM (95% CI) = 8.7 μg/dL (8.0 – 9.5)] was lower than those found by Tuakuila et al. (F = 10.38, p <0.001) as well as the CDC level of concern (10 μ/dL), with 3% of children diagnosed with BLLs ≥ 20 μg/dL.
These results demonstrate a significant success of the public health system in Kinshasa, DRC-achieved by the removal of lead from gasoline. However, with increasing evidence that adverse health effects occur at BLLs < 10 μg/dL and no safe BLLs in children has been identified, the BLLs measured in this study continue to constitute a major public health concern for Kinshasa. The emphasis should shift to examine the contributions of non-gasoline sources to children’s BLLs: car batteries recycling in certain residences, the traditional use of fired clay for the treatment of gastritis by pregnant women and leaded paint.
Blood lead levels; Leaded gasoline; Children health; Phase out; Kinshasa
The main objective of the joint action MODE is the transfer of best-practices in the field of organ donation and transplantation and the creation of positive synergies among participating European (EU) Member States (MS) apt to support authorities in possible decision-making and policy contexts.
The consortium has chosen to foster the exchange of best-practice through a series of exchange visits followed by the provision of a set of specialized trainings.
Each participating MS has presented its strengths and weaknesses through a questionnaire based on the Organ Action Plan. Once the situation was clearer, countries with the strongest program organized and hosted the on-site visits and each country had the opportunity to perform five exchange visits on five selected topics.
Specific courses for healthcare staff of organ coordinating and transplantation centres were organized. Based on evaluation of the results of the on-site visits and training needs indicated by the partners, the chosen topics were:
• reporting on adverse events and reactions
• quality assurance programme of the donation process in Spain
• quality assurance of the transplantation process
Results and conclusions
The outcome is that within the EU, even among MS with well-developed services, the organ donation and transplantation activity has substantial differences so that all participating countries would benefit from investigating foreign donation and transplant systems. Collaboration at EU level can be beneficial for all systems and the joint action MODE indicated that in some countries the sharing of expertise across the EU Member States has already proved to be useful in starting a virtuous circle in organization and training that would allow to increase organ donor rates and improve overall performance.
In this paper, we investigate the usefulness of work and school absenteeism surveillance as an early warning system for influenza. In particular, time trends in daily absenteeism rates collected during the A(H1N1)2009 pandemic are compared with weekly incidence rates of influenza-like illness (ILI) obtained from the Belgian Sentinel General Practitioner (SGP) network. The results indicate a rise in absenteeism rates prior to the onset of the influenza epidemic, suggesting that absenteeism surveillance is a promising tool for early warning of influenza epidemics. To convincingly conclude on the usefulness of absenteeism data for early warning, additional data covering several influenza seasons is needed.
School absenteeism; worker absenteeism; influenza; influenza A virus; H1N1 subtype
Surveillance; Influenza; diagnosis; PCR
Little work has been done to assess the quality of health care and the use of evidence-based methods by occupational physicians in Belgium. Therefore, the main objective is to describe one aspect of occupational health assessments, namely the common use of dipstick urinalysis, and to compare the current practice with international guidelines.
A self-administered questionnaire was mailed to 211 members of the Scientific Association of Occupational Medicine in the Dutch speaking part of Belgium.
A total of 120 occupational physicians responded, giving a response rate of 57%. Dipstick urinalysis was a routine investigation for the vast majority of physicians (69%). All test strips screened for protein and in 90% also for blood. Occupational health services offered clinical tests to satisfy customer wants as international guidelines do not recommend screening for haematuria and proteinuria in asymptomatic adults. A lack of knowledge concerning positive testing and referral criteria was demonstrated in almost half of the study participants.
Belgian occupational physicians still routinely perform dipstick testing although there is no evidence to support this screening in healthy workers. To practice evidence-based medicine, occupational physicians need more instruction and training. Development and implementation of more guidelines is not only of use for the individual practitioner, it may also enhance professionalization and efficiency of occupational health care.
Evidence-based practice; Occupational health; Guidelines; Health surveillance
Children are not always recognized as being susceptible to stress, although childhood stressors may originate from multiple events in their everyday surroundings with negative effects on children’s health.
As there is a lack of large-scale, European prevalence data on childhood adversities, this study presents the prevalence of (1) negative life events and (2) familial and social adversities in 4637 European pre- and primary-school children (4–11 years old), using a parentally-reported questionnaire embedded in the IDEFICS project (‘Identification and prevention of Dietary- and lifestyle-induced health EFfects In Children and infantS’).
The following findings were observed: (1) Certain adversities occur only rarely, while others are very regular (i.e. parental divorce); (2) A large percentage of children is shielded from stressors, while a small group of children is exposed to multiple, accumulating adversities; (3) The prevalence of childhood adversity is influenced by geographical location (e.g. north versus south), age group and sex; (4) Childhood adversities are associated and co-occur, resulting in potential cumulative childhood stress.
This study demonstrated the importance of not only studying traumatic events but also of focusing on the early familial and social environment in childhood stress research and indicated the importance of recording or monitoring childhood adversities.
Child; Life events; Adversity; Prevalence; Stress; Epidemiology
A problem repeatedly reported in birth certificate data is the presence of missing data. In 2008, a Centre for Perinatal Epidemiology was created inter alia to assist the Health Departments of Brussels-Capital City Region to check birth certificates. The purpose of this study is to assess the changes brought by the Centre in terms of completeness of data registration for the entire population and according to immigration status.
Birth certificates from the birth registry of 2008 and 2009 of Brussels were considered. We evaluated the initial missing information in January 2008 (baseline situation) and the corresponding rate at the end of 2008 after oral and written information had been given to the city civil servants and health providers. The data were evaluated again at the end of 2009 where no reinforcement rules were adopted. We also measured residual missing data after correction in socio-economic and medical data, for the entire population and according to maternal nationality of origin. Changes in registration of stillbirths were estimated by comparison to 2007 baseline data, and all multiple births were checked for complete identification of pairs.
Missing information initially accounted for 64.0%, 20.8% and 19.5% of certificates in January 2008, December 2008, and 2009 respectively. After correction with lists sent back to the hospitals or city offices, the mean residual missing data rate was 2.1% in 2008 and 0.8% in 2009. Education level and employment status were missing more often in immigrant mothers compared to Belgian natives both in 2008 and 2009. Mothers from Sub-Saharan Africa had the highest missing rate of socio-economic data. The stillbirth rate increased from 4.6 ‰ in 2007 to 8.2 ‰ in 2009. All twin pairs were identified, but early loss of a co-twin before 22 weeks was rarely reported.
Reinforcement of data collection was associated with a decrease of missing information. The residual missing data rate was very low. The stillbirth rate was also improved but the early loss of a co-twin before 22 weeks seems to remain underreported.
Birth certificates; Validation studies; Bias; Epidemiologic
The objective of this paper is to provide analytical research that supported the European Commission in setting the global target of additional two healthy life years (HLY) at birth by 2020 in the EU on average, within the European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing (the EIP on AHA). It produces a straightforward analysis of HLY projections that helped the European Commission set a firm, politically sound, target. In order to reach that goal, policy makers need to commit to redefining health priorities and goals and developing and implementing relevant strategies and programmes.
The study computes a simple simulation of the HLY at birth based on three demographic scenarios: compression of morbidity, expansion of morbidity and an intermediary scenario, the dynamic equilibrium, given the expected 2.1 year gain in male and 1.6 in female life expectancy (LE) by 2020. Data on HLY and projections of life expectancy were obtained from Eurostat and 2008 was taken as a baseline. For consistency and given data gaps, EU27 average values of HLY were calculated.
In the EU27 as a whole, the difference between LE and HLY in 2008 was nearly 15 years for men and 20 years for women. The developments of healthy life expectancies across the EU Member States (MSs) are even more diverse that makes it difficult to model any robust EU level trends.
Under compression of morbidity, life expectancy and HLY would increase by 2020 on average by 2.1 and 2.0 years for men and by 1.6 and 1.4 years for women respectively. The expected years with disability would remain unchanged while the HLY/LE ratio would improve leading to a 0.5% gain for both genders. Under expansion of morbidity, life expectancy would increase by 2.1 years for men and 1.4 years for women by 2020, while HLY would remain unchanged and the expected years with disability would increase by 2.1 years and 1.6 years in women. This would imply the deterioration of the HLY/LE ratio for both men and women generating a 2.2% and 1.4% loss of health for men and women accordingly. Under dynamic equilibrium, the HLY would increase but to a lesser extent as the rise in life expectancy. The HLY would increase by 1.6 and 1.2 years for men and women respectively. HLY/LE ratio would remain unchanged for both men (+0.1%) and women. The study shows that the first scenario would reduce the HLY gap between the EU MSs by 1.4 years in men and 1.2 years in women, the second would generate no change, while the third one would reduce the gap by 0.9 years in men and increase it by 0.7 years in women.
The results of the study triggered the political decision of setting the global target of 2 additional HLY for the European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing to be achieved by 2020. It is a ‘grand’ goal but can be achieved. Statistics clearly show that EU countries characterise very different levels of health progress, with a gap of 2 decades and diverging trends. With this in mind, the EU HLY target should be complemented by national HLY targets for men and women, set by MSs.
Healthy life years; Life expectancy; EU target; Compression; Expansion; Equilibrium; Disability; Morbidity; Mortality; Healthy ageing
The story of the implementation of the joint EU health indicators (ECHI indicators) began in the 1990s after the Amsterdam Treaty. The first concrete step in establishing a health monitoring capacity for EU was the Commission working group set up in 1997. Several consecutive and parallel projects, notably the health indicator projects ECHI-1 and ECHI-2 between the years 2000 and 2005 led to a preparedness to implement the jointly agreed health indicators (ECHI shortlist) in all European countries. ECHIM (2005 – 2008) and the Joint Action for ECHIM (2009 - ) laid the foundation for the implementation of health indicators, and initiated Europe wide implementation proper. After the European recession of 2008 the circumstances in different countries were not optimal. Also the collaboration with the Commission could have been better. Nevertheless, the implementation process of the ECHI indicators is now well underway in most countries. By June 2012 half of the Member States had incorporated the ECHI indicators into their national health information system, and, if work can continue, by 2014 most countries are likely to have done so. Unfortunately, a gap may occur between the current programme and the next public health programme. The current momentum must not be lost. Therefore, all those responsible need to urge that the Commission (DG SANCO) together with the Member States helps to bridge the gap from June 2012 to January 2014. The new Public Health Programme provides the necessary financial instruments for setting up a permanent EU health information and reporting system.
Health indicators; Health information; European Community Health Indicators (ECHI); EU Joint Action
The municipality of Ath is characterised by the presence, in its center, of two non-ferrous metal industries whose emissions make local residents concerned for their health. Therefore, authorities of the Walloon Region and the municipality of Ath undertook biomonitoring to assess the impact of those industrial emissions on heavy metal body burden in humans.
This paper describes the study design and methodology used to carry out this human biomonitoring.
A random sampling was done in the general population, in two areas of Ath: an area centered around the industries and a peripheral area. The target population was children (2.5-11 years) and adults (40-60 years) without occupational exposure. The three-stage sampling procedure consisted of a mixture of both mail and telephone recruitment. Firstly, 3259 eligible people, identified from a population register, were mailed an introductory letter. In a second stage, eligible individuals were contacted by phone to propose them to participate in the study. They were randomly contacted until the required sample size was obtained. In the third stage, a second mail was sent to those who agreed to participate with a questionnaire to be filled out. Finally, biological samples (blood and urine) from 278 persons were collected. The final participation rate of this study was 24%.
This sampling procedure, especially designed for the purpose of this biomonitoring study in Ath, allowed us to recruit a sample representative of the population of children and adults of Ath, reaching the expected sample size in a short period of time.
Ath; biomonitoring; heavy metals; methodology; sampling; study design