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1.  Forecasting future prevalence of type 2 diabetes mellitus in Syria 
BMC Public Health  2013;13:507.
Background
Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is increasingly becoming a major public health problem worldwide. Estimating the future burden of diabetes is instrumental to guide the public health response to the epidemic. This study aims to project the prevalence of T2DM among adults in Syria over the period 2003–2022 by applying a modelling approach to the country’s own data.
Methods
Future prevalence of T2DM in Syria was estimated among adults aged 25 years and older for the period 2003–2022 using the IMPACT Diabetes Model (a discrete-state Markov model).
Results
According to our model, the prevalence of T2DM in Syria is projected to double in the period between 2003 and 2022 (from 10% to 21%). The projected increase in T2DM prevalence is higher in men (148%) than in women (93%). The increase in prevalence of T2DM is expected to be most marked in people younger than 55 years especially the 25–34 years age group.
Conclusions
The future projections of T2DM in Syria put it amongst countries with the highest levels of T2DM worldwide. It is estimated that by 2022 approximately a fifth of the Syrian population aged 25 years and older will have T2DM.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-507
PMCID: PMC3673829  PMID: 23705638
2.  Patterns of Water-Pipe and Cigarette Smoking Initiation in Schoolchildren: Irbid Longitudinal Smoking Study 
Nicotine & Tobacco Research  2011;14(4):448-454.
Introduction:
Tobacco use remains a major public health problem worldwide. Water-pipe smoking is spreading rapidly and threatening to undermine the successes achieved in tobacco control.
Methods:
A school-based longitudinal study in the city of Irbid, Jordan, was performed from 2008 to 2010. All seventh-grade students in 19 randomly selected schools, out of a total of 60 schools in the city, were enrolled at baseline and surveyed annually.
Results:
Of the 1781 students enrolled at baseline 1,701 (95.5%) were still in the study at the end of the second year of follow-up (869 boys, median age at baseline 13 years). Ever and current water-pipe smoking were higher than those of cigarette smoking at baseline (ever smoking: 25.9% vs. 17.6% and current smoking: 13.3% vs. 5.3% for water-pipe and cigarette smoking, respectively; p < .01 for both) but cigarette smoking caught up by the second year of follow-up (ever smoking: 46.4% vs. 44.7%; p = .32 and current smoking: 18.9% vs. 14.9%; p < .01). Water pipe–only smokers at baseline were twice as likely to become current cigarette smokers after 2 years compared with never smokers (relative risk (RR) = 2.1; 95% CI = 1.2, 3.4). A similar pattern was observed for cigarette-only smokers at baseline (RR = 2.0; 95% CI = 0.9, 4.8).
Conclusions:
Prevalence of water-pipe and cigarette smoking increased dramatically over the 2-year follow-up period with similar patterns in boys and girls, although girls had lower prevalence in all categories. Water-pipe smoking at baseline predicted the progress to cigarette smoking in the future and vice versa.
doi:10.1093/ntr/ntr234
PMCID: PMC3313787  PMID: 22140149
3.  Are Primary Health Care Providers Prepared to Implement an Anti-smoking Program in Syria? 
Patient education and counseling  2010;85(2):201-205.
Objective
To document primary health care (PHC) providers’ tobacco use, and how this influences their smoking cessation practices and attitudes towards tobacco-control policies.
Methods
Anonymous questionnaires were distributed to PHC providers in 7 randomly selected PHC centers in Aleppo, Syria.
Results
All PHC providers completed the questionnaires (100% response rate). A quarter of these providers smoke cigarettes and more than 10% smoke waterpipes. Physicians who smoke were less likely to advise patients to quit (OR = 0.29; 95% CI, 0.09–0.95), assess their motivation to quit (OR = 0.13, 95% CI = 0.02–0.72), or assist them in quitting (OR = 0.24, 95% CI = 0.06–0.99). PHC providers who smoke were less likely to support a ban on smoking in PHC settings (68.2% vs. 89.1%) and in enclosed public places (68.2% vs. 86.1%) or increases in the price of tobacco products (43.2% vs. 77.4%) (P < 0.01 for all comparisons).
Conclusions
Smoking, including waterpipe, continues to be widespread among PHC providers in Syria and will negatively influence implementation of anti-smoking program in PHC settings.
Practice implications
Smoking awareness and cessation interventions targeted to PHC providers, and training programs to build providers’ competency in addressing their patients’ smoking is crucial in Syria.
doi:10.1016/j.pec.2010.11.011
PMCID: PMC3074023  PMID: 21168300
Smoking prevalence; health care providers; primary health care; antismoking policies; smoking-cessation practices; waterpipe
4.  Explaining the increase in coronary heart disease mortality in Syria between 1996 and 2006 
BMC Public Health  2012;12:754.
Background
Despite advances made in treating coronary heart disease (CHD), mortality due to CHD in Syria has been increasing for the past two decades. This study aims to assess CHD mortality trends in Syria between 1996 and 2006 and to investigate the main factors associated with them.
Methods
The IMPACT model was used to analyze CHD mortality trends in Syria based on numbers of CHD patients, utilization of specific treatments, trends in major cardiovascular risk factors in apparently healthy persons and CHD patients. Data sources for the IMPACT model included official statistics, published and unpublished surveys, data from neighboring countries, expert opinions, and randomized trials and meta-analyses.
Results
Between 1996 and 2006, CHD mortality rate in Syria increased by 64%, which translates into 6370 excess CHD deaths in 2006 as compared to the number expected had the 1996 baseline rate held constant. Using the IMPACT model, it was estimated that increases in cardiovascular risk factors could explain approximately 5140 (81%) of the CHD deaths, while some 2145 deaths were prevented or postponed by medical and surgical treatments for CHD.
Conclusion
Most of the recent increase in CHD mortality in Syria is attributable to increases in major cardiovascular risk factors. Treatments for CHD were able to prevent about a quarter of excess CHD deaths, despite suboptimal implementation. These findings stress the importance of population-based primary prevention strategies targeting major risk factors for CHD, as well as policies aimed at improving access and adherence to modern treatments of CHD.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-12-754
PMCID: PMC3485167  PMID: 22958443
Coronary heart disease; Mortality; Modelling
5.  Association between smoking and chronic kidney disease: a case control study 
BMC Public Health  2010;10:731.
Background
The progression of chronic kidney disease (CKD) remains one of the main challenges in clinical nephrology. Therefore, identifying the pathophysiological mechanisms and the independent preventable risk factors helps in decreasing the number of patients suffering end stage renal disease and slowing its progression.
Methods
Smoking data was analyzed in patients with CKD throughout 2005-2009. One hundred and ninety-eight patients who had recently been diagnosed with stage three CKD or higher according to the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) 2002 Classification were studied. The control group was randomly selected and then matched with the case subjects using a computerized randomization technique. The relative risk was estimated by computing odds ratio (OR) by using multinomial logistic regression in SPSS ® for Windows between the two groups.
Results
Smoking significantly increases the risk of CKD (OR = 1.6, p = 0.009, 95% CI = 1.12-2.29). When compared to nonsmokers, current smokers have an increased risk of having CKD (OR = 1.63 p = 0.02, 95% CI = 1.08-2.45), while former smokers did not have a statistically significant difference. The risk increased with high cumulative quantity (OR among smokers with > 30 pack-years was 2.6, p = 0.00, 95% CI = 1.53-4.41). Smoking increased the risk of CKD the most for those classified as hypertensive nephropathy (OR = 2.85, p = 0.01, 95% CI = 1.27-6.39) and diabetic nephropathy (2.24, p = 0.005, 95% CI = 1.27-3.96). No statistically significant difference in risk was found for glomerulonephritis patients or any other causes.
Conclusion
This study suggests that heavy cigarette smoking increases the risk of CKD overall and particularly for CKD classified as hypertensive nephropathy and diabetic nephropathy.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-10-731
PMCID: PMC3004836  PMID: 21108832
6.  Hepatitis B Vaccination Status and Needlestick Injuries Among Healthcare Workers in Syria 
Background:
Although a majority of countries in the Middle East show intermediate or high endemicity of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection, which clearly poses a serious public health problem in the region, the situation in the Republic of Syria remains unclear. The aim of this study is to determine the hepatitis B vaccination status, to assess the number of vaccinations administered, and to estimate the annual incidence of needlestick injuries (NSIs) among healthcare workers (HCWs) in Aleppo University hospitals.
Materials and Methods:
A cross-sectional design with a survey questionnaire was used for exploring details of NSIs during 2008, hepatitis B vaccination status, and HBV infection among a random stratified sample of HCWs in three tertiary hospitals in Aleppo (n = 321).
Results:
Two hundred and forty-six (76.6%) HCWs had sustained at least one NSI during 2008. Nine (2.8%) had HBV chronic infection and 75 HCWs (23.4%) were never vaccinated. Anesthesiology technicians had the greatest exposure risk when compared to office workers [OR = 16,95% CI (2.55-100), P < 0.01], doctors [OR = 10,95% CI (2.1 47.57), P < 0.01], and nurses [OR = 6.75,95% CI (1.56-29.03), P = 0.01]. HCWs under 25 and between the age of 25 and 35 years were at increased risk for NSI when compared to HCWs older than 45 years [OR = 3.12,95% CI (1.19-8.19), P = 0.02] and [OR = 3.05,95% CI (1.42-6.57), P < 0.01], respectively.
Conclusion:
HCWs at Aleppo University hospitals are frequently exposed to blood-borne infections. Precautions and protection from NSIs are important in preventing infection of HCWs. Education about the transmission of blood-borne infections, vaccination, and post-exposure prophylaxis must be implemented and strictly monitored.
doi:10.4103/0974-777X.59247
PMCID: PMC2840977  PMID: 20300414
Needlestick injuries; Hepatitis B infection; Healthcare workers
7.  A Cost Effectiveness Analysis of Salt Reduction Policies to Reduce Coronary Heart Disease in Four Eastern Mediterranean Countries 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e84445.
Background
Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) is rising in middle income countries. Population based strategies to reduce specific CHD risk factors have an important role to play in reducing overall CHD mortality. Reducing dietary salt consumption is a potentially cost-effective way to reduce CHD events. This paper presents an economic evaluation of population based salt reduction policies in Tunisia, Syria, Palestine and Turkey.
Methods and Findings
Three policies to reduce dietary salt intake were evaluated: a health promotion campaign, labelling of food packaging and mandatory reformulation of salt content in processed food. These were evaluated separately and in combination. Estimates of the effectiveness of salt reduction on blood pressure were based on a literature review. The reduction in mortality was estimated using the IMPACT CHD model specific to that country. Cumulative population health effects were quantified as life years gained (LYG) over a 10 year time frame. The costs of each policy were estimated using evidence from comparable policies and expert opinion including public sector costs and costs to the food industry. Health care costs associated with CHDs were estimated using standardized unit costs. The total cost of implementing each policy was compared against the current baseline (no policy). All costs were calculated using 2010 PPP exchange rates. In all four countries most policies were cost saving compared with the baseline. The combination of all three policies (reducing salt consumption by 30%) resulted in estimated cost savings of $235,000,000 and 6455 LYG in Tunisia; $39,000,000 and 31674 LYG in Syria; $6,000,000 and 2682 LYG in Palestine and $1,3000,000,000 and 378439 LYG in Turkey.
Conclusion
Decreasing dietary salt intake will reduce coronary heart disease deaths in the four countries. A comprehensive strategy of health education and food industry actions to label and reduce salt content would save both money and lives.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0084445
PMCID: PMC3883693  PMID: 24409297

Results 1-7 (7)