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1.  Charitable Platforms in Global Surgery: A Systematic Review of their Effectiveness, Cost-Effectiveness, Sustainability, and Role Training 
World journal of surgery  2015;39(1):10-20.
Objective
This study was designed to propose a classification scheme for platforms of surgical delivery in low-and middle-income countries (LMICs) and to review the literature documenting their effectiveness, cost-effectiveness, sustainability, and role in training. Approximately 28 % of the global burden of disease is surgical. In LMICs, much of this burden is borne by a rapidly growing international charitable sector, in fragmented platforms ranging from short-term trips to specialized hospitals. Systematic reviews of these platforms, across regions and across disease conditions, have not been performed.
Methods
A systematic review of MEDLINE and EM-BASE databases was performed from 1960 to 2013. Inclusion and exclusion criteria were defined a priori. Bibliographies of retrieved studies were searched by hand. Of the 8,854 publications retrieved, 104 were included.
Results
Surgery by international charitable organizations is delivered under two, specialized hospitals and temporary platforms. Among the latter, short-term surgical missions were the most common and appeared beneficial when no other option was available. Compared to other platforms, however, worse results and a lack of cost-effectiveness curtailed their role. Self-contained temporary platforms that did not rely on local infrastructure showed promise, based on very few studies. Specialized hospitals provided effective treatment and appeared sustainable; cost-effectiveness evidence was limited.
Conclusions
Because the charitable sector delivers surgery in vastly divergent ways, systematic review of these platforms has been difficult. This paper provides a framework from which to study these platforms for surgery in LMICs. Given the available evidence, self-contained temporary platforms and specialized surgical centers appear to provide more effective and cost-effective care than short-term surgical mission trips, except when no other delivery platform exists.
doi:10.1007/s00268-014-2516-0
PMCID: PMC4179995  PMID: 24682278
2.  Cluster Randomized Trial to Compare Spectacle Delivery Systems at Outreach Eye Camps in South India 
Ophthalmic epidemiology  2013;20(5):308-314.
Purpose
To study the optimal method for delivery of spectacles at eye camps to maximize procurement and use.
Methods
A cluster randomized controlled trial, undertaken in the catchment districts of Aravind Eye Hospital – Theni, in the state of Tamil Nadu, India. Community eye camps (n = 21) were allocated to offer one of three types of service for purchase of spectacles to correct refractive error: (1) Issuance of a prescription only; (2) booking orders for spectacles with subsequent delivery; (3) on-the-spot fitting and dispensing of spectacles. Follow-up questionnaires were administered 6 weeks after interventions to assess patient outcomes. The primary outcome measured was spectacle procurement at follow-up 6 weeks post-screening. Secondary outcomes included use of and satisfaction with spectacles. Reasons for purchase/non-purchase were also assessed.
Results
Compared to those who were issued only a prescription and adjusting for distance from base hospital, spectacle procurement was significantly higher for those allowed to book spectacles for subsequent delivery (odds ratio, OR, 8.79, 95% confidence interval, CI, 4.61–16.78) and for those receiving spectacles on the spot (OR 13.97, 95% CI 8.12–24.05). Among those with spectacles at 6 weeks, spectacle use was nearly universal and satisfaction with spectacles varied between 92 and 94% among the three different dispensing modalities.
Conclusion
Making spectacles available on the spot is important to ensure procurement in a context where availability and access to dispensing opticians is poor.
doi:10.3109/09286586.2013.822897
PMCID: PMC4068737  PMID: 24070102
Eye camp; India; outreach; refractive error; spectacle dispensing; spectacles
3.  Charitable Platforms in Global Surgery: A Systematic Review of their Effectiveness, Cost-Effectiveness, Sustainability, and Role Training 
World Journal of Surgery  2014;39:10-20.
Objective
This study was designed to propose a classification scheme for platforms of surgical delivery in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) and to review the literature documenting their effectiveness, cost-effectiveness, sustainability, and role in training. Approximately 28 % of the global burden of disease is surgical. In LMICs, much of this burden is borne by a rapidly growing international charitable sector, in fragmented platforms ranging from short-term trips to specialized hospitals. Systematic reviews of these platforms, across regions and across disease conditions, have not been performed.
Methods
A systematic review of MEDLINE and EMBASE databases was performed from 1960 to 2013. Inclusion and exclusion criteria were defined a priori. Bibliographies of retrieved studies were searched by hand. Of the 8,854 publications retrieved, 104 were included.
Results
Surgery by international charitable organizations is delivered under two, specialized hospitals and temporary platforms. Among the latter, short-term surgical missions were the most common and appeared beneficial when no other option was available. Compared to other platforms, however, worse results and a lack of cost-effectiveness curtailed their role. Self-contained temporary platforms that did not rely on local infrastructure showed promise, based on very few studies. Specialized hospitals provided effective treatment and appeared sustainable; cost-effectiveness evidence was limited.
Conclusions
Because the charitable sector delivers surgery in vastly divergent ways, systematic review of these platforms has been difficult. This paper provides a framework from which to study these platforms for surgery in LMICs. Given the available evidence, self-contained temporary platforms and specialized surgical centers appear to provide more effective and cost-effective care than short-term surgical mission trips, except when no other delivery platform exists.
doi:10.1007/s00268-014-2516-0
PMCID: PMC4179995  PMID: 24682278
4.  Advocacy for eye care 
Indian Journal of Ophthalmology  2012;60(5):376-379.
The effectiveness of eye care service delivery is often dependant on how the different stakeholders are aligned. These stakeholders range from the ministries of health who have the capacity to grant government subsidies for eye care, down to the primary healthcare workers who can be enrolled to screen for basic eye diseases. Advocacy is a tool that can help service providers draw the attention of key stakeholders to a particular area of concern. By enlisting the support, endorsement and participation of a wider circle of players, advocacy can help to improve the penetration and effectiveness of the services provided. There are several factors in the external environmental that influence the eye care services – such as the availability of trained manpower, supply of eye care consumables, government rules and regulations. There are several instances where successful advocacy has helped to create an enabling environment for eye care service delivery. Providing eye care services in developing countries requires the support – either for direct patient care or for support services such as producing trained manpower or for research and dissemination. Such support, in the form of financial or other resources, can be garnered through advocacy.
doi:10.4103/0301-4738.100530
PMCID: PMC3491261  PMID: 22944745
Advocacy; effective service delivery; enabling environment; stakeholders; resources
5.  Prevalence and Risk Factors for Vitamin C Deficiency in North and South India: A Two Centre Population Based Study in People Aged 60 Years and Over 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(12):e28588.
Background
Studies from the UK and North America have reported vitamin C deficiency in around 1 in 5 men and 1 in 9 women in low income groups. There are few data on vitamin C deficiency in resource poor countries.
Objectives
To investigate the prevalence of vitamin C deficiency in India.
Design
We carried out a population-based cross-sectional survey in two areas of north and south India. Randomly sampled clusters were enumerated to identify people aged 60 and over. Participants (75% response rate) were interviewed for tobacco, alcohol, cooking fuel use, 24 hour diet recall and underwent anthropometry and blood collection. Vitamin C was measured using an enzyme-based assay in plasma stabilized with metaphosphoric acid. We categorised vitamin C status as deficient (<11 µmol/L), sub-optimal (11–28 µmol/L) and adequate (>28 µmol/L). We investigated factors associated with vitamin C deficiency using multivariable Poisson regression.
Results
The age, sex and season standardized prevalence of vitamin C deficiency was 73.9% (95% confidence Interval, CI 70.4,77.5) in 2668 people in north India and 45.7% (95% CI 42.5,48.9) in 2970 from south India. Only 10.8% in the north and 25.9% in the south met the criteria for adequate levels. Vitamin C deficiency varied by season, and was more prevalent in men, with increasing age, users of tobacco and biomass fuels, in those with anthropometric indicators of poor nutrition and with lower intakes of dietary vitamin C.
Conclusions
In poor communities, such as in our study, consideration needs to be given to measures to improve the consumption of vitamin C rich foods and to discourage the use of tobacco.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0028588
PMCID: PMC3232233  PMID: 22163038
6.  Inverse Association of Vitamin C with Cataract in Older People in India 
Ophthalmology  2011;118(10):1958-1965.e2.
Objective
To examine the association between vitamin C and cataract in the Indian setting.
Design
Population-based cross-sectional analytic study.
Participants
A total of 5638 people aged ≥60 years.
Methods
Enumeration of randomly sampled villages in 2 areas of north and south India to identify people aged ≥60 years. Participants were interviewed for socioeconomic and lifestyle factors (tobacco, alcohol, household cooking fuel, work, and diet); attended a clinical examination, including lens photography; and provided a blood sample for antioxidant analysis. Plasma vitamin C was measured using an enzyme-based assay in plasma stabilized with metaphosphoric acid, and other antioxidants were measured by reverse-phase high-pressure liquid chromatography.
Main Outcome Measures
Cataract and type of cataract were graded from digital lens images using the Lens Opacity Classification System III (LOCS III), and cataract was classified from the grade in the worse eye of ≥4 for nuclear cataract, ≥3 for cortical cataract, and ≥2 for posterior subcapsular cataract (PSC). Any cataract was defined as any unoperated or operated cataract.
Results
Of 7518 enumerated people, 5638 (75%) provided data on vitamin C, antioxidants, and potential confounders. Vitamin C was inversely associated with cataract (adjusted odds ratio [OR] for highest to lowest quartile = 0.61; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.51–0.74; P=1.1×10−6). Inclusion of other antioxidants in the model (lutein, zeaxanthin, retinol, β-carotene, and α-tocopherol) made only a small attenuation to the result (OR 0.68; 95% CI, 0.57–0.82; P < 0.0001). Similar results were seen with vitamin C by type of cataract: nuclear cataract (adjusted OR 0.66; CI, 0.54–0.80; P < 0.0001), cortical cataract (adjusted OR 0.70; CI, 0.54–0.90; P < 0.002), and PSC (adjusted OR 0.58; CI, 0.45–0.74; P < 0.00003). Lutein, zeaxanthin, and retinol were significantly inversely associated with cataract, but the associations were weaker and not consistently observed by type of cataract. Inverse associations were also observed for dietary vitamin C and cataract.
Conclusions
We found a strong association with vitamin C and cataract in a vitamin C–depleted population.
Financial Disclosure(s)
The author(s) have no proprietary or commercial interest in any materials discussed in this article.
doi:10.1016/j.ophtha.2011.03.016
PMCID: PMC3185206  PMID: 21705085
7.  Prevalence of Cataract in an Older Population in India 
Ophthalmology  2011;118(2-19):272-278.e2.
Purpose
To describe the prevalence of cataract in older people in 2 areas of north and south India.
Design
Population-based, cross-sectional study.
Participants
Randomly sampled villages were enumerated to identify people aged ≥60 years. Of 7518 enumerated people, 78% participated in a hospital-based ophthalmic examination.
Methods
The examination included visual acuity measurement, dilatation, and anterior and posterior segment examination. Digital images of the lens were taken and graded by type and severity of opacity using the Lens Opacity Classification System III (LOCS III).
Main Outcome Measures
Age- and gender-standardized prevalence of cataract and 95% confidence intervals (CIs). We defined type of cataract based on the LOCS III grade in the worse eye of: ≥4 for nuclear cataract, ≥3 for cortical cataract, and ≥2 for posterior subcapsular cataract (PSC). Any unoperated cataract was based on these criteria or ungradable dense opacities. Any cataract was defined as any unoperated or operated cataract.
Results
The prevalence of unoperated cataract in people aged ≥60 was 58% in north India (95% CI, 56–60) and 53% (95% CI, 51–55) in south India (P = 0.01). Nuclear cataract was the most common type: 48% (95% CI, 46–50) in north India and 38% (95% CI, 37–40) in south India (P<0.0001); corresponding figures for PSC were 21% (95% CI, 20–23) and 17% (95% CI, 16–19; P = 0.003), respectively, and for cortical cataract 7.6% (95% CI, 7–9) and 10.2% (95% CI, 9–11; P<0.004). Bilateral aphakia/pseudophakia was slightly higher in the south (15.5%) than in the north (13.2%; P<0.03). The prevalence of any cataracts was similar in north (73.8%) and south India (71.8%). The prevalence of unoperated cataract increased with age and was higher in women than men (odds ratio [OR], 1.8). Aphakia/pseudophakia was also more common in women, either unilateral (OR, 1.2; P<0.02) or bilateral (OR, 1.3; P<0.002).
Conclusions
We found high rates of unoperated cataract in older people in north and south India. Posterior subcapsular cataract was more common than in western studies. Women had higher rates of cataract, which was not explained by differential access to surgery.
Financial Disclosure(s)
The authors have no proprietary or commercial interest in any of the materials discussed in this article.
doi:10.1016/j.ophtha.2010.05.020
PMCID: PMC3146699  PMID: 20801514

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