Health systems in low and lower-middle income countries, particularly in sub-Sahara Africa, often lack the specialized personnel and infrastructure to provide comprehensive care for elderly/ageing populations. Close-to-client community-based approaches are a low-cost way of providing basic care and social support for elderly populations in such resource-constrained settings and family caregivers play a crucial role in that regard. However, family caregiving duties are often unremunerated and their care-related economic burden is often overlooked though this knowledge is important in designing or scaling up effective interventions. The objective of this study, therefore, was to estimate the economic burden of family caregiving for the elderly in southern Ghana.
The study was a retrospective cross-sectional cost-of-care study conducted in 2015 among family caregivers for elderly registered for a support group in a peri-urban district in southern Ghana. A simple random sample of 98 respondents representative of the support group members completed an interviewer-administered questionnaire. Costs were assessed over a 1-month period. Direct costs of caregiving (including out-of-pocket costs incurred on health care) as well as productivity losses (i.e. indirect cost) to caregivers were analysed. Intangible costs were assessed using the 12-item Zarit burden interview (ZBI) tool and the financial cost dimension of the cost of care index.
The estimated average cost of caregiving per month was US$186.18, 66% of which was direct cost. About 78% of the family caregivers in the study reported a high level of caregiving burden (as measured with the ZBI) with females reporting a relatively higher level than males. Further, about 87% of the family caregivers reported a high level of financial stress as a result of caregiving for their elderly relative.
The study shows that support/caregiving for elderly populations imposes economic burden on families, potentially influencing the economic position of families with attendant implications for equity and future family support for such vulnerable populations.
Family caregivers; Economic burden; Elderly population; Health systems; Ghana
Equity and justice in healthcare payment form an integral part of health policy and planning. In the majority of low and middle-income countries (LMICs), healthcare inequalities are further aggravated by Out of Pocket Expenditure (OOPE). This paper examines the pattern of health equity and regional disparities in healthcare spending among Indian states by applying Andersen’s behavioural model of healthcare utilization.
The present study uses data from the 66th quinquennial round of Consumer Expenditure Survey, of the National Sample Survey Organization (NSSO), conducted in 2009–10 by Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI), Government of India (GoI). To measure equity and regional disparities in healthcare expenditure, states have been categorized under three heads on the basis of monthly OOPE i.e., Category A (OOPE > =INR 100); Category B (OOPE between INR 50 to 99) and Category C (OOPE < INR 50). Multiple Generalised Linear Regression Model (GLRM) has been employed to explore the effect of various socio-economic covariates on the level of OOPE.
The gap in the ratio of average healthcare spending between the poorest and richest households was maximum in Category A states (richest/poorest = 14.60), followed by Category B (richest/poorest 11.70) and Category C (richest/poorest 11.40). Results also indicate geographical concentration of lower level healthcare spending among Indian states (e.g., Odisha, Chhattisgarh and all the north-eastern states). Results from the multivariate analysis suggest that people residing in urban areas, having higher economic status, belonging to non-Muslim communities, non-Scheduled Tribes (STs), and non-poor households spend more on healthcare than their counterparts.
In spite of various efforts by the government to reduce the burden of healthcare spending, widespread inequalities in healthcare expenditure are prevalent. Households with high healthcare needs (SCs/STs, and the poor) are in a more disadvantaged position in terms of spending on health care. It has also been observed that spending on healthcare was comparatively lower among backward or isolated states. No doubt, the overall social security measures should be enhanced, but at the same time, looking at the regional differences, more priority should be assigned to the disadvantaged states to reduce the burden of OOPE. It is proposed that there is need to increase government spending, especially for the disadvantaged states and population, to minimise the burden of OOPE.
Equity; Inequalities; Healthcare utilisation; GLRM; OOPE
Although a number of studies have uncovered relationships between parental capital and the manifestation of depression in their children, little is known about the mechanisms that undergird the relationships. This study investigates the intergenerational effects of the cultural and economic capitals of South Korean parents on depressive symptoms in their adult children and the degree to which the capitals of the adult children explain them.
We employed nationally representative cross-sectional survey data from the 2006 Korea Welfare Panel Study. A sample of 11,576 adults over thirty years of age was used to investigate the intergenerational production of depression in South Korea. We applied binary logistic regression modelling to the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale (CES-D).
Parental education (institutionalized cultural capital) manifested an independent and statistically significant inverse association with depressive symptoms [OR = 1.680 (95% CI: 1.118-2.523) for men; OR = 2.146 (95% CI: 1484–3.102) for women]. Childhood economic circumstances (economic capital) had an independent and statistically significant inverse association with depressive symptoms among adult women only [OR = 2.009 (95% CI: 1.531-2.635)]. The education of the adult children themselves was strongly associated with depressive symptoms in the expected direction [OR = 4.202 (95% CI: 2.856-6.181) for men; OR = 4.058 (95% CI: 2.824-5.830)] and the most of the association between parental capitals and depressive symptoms was explained by the educational attainment of the children. Receipt of monetary inheritance from parents had a weak but statistically significant association with depression among men [OR = 1.248 (95% CI: 1.041-1.496)] but was unrelated to depression among women. A large portion of the association between respondent education and depressive symptoms was explained by household income. Finally, childhood economic circumstances were associated with depressive symptoms among women over and above the cultural and economic capitals held by the women themselves [OR = 1.608 (95% CI: 2.08-2.139)].
Our study illuminates the importance of the intergenerational transmission of capitals for the development of depressive symptoms among adults in South Korea.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12939-016-0513-7) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
South Korea; Depressive symptoms; Capitals; Intergenerational processes
With the depth development of health care system reform in China, emergency medical services (EMS) is confronted with challenges as well as opportunities. This study aimed to analyze the equity of China’s EMS needs, utilization, and resources distribution, and put forward proposal to improve the equity.
Three emergency needs indicators (mortality rate of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases, harm, and digestive system disease), two utilization indicators (emergency outpatient visits and rate of utilization) and one resource allocation indicator (number of EMS facilities) were collected after the review of the China Statistical Yearbook and the National Disease Surveillance System. Next, EMS related indicators were compared among 31 provinces from the eastern, central, and western regions of the country. Concentration Index (CI) were used to measure the equity of EMS needs and utilization among the western, central, and eastern regions. The Gini coefficient of demographic and geographic distribution of facilities represented the equity of resource allocation.
During 2010–2014, the CI of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease mortality changed from positive to negative, which indicates that the concentrated trend transferred from richer regions to the poorer area. Injury mortality (CI: range from − 0.1241to −0.1504) and digestive disease mortality (CI: range from − 0.1921 to − 0.2279) consistently concentrated in the poorer region, and the inequity among regions became more obviously year-by-year. The utilization of EMS (CI: range from 0.1074 to 0.0824) showed an improvement; however, the inequity reduced gradually. The EMS facilities distribution by population (Gini coefficient: range from 0.0922 to 0.1200) showed high equitability but the EMS facilities distribution by geography (Gini coefficient: range from 0.0922 to 0.1200) suggested a huge gap between regions because the Gini coefficients were greater than 0.5 in the past 5 years.
There are some inequities of needs, utilization, and resource allocation in the China EMS. The government needs to stick to the principle of increasing investment in poorer regions, perfecting ambulance configuration and improving health workers’ professional skills to improve the equity and quality of EMS.
Emergency medical services; Equity; China
Self-rated health (SRH) is not only used to measure health status and health inequalities, but also as a strong predictor of morbidity and mortality. The purpose of this study was to: 1) evaluate the factors that account for variations in self-rated health among Chinese citizens; and to 2) explore the process through which socio-economic status may impact self-rated health.
Data were derived from the Chinese General Social Survey (CGSS) (2013). Determinants of self-rated health were analyzed along four main dimensions: demographic characteristics, socio-economic status, lifestyle, and psychosocial factors. Multivariate odds ratios for good self-rated health were calculated for different variables in order to analyze the determinants. Binary logistic regression analysis was performed to assess the extent to which lifestyle and psychosocial factors explained the association between socio-economic status and self-rated health.
About 65% of the survey respondents reported good self-rated health. Women, the elderly, married or single respondents and residents of Western China were less likely to report good self-rated health. Respondents who were engaged in work, had higher household income, reported high social class and higher socio-economic status compared with peers were more likely to report good self-rated health. Normal weight and physically active respondents along with those reporting a happy life, no depression, and good relationships with families and friends were related to good self-rated health. We also found the effect of socio-economic status on self-rated health was partly explained by lifestyle and psychosocial factors.
The present findings support the notion that both socio-economic status and lifestyle as well as psychosocial factors were related with good self-rated health. The interventions targeting these factors could improve the health status of the population. The depression was the most influential predictor of self-rated health, especially for the women and the elderly. Although lifestyle and psychosocial factors explained partly the the association between socio-economic status and health, the reason why socio-economic difference exists in health must be further explored. What’s more, it needs to be further studied why the same determinant has different influence strengths on the health of different groups of people.
China; Self-rated health; Socio-economic status; Lifestyle; Psychosocial factors
Health differences between sexes are relatively well recognized, though less is known about the specificity of women's and men's health responsiveness to medical care. Applying data from Polish regions, this study identifies sex-based differences in medical care efficiency and investigates the reasons for these disparities in the gender bias context.
The study estimates sex-specific health production functions for regional data from Poland (1999–2013). Using panel-data regression, male and female life expectancies at ages 0, 15, 30, 45, 60 and 65 are regressed on a set of socioeconomic factors, with the primary interest in medical care proxied by doctor density.
The results show that in Poland the association between life expectancy and doctor density was positive for both men and women; however, the coefficients for medical care were insignificant for those at birth and at the age of 30 for both sexes. The magnitude of health care for longevity was higher for men comparing to women at every age, though the difference between sexes was not statistically significant. The sex-based disparities in medical care efficiency were more pronounced at younger ages and they diminished with age. The inspection of data on the health system in Poland shows that male patients seemed to be in an advantageous position: the mean reimbursement per service for men was higher in most medical care areas; men reported less problems with access to health care; and their mortality trend exhibited more favorable evolution over time. Additionally, the association between other socioeconomic factors and health also differed across sexes, and several of these factors were more important for life expectancy than health care.
Polish medical care suffers from gender bias, which possibly makes men more responsive to medical care. The disparities in the operation of medical care in Poland should be challenged to achieve more equal access to services between sexes and possibly to gain more health from the treatment of female patients.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12939-016-0501-y) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Health production; Gender bias; Life expectancy; Health care efficiency; Doctor density; Panel data
Monitoring the equity of government healthcare subsidies (GHS) is critical for evaluating the performance of health policy decisions. China’s low-income population encounters barriers in accessing benefits from GHS. This paper focuses on the distribution of China’s healthcare subsidies among different socio-economic populations and the factors that affect their equitable distribution. It examines the characteristics of equitable access to benefits in a province of northeastern China, comparing the equity performance between urban and rural areas.
Benefit incidence analysis was applied to GHS data from two rounds of China’s National Health Services Survey (2003 and 2008, N = 27,239) in Heilongjiang province, reflecting the information in 2002 and 2007 respectively. Concentration index (CI) was used to evaluate the absolute equity of GHSs in outpatient and inpatient healthcare services. A negative CI indicates disproportionate concentration of GHSs among the poor, while a positive CI indicates the GHS is pro-rich, a CI of zero indicates perfect equity. In addition, Kakwani index (KI) was used to evaluate the progressivity of GHSs. A positive KI denotes the GHS is regressive, while a negative value denotes the GHS is progressive.
CIs for inpatient care in urban and rural residents were 0.2036 and 0.4497 respectively in 2002, and those in 2007 were 0.4433 and 0.5375. Likewise, CIs for outpatient care are positive in both regions in 2002 and 2007, indicating that both inpatient and outpatient GHSs were pro-rich in both survey periods irrespective of region. In addition, KIs for inpatient services were −0.3769 (urban) and 0.0576 (rural) in 2002 and those in 2007 were 0.0280 and 0.1868. KIs for outpatient service were -0.4278 (urban) and -0.1257 (rural) in 2002, those in 2007 were −0.2572 and −0.1501, indicating that equity was improved in GHS in outpatient care in both regions but not in inpatient services.
The benefit distribution of government healthcare subsidies has been strongly influenced by China’s health insurance schemes. Their compensation policies and benefit packages need reform to improve the benefit equity between outpatient and inpatient care both in urban and rural areas.
Benefit incidence analysis; Equity; Government health subsidy; Healthcare
Immigrant and refugee families form a growing proportion of the Canadian population and experience barriers in accessing primary health care services. The aim of this study was to examine the experiences of access to primary health care by African immigrant and refugee families.
Eighty-three families originating from 15 African countries took part in multiple open ended interviews in western Canada. Qualitative data was collected in six different languages between 2013 and 2015. Data analysis involved delineating units of meaning from the data, clustering units of meaning to form thematic statements, and extracting themes.
African immigrant and refugee families experienced challenges in their quest to access primary health care that were represented by three themes: Expectations not quite met, facing a new life, and let’s buddy up to improve access. On the theme of expectations not quite met, families struggled to understand and become familiar with a new health system that presented with a number of barriers including lengthy wait times, a shortage of health care providers, high cost of medication and non-basic health care, and less than ideal care. On the theme of facing a new life, immigrant and refugee families talked of the difficulties of getting used to their new and unfamiliar environments and the barriers that impact their access to health care services. They talked of challenges related to transportation, weather, employment, language and cultural differences, and lack of social support in their quest to access health care services. Additionally, families expressed their lack of social support in accessing care. Privately sponsored families and families with children experienced even less social support. Importantly, in the theme of let’s buddy up to improve access, families recommended utilizing networking approaches to engage and improve their access to primary health care services.
African immigrant and refugee families experience barriers to accessing primary health care. To improve access, culturally relevant programs, collaborative networking approaches, and policies that focus on addressing social determinants of health are needed.
Immigrant; Refugee; Primary care; Health services’ access and use; Social determinants of health; Qualitative research
Though poorly known, relationships between disability, need of help (dependency) and use of social services are crucial aspects of public health. The objective of this study was to describe the links between disability, officially assessed dependency, and social service use by an industrial population, and identify areas of inequity.
We took advantage of a door-to-door survey conducted in the Cinco Villas district, Spain, in 2008–2009, which provided data on disability, morbidity, and service use among 1216 residents aged ≥50 years, and officially assessed dependency under the 2006 Dependency Act (OAD). Using logistic regression, we combined data collected at homes/residences on 625 disability screened-positive participants, and administrative information on degree of OAD and benefits at date of visit.
Based on 163 disabled persons, the prevalence of residential/community-care users was 13.4% overall, with 6.0% being market-provided, 2.5% supported by the 2006 Act, and 4.9% supported by other public funds. Of 111 OAD applicants, 30 had been assigned an OAD degree; in 29 cases this was the highest OAD degree, with 12 receiving direct support for residential care and 17 receiving home care. Compared to unassessed dependency, the highest OAD degree was linked to residential care (OR and 95% CI) 12.13 (3.86–38.16), declared non-professional care 10.99 (1.28–94.53), and publicly-funded, non-professional care 26.30 (3.36–205.88). In contrast, 43 persons, 58% of the severely/extremely disabled, community-dwelling sample population, 81% of whom were homebound, including 10 persons with OAD but no implemented service plan, made no use of any service, and of these, 40% lacked a non-professional carer.
Formal service use in the Cinco Villas district attained ratios observed for established welfare systems but the publicly-funded proportion was lower. The 2006 Act had a modest, albeit significant, impact on support for non-professional carers and residential care, coexisting with a high prevalence of non-use of social services by severely disabled persons.
Disability; ICF; Prevalence; Functional dependence; WHODAS 2.0; Social services; Public health services
People who have been in custody are more likely to experience multiple, long standing health issues. They are at high risk of illness and injury post release and experience poor access to health services both of which contribute to high rates of recidivism. The study was conducted to examine Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal former prisoners’ risk of hospitalisation and rehospitalisation in the five years post release from custody and identified the common reasons for hospitalisations.
Common reasons for hospital admission were identified by conducting descriptive analysis of linked data, related to former prisoners, from NSW Ministry of Health and Corrective Services NSW. This relied upon admitted patient data for 1899 patients. Of this cohort, 1075 people had been admitted to hospital at least once and remained out of custody over a five year period. The independent variables we studied included age, sex, and whether or not the person was Aboriginal. We conducted univariate and multivariate analysis on the following dependent variables: number of admissions over five years after release; more than one admission; days between custody and first hospitalisation; and days between first and second hospitalisation.
Mental and behavioural disorders, injuries and poisoning, and infectious or parasitic diseases were the three most common reasons for admission. Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal former prisoners had a broadly similar pattern of reasons for admission. Yet Aboriginal former prisoners were more likely than non-Aboriginal former prisoners to have a shorter mean interval between hospital admission and readmission (187 days compared to 259 days, t = 2.90, p-0.004).
Despite poorer health among Aboriginal people, there were broadly similar patterns of reasons for admission to hospital among Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal former prisoners. There may be a number of explanations for this. The cohort was not a representative sample of the NSW prison population. There was an overrepresentation of individuals with cognitive disability (intellectual disability, acquired brain injury, dementia, fetal alcohol spectrum disorder) in the study population, which may have impacted on this group accessing hospital health care. Alternatively perhaps there were fewer presentations to hospital by Aboriginal former prisoners despite a greater need.
The shorter interval between hospital admission and readmission for Aboriginal former prisoners may suggest the need for better follow up care in the community after discharge from hospital. This presents an opportunity for primary health care services to work more closely with hospitals to identify and manage Aboriginal former prisoners discharged from hospital so as to prevent readmission.
Aboriginal Australians; Access to health care; Hospitalisation; Criminal justice
Research indicate that social class mobility could be potentially important for health, but whether this is due to the movement itself or a result of people having been integrated in different class contexts is, to date, difficult to infer. In addition, although several theories suggest that transitions between classes in the social hierarchy can be stressful experiences, few studies have empirically examined whether such movements may have health effects, over and above the implications of “being” in these classes. In an attempt to investigate whether intragenerational social mobility is associated with functional somatic symptoms in mid-adulthood, the current study tests three partially contrasting theories.
The dissociative theory suggests that mobility in general and upward mobility in particular may be linked to psychological distress, while the falling from grace theory indicates that downward mobility is especially stressful. In contrast, the acculturation theory holds that the health implications of social mobility is not due to the movement itself but attributed to the class contexts in which people find themselves. Diagonal Reference Models were used on a sample of 924 individuals who in 1981 graduated from 9th grade in the municipality of Luleå, Sweden. Social mobility was operationalized as change in occupational class between age 30 and 42 (measured in 1995 and 2007). The health outcome was functional somatic symptoms at age 42, defined as a clustering self-reported physical symptoms, palpitation and sleeping difficulties during the last 12 months.
Overall mobility was not associated with higher levels of functional somatic symptoms compared to being immobile (p = 0.653). After controlling for prior and current class, sex, parental social position, general health, civil status, education and unemployment, the association between downward mobility was borderline significant (p = 0.055) while upward mobility was associated with lower levels of functional somatic symptoms (p = 0.03).
The current study did not find unanimous support for any of the theories. Nevertheless, it sheds light on the possibility that upward mobility may be beneficial to reduce stress-related health problems in mid-life over and above the exposure to prior and current class, while downward mobility can be of less importance for middle-age health complaints.
Sweden; Social mobility; Intragenerational; Social class; Life course; Diagonal reference model; Self-reported symptoms
Diet is a major risk factor for non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and is also strongly patterned by socioeconomic factors. Whether interventions promoting healthy eating reduce social inequalities in diet in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) remains uncertain. This paper aims to summarize current evidence on interventions promoting healthy eating in LMICs, and to establish whether they reduce social inequalities in diet.
Systematic review of cross-sectional or quasi-experimental studies (pre- and post-assessment of interventions) in Pubmed, Scielo and Google Scholar databases, including adults in LMICs, assessing at least one outcome of healthy eating and showing results stratified by socioeconomic status.
Seven intervention studies including healthy eating promotion, conducted in seven LMICs (Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Iran, Panama, Trinidad and Tobago, and Tunisia), met our inclusion criteria. To promote healthy eating, all interventions used nutrition education and three of them combined nutrition education with improved acces to foods or social support. Interventions targeted mostly women and varied widely regarding communication tools and duration of the nutrition education sessions. Most interventions used printed material, media use or face-to-face training and lasted from 6 weeks to 5 years. Four interventions targeted disadvantaged populations, and three targeted the entire population. In three out of four interventions targeting disadvantaged populations, healthy eating outcomes were improved suggesting they were likely to reduce social inequalities in diet. All interventions directed to the entire population showed improved healthy eating outcomes in all social strata, and were considered as having no impact on social inequalities in diet.
In LMICs, agentic interventions promoting healthy eating reduced social inequalities in diet when specifically targeting disadvantaged populations. Further research should assess the impact on social inequalities in diet of a combination of agentic and structural approaches in interventions promoting healthy eating.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12939-016-0489-3) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Interventions; Education; Inequalities; Diet; Low- and middle-income countries
Despite the recognition of power as being central to health research collaborations between high income countries and low and middle income countries, there has been insufficient detailed analysis of power within these partnerships. The politics of research in the global south is often considered outside of the remit of research ethics. This article reports on an analysis of power in north–south public health research, using Zambia as a case study.
Primary data were collected in 2011/2012, through 53 in-depth interviews with: Zambian researchers (n = 20), Zambian national stakeholders (n = 8) and northern researchers who had been involved in public health research collaborations involving Zambia and the global north (n = 25). Thematic analysis, utilising a situated ethics perspective, was undertaken using Nvivo 10.
Most interviewees perceived roles and relationships to be inequitable with power remaining with the north. Concepts from Bourdieu’s theory of Power and Practice highlight new aspects of research ethics: Northern and southern researchers perceive that different habituses exist, north and south - habituses of domination (northern) and subordination (Zambian) in relation to researcher relationships.Bourdieu’s hysteresis effect provides a possible explanation for why power differentials continue to exist. In some cases, new opportunities have arisen for Zambian researchers; however, they may not immediately recognise and grasp them.Bourdieu’s concept of Capitals offers an explanation of how diverse resources are used to explain these power imbalances, where northern researchers are often in possession of more economic, symbolic and social capital; while Zambian researchers possess more cultural capital.
Inequities and power imbalances need to be recognised and addressed in research partnerships. A situated ethics approach is central in understanding this relationship in north–south public health research.
Zambia; Research partnerships; Situated research ethics; Power; Bourdieu
The concept of social capital has been extensively used to explain the relationship between socioeconomic status (SES) and adolescent health and well-being. Much less is known about the specific mechanism through which social capital impacts the relationship. This paper investigates whether an individual’s perception of community social capital moderates or mediates the association between SES and life satisfaction.
This study employs cross-sectional data from the 2009–2010 Czech Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children survey: a WHO Collaborative Cross-National Study (HBSC). A sample of 4425 adolescents from the 5th, 7th and 9th grade (94.5% school response rate, 87% student response) was used to perform multilevel analysis.
We found that pupils’ life satisfaction was positively related to both family affluence and perceived wealth. Moreover, we found the cognitive component of social capital to be positively associated with life satisfaction. Additionally, a significant interaction was found, such that the social gradient in life satisfaction was flattened when pupils reported high levels of perceived community social capital.
The present findings suggest that community social capital acts as an unequal health resource for adolescents, but could potentially represent opportunities for public health policy to close the gap in socioeconomic disparities.
Health inequalities; Social capital; Life satisfaction; Youth; Czech Republic
The tremendous increase in knowledge on inequities in health and their drivers in recent decades has not been matched by improvements in health inequities themselves, or by systematic evidence of what works to reduce health inequities. Within health equity research there is a skew towards diagnostic studies in comparison to intervention studies showing evidence of how interventions can reduce disparities.
The lack of sufficient specific evidence on how to implement specific policies and interventions in specific contexts to reduce health inequities creates policy confusion and partly explains the lack of progress on health inequities. In the field of research on equity in health, the time has come to stop focusing so much energy on prevalence and pathways, and instead shift to proposing and testing solutions. Four promising approaches to do so are implementation research, natural experimental policy studies, research on buy-in by policy-makers to action on health inequities, and geospatial analysis.
The case for action on social determinants and health inequities has well and truly been made. The community of researchers on health equity now need to turn their attention to supporting implementation efforts towards achievements of the Sustainable Development Goals and substantive reductions in health inequities.
Health equity; Social determinants of health; Implementation research; Research agenda; Sustainable development goals
The number of racial/ethnic minority children will exceed the number of white children in the USA by 2018. Although 38% of Americans are minorities, only 12% of pediatricians, 5% of medical-school faculty, and 3% of medical-school professors are minorities. Furthermore, only 5% of all R01 applications for National Institutes of Health grants are from African-American, Latino, and American Indian investigators. Prompted by the persistent lack of diversity in the pediatric and biomedical research workforces, the Academic Pediatric Association Research in Academic Pediatrics Initiative on Diversity (RAPID) was initiated in 2012. RAPID targets applicants who are members of an underrepresented minority group (URM), disabled, or from a socially, culturally, economically, or educationally disadvantaged background. The program, which consists of both a research project and career and leadership development activities, includes an annual career-development and leadership conference which is open to any resident, fellow, or junior faculty member from an URM, disabled, or disadvantaged background who is interested in a career in academic general pediatrics.
As part of the annual RAPID conference, a Hot Topic Session is held in which the young investigators spend several hours developing a list of hot topics on the most useful faculty and career-development issues. These hot topics are then posed in the form of six “burning questions” to the RAPID National Advisory Committee (comprised of accomplished, nationally recognized senior investigators who are seasoned mentors), the RAPID Director and Co-Director, and the keynote speaker.
The six compelling questions posed by the 10 young investigators—along with the responses of the senior conference leadership—provide a unique resource and “survival guide” for ensuring the academic success and optimal career development of young investigators in academic pediatrics from diverse backgrounds. A rich conversation ensued on the topics addressed, consisting of negotiating for protected research time, career trajectories as academic institutions move away from an emphasis on tenure-track positions, how “non-academic” products fit into career development, racism and discrimination in academic medicine and how to address them, coping with isolation as a minority faculty member, and how best to mentor the next generation of academic physicians.
Workforce; Diversity; Minority groups; Racism; Discrimination; African Americans; Hispanic Americans
Effective policies to control hypertension require an understanding of its distribution in the population and the barriers people face along the pathway from detection through to treatment and control. One key factor is household wealth, which may enable or limit a household’s ability to access health care services and adequately control such a chronic condition. This study aims to describe the scale and patterns of wealth-related inequalities in the awareness, treatment and control of hypertension in 21 countries using baseline data from the Prospective Urban and Rural Epidemiology study.
A cross-section of 163,397 adults aged 35 to 70 years were recruited from 661 urban and rural communities in selected low-, middle- and high-income countries (complete data for this analysis from 151,619 participants). Using blood pressure measurements, self-reported health and household data, concentration indices adjusted for age, sex and urban-rural location, we estimate the magnitude of wealth-related inequalities in the levels of hypertension awareness, treatment, and control in each of the 21 country samples.
Overall, the magnitude of wealth-related inequalities in hypertension awareness, treatment, and control was observed to be higher in poorer than in richer countries. In poorer countries, levels of hypertension awareness and treatment tended to be higher among wealthier households; while a similar pro-rich distribution was observed for hypertension control in countries at all levels of economic development. In some countries, hypertension awareness was greater among the poor (Sweden, Argentina, Poland), as was treatment (Sweden, Poland) and control (Sweden).
Inequality in hypertension management outcomes decreased as countries became richer, but the considerable variation in patterns of wealth-related inequality - even among countries at similar levels of economic development - underscores the importance of health systems in improving hypertension management for all. These findings show that some, but not all, countries, including those with limited resources, have been able to achieve more equitable management of hypertension; and strategies must be tailored to national contexts to achieve optimal impact at population level.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12939-016-0478-6) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Global health; Hypertension; Socioeconomic factors; Healthcare disparities
Self-rated health (SRH) and socioeconomic position (SEP) as important determinants of health differences are associated with health and economic changes in society.
The objectives of this paper were (1) to describe trends in SRH and (2) to analyze associations between SRH and SEP among adults in Estonia in 1996–2014.
The study was based on a 25–64-year-old subsample (n = 18757) of postal cross-sectional surveys conducted every second year in Estonia during 1990–2014. SRH was measured using five-point scale and was dichotomized to good and less-than-good. Standardized prevalence of SRH was calculated for each study year. Poisson regression with likelihood ratio test was performed for testing trends of SRH over study years. Age, nationality, marital status, education, work status and income were used to determine SEP. Logistic regression analysis was used to assess association between SRH and SEP.
The prevalence of dichotomized good self-rated health increased significantly over the whole study period with slight decrease in 2008–2010. Until 2002, good SRH was slightly more prevalent among men, but after that, among women. Good SRH was significantly associated with younger age, higher education and income and also with employment status among both, men and women. Good SRH was more prevalent among Estonian women and less prevalent among single men.
There was a definite increase of good SRH over two decades in Estonia following economic downturn between 2008 and 2010. Good SRH was associated with higher SEP over the study period. Further research is required to study the possible reasons behind increase of good SRH, and it’s association with SEP among adults in Estonia.
Self-rated health; Trends; Adults; Socioeconomic position; Estonia
The involvement of patients and the public in healthcare has grown significantly in recent decades and is documented in health policy documents internationally. Many benefits of involving these groups in primary care planning have been reported. However, these benefits are rarely felt by those considered marginalised in society and they are often excluded from participating in the process of planning primary care. It has been recommended to employ suitable approaches, such as co-operative and participatory initiatives, to enable marginalised groups to highlight their priorities for care.
This Participatory Learning and Action (PLA) research study involved 21 members of various marginalised groups who contributed their views about access to primary care. Using a series of PLA techniques for data generation and co-analysis, we explored barriers and facilitators to primary healthcare access from the perspective of migrants, Irish Travellers, homeless people, drug users, sex workers and people living in deprivation, and identified their priorities for action with regard to primary care provision.
Four overarching themes were identified: the home environment, the effects of the ‘two-tier’ healthcare system on engagement, healthcare encounters, and the complex health needs of many in those groups. The study demonstrates that there are many complicated personal and structural barriers to accessing primary healthcare for marginalised groups. There were shared and differential experiences across the groups. Participants also expressed shared priorities for action in the planning and running of primary care services.
Members of marginalised groups have shared priorities for action to improve their access to primary care. If steps are taken to address these, there is scope to impact on more than one marginalised group and to address the existing health inequities.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12939-016-0487-5) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Primary healthcare; Marginalised groups; Access; Participatory research; Equity; Patient and public involvement (PPI); Vulnerable groups; Hard to reach
Child undernutrition showed geographical inequalities due to variations in contextual determinants from area to area which indicates that location is an important factor in child undernutrition. However, there are limited studies on spatial epidemiology of child undernutrition in Ethiopia. This study was aimed to identify the SaTScan spatial clusters of child undernutrition in Ethiopia.
Nutritional indices of children (0–59 months) with Global Positioning System (GPS) location data were accessed from the 2011 Ethiopia Demographic and Health Survey (EDHS) after getting permission from the MEASURES Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) Program. The Bernoulli Model was fitted using SaTScan™ software, version 9.4. for SaTScan cluster analysis. Log Likelihood Ratio (LLR) test was used for each SaTScan cluster and size of the scanning SaTScan cluster to test the alternative hypothesis that there is an elevated risk within the SaTScan cluster compared to outside the SaTScan cluster. Less than 0.05 for LLR was considered as statistically significant level.
The SaTScan spatial analysis result detected Liben, Afder and Borena administrative zones around the South East Ethiopia as the most likely primary spatial SaTScan clusters (LLR = 28.98, p < 0.001) for wasting. In the Northern, Middle, North East and North West areas of Ethiopia particularly from all administrative zones of Amhara, Tigray, Afar, Ben. Gumz regional states and East Welega and North Showa zones from Oromiya Regional State (LLR = 60.27, p < 0.0001) were detected as the most likely primary SaTScan clusters for child underweight. Also in the Northern, Middle, North East and North West areas of all administrative zones of Tigray, Amhara, Ben. Gumz and Afar regional states and West and North Showa and East Welega from Oromiya Regional States (LLR = 97.28, P < 0.0001) were primary SaTScan clusters for child stunting.
The study showed geographical variability of child stunting, underweight and wasting in the Country which demands risk based local nutritional interventions. Further study will be important to assess the temporal nature of the problem and to identify community level factors that create this spatial variation.
Child undernutrition; nonrandom; Ethiopia Demographic and Health Survey; Spatial; SaTScan; Arc GIS; Ethiopia
Modification of known risk factors has been the most tested strategy for dealing with non-communicable diseases (NCDs). The cumulative number of NCD risk factors exhibited by an individual depicts a disease burden. However, understanding the risk factors associated with increased NCD burden has been constrained by scarcity of nationally representative data, especially in the developing countries and not well explored in the developed countries as well.
Assessment of key risk factors for NCDs using population data drawn from 3987 participants in a nationally representative baseline survey in Uganda was made. Five key risk factors considered for the indicator variable included: high frequency of tobacco smoking, less than five servings of fruit and vegetables per day, low physical activity levels, high body mass index and raised blood pressure. We developed a composite indicator dependent variable with counts of number of risk factors associated with NCDs per participant. A statistical modeling framework was developed and a multinomial logistic regression model was fitted. The endogenous and exogenous predictors of NCD cumulative risk factors were assessed.
A novel model framework for cumulative number of NCD risk factors was developed. Most respondents, 38 · 6% exhibited one or two NCD risk factors each. Of the total sample, 56 · 4% had at least two risk factors whereas only 5.3% showed no risk factor at all. Body mass index, systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, consumption of fruit and vegetables, age, region, residence, type of residence and land tenure system were statistically significant predictors of number of NCD risk factors (p < 0 · 05). With exception to diastolic blood pressure, increase in age, body mass index, systolic blood pressure and reduction in daily fruit and vegetable servings were found to significantly increase the relative risks of exhibiting cumulative NCD risk factors. Compared to the urban residence status, the relative risk of living in a rural area significantly increased the risk of having 1 or 2 risk factors by a multiple of 1.55.
The non-communicable disease burden is on the increase, with more participants reporting to have at least two risk factors. Our findings imply that, besides endogenous factors, exogenous factors such as region, residence status, land tenure system and behavioral characteristics have significant causal effects on the cumulative NCD risk factors. Subsequently, while developing interventions to combat cumulative risk factors of NCDs, the Ministry of Health needs to employ a more holistic approach to facilitate equitable health and sensitization across age, residence and regional divide.
Non-communicable diseases; Cumulative risk factors; Disease burden; Prevalence; Uganda
In 2009, China launched a health reform to promote the equalization of national essential public health services package (NEPHSP). The present study aimed to describe the financing strategies and mechanisms to improve access to public health for all, identify the strengths and weaknesses of the different approaches, and showed evidence on equity improvement among different regions.
We reviewed the relevant literatures and identified 208 articles after screening and quality assessment and conducted six key informants’ interviews. Secondary data on national and local government health expenditures, NEPHSP coverage and health indicators in 2003–2014 were collected, descriptive and equity analyses were used.
Before 2009, the government subsidy to primary care institutions (PCIs) were mainly used for basic construction and a small part of personnel expenses. Since 2009, the new funds for NEPHSP have significantly expanded service coverage and population coverage. These funds have been allocated by central, provincial, municipal and county governments at different proportions in China’s tax distribution system. Due to the fiscal transfer payment, the Central Government allocated more subsides to less-developed western regions and all the funds were managed in a specific account. Several types of payment methods have been adopted including capitation, pay for performance (P4P), pay for service items, global budget and public health voucher, to address issues from both the supply and demand sides. The equalization of NEPHSP did well through the establishment of health records, systematic care of children and maternal women, etc. Our data showed that the gap between the eastern, central and western regions narrowed. However the coverage for migrants was still low and performance was needed improving in effectiveness of managing patients with chronic diseases.
The delivery of essential public health services was highly influenced by public fiscal policy, and the implementation of health reform since 2009 has led the public health development towards the right direction. However China still needs to increase the fiscal investments to expand service coverage as well as promote the quality of public health services and equality among regions. Independent scientific monitoring and evaluation are also needed.
Financing strategies; Equalization; Public health services; Effects; China
The vulnerability approach suggests that disasters such as epidemics have different effects according not only to physical vulnerability but also to economic class (status). This paper examines the effect of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome epidemic on the labor market to investigate whether vulnerable groups become more vulnerable due to an interaction between the socio-economic structure and physical risk.
This paper examines the effect of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome epidemic on the labor market by considering unemployment status, job status, working hours, reason for unemployment and underemployment status. In particular, the study investigates whether the U-shaped curve becomes a J-shaped curve due to the interaction between medical vulnerability and labor market vulnerability after an outbreak, assuming that the relative vulnerability in the labor market by age shows a U curve with peaks for the young group and middle aged and old aged groups using the Economically Active Population Survey. We use the difference in difference approach and also conduct a falsification check and robustness check.
The results suggest that older workers faced a higher possibility of unemployment after the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome outbreak. In particular, they experienced higher involuntary unemployment and underemployment status as well as decreased working hours. It was confirmed that the relative vulnerability of the labor market for older workers was higher than for the other age groups after the epidemic outbreak due to the double whammy of vulnerability in the medical and labor market. The vulnerability in the young group partially increased compared to the 30s and 40s age groups due to their relative vulnerability in the labor market despite being healthy. We find that assuming the relative vulnerability in the existing labor market shows a U shape with age increase, the U-shaped curve became J-shaped after the outbreak.
Disasters like epidemics can occur unexpectedly and affect certain groups more than other. Therefore, medical protection should be enhanced for groups vulnerable to disease and economic measures are also required for the protection of their livelihoods in the labor market to prevent unemployment stemming from inequality.
Middle East Respiratory Syndrome; Quarantine; Vulnerability; Unemployment; Epidemics; Older workers; Labor Market