The notion of “reverse innovation”--that some insights from low-income countries might offer transferable lessons for wealthier contexts--is increasingly common in the global health and business strategy literature. Yet the perspectives of researchers and policymakers in settings where these innovations are developed have been largely absent from the discussion to date. In this Commentary, we present examples of programmatic, technological, and research-based innovations from Rwanda, and offer reflections on how the global health community might leverage innovative partnerships for shared learning and improved health outcomes in all countries.
In this paper we review two recent paradigmatic shifts and consider how a two-way flow in innovation has been critical to the emergence of new thinking and new practices. The first area relates to our understanding of the nature of public health systems and the shift from a medical paradigm to a more holistic paradigm which emphasises the social, economic and environmental origins of ill-health and looks to these as key arenas in which to tackle persistent inequalities in populations’ health experiences. In respect of this paradigmatic shift, it is argued, developing countries were in advance of their more developed counterparts. Specifically, the Alma Ata Declaration and the Primary Health Care Approach which was central to its implementation pre-figured elements of what was to be called in developed countries The New Public Health such as the need for greater community involvement and recognition of the importance of other sectors in determining health outcomes. But this paradigmatic shift added a new complexity to our understanding which made the identification of appropriate policy responses increasingly difficult. However, a parallel shift was taking place in the cognate field of operational research/systems analysis (OR/SA) which was adding greatly to our ability to analyse and to identify key points of intervention in complex systems. This led to the emergence of new techniques for problem structuring which overcame many of the limitations of formal mathematical models which characterised the old paradigm. In this paradigmatic shift developed countries have led the way, specifically in the new fields of Community Operational Research and Operational Research for Development, but only by drawing strongly on the experience and philosophies to be found in developing countries.
Public health; Systems analysis; Operational research; Reverse innovation
Health partnerships between institutions in the UK and Low or Lower- middle Income Countries are an increasingly important model of development, yet analysis of partnerships has focused on benefits and costs to the Low and Lower- Middle Income partner. We reviewed the evidence on benefits and costs of health partnerships to UK individuals, institutions & the NHS and sought to understand how volunteering within partnerships might impact on workforce development and service delivery.
A systematic review of both published literature and grey literature was conducted. Content relating to costs or benefits to the UK at an individual, institutional or system level was extracted and analysed by thematic synthesis. The benefits of volunteering described were mapped to the key outcome indicators for five different UK professional development structures. A framework was developed to demonstrate the link between volunteer experience within partnerships and improved UK service delivery outcomes.
The literature review (including citation mapping) returned 9 published papers and 32 pieces of grey literature that met all inclusion criteria. 95% of sources cited benefits and 32% cited costs. Most literature does not meet high standards of formal academic rigor. Forty initial individual benefits codes were elicited. These were then grouped into 7 key domains: clinical skills; management skills; communication & teamwork; patient experience & dignity; policy; academic skills; and personal satisfaction & interest. A high degree of concordance was shown between professional benefits cited and professional development indicators within UK work force development frameworks. A theoretical trajectory from volunteer experience to UK service delivery outcomes was demonstrated in most areas, but not all. 32% of sources cited costs, yielding 15 initial codes which were grouped into 5 domains: financial; reputational; health & security; loss of staff; and opportunity costs.
There is little published or unpublished literature on the impact of volunteering within health partnerships to British individuals, institutions or the UK. The existing evidence base is descriptive and focuses on the benefits of volunteering. More work is required to quantify the costs and benefits of volunteering within health partnerships for individuals and institutions, and the associated challenges and barriers. Despite these limitations our analysis suggests that there is a strong theoretical argument that the skills acquired through volunteering are transferable to service delivery within the NHS and that the benefits to individuals and institutions could be maximised when volunteering is formally embedded within continuing professional development processes.
The body of research and practice regarding student volunteer abroad experiences largely focuses on ensuring the optimal learning experience for the student from the Global North, without equivalent attention to the benefits, if any, to the host institution in the Global South. In this debate article, we examine an often overlooked component of global student volunteer programs: the views of the local partner on what makes for a mutually beneficial partnership between volunteers from the Global North and institutions in the Global South.
To guide our discussion, we drew upon the experiences of a Kenyan NGO with a Canadian student volunteer in the summer of 2012, organized via a formalized partnership with a Canadian university. We found that the approach of the NGO to hosting the student mirrored the organizational behaviour theories of Margaret J. Wheatley, who emphasized a disorderly or ‘chaotic’ approach to acquiring impactful change, coupled with a focus on building solid human relationships. Rather than following a set of rigid goals or tasks, the student was encouraged to critically engage and participate in all aspects of the culture of the organization and country, to naturally discover an area where his priorities aligned with the needs of the NGO. Solid networks and interpersonal connections resulted in a process useful for the organization long after the student’s short-term placement ended.
Our discussion reveals key features of successful academic volunteer abroad placements: equal partnership in the design phase between organizations in the Global North and Global South; the absence of rigid structures or preplanned tasks during the student’s placement; participatory observation and critical engagement of the student volunteer; and a willingness of the partners to measure impact by the resultant process instead of tangible outcomes.
Global health; Study abroad; Student volunteers; Volunteer tourism; Critical engagement; Medical education
Patients engage in medical tourism when they privately obtain a medical care abroad. Previous research shows that many medical tourists travel abroad with friends and family members who provide support and assistance. Meanwhile, very little is known about this important stakeholder group, referred to here as caregiver-companions. In this article we examine the challenges that can be posed by caregiver-companions and the overall practice of informal caregiving in medical tourism from an industry perspective. Specifically, we report on the findings of interviews conducted with international patient coordinators (IPCs) who work at destination facilities. IPCs come into regular contact with caregiver-companions in their professional positions and thus are ideally suited to comment on trends they have observed among this stakeholder group as well as the challenges they can pose to medical tourists, health workers, and facilities.
We conducted 20 semi-structured interviews with 21 IPCs from 16 different facilities across nine countries. Topics probed in the interviews included caregiver-companion roles, IPCs’ and others’ interaction with caregiver-companions, and potential health and safety risks posed to medical tourists and caregiver-companions. Thematic analysis of the verbatim transcripts was employed.
Although most participants encouraged medical tourists to travel with a caregiver-companion, many challenges associated with caregiver-companions were identified. Three themes best characterize the challenges that emerged: (1) caregiver-companions require time, attention and resources; (2) caregiver-companions can disrupt the provision of quality care; and (3) caregiver-companions can be exposed to risks. IPCs pointed out that caregiver-companions may, for example, have a negative impact on the patient through cost of accompaniment or inadequate care provision. Caregiver-companions may also create unanticipated or extra work for IPCs, as additional clients and by ignoring established organizational rules, routines, and expectations. Furthermore, caregiver-companions may be susceptible to stresses and health and safety risks, which would further deteriorate their own abilities to offer the patient quality care.
Although caregiver-companions can pose challenges to medical tourists, health workers, and medical tourism facilities, they can also assist in enhancing best care and offering meaningful support to medical tourists. If caregiver-companions are open to collaboration with IPCs, and particularly in the form of information sharing, then their experience abroad can be safer and less stressful for themselves and, by extension, for the accompanied patients and facility staff.
Medical tourism; Informal caregiving; International patient coordinators; Patient; International health care
The World Health Organization (WHO) selected antimicrobial resistance (AMR) as the theme for World Health Day 2011. The slogan was “Combat Drug Resistance – No action today, no cure tomorrow” A six-point policy package was launched as a core product for World Health Day. It aimed to stimulate extensive and coherent action to overcome the many challenges presented by antimicrobial resistance.
As a preparation for World Health Day, interviews were conducted with a series of key informants, mainly senior government staff, to assess their awareness of the topic and the interventions proposed in the policy package. Since the key informant interview methodology was used with a small number of interviewees, it may be difficult to demonstrate the validity of the findings.
Key informants from twelve out of fifteen countries responded, which included Fiji (n = 5), Kiribati (n = 1), Lao PDR (n = 2), Malaysia (n = 6), Micronesia (n = 3), Mongolia (n = 5), the Philippines (n = 5), Vietnam (n = 6), Vanuatu (n = 1), Solomon Islands (n = 3), Cambodia (n = 5) and Brunei (n = 1). There was a total of forty-three respondents (n = 43). AMR was widely recognized as a problem. Lack of a coherent, comprehensive and national plan or strategy was noted. Surveillance was often seen as weak and fragmented even where presented. Laboratory capacity was felt to be insufficient across all countries interviewed. The majority of respondents stressed the need for national and local plans to combat AMR including reliable estimates of the financial cost of combating and managing AMR, the need for legislation to control inappropriate use of antimicrobials in food animals and more serious efforts to promote Standard Treatment Guidelines (STGs) and Rational Prescription. Also, importance was highlighted of the need to include infection prevention and control (IPC) as a part of accreditation and registration of health institutions and programs to promote IPC to the general population.
A coalition of interested parties at the local, national and international levels need to generate and sustain the political will to organize a more comprehensive, sustainable, and coherent approach to AMR.
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR); Key informant interview (KII); Western pacific region; World health day; World health organization (WHO)
Sex work is a criminal offence, virtually throughout Africa. This criminalisation and the intense stigma attached to the profession shapes interactions between sex workers and their clients, family, fellow community members, and societal structures such as the police and social services.
We explore the impact of violence and related human rights abuses on the lives of sex workers, and how they have responded to these conditions, as individuals and within small collectives. These analyses are based on data from 55 in-depth interviews and 12 focus group discussions with female, male and transgender sex workers in Kenya, South Africa, Uganda and Zimbabwe. Data were collected by sex worker outreach workers trained to conduct qualitative research among their peers.
In describing their experiences of unlawful arrests and detention, violence, extortion, vilification and exclusions, participants present a picture of profound exploitation and repeated human rights violations. This situation has had an extreme impact on the physical, mental and social wellbeing of this population. Overall, the article details the multiple effects of sex work criminalisation on the everyday lives of sex workers and on their social interactions and relationships. Underlying their stories, however, are narratives of resilience and resistance. Sex workers in our study draw on their own individual survival strategies and informal forms of support and very occasionally opt to seek recourse through formal channels. They generally recognize the benefits of unified actions in assisting them to counter risks in their environment and mobilise against human rights violations, but note how the fluctuant and stigmatised nature of their profession often undermines collective action.
While criminal laws urgently need reform, supporting sex work self-organisation and community-building are key interim strategies for safeguarding sex workers’ human rights and improving health outcomes in these communities. If developed at sufficient scale and intensity, sex work organisations could play a critical role in reducing the present harms caused by criminalisation and stigma.
Sex work; Prostitution; Violence; Human rights; Resilience; Kenya; South Africa; Uganda; Zimbabwe
Since the advent of health user fees in low- and middle-income countries in the 1980s, the discourse of global health actors (GHAs) has changed to the disadvantage of this type of healthcare financing mechanism. The aim of the study was to identify and analyze the stance of GHAs in the debate on user fees.
We conducted documentary research using public documents published by and officially attributed to GHAs from 2005 to 2011. We categorized GHAs into four groups: intergovernmental organizations, international non-governmental organizations, government agencies, and working groups and networks. We then classified the GHAs according to their stance relative to the abolition of user fees, and conducted a thematic analysis of their discourse to understand the arguments used by each GHA to justify its stance.
We identified 56 GHAs, for which we analyzed 140 documents. Among them, 55% were in favor of the abolition of user fees or in favor of free care at the point of delivery. None of the GHAs stated that they were in favor of user fees; however, 30% did not take a stand. Only the World Bank declares that it is both in favor of user fees and in favor of free care at point of service. GHAs generally circumscribe their stance to specific populations (pregnant women, children under 5 years, etc.) or to specific health services (primary, basic, essential). Three types of arguments are used by GHAs to justify their stance: economic, moral and ethical, and pragmatic.
The principle of “user pays” seems to have fizzled. Production and dissemination of evidence, as well as certain advocacy networks, may have contributed to this change in discourse. However, GHAs should go a step further and translate their words into action, so that free healthcare at the point of delivery becomes a reality in low- and middle-income countries. They should provide technical and financial support to those countries that have chosen to implement user fee exemption policies, sometimes influenced by a GHA.
User fees; LMICs; International health policy; Global health actors; Policy change
Millions of dollars are invested annually under the umbrella of national health systems strengthening. Global health initiatives provide funding for low- and middle-income countries through disease-oriented programmes while maintaining that the interventions simultaneously strengthen systems. However, it is as yet unclear which, and to what extent, system-level interventions are being funded by these initiatives, nor is it clear how much funding they allocate to disease-specific activities – through conventional ‘vertical-programming’ approach. Such funding can be channelled to one or more of the health system building blocks while targeting disease(s) or explicitly to system-wide activities.
We operationalized the World Health Organization health system framework of the six building blocks to conduct a detailed assessment of Global Fund health system investments. Our application of this framework framework provides a comprehensive quantification of system-level interventions. We applied this systematically to a random subset of 52 of the 139 grants funded in Round 8 of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (totalling approximately US$1 billion).
According to the analysis, 37% (US$ 362 million) of the Global Fund Round 8 funding was allocated to health systems strengthening. Of that, 38% (US$ 139 million) was for generic system-level interventions, rather than disease-specific system support. Around 82% of health systems strengthening funding (US$ 296 million) was allocated to service delivery, human resources, and medicines & technology, and within each of these to two to three interventions. Governance, financing, and information building blocks received relatively low funding.
This study shows that a substantial portion of Global Fund’s Round 8 funds was devoted to health systems strengthening. Dramatic skewing among the health system building blocks suggests opportunities for more balanced investments with regard to governance, financing, and information system related interventions. There is also a need for agreement, by researchers, recipients, and donors, on keystone interventions that have the greatest system-level impacts for the cost-effective use of funds. Effective health system strengthening depends on inter-agency collaboration and country commitment along with concerted partnership among all the stakeholders working in the health system.
Transactional sex is believed to be a significant driver of the HIV epidemic among young women in South Africa. This sexual risk behaviour is commonly associated with age mixing, concurrency and unsafe sex. It is often described as a survival- or consumption-driven behaviour. South Africa’s history of political oppression as well as the globalization-related economic policies adopted post-apartheid, are suggested as the underlying contexts within which high risk behaviours occur among Black populations. What remains unclear is how these factors combine to affect the particular ways in which transactional sex is used to negotiate life among young Black women in the country.
In this paper we explore the drivers of transactional sex among young women aged 16–24, who reside in a peri-urban community in South Africa. We also interrogate prevailing constructions of the risk behaviour in the context of modernity, widespread availability of commodities, and wealth inequalities in the country.
Data were collected through 5 focus group discussions and 6 individual interviews amongst young women, men, and community members of various age groups in a township in the Western Cape, South Africa.
Young women engaged in transactional sex to meet various needs: some related to survival and others to consumption. In this poverty-stricken community, factors that created a high demand for transactional sex among young women included the pursuit of fashionable images, popular culture, the increased availability of commodities, widespread use of global technologies, poverty and wealth inequalities. Transactional sex encounters were characterized by sexual risk, a casual attitude towards HIV, and male dominance. However, the risk behaviour also allowed women opportunities to adopt new social roles as benefactors in sexual relationships with younger men.
Transactional sex allows poor, young women to access what young people in many parts of the world also prioritize: fashionable clothing and opportunities for inclusion in popular youth culture. In the context of high HIV prevalence in South Africa, strategies are needed that present young women with safer economic gateways to create and consume alternative symbols of modernity and social inclusion.
Transactional sex; Young women; Consumption sex; Survival sex; HIV; Wealth inequalities; Post-apartheid; Global technologies; Modernity; South Africa
Despite numerous programs to combat the global HIV and AIDS pandemic, infection rates remain high, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, where two-thirds of all people living with HIV reside. Here, we describe how we used rigorous program evaluation methods to assess the effectiveness of a community-based natural resource management program that “mainstreamed” HIV awareness and prevention activities within rural communities in Namibia.
We used data from two rounds of the Namibia Demographic and Health Surveys (2000 and 2006/2007) and quasi-experimental statistical methods to evaluate changes in critical health-related outcomes in men and women living in communal conservancies, relative to several non-conservancy comparison groups. Our final dataset included 117 men and 318 women in 2000, and 170 men and 357 women in 2006/2007. We evaluated the statistical significance of the main effects of survey year and conservancy residence, and a conservancy-year interaction term, using generalized linear models. Our analyses show that community-based conservation in Namibia has significantly reduced multiple sexual partnerships, the main behavioural determinant of HIV/AIDS infection in Africa.
Our results demonstrate the effectiveness of holistic community-based approaches centered on the preservation of lives and livelihoods, and highlight the potential benefits of integrating conservation and HIV prevention programming in other areas of communal land tenure in Africa.
HIV; Primary prevention; Environment and public health; Community-based natural resource management; Biodiversity conservation
Dietary changes characterized by a reduction in carbohydrate quality are occurring in developing countries and may be associated with a higher prevalence of obesity and chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes mellitus. We assessed the preferences and acceptability of unrefined whole grain carbohydrate staples (i.e., brown rice, unrefined maize and unrefined sorghum ugali) as substitutes for commonly consumed refined carbohydrates in Tanzania.
A questionnaire was used to collect sociodemographic information and dietary habits, and pre-and post-tasting questionnaires were administered for test foods. A 10-point LIKERT scale was used to rate attributes of the three test foods.
White rice and refined maize ugali were the most commonly consumed carbohydrate staples in this population; 98% and 91%, respectively. Occasional consumption of unrefined maize and sorghum ugali was reported by 32% and 23% of the participants, respectively. All of the test foods were highly rated for smell, taste, color, appearance and texture. Taste was rated highest for unrefined maize ugali. Almost all of the participants were willing to participate in a future dietary intervention involving regular consumption of these unrefined carbohydrates for at least six months duration.
These findings suggest that whole grain carbohydrates are highly acceptable, and that there is a promising potential for their use in future dietary intervention studies in Tanzania.
Acceptability; Brown rice; Unrefined carbohydrates; Obesity; Tanzania
Health policymakers in many countries are looking at ways of increasing health care coverage by scaling up the deployment of community health workers. In this commentary, we describe the rationale for the UK to learn from Brazil’s scaled-up Community Health Worker primary care strategy, starting with a pilot project in North Wales.
Community Health Worker; Reverse innovation; Primary care
Over the past decade, global health issues have become more prominent in foreign policies at the national level. The process to develop state level global health strategies is arguably a form of global health diplomacy (GHD). Despite an increase in the volume of secondary research and analysis in this area, little primary research, particularly that which draws directly on the perspectives of those involved in these processes, has been conducted. This study seeks to fill this knowledge gap through an empirical case study of Health is Global: A UK Government Strategy 2008–2013. It aims to build understanding about how and why health is integrated into foreign policy and derive lessons of potential relevance to other nations interested in developing whole-of-government global health strategies.
The major element of the study consisted of an in-depth investigation and analysis of the UK global health strategy. Document analysis and twenty interviews were conducted. Data was organized and described using an adapted version of Walt and Gilson’s policy analysis triangle. A general inductive approach was used to identify themes in the data, which were then analysed and interpreted using Fidler’s health and foreign policy conceptualizations and Kingdon’s multiples streams model of the policymaking process.
The primary reason that the UK decided to focus more on global health is self-interest - to protect national and international security and economic interests. Investing in global health was also seen as a way to enhance the UK’s international reputation. A focus on global health to primarily benefit other nations and improve global health per se was a prevalent through weaker theme. A well organized, credible policy community played a critical role in the process and a policy entrepreneur with expertise in both international relations and health helped catalyze attention and action on global health when the time was right. Support from the Prime Minister and from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office was essential. The process to arrive at a government-wide strategy was complex and time-consuming, but also broke down silos. Significant negotiation and compromise were required from actors with widely varying perspectives on global health and conflicting priorities.
As primarily an exploratory study, this research sheds significant light on the global health policymaking process at the level of the state. It provides a useful and important starting point for further hypothesis driven empirical research that focuses on the integration of health in foreign policy, how and why this happens and whether or not it makes an impact on improving global health.
Global health diplomacy; Health and foreign policy; Whole-of-government policymaking
The right to health is recognized as a fundamental human right. Social participation is implied in the fulfillment of health rights since Alma Ata posited its relevance for successful health programs, although a wide range of interpretations has been observed for this term. While Peruvian law recognizes community and social participation in health, it was the GFATM requirement of mixed public-civil society participation in Country Coordination Mechanisms (CCM) for proposal submission what effectively led to formal community involvement in the national response to HIV and, to a lesser extent, tuberculosis. This has not been the case, however, for other chronic diseases in Peru. This study aims to describe and compare the role of health rights discourse and community involvement in the national response to HIV, tuberculosis and cancer.
Key health policy documents were identified and analyzed. In-depth interviews were conducted with stakeholders, representatives of civil society organizations (CSO), and leaders of organizations of people affected by HIV, cancer and tuberculosis.
Results and discussion
A health rights discourse, well established in the HIV field, is expanding to general health discussions and to the tuberculosis (TB) field in particular. Both HIV and TB programs have National Multisectoral Strategic Plans and recognize participation of affected communities’ organizations. Similar mechanisms are non-existent for cancer or other disease-focused programs, although other affected patients are starting some organization efforts. Interviewees agreed that reaching the achievements of HIV mobilization is difficult for other diseases, since the HIV response was modeled based on a global movement with strong networks and advocacy mechanisms, eventually succeeding in the establishment of financial sources like the GFATM. Nevertheless, organizations linked to cancer and other diseases are building a National Patient Network to defend health rights.
There are new efforts to promote and protect health rights in Peru, probably inspired by the achievements of organizations of people living with HIV (PLHA). The public health sector must consolidate the participation of affected communities’ organizations in decision-making processes and implementation of health programs. PLHA organizations have become a key political and social actor in Peruvian public health policy.
HIV; Public policy; Health rights; Community participation; Access to health care
Equity in access to health care among people living with HIV (PLHA) has not been extensively studied in Peru despite the fact there is significant social diversity within this group. We aimed to assess the extent to which health care provision to PLHA, including ARVT, was equitable and, if appropriate, identify factors associated with lower access.
We conducted a survey among adult PLHA in four cities in Peru, recruited through respondent-driven sampling (RDS), to collect information on socio-demographic characteristics, social network size, household welfare, economic activity, use of HIV-related services including ARV treatment, and health-related out-of-pocket expenses.
Between September 2008 and January 2009, 863 individuals from PLHA organizations in four cities of Peru were enrolled. Median age was 35 (IQR = 29–41), and mostly male (62%). Overall, 25% reported to be gay, 11% bisexual and 3% transgender. Most PLHA (96%) reported access to some kind of HIV-related health service, and 84% were receiving those services at a public facility. Approximately 85% of those reporting access to care were receiving antiretroviral treatment (ARV), and 17% of those not in treatment already had indication to start treatment. Among those currently on ARV, 36% percent reported out-of-pocket expenses within the last month. Transgender identity and age younger than 35 years old, were associated with lower access to health care.
Our findings contribute to a better social and demographic characterization of the situation of PLHAs, their access to HIV care and their source of care, and provide an assessment of equity in access. In the long term, it is expected that HIV care access, as well as its social determinants, will impact on the morbidity and mortality rates among those affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. HIV care providers and program managers should further characterize the barriers to healthcare access and develop strategies to resolve them by means of policy change, for the benefit of the health service users and as part of the national response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic within a human rights framework.
Health care access; Equity; HIV; Antiretroviral treatment; Transgender; Social determinants of health; Peru
The burdens of hypertension and diabetes are increasing in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). It is important to identify patients with these conditions early in the disease process. The goal of this study, therefore, is to compare community- versus home-based screening for hypertension and diabetes in Kenya.
This was a feasibility study conducted by the Academic Model Providing Access to Healthcare (AMPATH) program in Webuye, a town in western Kenya. Home-based (door-to-door) screening occurred in March 2010 and community-based screening in November 2011. HIV counselors were trained to screen for diabetes and hypertension in the home-based screening with local district hospital based staff conducting the community-based screening. Participants >18 years old qualified for screening in both groups. Counselors referred all participants with a systolic blood pressure (SBP) ≥160 mmHg and/or a random blood glucose ≥7 mmol/L (126 mg/dL) to a local clinic for follow-up. Differences in likelihood of screening positive between the two strategies were compared using Fischer’s Exact Test. Logistic regression models were used to identify factors associated with the likelihood of following-up after a positive screening.
There were 236 participants in home-based screening: 13 (6%) had a SBP ≥160 mmHg, and 54 (23%) had a random glucose ≥ 7 mmol/L. There were 346 participants in community-based screening: 35 (10%) had a SBP ≥160 mmHg, and 27 (8%) had a random glucose ≥ 7 mmol/L. Participants in community-based screening were twice as likely to screen positive for hypertension compared to home-based screening (OR=1.93, P=0.06). In contrast, participants were 3.5 times more likely to screen positive for a random blood glucose ≥7 mmol/L with home-based screening (OR=3.51, P<0.01). Rates for following-up at the clinic after a positive screen were low for both groups with 31% of patients with an elevated SBP returning for confirmation in both the community-based and home-based group (P=1.0). Follow-up after a random glucose was also low with 23% returning in the home-based group and 22% in the community-based group (P=1.0).
Community- or home-based screening for diabetes and hypertension in LMICs is feasible. Due to low rates of follow-up, screening efforts in rural settings should focus on linking cases to care.
Diabetes; Hypertension; Kenya; Cardiovascular disease; Home-based screening; Community-based screening
The rapid growth in mobile phone penetration and use of Short Message Service (SMS) has been seen as a potential solution to improve medical and public health practice in Africa. Several studies have shown effectiveness of SMS interventions to improve health workers’ practices, patients’ adherence to medications and availability of health facility commodities. To inform policy makers about the feasibility of facility-based SMS interventions, the coverage data on mobile phone ownership and SMS use among health workers and patients are needed.
In 2012, a national, cross-sectional, cluster sample survey was undertaken at 172 public health facilities in Kenya. Outpatient health workers and caregivers of sick children and adult patients were interviewed. The main outcomes were personal ownership of mobile phones and use of SMS among phone owners. The predictors analysis examined factors influencing phone ownership and SMS use.
The analysis included 219 health workers and 1,177 patients’ respondents (767 caregivers and 410 adult patients). All health workers possessed personal mobile phones and 98.6% used SMS. Among patients’ respondents, 61.2% owned phones and 71.4% of phone owners used SMS. The phone ownership and SMS use was similar between caregivers of sick children and adult patients. The respondents who were male, more educated, literate and living in urban area were significantly more likely to own the phone and use SMS. The youngest respondents were less likely to own phones, however when the phones were owned, younger age groups were more likely to use SMS. Respondents living in wealthier areas were more likely to own phones; however when phones are owned no significant association between the poverty and SMS use was observed.
Mobile phone ownership and SMS use is ubiquitous among Kenyan health workers in the public sector. Among patients they serve the coverage in phone ownership and SMS use is lower and disparities exist with respect to gender, age, education, literacy, urbanization and poverty. Some of the disparities on SMS use can be addressed through the modalities of mHealth interventions and enhanced implementation processes while further growth in mobile phone penetration is needed to reduce the ownership gap.
Interest and participation in global health activities among U.S. medical trainees has increased sharply in recent decades, yet the global health activities of physicians who have completed residency training remain understudied. Our objectives were to assess associations between individual characteristics and patterns of post-residency global health activities across the domains of health policy, education, and research.
Cross-sectional, mixed methods national survey of 521 physicians with formal training in clinical and health services research and policy leadership. Main measures were post-residency global health activity and characteristics of this activity (location, funding, products, and perceived synergy with domestic activities).
Most respondents (73%) hold faculty appointments across 84 U.S. medical schools and a strong plurality (46%) are trained in internal medicine. Nearly half of all respondents (44%) reported some global health activity after residency; however, the majority of this group (73%) reported spending ≤10% of professional time on global health in the past year. Among those active in global health, the majority (78%) reported receiving some funding for their global health activities, and most (83%) reported at least one scholarly, educational, or other product resulting from this work. Many respondents perceived synergies between domestic and global health activities, with 85% agreeing with the statement that their global health activities had enhanced the quality of their domestic work and increased their level of involvement with vulnerable populations, health policy advocacy, or research on the social determinants of health. Despite these perceived synergies, qualitative data from in-depth interviews revealed personal and institutional barriers to sustained global health involvement, including work-family balance and a lack of specific avenues for career development in global health.
Post-residency global health activity is common in this diverse, multi-specialty group of physicians. Although those with global health experience describe synergies with their domestic work, the lack of established career development pathways may limit the benefits of this synergy for individuals and their institutions.
Global health; International medicine; Health policy; Career development
The role of multilateral donor agencies in global health is a new area of research, with limited research on how these agencies differ in terms of their governance arrangements, especially in relation to transparency, inclusiveness, accountability, and responsiveness to civil society. We argue that historical analysis of the origins of these agencies and their coalition formation processes can help to explain these differences. We propose an analytical approach that links the theoretical literature discussing institutional origins to path dependency and institutional theory relating to proto institutions in order to illustrate the differences in coalition formation processes that shape governance within four multilateral agencies involved in global health. We find that two new multilateral donor agencies that were created by a diverse coalition of state and non-state actors, such as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and GAVI, what we call proto-institutions, were more adaptive in strengthening their governance processes. This contrasts with two well-established multilateral donor agencies, such as the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, what we call Bretton Woods (BW) institutions, which were created by nation states alone; and hence, have different origins and consequently different path dependent processes.
Diabetes is becoming of increasing concern in Spain due to rising incidence and prevalence, although little information is known with regards to costs and outcomes. The information on cost of diabetes in Spain is fragmented and outdated. Our objective is to update diabetes costs, and to identify outcomes and quality of care of diabetes in Spain.
We performed systematic searches from secondary sources, including scientific literature and government data and reports.
Diabetes Type II prevalence is estimated at 7.8%, and an additional 6% of the population is estimated to be undiagnosed. Four Spanish diabetes cost studies were analyzed to create a projection of direct costs in the NHS and productivity losses, estimating €5.1 billion for direct costs along with €1.5 billion for diabetes-related complications (2009) and labour productivity losses represented €2.8 billion. Glycemic control (glycolysated hemoglobin) is considered acceptable in 59% of adult Type II cases, in addition to 85% with HDL cholesterol ≥40mg/dl and 65% with blood pressure <140/90 mmHg, pointing to good intermediate outcomes. However, annual figures indicate that over half of the Type II diabetics are obese (BMI >30), 15% have diabetic retinopathy, 16% with microalbuminuria, and 15% with cardiovascular disease.
The direct health care costs (8% of the total National Health System expenditure) and the loss of labour productivity are high. The importance of a multi-sectoral approach in prevention and improvements in management of diabetes are discussed, along with policy considerations to help modify the disease course.
Diabetes; Costs; Outcomes; Quality of care; Prevalence; Incidence; Spain
This study aims to evaluate the length of time elapsed between reports of the same incidents related to avian flu and H1N1 outbreaks published by the WHO and ProMED-mail, the two major global health surveillance systems, before and after the amendment of the International Health Regulations in 2005 (IHR 2005) and to explore the association between country transparency and this timeliness gap.
We recorded the initial release dates of each report related to avian flu or H1N1 listed on the WHO Disease Outbreak News site and the matching outbreak report from ProMED-mail, a non-governmental program for monitoring emerging diseases, from 2003 to the end of June 2009. The timeliness gap was calculated as the difference in days between the report release dates of the matching outbreaks in the WHO and ProMED-mail systems. Civil liberties scores were collected as indicators of the transparency of each country. The Human Development Index and data indicating the density of physicians and nurses were collected to reflect countries’ development and health workforce statuses. Then, logistic regression was performed to determine the correlation between the timeliness gap and civil liberties, human development, and health workforce status, controlling for year.
The reporting timeliness gap for avian flu and H1N1 outbreaks significantly decreased after 2003. On average, reports were posted 4.09 (SD = 7.99) days earlier by ProMED-mail than by the WHO. Countries with partly free (OR = 5.77) and free civil liberties scores (OR = 10.57) had significantly higher likelihoods of longer timeliness gaps than non-free countries. Similarly, countries with very high human development status had significantly higher likelihoods of longer timeliness gaps than countries with middle or low human development status (OR = 5.30). However, no association between the timeliness gap and health workforce density was found.
The study found that the adoption of IHR 2005, which contributed to countries’ awareness of the importance of timely reporting, had a significant impact in improving the reporting timeliness gap. In addition, the greater the civil liberties in a country (e.g., importance of freedom of the media), the longer the timeliness gap.
Ethnographic evidence suggests that transactional sex is sometimes motivated by youth’s interest in the consumption of modern goods as much as it is in basic survival. There are very few quantitative studies that examine the association between young people’s interests in the consumption of modern goods and their sexual behaviour. We examined this association in two regions and four residence zones of Madagascar: urban, peri-urban and rural Antananarivo, and urban Antsiranana. We expected risky sexual behaviour would be associated with interests in consuming modern goods or lifestyles; urban residence; and socio-cultural characteristics.
We administered a population-based survey to 2, 255 youth ages 15–24 in all four residence zones. Focus group discussions guided the survey instrument which assessed socio-demographic and economic characteristics, consumption of modern goods, preferred activities and sexual behaviour. Our outcomes measures included: multiple sexual partners in the last year (for men and women); and ever practicing transactional sex (for women).
Overall, 7.3% of women and 30.7% of men reported having had multiple partners in the last year; and 5.9% of women reported ever practicing transactional sex. Bivariate results suggested that for both men and women having multiple partners was associated with perceptions concerning the importance of fashion and a series of activities associated with modern lifestyles. A subset of lifestyle characteristics remained significant in multivariate models. For transactional sex bivariate results suggested perceptions around fashion, nightclub attendance, and getting to know a foreigner were key determinants; and all remained significant in multivariate analysis. We found peri-urban residence more associated with transactional sex than urban residence; and ethnic origin was the strongest predictor of both outcomes for women.
While we found indication of an association between sexual behaviour and interest in modern goods, or modern lifestyles, such processes did not single-handedly explain risky sexual behaviour among youth; these behaviours were also shaped by culture and conditions of economic uncertainty. These determinants must all be accounted for when developing interventions to reduce risky transactional sex and vulnerability to HIV.
Transactional sex; Sexual behaviour; Madagascar; Modernity; HIV vulnerability; HIV risk; Globalization
Poverty is multi dimensional. Beyond the quantitative and tangible issues related to inadequate income it also has equally important social, more intangible and difficult if not impossible to quantify dimensions. In 2009, we explored these social and relativist dimension of poverty in five communities in the South of Ghana with differing socio economic characteristics to inform the development and implementation of policies and programs to identify and target the poor for premium exemptions under Ghana’s National Health Insurance Scheme.
We employed participatory wealth ranking (PWR) a qualitative tool for the exploration of community concepts, identification and ranking of households into socioeconomic groups. Key informants within the community ranked households into wealth categories after discussing in detail concepts and indicators of poverty.
Community defined indicators of poverty covered themes related to type of employment, educational attainment of children, food availability, physical appearance, housing conditions, asset ownership, health seeking behavior, social exclusion and marginalization. The poverty indicators discussed shared commonalities but contrasted in the patterns of ranking per community.
The in-depth nature of the PWR process precludes it from being used for identification of the poor on a large national scale in a program such as the NHIS. However, PWR can provide valuable qualitative input to enrich discussions, development and implementation of policies, programs and tools for large scale interventions and targeting of the poor for social welfare programs such as premium exemption for health care.
Health insurance; Exemptions; Poor households; Community participation; Wealth ranking; Targeting; Ghana
Management of diabetes represents an enormous challenge for health systems at every level of development. The latter are tested for their ability to continuously deliver high quality care to patients from the day they are diagnosed throughout their life. In this study, we review the status of diabetes management in Thailand and try to identify the key challenges the country needs to address to reduce the current (and future) medical and economic burden caused by the disease.
We conducted a literature review on the burden, costs, and outcomes of diabetes in Thailand. This information was complemented by personal communication with senior officials in the Thai Ministry of Health.
We identified the following priorities for the future management of diabetes in Thailand. First, increasing screening of diabetes in high risk population and promoting annual screening of diabetes complications in all diabetic patients. Second, identifying and addressing factors affecting poor treatment outcomes. Third, policy should specify clear targets and provide and use a monitoring framework to track progress. Fourth, efforts are needed to further improve data availability. Up-to-date data on the medical and economic burden of diabetes representative at the national level and at least the regional level are essential to identify needs and monitor progress towards established targets. Fifth, promotion of a healthy lifestyle for prevention of diabetes through education and quality information delivered to the public.