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1.  Hospital Visits Due to Domestic Violence from 1994 to 2011 in the Solomon Islands: A Descriptive Case Series 
The Solomon Islands has one of the highest rates of domestic violence in the world. This paper is a descriptive case series of all cases of domestic violence presenting to the Solomon Islands National Referral Hospital (NRH) over 18 years. Data were routinely collected from a database of all patients who were treated by NRH general surgery and orthopedic clinicians between 1994 and 2011, inclusive. The total number of cases in the injury database as a result of domestic violence was 387. The average number of cases in the database per year from 1994 to 2011 was 20. There were 6% more female patients (205 of 387; 53%) than male (182 of 387; 47%). Of the cases in which the perpetrator of the violence against a female patient was specified (111 of 205 female cases), 74% (82 of 111) were the patient's husband. Only 5% (5 of 111) of cases in females were inflicted by another female. This analysis provides the best available information on domestic violence cases requiring a visit to a tertiary hospital in a Pacific Island in the specified time period and is undoubtedly an under-estimate of the total cases of domestic violence. Preventing and treating domestic violence in the Solomon Islands and in the Pacific is an important challenge and there is a significant role for secondary and tertiary health services in screening for and preventing domestic violence.
PMCID: PMC4174691  PMID: 25285254
domestic violence; Pacific; Solomon Islands; hospital; screening
2.  HIV behavioural interventions targeted towards older adults: a systematic review 
BMC Public Health  2014;14:507.
Background
The increasing number of people living with HIV aged 50 years and older has been recognised around the world yet non-pharmacologic HIV behavioural and cognitive interventions specifically targeted to older adults are limited. Evidence is needed to guide the response to this affected group.
Methods
We conducted a systematic review of the available published literature in MEDLINE, Embase and the Education Resources Information Center. A search strategy was defined with high sensitivity but low specificity to identify behavioural interventions with outcomes in the areas of treatment adherence, HIV testing uptake, increased HIV knowledge and uptake of prevention measures. Data from relevant articles were extracted into excel.
Results
Twelve articles were identified all of which originated from the Americas. Eight of the interventions were conducted among older adults living with HIV and four for HIV-negative older adults. Five studies included control groups. Of the included studies, four focused on general knowledge of HIV, three emphasised mental health and coping, two focused on reduced sexual risk behaviour, two on physical status and one on referral for care. Only four of the studies were randomised controlled trials and seven – including all of the studies among HIV-negative older adults – did not include controls at all. A few of the studies conducted statistical testing on small samples of 16 or 11 older adults making inference based on the results difficult. The most relevant study demonstrated that using telephone-based interventions can reduce risky sexual behaviour among older adults with control reporting 3.24 times (95% CI 1.79-5.85) as many occasions of unprotected sex at follow-up as participants. Overall however, few of the articles are sufficiently rigorous to suggest broad replication or to be considered representative and applicable in other settings.
Conclusions
More evidence is needed on what interventions work among older adults to support prevention, adherence and testing. More methodological rigourised needed in the studies targeting older adults. Specifically, including control groups in all studies is needed as well as sufficient sample size to allow for statistical testing. Addition of specific bio-marker or validated behavioural or cognitive outcomes would also strengthen the studies.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-14-507
PMCID: PMC4049807  PMID: 24884947
Older adults; HIV; Interventions; Systematic review; Effectiveness
3.  Foreign-born health workers in Australia: an analysis of census data 
Background
Provide an up-to-date national picture of the medical, midwifery and nursing workforce distribution in Australia with a focus on overseas immigration and on production sustainability challenges.
Methods
Using 2006 and 2011 Australian census data, analysis was conducted on medical practitioners (doctors) and on midwifery and nursing professionals.
Results
Of the 70,231 medical practitioners in Australia in 2011, 32,919 (47.3%) were Australian-born, with the next largest groups bring born in South Asia and Southeast Asia. In 2006, 51.9% of medical practitioners were born in Australia. Of the 239,924 midwifery and nursing professionals in Australia, 127,911 (66.8%) were born in Australia, with the next largest groups being born in the United Kingdom and Ireland and in Southeast Asia. In 2006, 69.8% of midwifery and nursing professionals were born in Australia. Western Australia has the highest percentage of foreign-born health workers. There is a higher percentage of Australia-born health workers in rural areas than in urban areas (82% of midwifery and nursing professional in rural areas are Australian-born versus 59% in urban areas). Of the 15,168 additional medical practitioners in Australia between the 2006 and 2011 censuses, 10,452 (68.9%) were foreign-born, including large increases from such countries as India, Nepal, Philippines, and Zimbabwe. We estimate that Australia has saved US$1.7 billion in medical education costs through the arrival of foreign-born medical practitioners over the past five years.
Conclusions
The Australian health system is increasingly reliant on foreign-born health workers. This raises questions of medical education sustainability in Australia and on Australia’s recruitment from countries facing critical shortages of health workers.
doi:10.1186/1478-4491-11-69
PMCID: PMC3882294  PMID: 24377370
Australia; Doctors; Health workforce; Migration; Nurses
4.  Development of a reliable questionnaire to assist in the diagnosis of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) 
BMC Pediatrics  2013;13:33.
Background
A battery of clinical assessments was used in the Lililwan* Project, Australia’s first population-based Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) prevalence study, conducted in the remote Fitzroy Valley, Western Australia. One objective was to develop and assess test-retest reliability of an acceptable questionnaire for collecting health information in remote Aboriginal communities feasible for use in the Lililwan Project.
Methods
A questionnaire was developed by paediatricians to assist in diagnosis of FASD. Content was based on a literature review of FASD diagnostic criteria, existing questionnaires and risk factors for FASD and birth defects. Aboriginal community members, including qualified Aboriginal language interpreters, adapted the questionnaire to ensure language and cultural components were appropriate for use in the Fitzroy Valley. Locally developed pictorial aids were used for gathering accurate information on alcohol use. Aboriginal ‘community navigators’ assisted researchers to translate the questions into Kimberley Kriol or local Aboriginal languages depending on participant preference.
A subset of 14 questions was assessed for test-retest reliability in 30 parents/carers of children in the Lililwan Project cohort, who were interviewed by one rater using the entire questionnaire, then by a second rater who repeated 14 critical questions at least 6 hours later.
Results
The full questionnaire contained 112 items and took 50 minutes to administer. For a subset of 14 items from the full questionnaire percent exact agreement between raters ranged from 59-100%, and was below 70% for only 1 question. Test-retest reliability was excellent (Kappa 0.81-1.00) for 5 items, substantial (Kappa 0.61-0.80) for 5 items, and moderate, fair or slight (Kappa ≤0.60) for the remaining 4 items tested. Test-retest reliability for questions relating to alcohol use in pregnancy was excellent. When questions had moderate, fair or slight agreement, information was obtained from alternate sources e.g. medical records. Qualitative feedback from parents/carers confirmed acceptability of the questionnaire.
Conclusions
This questionnaire had acceptable test-retest reliability and could be used to collect demographic, socio-cultural and biomedical information relevant to the diagnosis of FASD in Aboriginal communities throughout Australia and elsewhere. Community input is crucial when developing and administering questionnaires for use in cross-cultural contexts.
*Lililwan is a Kimberley Kriol word meaning ‘all the little ones’. Kimberley Kriol is the main language spoken by Aboriginal people in the Fitzroy Valley.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-13-33
PMCID: PMC3680181  PMID: 23496974
Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS); Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD); Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander; Indigenous; Questionnaire development; Diagnosis; Reliability testing; Reproducibility of results; Test-retest; Percent exact agreement
5.  The pattern of injury and poisoning in South East Iran 
Background
Injury is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide, and even more so in low and middle-income countries (LMICs). Iran is a LMIC and lacks information regarding injury for program and policy purposes. This study aimed to describe the incidence and patterns of injury in one province in South Eastern Iran.
Methods
A hospital-based, retrospective case review using a routinely collected registry in all Emergency Departments in Sistan and Baluchistan province, Iran for 12 months in 2007–2008.
Results
In total 18,155 injuries were recorded during the study period. The majority of injuries in South Eastern Iran were due to road traffic crashes. Individuals living in urban areas sustained more injuries compared to individuals from rural areas. Males typically experienced more injuries than females. Males were most likely to be injured in a street/alley or village whereas females were most likely to be injured in or around the home. In urban areas, road traffic related injuries were observed to affect older age groups more than younger age groups. Poisoning was most common in the youngest age group, 0 to 4 years.
Conclusions
This study provides data on incidence and patterns of injury in South Eastern Iran. Knowledge of injury burden, such as this paper, is likely to help policy makers and planners with health service planning and injury prevention.
doi:10.1186/1472-698X-12-17
PMCID: PMC3492065  PMID: 22958398
Iran; Injury; Road traffic crash; Urban/rural; Sex
6.  Involving expert patients in antiretroviral treatment provision in a tertiary referral hospital HIV clinic in Malawi 
Background
Current antiretroviral treatment (ART) models in Africa are labour intensive and require a high number of skilled staff. In the context of constraints in human resources for health, task shifting is considered a feasible alternative for ART service delivery. In 2006, Dignitas International in partnership with the Malawi Ministry of Health trained a cadre of expert patients at the HIV Clinic at a tertiary referral hospital in Zomba, Malawi. Expert patients were trained to assist with clinic tasks including measurement of vital signs, anthropometry and counseling.
Methods
A descriptive observational study using mixed methods was conducted two years after the start of program implementation. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 20 patients, seven expert patients and six formal health care providers to explore perceptions towards the expert patients’ contributions in the clinic. Structured exit interviews with 81 patients, assessed whether essential ART information was conveyed during counseling sessions. Vital signs and anthropometry measurements performed by expert patients were repeated by a nurse to assess accuracy of measurements. Direct observations quantified the time spent with each patient.
Results
There were minor differences in measurement of patients’ weight, height and temperature between the expert patients and the nurse. The majority of patients exiting a counseling session reported, without prompting, at least three side effects of ART, correct actions to be taken on observing a side-effect, and correct consequences of non-adherence to ART. Expert patients carried out 368 hours of nurse tasks each month, saving two and a half full-time nurse equivalents per month. Formal health care workers and patients accept and value expert patients’ involvement in ART provision and care. Expert patients felt valued by patients for being a ‘role model’, or a ‘model of hope’, promoting positive living and adherence to ART.
Conclusions
Expert patients add value to the ART services at a tertiary referral HIV clinic in Malawi. Expert patients carry out shifted tasks acceptably, saving formal health staff time, and also act as ‘living testimonies’ of the benefits of ART and can be a means of achieving greater involvement of People Living with HIV in HIV treatment programs.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-12-140
PMCID: PMC3439714  PMID: 22681872
Task Shifting; Expert patients; Antiretroviral treatment; Malawi
7.  Brain Gains: a literature review of medical missions to low and middle-income countries 
Background
Healthcare professionals’ participation in short-term medical missions to low and middle income countries (LMIC) to provide healthcare has become common over the past 50 years yet little is known about the quantity and quality of these missions. The aim of this study was to review medical mission publications over 25 years to better understand missions and their potential impact on health systems in LMICs.
Methods
A literature review was conducted by searching Medline for articles published from 1985–2009 about medical missions to LMICs, revealing 2512 publications. Exclusion criteria such as receiving country and mission length were applied, leaving 230 relevant articles. A data extraction sheet was used to collect information, including sending/receiving countries and funding source.
Results
The majority of articles were descriptive and lacked contextual or theoretical analysis. Most missions were short-term (1 day – 1 month). The most common sending countries were the U.S. and Canada. The top destination country was Honduras, while regionally Africa received the highest number of missions. Health care professionals typically responded to presenting health needs, ranging from primary care to surgical relief. Cleft lip/palate surgeries were the next most common type of care provided.
Conclusions
Based on the articles reviewed, there is significant scope for improvement in mission planning, monitoring and evaluation as well as global and/or national policies regarding foreign medical missions. To promote optimum performance by mission staff, training in such areas as cross-cultural communication and contextual realities of mission sites should be provided. With the large number of missions conducted worldwide, efforts to ensure efficacy, harmonisation with existing government programming and transparency are needed.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-12-134
PMCID: PMC3474169  PMID: 22643123
medical missions; low- and middle-income countries; volunteer; human resources
8.  Critical care resources in the Solomon Islands: a cross-sectional survey 
Background
There are minimal data available on critical care case-mix, care processes and outcomes in lower and middle income countries (LMICs). The objectives of this paper were to gather data in the Solomon Islands in order to gain a better understanding of common presentations of critical illness, available hospital resources, and what resources would be helpful in improving the care of these patients in the future.
Methods
This study used a mixed methods approach, including a cross sectional survey of respondents' opinions regarding critical care needs, ethnographic information and qualitative data.
Results
The four most common conditions leading to critical illness in the Solomon Islands are malaria, diseases of the respiratory system including pneumonia and influenza, diabetes mellitus and tuberculosis. Complications of surgery and trauma less frequently result in critical illness. Respondents emphasised the need for basic critical care resources in LMICs, including equipment such as oximeters and oxygen concentrators; greater access to medications and blood products; laboratory services; staff education; and the need for at least one national critical care facility.
Conclusions
A large degree of critical illness in LMICs is likely due to inadequate resources for primary prevention and healthcare; however, for patients who fall through the net of prevention, there may be simple therapies and context-appropriate resources to mitigate the high burden of morbidity and mortality. Emphasis should be on the development and acquisition of simple and inexpensive tools rather than complicated equipment, to prevent critical care from unduly diverting resources away from other important parts of the health system.
doi:10.1186/1472-698X-12-1
PMCID: PMC3307438  PMID: 22376229
Critical care; Critical illness; Solomon Islands; Lower and middle income countries
9.  "I do what I have to do to survive": An investigation into the perceptions, experiences and economic considerations of women engaged in sex work in Northern Namibia 
BMC Women's Health  2011;11:35.
Background
There is little published research investigating sex work in Namibia, particularly in rural areas. Therefore, the aim of this paper was to determine the views of women engaged in sex work in the Oshakati area of Namibia concerning the main factors influencing their use, or non-use, of male condoms during transactional sexual exchanges.
Methods
Qualitative interviews were used to better understand the perceptions, experiences and economic considerations of female sex workers in Namibia who were involved in a Behavior Change Communication Program encouraging safer sex practices among high-risk populations in 2006 and 2007.
Results
While the Behavior Change Communication Program has made significant strides in educating and empowering young women to negotiate more consistent condom use with sexual partners, the gendered economic inequalities and power imbalances within rural and semi-urban Namibian society that favor men hinder further advancement towards positive behavioral change for HIV prevention and also hinder the development of the loving relationships sought by some sex workers.
Conclusion
This study found that sex workers and transactional sex encounters are heterogeneous entities dependent upon the characteristics of the man (known, stranger, wealthy, attractive to the woman) and the woman (in financial need, desiring love). These features all influence condom use. The 3 E's 'education, empowerment and economic independence' are critical factors needed to encourage and facilitate consistent condom use to prevent HIV transmission. Without financial independence and occupational alternatives building on their health education and empowerment, women who engage in sex work-and transactional sex more generally-will remain largely marginalized from Namibian society, and will continue engaging in risky sexual practices that facilitate HIV acquisition and transmission throughout the community.
doi:10.1186/1472-6874-11-35
PMCID: PMC3163614  PMID: 21813006

Results 1-9 (9)