Giorgio Cometto and colleagues discuss the study by Tankwanchi and colleagues on physician migration to the United States from sub-Saharan Africa and the steps that the US, other destination countries, and SSA countries can take to address the problem.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Retention in antiretroviral therapy (ART) programmes remains a challenge in many settings including Malawi, in part due to high numbers of losses to follow-up. Concept Mapping (CM), a mix-method participatory approach, was used to explore why patients on ART are lost to follow-up (LTFU) by identifying: 1) factors that influence patient losses to follow-up and 2) barriers to effective and efficient tracing in Zomba, Malawi.
CM sessions (brainstorming, sorting and rating, interpretation) were conducted in urban and rural settings in Zomba, Malawi. Participants included ART patients, ART providers, Health Surveillance Assistants, and health managers from the Zomba District Health Office. In brainstorming, participants generated statements in response to “A specific reason why an individual on ART becomes lost to follow-up is…” Participants then sorted and rated the consolidated list of brainstormed items. Analysis included inductive qualitative methods for grouping of data and quantitative cluster identification to produce visual maps which were then interpreted by participants.
In total, 90 individuals brainstormed 371 statements, 64 consolidated statements were sorted (participant n = 46), and rated on importance and feasibility (participant n = 69). A nine-cluster concept map was generated and included both patient- and healthcare-related clusters such as: Stigma and Fears, Beliefs, Acceptance and Knowledge of ART, Access to ART, Poor Documentation, Social and Financial Support Issues, Health Worker Attitudes, Resources Needed for Effective Tracing, and Health Worker Issues Related to Tracing. Strategies to respond to the clusters were generated in Interpretation.
Multiple patient- and healthcare focused factors influence why patients become LTFU. Findings have implications particularly for programs with limited resources struggling with the retention of ART patients.
Concept mapping; HIV/AIDS; Antiretroviral therapy (ART); Losses to follow-up; Malawi
Cannabis dependence in adolescents predicts increased risks of using other illicit drugs, poor academic performance and reporting psychotic symptoms. The prevalence of cannabis use was estimated two decades ago in Zambia among secondary school students. There are no recent estimates of the extent of the problem; further, correlates for its use have not been documented in Zambia. The objective of study was to estimate the current prevalence of cannabis use and its socio-demographic correlates among in-school adolescents.
We conducted secondary analysis of data that was obtained from the 2004 Zambia Global School-Based Health Survey. Logistic regression analysis was conducted to identify the socio-demographic factors associated with cannabis use.
A total of 2,257 adolescents participated in the survey of which 53.9% were females. The overall prevalence of self reported ever-used cannabis was 37.2% (34.5% among males and 39.5% among females). In multivariate analysis, males were 8% (AOR = 0.92; 95% CI [0.89, 0.95]) less likely to have ever smoked cannabis. Compared to adolescents aged 16 years or older, adolescents aged 14 years were 45% (AOR = 1.45; 95% CI [1.37, 1.55]) more likely, and those aged 15 years were 44% (AOR = 0.56; 95% CI [0.53, 0.60]) less likely to report to have ever smoked cannabis. Other factors that were significantly associated with cannabis use were history of having engaged in sexual intercourse (AOR = 2.55; 95% CI [2.46, 2.64]), alcohol use (AOR = 4.38; 95% CI [4.24, 4.53]), and having been bullied (AOR = 1.77; 95% CI [1.71, 1.83]). Adolescents who reported being supervised by parents during free time were less likely to have smoked cannabis (AOR = 0.92; 95% CI [0.88, 0.95]).
The use of cannabis is prevalent among Zambian in-school adolescents. Efforts to prevent adolescents’ psychoactive drug use in Zambia should be designed considering the significant factors associated with drug use in the current study.
Prevalence; Cannabis use; In-school; Adolescents; Zambia
Primary Health Care (PHC) is a strategy endorsed for attaining equitable access to basic health care including treatment and prevention of endemic diseases. Thirty four years later, its implementation remains sub-optimal in most Sub-Saharan African countries that access to health interventions is still a major challenge for a large proportion of the rural population. Community-directed treatment with ivermectin (CDTi) and community-directed interventions (CDI) are participatory approaches to strengthen health care at community level. Both approaches are based on values and principles associated with PHC. The CDI approach has successfully been used to improve the delivery of interventions in areas that have previously used CDTi. However, little is known about the added value of community participation in areas without prior experience with CDTi. This study aimed at assessing PHC in two rural Malawian districts without CDTi experience with a view to explore the relevance of the CDI approach. We examined health service providers’ and beneficiaries’ perceptions on existing PHC practices, and their perspectives on official priorities and strategies to strengthen PHC.
We conducted 27 key informant interviews with health officials and partners at national, district and health centre levels; 32 focus group discussions with community members and in-depth interviews with 32 community members and 32 community leaders. Additionally, official PHC related documents were reviewed.
The findings show that there is a functional PHC system in place in the two study districts, though its implementation is faced with various challenges related to accessibility of services and shortage of resources. Health service providers and consumers shared perceptions on the importance of intensifying community participation to strengthen PHC, particularly within the areas of provision of insecticide treated bed nets, home case management for malaria, management of diarrhoeal diseases, treatment of schistosomiasis and provision of food supplements against malnutrition.
Our study indicates that intensified community participation based on the CDI approach can be considered as a realistic means to increase accessibility of certain vital interventions at community level.
In 2004, the Malawian Ministry of Health declared a human resource crisis and launched a six year Emergency Human Resources Programme. This included salary supplements for key health workers and a tripling of doctors in training. By 2010, the number of medical graduates had doubled and significantly more doctors were working in rural district hospitals. Yet there has been little research into the views of this next generation of doctors in Malawi, who are crucial to the continuing success of the programme. The aim of this study was to explore the factors influencing the career plans of medical students and recent graduates with regard to four policy-relevant aspects: emigration outside Malawi; working at district level; private sector employment and postgraduate specialisation.
Twelve semi-structured interviews were conducted with fourth year medical students and first year graduates, recruited through purposive and snowball sampling. Key informant interviews were also carried out with medical school faculty. Recordings were transcribed and analysed using a framework approach.
Opportunities for postgraduate training emerged as the most important factor in participants’ career choices, with specialisation seen as vital to career progression. All participants intended to work in Malawi in the long term, after a period of time outside the country. For nearly all participants, this was in the pursuit of postgraduate study rather than higher salaries. In general, medical students and young doctors were enthusiastic about working at district level, although this is curtailed by their desire for specialist training and frustration with resource shortages. There is currently little intention to move into the private sector.
Future resourcing of postgraduate training opportunities is crucial to preventing emigration as graduate numbers increase. The lesser importance put on salary by younger doctors may be an indicator of the success of salary supplements. In order to retain doctors at district levels for longer, consideration should be given to the introduction of general practice/family medicine as a specialty. Returning specialists should be encouraged to engage with younger colleagues as role models and mentors.
Doctors; Medical students; Postgraduate education; Specialisation; Malawi; Rural health; Brain drain; Emigration
Non-communicable lifestyle diseases are a growing public health concern globally. Obesity is a risk factor for premature mortality from cardiovascular diseases and diabetes as well as all-cause mortality. The objective of the study was to estimate the prevalence and associated factors for obesity among Zambian adults in Lusaka district.
A community-based study was done among adults in Zambia. Descriptive and co-relational analyses were conducted to estimate the prevalence of being obese as well as identify associated factors.
A total of 1,928 individuals participated in the survey, of which 33.0% were males. About half of the participants were aged 25–34 years (53.2%), and about two-thirds had attended at least secondary level of education (63.9%). Overall, 14.2% of the participants (5.1% of males, and 18.6% of females) were obese. Significant factors associated with obesity were sex, age, education, cigarette smoking and blood pressure. Male participants were 55% (AOR = 0.45; 95% CI [0.29, 0.69]) less likely to be obese compared to female participants. Compared to participants who were of age 45 years or older, participants of age 25–34 years were 61% (AOR = 0.39 (95% CI [0.23, 0.67]) less likely to be obese. Compared to participants who attained college or university level of education, participants who had no formal education were 63% (AOR = 0.37; 95% CI [0.15, 0.91]) less likely to be obese; and participants who had attained secondary level of education were 2.22 (95% CI [1.21, 4.07]) times more likely to be obese. Participants who smoked cigarettes were 67% (AOR = 0.33; 95% CI [0.12, 0.95]) less likely to be obese compared to participants who did not smoke cigarettes. Compared to participants who had severe hypertension, participants who had moderate hypertension were 3.46 (95% CI [1.34, 8.95]) times more likely to be obese.
The findings from this study indicate that Zambian women are more at risk of being obese. Prevention and control measures are needed to address high prevalence and gender inequalities in risks for non-communicable diseases in Zambia. Such measures should include policies that support gender specific approaches for the promotion of health behavior changes.
Obesity; Smoking; Lusaka; Zambia
There are limited data on the prevalence and associated factors of truancy in southern Africa. Yet truancy should attract the attention of public health professionals, educators and policy makers as it may be associated with adolescent problem behaviours. The objectives of the study were to estimate the prevalence and determine correlates of school truancy among pupils in Zambia.
We used data collected in 2004 in the Zambia Global School-based Health Survey. Logistic regression analysis was conducted to identify factors associated with truancy. A total of 2257 pupils participated in the survey of whom 53.9% were male. Overall 58.8% of the participants (58.1% of males and 58.4% of females) reported being truant in the past 30 days. Factors associated with truancy were having been bullied (AOR = 1.34, 95% CI [1.32, 1.36]), current alcohol use (AOR = 2.19, 95% CI [2.16, 2.23]), perception that other students were kind and helpful (AOR = 1.12, 95% CI [1.10, 1.14]), being male and being from the lowest school grade. Pupils whose parents or guardians checked their homework (AOR = 0.91 95% CI, [0.89, 0.92]) and those who reported parental supervision (AOR = 0.94, 95% CI [0.92-0.95]) were less likely to report being truant.
We found a high prevalence of truancy among pupils in grades 7-10 in Zambia. Interventions aimed to reduce truancy should be designed and implemented with due consideration of the associated factors.
Among school- attending adolescents, victimization from bullying is associated with anxiety, depression and poor academic performance. There are limited reports on victimization from bullying in Zambia; we therefore conducted this study to determine the prevalence and correlates for victimization from bullying among adolescents in grades 7 to 10 in the country in order to add information on the body of knowledge on victimization from bullying.
The 2004 Zambia Global School-based Health Survey (GSHS) data among adolescents in grades 7 to 10 were obtained from the World Health Organization. We estimated the prevalence of victimization from bullying. We also conducted weighted multivariate logistic regression analysis to determine independent factors associated with victimization from bullying, and report adjusted odds ratios (AOR) and their 95% confidence intervals (CI).
Of 2136 students who participated in the 2004 Zambia GSHS, 1559 had information on whether they were bullied or not. Of these, 1559 students, 62.8% (60.0% of male and 65.0% of female) participants reported having been bullied in the previous 30 days to the survey. We found that respondents of age less than 14 years were 7% (AOR=0.93; 95%CI [0.91, 0.95]) less likely to have been bullied compared to those aged 16 years or older. Being a male (AOR=1.07; 95%CI [1.06, 1.09]), lonely (AOR=1.24; 95%CI [1.22, 1.26]), worried (AOR=1.12; 95%CI [1.11, 1.14]), consuming alcohol (AOR=2.59; 95%CI [2.55, 2.64]), missing classes (AOR=1.30; 95%CI [1.28, 1.32]), and considering attempting suicide (AOR=1.20; 95%CI [1.18, 1.22]) were significantly associated with bullying victimization.
Victimization from bullying is prevalent among in-school adolescents in grades 7 to 10 in Zambia, and interventions to curtail it should consider the factors that have been identified in this study.
Hypertension is a leading cause for ill-health, premature mortality and disability. The objective of the study was to determine the prevalence and associated factors for hypertension in Lusaka, Zambia.
A cross sectional study was conducted. Odds ratios and their 95% confidence intervals were calculated to assess relationships between hypertension and explanatory variables.
A total of 1928 individuals participated in the survey, of which 33.0% were males. About a third of the respondents had attained secondary level education (35.8%), and 20.6% of males and 48.6% of females were overweight or obese. The prevalence for hypertension was 34.8% (38.0% of males and 33.3% of females). In multivariate analysis, factors independently associated with hypertension were: age, sex, body mass index, alcohol consumption, sedentary lifestyle, and fasting blood glucose level.
Health education and structural interventions to promote healthier lifestyles should be encouraged taking into account the observed associations of the modifiable risk factors.
Hypertension; BMI; alcohol consumption; sedentary behaviour; fasting blood glucose level; Lusaka; Zambia
Mental health and injury are neglected public health issues especially in low-income nations. The objective of the study was to determine the prevalence and socio-demographic correlates for serious injury in the last 12 months.
The study used data of the 2007 Djibouti Global School-based Health Survey. Logistic regression analysis was used to establish associations. Of the 1, 777 respondents, 61.1% (63.2% males and 57.8% females) reported having sustained serious injury (SSI). Compared to participants who were not bullied, those who reported being bullied 3-9 days per month were more likely to have sustained serious injury in the last 12 months (AOR = 1.27; 95% CI [1.06, 1.52] for 3-5 days of bullying victimization per month, and AOR = 3.19; 95% CI [2.28, 4.47] for 6-9 days per month. Adolescents who were engaged in physical fighting were 47% (AOR = 1.47, 95% CI [1.40, 1.55] more likely to have sustained serious injury compared to those who were not engaged in the fighting. Meanwhile, adolescents who used substances (cigarettes, other forms of tobacco or drugs) were 30% (AOR = 1.30, 95% CI [1.19, 1.42]) more likely to have sustained serious injury compared to those who did not use substances.
Serious injury is common among adolescents in Djibouti, and we suggest that health workers attending to injured adolescents explore the patients' psycho-social environment. Further, we suggest longitudinal studies where reduction of substance use and bullying may be assessed if they have an impact in reducing serious injury among adolescents.
Dental health is a neglected aspect of adolescent health globally but more so in low-income countries. Secondary analysis using the 2004 Zambia Global School-Based Health Survey (GSHS) was conducted in which we estimated frequencies of relevant socio-demographic variables and explored associations between selected explanatory variables and self-reported poor oral hygiene (not cleaning or brushing teeth) within the last 30 days of the completion of questionnaire.
Most of the 2257 respondents were males (53.9%) and went hungry (82.5%). More than 4 in 10 respondents drank alcohol (42.2%) while 37.2% smoked cannabis. Overall 10.0% of the respondents reported to have poor oral hygiene. Male respondents were 7% less likely to report to have poor oral hygiene compared to females. Compared to respondents who never drank alcohol, those who drank alcohol were 27% more likely to report to have poor oral hygiene. Respondents who smoked cannabis were 4% more likely to report to have poor oral hygiene compared to those who did not smoke cannabis. Finally, respondents who went hungry were 35% more likely to report to have poor oral hygiene compared to those who did not go hungry.
Results from this study indicate that female gender, alcohol drinking, cannabis smoking, and going hungry were associated with self-reported poor oral hygiene. The identification of these factors should guide the design and implementation of programs aimed to improve oral health among adolescents.
Occupational health has received limited research attention in the Southern African Development Community (SADC). Much of the published data in this region come from South Africa and little has been reported north of the Limpopo. The present study was conducted to estimate the burden of occupational illnesses in Zambia and assess factors associated with their occurrence.
Data were obtained from the Zambian Labour Force Survey of 2009. Frequencies were used to estimate the prevalence of occupational diseases. Logistic regression analyses were conducted to determine the associations between demographic, social and economic factors and reported illness resulting from occupational exposures. Odds ratios (OR) from bivariate analyses and adjusted odds ratios (AOR) from the multivariate analysis together with their 95% Confidence Intervals (CI) are reported.
Data on 59,118 persons aged 18 years or older were available for analysis, of which 29805 (50.4%) were males. The proportions of the sample that reported to have suffered from an occupational illness were 12.7% among males and 10.4% among females (p < 0.001). Overall the proportions of respondents who reported suffering from fatigue, fever and chest infections were 38.8%, 21.7% and 17.1%, respectively. About two thirds (69.7%) of the study participants had stayed away from work due to the illness suffered at work; there was no sex differences (p = 0.216). Older age, being male, lower education level, married/cohabiting or once married (separated/divorced/widowed), and paid employee or employer/self employed were positively associated with having suffered from illness.
The findings from this study call for urgent effort for specific measures to prevent and mitigate the effects of occupational injuries. These interventions may include: public health campaigns, enforcement or change in work policies and regulations. Special attention may have to be made towards those who were more likely to suffer from occupational illnesses.
Occupational injuries have received limited research attention in the Southern African Development Community. Much of the published data come from South Africa and little has been reported elsewhere within the region. The present study was conducted to estimate the prevalence rates of occupational injuries and compensation; and to determine factors associated with occupational injuries and compensation.
Data were obtained from occupational health and injury questions added to the Zambian Labour Force Survey of 2009 by the Work and Health in Southern Africa programme. Logistic regression analyses were conducted to determine the degree of association between demographic, social and economic factors on one hand and injury and compensation on the other.
Data on 61871 study participants were available for analysis, of whom 4998 (8.1%) reported having been injured (10.0% of males, and 6.2% of females) due to work in the previous 12 months to the survey. Of those injured, 60.5% reported having stayed away from work as a result. The commonest type of injury was "open wound" (81.6%). Male gender, being married or married before, being a paid employee, working for a private company and household were positively associated with serious injuries. Injuries also varied by geographical area. Factors positively associated with receiving compensation for work-related injuries were: male gender, Copperbelt and North-Western provinces, and unpaid family worker. Employer/self employed and having less than 5 employees in a workplace were negatively associated with compensation.
The prevalence of reported injury and its association with a significant level of absence from work, indicate that occupational hazards in Zambia have significant health and economic effects. Female workers should equally be compensated for injuries suffered as their male counterparts.
Ethical challenges surrounding the implementation of male circumcision as an HIV prevention strategy
The majority of people who suffer morbidity due to smoking may have initiated smoking during adolescent period. The aim of this study is to determine the prevalence and associated factors for cigarette smoking among school-going adolescents in Lithuania.
Data from the Global Youth Tobacco Survey (GYTS) 2005 were used to conduct this study. Data were analyzed using SUDAAN software 9.03. Comparisons for categorical variables were done using the Pearson's Chi-square test. The cut of point for statistical significance was set at 5% level. Logistic regression analyses were conducted to determine factors associated with the outcome. Unadjusted odds ratios (OR) and adjusted odds ratios (AOR) together with their 95% confidence intervals (CI) are reported.
Of the 1822 respondents, 35.8% males and 27.1% females reported being current cigarette smokers (p < 0.001). Having friends who smoke cigarettes was associated with smoking after controlling for age, gender, parental smoking status, and perception of risks of smoking (AOR = 3.76; 95% CI [2.33, 6.90] for some friends using tobacco; and AOR = 17.18; 95% CI [10.46, 28.21] for most or all friends using tobacco). Male gender and having one or both parents who smoke cigarettes were associated with smoking (AOR = 1.31; 95% CI [1.03, 1.66]) and AOR = 1.76; 95% CI [1.37, 2.27]) respectively).
There is a high prevalence of cigarette smoking among Lithuanian adolescents. Male adolescents and adolescents who have friends or parents who smoke should be the main target for tobacco control in Lithuania.
The prevalence of cigarette smoking in Ukraine is different between genders and is among the highest in the world. There is need to identify gender-specific factors that are associated with having stopped smoking among adolescents.
We used data from the Ukraine Global Youth Tobacco Survey 2005. We carried out a backward stepwise logistic regression analysis with having stopped smoking as the outcome.
Altogether, 2800 adolescents reported having ever smoked cigarettes. Overall 64.1% (63.4% male, and 65.5% female) adolescents reported having stopped smoking. Male adolescents who stated that smoking decreases body weight were 25% more likely, while female adolescents were 9% less likely to stop smoking. While male adolescents who received support on how to stop smoking from a family member were 7% less likely, female adolescents were 60% more likely to stop smoking. Furthermore, while male adolescents who received a lecture on the harmful effects of smoking were 10% less likely, female adolescents were 9% more likely to stop smoking. Finally both male and female adolescents who were sure or most probably that they would not smoke a cigarette offered to them by their best friends were more likely, and those adolescents who were sure that smoking is harmful to health were less likely to stop smoking.
Our study has identified some factors that are associated with having quit smoking that are gender-specific. We believe public health programs targeting adolescent smoking should consider these factors in their design and implementation of gender sensitive interventions.
Tobacco use is a leading cause of global morbidity and mortality. Much of the epidemiologic research on tobacco focuses on smoking, especially cigarette smoking, but little attention on smokeless tobacco (SLT).
Using data from the Republic of Congo Global Youth Tobacco Survey (GYTS) of 2006, we estimated the prevalence of SLT use among in-school adolescents. We also assessed the association between SLT use and cigarette smoking as well as the traditional factors which are associated with cigarette smoking among adolescents (e.g. age, sex, parental or peer smoking). Unadjusted odds ratios (OR) and adjusted odds ratios (AOR) together with their 95% confidence intervals (CI) were used to measure magnitudes of associations.
Of the 3,034 respondents, 18.0% (18.0% males and 18.1% females) reported having used smokeless tobacco (chewing tobacco, sniff or dip) in the last 30 days. In multivariate analysis, no significant associations were observed between age and sex on one hand and current smokeless tobacco use on the other. Cigarette smokers were more than six times likely to report current use of smokeless tobacco (AOR = 6.65; 95% CI [4.84, 9.14]). Having parents or friends smokers was positively associated with using smokeless tobacco (AOR = 1.98; 95% CI [1.51, 2.59] for parents who smoked cigarettes, AOR = 1.82; 95% CI [1.41, 2.69] for some friends who smoked cigarettes, and AOR = 2.02; 95% CI [1.49, 2.47] for most or all friends who smoked cigarettes). Respondents who reported have seen tobacco advertisement on TV, billboards and in newspapers/magazines were 1.95 times more likely to report current use of smokeless tobacco (AOR = 1.95; 95% CI [1.34, 3.08]). Perception that smoking was harmful to health was negatively associated with current use of smokeless tobacco (AOR = 0.60; 95% CI [0.46, 0.78]).
Prevention programs aimed to reduce teen [cigarette] smoking must also be designed to reduce other forms of tobacco use. The teenagers environment at home, at school and at leisure must also be factored in order to prevent their uptake or maintenance of tobacco use.
The aim of the study is to investigate the determinants of exposure to ETS among Greek adolescents aged 11–17 years old. The GYTS questionnaire was completed by 5,179 adolescents. About 3 in 4 responders (76.8%) were exposed to ETS at home, and 38.5% were exposed to ETS outside of the home. Gender, age group, parental and close friends smoking status were significant determinants of adolescent’s exposure to ETS. The results of the study could be valuable for the implementation of public health initiatives in Greece aiming to reduce the burden of adolescent’s exposure to passive smoking.
Environmental Tobacco Smoke; adolescents; Greece
To estimate the prevalence and predictors of environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) exposure among nonsmoking adolescents in Cambodia.
Materials and Methods:
Analysis of data from the Global Youth Tobacco Survey (GYTS) conducted in 2003 in Cambodia. Data were analysed to obtain the prevalence of ETS exposure at home and elsewhere by age and gender. Logistic regression analysis was conducted to assess the association between ETS and gender, age, smoking status of parents and friends.
67.1% (64.0, 70.0) males and 67.4% (64.2, 70.5) females reported being exposed to ETS either at home or elsewhere. Adolescents who had one or both smoking parents had a more than three times the odds of ETS exposure at home (OR = 3.71; 95% CI (3.02, 4.57)). Those who had smoking friends were more likely to be exposed to ETS both at home and outside home (OR = 1.74; 95% CI (1.36, 2.24)). The overall proportion of adolescents exposed to ETS outside home was higher than those exposed at home (P < 0.001), suggesting that exposure in public areas was the main form of ETS among adolescents in Cambodia.
Exposure to ETS is high among adolescent in Cambodia, which indicates an urgent need for specific measures, policies and regulations to protect nonsmoker Cambodian adolescents both within and outside home.
Adolescent health; Cambodia; environmental tobacco exposure; smoking; tobacco