Uruguay is located at the southern border of Aedes aegypti distribution on the South American sub-continent. The reported dengue cases in the country are all imported from surrounding countries. One of the cities at higher risk of local dengue transmission is Salto, a border city with heavy traffic from dengue endemic areas.
We completed an intervention study using a cluster randomized trial design in 20 randomly selected ‘clusters’ in Salto. The clusters were located in neighborhoods of differing geography and economic, cultural and social aspects.
Entomological surveys were carried out to measure the impact of the intervention on vector densities. Through participatory processes of all stakeholders, an appropriate ecosystem management intervention was defined. Residents collected the abundant small water holding containers and the Ministry of Public Health and the Municipality of Salto were responsible for collecting and eliminating them. Additional vector breeding places were large water tanks; they were either altered so that they could not hold water any more or covered so that oviposition by mosquitoes could not take place.
The response from the community and national programme managers was encouraging. The intervention evidenced opportunities for cost savings and reducing dengue vector densities (although not to statistically significant levels). The observed low vector density limits the potential reduction due to the intervention. A larger sample size is needed to obtain a statistically significant difference.
Aedes aegypti; Community participation; Cost analysis; Eco-bio-social research; Entomological indices; Inter-sectorial approaches
The fifth Millennium Development Goal (MDG 5) established the goal of a 75% reduction in the maternal mortality ratio (MMR; number of maternal deaths per 100 000 livebirths) between 1990 and 2015. We aimed to measure levels and track trends in maternal mortality, the key causes contributing to maternal death, and timing of maternal death with respect to delivery.
We used robust statistical methods including the Cause of Death Ensemble model (CODEm) to analyse a database of data for 7065 site-years and estimate the number of maternal deaths from all causes in 188 countries between 1990 and 2013. We estimated the number of pregnancy-related deaths caused by HIV on the basis of a systematic review of the relative risk of dying during pregnancy for HIV-positive women compared with HIV-negative women. We also estimated the fraction of these deaths aggravated by pregnancy on the basis of a systematic review. To estimate the numbers of maternal deaths due to nine different causes, we identified 61 sources from a systematic review and 943 site-years of vital registration data. We also did a systematic review of reports about the timing of maternal death, identifying 142 sources to use in our analysis. We developed estimates for each country for 1990–2013 using Bayesian meta-regression. We estimated 95% uncertainty intervals (UIs) for all values.
292 982 (95% UI 261 017–327 792) maternal deaths occurred in 2013, compared with 376 034 (343 483–407 574) in 1990. The global annual rate of change in the MMR was −0·3% (−1·1 to 0·6) from 1990 to 2003, and −2·7% (−3·9 to −1·5) from 2003 to 2013, with evidence of continued acceleration. MMRs reduced consistently in south, east, and southeast Asia between 1990 and 2013, but maternal deaths increased in much of sub-Saharan Africa during the 1990s. 2070 (1290–2866) maternal deaths were related to HIV in 2013, 0·4% (0·2–0·6) of the global total. MMR was highest in the oldest age groups in both 1990 and 2013. In 2013, most deaths occurred intrapartum or postpartum. Causes varied by region and between 1990 and 2013. We recorded substantial variation in the MMR by country in 2013, from 956·8 (685·1–1262·8) in South Sudan to 2·4 (1·6–3·6) in Iceland.
Global rates of change suggest that only 16 countries will achieve the MDG 5 target by 2015. Accelerated reductions since the Millennium Declaration in 2000 coincide with increased development assistance for maternal, newborn, and child health. Setting of targets and associated interventions for after 2015 will need careful consideration of regions that are making slow progress, such as west and central Africa.
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The National Essential Medicine System (NEMS) is a new policy in China launched in 2009 to improve the appropriate use of medications. This study aims to examine the outcomes of the NEMS objectives in terms of the rational use of medicines in primary health care facilities in China.
A total of 28,651 prescriptions were collected from 146 township health centers in four provinces of China by means of a field survey conducted in 2010–2011. Indicators of rational drug use were extracted and compared using a pre/post design and then evaluated with regard to the World Health Organization (WHO) Standard Guidelines and data from previous research.
The average number of drugs per prescription decreased from 3.64 to 3.46 (p < 0.01) between 2009 and 2010. Little effect was found for the NEMS on the average number of antibiotics per prescription, but the percentage of prescriptions including antibiotics decreased from 60.26 to 58.48% (p < 0.01). Prescriptions for injections or adrenal corticosteroids also decreased, to 40.31 and 11.16% of all prescriptions, respectively. All these positive issues were also recorded in 2011. However, each of the above values remained higher than WHO standards. The percentage of drugs prescribed from the Essential Drug List increased after the implementation of the NEMS (p < 0.01). Where the available data allowed changes in costs to be assessed, the average expense per prescription increased significantly, from 25.77 to 27.09 yuan (p < 0.01).
The NEMS effectively improved rational medicine use in China. However, polypharmacy and the over-prescription of antibiotics and injections remain common. There is still a large unfinished agenda requiring policy improvements. Treatment guidelines, intensive support supervision, and continuing training for both professionals and consumers are the essential actions that need to be taken.
Rational drug use; Prescribing behavior; Essential medicines policy; Primary health care; China
The Millennium Declaration in 2000 brought special global attention to HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria through the formulation of Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 6. The Global Burden of Disease 2013 study provides a consistent and comprehensive approach to disease estimation for between 1990 and 2013, and an opportunity to assess whether accelerated progress has occurred since the Millennium Declaration.
To estimate incidence and mortality for HIV, we used the UNAIDS Spectrum model appropriately modified based on a systematic review of available studies of mortality with and without antiretroviral therapy (ART). For concentrated epidemics, we calibrated Spectrum models to fit vital registration data corrected for misclassification of HIV deaths. In generalised epidemics, we minimised a loss function to select epidemic curves most consistent with prevalence data and demographic data for all-cause mortality. We analysed counterfactual scenarios for HIV to assess years of life saved through prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) and ART. For tuberculosis, we analysed vital registration and verbal autopsy data to estimate mortality using cause of death ensemble modelling. We analysed data for corrected case-notifications, expert opinions on the case-detection rate, prevalence surveys, and estimated cause-specific mortality using Bayesian meta-regression to generate consistent trends in all parameters. We analysed malaria mortality and incidence using an updated cause of death database, a systematic analysis of verbal autopsy validation studies for malaria, and recent studies (2010–13) of incidence, drug resistance, and coverage of insecticide-treated bednets.
Globally in 2013, there were 1·8 million new HIV infections (95% uncertainty interval 1·7 million to 2·1 million), 29·2 million prevalent HIV cases (28·1 to 31·7), and 1·3 million HIV deaths (1·3 to 1·5). At the peak of the epidemic in 2005, HIV caused 1·7 million deaths (1·6 million to 1·9 million). Concentrated epidemics in Latin America and eastern Europe are substantially smaller than previously estimated. Through interventions including PMTCT and ART, 19·1 million life-years (16·6 million to 21·5 million) have been saved, 70·3% (65·4 to 76·1) in developing countries. From 2000 to 2011, the ratio of development assistance for health for HIV to years of life saved through intervention was US$4498 in developing countries. Including in HIV-positive individuals, all-form tuberculosis incidence was 7·5 million (7·4 million to 7·7 million), prevalence was 11·9 million (11·6 million to 12·2 million), and number of deaths was 1·4 million (1·3 million to 1·5 million) in 2013. In the same year and in only individuals who were HIV-negative, all-form tuberculosis incidence was 7·1 million (6·9 million to 7·3 million), prevalence was 11·2 million (10·8 million to 11·6 million), and number of deaths was 1·3 million (1·2 million to 1·4 million). Annualised rates of change (ARC) for incidence, prevalence, and death became negative after 2000. Tuberculosis in HIV-negative individuals disproportionately occurs in men and boys (versus women and girls); 64·0% of cases (63·6 to 64·3) and 64·7% of deaths (60·8 to 70·3). Globally, malaria cases and deaths grew rapidly from 1990 reaching a peak of 232 million cases (143 million to 387 million) in 2003 and 1·2 million deaths (1·1 million to 1·4 million) in 2004. Since 2004, child deaths from malaria in sub-Saharan Africa have decreased by 31·5% (15·7 to 44·1). Outside of Africa, malaria mortality has been steadily decreasing since 1990.
Our estimates of the number of people living with HIV are 18·7% smaller than UNAIDS’s estimates in 2012. The number of people living with malaria is larger than estimated by WHO. The number of people living with HIV, tuberculosis, or malaria have all decreased since 2000. At the global level, upward trends for malaria and HIV deaths have been reversed and declines in tuberculosis deaths have accelerated. 101 countries (74 of which are developing) still have increasing HIV incidence. Substantial progress since the Millennium Declaration is an encouraging sign of the effect of global action.
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Introduction: There is an urgent need for health authorities across Europe to fully realize potential savings from increased use of generics to sustain their healthcare systems. A variety of strategies were used across Europe following the availability of generic losartan, the first angiotensin receptor blocker (ARB) to be approved and marketed, to enhance its prescribing vs. single-sourced drugs in the class. Demand-side strategies ranged from 100% co-payment for single-sourced ARBs in Denmark to no specific measures. We hypothesized this heterogeneity of approaches would provide opportunities to explore prescribing in a class following patent expiry.
Objective: Contrast the impact of the different approaches among European countries and regions to the availability of generic losartan to provide future guidance.
Methodology: Retrospective segmented regression analyses applying linear random coefficient models with country specific intercepts and slopes were used to assess the impact of the various initiatives across Europe following the availability of generic losartan. Utilization measured in defined daily doses (DDDs). Price reductions for generic losartan were also measured.
Results: Utilization of losartan was over 90% of all ARBs in Denmark by the study end. Multiple measures in Sweden and one English primary care group also appreciably enhanced losartan utilization. Losartan utilization actually fell in some countries with no specific demand-side measures. Considerable differences were seen in the prices of generic losartan.
Conclusion: Delisting single-sourced ARBs produced the greatest increase in losartan utilization. Overall, multiple demand-side measures are needed to change physician prescribing habits to fully realize savings from generics. There is no apparent “spill over” effect from one class to another to influence future prescribing patterns even if these are closely related.
losartan; generics; demand-side measures; cross-national study; drug utilisation; Europe
Factors associated with mortality in HIV-infected people in sub-Saharan Africa are widely reported. However rural–urban disparities and their association with all-cause mortality remain unclear. Furthermore, commonly used classical Cox regression ignores unmeasured variables and frailty.
To incorporate frailty in assessing factors associated with mortality in HIV-infected people in rural and urban South Africa.
Using data from a prospective cohort following 6,690 HIV-infected participants from Soweto (urban) and Mpumalanga (rural) enrolled from 2003 to 2010; covariates of mortality were assessed by the integrated nested Laplace approximation method.
We enrolled 2,221 (33%) rural and 4,469 (67%) urban participants of whom 1,555 (70%) and 3,480 (78%) were females respectively. Median age (IQR) was 36.4 (31.0–44.1) in rural and 32.7 (28.2–38.1) in the urban participants. The mortality rate per 100 person-years was 11 (9.7–12.5) and 4 (3.6–4.5) in the rural and urban participants, respectively. Compared to those not on HAART, rural participants had a reduced risk of mortality if on HAART for 6–12 (HR: 0.20, 95% CI: 0.10–0.39) and >12 months (HR: 0.10, 95% CI: 0.05–0.18). Relative to those not on HAART, urban participants had a lower risk if on HAART >12 months (HR: 0.35, 95% CI: 0.27–0.46).
The frailty variance was significant and >1 in rural participants indicating more heterogeneity. Similarly it was significant but <1 in the urban participants indicating less heterogeneity.
The frailty model findings suggest an elevated risk of mortality in rural participants relative to the urban participants potentially due to unmeasured variables that could be biological, socio–economic, or healthcare related. Use of robust methods that optimise data and account for unmeasured variables could be helpful in assessing the effect of unknown risk factors thus improving patient management and care in South Africa and elsewhere.
HIV; Mortality; Rural; Urban; Frailty; HAART
The rapid increase in drug expenditure has become a major source of public criticism in China. In 2009, the National Essential Medicine System (NEMS) was launched in China to control drug prices and improve access to medicines. This study investigated whether and to what extent the prices of essential medicines were reduced after the introduction of NEMS.
Data were obtained from 149 public primary healthcare centers (PHCs) in four Chinese provinces (Shandong, Zhejiang, Anhui and Ningxia) using a facility-based survey. In total, 10,988 essential medicines were investigated. Individual price differences and a price index were used to measure price changes for three different lists: 2009–2010, 2010–2011, and 2009–2011.
In the comparison between 2009 and 2010, a median decrease of 34.4% [95% confidence interval: 30.4%–39.1%] was observed in drug prices and the number of drug sales increased by 1.5%. The higher the retail price in 2010, the more the drug sales increased compared with 2009 (χ2 = 75.9, p < 0.01). The drug revenues in 100 of the 149 surveyed PHCs decreased by an average of 39%. Where the available data allowed price changes for 2009–2011 to be assessed, drug prices were reduced significantly in 2010, but a modest decrease was seen in 2011. The Laspeyres index was less than 100 and the Paasche index was larger than the Laspeyres index in 2010 and 2011, which indicated that the frequently prescribed drugs usually had higher prices and any price reduction was milder.
The introduction of NEMS in PHCs in China led to price reductions in essential medicines. However, more-expensive drugs were preferred in the postreform period. Most PHCs had less drug revenue and could encounter financing dilemmas after the implementation of NEMS. Policy options such as improving the compensation mechanism and rational use of drugs should be further promoted in PHCs.
China; National Essential Medicine System; Access to medicines; Drug price; Price index
Quantification of the disease burden caused by different risks informs prevention by providing an account of health loss different to that provided by a disease-by-disease analysis. No complete revision of global disease burden caused by risk factors has been done since a comparative risk assessment in 2000, and no previous analysis has assessed changes in burden attributable to risk factors over time.
We estimated deaths and disability-adjusted life years (DALYs; sum of years lived with disability [YLD] and years of life lost [YLL]) attributable to the independent effects of 67 risk factors and clusters of risk factors for 21 regions in 1990 and 2010. We estimated exposure distributions for each year, region, sex, and age group, and relative risks per unit of exposure by systematically reviewing and synthesising published and unpublished data. We used these estimates, together with estimates of cause-specific deaths and DALYs from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010, to calculate the burden attributable to each risk factor exposure compared with the theoretical-minimum-risk exposure. We incorporated uncertainty in disease burden, relative risks, and exposures into our estimates of attributable burden.
In 2010, the three leading risk factors for global disease burden were high blood pressure (7·0% [95% uncertainty interval 6·2–7·7] of global DALYs), tobacco smoking including second-hand smoke (6·3% [5·5–7·0]), and alcohol use (5·5% [5·0–5·9]). In 1990, the leading risks were childhood underweight (7·9% [6·8–9·4]), household air pollution from solid fuels (HAP; 7·0% [5·6–8·3]), and tobacco smoking including second-hand smoke (6·1% [5·4–6·8]). Dietary risk factors and physical inactivity collectively accounted for 10·0% (95% UI 9·2–10·8) of global DALYs in 2010, with the most prominent dietary risks being diets low in fruits and those high in sodium. Several risks that primarily affect childhood communicable diseases, including unimproved water and sanitation and childhood micronutrient deficiencies, fell in rank between 1990 and 2010, with unimproved water we and sanitation accounting for 0·9% (0·4–1·6) of global DALYs in 2010. However, in most of sub-Saharan Africa childhood underweight, HAP, and non-exclusive and discontinued breastfeeding were the leading risks in 2010, while HAP was the leading risk in south Asia. The leading risk factor in Eastern Europe, most of Latin America, and southern sub-Saharan Africa in 2010 was alcohol use; in most of Asia, North Africa and Middle East, and central Europe it was high blood pressure. Despite declines, tobacco smoking including second-hand smoke remained the leading risk in high-income north America and western Europe. High body-mass index has increased globally and it is the leading risk in Australasia and southern Latin America, and also ranks high in other high-income regions, North Africa and Middle East, and Oceania.
Worldwide, the contribution of different risk factors to disease burden has changed substantially, with a shift away from risks for communicable diseases in children towards those for non-communicable diseases in adults. These changes are related to the ageing population, decreased mortality among children younger than 5 years, changes in cause-of-death composition, and changes in risk factor exposures. New evidence has led to changes in the magnitude of key risks including unimproved water and sanitation, vitamin A and zinc deficiencies, and ambient particulate matter pollution. The extent to which the epidemiological shift has occurred and what the leading risks currently are varies greatly across regions. In much of sub-Saharan Africa, the leading risks are still those associated with poverty and those that affect children.
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
In India alone, more than one million people die yearly due to trauma. Identification of patients at risk of early mortality is crucial to guide clinical management and explain prognosis. Prediction models can support clinical judgement, but existing models have methodological limitations. The aim of this study was to derive a vital sign based prediction model for early mortality among adult trauma patients admitted to three public university hospitals in urban India.
We conducted a prospective cohort study of adult trauma patients admitted to three urban university hospitals in India between October 2013 and January 2014. The outcome measure was mortality within 24 hours. We used logistic regression with restricted cubic splines to derive our model. We assessed model performance in terms of discrimination, calibration, and optimism.
A total of 1629 patients were included. Median age was 35, 80% were males. Mortality between admission and 24 hours was 6%. Our final model included systolic blood pressure, heart rate, and Glasgow coma scale. Our model displayed good discrimination, with an area under the receiver operating characteristics curve (AUROCC) of 0.85. Predicted mortality corresponded well with observed mortality, indicating good calibration.
This study showed that routinely recorded systolic blood pressure, heart rate, and Glasgow coma scale predicted early hospital mortality in trauma patients admitted to three public university hospitals in urban India. Our model needs to be externally validated before it can be applied in the clinical setting.
Molecular assays might improve the identification of causes of acute diarrheal disease but might lead to more frequent detection of asymptomatic infections. In the present study, real-time PCR targeting 14 pathogens was applied to rectal swabs from 330 children aged 2 to 59 months in Zanzibar, including 165 patients with acute diarrhea and 165 asymptomatic control subjects. At least one pathogen was detected for 94% of the patients and 84% of the controls, with higher rates among patients for norovirus genogroup II (20% versus 2.4%; P < 0.0001), rotavirus (10% versus 1.8%; P = 0.003), and Cryptosporidium (30% versus 11%; P < 0.0001). Detection rates did not differ significantly for enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC)-estA (33% versus 24%), ETEC-eltB (44% versus 46%), Shigella (35% versus 33%), and Campylobacter (35% versus 33%), but for these agents threshold cycle (CT) values were lower (pathogen loads were higher) in sick children than in controls. In a multivariate analysis, CT values for norovirus genogroup II, rotavirus, Cryptosporidium, ETEC-estA, and Shigella were independently associated with diarrhea. We conclude that this real-time PCR allows convenient detection of essentially all diarrheagenic agents and provides CT values that may be critical for the interpretation of results for pathogens with similar detection rates in patients and controls. The results indicate that the assessment of pathogen loads may improve the identification of agents causing gastroenteritis in children.
Uterine prolapse (UP), which affects about 10% of women of reproductive age in Nepal, is the most frequently reported cause of poor health in women of reproductive age and postmenopausal women. Currently, women’s awareness of UP is unknown, and attempts to unravel the UP problem are inadequate. This study aims to assess UP knowledge among married reproductive women, and determine the association between UP knowledge and socioeconomic characteristics.
Our cross-sectional descriptive study investigated 25 districts representing all five administrative regions, three ecological zones, and urban and rural settings. We used structured questionnaires to interview 4,693 married women aged 15–49 years. We assessed UP knowledge by asking women whether they had ever heard about UP, followed by specific questions about symptoms and preventive measures. Descriptive statistics characterized the study population regarding socioeconomic status, assessed how many participants had ever heard about UP, and determined UP knowledge level among participants who had heard about the condition. Simple regression analysis identified a possible association between socioeconomic characteristics, ever heard about UP, and level of UP knowledge.
Mean age of participants was 30 years (SD [standard deviation] 7.4), 67.5% were educated, 48% belonged to the advantaged Brahmin and Chhetri groups, and 22.2% were Janajati from the hill and terai zones. Fifty-three percent had never heard about UP. Among women who had heard about UP, 37.5% had satisfactory knowledge. Any knowledge about UP was associated with both urban and rural settings, age group, and education level. However, satisfactory knowledge about UP was associated with administrative region, ecological zones, caste/ethnic group, and age group of women.
Fifty-three percent of participants had never heard about UP, and UP knowledge level was satisfactory in 37.% of those who had ever heard about UP. Any knowledge was associated with urban/rural setting, age group, and education level, whereas satisfactory knowledge was associated with geography, caste/ethnic group, and age group. UP-related health promotion programs should target women from all caste/ethnic groups, age groups, and education levels, including urban and rural communities.
associated factors; knowledge; uterine prolapse; associated factors; Nepal
Susceptibility to smoking is defined as an absence of firm commitment not to smoke in the future or when offered a cigarette by best friends. Susceptibility begins in adolescence and is the first step in the transition to becoming an established smoker. Many scholars have hypothesized and studied whether psychosocial risk factors play a crucial role in preventing adolescent susceptibility to smoking or discourage susceptible adolescents from becoming established smokers. Our study examined sociodemographic and family and childhood environmental factors associated with smoking susceptibility among adolescents in a peri-urban area of Nepal.
We conducted a population-based cross-sectional study during October–November 2011 in the Jhaukhel-Duwakot Health Demographic Surveillance Site (JD-HDSS) located in a peri-urban area near Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal, where tobacco products are easily available. Trained local enumerators conducted face-to-face interviews with 352 respondents aged 14–16. We used stepwise logistic regression to assess sociodemographic and family and childhood environmental factors associated with smoking susceptibility.
The percentage of smoking susceptibility among respondents was 49.70% (95% CI: 44.49; 54.93). Multivariable analysis demonstrated that smoking susceptibility was associated with smoking by exposure of adolescents to pro-tobacco advertisements (AOR [adjusted odds ratio] =2.49; 95% CI: 1.46–4.24), the teacher (2.45; 1.28–4.68), adolescents attending concerts/picnics (2.14; 1.13–4.04), and smoking by other family members/relatives (1.76; 1.05–2.95).
Smoking susceptible adolescents are prevalent in the JD-HDSS, a peri-urban community of Nepal. Several family and childhood environmental factors increased susceptibility to smoking among Nepalese non-smoking adolescents. Therefore, intervention efforts need to be focused on family and childhood environmental factors with emphasis on impact of role models smoking, refusal skills in social gatherings, and discussing harmful effects of smoking with family members and during gatherings with friends.
adolescents; peri-urban; susceptibility to smoking; sociodemographic factors; environmental factors
Generic atypical antipsychotic drugs offer health authorities opportunities for considerable savings. However, schizophrenia and bipolar disorders are complex diseases that require tailored treatments. Consequently, generally there have been limited demand-side measures by health authorities to encourage the preferential prescribing of generics. This is unlike the situation with hypertension, hypercholaesterolaemia or acid-related stomach disorders.
The objectives of this study were to compare the effect of the limited demand-side measures in Western European countries and regions on the subsequent prescribing of risperidone following generics; to utilise the findings to provide future guidance to health authorities; and where possible, to investigate the utilisation of generic versus originator risperidone and the prices for generic risperidone.
Principally, this was a segmented regression analysis of retrospective time-series data of the effect of the various initiatives in Belgium, Ireland, Scotland and Sweden following the introduction of generic risperidone. The study included patients prescribed at least one atypical antipsychotic drug up to 20 months before and up to 20 months after generic risperidone. In addition, retrospective observational studies were carried out in Austria and Spain (Catalonia) from 2005 to 2011 as well as one English primary care organisation (Bury Primary Care Trust (PCT)).
There was a consistent steady reduction in risperidone as a percentage of total selected atypical antipsychotic utilisation following generics. A similar pattern was seen in Austria and Spain, with stable utilisation in one English PCT. However, there was considerable variation in the utilisation of generic risperidone, ranging from 98% of total risperidone in Scotland to only 14% in Ireland. Similarly, the price of generic risperidone varied considerably. In Scotland, generic risperidone was only 16% of pre-patent loss prices versus 72% in Ireland.
Consistent findings of no increased prescribing of risperidone post generics with limited specific demand-side measures suggests no ‘spillover’ effect from one class to another encouraging the preferential prescribing of generic atypical antipsychotic drugs. This is exacerbated by the complexity of the disease area and differences in the side-effects between treatments. There appeared to be no clinical issues with generic risperidone, and prices inversely reflected measures to enhance their utilisation.
Generics; Antipsychotics; Risperidone; Demand-side measures; Drug utilisation; Cross national study
Pharmacotherapy may have a limited role in long-term pain management. Comparative trajectories of drug prescriptions and costs, two quality-of-care indicators for pain conditions, are largely unknown subsequent to conventional or integrative care (IC) management. The objectives of this study were to compare prescribed defined daily doses (DDD) and cost of first line drugs for pain patients referred to conventional or anthroposophic IC in Stockholm County, Sweden.
In this retrospective high quality registry case-control study, IC and conventional care patients were identified through inpatient care registries and matched on pain diagnosis (ICD-10: M79), age, gender and socio-demographics. National drug registry data was used to investigate changes in DDD and costs from 90/180 days before, to 90/180 days after, index visits to IC and conventional care. The primary selected drug category was analgesics, complemented by musculo-skeletal system drugs (e.g. anti-inflammatories, muscle relaxants) and psycholeptics (e.g. hypnotics, sedatives).
After index care visits, conventional care pain patients (n = 1050) compared to IC patients (n = 213), were prescribed significantly more analgesics. The average (95% CI) group difference was 15.2 (6.0 to 24.3), p = 0.001, DDD/patient after 90 days; and 21.5 (7.4 to 35.6), p = 0.003, DDD/patient after 180 days. The cost of the prescribed and sold analgesics was significantly higher for conventional care after 90 days: euro/patient 10.7 (1.3 to 20.0), p = 0.025. Changes in drug prescription and costs for the other drug categories were not significantly different between groups.
Drug prescriptions and costs of analgesics increased following conventional care and decreased following IC, indicating potentially fewer adverse drug events and beneficial societal cost savings with IC.
In 2010, the World Health Organization revised guidelines to recommend diagnosis of all suspected malaria cases prior to treatment. There has been no systematic assessment of malaria test uptake for pediatric fevers at the population level as countries start implementing guidelines. We examined test use for pediatric fevers in relation to malaria endemicity and treatment-seeking behavior in multiple sub-Saharan African countries in initial years of implementation.
Methods and Findings
We compiled data from national population-based surveys reporting fever prevalence, care-seeking and diagnostic use for children under five years in 13 sub-Saharan African countries in 2009–2011/12 (n = 105,791). Mixed-effects logistic regression models quantified the influence of source of care and malaria endemicity on test use after adjusting for socioeconomic covariates. Results were stratified by malaria endemicity categories: low (PfPR2–10<5%), moderate (PfPR2–10 5–40%), high (PfPR2–10>40%). Among febrile under-fives surveyed, 16.9% (95% CI: 11.8%–21.9%) were tested. Compared to hospitals, febrile children attending non-hospital sources (OR: 0.62, 95% CI: 0.56–0.69) and community health workers (OR: 0.31, 95% CI: 0.23–0.43) were less often tested. Febrile children in high-risk areas had reduced odds of testing compared to low-risk settings (OR: 0.51, 95% CI: 0.42–0.62). Febrile children in least poor households were more often tested than in poorest (OR: 1.63, 95% CI: 1.39–1.91), as were children with better-educated mothers compared to least educated (OR: 1.33, 95% CI: 1.16–1.54).
Diagnostic testing of pediatric fevers was low and inequitable at the outset of new guidelines. Greater testing is needed at lower or less formal sources where pediatric fevers are commonly managed, particularly to reach the poorest. Lower test uptake in high-risk settings merits further investigation given potential implications for diagnostic scale-up in these areas. Findings could inform continued implementation of new guidelines to improve access to and equity in point-of-care diagnostics use for pediatric fevers.
The prevalence of transfusion-transmissible infections (TTIs) in blood donations is important for evaluating blood safety and potential risks to the population. This study investigated the prevalence of TTIs among blood donors in Western China and suggested measures for policy-makers.
The screening results of 66,311 donations between 2005 and 2010 from a central blood center in Western China were analyzed. The prevalence of hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and syphilis infections were expressed in percentages for the entire study group as well as groups by demographic characteristics and donation frequency, with differences analyzed using Fisher's exact or Chi-square test. Logistic regression was performed to identify the influencing factors of the detected results.
1,769 (2.67%, 95% CI 2.55–2.79%) of the donated blood had serological evidence of infection with at least one pathogen and 44 (0.07%, 95% CI 0.05–0.09%) showed evidence of multiple infections. The seroprevalence of HBV, HCV, HIV, and syphilis infections was 0.87% (95% CI 0.80–0.94%), 0.86% (95% CI 0.79–0.93%), 0.31% (95% CI 0.26–0.35%), and 0.70% (95% CI 0.64–0.76%) respectively. Trend analysis for the prevalence of TTIs showed a significant increase from 2.44% to 3.71% (χ2 = 100.72, p = 0.00) over this 6-year period. The positive rates for TTIs varied along demographic lines. The top three risk factors in test-positive donors were identified as age, education level and donation frequency. The older age group and lower educated group were linked to a higher prevalence of TTIs. A decreasing prevalence was associated with an increasing frequency of blood donations (χ2 = 562.78, p = 0.00).
Hepatitis B and C were found most, and often in conjunction with syphilis. These were the primary threats to blood safety. The high positivity rate and the increasing prevalence of TTIs among blood donors in Western China call for further actions.
The aim was to estimate the direct costs caused by ADEs, including costs for dispensed drugs, primary care, other outpatient care, and inpatient care, and to relate the direct costs caused by ADEs to the societal COI (direct and indirect costs), for patients with ADEs and for the entire study population.
We conducted a population-based observational retrospective cohort study of ADEs identified from medical records. From a random sample of 5025 adults in a Swedish county council, 4970 were included in the analyses. During a three-month study period in 2008, direct and indirect costs were estimated from resource use identified in the medical records and from register data on costs for resource use.
Among 596 patients with ADEs, the average direct costs per patient caused by ADEs were USD 444.9 [95% CI: 264.4 to 625.3], corresponding to USD 21 million per 100 000 adult inhabitants per year. Inpatient care accounted for 53.9% of all direct costs caused by ADEs. For patients with ADEs, the average societal cost of illness was USD 6235.0 [5442.8 to 7027.2], of which direct costs were USD 2830.1 [2260.7 to 3399.4] (45%), and indirect costs USD 3404.9 [2899.3 to 3910.4] (55%). The societal cost of illness was higher for patients with ADEs compared to other patients. ADEs caused 9.5% of all direct healthcare costs in the study population.
Healthcare costs for patients with ADEs are substantial across different settings; in primary care, other outpatient care and inpatient care. Hence the economic impact of ADEs will be underestimated in studies focusing on inpatient ADEs alone. Moreover, the high proportion of indirect costs in the societal COI for patients with ADEs suggests that the observed costs caused by ADEs would be even higher if including indirect costs. Additional studies are needed to identify interventions to prevent and manage ADEs.
Traumatic injury causes more than five million deaths each year of which about 90% occur in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC). Hospital trauma mortality has been significantly reduced in high-income countries, but to what extent similar results have been achieved in LMIC has not been studied in detail. Here, we assessed if early hospital mortality in patients with trauma has changed over time in an urban lower middle-income setting.
We conducted a retrospective study of patients admitted due to trauma in 1998, 2002, and 2011 to a large public hospital in Mumbai, India. Our outcome measure was early hospital mortality, defined as death between admission and 24-hours. We used multivariate logistic regression to assess the association between time and early hospital mortality, adjusting for patient case-mix. Injury severity was quantified using International Classification of Diseases-derived Injury Severity Score (ICISS). Major trauma was defined as ICISS<0.90.
We analysed data on 4189 patients out of which 86.5% were males. A majority of patients were between 15 and 55 years old and 36.5% had major trauma. Overall early hospital mortality was 8.9% in 1998, 6.0% in 2002, and 8.1% in 2011. Among major trauma patients, early hospital mortality was 13.4%, in 1998, 11.3% in 2002, and 10.9% in 2011. Compared to trauma patients admitted in 1998, those admitted in 2011 had lower odds for early hospital mortality (OR = 0.56, 95% CI = 0.41–0.76) including those with major trauma (OR = 0.57, 95% CI = 0.41–0.78).
We observed a significant reduction in early hospital mortality among patients with major trauma between 1998 and 2011. Improved survival was evident only after we adjusted for patient case-mix. This finding highlights the importance of risk-adjustment when studying longitudinal mortality trends.
Research in the predictors of all-cause mortality in HIV-infected people has widely been reported in literature. Making an informed decision requires understanding the methods used.
We present a review on study designs, statistical methods and their appropriateness in original articles reporting on predictors of all-cause mortality in HIV-infected people between January 2002 and December 2011. Statistical methods were compared between 2002–2006 and 2007–2011. Time-to-event analysis techniques were considered appropriate.
Study Eligibility Criteria
Original English-language articles were abstracted. Letters to the editor, editorials, reviews, systematic reviews, meta-analysis, case reports and any other ineligible articles were excluded.
A total of 189 studies were identified (n = 91 in 2002–2006 and n = 98 in 2007–2011) out of which 130 (69%) were prospective and 56 (30%) were retrospective. One hundred and eighty-two (96%) studies described their sample using descriptive statistics while 32 (17%) made comparisons using t-tests. Kaplan-Meier methods for time-to-event analysis were commonly used in the earlier period (n = 69, 76% vs. n = 53, 54%, p = 0.002). Predictors of mortality in the two periods were commonly determined using Cox regression analysis (n = 67, 75% vs. n = 63, 64%, p = 0.12). Only 7 (4%) used advanced survival analysis methods of Cox regression analysis with frailty in which 6 (3%) were used in the later period. Thirty-two (17%) used logistic regression while 8 (4%) used other methods. There were significantly more articles from the first period using appropriate methods compared to the second (n = 80, 88% vs. n = 69, 70%, p-value = 0.003).
Descriptive statistics and survival analysis techniques remain the most common methods of analysis in publications on predictors of all-cause mortality in HIV-infected cohorts while prospective research designs are favoured. Sophisticated techniques of time-dependent Cox regression and Cox regression with frailty are scarce. This motivates for more training in the use of advanced time-to-event methods.
Although uterine prolapse (UP) occurs commonly in Nepal, little is known about the physical health and care-seeking practices of women with UP. This study aimed to explore women’s experiences of UP and its effect on daily life, its perceived causes, and health care-seeking practices.
Using a convenience sampling method, we conducted 115 semi-structured and 16 in-depth interviews with UP-affected women during September–December 2012. All interviews occurred in outreach clinics in villages of the Dhading district.
Study participants were 23–82 years of age. Twenty-four percent were literate, 47.2% had experienced a teenage pregnancy, and 29% had autonomy to make healthcare decisions. Most participants (>85%) described the major physical discomforts of UP as difficulty with walking, standing, working, sitting, and lifting. They also reported urinary incontinence (68%) bowel symptoms (42%), and difficulty with sexual activity (73.9%). Due to inability to perform household chores or fulfill their husband’s sexual desires, participants endured humiliation, harassment, and torture by their husbands and other family members, causing severe emotional stress. Following disclosure of UP, 24% of spouses remarried and 6% separated from the marital relationship. Women perceived the causes of UP as unsafe childbirth, heavy work during the postpartum period, and gender discrimination. Prior to visiting these camps some women (42%) hid UP for more than 10 years. Almost half (48%) of participants sought no health care; 42% ingested a herb and ate nutritious food. Perceived barriers to accessing health care included shame (48%) and feeling that care was unnecessary (12.5%). Multiple responses (29%) included shame, inability to share, male service provider, fear of stigma and discrimination, and perceiving UP as normal for childbearing women.
UP adversely affects women’s daily life and negatively influences their physical, mental, and social well-being. The results of our study are useful to generate information on UP symptoms and female health care seeking practices. Our findings can be helpful for effective development of UP awareness programs to increase service utilization at early stages of UP and thereby might contribute to both primary and secondary prevention of UP.
Uterine prolapse; Health seeking practice; Nepal
Dengue is an increasingly important public health problem in most Latin American countries and more cost-effective ways of reducing dengue vector densities to prevent transmission are in demand by vector control programs. This multi-centre study attempted to identify key factors associated with vector breeding and development as a basis for improving targeted intervention strategies.
In each of 5 participant cities in Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil and Uruguay, 20 clusters were randomly selected by grid sampling to incorporate 100 contiguous households, non-residential private buildings (businesses) and public spaces. Standardized household surveys, cluster background surveys and entomological surveys specifically targeted to obtain pupal indices for Aedes aegypti, were conducted in the dry and wet seasons.
The study clusters included mainly urban low-middle class populations with satisfactory infrastructure and –except for Uruguay- favourable climatic conditions for dengue vector development. Household knowledge about dengue and “dengue mosquitoes” was widespread, mainly through mass media, but there was less awareness around interventions to reduce vector densities. Vector production (measured through pupal indices) was favoured when water containers were outdoor, uncovered, unused (even in Colombia and Ecuador where the large tanks used for household water storage and washing were predominantly productive) and –particularly during the dry season- rainwater filled. Larval infestation did not reflect productive container types. All productive container types, including those important in the dry season, were identified by pupal surveys executed during the rainy season.
A number of findings are relevant for improving vector control: 1) there is a need for complementing larval surveys with occasional pupal surveys (to be conducted during the wet season) for identifying and subsequently targeting productive container types; 2) the need to raise public awareness about useful and effective interventions in productive container types specific to their area; and 3) the motivation for control services that-according to this and similar studies in Asia- dedicated, targeted vector management can make a difference in terms of reducing vector abundance.
Dengue; Aedes aegypti; Vector breeding sites; Pupal indices; Urban settings; Ecobiosocial framework
Skilled birth attendants (SBAs) provide important interventions that improve maternal and neonatal health and reduce maternal and neonatal mortality. However, utilization and coverage of services by SBAs remain poor, especially in rural and remote areas of Nepal. This study examined the characteristics associated with utilization of SBA services in mid- and far-western Nepal.
This cross-sectional study examined three rural and remote districts of mid- and far-western Nepal (i.e., Kanchanpur, Dailekh and Bajhang), representing three ecological zones (southern plains [Tarai], hill and mountain, respectively) with low utilization of services by SBAs. Enumerators assisted a total of 2,481 women. All respondents had delivered a baby within the past 12 months. We used bivariate and multivariate analyses to assess the association between antenatal and delivery care visits and the women’s background characteristics.
Fifty-seven percent of study participants had completed at least four antenatal care visits and 48% delivered their babies with the assistance of SBAs. Knowing the danger signs of pregnancy and delivery (e.g., premature labor, prolonged labor, breech delivery, postpartum hemorrhage, severe headache) associated positively with four or more antenatal care visits (OR = 1.71; 95% CI: 1.41-2.07). Living less than 30 min from a health facility associated positively with increased use of both antenatal care (OR = 1.44; 95% CI: 1.18-1.77) and delivery services (OR = 1.25; CI: 1.03-1.52). Four or more antenatal care visits was a determining factor for the utilization of SBAs.
Less than half of the women in our study delivered babies with the aid of SBAs, indicating a need to increase utilization of such services in rural and remote areas of Nepal. Distance from health facilities and inadequate transportation pose major barriers to the utilization of SBAs. Providing women with transportation funds before they go to a facility for delivery and managing transportation options will increase service utilization. Moreover, SBA utilization associates positively with women’s knowledge of pregnancy danger signs, wealth quintile, and completed antenatal care visits. Nepal’s health system must develop strategies that generate demand for SBAs and also reduce financial, geographic and cultural barriers to such services.
Antenatal care; Delivery care; Utilization; Skilled birth attendant; Barrier; Nepal
The herpes zoster burden of disease in Sweden is not well investigated. There is no Swedish immunization program to prevent varicella zoster virus infections. A vaccine against herpes zoster and its complications is now available. The aim of this study was to estimate the herpes zoster burden of disease and to establish a pre-vaccination baseline of the minimum incidence of herpes zoster.
Data were collected from the Swedish National Health Data Registers including the Patient Register, the Pharmacy Register, and the Cause of Death Register. The herpes zoster burden of disease in Sweden was estimated by analyzing the overall, and age and gender differences in the antiviral prescriptions, hospitalizations and complications during 2006-2010 and mortality during 2006-2009.
Annually, 270 per 100,000 persons received antiviral treatment for herpes zoster, and the prescription rate increased with age. It was approximately 50% higher in females than in males in the age 50+ population (rate ratio 1.39; 95% CI, 1.22 to 1.58). The overall hospitalization rate for herpes zoster was 6.9/100,000 with an approximately three-fold increase for patients over 80 years of age compared to the age 70-79 group. A gender difference in hospitalization rates was observed: 8.1/100,000 in females and 5.6/100,000 in males. Herpes zoster, with a registered complication, was found in about one third of the hospitalized patients and the most common complications involved the peripheral and central nervous systems. Death due to herpes zoster was a rare event.
The results of this study demonstrate the significant burden of herpes zoster disease in the pre-zoster vaccination era. A strong correlation with age in the herpes zoster- related incidence, hospitalization, complications, and mortality rates was found. In addition, the study provides further evidence of the female predominance in herpes zoster disease.
Herpes zoster; Hospitalization; Antiviral prescriptions; Mortality; Disease burden
Background and Objectives
Dengue is an important public health problem in Yogyakarta city, Indonesia. The aim of this study was to build an innovative community-centered dengue-ecosystem management intervention in the city and to assess the process and results.
For describing the baseline situation, entomological surveys and household surveys were carried out in six randomly selected neighborhoods in Yogyakarta city, documents were analyzed and different stakeholders involved in dengue control and environmental management were interviewed. Then a community-centered dengue-ecosystem management intervention was built up in two of the neighborhoods (Demangan and Giwangan) whereas two neighborhoods served as controls with no intervention (Tahunan and Bener). Six months after the intervention follow up surveys (household interviews and entomological) were conducted as well as focus group discussions and key informant interviews.
The intervention results included: better community knowledge, attitude and practices in dengue prevention; increased household and community participation; improved partnership including a variety of stakeholders with prospects for sustainability; vector control efforts refocused on environmental and health issues; increased community ownership of dengue vector management including broader community development activities such as solid waste management and recycling.
The community-centred approach needs a lot of effort at the beginning but has better prospects for sustainability than the vertical “top-down” approach.
Dengue; community participation; empowerment; waste management
Research has shown that the classical Stegomyia indices (or “larval indices”) of the dengue vector Aedes aegypti reflect the absence or presence of the vector but do not provide accurate measures of adult mosquito density. In contrast, pupal indices as collected in pupal productivity surveys are a much better proxy indicator for adult vector abundance. However, it is unknown when it is most optimal to conduct pupal productivity surveys, in the wet or in the dry season or in both, to inform control services about the most productive water container types and if this pattern varies among different ecological settings.
A multi-country study in randomly selected twelve to twenty urban and peri-urban neighborhoods (“clusters”) of six Asian countries, in which all water holding containers were examined for larvae and pupae of Aedes aegypti during the dry season and the wet season and their productivity was characterized by water container types. In addition, meteorological data and information on reported dengue cases were collected.
The study reconfirmed the association between rainfall and dengue cases (“dengue season”) and underlined the importance of determining through pupal productivity surveys the “most productive containers types”, responsible for the majority (>70%) of adult dengue vectors. The variety of productive container types was greater during the wet than during the dry season, but included practically all container types productive in the dry season. Container types producing pupae were usually different from those infested by larvae indicating that containers with larval infestations do not necessarily foster pupal development and thus the production of adult Aedes mosquitoes.
Pupal productivity surveys conducted during the wet season will identify almost all of the most productive container types for both the dry and wet seasons and will therefore facilitate cost-effective targeted interventions.
dengue vectors; vector ecology; eco-health; vector breeding; weather dependence; targeted vector control; productive container types