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1.  HIV, Hepatitis B and C among people who inject drugs: high prevalence of HIV and Hepatitis C RNA positive infections observed in Delhi, India 
BMC Public Health  2015;15:726.
India has large PWID (persons who inject drugs) population estimated at 177,000. PWIDs are at high risk for HIV, Hepatitis B (HBV) and Hepatitis C (HCV) infections. We report the prevalence of HIV, HBV and HCV infections and correlates of HIV-HCV co-infection among male PWIDs in Delhi.
3748 male PWIDs were recruited for a longitudinal HIV incidence study. Participants were tested for HBV and HCV infections at their first follow-up visit (FV1) using serum HBV-surface antigen, and HCV-antibody tests followed by HCV RNA PCR, respectively. All PWIDs who were HIV-negative at enrollment, were re-tested for HIV at FV1. Multinomial logistic regression was employed to identify predictors of HIV, HCV and HIV-HCV co-infection.
Overall prevalence of HIV, HBV and HCV among 2,292 participants tested at FV1 was 25.9 %, 9.7 % and 53.7 %, respectively. 6.4 % of the participants had HIV mono-infection, 34.1 % had HCV mono-infection, and 19.6 % had HIV-HCV co-infection. 26 % of HIV-positive participants without HCV were HBsAg positive.
In the regression model, having practiced at least one risky injection in the past month (relative risk ratio (RRR): 1.38; 95 % CI: 1.01-1.89) and not knowing his own HIV status (RRR: 1.65, 95 % CI: 1.25-2.17) were independent predictors for HIV-HCV co-infection. Longer duration of drug injections was associated with a higher likelihood of HCV mono-infection (2–5 years RRR: 2.13; 6–10 years RRR: 2.74; ≥11 years RRR: 3.14) and HIV-HCV co-infection (2–5 years RRR: 5.14; 6–10 years RRR: 8.53; >11 years RRR: 8.03). Higher frequency of injection days/month was associated with a higher likelihood of HCV mono-infection (≤10 days/month RRR: 1.61; 11–20 days/month RRR: 3.15; 21–30 days/month RRR: 3.47) and HIV-HCV co-infections (≤10 days/month RRR: 2.26; 11–20 days/month RRR: 3.46; 21–30 days/month RRR: 4.83).
We report a high prevalence of HIV, HCV and HIV-HCV co-infection among male PWIDs in Delhi. A tenth of the participants were HBsAg positive. Targeted Intervention programs should make HBV/HCV testing, prevention and care more accessible for PWIDs.
PMCID: PMC4520270
HIV; Hepatitis B; Hepatitis C; HIV-HCV co-infection; People Who Inject Drugs (PWID); India
2.  Three-Year Change in the Wellbeing of Orphaned and Separated Children in Institutional and Family-Based Care Settings in Five Low- and Middle-Income Countries 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(8):e104872.
With more than 2 million children living in group homes, or “institutions”, worldwide, the extent to which institution-based caregiving negatively affects development and wellbeing is a central question for international policymakers.
A two-stage random sampling methodology identified community representative samples of 1,357 institution-dwelling orphaned and separated children (OSC) and 1,480 family-dwelling OSC aged 6–12 from 5 low and middle income countries. Data were collected from children and their primary caregivers. Survey-analytic techniques and linear mixed effects models describe child wellbeing collected at baseline and at 36 months, including physical and emotional health, growth, cognitive development and memory, and the variation in outcomes between children, care settings, and study sites.
At 36-month follow-up, institution-dwelling OSC had statistically significantly higher height-for-age Z-scores and better caregiver-reported physical health; family-dwelling OSC had fewer caregiver-reported emotional difficulties. There were no statistically significant differences between the two groups on other measures. At both baseline and follow-up, the magnitude of the differences between the institution- and family-dwelling groups was small. Relatively little variation in outcomes was attributable to differences between sites (11–27% of total variation) or care settings within sites (8–14%), with most variation attributable to differences between children within settings (60–75%). The percent of variation in outcomes attributable to the care setting type, institution- versus family-based care, ranged from 0–4% at baseline, 0–3% at 36-month follow-up, and 0–4% for changes between baseline and 36 months.
These findings contradict the hypothesis that group home placement universally adversely affects child wellbeing. Without substantial improvements in and support for family settings, the removal of institutions, broadly defined, would not significantly improve child wellbeing and could worsen outcomes of children who are moved from a setting where they are doing relatively well to a more deprived setting.
PMCID: PMC4146542  PMID: 25162410
3.  Evaluating Interactive Fatigue Management Workshops for Occupational Health Professionals in the United Kingdom 
Safety and Health at Work  2014;5(4):191-197.
Disabling fatigue is common in the working age population. It is essential that occupational health (OH) professionals are up-to-date with the management of fatigue in order to reduce the impact of fatigue on workplace productivity. Our aim was to evaluate the impact of one-day workshops on OH professionals' knowledge of fatigue and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), and their confidence in diagnosing and managing these in a working population.
Five interactive problem-based workshops were held in the United Kingdom. These workshops were developed and delivered by experts in the field. Questionnaires were self-administered immediately prior to, immediately after, and 4 months following each workshop. Questionnaires included measures of satisfaction, knowledge of fatigue and CFS, and confidence in diagnosing and managing fatigue. Open-ended questions were used to elicit feedback about the workshops.
General knowledge of fatigue increased significantly after training (with a 25% increase in the median score). Participants showed significantly higher levels of confidence in diagnosing and managing CFS (with a 62.5% increase in the median score), and high scores were maintained 4 months after the workshops. OH physicians scored higher on knowledge and confidence than nurses. Similarly, thematic analysis revealed that participants had increased knowledge and confidence after attending the workshops.
Fatigue can lead to severe functional impairment with adverse workplace outcomes. One-day workshops can be effective in training OH professionals in how to diagnose and manage fatigue and CFS. Training may increase general knowledge of fatigue and confidence in fatigue management in an OH setting.
PMCID: PMC4266798  PMID: 25516811
chronic fatigue syndrome; diagnosis; education; fatigue; occupational health
4.  ‘You feel you've been bad, not ill’: Sick doctors’ experiences of interactions with the General Medical Council 
BMJ Open  2014;4(7):e005537.
To explore the views of sick doctors on their experiences with the General Medical Council (GMC) and their perception of the impact of GMC involvement on return to work.
Qualitative study.
Doctors who had been away from work for at least 6 months with physical or mental health problems, drug or alcohol problems, GMC involvement or any combination of these, were eligible for inclusion into the study. Eligible doctors were recruited in conjunction with the Royal Medical Benevolent Fund, the GMC and the Practitioner Health Programme. These organisations approached 77 doctors; 19 participated. Each doctor completed an in-depth semistructured interview. We used a constant comparison method to identify and agree on the coding of data and the identification of central themes.
18 of the 19 participants had a mental health, addiction or substance misuse problem. 14 of the 19 had interacted with the GMC. 4 main themes were identified: perceptions of the GMC as a whole; perceptions of GMC processes; perceived health impacts and suggested improvements. Participants described the GMC processes they experienced as necessary, and some elements as supportive. However, many described contact with the GMC as daunting, confusing and anxiety provoking. Some were unclear about the role of the GMC and felt that GMC communication was unhelpful, particularly the language used in correspondence. Improvements suggested by participants included having separate pathways for doctors with purely health issues, less use of legalistic language, and a more personal approach with for example individualised undertakings or conditions.
While participants recognised the need for a regulator, the processes employed by the GMC and the communication style used were often distressing, confusing and perceived to have impacted negatively on their mental health and ability to return to work.
PMCID: PMC4120406  PMID: 25034631
5.  Optimal communication from occupational physicians to GPs: a cross-sectional survey 
The British Journal of General Practice  2012;62(605):e833-e839.
Correspondence from occupational physicians to GPs is infrequent, despite evidence that good communication leads to earlier return to work of sick-listed patients and is cost effective.
To explore the circumstances, content, and preferred method of communication GPs would value from an occupational physician, following an occupational health consultation with one of their patients.
Design and setting
A cross-sectional survey in the UK.
A questionnaire was developed de novo, piloted, and sent to 600 GPs of consecutive employees undergoing occupational physician assessments. Descriptive data were generated using Excel®.
The response rate was 374/600 (62%). Demographic features of GP responders reflected national figures. A total of 372 (99.5%) GPs wanted information from occupational physicians. Most wanted information on diagnosis (303, 81%), clinical assessment (275, 74%), functional assessment (295, 79%), or advice on the timing (308, 82%) and adjustments 290 (78%) of any return-to-work plan. Over 80% wanted information following every occupational physician consultation, and over 90% wanted information on the timing of a return to work, adjustments suggested, or if different medical diagnosis or management was suggested. The preferred method of communication was letter by post 341/374 (92%). Brief, relevant information was valued and considered useful for completing ‘fit notes’.
Occupational physicians should send formal letters, by post, to the patient’s GP following occupational health assessments. This would assist the GP in completing the patient’s ‘fit note’ and ultimately increase the chances of their patient being rehabilitated back to work.
PMCID: PMC3505417  PMID: 23211264
communication; cross-sectional survey; general practitioners; occupational health physicians
6.  Strategies for recruiting injection drug users for HIV prevention services in Delhi, India 
We utilized multiple recruitment approaches to recruit IDUs in a longitudinal cohort study to examine HIV incidence and behavior change pre- and post-introduction of comprehensive HIV prevention services.
IDUs were recruited through peer referral, targeted outreach by outreach workers (ORWs) and as walk-in clients at drop-in centers. Participants received monetary compensation for participation (USD 0.80). Participants were given recruitment coupons to recruit peers (regardless of recruitment method). For peer referral, participants received a food coupon, as secondary compensation, for each peer he/she successfully recruited. We report the profile of IDUs by recruitment method, based on the baseline behavioral survey and HIV test results. Cost per IDU recruited by recruitment method was also calculated.
A total of 3,818 IDUs were recruited between May 2011 and October 2011. More than half of the study participants were recruited through targeted outreach (ORW: 53.6%; peer-referral: 26.3%; walk-ins: 20.1%). Of the participants who were given recruitment coupons, 92.7% recruited no peers. Those who successfully recruited at least one peer were significantly more likely to be in a stable living accommodation compared to those who did not recruit any peers (51.1% versus 42.7%; p < 0.05). Only 45.9% of the food coupons were claimed for successful recruitment of peers. Peer-referred IDUs were more likely to be living with family or relatives (50.7% versus ORW: 40.1% and walk-in: 39.8%; p < 0.001) rather than on the street or shared housings compared to the other two recruitment modes. Walk-ins were more likely than peer-referred and ORW-referred IDUs to be HIV-positive (walk-ins: 26.1%; peer-referred: 19.1%; ORW: 19.9%; p < 0.01) and have risky injection practices (walk-ins: 62.2%; ORW: 57.0%; peer-referred: 58.6%; p < 0.05). The cost per IDU recruited through ORW referral method was the most costly at USD 16.30, followed by peer-referral at USD 8.40 and walk-in at USD 7.50.
When recruiting a large number of IDUs, using multiple recruitment modes is ideal with regard to diversification of IDU characteristics and risk profile. Although it was the most costly, ORW recruitment was more effective than the other two methods. Lack of monetary compensation for successful recruitment of peers may have hampered peer-referral.
PMCID: PMC3849590  PMID: 24063610
Injection drug user; HIV prevention; Out-reach worker; Peer-referral; Harm-reduction
7.  Shame! Self-stigmatisation as an obstacle to sick doctors returning to work: a qualitative study 
BMJ Open  2012;2(5):e001776.
To explore the views of sick doctors on the obstacles preventing them returning to work.
Qualitative study.
Single participating centre recruiting doctors from all over the UK.
Doctors who had been away from work for at least 6 months with physical or mental health problems, drug or alcohol problems, General Medical Council involvement or any combination of these, were eligible. Eligible doctors were recruited in conjunction with the Royal Medical Benevolent Fund, the General Medical Council and the Practitioner Health Programme. These organisations approached 77 doctors; 19 participated. Each doctor completed an in-depth semistructured interview. We used a constant comparison method to identify and agree on the coding of the data and the identification of a number of central themes.
The doctors described that being away from work left them isolated and sad. Many experienced negative reactions from their family and some deliberately concealed their problems. Doctors described a lack of support from colleagues and feared a negative response when returning to work. Self-stigmatisation was central to the participants’ accounts; several described themselves as failures and appeared to have internalised the negative views of others.
Self-stigmatising views, which possibly emerge from the belief that ‘doctors are invincible’, represent a major obstacle to doctors returning to work. From medical school onwards cultural change is necessary to allow doctors to recognise their vulnerabilities so they can more easily generate strategies to manage if they become unwell.
PMCID: PMC3488732  PMID: 23069770
Mental Health; Occupational & Industrial Medicine; Qualitative Research
To compare the prevalence of common musculoskeletal symptoms and associated disability in groups of workers carrying out similar physical activities in different cultural settings.
We conducted a cross-sectional survey at factories and offices in Mumbai, India, and in the UK. A questionnaire about symptoms, disability and risk factors was administered at interview to three groups of office workers who regularly used computer keyboards (165 Indian, 67 UK of Indian sub-continental origin and 172 UK white), and three groups of workers carrying out repetitive manual tasks with the hands or arms (178 Indian, 73 UK of Indian sub-continental origin and 159 UK white). Modified Cox regression was used to calculate hazard ratios (HRs) for the prevalence of symptoms and disability by occupational group, adjusted for differences in sex, age, mental health and job satisfaction.
Reported occupational activities were similar in the three groups of office workers (frequent use of keyboards) and in the three groups of manual workers (frequent movements of the wrist or fingers, bending of the elbow, work with the hands above shoulder height, and work with the neck twisted). In comparison with the Indian manual workers, the prevalence of back, neck and arm pain was substantially higher in all of the other five occupational groups. The difference was greatest for arm pain lasting >30 days in the past year in UK white manual workers (HR 17.8, 95%CI 5.4-59.1) and UK manual workers of Indian sub-continental origin (HR 20.5, 95%CI 5.7-73.1). Office workers in India had lower rates of pain in the wrist and hand than office workers in the UK. Only 1% the Indian manual workers and 16% of the Indian office workers had ever heard of “RSI” or similar terms, as compared with 80% of the UK workers.
Our findings support the hypothesis that cultural factors such as health beliefs and expectations may have an important influence on musculoskeletal symptoms and disability. If this is correct, current controls on hazardous physical activities in the workplace may not have the benefits that would be predicted from observational epidemiology.
PMCID: PMC2740956  PMID: 18511493
Back pain; neck pain; arm pain; RSI; WRULD; beliefs; expectations

Results 1-8 (8)