Nossal Institute for Global Health - Research Publications

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    Probable psittacosis outbreak linked to wild birds
    Telfer, BL ; Moberley, SA ; Hort, KP ; Branley, JM ; Dwyer, DE ; Muscatello, DJ ; Correll, PK ; England, J ; McAnulty, JM (CENTERS DISEASE CONTROL, 2005-03-01)
    In autumn 2002, an outbreak of probable psittacosis occurred among residents of the Blue Mountains district, Australia. We conducted a case-control study to determine independent risk factors for psittacosis by comparing exposures between hospitalized patients and other residents selected randomly from the telephone directory. Of the 59 case-patients with laboratory results supportive of psittacosis, 48 participated in a case-control study with 310 controls. Independent risk factors were residence in the upper Blue Mountains (odds ratio [OR] 15.2, 95% confidence interval [CI] 5.6-41.7), age of 50-64 years (OR 3.9, 95% CI 1.5-10.5), direct contact with wild birds (OR 7.4, 95% CI 2.5-22), and mowing lawns without a grass catcher (OR 3.2, 95% CI 1.3-8.0). Protective equipment is recommended for residents in areas frequented by free-ranging birds if contact with birds and their droppings is likely when performing outdoor activities such as lawn mowing.
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    'More health for the money': an analytical framework for access to health care through microfinance and savings groups
    Saha, S (OXFORD UNIV PRESS, 2014-10-01)
    The main contributors to inequities in health relates to widespread poverty. Health cannot be achieved without addressing the social determinants of health, and the answer does not lie in the health sector alone. One of the potential pathways to address vulnerabilities linked to poverty, social exclusion, and empowerment of women is aligning health programmes with empowerment interventions linked to access to capital through microfinance and self-help groups. This paper presents a framework to analyse combined health and financial interventions through microfinance programmes in reducing barriers to access health care. If properly designed and ethically managed such integrated programmes can provide more health for the money spent on health care.
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    Disparities in child mortality trends: what is the evidence from disadvantaged states in India? the case of Orissa and Madhya Pradesh
    Nguyen, K-H ; Jimenez-Soto, E ; Dayal, P ; Hodge, A (BMC, 2013-06-27)
    INTRODUCTION: The Millennium Development Goals prompted renewed international efforts to reduce under-five mortality and measure national progress. However, scant evidence exists about the distribution of child mortality at low sub-national levels, which in diverse and decentralized countries like India are required to inform policy-making. This study estimates changes in child mortality across a range of markers of inequalities in Orissa and Madhya Pradesh, two of India's largest, poorest, and most disadvantaged states. METHODS: Estimates of under-five and neonatal mortality rates were computed using seven datasets from three available sources--sample registration system, summary birth histories in surveys, and complete birth histories. Inequalities were gauged by comparison of mortality rates within four sub-state populations defined by the following characteristics: rural-urban location, ethnicity, wealth, and district. RESULTS: Trend estimates suggest that progress has been made in mortality rates at the state levels. However, reduction rates have been modest, particularly for neonatal mortality. Different mortality rates are observed across all the equity markers, although there is a pattern of convergence between rural and urban areas, largely due to inadequate progress in urban settings. Inter-district disparities and differences between socioeconomic groups are also evident. CONCLUSIONS: Although child mortality rates continue to decline at the national level, our evidence shows that considerable disparities persist. While progress in reducing under-five and neonatal mortality rates in urban areas appears to be levelling off, policies targeting rural populations and scheduled caste and tribe groups appear to have achieved some success in reducing mortality differentials. The results of this study thus add weight to recent government initiatives targeting these groups. Equitable progress, particularly for neonatal mortality, requires continuing efforts to strengthen health systems and overcome barriers to identify and reach vulnerable groups.
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    Harm reduction and "Clean" community: can Viet Nam have both?
    Thu, HK ; Van, ATN ; Jardine, M ; Moore, T ; Thu, HB ; Crofts, N (BMC, 2012-07-09)
    The findings of our research show that while police play multiple roles in the fight against drug-related crime, they often perceived their tasks - especially preventing and controlling drug use on the one hand, and supporting harm reduction on the other - as contradictory, and this creates tensions in their work and relations with their communities. Although they are leaders and implementers of harm reduction, not all police know about it, and some remain skeptical or perceive it as contradictory to their main task of fighting drugs. Methadone treatment is seen by some as in competition with their main task of coordinating conventional drug treatment in the rehabilitation center.The history of drug use and the evolution of discourses on drug use in Viet Nam have created these conflicting pressures on police, and thus created contradictory expectations and led to different views and attitudes of police regarding various harm reduction measures. This might aid understanding why, despite the comprehensive and progressive policies on HIV/AIDS and harm reduction in Viet Nam, it is not easy for police to actively and effectively support and be involved in harm reduction at the ground level.To promote the wider acceptance of harm reduction the concept of community safety must be expanded to include community health; harm reduction must be integrated into the "new society" movement; and laws and policies need further revision to reduce contradiction between current drug laws and HIV laws.Harm reduction guidelines for police and other actors need to be disseminated and supported, embodying better ways of working between sectors, and all sectors in the partnership require support for building capacity to contribute to the overall goal.
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    Laos case study
    Tenni, B ; Sychareun, V (BIOMED CENTRAL LTD, 2012-07-09)
    Peuan Mit is a Lao organization working to address the needs of children and youth living and working on the streets. This case study outlines how a trusted and strong relationship with local police provides mutual benefit.
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    Falling through the cracks: a qualitative study of HIV risks among women who use drugs and alcohol in Northeast India
    Kermode, M ; Sono, CZ ; Songput, CH ; Devine, A (BMC, 2013-01-29)
    UNLABELLED: BACKGROUND: HIV risks for women who inject drugs and those who engage in sex work are well documented. Women who are dependent on non-injecting drugs and alcohol are also likely to have increased vulnerability to HIV infection, but until they actually inject drugs or engage in sex work, are unlikely to come to the attention of HIV prevention programs. METHODS: We undertook a qualitative study involving nine focus group discussions (FGDs) and 27 key informant interviews to investigate the context of female drug and alcohol use in two high HIV prevalence states of India (Manipur and Nagaland) and to describe their HIV risks. The FGD and interview transcripts were thematically analyzed RESULTS: The women were relatively young (mean age 31 years in Manipur and 28 years in Nagaland), but 64% in Manipur and 35% in Nagaland were widowed or divorced. Both heroin and alcohol were commonly used by the women from Manipur, while alcohol was primarily used by the women from Nagaland, especially in the context of 'booze joints' (illicit bars). Reasons for drug and alcohol use included: to avoid symptoms of withdrawal, to suppress emotional pain, to overcome the shame of sex work, pleasure, and widowhood. HIV vulnerability was clearly described, not only in relation to injecting drug use and sex work, but also alcohol consumption. CONCLUSIONS: The contribution of alcohol use to the HIV vulnerability of women is not currently considered when HIV prevention programs are being designed and implemented leaving a group of high-risk women uncovered by much needed services such as treatment for a range of health problems including alcohol dependence.
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    Strategies for capacity building for health research in Bangladesh: Role of core funding and a common monitoring and evaluation framework
    Mahmood, S ; Hort, K ; Ahmed, S ; Salam, M ; Cravioto, A (BMC, 2011-07-28)
    BACKGROUND: There is increasing interest in building the capacity of researchers in low and middle income countries (LMIC) to address their national priority health and health policy problems. However, the number and variety of partnerships and funding arrangements can create management problems for LMIC research institutes. This paper aims to identify problems faced by a health research institute in Bangladesh, describe two strategies developed to address these problems, and identify the results after three years of implementation. METHODS: This paper uses a mixture of quantitative and qualitative data collected during independent annual reviews of the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (ICDDR,B) between 2006 and 2010. Quantitative data includes the number of research activities according to strategic priority areas, revenues collected and expenditure. Qualitative data includes interviews of researchers and management of ICDDR,B, and of research users and key donors. Data in a Monitoring and Evaluation Framework (MEF) were assessed against agreed indicators. RESULTS: The key problems faced by ICDDR,B in 2006 were insufficient core funds to build research capacity and supporting infrastructure, and an inability to direct research funds towards the identified research priorities in its strategic plan. Two strategies were developed to address these problems: a group of donors agreed to provide unearmarked pooled core funding, and accept a single common report based on an agreed MEF. On review after three years, there had been significant increases in total revenue, and the ability to allocate greater amounts of money on capacity building and infrastructure. The MEF demonstrated progress against strategic objectives, and better alignment of research against strategic priorities. There had also been changes in the sense of ownership and collaboration between ICDDR,B's management and its core donors. CONCLUSIONS: The changes made to funding relationships supported and monitored by an effective MEF enabled the organisation to better align funding with research priorities and to invest in capacity building. This paper identified key issues for capacity building for health research in low and middle income countries. The findings have relevance to other research institutes in similar contexts to advocate and support research capacity strengthening efforts.
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    Developing and Costing Local Strategies to Improve Maternal and Child Health: The Investment Case Framework
    Soto, EJ ; La Vincente, S ; Clark, A ; Firth, S ; Morgan, A ; Dettrick, Z ; Dayal, P ; Aldaba, BM ; Varghese, B ; Trisnantoro, L ; Prasai, Y (PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2012-08-01)
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    Harm reduction in Cambodia: a disconnect between policy and practice
    Chheng, K ; Leang, S ; Thomson, N ; Moore, T ; Crofts, N (BMC, 2012-07-09)
    In 2003 the Government of Cambodia officially began to recognise that harm reduction was an essential approach to preventing HIV among people who use drugs and their sexual partners. Several programs aiming to control and prevent HIV among drug users have been implemented in Cambodia, mostly in the capital, Phnom Penh. However, there have been ongoing tensions between law enforcement and harm reduction actors, despite several advocacy efforts targeting law enforcement. This study attempts to better understand the implementation of harm reduction in Cambodia and how the policy environment and harm reduction program implementation has intersected with the role of law enforcement officials in Cambodia.
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    Taking action on the social determinants of health: improving health access for the urban poor in Mongolia
    Lhamsuren, K ; Choijiljav, T ; Budbazar, E ; Vanchinkhuu, S ; Blanc, DC ; Grundy, J (BMC, 2012-03-20)
    INTRODUCTION: In recent years, the country of Mongolia (population 2.8 million) has experienced rapid social changes associated with economic growth, persisting socio-economic inequities and internal migration. In order to improve health access for the urban poor, the Ministry of Health developed a "Reaching Every District" strategy (RED strategy) to deliver an integrated package of key health and social services. The aim of this article is to present findings of an assessment of the implementation of the RED strategy, and, on the basis of this assessment, articulate lessons learned for equitable urban health planning. METHODS: Principal methods for data collection and analysis included literature review, barrier analysis of health access and in-depth interviews and group discussions with health managers and providers. FINDINGS: The main barriers to health access for the urban poor relate to interacting effects of poverty, unhealthy daily living environments, social vulnerability and isolation. Implementation of the RED strategy has resulted in increased health access for the urban poor, as demonstrated by health staff having reached new clients with immunization, family planning and ante-natal care services, and increased civil registrations which enable social service provision. Organizational effects have included improved partnerships for health and increased motivation of the health workforce. Important lessons learned from the early implementation of the RED strategy include the need to form strong partnerships among stakeholders at each level of the health system and in the community, as well as the need to develop a specific financing strategy to address the needs of the very poor. The diverse social context for health in an urban poor setting calls for a decentralized planning and partnership strategy, but with central level commitment towards policy guidance and financing of pro-poor urban health strategies. CONCLUSIONS: Lessons from Mongolia mirror other international studies which point to the need to measure and take action on the social determinants of health at the local area level in order to adequately reduce persistent inequities in health care access for the urban poor.