Nossal Institute for Global Health - Research Publications

Permanent URI for this collection

Search Results

Now showing 1 - 9 of 9
  • Item
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    Public Health and International Partnerships in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea
    Grundy, J ; Biggs, B-A ; Hipgrave, DB (PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2015-12-01)
    David Hipgrave and colleagues argue that sustained collaboration is required to improve population health and health services in North Korea.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    Factors Influencing Receipt of Iron Supplementation by Young Children and their Mothers in Rural India: Local and National Cross-Sectional Studies
    Pasricha, S-R ; Biggs, B-A ; Prashanth, NS ; Sudarshan, H ; Moodie, R ; Black, J ; Shet, A (BMC, 2011-08-03)
    BACKGROUND: In India, 55% of women and 69.5% of preschool children are anaemic despite national policies recommending routine iron supplementation. Understanding factors associated with receipt of iron in the field could help optimise implementation of anaemia control policies. Thus, we undertook 1) a cross-sectional study to evaluate iron supplementation to children (and mothers) in rural Karnataka, India, and 2) an analysis of all-India rural data from the National Family Health Study 2005-6 (NFHS-3). METHODS: All children aged 12-23 months and their mothers served by 6 of 8 randomly selected sub-centres managed by 2 rural Primary Health Centres of rural Karnataka were eligible for the Karnataka Study, conducted between August and October 2008. Socioeconomic and demographic data, access to health services and iron receipt were recorded. Secondly, NFHS-3 rural data were analysed. For both studies, logistic regression was used to evaluate factors associated with receipt of iron. RESULTS: The Karnataka Study recruited 405 children and 377 of their mothers. 41.5% of children had received iron, and 11.5% received iron through the public system. By multiple logistic regression, factors associated with children's receipt of iron included: wealth (Odds Ratio (OR) 2.63 [95% CI 1.11, 6.24] for top vs bottom wealth quintile), male sex (OR 2.45 [1.47, 4.10]), mother receiving postnatal iron (OR 2.31 [1.25, 4.28]), mother having undergone antenatal blood test (OR 2.10 [1.09, 4.03]); Muslim religion (OR 0.02 [0.00, 0.27]), attendance at Anganwadi centre (OR 0.23 [0.11, 0.49]), fully vaccinated (OR 0.33 [0.15, 0.75]), or children of mothers with more antenatal health visits (8-9 visits OR 0.25 [0.11, 0.55]) were less likely to receive iron. Nationally, 3.7% of rural children were receiving iron; this was associated with wealth (OR 1.12 [1.02, 1.23] per quintile), maternal education (compared with no education: completed secondary education OR 2.15 [1.17, 3.97], maternal antenatal iron (2.24 [1.56, 3.22]), and child attending an Anganwadi (OR 1.47 [1.20, 1.80]). CONCLUSION: In rural India, public distribution of iron to children is inadequate and disparities exist. Measures to optimize receipt of government supplied iron to all children regardless of wealth and ethnic background could help alleviate anaemia in this population.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    Pathways to malaria persistence in remote central Vietnam: a mixed-method study of health care and the community
    Morrow, M ; Nguyen, QA ; Caruana, S ; Biggs, BA ; Doan, NH ; Nong, TT (BMC, 2009-03-23)
    BACKGROUND: There is increasing interest in underlying socio-cultural, economic, environmental and health-system influences on the persistence of malaria. Vietnam is a Mekong regional 'success story' after dramatic declines in malaria incidence following introduction of a national control program providing free bed-nets, diagnosis and treatment. Malaria has largely retreated to pockets near international borders in central Vietnam, where it remains a burden particularly among impoverished ethnic minorities. In these areas commune and village health workers are lynchpins of the program. This study in the central province of Quang Tri aimed to contribute to more effective malaria control in Vietnam by documenting the non-biological pathways to malaria persistence in two districts. METHODS: Multiple and mixed (qualitative and quantitative) methods were used. The formative stage comprised community meetings, observation of bed-net use, and focus group discussions and semi-structured interviews with health managers, providers and community. Formative results were used to guide development of tools for the assessment stage, which included a provider quiz, structured surveys with 160 community members and 16 village health workers, and quality check of microscopy facilities and health records at district and commune levels. Descriptive statistics and chi-square analysis were used for quantitative data. RESULTS: The study's key findings were the inadequacy of bed-nets (only 45% of households were fully covered) and sub-optimal diagnosis and treatment at local levels. Bed-net insufficiencies were exacerbated by customary sleeping patterns and population mobility. While care at district level seemed good, about a third of patients reportedly self-discharged early and many were lost to follow-up. Commune and village data suggested that approximately half of febrile patients were treated presumptively, and 10 village health workers did not carry artesunate to treat the potentially deadly and common P. falciparum malaria. Some staff lacked diagnostic skills, time for duties, and quality microscopy equipment. A few gaps were found in community knowledge and reported behaviours. CONCLUSION: Malaria control cannot be achieved through community education alone in this region. Whilst appropriate awareness-raising is needed, it is most urgent to address weaknesses at systems level, including bed-net distribution, health provider staffing and skills, as well as equipment and supplies.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    A community based field research project investigating anaemia amongst young children living in rural Karnataka, India: a cross sectional study
    Pasricha, S-R ; Vijaykumar, V ; Prashanth, NS ; Sudarshan, H ; Biggs, B-A ; Black, J ; Shet, A (BMC, 2009-02-17)
    BACKGROUND: Anaemia is an important problem amongst young children living in rural India. However, there has not previously been a detailed study of the biological aetiology of this anaemia, exploring the relative contributions of iron, vitamin B12, folate and Vitamin A deficiency, inflammation, genetic haemoglobinopathy, hookworm and malaria. Nor have studies related these aetiologic biological factors to household food security, standard of living and child feeding practices. Barriers to conducting such work have included perceived reluctance of village communities to permit their children to undergo venipuncture, and logistical issues. We have successfully completed a community based, cross sectional field study exploring in detail the causes of anaemia amongst young children in a rural setting. METHODS AND DESIGN: A cross sectional, community based study. We engaged in extensive community consultation and tailored our study design to the outcomes of these discussions. We utilised local women as field workers, harnessing the capacity of local health workers to assist with the study. We adopted a programmatic approach with a census rather than random sampling strategy in the village, incorporating appropriate case management for children identified to have anaemia. We developed a questionnaire based on existing standard measurement tools for standard of living, food security and nutrition. Specimen processing was conducted at the Primary Health Centre laboratory prior to transport to an urban research laboratory. DISCUSSION: Adopting this study design, we have recruited 415 of 470 potentially eligible children who were living in the selected villages. We achieved support from the community and cooperation of local health workers. Our results will improve the understanding into anaemia amongst young children in rural India. However, many further studies are required to understand the health problems of the population of rural India, and our study design and technique provide a useful demonstration of a successful strategy.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    Adapting to social and political transitions The influence of history on health policy formation in the Republic of the Union of Myanmar (Burma)
    Grundy, J ; Annear, P ; Ahmed, S ; Biggs, B-A (PERGAMON-ELSEVIER SCIENCE LTD, 2014-04-01)
    The Republic of the Union of Myanmar (Burma) has a long and complex history characterized by internal conflict and tense international relations. Post-independence, the health sector has gradually evolved, but with health service development and indicators lagging well behind regional expectations. In recent years, the country has initiated political reforms and a reorientation of development policy towards social sector investment. In this study, from a systems and historical perspective, we used publicly available data sources and grey literature to describe and analyze links between health policy and history from the post-independence period up until 2012. Three major periods are discernable in post war health system development and political history in Myanmar. The first post-independence period was associated with the development of the primary health care system extending up to the 1988 political events. The second period is from 1988 to 2005, when the country launched a free market economic model and was arguably experiencing its highest levels of international isolation as well as very low levels of national health investment. The third period (2005-2012) represents the first attempts at health reform and recovery, linked to emerging trends in national political reform and international politics. Based on the most recent period of macro-political reform, the central state is set to transition from a direct implementer of a command and control management system, towards stewardship of a significantly more complex and decentralized administrative order. Historical analysis demonstrates the extent to which these periodic shifts in the macro-political and economic order acts to reset the parameters for health policy making. This case demonstrates important lessons for other countries in transition by highlighting the extent to which analysis of political history can be instructive for determination of more feasible boundaries for future health policy action.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    Control of iron deficiency anemia in low- and middle-income countries
    Pasricha, S-R ; Drakesmith, H ; Black, J ; Hipgrave, D ; Biggs, B-A (AMER SOC HEMATOLOGY, 2013-04-04)
    Despite worldwide economic and scientific development, more than a quarter of the world's population remains anemic, and about half of this burden is a result of iron deficiency anemia (IDA). IDA is most prevalent among preschool children and women. Among women, iron supplementation improves physical and cognitive performance, work productivity, and well-being, and iron during pregnancy improves maternal, neonatal, infant, and even long-term child outcomes. Among children, iron may improve cognitive, psychomotor, and physical development, but the evidence for this is more limited. Strategies to control IDA include daily and intermittent iron supplementation, home fortification with micronutrient powders, fortification of staple foods and condiments, and activities to improve food security and dietary diversity. The safety of routine iron supplementation in settings where infectious diseases, particularly malaria, are endemic remains uncertain. The World Health Organization is revising global guidelines for controlling IDA. Implementation of anemia control programs in developing countries requires careful baseline epidemiologic evaluation, selection of appropriate interventions that suit the population, and ongoing monitoring to ensure safety and effectiveness. This review provides an overview and an approach for the implementation of public health interventions for controlling IDA in low- and middle-income countries, with an emphasis on current evidence-based recommendations.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    Incidence and risk factors for acute respiratory illnesses and influenza virus infections in Australian travellers to Asia
    Ratnam, I ; Black, J ; Leder, K ; Biggs, B-A ; Gordon, I ; Matchett, E ; Padiglione, A ; Woolley, I ; Karapanagiotidis, T ; Gherardin, T ; Demont, C ; Luxemburger, C ; Torresi, J (ELSEVIER SCIENCE BV, 2013-05-01)
    BACKGROUND: Respiratory infections including influenza are a common cause of acute short-term morbidity in travellers and yet the risk of these infections is poorly defined. OBJECTIVES: To estimate the incidence density of and risk factors for acute respiratory infections (ARIs) and influenza in Australian travellers to Asia. STUDY DESIGN: Travel-clinic attendees were prospectively identified and completed questionnaires (demographic data, travel itinerary, health and vaccination history) and also provided pre and post-travel serological samples for Influenza A and B (complement fixation test). Returned travellers with an ARI provided nasopharyngeal specimens for RT-PCR identification of respiratory viruses. RESULTS: In this cohort (n = 387) of predominantly (72%) short-term travellers, 58% were female, the median age was 37 years and 69% were tourists. ARIs occurred in 109 travellers (28%) translating to an incidence of 106.4 ARIs per 10,000 traveller days (95% confidence interval CI 88.6-126.7). The traveller type of missionary or aid worker was a risk factor for acquiring an ARI (p = 0.03) and ARIs occurred early (< 30 days) in the travel period (p = 0.001). Four travellers (1%) acquired influenza A during travel translating to an incidence density of 3.4 infections per 10,000 days of travel (95% CI 1.4-8.6). Influenza vaccination was reported in 49% of travellers with a 3.5-fold higher incidence of influenza in unvaccinated travellers compared to vaccinated travellers (p = 0.883). CONCLUSIONS: This is one of the largest prospective studies estimating the incidence of respiratory infections in travellers. These findings have important implications for practitioners advising prospective travellers and for public health authorities.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    Improving birth dose coverage of hepatitis B vaccine
    Hipgrave, DB ; Maynard, JE ; Biggs, BA (WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION, 2006-01-01)
    Administration of a birth dose of hepatitis B vaccine (HepB vaccine) to neonates is recommended to prevent mother-to-infant transmission and chronic infection with the hepatitis B virus (HBV). Although manufacturers recommend HepB vaccine distribution and storage at 2-8 degrees C, recognition of the heat stability of hepatitis B surface antigen stimulated research into its use after storage at, or exposure to, ambient or high temperatures. Storage of HepB vaccine at ambient temperatures would enable birth dosing for neonates delivered at home in remote areas or at health posts lacking refrigeration. This article reviews the current evidence on the thermostability of HepB vaccine when stored outside the cold chain (OCC). The reports reviewed show that the vaccines studied were safe and effective whether stored cold or OCC. Field and laboratory data also verifies the retained potency of the vaccine after exposure to heat. The attachment of a highly stable variety of a vaccine vial monitor (measuring cumulative exposure to heat) on many HepB vaccines strongly supports policies allowing their storage OCC, when this will benefit birth dose coverage. We recommend that this strategy be introduced to improve birth dose coverage, especially in rural and remote areas. Concurrent monitoring and evaluation should be undertaken to affirm the safe implementation of this strategy, and assess its cost, feasibility and effect on reducing HBV infection rates. Meanwhile, release of manufacturer data verifying the potency of currently available HepB vaccines after exposure to heat will increase confidence in the use of vaccine vial monitors as a managerial tool during storage of HepB vaccine OCC.