Nossal Institute for Global Health - Research Publications

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    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.
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    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.
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    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.
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    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.