List of GH 2015

List of RH 2015

Involvement of low- and middle-income countries in randomized controlled trial publications in oncology

Background:
We describe trends in participation by investigators from low- and middle-income countries (LMCs) in publications describing oncology randomized control trials (RCTs) over a decade.
Methods:
We used Medline to identify RCTs published in English from 1998 to 2008 evaluating treatment in lung, breast, colorectal, stomach and liver cancers. Data on author affiliations, authorship roles, trial characteristics, funding and interventions were extracted from each article. Countries were stratified as low-, middle- or high-income using World Bank data. Interventions were categorized as requiring basic, limited, enhanced or maximal resources as per the Breast Health Global Initiative classification. Logistic regression was used to identify factors associated with authorship by investigators from LMCs.
Results:
454 publications were identified. Proportion of articles with at least one LMC author increased over time from 20% in 1998 to 29% in 2008 (p?=?0.01), but almost all LMC authors were from middle-income countries. Proportion of articles with at least one LMC author was higher among articles that explicitly reported recruitment in at least one LMC vs those that did not (76% vs 13%). Among 87 articles (19%) that involved authors from LMCs, 17% had LMC authors as first or corresponding authors, and 67% evaluated interventions requiring enhanced or maximal resources. Factors associated with LMC authorship included industry funding (OR?=?3.54, p?=?0.0001), placebo comparator arm (OR?=?2.57, p?=?0.02) and palliative intent treatment (OR?=?4.00, p?=?0.0003).
Conclusion:
An increasing number of publications describing oncology RCTs involve authors from LMC countries but primarily in non-leadership roles in industry-funded trials.

Non¿Communicable Diseases (NCDs) in developing countries: a symposium report

In recent years, non-communicable diseases (NCDs) have globally shown increasing impact on health status in populations with disproportionately higher rates in developing countries. NCDs are the leading cause of mortality worldwide with and a serious public health threat to developing countries. Recognizing the importance and urgency of the issue, a one-day symposium was organized on NCDs in Developing Countries by the CIHLMU Center for International Health, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universit?t, Munich on 22nd March 2014. The objective of the symposium was to understand the current situation of different NCD public health programs and the current trends in NCD research and policy, promote exchange of ideas, encourage scientific debate and foster networking, partnerships and opportunities among experts from different clinical, research, and policy fields. The symposium was attended by more than seventy participants representing scientists, physicians, academics and students from several institutes in Germany and abroad. Seven key note presentations were made at the symposium by experts from Germany, UK, France, Bangladesh and Vietnam. This paper highlights the presentations and discussions during the symposium on different aspects of NCDs in developing countries. The symposium elucidated the dynamics of NCDs in developing countries and invited the participants to learn about evidence-based practices and policies for prevention and management of major NCDs and to debate the way forward.

Integration of community home based care programmes within national primary health care revitalisation strategies in Ethiopia, Malawi, South-Africa and Zambia: a comparative assessment

Background:
In 2008, the WHO facilitated the primary health care (PHC) revitalisation agenda. The purpose was to strengthen African health systems in order to address communicable and non-communicable diseases. Our aim was to assess the position of civil society-led community home based care programmes (CHBC), which serve the needs of patients with HIV, within this agenda. We examined how their roles and place in health systems evolved, and the prospects for these programmes in national policies and strategies to revitalise PHC, as new health care demands arise.
Methods:
The study was conducted in Ethiopia, Malawi, South Africa and Zambia and used an historical, comparative research design. We used purposive sampling in the selection of countries and case studies of CHBC programmes. Qualitative methods included semi-structured interviews, focus group discussions, service observation and community mapping exercises. Quantitative methods included questionnaire surveys.
Results:
The capacity of PHC services increased rapidly in the mid-to-late 2000s via CHBC programme facilitation of community mobilisation and participation in primary care services and the exceptional investments for HIV/AIDS. CHBC programmes diversified their services in response to the changing health and social care needs of patients on lifelong anti-retroviral therapy and there is a general trend to extend service delivery beyond HIV-infected patients. We observed similarities in the way the governments of South Africa, Malawi and Zambia are integrating CHBC programmes into PHC by making PHC facilities the focal point for management and state-paid community health workers responsible for the supervision of community-based activities. Contextual differences were found between Ethiopia, South Africa, Malawi and Zambia, whereby the policy direction of the latter two countries is to have in place structures and mechanisms that actively connect health and social welfare interventions from governmental and non-governmental actors.
Conclusions:
Countries may differ in the means to integrate and co-ordinate government and civil society agencies but the net result is expanded PHC capacity. In a context of changing health care demands, CHBC programmes are a vital mechanism for the delivery of primary health and social welfare services.

Adapting to the health impacts of climate change in a sustainable manner

The climate is changing and this poses significant threats to human health. Climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing Pacific Island countries and territories due to their unique geophysical features, and their social, economic and cultural characteristics. The Pacific region also faces challenges with widely dispersed populations, limited resources and fragmented health systems. Over the past few years, there has been a substantial increase in international aid for health activities aimed at adapting to the threats of climate change. This funding needs to be used strategically to ensure an effective approach to reducing the health risk from climate change. Respecting the principles of development effectiveness will result in more effective and sustainable adaptation, in particular, 1) processes should be owned and driven by local communities, 2) investments should be aligned with existing national priorities and policies, and 3) existing systems must not be ignored, but rather expanded upon and reinforced.

A concept in flux: questioning accountability in the context of global health cooperation

Background:
Accountability in global health is a commonly invoked though less commonly questioned concept. Critically reflecting on the concept and how it is put into practice, this paper focuses on the who, what, how, and where of accountability, mapping its defining features and considering them with respect to real-world circumstances. Changing dynamics in global health cooperation – such as the emergence of new health public-private partnerships and the formal inclusion of non-state actors in policy making processes – provides the backdrop to this discussion.DiscussionAccountability is frequently reduced to one set of actors holding another to account. Changes in the global health landscape and in relations between actors have however made the practice of accountability more complex and contested. Currently undergoing a reframing process, participation and transparency have become core elements of a new accountability agenda alongside evaluation and redress or enforcement mechanisms. However, while accountability is about holding actors responsible for their actions, the mechanisms through which this might be done vary substantially and are far from politically neutral.Accountability in global health cooperation involves multipolar relationships between a large number of stakeholders with varying degrees of power and influence, where not all interests are realised in that relationship. Moreover, accountability differs across finance, programme and governance subfields, where each has its own set of policy processes, institutional structures, accountability relations and power asymmetries to contend with. With reference to the Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, this paper contributes to discussions on accountability by mapping out key elements of the concept and how it is put into practice, where different types of accountability battle for recognition and legitimacy.SummaryIn mapping some defining features, accountability in global health cooperation is shown to be a complex problem not necessarily reducible to one set of actors holding another to account. Clear tensions are observed between multi-stakeholder participatory models and more traditional vertical models that prioritise accountability upwards to donors, both of which are embodied in initiatives like the Global Fund. For multi-constituency organisations, this poses challenges not only for future financing but also for future legitimacy.

The economic burden of diabetes in India: a review of the literature

Background:
Diabetes and its complications are a major cause of morbidity and mortality in India, and the prevalence of type 2 diabetes is on the rise. This calls for an assessment of the economic burden of the disease.ObjectiveTo conduct a critical review of the literature on cost of illness studies of diabetes and its complications in India.
Methods:
A comprehensive literature review addressing the study objective was conducted. An extraction table and a scoring system to assess the quality of the studies reviewed were developed.
Results:
A total of nineteen articles from different regions of India met the study inclusion criteria. The third party payer perspective was the most common study design (17 articles) while fewer articles (n =2) reported on costs from a health system or societal perspective. All the articles included direct costs and only a few (n =4) provided estimates for indirect costs based on income loss for patients and carers. Drug costs proved to be a significant cost component in several studies (n =12). While middle and high-income groups had higher expenditure in absolute terms, costs constituted a higher proportion of income for the poor. The economic burden was highest among urban groups. The overall quality of the studies is low due of due to a number of methodological weaknesses. The most frequent epidemiological approach employed was the prevalence-based one (n =18) while costs were mainly estimated using a bottom up approach (n =15).
Conclusion:
The body of literature on the costs of diabetes and its complications in India provides a fragmented picture that has mostly concentrated on the direct costs borne by individuals rather than the healthcare system. There is a need to develop a robust methodology to perform methodologically rigorous and transparent cost of illness studies to inform policy decisions.

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List of RH 2014

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