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Rising caesarean section rates and factors affecting womens decision-making about mode of birth in Indonesia: a longitudinal qualitative study

Wed, 19/06/2024 - 07:10
Introduction

Caesarean section (CS) rates in Indonesia are increasing rapidly. Understanding women’s preferences about mode of birth is important to help contextualise these rising rates and can help develop interventions to optimise CS. This study aimed to explore Indonesian women’s preferences and decision-making about mode of birth, and how their preferences may change throughout pregnancy and birth.

Methods

We conducted a longitudinal qualitative study using in-depth interviews with 28 women accessing private and public health facilities in Jakarta, the region with the highest CS rates. Interviews were conducted two times: during the woman’s third trimester of pregnancy and in the postpartum period, between October 2022 and March 2023. We used a reflexive thematic approach for analysis.

Results

We generated three themes: (1) preferences about the mode of birth, (2) decision-making about the mode of birth and (3) regrets about the actual mode of birth. Most women preferred vaginal birth. However, they were influenced by advertisements promoting enhanced recovery after CS (ERACS) as an ‘advanced technique’ of CS, promising a comfortable, painless and faster recovery birth. This messaging influenced women to perceive CS as equivalent or even superior to vaginal birth. Where women’s preferences for mode of birth shifted around the time of birth, this was primarily due to the obstetricians’ discretion. Women felt they did not receive adequate information from obstetricians on the benefits and risks of CS and vaginal birth and felt disappointed when their actual mode of birth was not aligned with their preferences.

Conclusion

Our study shows that despite rising CS rates, Indonesian women prefer vaginal birth. This highlights the need for better communication strategies and evidence-based information from healthcare providers. Given the rising popularity of ERACS, more work is urgently needed to standardise and regulate its use.

Do various types of prelacteal feeding (PLF) have different associations with breastfeeding duration in Indonesia? A cross-sectional study using Indonesia Demographic and Health Survey datasets

Mon, 10/06/2024 - 15:45
Introduction

Prelacteal feeding (PLF) is anything other than breastmilk given to newborns in the first few days of birth and/or before breastfeeding is established. PLF comes in many forms and is known as a challenge to optimal breastfeeding. Interestingly, both breastfeeding and PLF are common in Indonesia. This study investigated the association between PLF (any PLF, formula, honey, water and other milk) and breastfeeding duration.

Methods

This study used Indonesia Demographic and Health Surveys data from 2002, 2007 and 2017. Sample sizes were 5558 (2007), 6268 (2007) and 6227 (2017) mothers whose last child was aged 0–23 months. We used Cox regression survival analysis to assess the association between PLF and breastfeeding duration, estimating hazard ratios (HR) for stopping earlier.

Results

Overall PLF was prevalent (59%, 67% and 45% in 2002, 2007 and 2017, respectively), with formula being the most common (38%, 50% and 25%). No association between any PLF and breastfeeding duration in 2002 (HR 0.90 (95% CI 0.70 to 1.16)), but in 2007 and 2017, mothers who gave any PLF were more likely to stop breastfeeding earlier than those who did not (HR 1.33 (95% CI 1.11 to 1.61) and 1.47 (95% CI 1.28 to 1.69), respectively), especially in the first 6 months (HR 2.13 (95% CI 1.55 to 2.92) and 2.07 (95% CI 1.74 to 2.47), respectively). This association was more consistent for milk-based PLF. For example, HR in 2017 was 2.13 (95% CI 1.78 to 2.53) for prelacteal formula and 1.73 (95% CI 1.39 to 2.15) for other milk. The associations were inconsistent for the other PLF types. Prelacteal water showed no association while prelacteal honey showed some association with a longer breastfeeding duration in 2002 and 2007.

Conclusion

The impact of PLF on breastfeeding duration varied by type. While this study supports current recommendations to avoid PLF unless medically indicated, the potential consequences of different PLF types on breastfeeding outcomes should be clearly communicated to healthcare providers and mothers. Further research should explore the reasons for the high PLF prevalence in this setting.

Useful or not? The discussion of traditional Chinese medicine to treat COVID-19 on a Chinese social networking site

Mon, 10/06/2024 - 15:45

The use of traditional medicine is a global phenomenon, and the WHO advocated its appropriate integration into modern healthcare systems. However, there is a hot debate about the legitimacy of traditional medicine among the general public. Here, we investigated the debate in the Chinese digital context by analysing 1954 responses related to 100 questions about traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) treatment against COVID-19 on the Zhihu platform. Attitude function theory was applied to understand the reasons underlying public attitudes.

Results showed that Zhihu users generally held a supportive attitude toward TCM. Their attitudes mainly came from their own experience and traditional media. The general users were more negative while medical professionals were more positive toward TCM. Ego defence (eg, derogating evidence sources) was used the most to support attitudes, followed by value expression (eg, believing in science). Supporters showed fewer expressions of faith (eg, the use of TCM is a kind of faith), politics (eg, supporting TCM is about politics) and science value (eg, TCM is a field of science), fewer ego defence, more patriotism and cultural confidence expressions (eg, TCM is a cultural pride) and more knowledge explanation (eg, TCM accelerates the metabolism of phlegm) than expected. Opposers showed fewer utilitarian and knowledge functions, fewer expressions of patriotism and more expressions of faith, politics and economics, but more ego defence functions than expected. Opposing posts were more likely to attract engagement than supporting and neutral posts. Posts that mentioned attitude functions generally attracted more engagement.

Our findings indicate that TCM debate in modern China is not only relevant to medical science and health, but also rooted deeply in cultural ideology, politics and economics. The findings can provide global insights into the development of proactive policies and action plans that will help the integration of traditional medicine into modern healthcare systems.

Widening geographic range of Rift Valley fever disease clusters associated with climate change in East Africa

Mon, 10/06/2024 - 15:45
Background

Recent epidemiology of Rift Valley fever (RVF) disease in Africa suggests growing frequency and expanding geographic range of small disease clusters in regions that previously had not reported the disease. We investigated factors associated with the phenomenon by characterising recent RVF disease events in East Africa.

Methods

Data on 100 disease events (2008–2022) from Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania were obtained from public databases and institutions, and modelled against possible geoecological risk factors of occurrence including altitude, soil type, rainfall/precipitation, temperature, normalised difference vegetation index (NDVI), livestock production system, land-use change and long-term climatic variations. Decadal climatic variations between 1980 and 2022 were evaluated for association with the changing disease pattern.

Results

Of 100 events, 91% were small RVF clusters with a median of one human (IQR, 1–3) and three livestock cases (IQR, 2–7). These clusters exhibited minimal human mortality (IQR, 0–1), and occurred primarily in highlands (67%), with 35% reported in areas that had never reported RVF disease. Multivariate regression analysis of geoecological variables showed a positive correlation between occurrence and increasing temperature and rainfall. A 1°C increase in temperature and a 1-unit increase in NDVI, one months prior were associated with increased RVF incidence rate ratios of 1.20 (95% CI 1.1, 1.2) and 1.93 (95% CI 1.01, 3.71), respectively. Long-term climatic trends showed a significant decadal increase in annual mean temperature (0.12–0.3°C/decade, p<0.05), associated with decreasing rainfall in arid and semi-arid lowlands but increasing rainfall trends in highlands (p<0.05). These hotter and wetter highlands showed increasing frequency of RVF clusters, accounting for 76% and 43% in Uganda and Kenya, respectively.

Conclusion

These findings demonstrate the changing epidemiology of RVF disease. The widening geographic range of disease is associated with climatic variations, with the likely impact of wider dispersal of virus to new areas of endemicity and future epidemics.

Understanding the extent of economic evidence usage for informing policy decisions in the context of Indias national health insurance scheme: Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana (PM-JAY)

Mon, 10/06/2024 - 15:45
Introduction

Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana (PM-JAY) is one of the world’s largest tax-funded insurance schemes. The present study was conducted to understand the decision-making process around the evolution (and revision) of health benefit packages (HBPs) and reimbursement rates within PM-JAY, with a specific focus on assessing the extent of use of economic evidence and role of various stakeholders in shaping these policy decisions.

Methods

A mixed-methods study was adopted involving in-depth interviews with seven key stakeholders involved in HBP design and reimbursement rates decisions, and a survey of 80 government staff and other relevant stakeholders engaged in the implementation of PM-JAY. The data gathered were thematically analysed, and a coding framework was developed to explore specific themes. Additionally, publicly available documents were reviewed to ensure a comprehensive understanding of the decision-making processes.

Results

Findings reveal a progressive transition towards evidence-based practices for policy decisions within PM-JAY. The initial version of HBP relied heavily on key criteria like disease burden, utilisation rates, and out-of-pocket expenditures, along with clinical opinion in shaping decisions around the inclusion of services in the HBP and setting reimbursement rates. Revised HBPs were informed based on evidence from a national-level costing study and broader stakeholder consultations. The use of health economic evidence increased with each additional revision with consideration of health technology assessment (HTA) evidence for some packages and reimbursement rates based on empirical cost evidence in the most recent update. The establishment of the Health Financing and Technology Assessment unit further signifies the use of evidence-based policymaking within PM-JAY. However, challenges persist, notably with regard to staff capacity and understanding of HTA principles, necessitating ongoing education and training initiatives.

Conclusion

While substantial progress has been made in transitioning towards evidence-based practices within PM-JAY, sustained efforts and political commitment are required for the ongoing systematisation of processes.

An ancillary care policy in a vaccine trial conducted in a resource-constrained setting: evaluation and policy recommendations

Mon, 10/06/2024 - 15:45
Introduction

Clear guidelines to implement ancillary care (AC) in clinical trials conducted in resource-constrained settings are lacking. Here, we evaluate an AC policy developed for a vaccine trial in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and formulate policy recommendations.

Methods

To evaluate the AC policy, we performed a longitudinal cohort study, nested in an open-label, single-centre, randomised Ebola vaccine trial conducted among healthcare personnel. Participants’ demographic information, residence distance to the study site and details on the financial and/or medical support provided for any (serious) adverse events ((S)AE) were combined and analysed. To assess the feasibility of the AC policy, an expenditure analysis of the costs related to AC support outcomes was performed.

Results

Enrolment in this evaluation study started on 29 November 2021. The study lasted 11 months and included 655 participants from the Ebola vaccine trial. In total, 393 participants used the AC policy, mostly for AE management (703 AE and 94 SAE) via medication provided by the study pharmacy (75.3%). Men had a 35.2% (95% CI 4.0% to 56.6%) lower likelihood of reporting AE compared with women. Likewise, this was 32.3% lower (95% CI 5.8% to 51.4%) for facility-based compared with community-based healthcare providers. The daily AE reporting was 78.8% lower during the passive vs the active trial stage, and 97.4% lower during unscheduled vs scheduled visits (p<0.001). Participants living further than 10 km from the trial site more frequently reported the travel distance as a reason for not using the policy (p<0.04). In practice, only 1.1% of the operational trial budget was used for AC policy support.

Conclusion

The trial design, study population and local health system impacted the use of the AC policy. Nonetheless, the AC policy implementation in this remote and resource-constrained setting was feasible, had negligible budgetary implications and contributed to participants’ healthcare options and well-being.

Leader of peoples health

Fri, 07/06/2024 - 01:03

Urgent support mechanism: saving millions of COVID-19 vaccines from expiry in Africa

Fri, 07/06/2024 - 01:03

Delivering COVID-19 vaccines with 4–6 weeks shelf life remains one of Africa’s most pressing challenges. The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) leadership recognised that COVID-19 vaccines donated to many African countries were at risk of expiry considering the short shelf life on delivery in the Member States and slow vaccine uptake rates. Thus, a streamlined rapid response system, the urgent support mechanism, was developed to assist countries accelerate COVID-19 vaccine uptake. We describe the achievements and lessons learnt during implementation of the urgent support mechanism in eight African countries. An Africa CDC team was rapidly deployed to meet with the Ministry of Health of each country alerted for COVID-19 vaccine expiry and identified national implementing partners to quickly develop operational work plans and strategies to scale up the urgent use of the vaccines. The time between the initiation of alerts to the start of the implementation was typically within 2 weeks. A total of approximately 2.5 million doses of vaccines, costing $900 000, were prevented from expiration. The urgent support has also contributed to the increased COVID-19 vaccination coverage in the Member States from 16.1% at the initiation to 25.3% at the end of the urgent support. Some of the effective strategies used by the urgent support mechanism included coordination between Africa CDC and country vaccine task forces, establishment of vaccination centres, building the capacity of routine and surge health workforce, procurement and distribution of vaccine ancillaries, staff training, advocacy and sensitisation events, and use of trusted religious scriptures and community influencers to support public health messages. The urgent support mechanism demonstrated a highly optimised process and serves as a successful example for acceleration and integration of vaccination into different healthcare delivery points.

Reaching the unreached through building trust: a mixed-method study on COVID-19 vaccination in rural Lao PDR

Thu, 06/06/2024 - 14:46
Introduction

The global COVID-19 vaccine rollout has been impacted by socioeconomic disparities and vaccine hesitancy, but few studies examine reasons for changed attitudes. In Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR), a nationwide government-led initiative was developed in response to COVID-19, focused on community health ownership and trust in primary healthcare. The intervention team including health and governance sectors conducted capacity-building workshops with local staff and community representatives and visited villages for vaccination outreach. This study investigates the impact of this intervention on COVID-19 vaccine acceptance in rural communities.

Methods

Conducted in Xiengkhuang province, Lao PDR, from December 2022 to February 2023, the study employed a sequential mixed-methods research design. Data on vaccinated individuals from 25 villages were collected from 11 primary healthcare units; pre-post analysis was applied. Qualitative data, gathered through interviews and focus group discussions with villagers, village authorities, health staff and local government (n=102) in six villages, underwent inductive thematic analysis.

Results

First-dose vaccine uptake after the intervention increased significantly (6.9 times). Qualitative analysis identified key reasons for vaccination hesitancy: (1) mistrust due to rumours and past experiences; (2) poor communication and inconsistent messaging and (3) challenges in access for priority groups. Influencing factors during the intervention included (1) effective local-context communication; (2) leveraging existing community structures and influential individuals in a multisectoral approach and (3) increased community motivation through improved satisfaction, ownership and relationships.

Conclusion

This study highlights the impact and methods of building trust with unreached populations in health interventions, emphasising locally led solutions. Successful reversal of vaccine hesitancy was achieved by addressing root causes and fostering ownership at community and local government levels through a ‘positive approach’. This diverges from conventional supplemental immunisation activities and holds potential for systematically building trust between unreached populations and health systems. Further research could explore the impacts of routine vaccination for sustained improvements in health equity.

Mapping the international health regulations monitoring and evaluation framework: an expert consultation, triangulation crosswalk and quantitative analysis

Thu, 06/06/2024 - 04:51

The International Health Regulations Monitoring and Evaluation Framework (IHRMEF) includes four components regularly conducted by States Parties to measure the current status of International Health Regulations (IHR) 2005 core capacities and provide recommendations for strengthening these capacities. However, the four components are conducted independently of one another and have no systematic referral to each other before, during or after each process, despite being largely conducted by the same team, country and support organisations. This analysis sets out to identify ways in which IHRMEF components could work more synergistically to effectively measure the status of IHR core capacities, taking into account the country’s priority risks. We developed a methodology to allow these independent components to communicate with each other, including expert consultation, a qualitative crosswalk analysis and a country-level quantitative analysis. The demonstrated results act as a proof of concept and illustrate a methodology to provide benefits across all four components before, during and after implementation.

Caregiving for Chinas one-child generation: a simulation study of caregiving responsibility and impact on womens time use

Thu, 06/06/2024 - 01:28
Introduction

The introduction, strict enforcement and recent exit of China’s one-child policy (OCP) resulted in China’s demographical changes, and, alongside its epidemiological transition, disproportionately impacted caregiving needs and demands on women. This study examines women’s caregiving responsibilities in contemporary China and evaluates how the OCP affected them.

Methods

We simulated the female population aged 25–54 years in 2020 in China and their caregiving responsibilities based on epidemiological and demographic data for women, their parents and parents-in-law, and children under 10. Three different health states were simulated for children and the senior generation: (1) healthy, (2) end of life—decedents and (3) non-decedents in need of palliative care. We combine the care responsibility for senior family members and for children using an aggregate indicator—the Care Responsibility Score (CRS) –to compare the impact of the OCP across different generations of women.

Results

Approximately 60 million working-age women are living with medium to high levels of care responsibilities (a CRS over 0.8), which is equivalent to caring for a senior family member with palliative care needs without any assistance from siblings. This includes more than one-third of the 156 million women born after the OCP and only 5% of women born before the OCP.

Conclusion

For women born under the OCP, the additional responsibility generated by a lack of siblings outweighs the benefit of having four dedicated grandparents to support them in raising children.

Economic barriers to prevent the smuggling of health goods in Iran

Thu, 06/06/2024 - 01:28
Introduction

In recent years, smuggling of health goods has apparently increased in the country. Despite the preventive and regulatory measures taken to combat this problem, the outcomes seem to be undesirable. This study thus aims to identify and elucidate the role of economic barriers in the prevention of smuggling health goods in Iran.

Method

We conducted semistructured interviews with 29 purposefully identified key informants in the detection, prevention and control of health goods smuggling in different organisations, between May 2021–January 2022. An inductive data-driven thematic analysis approach was further adopted to identify patterns of meaning, using MAXQDA 2020 software to facilitate data management.

Results

We identified four main themes representing the economic barriers to prevent the smuggling of health goods in Iran; Monetary and financial policy, which includes subthemes of financial rules and procedures, market regulation, economic incentives and imbalanced development; Behavioural patterns, consisting of consumer behaviour, the opportunism of smugglers, the behaviour of statesmen and politicians; Economic diplomacy, categorised into international relations and interactions, relations and interactions in the national arena, interaction with non-governmental organisations and Health economic monitoring and evaluation including transparency of statistics and economic information and supervision.

Conclusion

Smuggling health goods has become a concerning challenge in the health sector. It is, therefore, imperative to develop and implement appropriate policies and operations towards security and international cooperation, lobbying and coalition-building. Demonopolisation, creating competitive and dynamic markets, removal of rent-seeking layers at all levels, and the use of commercial diplomacy to reduce the burden of smuggling in the health sector of Iran, and perhaps beyond might be of sizeable use to combat such challenge.

Public participation in decisions about measures to manage the COVID-19 pandemic: a systematic review

Mon, 03/06/2024 - 15:47
Background

During the COVID-19 pandemic, governments and health authorities faced tough decisions about infection prevention and control measures such as social distancing, face masks and travel. Judgements underlying those decisions require democratic input, as well as expert input. The aim of this review is to inform decisions about how best to achieve public participation in decisions about public health and social interventions in the context of a pandemic or other public health emergencies.

Objectives

To systematically review examples of public participation in decisions by governments and health authorities about how to control the COVID-19 pandemic.

Design

We searched Participedia and relevant databases in August 2022. Two authors reviewed titles and abstracts and one author screened publications promoted to full text. One author extracted data from included reports using a standard data-extraction form. A second author checked 10% of the extraction forms. We conducted a structured synthesis using framework analysis.

Results

We included 24 reports (18 from Participedia). Most took place in high-income countries (n=23), involved ‘consulting’ the public (n=17) and involved public meetings (usually online). Two initiatives reported explicit support for critical thinking. 11 initiatives were formally evaluated (only three reported impacts). Many initiatives did not contribute to a decision, and 17 initiatives did not include any explicit decision-making criteria.

Conclusions

Decisions about how to manage the COVID-19 pandemic affected nearly everyone. While public participation in those decisions had the potential to improve the quality of the judgements and decisions that were made, build trust, improve adherence and help ensure transparency and accountability, few examples of such initiatives have been reported and most of those have not been formally evaluated. Identified initiatives did point out potential good practices related to online engagement, crowdsourcing and addressing potential power imbalance. Future research should address improved reporting of initiatives, explicit decision-making criteria, support for critical thinking, engagement of marginalised groups and decision-makers and communication with the public.

PROSPERO registration number

358991.

Toward a more systematic understanding of water insecurity coping strategies: insights from 11 global sites

Fri, 31/05/2024 - 16:15
Introduction

Water insecurity–the inability to access and benefit from affordable, reliable and safe water for basic needs–is a considerable global health threat. With the urgent need to target interventions to the most vulnerable, accurate and meaningful measurement is a priority. Households use diverse strategies to cope with water insecurity; however, these have not been systematically characterised nor measured. The Food Insecurity Coping Strategies Index has been insightful for targeting nutrition interventions to the most vulnerable. As a first step towards creating an analogous scale for water, this study characterises the largest empirical data set on water insecurity coping strategies and proposes guidance on measuring it using a novel toolkit.

Methods

Open-ended responses on water insecurity coping (n=2301) were collected across 11 sites in 10 low- and middle-income countries in the Household Water InSecurity Experiences (HWISE) Scale validation study. Responses were characterised and compared with behaviours identified in the literature to construct an instrument to systematically assess coping.

Results

We identified 19 distinct strategies that households used when experiencing water insecurity. These findings, paired with prior literature, were used to develop a Water Insecurity Coping Strategies Assessment Toolkit with guidance on its piloting to assess coping prevalence, frequency and severity.

Conclusions

The widespread occurrence of water insecurity coping strategies underscores the importance of understanding their prevalence and severity. The Water Insecurity Coping Strategies Assessment Toolkit offers a comprehensive approach to evaluate these strategies and inform the design and monitoring of interventions targeting those most vulnerable to water insecurity.

Reconciling devolution with health financing and public financial management: challenges and policy options for the health sector

Thu, 30/05/2024 - 07:36

The interplay between devolution, health financing and public financial management processes in health—or the lack of coherence between them—can have profound implications for a country’s progress towards universal health coverage. This paper explores this relationship in seven Asian and African countries (Burkina Faso, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Uganda, Indonesia and the Philippines), highlighting challenges and suggesting policy solutions. First, subnational governments rely heavily on transfers from central governments, and most are not required to allocate a minimum share of their budget to health. Central governments channelling more funds to subnational governments through conditional grants is a promising way to increase public financing for health. Second, devolution makes it difficult to pool funding across populations by fragmenting them geographically. Greater fiscal equalisation through improved revenue sharing arrangements and, where applicable, using budgetary funds to subsidise the poor in government-financed health insurance schemes could bridge the gap. Third, weak budget planning across levels could be improved by aligning budget structures, building subnational budgeting capacity and strengthening coordination across levels. Fourth, delays in central transfers and complicated procedures for approvals and disbursements stymie expenditure management at subnational levels. Simplifying processes and enhancing visibility over funding flows, including through digitalised information systems, promise to improve expenditure management and oversight in health. Fifth, subnational governments purchase services primarily through line-item budgets. Shifting to practices that link financial allocations with population health needs and facility performance, combined with reforms to grant commensurate autonomy to facilities, has the potential to enable more strategic purchasing.

Integrating interventions supported by development assistance for health into local health system: evidence from a China-World Bank-UK rural health system strengthening project (1998-2007)

Fri, 24/05/2024 - 17:31
Introduction

To empirically investigate sustainability of development assistance for health (DAH), we conducted a retrospective case study on the Basic Health Services Project (BHSP) for rural health system strengthening, supported by the World Bank and the UK in China between 1998 and 2007. Specifically, this study examines the integration of the BHSP interventions into China’s health system.

Methods

From December 2021 to December 2022, we reviewed 64 published papers and project or policy documents, and conducted semistructured interviews with 22 key informants, ranging from managers of donor agencies and the government to township-level hospital directors. From February to March 2023, the data were analysed under an analytical framework for integration of targeted health interventions into health systems.

Results

Evidence of the BHSP shows that the integration outcomes can vary by the levels of integration (national or subnational), geographical coverage (project areas or both project and non-project areas) and approach to integration (policy or routinisation). The country’s health system reform facilitated the integration of the interventions relevant to the reform policies, as the BHSP was one of the pilot schemes. However, interventions incompatible with this broad context were integrated to a limited extent. This integration occurred through embedding the project within the existing system, with a higher degree of embeddedness leading to smoother integration. Cross-sectoral leading groups and a technical support system heightened the project visibility and enabled contextualised local adaptation, contributing to the smooth integration of the project interventions.

Conclusion

The DAH-supported interventions can achieve sustainability by being integrated into the local health system. This integration can take various forms to improve health outcomes, including being accepted and internalised, modified as well as innovated and expanded. The host country and development partners can promote DAH sustainability by contextually integrating these interventions within the project scope.

Sexual satisfaction, an indicator of sexual health and well-being? Insights from STI/HIV prevention research in European men who have sex with men

Fri, 24/05/2024 - 17:31
Introduction

Although sexual health has been holistically defined to include sexual satisfaction, it has been largely absent in health services and sexual and reproductive health and rights programmes in many parts of the world. We propose sexual satisfaction as a useful indicator, as one of the proxy measures for sexual health and well-being and as a component of well-being in general.

Methods

The Sialon II project is a multicentre biological and behavioural cross-sectional community-based survey implemented across 13 European cities during 2013–2014 among men who have sex with men. Sexual satisfaction was explored using one single item: ‘How satisfied are you with your sex life?’ A multivariable multilevel logistic random-intercept model was estimated to identify factors associated with reporting positive sexual satisfaction versus negative sexual satisfaction.

Results

Age, the number of partners and self-reported HIV status were not significantly associated with sexual satisfaction in the multivariate model. Participants reporting an insertive role or reported both an insertive and receptive role during the last anal intercourse were more likely to be sexually satisfied, compared with a receptive role. Participants reporting anal intercourse with a condom were more likely to be satisfied than those declaring no anal intercourse in the last 6 months, but no significant association was found compared with anal intercourse without condom. Knowledge of HIV-serostatus concordance with the last sexual partner was positively correlated with sexual satisfaction. Having had sexual intercourse with non-steady partners only in the last 6 months was negatively correlated. The more positive participants perceived their work/school, parents and friends/acquaintances’ attitudes towards gay or bisexual persons, the higher the odds they were satisfied with their sexual life.

Conclusion

Using a single item on sexual satisfaction in a bio-behavioural study, our analysis has shown that it is associated with individual, interpersonal and social/structural factors and has proven its usefulness as a sexual health indicator among men who have sex with men.

The state of mental health among Ebola virus disease survivors through a cross-sectional study in Sierra Leone

Thu, 23/05/2024 - 16:28
Background

The West African Ebola virus disease (EVD) epidemic resulted in >28 000 disease cases and >11 000 fatalities. The unprecedented number of survivors from this epidemic has raised questions about the long-term mental health impacts of EVD survivorship and the capacity to meet these needs.

Objectives

Assess the frequency and factors associated with mental health consequences of EVD survivorship in Sierra Leone.

Methods

A cross-sectional study of 595 EVD survivors and 403 close contacts (n=998) from Sierra Leone assessed via in-person survey between November 2021 and March 2022. The assessment included validated mental health screening tools (Patient Health Questionnaire-9, PTSD Checklist-5, Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test, Drug Abuse Screening Test-20) to indicate the presence/absence of disorder. The frequency of each disorder and factors associated with each disorder were assessed.

Findings

EVD-associated post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was reported by 45.7% (n=257) of EVD survivors. Moreover, 3.9% (n=22) and 12.0% (n=67) of EVD survivors reported major depression (MD) and substance use, respectively; all mental health outcomes were higher than baseline rates in the region (PTSD: 6%–16%, MD: 1.1%, substance use: 2.2%). PTSD among EVD survivors was associated with acute EVD duration of ≥21 days (adjusted OR, AOR 2.24, 95% CI 1.16 to 4.43), 35–44 years of age (AOR 3.31, 95% CI 1.33 to 8.24; AOR 2.99, 95% CI 1.09 to 8.24) and residential mobility (AOR 4.16, 95% CI 2.35 to 7.35).

Conclusions

Concerningly, the levels of mental health disorders among EVD survivors in Sierra Leone remained elevated 6–8 years after recovery.

Clinical implications

Results can be used to inform policy efforts and target resources to address mental health in EVD survivors.

The 12 dimensions of health impacts of war (the 12-D framework): a novel framework to conceptualise impacts of war on social and environmental determinants of health and public health

Wed, 22/05/2024 - 16:57

Global rates of armed conflicts have shown an alarming increase since 2008. These conflicts have devastating and long-term cumulative impacts on health. The overriding aim in these conflicts is to achieve military or political goals by harming human life, which is the antithesis of the moral underpinnings of the health professions. However, the profession has rarely taken on a global advocacy role to prevent and eliminate conflicts and wars. To assume such a role, the health profession needs to be aware of the extensive and multiple impacts that wars have on population health. To facilitate this discourse, the author proposes a novel framework called ‘The Twelve Dimensions of Health Impacts of War’ (or the 12-D framework). The framework is based on the concepts of social and environmental determinants of population health. It has 12 interconnected ‘dimensions’ beginning with the letter D, capturing the adverse impacts on health (n=5), its social (n=4) and environmental determinants (n=3). For health, the indices are Deaths, Disabilities, Diseases, Dependency and Deformities. For social determinants of health, there are Disparities in socioeconomic status, Displacements of populations, Disruptions to the social fabric and Development reversals. For environmental determinants, there is Destruction of infrastructure, Devastation of the environment and Depletion of natural resources. A relatively simple framework could help researchers and lay public to understand the magnitude and quantify the widespread health, social and environmental impacts of war, comprehensively. Further validation and development of this framework are necessary to establish it as a universal metric for quantifying the horrific impacts of war on the planet and garner support for initiatives to promote global peace.

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