Substandard and falsified medical products are a public health threat, primarily associated with low- and middle-income countries. Today, the phenomenon also exists in high-income countries. Increased Internet access has opened a global market. Self-diagnosis and self-prescription have boosted the market for unregulated websites with access to falsified medicines.
To describe the state of knowledge and experience on SF medical products among emergency physicians (EPs) and general practitioners (GPs) in Sweden.
An online survey with anonymous answers from 100 EPs and 100 GPs. Physicians were recruited from TNS SIFO’s medical database. The term in the survey was ‘illegal and falsified medicines’ which was common in Sweden at that time. It corresponds well with the term ‘substandard and falsified medical products’ that the WHO launched shortly after our data collection. We report our results with this term.
In Sweden, 78.5% of the physicians had heard the term ‘illegal and falsified medicines’ and 36.5% had met patients they suspected had taken it. Physicians lacked awareness of the use of the reporting system and wanted more knowledge about how to deal with patients who have possibly used falsified medicines.
To meet the public health threat of SF medical products, physicians need more knowledge.
Reports of increasing methamphetamine use among vulnerable populations may be attributed in part to the adaptive use of stimulants in response to the loss of stable housing through residential eviction. We employed multivariable recurrent event extended Cox regression to examine the independent association between recent evictions and initiation of or relapse into crystal methamphetamine use among people who inject drugs in Vancouver, Canada enrolled in two prospective cohort studies. In a multivariable analysis, eviction remained independently associated with methamphetamine initiation or relapse (adjusted hazard ratio = 1.90; 95% confidence interval: 1.31–2.75). Findings demonstrate the need to secure tenancies for drug-using populations to reduce harms.
Italy has been the first country at European level to implement a population-based public health registry dedicated to rare diseases. This study describes the current situation of the Italian National Rare Diseases Registry (NRDR) and compares its data with those from the National Hospital Discharge Database (HDD).
Three rare diseases were analysed: Huntington disease (HD), Hereditary Haemorragic Telangiectasia (HHT) and Prader–Willi Syndrome (PWS), selected for their different characteristics. The two sources (NRDR and HDD) were linked: incidence rate ratio (IRR), sensitivity and predictive positive value (PPV) were calculated.
Incidence rates from NRDR and from HDD were compared by age groups, and IRR calculated: 1.08 for HD, 1.41 for HHT, 1.21 for PSW. For HD, sensitivity was 0.52 and PPV 0.48; for HHT sensitivity was 0.71 and PPV 0.52; for PWS the sensitivity was 0.71 and PPV 0.58. We found a strong regional variability in the results.
The integrated use of the two sources helps tracking those cases that are not captured by the Registry; further, it is a precious tool to accurately describe clinical histories of rare disease affected individuals, in terms of concomitant pathologies and medical procedures performed during hospitalization.
The aim of this study was to assess the prevalence of urinary incontinence in fitness instructors, experience of teaching pelvic floor muscle exercises (PFME), and attitudes to incorporating such exercises into classes.
An online survey was undertaken of fitness instructors working in Scotland based on the Urinary Incontinence Short Form (ICIQ-UI).
The survey was at least partially completed by 106, of whom 73.6% (53/72) were female and 52.8% (38/72) were in the 35–54 years age group. Prevalence of UI was 28.2% (24/85), and severity based on ICIQ-UI scores was ‘slight’ 65.2% (15/23), or ‘moderate’ in 26.1% (6/23). Leakage of urine was associated with physical activity in 36% (9/25), of whom 31.8% (7/22) had not taken actions to reduce the impact, and 86.4% (19/22) had not sought professional advice or treatment. There was widespread willingness to incorporate PFME into classes if given appropriate training 86.1% (62/72), and 67.1% (49/73) would be happy to recommend a PFME app.
A significant proportion of fitness instructors are in need of PFME and those who perform PFME do so at a level below that which is recommended. However, many have had some training on PFME or are willing to provide this.
Inequalities in dental decay in young children persist, resulting in high admission rates for general anaesthetics for tooth extractions. Health visitors have the potential to improve dental attendance and oral health in families least likely to engage with dental services. There is little evidence on health visitor views on this.
Semi-structured interviews were conducted with a purposive sample of 17 health visitors working in both affluent and deprived areas in a single UK city. Interviews were audio recorded, transcribed, anonymized and analysed following a constructivist grounded theory approach.
Knowledge of oral health was high and health visitors requested oral health education specific to the communities they worked in. Health visitors reported effective, formal referral processes to other health services but not to primary NHS dental services even when dealing with infants in pain. Health visitors interviewed were largely unaware of specific NHS dental services which reduce barriers to dental care including interpreting services and dental services for children with additional needs.
Health visitors interviewed were knowledgeable and enthusiastic about oral health but not about dental services. Inadequate links with NHS dental services may limit their effectiveness in oral health improvement and this needs to be addressed.
Introducing childhood immunization poses challenges in environments of societal fragility. The Palestinian territories (Pt) are considered ‘fragile’ because of their lack of political, economic and territorial sovereignty. Poverty is rife, infant mortality high, and diseases associated with overcrowding widespread. Under these circumstances the Rostropovich Vishneskaya Foundation (RVF) has assembled a network of public and private stakeholders to introduce a country-wide rotavirus immunization program.
The incidence of diarrhea was determined for 18 months before and 18 months after the introduction of rotavirus vaccine among all children younger than 5 years presenting to outpatient clinics in Gaza with three or more loose stools per day. Simultaneously the prevalence of rotavirus was established by rotavirus antigen detection in stool samples collected from children younger than 3 years at Caritas Baby Hospital in Bethlehem during the corresponding time periods.
Within 12 months 97.4% immunization coverage was achieved. The incidence of diarrhea dropped by 32.2%, while the prevalence of rotavirus in stool samples decreased by 64.6% throughout the following year.
In environments of economic or political instability private–public partnerships for the introduction of comprehensive vaccination programs can work based on close collaboration, shared vision, flexibility and inter-organizational trust.
Scant evidence exists on the relation between the availability of health professionals and adolescent health, and whether the size of the health workforce equally benefits adolescents across socioeconomic strata.
We conducted a cross-sectional analysis of adolescent health in 38 countries. Data from 218 790 adolescents were drawn from the 2013/2014 Health Behavior in School-aged Children survey. We used multilevel regression analyses to examine the association between the density of the health workforce and psychosomatic and mental health symptoms with differences in country wealth and income inequality controlled.
A higher density of psychologists was associated with better self-reported mental health in adolescents (P = 0.047); however, this finding was not robust to sensitivity analyses. The densities of physicians and psychiatrists were not significantly associated with better adolescent psychosomatic or mental health. Cross-level interactions between the health workforce and socioeconomic status did not relate to health, indicating that larger health workforces did not reduce socioeconomic differences in adolescent health.
This study found that adolescents in countries with a higher density of health providers do not report better psychosomatic or mental health. Other social or structural factors may play larger roles in adolescent health.