WHO South-East Asia Journal of Public Health
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   2013| April-June  | Volume 2 | Issue 2  
    Online since December 12, 2013

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Lessons from a decade of emerging diseases: towards regional public health security
Richard Brown
April-June 2013, 2(2):77-78
DOI:10.4103/2224-3151.122933  PMID:28612762
  - 8,320 834
Haemophilus influenza type b disease and vaccination in India: knowledge, attitude and practices of paediatricians
Vipin M Vashishtha, Vishal Dogra, Panna Choudhury, Naveen Thacker, Sailesh G Gupta, Satish K Gupta
April-June 2013, 2(2):101-105
DOI:10.4103/2224-3151.122942  PMID:28612767
Background: Haemophilus influenza type b (Hib) causes significant morbidity and mortality among young children in India. Hib vaccines are safe and efficacious; nevertheless, their introduction to India's national immunization programme has been hindered by resistance from certain sectors of academia and civil society. We aimed to ascertain the attitudes and perceptions of Indian paediatricians towards Hib disease and vaccination. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional survey of knowledge, attitude and practices on Hib and vaccines was undertaken among 1000 Indian paediatricians who attended 49 th National Conference of Indian Academy of Pediatrics in 2012 through use of a 21-point questionnaire. Results: 927 (93%) paediatricians completed the survey. 643 (69%) responded that Hib is a common disease in India. 788 (85%) reported prescribing Hib vaccine to their patients and 453 (49%) had done so for the past 5-15 years. Hib vaccine was used in combination with other vaccines by 814 (88%) of the participants. 764 (82%) respondents thought Hib vaccine effective while 750 (81%) thought it to be safe. Fever, pain and redness were the most frequently reported post vaccination side-effects. 445 (48%) paediatricians ranked universal use of Hib vaccine in the national immunization programme as the most important strategy to prevent and control Hib disease in India. Conclusion: The excellent profile as reported by a large number of paediatricians from throughout India further strengthens evidence to support expanded use of currently available Hib vaccines. These findings should encourage the Government of India to initiate mass use of this vaccine nationwide.
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Health workforce in India: assessment of availability, production and distribution
Indrajit Hazarika
April-June 2013, 2(2):106-112
DOI:10.4103/2224-3151.122944  PMID:28612768
Background: India faces an acute shortage of health personnel. Together with inequalities in distribution of health workers, this shortfall impedes progress towards achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. The aim of this study was to assess health-workforce distribution, identify inequalities in health-worker provision and estimate the impact of this maldistribution on key health outcomes in India. Materials and Methods: Health-workforce availability and production were assessed by use of year-end data for 2009 obtained from the Indian Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation. Inequalities in the distribution of doctors, dentists, nurses and midwives were estimated by use of the Gini coefficient and the relation between health-worker density and selected health outcomes was assessed by linear regression. Results: Inequalities in the availability of health workers exist in India. Certain states are experiencing an acute shortage of health personnel. Inequalities in the distribution of health workers are highest for doctors and dentists and have a significant effect on health outcomes. Conclusion: Although the production of health workers has expanded greatly in recent years, the problems of imbalances in their distribution persist. As India seeks to achieve universal health coverage by 2020, the realization of this goal remains challenged by the current lack of availability and inequitable distribution of appropriately trained, motivated and supported health workers.
  - 22,415 2,505
Prevalence and predictors of hypertension among residents aged 20-59 years of a slum-resettlement colony in Delhi, India
Sanjeet Panesar, Sanjay Chaturvedi, NK Saini, Rajnish Avasthi, Abhishek Singh
April-June 2013, 2(2):83-87
DOI:10.4103/2224-3151.122937  PMID:28612764
Background: Slum-resettlement communities are increasingly adopting urban lifestyles. The aim of this study was to assess the prevalence and identify correlates of hypertension among residents aged 20-59 years of a slum-resettlement colony. Materials and Methods: A community-based cross-sectional study was done from 2010 to 2012 in NandNagri, a slum-resettlement area in east Delhi. 310 participants aged 20-59 years were enrolled through multistage systematic random sampling. Each study subject was interviewed and examined for raised blood pressure; data on risk factors including smoking, alcohol intake, physical activity and salt consumption were also collected. Data were analysed by use of univariate and multivariate regression. Results: The overall prevalence of hypertension was 17.4% and 35% participants were prehypertensive. On multiple logistic regression, age 40-49 years (P = 0.020) and 50-59 years (P = 0.012), clerical/professional occupation (P = 0.004), abnormal waist circumference (≥90 cm in males and ≥ 80 cm in females; P = 0.001), positive family history of hypertension in both parents (P = 0.013) and above-average daily salt intake (P = 0.000) were significantly associated with hypertension. Conclusions: These findings indicate that hypertension is a significant health problem in the study population. Many study participants diagnosed with prehypertension are at risk of developing hypertension, thus immediate public-health interventions are indicated.
  - 9,986 1,096
Risk factors for nonfatal drowning in children in rural Bangladesh: a community-based case-control study
Syed AHM Abdullah, Meerjady S Flora
April-June 2013, 2(2):88-95
DOI:10.4103/2224-3151.122939  PMID:28612765
Introduction: Most studies of drowning in Bangladeshi populations to date have described mortality and trends. We sought to identify associations between socioeconomic status and child-care practices and nonfatal drowning in rural Bangladeshi children. Materials and Methods: This community-based case-control study was conducted in rural children aged 1-5 years in Raiganj subdistrict of Bangladesh. 122 cases and 134 age-matched controls were recruited and their mothers were interviewed by use of a structured questionnaire. Univariate analyses and logistic regression were done to analyse the data. Results: Child nonfatal drowning was significantly associated with mothers: With low educational status (P < 0.001), of younger age (P < 0.005), of single status (P < 0.001) and with more than three children (P < 0.001). Nonfatal drowning was 12 and five times more likely in children of illiterate mothers than in children of mothers with academic knowledge equivalent to sixth to tenth grade (OR [95% CI] 0.08 [0.02-0.26]) and above tenth grade (OR [95% CI] 0.21 [0.04-0.95]) (P < 0.001), respectively. Low socioeconomic status, indicated by lower family expenditure (P < 0.001) and no house (P < 0.05; OR [95% CI] 0.58 [0.17-0.99]), were found to be risk factors for childhood nonfatal drowning. Improved child care, as measured by a child-care index, was associated with significantly lower non-fatal drowning (P < 0.001). Child care improved with higher educational attainment of mothers (P < 0.005) and increased socioeconomic status. Nonfatal drowning was more common when the main caregiver was not the mother (P < 0.001). Forward likelihood ratio logistic regression indicated mothers' lower educational status as the best predictor of nonfatal drowning. Conclusion: Better child care and prevention of nonfatal drowning might be ensured through increasing mothers' educational attainment and improvements in socioeconomic status.
  - 8,919 815
Choice of health-care facility after introduction of free essential health services in Nepal
Rajendra Karkee, Jhalka Kadariya
April-June 2013, 2(2):96-100
DOI:10.4103/2224-3151.122941  PMID:28612766
Background: Choice of health-care services depends on patients' characteristics and the features of health-care facilities available. In Nepal, a significant proportion of health care is provided through the private sector, despite the introduction of free essential health care for all citizens in 2008. We sought to determine whether people chose private or public facilities in the first instance for acute health problems. We also assessed the reasons for their choice. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional survey was done by use of a questionnaire administered to 400 household heads in Jhapa district, Nepal. Results: 272 (68%) respondents sought treatment from public health-care facilities in the first instance. On adjusted analysis, illiterate people were more likely to choose public facilities than people with higher secondary education (OR 5.47, P = 0.002). Similarly, lower-caste and religious-minority respondents were more likely to choose public facilities than disadvantaged janajati (OR 2.33, P = 0.01). Among respondents who used public facilities, 174 (64.0%) and 109 (40.0%) stated that that their choice was based on financial accessibility and physical accessibility, respectively. Among respondents who used private facilities, 65 (50.7%) and 54 (42.1%) said their choice was based on adequacy of resources/services and health-care delivery, respectively. Conclusion: A substantial portion of respondents used public health-care facilities in the first instance, mainly because of financial and physical accessibility rather than adequacy of resources or better health-care delivery. These results may indicate a positive impact of removal of user fees for public health-care facilities in Nepal, especially for impoverished people.
  - 11,791 1,058
Chronic disease management in the South-East Asia Region: a need to do more
Jayendra Sharma
April-June 2013, 2(2):79-82
DOI:10.4103/2224-3151.122935  PMID:28612763
Chronic diseases account for a substantial proportion of deaths in the South-East Asia Region, ranging from 34% in Timor-Leste to 79% in Maldives. Fuelled by the epidemiological shift towards noncommunicable diseases, the burden of chronic conditions is steadily increasing. Care structures for chronic diseases in most of these countries focus only on certain conditions and are often oriented towards episodic illnesses. An opportunity exists for holistic, country-driven applications of the World Health Organization Innovative Care for Chronic Conditions framework to improve quality of care for chronic conditions in the region.
  - 11,633 1,173
Prevention of vertical transmission of HIV in India through service integration: lessons from Mysore District, Karnataka
KS Nair, L. L. K. Piang, VK Tiwari, Sherin Raj, Deoki Nandan
April-June 2013, 2(2):121-127
DOI:10.4103/2224-3151.122949  PMID:28612771
Meeting the needs of HIV-positive pregnant women and their offspring is critical to India's political and financial commitment to achieving universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support. This review of the strategy to prevent vertical transmission of HIV in Mysore district, Karnataka, highlights the need to integrate prevention of parent-to-child transmission (PPTCT) and reproductive and child health (RCH) services. All key officials who were involved in the integration of services at the state and district levels were interviewed by use of semistructured protocols. Policy documents and guidelines issued by the Department of Health and Family Welfare and Karnataka State AIDS Prevention Society were reviewed, as were records and official orders issued by the office of District Health and Family Welfare Officer and District HIV/AIDS Programme Office, Mysore. Routine data were also collected from all health facilities. This review found that 4.5 years of PPTCT-RCH integration resulted not only in a rise in antenatal registrations but also in almost all pregnant women counselled during antenatal care undergoing HIV tests. Based on the findings, we propose recommendations for successful replication of this strategy. Integration of PPTCT services with RCH should take place at all levels − policy, administration, facility and community. The increased demand for HIV counselling and testing resulting from service integration must be met by skilled human resources, sufficient facilities and adequate funds at the facility level.
  - 7,593 446
A decade of public health achievements in WHO's South-East Asia Region

April-June 2013, 2(2):128-128
  - 8,938 564
Tsunami 2004: a comprehensive Analysis, Volume 1 and Volume 2

April-June 2013, 2(2):128-128
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Monitoring medicines use to support national medicines policy development and implementation in the Asia Pacific region
Elizabeth E Roughead, Karma Lhazeen, Engko Socialine, Salmah Bahri, Byong Joo Park, Kathleen Holloway
April-June 2013, 2(2):113-117
DOI:10.4103/2224-3151.122946  PMID:28612769
Critical to the successful implementation of a national medicines strategy is evaluation of the policy and ongoing monitoring of medicine use. Methods for monitoring medicines use within countries vary depending on the country and its stage of medicines policy development and implementation. In this paper, we provide four case studies on monitoring medicines use to support national medicines policy development and implementation. Cases come from Bhutan, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Republic of Korea.
  - 10,479 671
National policies for safety of medicines in the Asia Pacific region
Socorro Escalante, John McEwen
April-June 2013, 2(2):118-120
DOI:10.4103/2224-3151.122947  PMID:28612770
National medicines policies can aid the safe use of medicines by ensuring availability of quality products, appropriate information for prescribers and consumers, strengthening the national medicines regulatory capacity and improving access to expert advice and authoritative laboratory testing. We report the findings of a workshop on medicines safety, which focused on the Asia Pacific region. Participants noted that external support is needed for resource-poor countries and that national medicines policies should include surveillance on problems with medicines, rather than the more limited monitoring of adverse drug reactions. The latter approach may be the only sensible option in countries in the Asia Pacific with very small populations.
  - 7,279 426