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Geneva, Switzerland, WHO, 2012.  p. (WHO/IER/HSI/12.1)WHO’s annual compilation of health-related data for its 194 Member States includes a summary of the progress made towards achieving the health-related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and associated targets. This year, it also includes highlight summaries on the topics of noncommunicable diseases, universal health coverage and civil registration coverage.
Obstetrics and Gynecology. 2008 Sep; 112(3):572-8.OBJECTIVE: To estimate how well a convenience sample of women from the general population could self-screen for contraindications to combined oral contraceptives using a medical checklist. METHODS: Women 18-49 years old (N=1,271) were recruited at two shopping malls and a flea market in El Paso, Texas, and asked first whether they thought birth control pills were medically safe for them. They then used a checklist to determine the presence of level 3 or 4 contraindications to combined oral contraceptives according to the World Health Organization Medical Eligibility Criteria. The women then were interviewed by a blinded nurse practitioner, who also measured blood pressure. RESULTS: The sensitivity of the unaided self-screen to detect true contraindications was 56.2% (95% confidence interval [CI] 51.7-60.6%), and specificity was 57.6% (95% CI 54.0-61.1%). The sensitivity of the checklist to detect true contraindications was 83.2% (95% CI 79.5-86.3%), and specificity was 88.8% (95% CI 86.3-90.9%). Using the checklist, 6.6% (95% CI 5.2-8.0%) of women incorrectly thought they were eligible for use when, in fact, they were contraindicated, largely because of unrecognized hypertension. Seven percent (95% CI 5.4-8.2%) of women incorrectly thought they were contraindicated when they truly were not, primarily because of misclassification of migraine headaches. In regression analysis, younger women, more educated women, and Spanish speakers were significantly more likely to correctly self-screen (P<.05). CONCLUSION: Self-screening for contraindications to oral contraceptives using a medical checklist is relatively accurate. Unaided screening is inaccurate and reflects common misperceptions about the safety of oral contraceptives. Over-the-counter provision of this method likely would be safe, especially for younger women and if independent blood pressure screening were encouraged.
Over-the-counter access, changing WHO guidelines, and contraindicated oral contraceptive use in Mexico.
Studies in Family Planning. 2006 Sep; 37(3):197-204.This study examines the prevalence of contraindications to the use of oral contraceptives in Mexico by sociodemographic characteristics and by whether this family planning method was obtained with or without a doctor's prescription. Using data on smoking behavior and blood-pressure measurements from the 2000 Mexican National Health Survey, the authors found that, under the 1996 World Health Organization (WHO) medical eligibility guidelines, the prevalence of contraindications is low and that no significant differences in contraindications exist at any level between those who obtain oral contraceptives at clinics and those who obtain them at pharmacies. In 2000, however, WHO substantially revised its criteria regarding the level of hypertension that would constitute a contraindication for oral contraceptive use. Applying the new guidelines, the authors found that 10 percent of pill users younger than 35 and 33 percent aged 35 and older have health conditions that are either relative or absolute (Category 3 or 4) contraindications. The relevance of these findings to the larger debate concerning screening and over-the-counter access to oral contraceptives is discussed. (author's)
[The practice guideline 'Hormonal contraception' (second revision) from the Dutch College of General Practitioners; a response from the perspective of obstetrics and gynecology] De standaard 'Hormonale anticonceptie' (tweede herziening) van het Nederlands Huisartsen Genootschap; reactie vanuit de verloskunde-gynaecologie.
Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde. 2004 Jun 26; 148(26):1274-1275.The Dutch College of General Practitioners' (NHG) guideline on hormonal contraception does not follow the WHO criteria for the use of oral contraceptives in contrast to the guideline of the Dutch Society of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. Contrary to the WHO criteria, the NHG guideline considers a blood-pressure measurement before starting with an oral contraceptive to be unnecessary. It also considers no form of migraine to be contraindication for oral contraceptives. The NHG guideline further disclaims the (slightly) increased risk of developing breast cancer in women using oral contraceptives. It advises initiation of oral-contraceptive use two weeks postpartum in non-breast-feeding women and six weeks postpartum in breastfeeding women, instead of the three weeks and six months, respectively, indicated in the WHO guideline. Lastly, the NHG guideline is too optimistic as to the reliability of oral-contraceptive use, as no distinction is made between efficacy and effectiveness. Such discrepancies between two Dutch guidelines can be detrimental to women's health care. The WHO criteria for contraceptive use may be a valuable tool to overcome differences of opinion to as to achieve a badly needed full consensus. (author's)
AMERICAN JOURNAL OF OBSTETRICS AND GYNECOLOGY. 1988 Jan; 158(1):80-3.The Maternal and Child Health Unit of the World Health Organization undertook a series of prospective studies in the early 1980s in Burma, China, Thailand, and Viet Nam to determine how much variation in the incidence of hypertensive disorders of pregnancy there was and how much of it reflected differences in baseline blood pressures. Pregnant women in 3 urban and 2 rural centers in Burma, a part of the city of Shanghai, 1 urban and 1 rural center in Thailand, and 1 urban and 2 rural centers in Viet Nam were enrolled. Each mother was given a card recording weight, signs of edema, proteinuria, and blood pressure with diastolic pressure based on the 4th Korotkoff sound. Gestation was calculated from the 1st day of the last menstrual period, and all the women were primigravidas. There was wide variation in the distribution of highest diastolic pressure before the onset of labor. The proportion of mothers whose diastolic pressure was greater than 89 mm mercury at any time during pregnancy varied from 33% in China to 26% in Thailand, 7% in Burma, and 5% in Viet Nam. There as very little variation in the numbers of mothers with proteinuria. China had the lowest rate of eclampsia but the highest prevalence of hypertensive disorders, presumably because preeclampsia was treated. Hypertensive disorders were diagnosed among 31% of Chinese women, 5% of Burmese women, and 1% of women in Viet Nam and Thailand. Blood pressure measurements were analyzed for each country by week of gestation, and the mean diastolic pressure in the 2nd trimester was constant across all 4 populations; the difference between the lowest and highest was only 3.5 mm mercury. Thereafter the differences increased, with the greatest increases in China and Thailand and very little increase in Burma and Viet Nam. The differences thus appear to be racial, but whether they are genetically or environmentally caused remains to be determined.
Geographical variation in the major risk factors of coronary heart disease in men and women aged 35-64 years.
WORLD HEALTH STATISTICS QUARTERLY/RAPPORT TRIMESTRIEL DE STATISTIQUES SANITAIRES MONDIALES. 1988; 41(3-4):115-40.This is an overview of the WHO MONICA project which was "designed to measure the trends in mortality and morbidity from coronary heart disease (CHD) and stroke, and to assess the extent to which they are related to changes in known risk factors in different populations in 27 countries. Risk-factor data are collected from population samples examined in at least two population surveys (one at the beginning of the study and the other at the end). The results of the baseline population surveys are presented." Risk factors considered include smoking, and blood pressure and cholesterol levels for men and women. (SUMMARY IN FRE) (EXCERPT)
Geneva, Switzerland, World Health Organization [WHO], Division of Family Health, Maternal Health and Safe Motherhood Programme, 1992. iii, 46 p. (WHO/MCH/MSM/92.3)WHO's Maternal Health and Safe Motherhood Programme has guidelines for health workers to detect early signs and symptoms of preeclampsia and to provide early treatment of mild preeclampsia to prevent severe preeclampsia. Health workers must take accurate blood pressure measurements, test for protein in urine, and identify substantial edema. This manual helps them determine when blood pressure equipment does not work accurately and know how to fix it. The manual covers all parts of the sphygmomanometer (blood pressure machine): the cuff, rubber bladder, the aneroid sphygmomanometer, stethoscope, and pump and control valve. Health workers should know that certain conditions elevate blood pressure in normal patients. They can alleviate them to obtain accurate blood pressure measurements. These conditions are fear, cold, full urinary bladder, exercise, tight clothes around the arm, obesity, standing up, and lying on the back. Health workers should place either the left or right arm on a table or on another object thereby allowing the muscles to relax. The upper arm needs to be at the same level of the heart. It is important that all levels of health workers be adequately trained in taking blood pressures correctly. Training should not occur in busy and noisy clinics. The trainer should use a double stethoscope to determine whether the trainees correctly identify the Korotkoff sounds. Health workers must feel pregnant women how to collect a midstream urine sample, free of vaginal secretions and discharges, so the health workers can test for protein in the urine. Its presence indicates kidney failure. Diagnosis of mild preeclampsia includes a blood pressure at least 140/90 mmHg or an increase of 30 mmHg systolic or 15 mmHg diastolic and at least 300 g/l protein in urine. In addition to these signs, sudden onset of edema of face and/or hands, severe headaches, great reduction of urine output, epigastric pain, visual disturbances, and reduced fetal movement are reliable signs of severe preeclampsia.
WOMEN'S GLOBAL NETWORK FOR REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS NEWSLETTER. 1991 Jul-Sep; (36):21-2.A meeting in Singapore of principal investigators from 7 countries in a WHO collaborative study on hypertensive disease of pregnancy, also called pre-eclampsia or eclampsia, pointed out women at risk, suggested management guidelines, and summarized operations research projects involving administration of aspirin or calcium supplements. Hypertensive disease of pregnancy may ultimately end in fatal seizures. It is often marked by warning signs of severe headaches and facial and peripheral edema. A survey in Jamaica found that 0.72% of a group of 10,000 pregnant women had eclamptic seizures. These were the cause of almost one-third of all obstetric deaths in the period 1981-1983. 10.4% of the pregnant women had hypertension, and half of these had proteinuria. Associated risk factors were primigravida, age >30, abnormal weight gain, edema, 1+ proteinuria. A phased program of management guidelines for identifying and treating affected women is being instituted in half of Jamaica's parishes. An operations research project involves administration of low-dose aspirin vs. placebo. Another controlled trial, in Peru, is testing calcium supplements. A third trial in Argentina will compare 2 drug regimens.
Multinational comparative clinical trial of long-acting injectable contraceptives: norethisterone enanthate given in two dosage regimens and depot-medroxyprogesterone acetate. A preliminary report.
Contraception. 1982 Jan; 25(1):1-11.A multicenter phase 3 clinical trial compared norethisterone enanthate (NET-EN) given by 2 different treatment regimens and depot-medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA). After 18 months of observation, preliminary findings are reported for 790 women who received NET-EN 200 mg every 60 days; for 796 women who recieved NET-EN every 60 days (200 mg) for 6 months, then 200 mg every 84 days, and for 1589 women who received DMPA 150 mg every 90 days. Overall discontinuation rates and discontinuation for bleeding and personal reasons were similar for all 3 groups after 18 months observation (61.8-63.5/100 women). Terminations due to amenorrhea were significantly higher among DMPA users (12.1 and 17.4/100 women at 12 and 18 months) than among both NET-EN groups (6.8-8.2/100 women at 12 months and 10.4-10.9/100 women at 18 months). The only significant difference in pregnancy rates observed among the 3 groups was a higher rate at 18 months among NET-EN (84 days) users (1.6/100 women), than among DMPA users (0.2/100 women). There was no overall significant difference between the 2 NET-EN groups, although between the 6 and 18 month follow-ups when the 2 NET-EN regimens diverged, the NET-EN (84 days) users' pregnancy rates rose significantly, whereas in the NET-EN (60 days) group, the pregnancy rate did not change. Weight gain was significantly higher in those subjects using NET-EN at 60 day intervals than at 84-day intervals. (author's modified)
In: Diczfalusy, E., ed. Regulation of human fertility. (Proceedings of the WHO Symposium on Advances in Fertility Regulation, Moscow, USSR, November 16-19, 1976) Copenhagen, Denmark, Scriptor, 1977. p. 253-282This review of combined oral contraceptive (OC) preparations presents formulations, pregnancy rates, biochemical parameter changes, morbidity, and OC indications in 15 tables. The OC preparations are based on 2 different estrogens and 14 progestagens. Though steroid content differs among products, all act primarily to inhibit ovulation by suppression of midcycle release of pituitary gonadotropins. Variable-dose products are associated with higher pregnancy rates than fixed-dose preparations. Side effects of OCs, while difficult to identify, fall into 2 categories: 1) common adverse associations similar to responses to inert placeboes; and 2) serious biochemical and physiological alterations. There is no evidence of any increase in morbidity due to OC use, whereas avoidance of risks associated with pregnancy is beneficial. No convincing evidence of carcinogenic hazard is presented. Some evidence of reduced systemic side effects by lower-dose products is presented, though gynecological side effects, such as irregular bleeding, may increase. Drug interaction with OCs is described; rifampicin causes the most serious of these. OCs induce wide-ranging metabolic changes in many organ systems. These may relate to undesirable side effects (psychological or neurological signs, skin disorders, and blood pressure changes).
Contraception. 1982 Mar; 25(3):231-41.A randomized, controlled, clinical trial comparing 6 combined oral contraceptives (OCs) with 50 mcg or less of ethinyl estradiol was undertaken in 10 WHO Collaborating Centers for Clinical Research in Human Reproduction. A total of 2430 women entered the trial and were observed for 28,077 woman-cycles. All low-dose combined OCs demonstrated equivalent efficacy with 1-year pregnancy rates of 1-6%. However, discontinuation rates for medical reasons differed significantly between the treatment groups with the preparation containing 20 mcg ethinyl estradiol and that containing 400 mcg norethisterone acetate being associated with higher discontinuation rates due to bleeding disturbances. Even among the preparations which did not differ in discontinuation rates, the reasons for discontinuation did differ. Women receiving norethisterone preparations tended to discontinue because of bleeding disturbances while those receiving the levonorgestrel-containing preparations tended to discontinue because of complaints of nausea and vomiting. (author's)