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Bulletin of the World Health Organization. 2005 Oct; 83(10):722-723.Health statistics, including both empirical data and estimates related to health such as mortality, morbidity, risk factors, health service coverage, and health systems, are the basis for every aspect of health planning. The demand for better health statistics is rapidly growing. More money is being spent on global health than ever, and donors are keen to know their return on investment. In the financial sector, credibility and accountability are everything. Why not in the health sector? Tracking progress towards the Millennium Development Goals and performance-based funding, are promoting greater demand. We cannot afford to continue “stumbling around in the dark” any longer. The supply side is not sitting still either. The Health Metrics Network, launched in May 2005, is a new international partnership that aims to improve health information at all levels primarily by strengthening health information systems in countries. The Ellison Institute, affiliated with Harvard University and expected to be launched in early 2006, will focus mainly on “improving world health through accountability.” There is now a great opportunity to improve both the quality and quantity of health statistics. The next key step for WHO is to better define its role among the rapidly proliferating health statistics constituency. (excerpt)
Transmission intensity index to monitor filariasis infection pressure in vectors for the evaluation of filariasis elimination programmes.
Tropical Medicine and International Health. 2003 Sep; 8(9):812-819.We conducted longitudinal studies on filariasis control in Villupuram district of Tamil Nadu, south India, between 1995 and 2000. Overall, 23 entomological (yearly) data sets were available from seven villages, on indoor resting collections [per man hour (PMH) density and transmission intensity index (TII)] and landing collections on human volunteers [PMH and annual transmission potential (ATP)]. All four indices decreased or increased hand-in-hand with interventions or withdrawal of inputs and remained at high levels without interventions under varied circumstances of experimental design. The correlation coefficients between parameters [PMH: resting vs. landing (r = 0.77); and TII vs. ATP (r = 0.81)] were highly significant (P < 0.001). The former indices from resting collections stand a chance of replacing the latter from landing collections in the evaluation of global filariasis elimination efforts. The TII would appear to serve the purpose of a parameter that can measure infection pressure per unit time in the immediate household surroundings of human beings and can reflect the success or otherwise of control/elimination efforts along with human infection parameters. Moreover, it will not pose any additional risk of new infection(s) and avoids infringement of human rights concerns by the experimental procedures of investigators, unlike ATP that poses such a risk to volunteers. (author's)
Epidemiology of measles in the central region of Ghana: a five-year case review in three district hospitals.
East African Medical Journal. 2003 Jun; 80(6):312-317.Objective: As part of a national accelerated campaign to eliminate measles, we conducted a study, to define the epidemiology of measles in the Central Region. Design: A descriptive survey was carried out on retrospective cases of measles. Setting: Patients were drawn from the three district hospitals (Assin, Asikuma and Winneba Hospitals) with the highest number of reported cases in the region. Subjects: Records of outpatient and inpatient measles patients attending the selected health facilities between 1996 and 2000. Data on reported measles eases in all health facilities in the three study, districts were also analysed. Main outcome measures: The distribution of measles eases in person (age and sex), time (weekly, or monthly, trends) anti place (residence), the relative frequency, of eases, and the outcome of treatment. Results: There was an overall decline in reported eases of measles between 1996 and 2000 both in absolute terms and relative to other diseases. Females constituted 48%- 52% of the reported 1508 eases in the hospitals. The median age of patients was 36 months. Eleven percent of eases were aged under nine months; 66% under five years and 96% under 15 years. With some minor variations between districts, the highest and lowest transmission occurred in March and September respectively. Within hospitals, there were sporadic outbreaks with up to 34 weekly eases. Conclusion: In Ghana, children aged nine months to 14 years could be appropriately targeted for supplementary, measles immunization campaigns. The best period for the campaigns is during the low transmission months of August to October. Retrospective surveillance can expediently inform decisions about the timing and target age groups for such campaigns. (author's)
ETHIOPIAN MIDWIVES MAGAZINE. 1995; (10):13.The Global Program on Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS), known as GPA, has established a new organization composed of several UN agencies (i.e., WHO, UNICEF, UNDP, UNESCO, UNDFP, and the World Bank). GPA estimates for human immunodeficiency infection (HIV) indicate an increase of 3 million over the last year. Over half of the new infections occurred in women. The sharpest rise has been in the number of AIDS cases; during the last 6 months, the estimated cumulative number has risen from 1 million to 4 million globally. Since the beginning of the pandemic, over 16 million men, women, and children have become infected with HIV. One in every 15 people infected is a child. Almost one-fourth of the total, about 4 million, have developed AIDS. The GPA Management Committee Meeting (GMC) in May released the following information: 1) every day 5000 more people are infected with HIV; 2) sub-Saharan Africa remains the most heavily affected with two-thirds of the total infections; 3) the epidemic is spreading most rapidly in India, Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia; 4) there has been an increase, from 30,000 to 250,000, in the number of AIDS cases in the past year in south and southeast Asia; and 5) prevalence rates as high as 25% among military recruits, and 8% among pregnant women, are being reported in parts of northern Thailand. Once the epidemics in African countries have matured, over two-thirds of the new infections occur in persons under 24 years of age; almost half of the new adult cases are women. Unless action is taken at least 30-40 million people will be infected by the end of the decade.