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Scaling up proven innovative cervical cancer screening strategies: Challenges and opportunities in implementation at the population level in low- and lower-middle-income countries.
International Journal of Gynaecology and Obstetrics. 2017 Jul; 138 Suppl 1:63-68.The problem of cervical cancer in low- and lower-middle-income countries (LLMICs) is both urgent and important, and calls for governments to move beyond pilot testing to population-based screening approaches as quickly as possible. Experiences from Zambia, Bangladesh, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua, where scale-up of evidence-based screening strategies is taking place, may help other countries plan for large-scale implementation. These countries selected screening modalities recommended by the WHO that are within budgetary constraints, improve access for women, and reduce health system bottlenecks. In addition, some common elements such as political will and government investment have facilitated action in these diverse settings. There are several challenges for continued scale-up in these countries, including maintaining trained personnel, overcoming limited follow-up and treatment capacity, and implementing quality assurance measures. Countries considering scale-up should assess their readiness and conduct careful planning, taking into consideration potential obstacles. International organizations can catalyze action by helping governments overcome initial barriers to scale-up. (c) 2017 The Authors. International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics.
Development, updates, and future directions of the World Health Organization Selected Practice Recommendations for Contraceptive Use.
International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics. 2016 Dec 13; 7 p.Correct and consistent use of contraception decreases the risk of unintended pregnancy; yet, outdated policies or practices can delay initiation or hinder continuation of contraceptive methods. To promote the quality of, and access to, family planning services, WHO created a series of evidence-based guidance documents for family planning, known as WHO's Four Cornerstones of Family Planning Guidance. The Medical eligibility criteria for contraceptive use (MEC), first published in 1996, provides guidance on the safety of various contraceptive methods in users with specific health conditions or characteristics (i.e. who can use a contraceptive method safely). The Selected practice recommendations for contraceptive use (SPR) is the second cornerstone, outlining how to safely and effectively use contraceptive methods. These two documents can serve as a reference for policymakers and program managers as they develop their own national family planning policies in the context of local needs, values, and resources. The two other cornerstone documents -- the Decision making tool for family planning clients and providers and Family planning: a global handbook for providers -- provide guidance to healthcare providers for applying these recommendations in practice. Between 2013 and 2014, WHO convened a Guideline Development Group (GDG) to review and update the MEC and SPR in line with current evidence. As a result of these meetings, the fifth edition of the MEC was published in 2015, and the third edition of the SPR will be released on December 14, 2016. The purpose of the present report is to describe the methods used to develop the SPR recommendations, research gaps identified during the guideline development process, and future directions for the dissemination and implementation of the SPR among policymakers and family planning program managers worldwide. (excerpt)
Current Opinion In Obstetrics and Gynecology. 2015 Dec; 27(6):451-9.PURPOSE OF REVIEW: The purpose of this review is to revisit the inception of the WHO's medical eligibility criteria for contraceptive use (MEC), particularly its objectives and methodology, and to describe its impact over the last 20 years in the field of family planning. New recommendations are summarized from the newly released fifth edition of the guidance. RECENT FINDINGS: Fourteen topics, encompassing over 575 recommendations were reviewed for the MEC, fifth edition. New recommendations include: changes for combined hormonal contraceptive use among postpartum women; progestogen-only methods among breastfeeding women; and women at high risk for HIV infection, women living with HIV, and women living with HIV using antiretroviral therapy and hormonal contraception. New methods reviewed include subcutaneously administered depot medroxyprogesterone acetate, Sino-implant (II), ulipristal acetate, and progesterone-releasing vaginal ring. SUMMARY: Over the past 20 years, the MEC has become a remarkably influential document for practitioners and policy makers in family planning, as it provides up-to-date, evidence-based recommendations for contraceptive use for women with various medical conditions and medically relevant characteristics.
Lancet. 2013 May 18; 381(9879):1689.Although not to the same degree as in developing countries, maternal mortality remains a problem in the USA, especially among underserved populations. Pregnant women in the USA are affected by the same life-threatening health disorders as women worldwide: hypertension, hemorrhage, and sepsis, among others. The author discusses in a woman’s ability to obtain health insurance in the USA. The Affordable Care Act, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation have changed the way women access health services during pregnancy and enhanced prenatal care models. The author encourages that all parties assess the state of women’s health in their home countries, which includes both developing and developed countries.
Journal of Health Care Finance. 2010; 36(4):75-79.When the United Nations declared "health care for all" (at the conferences at Alma-Ata in 1978 and the Ottawa Charter in 1986),(1) the declarations were largely premature to impact the upcoming HIV/AIDS epidemic. These UN declarations still apply today, as multitudes of humanity continue to die from what amounts now to be a treatable chronic disease. Can the wealthier, industrialized countries stand by and watch the decimation of the populations of the developing world by HIV / AIDS? The global "health 9/10 gap," relates that only 10 percent of global heath resources go to developing countries - i.e., those having 90 percent of the poorest world populations. (2) The World Bank/World Health Organization has been at the forefront of providing resources for the global HIV/AIDS epidemic, (3) but for many countries of the developing world (especially Sub-Saharan Africa) it may be too little, too late. This work explores the application of an ecological model to global policy against HIV/AIDS, highlighting access to antiretroviral drugs (ARV). ARV distribution is constrained by patents and laws protecting the intellectual property rights of the international pharmaceutical corporations. In response to this situation, more questions arise. Will governments in the developing world invoke compulsory licensing (patent-breaking) in their negotiations with the international pharmaceutical corporations to provide medications against HIV/AIDS in their countries? Can international political and financial negotiations with these pharmaceutical corporations speed the growing push for a solution to this solvable crisis? The answers may lie in the "Brazilian model," that is a developing world government using all means available to provide ARV drugs for all its citizens with HIV/AIDS. The basis of this model includes negotiating with the pharmaceutical corporations over patent rights and importation of copied drugs from the Far East.
Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, FHI, 2008.  p.In order to help nonmenstruating clients safely initiate their method of choice, Family Health International (FHI) developed a simple checklist for use by family planning providers. Although originally the Pregnancy Checklist was developed for use by family planning providers, it can also be used by other health care providers who need to determine whether a client is not pregnant. For example, pharmacists may use this checklist when prescribing certain medications that should be avoided during pregnancy (e.g., certain antibiotics or anti-seizure drugs). The checklist is endorsed by the World Health Organization (WHO) and is based on criteria established by WHO for determining with reasonable certainty that a woman is not pregnant. Evaluation of the checklist in family planning clinics has demonstrated that the tool is very effective in correctly identifying women who are not pregnant. Furthermore, recent studies in Guatemala, Mali, and Senegal have shown that use of the checklist by family planning providers significantly reduced the proportion of clients being turned away due to menstrual status and improved women's access to contraceptive services.
Journal of Tropical Pediatrics. 2007 Jun; 53(3):147-149.Tuberculosis (TB) kills about 2 million adults and around 100 000 children every year. One-third of the world's population are currently infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis and many have active disease. In Europe TB emerged as a major disease in the latter part of the 14th century. The industrial revolution saw rapid growth of urban centres where overcrowding with poor living conditions provided ideal circumstances for the spread of the disease. Great impact was made by streptomycin and isoniazid, so that by the 1970s TB was no longer being considered a problem in the developed world. But beginning in the 1980s the number of new cases of TB in USA and across Europe rose sharply. The pattern was repeated in many countries and worldwide throughout the 1990s and into the new millennium. The incidence of TB climbed to over 9 million cases every year. In 1993 the World Health Organization (WHO) declared TB as a global emergency. During the 1990s multidrug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB), defined as resistance to at least isoniazid and rifampicin, emerged as a threat to TB control. MDR-TB requires the use of second line drugs that are less effective, more toxic and costlier. In a global survey of 17 690 TB isolates during 2000-04, 20% were MDR and 2% were extremely drug resistant (XDR). XDR-TB is defined as MDR plus resistance to any fluoroquinolones and at least one of three injectable second line drugs kanamycin and amikacin, or capreomycin or both. Currently one in ten new infections is resistant to at least one antituberculosis drug. (excerpt)
Washington, D.C., PAHO, 2003.  p.Around the world, efforts to reduce poverty and enhance development have had greater success where women and men have relatively equal opportunities. In much of Latin America, however, women’s low social status, poor health, and subordination to men persist. Governments in the region increasingly acknowledge the need to promote gender equity in health and other aspects of development, but the data to monitor disparities between men and women—and progress in closing the gaps—have not been readily available. This data sheet profiles gender differences in health and development in 48 countries in the Americas, focusing on women’s reproductive health, access to key health services, and major causes of death. Its objective is to raise awareness of gender inequities in the region and to promote the use of sex-disaggregated health statistics for policies and programs. This effort is consistent with the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals, adopted by 189 member countries at the UN Millennium Summit (2000), which focus on achieving measurable improvements in people’s lives, including greater gender equality. The data sheet also provides basic population and development indicators and information on other factors that influence health, including education, employment, political participation, and risk factors. Staff of the Pan American Health Organization and the Population Reference Bureau compiled this information using data from official national sources as well as data collected by specialized international agencies. (author's)
Prediction of community prevalence of human onchocerciasis in the Amazonian onchocerciasis focus: Bayesian approach. [Prévisions portant sur la prévalence communautaire de l'onchocercose humaine au niveau du foyer amazonien de l'onchocercose : approche bayésienne]
Bulletin of the World Health Organization. 2003 Jul; 81(7):482-490.Objective: To develop a Bayesian hierarchical model for human onchocerciasis with which to explore the factors that influence prevalence of microfilariae in the Amazonian focus of onchocerciasis and predict the probability of any community being at least mesoendemic (>20% prevalence of microfilariae), and thus in need of priority ivermectin treatment. Methods: Models were developed with data from 732 individuals aged515 years who lived in 29 Yanomami communities along four rivers of the south Venezuelan Orinoco basin. The models’ abilities to predict prevalences of microfilariae in communities were compared. The deviance information criterion, Bayesian P-values, and residual values were used to select the best model with an approximate cross-validation procedure. Findings: A three-level model that acknowledged clustering of infection within communities performed best, with host age and sex included at the individual level, a river-dependent altitude effect at the community level, and additional clustering of communities along rivers. This model correctly classified 25/29 (86%) villages with respect to their need for priority ivermectin treatment. Conclusion: Bayesian methods are a flexible and useful approach for public health research and control planning. Our model acknowledges the clustering of infection within communities, allows investigation of links between individual- or community-specific characteristics and infection, incorporates additional uncertainty due to missing covariate data, and informs policy decisions by predicting the probability that a new community is at least mesoendemic. (author's)
Lancet. 2003 May 31; 361(9372):1873.US Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson earlier outraged developing countries and activists by submitting a resolution stressing the need to “promote innovation in the field of public health by encouraging respect for strong intellectual property rights”. (excerpt)
The role of health centres in the development of urban health systems: report of a WHO Study Group on Primary Health Care in Urban Areas.
WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION TECHNICAL REPORT SERIES. 1992; (827):i-iv, 1-38.The WHO Study Group on Primary Health Care (PHC) in Urban Areas has written a report after examining the development of reference health centers in urban areas in various parts of the world. It considers such centers to be a potentially important way to improve urban health services. Reference health centers, with real roots in the community and good links to first level and referral level care, can address the problems of access to health care and intersectoral collaboration. Each center should be based on a general model, but its exact operation depends on local conditions and on a comprehensive situation analysis that considers social and financial factors and the level of organizational development. Each reference center should determine what needs to be done locally with local and national resources. Outside donors should only provide assistance for operational costs and a last resort. To plan services adequately, decision makers must define geographical catchment areas and travel times. These definitions must see to it that services integrate with each other vertically (with services at health post and hospital levels), and horizontally (with government, and nongovernmental, and community projects). A solid epidemiological understanding of major local health problems is essential for expanding PHC through reference health centers. This knowledge comes from an assessment of demographic, morbidity, mortality, and social data an evaluation of coverage of underserved and marginal groups. Reference health centers would be in an ideal position to gather and analyze these data. Innovative ways to obtain the resources for urban PHC are collection of user fees and close supportive links with universities and nongovernmental organizations. The Study Group looks at how reference health centers in Cali, Colombia; Manila, the Philippines; and Newark, New Jersey in the US, developed.
Washington, D.C., PAHO, Pan American Sanitary Bureau/Regional Office of the World Health Organization, 1985. xix, 265 p. (Official Document No. 201)Efforts to meet the goal of health for all by the year 2000 have been hampered by the internal and external problems faced by many countries of the Americas. The pressures of external debt have been accompanied by a reduction in the resources allocated to social sector programs, including health programs. In addition, the conflict in Central America has constrained solutions to subregional problems. The health sector suffers from uncoordinated services, lack of trained personnel, and waste. Thus 30-40% of the population do not have access to basic health services. In 1984, the governments in the region, together with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), undertook projects in 5 action areas: new approaches and technology, development, intra- and intersectoral linkages, joint activities by groups of countries, mobilization of national resources and external financing, and preparation of PAHO to meet the needs of these processes. New approaches include the expansion of epidemiological capabilities and practices, the use of low-cost infant survival strategies, the improvement of rural water supplies, and the development of domestic technology. Interorganizational linkages are aimed at eliminating duplication and filling in gaps. Ministers of health and directors of social security programs are working together to rationalize the health sector and extend coverage of services. Similarly, countries have grouped to deal with common problems and offer coordinated solutions. The mobilization of national resources involves shifting resources into the health field and increasing their efficiency and effectiveness by setting priorities. External resources are recommended if they supplement national efforts and are short-term in nature. In order to enhance these strategies, PAHO has increased the managerial and operating capacity of its central and field offices. This has required consolidating programs, retraining staff, and instituting information systems to monitor activities and budgets. The report summarizes health indicators and activities by country, for all nations under PAHO.