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Introduction: Emergency patients with decreased level of consciousness often undergo intubation purely for airway protection from aspiration. However, the true risk of aspiration is unclear and intubation poses risks. Anecdotally, experienced emergency physicians often defer intubation in these patients while others intubate to decrease the perceived clinical and medico-legal consequences. No literature exists on the intubation practices of emergency physicians in these cases. Methods: An online questionnaire was circulated to members of the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians. Participants were asked questions regarding two common clinical cases with decreased level of consciousness : (1) acute, uncomplicated alcohol intoxication and (2) acute, uncomplicated seizure. For each case, providers’ perceptions of aspiration risk, the standard of care, and the need for intubation were assessed. Results: 128 of the 1546 Canadian physicians contacted (8.3%) provided responses. Respondents had a median of 15 years of experience, 88% had CCFP-EM or FRCPC certification, and most worked in urban centers. When intubating, 98% agreed they were competent and 90% agreed they were well supported. A minority (17.4%) considered GCS < 8 an independent indication for intubation. For the alcohol intoxication case, 88% agreed that aspiration risk was present but only 11% agreed they commonly intubate. Only 17% agreed intubation was standard care, and only 0.8% felt their colleagues always intubate such patients. For the seizure case, 65% agreed aspiration risk existed but only 3% agreed they commonly intubate, 1% felt colleagues always intubated, and 5% agreed intubation was standard of care. Additional factors felt to compel intubation (394 total) and support non-intubation (366 total) were compiled and categorized; the most common themes emerging were objective evidence of emesis or aspiration, other standard indications for intubation, head trauma, co-ingestions, co-morbidities and clinical instability. Conclusion: It is acceptable and standard practice to avoid intubating a select subset of intoxicated and post-seizure emergency department patients despite aspiration risk. Most physicians do not view the dogma of “GCS 8, intubate” as an absolute indication for intubation in these patients. Future research is aimed at identifying key factors and evidence supporting intubation for the prevention of aspiration, as well as the development of a validated clinical decision rule for common emergency presentations.
Depressed patients tend to under-estimate their everyday memory function. Whether this under-estimation is related to the depressive state, or whether it represents underlying personality traits present also between or after depressive episodes, is not clear.
Comparisons of subjective memory evaluation as measured by the Everyday Memory Questionnaire (EMQ) were made between sub-groups with Current Depression (N=14), Previous Depression (N=19), and Healthy Controls (N=10). Analyses were adjusted for effects of sociodemographic variables, use of medication, and premorbid intellectual abilities (Similarities sub-test (WASI)). To assess the relationship between affective state and subjective memory function irrespective of actual memory performance, adjustment for objective memory performance as represented by the Total recall sub-task from CVLT and Long-delayed free recall from RCFT was included in a final step in the ANCOVA model.
The overall crude relationship between group and EMQ total score was significant (F(2,40)=4.11, p=0.011, eta sq.= .17). In posthoc follow-up tests, the Currently Depressed reported significantly lower on EMQ than both Previously Depressed and Controls (Dunnett's C test, p= .018 and p= .034, respectively). However, after adjustment for relevant confounders and mediators, both the Previously and Currently Depressed performed significantly worse on EMQ compared to Controls (overall ANCOVA F(2,33)=9.22, p= .001, eta sq.= .36; pairwise follow-ups p= .001 and p= .011, respectively).
Depressed patients’ under-estimation of their memory function is independent of mood state and it may represent a vulnerability or personality structure involving negative cognitive patterns that may be successfully targeted by cognitive therapy.
Wake therapy (sleep deprivation) is known to induce a rapid amelioration of depressive symptoms. Recently, techniques using bright light therapy and sleep time control have been developed to sustain the acute response of wake therapy.
The aim of this study was to establish the efficacy of these new methods and to control for the placebo response by incorporating an active control group.
Patients with an actual diagnosis of unipolar or bipolar major depression were randomized to either a wake group or an exercise group and followed for 9 weeks. All patient were treated with duloxetine 60 mg daily. After a one week medication run-in phase, all patient were admitted to an open ward for six days: The wake group had 3 wake nights during their stay in combination with daily bright light treatment and sleep time control and the exercise-group started their exercise program. Bright light and exercise were continued for the whole study period.
Patients in the wake group had a statistically significant larger improvement from immediately after wake therapy and maintained for the rest of the study period. At end of study the Wake group achieved a response / remission rate of 70.2 % and 45.6 %. The exercise group had a response/remission rate of 42.2 % and 23.1 %
The chronotherapeutic intervention induced a rapid and sustained response superior to the response seen in the exercise group.
Elevation of serum cortisol is found in many patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) and may be due to a chronic dysfunction in the feedback regulation in the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal axis. Saliva cortisol is a valid indicator of serum cortisol. The predictive value of saliva cortisol for remission of depressive symptomatology was investigated.
Saliva cortisol was measured in a sub-sample (N=19) with unipolar MDD according to DSM-IV. Mean score on the Montgomery Aasberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS) was 26.8 (standard deviation 3.7, range 22-32). At follow-up, two years later, mean MADRS was 13.6 (SD 10.7, range 0-37). In a linear regression model, saliva cortisol at baseline was entered as independent variable and MADRS-score at follow-up as dependent variable.
A significant correlation between the level of saliva cortisol at baseline and MADRS-score at follow-up was found (R=0.33, P=0.036). After adjustment for MADRS at baseline, the level of saliva cortisol explained 21% of the variance in MADRS at follow-up (P=0.018). After further adjustment for age, gender, and use of antidepressant medication, the model still produced significant results (R2=0.50, P=0.026).
Higher level of saliva cortisol is predictive of less improvement in depressive symptomatology over time in unipolar MDD. This finding is in line with a model in which higher secretion of cortisol is associated with a more chronic course in depression. It underlines the importance of biological correlates as predictors of outcome in psychiatric disorders.
To update current estimates of non–device-associated pneumonia (ND pneumonia) rates and their frequency relative to ventilator associated pneumonia (VAP), and identify risk factors for ND pneumonia.
Academic teaching hospital.
All adult hospitalizations between 2013 and 2017 were included. Pneumonia (device associated and non–device associated) were captured through comprehensive, hospital-wide active surveillance using CDC definitions and methodology.
From 2013 to 2017, there were 163,386 hospitalizations (97,485 unique patients) and 771 pneumonia cases (520 ND pneumonia and 191 VAP). The rate of ND pneumonia remained stable, with 4.15 and 4.54 ND pneumonia cases per 10,000 hospitalization days in 2013 and 2017 respectively (P = .65). In 2017, 74% of pneumonia cases were ND pneumonia. Male sex and increasing age we both associated with increased risk of ND pneumonia. Additionally, patients with chronic bronchitis or emphysema (hazard ratio [HR], 2.07; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.40–3.06), congestive heart failure (HR, 1.48; 95% CI, 1.07–2.05), or paralysis (HR, 1.72; 95% CI, 1.09–2.73) were also at increased risk, as were those who were immunosuppressed (HR, 1.54; 95% CI, 1.18–2.00) or in the ICU (HR, 1.49; 95% CI, 1.06–2.09). We did not detect a change in ND pneumonia risk with use of chlorhexidine mouthwash, total parenteral nutrition, all medications of interest, and prior ventilation.
The incidence rate of ND pneumonia did not change from 2013 to 2017, and 3 of 4 nosocomial pneumonia cases were non–device associated. Hospital infection prevention programs should consider expanding the scope of surveillance to include non-ventilated patients. Future research should continue to look for modifiable risk factors and should assess potential prevention strategies.
To update current estimates of non–device-associated urinary tract infection (ND-UTI) rates and their frequency relative to catheter-associated UTIs (CA-UTIs) and to identify risk factors for ND-UTIs.
Academic teaching hospital.
All adult hospitalizations between 2013 and 2017 were included. UTIs (device and non-device associated) were captured through comprehensive, hospital-wide active surveillance using Centers for Disease Control and Prevention case definitions and methodology.
From 2013 to 2017 there were 163,386 hospitalizations (97,485 unique patients) and 1,273 UTIs (715 ND-UTIs and 558 CA-UTIs). The rate of ND-UTIs remained stable, decreasing slightly from 6.14 to 5.57 ND-UTIs per 10,000 hospitalization days during the study period (P = .15). However, the proportion of UTIs that were non–device related increased from 52% to 72% (P < .0001). Female sex (hazard ratio [HR], 1.94; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.50–2.50) and increasing age were associated with increased ND-UTI risk. Additionally, the following conditions were associated with increased risk: peptic ulcer disease (HR, 2.25; 95% CI, 1.04–4.86), immunosuppression (HR, 1.48; 95% CI, 1.15–1.91), trauma admissions (HR, 1.36; 95% CI, 1.02–1.81), total parenteral nutrition (HR, 1.99; 95% CI, 1.35–2.94) and opioid use (HR, 1.62; 95% CI, 1.10–2.32). Urinary retention (HR, 1.41; 95% CI, 0.96–2.07), suprapubic catheterization (HR, 2.28; 95% CI, 0.88–5.91), and nephrostomy tubes (HR, 2.02; 95% CI, 0.83–4.93) may also increase risk, but estimates were imprecise.
Greater than 70% of UTIs are now non–device associated. Current targeted surveillance practices should be reconsidered in light of this changing landscape. We identified several modifiable risk factors for ND-UTIs, and future research should explore the impact of prevention strategies that target these factors.
There is limited evidence of the safety and impact of task-shared care for people with severe mental illnesses (SMI; psychotic disorders and bipolar disorder) in low-income countries. The aim of this study was to evaluate the safety and impact of a district-level plan for task-shared mental health care on 6 and 12-month clinical and social outcomes of people with SMI in rural southern Ethiopia.
In the Programme for Improving Mental health carE, we conducted an intervention cohort study. Trained primary healthcare (PHC) workers assessed community referrals, diagnosed SMI and initiated treatment, with independent research diagnostic assessments by psychiatric nurses. Primary outcomes were symptom severity and disability. Secondary outcomes included discrimination and restraint.
Almost all (94.5%) PHC worker diagnoses of SMI were verified by psychiatric nurses. All prescribing was within recommended dose limits. A total of 245 (81.7%) people with SMI were re-assessed at 12 months. Minimally adequate treatment was received by 29.8%. All clinical and social outcomes improved significantly. The impact on disability (standardised mean difference 0.50; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.35–0.65) was greater than impact on symptom severity (standardised mean difference 0.28; 95% CI 0.13–0.44). Being restrained in the previous 12 months reduced from 25.3 to 10.6%, and discrimination scores reduced significantly.
An integrated district level mental health care plan employing task-sharing safely addressed the large treatment gap for people with SMI in a rural, low-income country setting. Randomised controlled trials of differing models of task-shared care for people with SMI are warranted.
Introduction: September 2017 saw the launch of the British Columbia (BC) Emergency Medicine Network (EM Network), an innovative clinical network established to improve emergency care across the province. The intent of the EM Network is to support the delivery of evidence-informed, patient-centered care in all 108 Emergency Departments and Diagnostic & Treatment Centres in BC. After one year, the Network undertook a formative evaluation to guide its growth. Our objective is to describe the evaluation approach and early findings. Methods: The EM Network was evaluated on three levels: member demographics, online engagement and member perceptions of value and progress. For member demographics and online engagement, data were captured from member registration information on the Network's website, Google Analytics and Twitter Analytics. Membership feedback was sought through an online survey using a social network analysis tool, PARTNER (Program to Analyze, Record, and Track Networks to Enhance Relationships), and semi-structured individual interviews. This framework was developed based on literature recommendations in collaboration with Network members, including patient representatives. Results: There are currently 622 EM Network members from an eligible denominator of approximately 1400 physicians (44%). Seventy-three percent of the Emergency Departments and Diagnostic and Treatment Centres in BC currently have Network members, and since launch, the EM Network website has been accessed by 11,154 unique IP addresses. Online discussion forum use is low but growing, and Twitter following is high. There are currently 550 Twitter followers and an average of 27 ‘mentions’ of the Network by Twitter users per month. Member feedback through the survey and individual interviews indicates that the Network is respected and credible, but many remain unaware of its purpose and offerings. Conclusion: Our findings underscore that early evaluation is useful to identify development needs, and for the Network this includes increasing awareness and online dialogue. However, our results must be interpreted cautiously in such a young Network, and thus, we intend to re-evaluate regularly. Specific action recommendations from this baseline evaluation include: increasing face-to-face visits of targeted communities; maintaining or accelerating communication strategies to increase engagement; and providing new techniques that encourage member contributions in order to grow and improve content.
Direct measurement of individual animal dry matter intake (DMI) remains a fundamental challenge to assessing dairy feed efficiency (FE). Digesta marker, is currently the most used indirect technique for estimating DMI in production animals. In this meta-analysis we evaluated the performance of marker-based estimates against direct or observed measurements and developed equations for the prediction of FE (g energy-corrected milk (ECM)/kg DMI). Data were taken from 29 change-over studies consisting of 416 cow-within period observations. Most studies used more than one digesta marker. So, for each observed measurement of DMI, faecal dry matter output (FDMO) and apparent total tract dry matter digestibility (DMD), there was one or more corresponding marker estimate. There were 924, 409 and 846 observations for estimated FDMO (eFDMO), estimated apparent total tract DMD (eDMD) and estimated DMI (eDMI), respectively. The experimental diets were based mainly on grass silage, with soya bean or rapeseed meal as protein supplements and cereal grains or by-products as energy supplements. Across all diets, average forage to concentrate ratio on a dry matter (DM) basis was 59 : 41. Variance component and repeatability estimates of observed and marker estimations were determined using random factors in mixed procedures of SAS. Between-cow CV in observed FDMO, DMD and DMI was, 10.3, 1.69 and 8.04, respectively. Overall, the repeatability estimates of observed variables were greater than their corresponding marker-based estimates of repeatability. Regression of observed measurements on marker-based estimates gave good relationships (R2=0.87, 0.68, 0.74 and 0.74, relative prediction error =10.9%, 6.5%, 15.4% and 18.7%for FDMO, DMD, DMI and FE predictions, respectively). Despite this, the mean and slope biases were statistically significant (P<0.001) for all regressions. More than half of the errors in all regressions were due to mean and slope biases (52.4% 87.4%, 82.9% and 85.8% for FDMO, DMD, DMI and FE, respectively), whereas the contributions of random errors were small. Based on residual variance, the best model for predicting FE developed from the dataset was FE (g ECM/kg DMI)=1179(±54.1) +38.2(±2.05)×ECM(kg/day)−0.64(±0.051)×BW (kg)−75.6(±4.39)×eFDMO (kg/day). Although eDMD was positively related to FE, it only showed a tendency to reduce the residual variance. Despite inaccuracy in marker procedures, eFDMO from external markers provided a reliable determination for FE measurement. However, DMD estimated by internal markers did not improve prediction of FE, probably reflecting small variability.
A combination of intimate partner violence (IPV) and depression is a common feature of the perinatal period globally. Understanding this association can provide indications of how IPV can be addressed or prevented during pregnancy. This paper aims to determine the prevalence and correlates of IPV among pregnant low-income women with depressive symptoms in Khayelitsha, South Africa, and changes in IPV reports during the course of the perinatal period.
This study is a secondary analysis of data collected as part of a randomised controlled trial testing a psychosocial intervention for antenatal depression. IPV, socio-demographic measures, depression and other mental health measures were collected at recruitment (first antenatal visit), 8 months gestation, and 3 and 12 months postpartum. IPV was defined as a sexual or physical violence perpetrated by the participant's partner in the past 3 months. Descriptive statistics are reported.
Of 425 recruited depressed participants, 59 (13.9%) reported IPV at baseline, with physical IPV being the most frequently reported (69.5%). Reported IPV was associated with greater emotional distress, potentially higher food insecurity and higher rates of alcohol abuse. There were clear longitudinal trends in reported IPV with the majority of women no longer reporting IPV postpartum. However, some women reported IPV at later assessment points after not reporting IPV at baseline.
There is a strong association between IPV and depression in pregnancy. IPV reports remit over time for the women in this study, although the reason for this reduction is not clear and requires further investigation.
The treatment gap between the number of people with mental disorders and the number treated represents a major public health challenge. We examine this gap by socio-economic status (SES; indicated by family income and respondent education) and service sector in a cross-national analysis of community epidemiological survey data.
Data come from 16 753 respondents with 12-month DSM-IV disorders from community surveys in 25 countries in the WHO World Mental Health Survey Initiative. DSM-IV anxiety, mood, or substance disorders and treatment of these disorders were assessed with the WHO Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI).
Only 13.7% of 12-month DSM-IV/CIDI cases in lower-middle-income countries, 22.0% in upper-middle-income countries, and 36.8% in high-income countries received treatment. Highest-SES respondents were somewhat more likely to receive treatment, but this was true mostly for specialty mental health treatment, where the association was positive with education (highest treatment among respondents with the highest education and a weak association of education with treatment among other respondents) but non-monotonic with income (somewhat lower treatment rates among middle-income respondents and equivalent among those with high and low incomes).
The modest, but nonetheless stronger, an association of education than income with treatment raises questions about a financial barriers interpretation of the inverse association of SES with treatment, although future within-country analyses that consider contextual factors might document other important specifications. While beyond the scope of this report, such an expanded analysis could have important implications for designing interventions aimed at increasing mental disorder treatment among socio-economically disadvantaged people.
We investigated the frequency and determinants of guideline-discordant antibiotic prescribing in outpatients with respiratory infections or cystitis. Antibiotic prescribing was guideline discordant in 60% of patients. The most common reason for discordance was prescribing an antibiotic when not indicated. In a multivariate analysis, physicians in training had the highest likelihood of guideline-concordant antibiotic prescribing.
An investigation of stillbirth and early neonatal lamb mortality was conducted in sheep flocks in Norway. Knowledge of actual causes of death are important to aid the interpretation of results obtained during studies assessing the risk factors for lamb mortality, and when tailoring preventive measures at the flock, ewe and individual lamb level. This paper reports on the postmortem findings in 270 liveborn lambs that died during the first 5 days after birth. The lambs were from 17 flocks in six counties. A total of 27% died within 3 h after birth, 41% within 24 h and 80% within 2 days. Most lambs (62%) were from triplet or higher order litters. In 81% of twin and larger litters, only one lamb died. The most frequently identified cause of neonatal death was infectious disease (n=97, 36%); 48% (n=47) of these died from septicaemia, 25% (n=24) from pneumonia, 22% (n=21) from gastrointestinal infections and 5% (n=5) from other infections. Escherichia coli accounted for 65% of the septicaemic cases, and were the most common causal agent obtained from all cases of infection (41%). In total, 14% of neonatal deaths resulted from infection by this bacterium. Traumatic lesions were the primary cause of death in 20% (n=53) of the lambs. A total of 46% of these died within 3 h after birth and 66% within 24 h. Severe congenital malformations were found in 10% (n=27) of the lambs, whereas starvation with no concurrent lesions was the cause of death in 6% (n=17). In 16% (n=43) of the lambs, no specific cause of death was identified, lambs from triplet and higher order litters being overrepresented among these cases. In this study, the main causes of neonatal lamb mortality were infection and traumatic lesions. Most neonatal deaths occurred shortly after birth, suggesting that events related to lambing and the immediate post-lambing period are critical for lamb survival.
The science underpinning mass-gathering health (MGH) is developing rapidly. However, MGH terminology and concepts are not yet well defined or used consistently. These variations can complicate comparisons across settings. There is, therefore, a need to develop consensus and standardize concepts and data points to support the development of a robust MGH evidence-base for governments, event planners, responders, and researchers. This project explored the views and sought consensus of international MGH experts on previously published concepts around MGH to inform the development of a transnational minimum data set (MDS) with an accompanying data dictionary (DD).
A two-round Delphi process was undertaken involving volunteers from the World Health Organization (WHO) Virtual Interdisciplinary Advisory Group (VIAG) on Mass Gatherings (MGs) and the MG section of the World Association for Disaster and Emergency Medicine (WADEM). The first online survey tested agreement on six key concepts: (1) using the term “MG HEALTH;” (2) purposes of the proposed MDS and DD; (3) event phases; (4) two MG population models; (5) a MGH conceptual diagram; and (6) a data matrix for organizing MGH data elements. Consensus was defined as ≥80% agreement. Round 2 presented five refined MGH principles based on Round 1 input that was analyzed using descriptive statistics and content analysis. Thirty-eight participants started Round 1 with 36 completing the survey and 24 (65% of 36) completing Round 2. Agreement was reached on: the term “MGH” (n=35/38; 92%); the stated purposes for the MDS (n=38/38; 100%); the two MG population models (n=31/36; 86% and n=30/36; 83%, respectively); and the event phases (n=34/36; 94%). Consensus was not achieved on the overall conceptual MGH diagram (n=25/37; 67%) and the proposed matrix to organize data elements (n=28/37; 77%). In Round 2, agreement was reached on all the proposed principles and revisions, except on the MGH diagram (n=18/24; 75%).
Event health stakeholders require sound data upon which to build a robust MGH evidence-base. The move towards standardization of data points and/or reporting items of interest will strengthen the development of such an evidence-base from which governments, researchers, clinicians, and event planners could benefit. There is substantial agreement on some broad concepts underlying MGH amongst an international group of MG experts. Refinement is needed regarding an overall conceptual diagram and proposed matrix for organizing data elements.
SteenkampM, HuttonAE, RanseJC, LundA, TurrisSA, BowlesR, ArbuthnottK, ArbonPA. Exploring International Views on Key Concepts for Mass-gathering Health through a Delphi Process. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2016;31(4):443–453.
There remains a large disparity in the quantity, quality and impact of mental health research carried out in sub-Saharan Africa, relative to both the burden and the amount of research carried out in other regions. We lack evidence on the capacity-building activities that are effective in achieving desired aims and appropriate methodologies for evaluating success.
AFFIRM was an NIMH-funded hub project including a capacity-building program with three components open to participants across six countries: (a) fellowships for an M.Phil. program; (b) funding for Ph.D. students conducting research nested within AFFIRM trials; (c) short courses in specialist research skills. We present findings on progression and outputs from the M.Phil. and Ph.D. programs, self-perceived impact of short courses, qualitative data on student experience, and reflections on experiences and lessons learnt from AFFIRM consortium members.
AFFIRM delivered funded research training opportunities to 25 mental health professionals, 90 researchers and five Ph.D. students across 6 countries over a period of 5 years. A number of challenges were identified and suggestions for improving the capacity-building activities explored.
Having protected time for research is a barrier to carrying out research activities for busy clinicians. Funders could support sustainability of capacity-building initiatives through funds for travel and study leave. Adoption of a train-the-trainers model for specialist skills training and strategies for improving the rigor of evaluation of capacity-building activities should be considered.
There is a dearth of information on how to scale-up evidence-based psychological interventions, particularly within the context of existing HIV programs. This paper describes a strategy for the scale-up of an intervention delivered by lay health workers (LHWs) to 60 primary health care facilities in Zimbabwe.
A mixed methods approach was utilized as follows: (1) needs assessment using a semi-structured questionnaire to obtain information from nurses (n = 48) and focus group discussions with District Health Promoters (n = 12) to identify key priority areas; (2) skills assessment to identify core competencies and current gaps of LHWs (n = 300) employed in the 60 clinics; (3) consultation workshops (n = 2) with key stakeholders to determine referral pathways; and (4) in-depth interviews and consultations to determine funding mechanisms for the scale-up.
Five cross-cutting issues were identified as critical and needing to be addressed for a successful scale-up. These included: the lack of training in mental health, unavailability of psychiatric drugs, depleted clinical staff levels, unavailability of time for counseling, and poor and unreliable referral systems for people suffering with depression. Consensus was reached by stakeholders on supervision and support structure to address the cross-cutting issues described above and funding was successfully secured for the scale-up.
Key requirements for success included early buy-in from key stakeholders, extensive consultation at each point of the scale-up journey, financial support both locally and externally, and a coherent sustainability plan endorsed by both government and private sectors.
Approximately 75% of suicides occur in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) where rates of poverty are high. Evidence suggests a relationship between economic variables and suicidal behaviour. To plan effective suicide prevention interventions in LMICs we need to understand the relationship between poverty and suicidal behaviour and how contextual factors may mediate this relationship. We conducted a systematic mapping of the English literature on poverty and suicidal behaviour in LMICs, to provide an overview of what is known about this topic, highlight gaps in literature, and consider the implications of current knowledge for research and policy. Eleven databases were searched using a combination of key words for suicidal ideation and behaviours, poverty and LMICs to identify articles published in English between January 2004 and April 2014. Narrative analysis was performed for the 84 studies meeting inclusion criteria. Most English studies in this area come from South Asia and Middle, East and North Africa, with a relative dearth of studies from countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. Most of the available evidence comes from upper middle-income countries; only 6% of studies come from low-income countries. Most studies focused on poverty measures such as unemployment and economic status, while neglecting dimensions such as debt, relative and absolute poverty, and support from welfare systems. Most studies are conducted within a risk-factor paradigm and employ descriptive statistics thus providing little insight into the nature of the relationship. More robust evidence is needed in this area, with theory-driven studies focussing on a wider range of poverty dimensions, and employing more sophisticated statistical methods.
There is limited evidence on the acceptability, feasibility and cost-effectiveness of task-sharing interventions to narrow the treatment gap for mental disorders in sub-Saharan Africa. The purpose of this article is to describe the rationale, aims and methods of the Africa Focus on Intervention Research for Mental health (AFFIRM) collaborative research hub. AFFIRM is investigating strategies for narrowing the treatment gap for mental disorders in sub-Saharan Africa in four areas. First, it is assessing the feasibility, acceptability and cost-effectiveness of task-sharing interventions by conducting randomised controlled trials in Ethiopia and South Africa. The AFFIRM Task-sharing for the Care of Severe mental disorders (TaSCS) trial in Ethiopia aims to determine the acceptability, affordability, effectiveness and sustainability of mental health care for people with severe mental disorder delivered by trained and supervised non-specialist, primary health care workers compared with an existing psychiatric nurse-led service. The AFFIRM trial in South Africa aims to determine the cost-effectiveness of a task-sharing counselling intervention for maternal depression, delivered by non-specialist community health workers, and to examine factors influencing the implementation of the intervention and future scale up. Second, AFFIRM is building individual and institutional capacity for intervention research in sub-Saharan Africa by providing fellowship and mentorship programmes for candidates in Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Uganda and Zimbabwe. Each year five Fellowships are awarded (one to each country) to attend the MPhil in Public Mental Health, a joint postgraduate programme at the University of Cape Town and Stellenbosch University. AFFIRM also offers short courses in intervention research, and supports PhD students attached to the trials in Ethiopia and South Africa. Third, AFFIRM is collaborating with other regional National Institute of Mental Health funded hubs in Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa and south Asia, by designing and executing shared research projects related to task-sharing and narrowing the treatment gap. Finally, it is establishing a network of collaboration between researchers, non-governmental organisations and government agencies that facilitates the translation of research knowledge into policy and practice. This article describes the developmental process of this multi-site approach, and provides a narrative of challenges and opportunities that have arisen during the early phases. Crucial to the long-term sustainability of this work is the nurturing and sustaining of partnerships between African mental health researchers, policy makers, practitioners and international collaborators.
Nearly 10% of the world's total forest area is formally owned by communities and indigenous groups, yet knowledge of the effects of decentralized forest management approaches on conservation (and livelihood) impacts remains elusive. In this paper, the conservation impact of decentralized forest management on two forests in Tanzania was evaluated using a mixed method approach. Current forest condition, forest increment and forest use patterns were assessed through forest inventories, and changes in forest disturbance levels before and after the implementation of decentralized forest management were assessed on the basis of analyses of Landsat images. This biophysical evidence was then linked to changes in actual management practices, assessed through records, interviews and participatory observations, to provide a measure of the conservation impact of the policy change. Both forests in the study were found to be in good condition, and extraction was lower than overall forest increment. Divergent changes in forest disturbance levels were in evidence following the implementation of decentralized forest management. The evidence from records, interviews and participatory observations indicated that decentralized management had led to increased control of forest use and the observed divergence in forest disturbance levels appeared to be linked to differences in the way that village-level forest managers prioritized conservation objectives and forest-based livelihood strategies. The study illustrates that a mixed methods approach comprises a valid and promising way to evaluate impacts of conservation policies, even in the absence of control sites. By carefully linking policy outcomes to policy outputs, such an approach not only identifies whether such policies work as intended, but also potential mechanisms.
The Ultra-Fast Flash Observatory (UFFO), which will be launched onboard the
Lomonosov spacecraft, contains two crucial instruments: UFFO Burst
Alert & Trigger Telescope (UBAT) for detection and localization of Gamma-Ray Bursts
(GRBs) and the fast-response Slewing Mirror Telescope (SMT) designed for the observation
of the prompt optical/UV counterparts. Here we discuss the in-space calibrations of the
UBAT detector and SMT telescope. After the launch, the observations of the standard X-ray
sources such as pulsar in Crab nebula will provide data for necessary calibrations of
UBAT. Several standard stars will be used for the photometric calibration of SMT. The
celestial X-ray sources, e.g. X-ray binaries with bright optical sources
in their close angular vicinity will serve for the cross-calibration of UBAT and SMT.