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The efficacy is measured for a public health intervention related to community-based planning for population protection measures (PPMs; ie, shelter-in-place and evacuation).
This is a mixed (qualitative and quantitative) prospective study of intervention efficacy, measured in terms of usability related to effectiveness, efficiency, satisfaction, and degree of community engagement.
Two municipalities in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico are included.
Community members consisting of individuals; traditional leaders; federal, territorial, and municipal emergency managers; municipal mayors; National Guard; territorial departments of education, health, housing, public works, and transportation; health care; police; Emergency Medical Services; faith-based organizations; nongovernmental organizations (NGOs); and the private sector.
The intervention included four community convenings: one for risk communication; two for plan-writing; and one tabletop exercise (TTX). This study analyzed data collected from the project work plan; participant rosters; participant surveys; workshop outputs; and focus group interviews.
Main Outcome Measures:
Efficacy was measured in terms of ISO 9241-11, an international standard for usability that includes effectiveness, efficiency, user satisfaction, and “freedom from risk” among users. Degree of engagement was considered an indicator of “freedom from risk,” measurable through workshop attendance.
Two separate communities drafted and exercised ~60-page-long population protection plans, each within 14.5 hours. Plan-writing workshops completed 100% of plan objectives and activities. Efficiency rates were nearly the same in both communities. Interviews and surveys indicated high degrees of community satisfaction. Engagement was consistent among community members and variable among governmental officials.
Frontline communities have successfully demonstrated the ability to understand the environmental health hazards in their own community; rapidly write consensus-based plans for PPMs; participate in an objective-based TTX; and perform these activities in a bi-lingual setting. This intervention appears to be efficacious for public use in the rapid development of community-based PPMs.
We report on what appear to be increasing predation events on nesting Thick-billed Parrots Rhychopsitta pachyrhyncha. Thick-billed Parrots are classified as ‘Endangered’ and their seasonal breeding range is restricted to increasingly fragmented and degraded high elevation mixed conifer forest habitat within the Sierra Madre Occidental region of north-western Mexico. Predation of established breeding pairs has recently contributed to the ongoing decline of Thick-billed Parrot populations by removing mature birds with high reproductive value, which has associated consequences for future recruitment. We observed increasing predation events on nesting Thick-billed Parrots by bobcats Lynx rufus accompanied by kittens throughout the 2018–2019 breeding seasons, and we speculate that recent reductions in bobcat habitat have pushed them into new ranges where they are supplementing their diet with nontraditional prey items.
In Brazil, hospital-based health technology assessment (HB-HTA) units have been implemented countrywide since early 2000 to improve decision-making processes. Multiple-criteria decision analysis (MCDA) can provide a deeper understanding of a given subject. The present study used MCDA to evaluate capacity building among HB-HTA units in Brazil.
This study analyzed preliminary data from a survey developed and sent to all HB-HTA units in Brazil in 2018. The survey comprised 116 questions covering a wide range of aspects. Initially, an expert panel was organized, and 46 objective questions (out of 116) were selected by four experts. Next, these experts classified the selected questions by weighting them according to their relative importance. A Likert scale was used to identify the levels of importance, which were converted to weights ranging from zero to one. The experts then defined a final importance score threshold of 60 percent to classify units as fully operational. Grades below this threshold indicated the need for a more detailed evaluation. Of the 80 survey questionnaires, 23 were evaluated by the proposed method.
Importance weights for each classification were defined as follows: personnel (25%); level of expertise (31%); work production (31%); and infrastructure (13%). The mean final importance score for the HB-HTA units was 68 percent. The maximum and minimum scores achieved were 95 percent and 15 percent, respectively. The HB-HTA units had been established for an average of 6 years, and ten of the 23 units were classified as fully operational.
The multicriteria method presented by this study simplified HB-HTA unit evaluation, reducing the subjectivity of results. Final importance scores for each unit's categories indicated which areas need improvement. Results from the study indicated that infrastructure and personnel could be greatly enhanced, even though the production profile was satisfactory.
Since 2007, 23 Núcleos de Avaliação de Tecnologias em Saúde or hospital-based health technology assessment (HB-HTA) units have been established in teaching hospitals across Brazil. These units aim to promote the development of health technology assessment in hospitals, assisting the decision-making process for implementing new technologies and evaluating and promoting the rational use of widespread technologies.
An online questionnaire was sent by e-mail to all HB-HTA units registered in the Brazilian Network for Evaluation of Health Technologies. Information was acquired to comprehensively assess the activity of the units.
All 23 HB-HTA units answered the questionnaire. Of these, 65 percent had a technology prioritization process. The technologies assessed included drug therapies (73%), equipment (64%), medical devices (64%), clinical protocols (46%), and emerging technologies (27%). The dimensions of health technology assessment (HTA) evaluated by these organizations were: efficacy (76%); effectiveness (67%); safety (67%); costs (52%); cost effectiveness or cost utility (52%); and budget impact (43%). The hospital departments that required more HTA studies were: cardiology (50%); infectious diseases (45%); hospital management (45%); oncology (40%); surgery (40%); and endocrinology (20%). HTA studies supported: incorporation of new technologies (81%); protocol or guideline development (57%); new indications for already approved technologies (38%); and withdrawal of obsolete technologies (29%). Half of the institutions also conducted educational or training activities. The main difficulties reported were a lack of trained professionals (78%), funding (70%), and material resources (48%).
For low- and middle-income countries, the process of implementing HB-HTA units remains a challenge. Even though human resources and funding are scarce, HB-HTA units continue to develop. Given their importance in the decision-making process, it is imperative that every effort is made to ensure their activities continue.
Understanding the consequences of environmental fluctuations for parasite dynamics requires a long-term view stretching over many transmission cycles. Here we studied the dynamics of three malaria parasites (Plasmodium azurophilum, P. leucocytica and P. floridense) infecting the lizard Anolis gundlachi, in the rainforest of Puerto Rico. In this malaria–anole system we evaluated temporal fluctuations in individual probability of infection, the environmental drivers of observed variation and consequences for host body condition and Plasmodium parasites assemblage. We conducted a total of 15 surveys including 10 from 1990 to 2002 and five from 2015 to 2017. During the early years, a lizard's probability of infection by all Plasmodium species appeared stable despite disturbances ranging from two hurricanes to short droughts. Over a longer timescale, probability of infection and overall prevalence varied significantly, following non-linear relationships with temperature and rainfall such that highest prevalence is expected at intermediate climate measures. A perplexing result was that host body condition was maximized at intermediate levels of rainfall and/or temperature (when risk of infection was highest), yet we found no significant decreases in body condition due to infection. Plasmodium parasite species composition varied through time with a reduction and near local extinction of P. floridense. Our results emphasize the need for long-term studies to reveal host–parasite dynamics, their drivers and consequences.
The aim of this study was to develop and to assess a specific Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA) framework to evaluate new drugs in an hospital pharmacy and therapeutics committee (P&TC) setting.
A pilot criteria framework was developed based on the EVIDEM (Evidence and Value: Impact on DEcisionMaking) framework, together with other relevant criteria, and assessed by a group of P&TC's members. The weighting of included criteria was done using a 5-point weighting technique. Two drugs were chosen by evaluation: an orphan-drug for Gaucher disease, and a nonorphan drug for the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease. Evidence matrices were developed, and value contribution of each drug was evaluated by P&TC's members. An agreed final framework was obtained through a discussion between the P&TC's members.
After criteria assessment, the pilot framework included eight quantitative criteria: “disease severity,” “unmet needs,” “comparative efficacy/effectiveness,” “comparative safety/tolerability,” “comparative patient-reported outcomes,” “comparative cost consequences-cost of treatment,” “comparative cost consequences-other medical costs,” and “quality of evidence”; and one contextual criterion: “opportunity costs and affordability.” The most valued criteria were: “comparative safety/tolerability,” “disease severity,” and “comparative efficacy/effectiveness.” When assessing the drugs most valued characteristics of the MCDA were the possibility that all team may contribute to drug assessment by means of scoring the matrices and the discussion to reach a consensus in drug positioning and value decision making.
The reflective MCDA would integrate quantitative and qualitative criteria relevant for a P&TC setting, allowing reflective discussions based on the criteria weighting score.
Chagas disease (ChD), also known as American trypanosomiasis, is a neglected tropical disease caused by the protozoan parasite Trypanosoma cruzi. About 6 to 7 million people worldwide are estimated to be infected, most in Latin America. Health-related quality of life (HRQoL) and utility measures are still poorly employed for assessment of ChD lifetime impairments. Brazilian HRQoL published data showed that the cardiac subgroup of patients have worse scores than other ChD chronic groups. For the time being, utility scores are not available yet for the ChD population. The present study aims to assess quality of life (QoL), as utility scores, of patients with chronic Chagas Disease.
This is a cross-sectional study. Data were collected from 183 outpatients with chronic ChD in a reference center in Brazil. Information pertaining to sociodemographics, clinical status, and quality of life were collected using self-administered questionnaires. Utilities were obtained by the European Quality of Life – 5 Dimensions (EQ-5D) questionnaire. Comparisons were made between clinical subtypes and population normative values. Continuous variables were compared using t-test or ANOVA, and categorical variables were compared using Chi-square test. Associations between QoL and patient characteristics stratified by demographics, clinical status were identified by linear regression models.
Most subjects were female (61 percent). The average age of men was 53.3 years and women 56.6. When analyzing the EQ-5D utility scores, it was observed that the results were lower for cardiac patients (0.610–95% CI 0.582–0.638) in comparison to indeterminate form patients (0.659–0.632–0.687). When comparing patients with the general population of the same age and sex, patients with ChD showed lower utility scores than normative values (0.624–95% CI 0.596–0.652).
Chronic ChD causes a negative impact on quality of life, physical functioning, as well as psychosocial function, with the impairment becoming worse in cardiac patients.
This work presents a study of the chemical structure, morphology, electromagnetic absorption and electric conductivity of thin films. The electrochemical synthesis of polypyrrole/surfactant (PPy/SDS) films doped with iodine is carried out by glow discharge plasma in aqueous solution, at different reaction times. The morphology shows agglomerations of particles dispersed in the surface. Infrared spectroscopic analysis shows absorption on the wavenumbers 2915,2362 and 2082 cm-1 corresponding to chemical groups C-H, C=O and R/N=C=S, respectively. The electromagnetic absorption had higher response sensitivity between 340 to 800 nm in the visible region, and the electric conductivity of samples oscillated between 5.0x10-6 and 2.0x10-5 S/cm. The thickness films significantly increased when doping with iodine, reaching values up to 50 μm.
Among the more emphasised aspects of the Atlantic history are the mobility of ideas and goods but also the endless movement of peoples that linked the margins of the ocean and gave the Atlantic basin an indisputable cohesion. Within the theoretical framework of the subfield of Atlantic history, this study addresses the way the imperial perceptions shaped the migratory patterns of the Portuguese Atlantic, notably the transoceanic behaviour of the men who volunteered to defend its scattered territories. During a particularly difficult period in the mid-seventeenth century, the hierarchical ambiguities of Portuguese empire and its religiously charged military thought, in conjunction with the prevalent political culture of service, promoted a constant back and forth across the ocean that revealed the conceptual unity of the Portuguese Atlantic world. For these men, for a while, there were no alluring centres and unappealing peripheries; the Atlantic was conceived of as a wide circulation space essentially free from mental or emotional prejudices.
Chagas disease, caused by the protozoan parasite Trypanosoma cruzi, is a neglected chronic condition with a high burden of morbidity and mortality. It affects about 6 million people in twenty-one countries of Latin America, and has recently become a global health concern (1), especially due to immigration from endemic areas into the developed world. Cardiac arrhythmias are common in patients with Chagas cardiomyopathy and amiodarone has been widely used as an antiarrhythmic drug. Amiodarone has been recommended as the treatment of choice for all patients with sustained ventricular tachycardia (2). The objective of this systematic review is to evaluate the effect of amiodarone in arrhythmia patients with the cardiac form of chronic Chagas disease.
Searches was conducted in MEDLINE (PubMed), EMBASE and LILACS from the inception to December 2016. Studies regarding the use of amiodarone to treat arrhythmia in patients affected by Chagas disease were included, and the outcomes were arrhythmia, adverse effects and sudden death. Selection of articles and data extraction were made by two independent reviewers.
The database search found 378 articles but only 9 studies with 373 subjects fulfilled the eligibility criteria. The nine studies selected were composed of case series (two), crossover clinical trials (two), and clinical trials (five). Results showed that amiodarone reduced ventricular extrasystoles in all studies and ventricular tachycardia in eight studies. During treatment with amiodarone, patients in eight studies had side effects. Corneal microdeposits and gastric discomfort were the most common adverse effects present in studies. Three studies reported sudden death during follow-up.
Amiodarone seems to be an effective antiarrhythmic drug for Chagasic patients, reducing uncomfortable symptoms such as tachycardia. This information can be useful in the primary care context, supporting general practitioners to manage Chagas cardiopathy, mainly when specialized cardiologic consultants are not available.
Chagas disease, caused by the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi, affects more than seven million people worldwide and it is considered by the World Health Organization (WHO) a neglected tropical disease (1). About one third of Chagas patients develop gastrointestinal disorders, such as dysphagia and achalasia. Management of the disease focuses on symptom improvement and drugs that relax the lower esophageal sphincter pressure (LESP), such as isosorbide and nifedipine. However, the use of these therapies is doubtful because of their side effects and palliative approach (2). The objective of this systematic review is to assess the effectiveness of isosorbide and nifedipine on gastrointestinal manifestation of Chagas disease.
We searched MEDLINE, EMBASE and LILACS databases to retrieve potentially relevant articles from inception to December 2016. Inclusion criteria: clinical trials, cohorts or cross-sectional design; adults (>18 years old); assessment of effects of isosorbide or nifedipine on gastrointestinal symptoms in Chagas patients. Two reviewers independently screened titles and abstracts, selected eligible studies and extracted data from each study. PROSPERO registration number: CRD42017055143.
Eight studies were included (two case series, two clinical trials and four crossovers). Three studies evaluated the effect of isosorbide in LESP and three in esophageal emptying. All of them found that isosorbide rapidly reduces LESP and increases esophageal emptying rates, improving dysphagia. However, several patients reported collateral effects, such as gastroesophageal reflux, headaches and dizziness. One study evaluated the effect of nifedipine on LESP and one on esophageal emptying. Nifedipine decreased LESP, but there was no effect on esophageal emptying.
The available evidence shows isosorbide is effective in the management of gastrointestinal symptoms. Frequently health care of Chagas disease patients is delivered by primary care physicians. So, information on effectiveness of interventions can be aggregated to clinical guidelines, having an important value to inform general practitioners on the decision-making process regarding treatment of this group of patients, avoiding referencing to a specialized care.
Quality of Life (QoL) is considered to be an important outcome which is widely used in Health Technology Assessment (HTA). In economic evaluations QoL is represented by quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) - adding utility scores to the years of life lived in a determined health status (1). The EuroQol - 5 dimensions (EQ-5D) is a QoL questionnaire that generates utility scores and provides a simple and generic measure of health (2). Electronic QoL instruments have been reported equivalent to paper-based methods, however no studies have assessed agreement between EQ-5D application methods in Brazil (3). Thus, our study aimed to evaluate the measurement equivalence between the original (paper) and adapted (tablet) versions of the EQ-5D-3L Brazilian questionnaire.
A cross-sectional study was conducted on 509 adult individuals selected at random in economically different regions of two major Brazilian cities. EQ-5D-3L and Visual Analogue Scale, paper and tablet versions, were applied. Subjects were randomized to two groups; one group assigned for test-retest assessment using only electronic media (tablet-tablet), and a crossover group - half of which answered the tablet version before the paper questionnaire (tablet-paper), and the other half which answered the tablet version after the paper questionnaire (paper-tablet). There was a washout period of a minimum of 24 hours and maximum of 7 days between applications. The Intraclass Correlation Coefficient (ICC) and kappa coefficient were used to determine the agreement between methods. The level of significance was set at .05 for all analyses.
Females predominated in all groups, and the mean age ranged from 41 to 44 years. In the crossover group the obtained ICC values were: .76 (CI .58–.89) for EQ-5D scores and .77 (CI .68–.84) for Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) scores in the tablet-paper subjects; .83 (CI .75–.89) for EQ-5D scores and .75 (CI .67–.85) for VAS scores in the paper-tablet subjects. In the test-retest group, the ICC values were .85 (CI .73–.91) for EQ-5D scores, .79 (CI .66–.87) for VAS scores. Kappa values were higher than .69 in test-retest group. Internal consistency was similar between methods.
Paper and tablet versions of the EQ-5D were equivalent. Test-retest and crossover agreement was high and the acceptability of the methods was similar.
Environmental health assessments of disaster shelters are critical for monitoring the living conditions of the occupants. However, knowledge and levels of utilization of these assessments have never been estimated in the United States or its territories. We aimed to conduct a cross-sectional survey to ascertain knowledge and Utilization of environmental health disaster shelter assessments.
The State and Territorial Use of Shelter Assessments Survey (STUSA) of environmental health department directors (N=56) was carried out in 2013.
Survey responses were received from 55 of 56 targeted jurisdictions. Of those respondents, 92% of state jurisdictions and 100% of territories reported having knowledge about shelter assessments. However, only 40% of states and 60% of territories reported receiving formal training, and 53% of states and 50% of territories reported having operational procedures for shelter assessments. High levels of knowledge and familiarity and low levels of training and processes for operationalizing assessments were assessed.
Because environmental health assessments may provide useful information in disaster settings, we need to understand the barriers to their implementation. The results of these assessments may also help to validate their usefulness in protecting shelter occupants during disasters. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2017;11:11–14)
What is the political impact of police corruption and abuse? From the literature, we know that police misconduct destroys people's confidence in police forces and hampers public collaboration with the criminal-justice system; but, what about the political regime, especially in countries striving for democratic governance? Does police wrongdoing affect the legitimacy of the overall regime? Focusing on Central America, this article provides empirical evidence showing that corruption and abuse perpetrated by police officers erode public support for the political order. Results indicate that, under some circumstances, police transgressions can have a greater impact on the legitimacy of the political system than crime or insecurity. They also show that police misconduct not only affects democratising regimes, such as El Salvador and Guatemala, but also consolidated democracies, such as Costa Rica.
Knowledge of symptom prevalence and adequate assessment of such symptoms at the end of life is important in clinical practice. We determined the frequency and severity of symptom distress and delirium using the Edmonton Assessment Scale (ESAS) and the Memorial Delirium Assessment Scale (MDAS) and evaluated the clinical utility of the Nursing Delirium Screening Scale (Nu-DESC) as scored by a caregiver as a screening tool for delirium.
We conducted a secondary analysis of the data from a previous randomized controlled trial on parenteral hydration at the end of life of patients admitted to home hospice. Only patients that had assessments within the last week of life were included. We collected the ESAS, MDAS, Nu-DESC, and Richmond Agitation Sedation Scale (RASS) results. The sensitivity and specificity of the Nu-DESC were then calculated.
Some 78 of 261 patients were included in our study, 62 (80%) of which had moderate-to-severe symptoms corresponding to an ESAS score >4. These symptoms include: 73 (94%) anorexia, 63 (81%) fatigue, 56 (73%) drowsiness, 58 (75%) decreased well-being, and 39 (51%) pain. Delirium was diagnosed in 34 (44%) of patients using the MDAS. The Nu-DESC was found to have a sensitivity of 35%, a specificity of 80%, a positive predictive value (PPV) of 58%, and an negative predictive value (NPV) of 61% when used by caregivers.
Significance of Results:
Hospice patients at the end of life have a high rate of symptom distress and delirium. The Nu-DESC is not a reliable tool for screening delirium when scoring is conducted by a caregiver. Our study illustrates the need for routine use of assessment tools to improve care.
During several months in 2010, a very peculiar story dominated global news, culminating in 24-hour coverage October 12–14. Trapped for several months and at one point presumed dead, 33 Chilean miners were rescued on global TV. The narrative arc of the rescue was a typical media spectacle of fortitude, technological know-how, and human dignity, topped off by incredible success. From the beginning, the Chilean story took on a nationalistic air. When the miners were discovered alive, their first spoken message to the world was the Chilean national anthem sung in unison. From that day onward, there were scantily few images of the site and the rescue process that did not include a Chilean flag.
For audiences in many parts of the world, the conjunction of tragedy, triumph, and jingoistic celebration would appear perfectly normal, and very much in line with similar events such as the 9/11and 7/7 terrorist attacks. What could be more typical than an expression of national solidarity in the face of a common threat? Yet for many Latin American observers, the Chilean response seemed somewhat odd. In fact, in country after country in the region, common threats do not soothe internal divisions, but actually seem to deepen them. One could have imagined many other political narratives in the region accompanying the original accident and subsequent rescue focusing on class divisions, regional complaints, or ethnic claims; to stand with the miners as workers is one thing, to stand with them as co-nationals is another. The very exceptionalism of the way Chileans came together behind their government during the mine rescue highlights the particular nature of state–society relations in much of Latin America and serves to bring forth a series of questions about nationalist sentiment in the region. Two issues deserve special attention: first, what is the nature of Latin American nationalism and, second, how does its development correspond to the kind of stimuli associated with it in other parts of the world? The first can help us to understand the specific region better, while the second might improve our analysis of the process of state and nation making throughout the developing world.
High Risk Children (HRC) are those with an increased risk of abnormal development due to any factor affecting neurological growth. Those factors have been the focus of most studies in this area. However, little is known about their long-term consequences over the course of child development. Objectives: the goal was to study the cognitive, emotional and academic outcomes of 7-year-old children diagnosed as HRC at birth. Method: We compared 14 HRC and 20 healthy children using the WISC-IV, BASC and Brunet-Lezine tests. Results: HRC showed cognitive, emotional and academic deficits compared with healthy children. However, Brunet-Lezine scores obtained over the course of development (6, 12, 18 and 24 months) were not predictive of the children's' current psychological status. Conclusions: long-term follow-up with HRC should be maintained until 7 years of age, at which point an appropriate treatment should be implemented.