38 research outputs found

    Response to the challenges of pandemic H1N1 in a small island state: the Barbadian experience

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    <p>Abstract</p> <p>Background</p> <p>Having been overwhelmed by the complexity of the response needed for the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) epidemic, public health professionals in the small island state of Barbados put various measures in place to improve its response in the event of a pandemic</p> <p>Methods</p> <p>Data for this study was collected using Barbados’ National Influenza Surveillance System, which was revitalized in 2007. It is comprised of ten sentinel sites which send weekly notifications of acute respiratory illness (ARI) and severe acute respiratory illness (SARI) to the Office of the National Epidemiologist. During the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, meetings of the National Pandemic Planning Committee and the Technical Command Committee were convened. The pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) implemented as a result of these meetings form the basis of the results presented in this paper.</p> <p>Results</p> <p>On June 3, 2009, Barbados reported its first case of 2009 H1N1. From June until October 2009, there were 155 laboratory confirmed cases of 2009 H1N1, with one additional case occurring in January 2010. For the outbreak period (June-October 2009), the surveillance team received reports of 2,483 ARI cases, compared to 412 cases for the same period in 2008. The total hospitalization rate due to SARIs for the year 2009 was 90.1 per 100,000 people, as compared to 7.3 per 100,000 people for 2008. Barbados’ pandemic response was characterized by a strong surveillance system combining active and passive surveillance, good risk communication strategy, a strengthened public and private sector partnership, and effective regional and international collaborations. Community restriction strategies such as school and workplace closures and cancellation of group events were not utilized as public health measures to delay the spread of the virus. Some health care facilities struggled with providing adequate isolation facilities.</p> <p>Conclusions</p> <p>The number of confirmed cases was small but the significant surge in ARI and SARI cases indicate that the impact of the virus on the island was moderate. As a result of 2009 H1N1, virological surveillance has improved significantly and local, regional and international partnerships have been strengthened.</p

    Social determinants of depression and suicidal behaviour in the Caribbean: a systematic review.

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    BACKGROUND: Depressive disorder is the largest contributor to years lived with disability in the Caribbean, adding 948 per 100,000 in 2013. Depression is also a major risk factor for suicidal behaviour. Social inequalities influence the occurrence of depression, yet little is known about the social inequalities of this condition in the Caribbean. In support of the 2011 Rio Political Declaration on addressing health inequities, this article presents a systematic review of the role of social determinants on depression and its suicidal behaviours in the Caribbean. METHODS: Eight databases were searched for observational studies reporting associations between social determinants and depression frequency, severity, or outcomes. Based on the PROGRESS-plus checklist, we considered 9 social determinant groups (of 15 endpoints) for 6 depression endpoints, totalling 90 possible ways ('relationship groups') to explore the role of social determinants on depression. Studies with ≥50 participants conducted in Caribbean territories between 2004 and 2014 were eligible. The review was conducted according to STROBE and PRISMA guidelines. Results were planned as a narrative synthesis, with meta-analysis if possible. RESULTS: From 3951 citations, 55 articles from 45 studies were included. Most were classified as serious risk of bias. Fifty-seven relationship groups were reported by the 55 included articles, leaving 33 relationship groups (37%) without an evidence base. Most associations were reported for gender, age, residence, marital status, and education. Depression, its severity, and its outcomes were more common among females (except suicide which was more common among males), early and middle adolescents (among youth), and those with lower levels of education. Marriage emerged as both a risk and protective factor for depression score and prevalence, while several inequality relationships in Haiti were in contrast to typical trends. CONCLUSION: The risk of bias and few numbers of studies within relationship groups restricted the synthesis of Caribbean evidence on social inequalities of depression. Along with more research focusing on regional social inequalities, attempts at standardizing reporting guidelines for observational studies of inequality and studies examining depression is necessitated. This review offers as a benchmark to prioritize future research into the social determinants of depression frequency and outcomes in the Caribbean

    Social determinants of prostate cancer in the Caribbean: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

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    BACKGROUND: Prostate cancer remains the leading cause of cancer deaths among Caribbean men. However, little data exists on the influence of social factors on prostate cancer in the Caribbean setting. This article supports the 2011 Rio Political Declaration on addressing health inequalities by presenting a systematic review of evidence on the role of social determinants on prostate cancer in Caribbean men. It aims to determine the distribution, by known social determinants of health, of the frequency and adverse outcomes of prostate cancer among Caribbean populations. METHODS: Observational studies reporting an association between a social determinant and prostate cancer frequency and outcomes were sought in MEDLINE, EMBASE, SciELO, CINAHL, CUMED, LILACS, and IBECS databases. Fourteen social determinants and 7 prostate cancer endpoints were chosen, providing 98 possible relationship groups exploring the role of social determinants on prostate cancer. Observational studies with > 50 participants conducted in Caribbean territories between 2004 and 2016 were eligible. The review was conducted according to STROBE and PRISMA guidelines. Random-effects meta-analyses were performed. RESULTS: From 843 potentially relevant citations, 13 articles from 9 studies were included. From these included studies, 24 relationships were reported looking at 11 distinct relationship groups, leaving 90 relationship groups (92% of all relationship groups) unexplored. Study heterogeneity and risk of bias restricted results to a narrative synthesis in most instances. Meta-analyses showed more diagnosed prostate cancer among men with less formal education (n = 2 studies, OR 1.60, 95%CI 1.18-2.19) and among men who were married (n = 3 studies, OR 1.54, 95%CI 1.22-1.95). CONCLUSIONS: This review highlights limited evidence for a higher occurrence of diagnosed prostate cancer among Caribbean men with lower levels of education and among men who are married. The role of social determinants on prostate cancer among Caribbean men remains poorly understood. Improvements in study quantity and quality, and reduced variability in outcomes and reporting are needed. This report represents the current evidence, and provides a roadmap to future research priorities for a better understanding of Caribbean prostate cancer inequalities.This study was fully supported by grant number U24MD006959 from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities

    Social determinants of breast cancer in the Caribbean: a systematic review.

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    BACKGROUND: Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths among women in the Caribbean and accounts for >1 million disability adjusted life years. Little is known about the social inequalities of this disease in the Caribbean. In support of the Rio Political Declaration on addressing health inequities, this article presents a systematic review of evidence on the distribution, by social determinants, of breast cancer risk factors, frequency, and adverse outcomes in Caribbean women. METHODS: MEDLINE, EMBASE, SciELO, CINAHL, CUMED, LILACS, and IBECS were searched for observational studies reporting associations between social determinants and breast cancer risk factors, frequency, or outcomes. Based on the PROGRESS-plus checklist, we considered 8 social determinant groups for 14 breast cancer endpoints, which totalled to 189 possible ways ('relationship groups') to explore the role of social determinants on breast cancer. Studies with >50 participants conducted in Caribbean territories between 2004 and 2014 were eligible for inclusion. The review was conducted according to STROBE and PRISMA guidelines and results were planned as a narrative synthesis, with meta-analysis if possible. RESULTS: Thirty-four articles were included from 5,190 screened citations. From these included studies, 75 inequality relationships were reported examining 30 distinct relationship groups, leaving 84% of relationship groups unexplored. Most inequality relationships were reported for risk factors, particularly alcohol and overweight/obesity which generally showed a positive relationship with indicators of lower socioeconomic position. Evidence for breast cancer frequency and outcomes was scarce. Unmarried women tended to have a higher likelihood of being diagnosed with breast cancer when compared to married women. While no association was observed between breast cancer frequency and ethnicity, mortality from breast cancer was shown to be slightly higher among Asian-Indian compared to African-descent populations in Trinidad (OR 1.2, 95% CI 1.1-1.4) and Guyana (OR 1.3, 95% CI 1.0-1.6). CONCLUSION: Study quantity, quality, and variability in outcomes and reporting limited the synthesis of evidence on the role of social determinants on breast cancer in the Caribbean. This report represents important current evidence on the region, and can guide future research priorities for better describing and understanding of Caribbean breast cancer inequalities

    Premature mortality from cardiovascular disease and diabetes in the Caribbean and associations with health care expenditure, 2001 − 2011

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    Objective. To examine the historical trends of premature death due to cardiovascular disease and diabetes mellitus (CVD-DM) in the Caribbean and to identify any associations between these trends and health care expenditure. Methods. Death data were obtained from the World Health Organization Mortality Database; population data, from the United Nations World Population prospects; and health care expenditure data, from the World Bank. In all, 17 Caribbean countries had mortality data; however, only 11 had both mortality and health care expenditure data available. The analyses explored country-level trends in age-standardized CVD-DM mortality rates using 3-year moving averages from 1995 − 2014 for women and men. Associations between secular mortality rate change and health care expenditure were considered. Results. CVD-DM mortality rates ranged from 10.7 − 247.1 per 100 000, with a mean of 92.3 and standard deviation of 47.6. Of the 17 countries, 12 showed a reduction in premature CVD-DM mortality in both men and women, with others either showing no improvement or increases. Mortality rates for men were 1.46 times higher than for women. On average, there was a 68% increase in health care expenditure, with a 15.4% fall in CVD-DM mortality in women and 4.9% in men. Mixed effects modelling demonstrated a weak association between health care expenditure and declining CVD-DM mortality for both women −0.006 (95%CI = −0.014 − 0.001) and men −0.008 (95%CI = −0.017 − 0.001). Conclusions. Findings suggest that progress has been made to reduce premature CVD-DM related mortality in a number of Caribbean countries. Differences between countries may be partly related to differences in health care system performance, although further research that considers confounders is needed

    An updated systematic review and meta-analysis on the social determinants of diabetes and related risk factors in the Caribbean

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    Objectives. To conduct an analysis of the most recent data on diabetes and its risk factors by gender and other social determinants of health to understand why its prevalence is higher among women than men in the Caribbean; to inform policy agenda-setting for diabetes prevention and control in the Caribbean; and to identify gaps in the evidence that require further research. Methods. A previous systematic review of the literature describing studies conducted in the Caribbean that presented the distribution of diabetes, its outcomes, and risk factors, by one or more social determinants, was updated to include sources from 1 January 2007 – 31 December 2016. Surveys by the World Health Organization (WHO) were also included. Where data were sufficient, meta-analyses were undertaken. Results. A total of 8 326 manuscripts were identified. Of those, 282 were selected for full text review, and 114, for abstraction. In all, 36 papers, including WHO-related surveys, had sufficient information for meta-analysis. More women compared to men were obese (OR: 2.1; 95%CI = 1.65 – 2.69), physically inactive (OR: 2.18; 95%CI = 1.75 – 2.72), and had diabetes (OR: 1.48; 95%CI = 1.25 – 1.76). More men smoked (OR: 4.27; 95%CI = 3.18 – 5.74) and had inadequate fruit and vegetable intake (OR: 1.37; 95%CI = 1.21 – 1.57) Conclusion. Thirty-six papers were added to the previously conducted systematic review; of those, 13 were added to the meta-analysis. Diabetes and its risk factors (primarily obesity and physical inactivity) continue to disproportionately affect women in the Caribbean. Smoking interventions should be targeted at men in this geographic area

    Learning style preferences: A study of Pre-clinical Medical Students in Barbados

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    Introduction: Educators need to be aware of different learning styles to effectively tailor instructional strategies and methods to cater to the students’ learning needs and support a conductive learning environment. The VARK [an acronym for visual (V), aural (A), read/write (R) and kinesthetic (K)] instrument is a useful model to assess learning styles. The aim of this study was to use the VARK questionnaire to determine the learning styles of pre-clinical medical students in order to compare the perceived and assessed learning style preferences, assess gender differences in learning style preferences, and determine whether any relationships exists between awareness of learning styles and academic grades, age, gender and learning modality. Methods: The VARK questionnaire was administered to preclinical students taking a variety of courses in the first three years of the undergraduate MB BS degree programme at the Faculty of Medical Sciences, The University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, Barbados in 2014. Results: The majority of the students were multimodal learners with no differences observed between males (59.5%) and females (60.0%), with tetramodal being the most common. Read/write (33.8%) followed by kinesthetic (32.5%) were the most common learning style preferences. The sensory modality preference for females was read/write (34.2%) and for males it was kinesthetic (40.5%). Significant differences were observed between the perceived and assessed learning style preferences with a majority of visual and read/write learners correctly matching their perceived to their actual learning styles. Awareness of learning styles was associated with learning modality but not with academic performance, age or gender. Overall, 60.7% of high achievers used multimodal learning compared to 56.9% low achievers. Conclusion: The findings from this study indicated that the VARK tool was useful in gathering information about different learning styles, and might assist educators in designing blended teaching strategies to cater to the students’ needs as well as help the students in becoming aware of their learning style preferences to enhance learning
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