44 research outputs found

    Implementation outcomes and strategies for delivering evidence-based hypertension interventions in lower-middle-income countries: Evidence from a multi-country consortium for hypertension control.

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    Guidance on contextually tailored implementation strategies for the prevention, treatment, and control of hypertension is limited in lower-middle income countries (Lower-MIC). To address this limitation, we compiled implementation strategies and accompanying outcomes of evidence-based hypertension interventions currently being implemented in five Lower-MIC. The Global Research on Implementation and Translation Science (GRIT) Coordinating Center (CC) (GRIT-CC) engaged its global network sites at Ghana, Guatemala, India, Kenya, and Vietnam. Purposively sampled implementation science experts completed an electronic survey assessing implementation outcomes, in addition to implementation strategies used in their ongoing hypertension interventions from among 73 strategies within the Expert Recommendations for Implementing Change (ERIC). Experts rated the strategies based on highest priority to their interventions. We analyzed the data by sorting implementation strategies utilized by sites into one of the nine domains in ERIC and summarized the data using frequencies, proportions, and means. Seventeen implementation experts (52.9% men) participated in the exercise. Of Proctor's implementation outcomes identified across sites, all outcomes except for appropriateness were broadly assessed by three or more countries. Overall, 59 out of 73 (81%) strategies were being utilized in the five countries. The highest priority implementation strategies utilized across all five countries focused on evaluative and iterative strategies (e.g., identification of context specific barriers and facilitators) to delivery of patient- and community-level interventions, while the lowest priority was use of financial and infrastructure change strategies. More capacity building strategies (developing stakeholder interrelationships, training and educating stakeholders, and supporting clinicians) were incorporated into interventions implemented in India and Vietnam than Ghana, Kenya, and Guatemala. Although robust implementation strategies are being used in Lower -MICs, there is minimum use of financial and infrastructure change strategies. Our study contributes to the growing literature that demonstrates the use of Expert Recommendations for Implementing Change (ERIC) implementation strategies to deliver evidence-based hypertension interventions in Lower-MICs and will inform future cross-country data harmonization activities in resource-constrained settings

    Advances in drug delivery systems, challenges and future directions

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    Advances in molecular pharmacology and an improved understanding of the mechanism of most diseases have created the need to specifically target the cells involved in the initiation and progression of diseases. This is especially true for most life-threatening diseases requiring therapeutic agents which have numerous side effects, thus requiring accurate tissue targeting to minimize systemic exposure. Recent drug delivery systems (DDS) are formulated using advanced technology to accelerate systemic drug delivery to the specific target site, maximizing therapeutic efficacy and minimizing off-target accumulation in the body. As a result, they play an important role in disease management and treatment. Recent DDS offer greater advantages when compared to conventional drug delivery systems due to their enhanced performance, automation, precision, and efficacy. They are made of nanomaterials or miniaturized devices with multifunctional components that are biocompatible, biodegradable, and have high viscoelasticity with an extended circulating half-life. This review, therefore, provides a comprehensive insight into the history and technological advancement of drug delivery systems. It updates the most recent drug delivery systems, their therapeutic applications, challenges associated with their use, and future directions for improved performance and use

    The evolving SARS-CoV-2 epidemic in Africa: Insights from rapidly expanding genomic surveillance

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    INTRODUCTION Investment in Africa over the past year with regard to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) sequencing has led to a massive increase in the number of sequences, which, to date, exceeds 100,000 sequences generated to track the pandemic on the continent. These sequences have profoundly affected how public health officials in Africa have navigated the COVID-19 pandemic. RATIONALE We demonstrate how the first 100,000 SARS-CoV-2 sequences from Africa have helped monitor the epidemic on the continent, how genomic surveillance expanded over the course of the pandemic, and how we adapted our sequencing methods to deal with an evolving virus. Finally, we also examine how viral lineages have spread across the continent in a phylogeographic framework to gain insights into the underlying temporal and spatial transmission dynamics for several variants of concern (VOCs). RESULTS Our results indicate that the number of countries in Africa that can sequence the virus within their own borders is growing and that this is coupled with a shorter turnaround time from the time of sampling to sequence submission. Ongoing evolution necessitated the continual updating of primer sets, and, as a result, eight primer sets were designed in tandem with viral evolution and used to ensure effective sequencing of the virus. The pandemic unfolded through multiple waves of infection that were each driven by distinct genetic lineages, with B.1-like ancestral strains associated with the first pandemic wave of infections in 2020. Successive waves on the continent were fueled by different VOCs, with Alpha and Beta cocirculating in distinct spatial patterns during the second wave and Delta and Omicron affecting the whole continent during the third and fourth waves, respectively. Phylogeographic reconstruction points toward distinct differences in viral importation and exportation patterns associated with the Alpha, Beta, Delta, and Omicron variants and subvariants, when considering both Africa versus the rest of the world and viral dissemination within the continent. Our epidemiological and phylogenetic inferences therefore underscore the heterogeneous nature of the pandemic on the continent and highlight key insights and challenges, for instance, recognizing the limitations of low testing proportions. We also highlight the early warning capacity that genomic surveillance in Africa has had for the rest of the world with the detection of new lineages and variants, the most recent being the characterization of various Omicron subvariants. CONCLUSION Sustained investment for diagnostics and genomic surveillance in Africa is needed as the virus continues to evolve. This is important not only to help combat SARS-CoV-2 on the continent but also because it can be used as a platform to help address the many emerging and reemerging infectious disease threats in Africa. In particular, capacity building for local sequencing within countries or within the continent should be prioritized because this is generally associated with shorter turnaround times, providing the most benefit to local public health authorities tasked with pandemic response and mitigation and allowing for the fastest reaction to localized outbreaks. These investments are crucial for pandemic preparedness and response and will serve the health of the continent well into the 21st century

    Setting the STAGES:Introduction to the Special Issue

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    For now, this Special Issue is one of a kind. Each piece grows directly out of the cross-institutional network between the University of St Andrews (STA), the University of Glasgow (G), and the University of Edinburgh (E)’s Security studies (S) programmes. Together, we have created the acronym STAGES to capture these ongoing collaborations. In August 2018, we, as a small group of colleagues working at each contributing university started to discuss how our master students can learn more about security beyond the confines of their separate classrooms. As Jorge M. Lasma writes, ‘In many cases, classrooms have slowly come to be seen as the only domains for learning. Other forms and channels of learning and knowledge are viewed with suspicion and sometimes even discouraged for fear of higher costs’ (2013, p. 369). Challenging this idea, we set out to create a collective project to allow different students, with their own unique opinions and viewpoints on security, to meet one another to share their ideas in open, honest and lived ways

    Help-seeking and challenges faced by transwomen following exposure to gender-based violence; a qualitative study in the Greater Kampala Metropolitan Area, Uganda

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    Abstract Background The high prevalence of gender-based violence (GBV) among transwomen is a human rights and public health challenge. Nonetheless, there is limited evidence of sources of GBV support services and the challenges faced by transwomen while help-seeking, especially in transphobic settings like Uganda. This study explored the sources of GBV support services and the challenges faced by transwomen in the Greater Kampala Metropolitan Area during help-seeking. Methods A qualitative study design involving 60 transwomen and 10 key informants was conducted. Respondents were recruited using snowball sampling. An in-depth interview (IDI), and a focus group discussion guide were used to collect data from 20 IDI respondents and six focus group discussants. Each focus group discussion averaged six participants. A key informant interview guide was used for key informant interviews. Data were transcribed verbatim and analysed following a thematic framework, informed by the socio-ecological model. Data were organised into themes and subthemes using NVivo 12.0. Results The sources of support following exposure to GBV included key population-friendly healthcare facilities and civil society organisations (CSOs), and friends and family. Friends and family provided emotional support while key population-friendly healthcare facilities offered medical services including HIV post-exposure prophylaxis. Key population CSOs provided shelter, nutritional support, and legal advice to GBV victims. Lack of recognition of transgender identity; long distances to healthcare facilities; discrimination by healthcare providers and CSO staff, inappropriate questioning of the trans-gender identity by police officers and healthcare providers, and the lack of trans-competent healthcare providers and legal personnel hindered help-seeking following exposure to GBV. Conclusion The immediate sources of GBV support services included key population-friendly healthcare facilities and CSOs, police, and friends and family. However, a significant number of transwomen did not report incidences of GBV. Transwomen were discriminated against at some key population healthcare facilities and CSOs, and police, which hindered help-seeking following exposure to GBV. This study highlights the need to tackle internalized stigma and discrimination against transwomen at the existing sources of GBV support. There is also a need to train law enforcers and legal personnel on the right to access healthcare among transwomen in Uganda

    The Multifaceted Nature of “Food Diversity” as a Life-Related Legal Value

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    none1siInternational and Italian legal literature has dedicated considerable worthy research to food law in relation to questions such as food security, quality and typicality (along with the related topics of indication and guarantee of origin), the right to food, as well as food sovereignty. The same cannot be said, however, in the matter of food diversity as a significant value in law, with the exception of a few recent research initiatives underway. The genetic diversity of the living sources of food is a value that is certainly implicated in food diversity, but, as this paper seeks to show, the latter is a value of synthesis that, despite encompassing animal, vegetable and microbial biodiversity, is not exhausted only within it. What seems useful therefore is an endeavour to investigate the problem of food diversity from a broader perspective so as to delineate some frames of reference. Food diversity can be said to be a synthesis of multiple diversities. It is a value system where numerous legal values of primary importance under constitutional protection converge and are contained: environment/biodiversity, territorial autonomy and differentiation, landscape, cultural heritage, human health, personal and religious freedom, and the educational choices of the family. The strengths of these basic value aggregate organically, conferring to food diversity a role of absolute primary importance in law. As this paper proposes, recognizing cultural diversity as a complex, systemic and life-related legal value, that is, as a “condensation” of the normative energy originating from the combination of multiple constitutionally fundamental legal values that are bound up with the supreme value of life in its differing scales, which in their turn are inextricably interrelated, permits the attribution to food diversity of a much stronger (respecting the situation to date) “resistance” in law against purely economic interests.Library of Congress Control Number: 2018933578. The collective book reflects on the issues concerning, on the one hand, the difficulty in feeding an ever- increasing world population and, on the other hand, the need to build new productive systems able to protect the planet from overexploitation. The concept of “food diversity” is a synthesis of diversities: biodiversity of ecological sources of food supply; socio territorial diversity; and cultural diversity of food traditions. In keeping with this transdisciplinary perspective, the book collects a large number of contributions that examine, firstly the relationships between agrobiodiversity, rural sustainable systems and food diversity; and secondly, the issues concerning typicality (food specialties/food identities), rural development and territorial communities. Lastly, it explores legal questions concerning the regulations aiming to protect both the food diversity and the right to food, in the light of the political, economic and social implications related to the problem of feeding the world population, while at the same time respecting local communities’ rights, especially in the developing countries. The book collects the works of legal scholars, agroecologists, historians and sociologists from around the globe. ****** Il volume ù stato segnalato dalla Netherlands Quarterly of Human Rights 2018, Vol. 36(3) 236. Esso ù inoltre presente in numerose biblioteche internazionali, tra cui quella della Stanford University: https://searchworks.stanford.edu/view/12658601 .noneM. MONTEDUROMonteduro, M

    The Public Playground Paradox: "Child’s Joy" or Heterotopia of Fear?

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    Literature depicts children of the Global North withdrawing from public space to“acceptable islands”. Driven by fears both of and for children, the publicplayground – one such island – provides clear-cut distinctions between childhoodand adulthood. Extending this argument, this paper takes the original approach oftheoretically framing the playground as a heterotopia of deviance, examining –for the first time – three Greek public playground sites in relation to adjacentpublic space. Drawing on an ethnographic study in Athens, findings show fear tounderpin surveillance, control and playground boundary porosity. Normativeclassification as “children’s space” discourages adult engagement. However, in anovel and significant finding, a paradoxical phenomenon sees the playground’spresence simultaneously legitimizing playful behaviour in adjacent public spacefor children and adults. Extended playground play creates alternate orderings andnegotiates norms and hierarchies, suggesting significant wider potential toreconceptualise playground-urban design for an intergenerational public realm

    Independent and combined effects of improved water, sanitation, and hygiene, and improved complementary feeding, on child stunting and anaemia in rural Zimbabwe: a cluster-randomised trial.

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    BACKGROUND: Child stunting reduces survival and impairs neurodevelopment. We tested the independent and combined effects of improved water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH), and improved infant and young child feeding (IYCF) on stunting and anaemia in in Zimbabwe. METHODS: We did a cluster-randomised, community-based, 2 × 2 factorial trial in two rural districts in Zimbabwe. Clusters were defined as the catchment area of between one and four village health workers employed by the Zimbabwe Ministry of Health and Child Care. Women were eligible for inclusion if they permanently lived in clusters and were confirmed pregnant. Clusters were randomly assigned (1:1:1:1) to standard of care (52 clusters), IYCF (20 g of a small-quantity lipid-based nutrient supplement per day from age 6 to 18 months plus complementary feeding counselling; 53 clusters), WASH (construction of a ventilated improved pit latrine, provision of two handwashing stations, liquid soap, chlorine, and play space plus hygiene counselling; 53 clusters), or IYCF plus WASH (53 clusters). A constrained randomisation technique was used to achieve balance across the groups for 14 variables related to geography, demography, water access, and community-level sanitation coverage. Masking of participants and fieldworkers was not possible. The primary outcomes were infant length-for-age Z score and haemoglobin concentrations at 18 months of age among children born to mothers who were HIV negative during pregnancy. These outcomes were analysed in the intention-to-treat population. We estimated the effects of the interventions by comparing the two IYCF groups with the two non-IYCF groups and the two WASH groups with the two non-WASH groups, except for outcomes that had an important statistical interaction between the interventions. This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT01824940. FINDINGS: Between Nov 22, 2012, and March 27, 2015, 5280 pregnant women were enrolled from 211 clusters. 3686 children born to HIV-negative mothers were assessed at age 18 months (884 in the standard of care group from 52 clusters, 893 in the IYCF group from 53 clusters, 918 in the WASH group from 53 clusters, and 991 in the IYCF plus WASH group from 51 clusters). In the IYCF intervention groups, the mean length-for-age Z score was 0·16 (95% CI 0·08-0·23) higher and the mean haemoglobin concentration was 2·03 g/L (1·28-2·79) higher than those in the non-IYCF intervention groups. The IYCF intervention reduced the number of stunted children from 620 (35%) of 1792 to 514 (27%) of 1879, and the number of children with anaemia from 245 (13·9%) of 1759 to 193 (10·5%) of 1845. The WASH intervention had no effect on either primary outcome. Neither intervention reduced the prevalence of diarrhoea at 12 or 18 months. No trial-related serious adverse events, and only three trial-related adverse events, were reported. INTERPRETATION: Household-level elementary WASH interventions implemented in rural areas in low-income countries are unlikely to reduce stunting or anaemia and might not reduce diarrhoea. Implementation of these WASH interventions in combination with IYCF interventions is unlikely to reduce stunting or anaemia more than implementation of IYCF alone. FUNDING: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, UK Department for International Development, Wellcome Trust, Swiss Development Cooperation, UNICEF, and US National Institutes of Health.The SHINE trial is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (OPP1021542 and OPP113707); UK Department for International Development; Wellcome Trust, UK (093768/Z/10/Z, 108065/Z/15/Z and 203905/Z/16/Z); Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation; US National Institutes of Health (2R01HD060338-06); and UNICEF (PCA-2017-0002)

    Objective quantification of corneal haziness using anterior segment optical coherence tomography

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    Purpose: To quantify normal corneal transparency by anterior segment optical coherence tomography (AS-OCT) by measuring the average pixel intensity. To analyze the variation in the average pixel intensity in mild and severe grades of corneal opacities. Methods: This is an observational, cross-sectional study of 38 eyes from 19 patients with mild or severe grades of corneal opacities greater than 3 mm and a normal contralateral cornea. AS-OCT was performed centered on the opacity with a 3 mm cruciate protocol. A similar image is taken of the contralateral clear cornea in the same quadrant. The average pixel intensity was calculated in a standardized manner using MATLAB software. Result: The average pixel intensity of the normal cornea was 99.6 ± 10.9 [standard deviation (SD)]. The average pixel intensity of the mild and severe corneal opacities was 115.5 ± 9.1 and 141.1 ± 10.3, respectively. The differences were statistically significant. Conclusions: AS-OCT images can be used to quantify corneal transparency. Average pixel intensity is a measure that varies significantly with varying corneal opacification

    Current practice and recommendations in UK epilepsy monitoring units. Report of a national survey and workshop

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    Purpose Inpatient video-EEG monitoring (VEM) is an important investigation in patients with seizures or blackouts, and in the pre-surgical workup of patients with epilepsy. There has been an expansion in the number of Epilepsy Monitoring Units (EMU) in the UK offering VEM with a necessary increase in attention on quality and safety. Previous surveys have shown variation across centres on issues including consent and patient monitoring. Method In an effort to bring together healthcare professionals in the UK managing patients on EMU, we conducted an online survey of current VEM practice and held a one-day workshop convened under the auspices of the British Chapter of the ILAE. The survey and workshop aimed to cover all aspects of VEM, including pre-admission, consent procedures, patient safety, drug reduction and reinstatement, seizure management, staffing levels, ictal testing and good data recording practice. Results This paper reports on the findings of the survey, the workshop presentations and workshop discussions. 32 centres took part in the survey and there were representatives from 22 centres at the workshop. There was variation in protocols, procedures and consent processes between units, and levels of observation of monitored patients. Nevertheless, the workshop discussion found broad areas of agreement on points. Conclusion A survey and workshop of UK epilepsy monitoring units found that some variability in practice is inevitable due to different local arrangements and patient groups under investigation. However, there were areas of clear consensus particularly in relation to consent and patient safety that can be applied to most units and form a basis for setting minimum standards
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