12 research outputs found

    Innovative strategies for the elimination of viral hepatitis at a national level: a country case series

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    Viral hepatitis is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide, but has long been neglected by national and international policymakers. Recent modelling studies suggest that investing in the global elimination of viral hepatitis is feasible and cost-effective. In 2016, all 194 member states of the World Health Organization endorsed the goal to eliminate viral hepatitis as a public health threat by 2030, but complex systemic and social realities hamper implementation efforts. This paper presents eight case studies from a diverse range of countries that have invested in responses to viral hepatitis and adopted innovative approaches to tackle their respective epidemics. Based on an investment framework developed to build a global investment case for the elimination of viral hepatitis by 2030, national activities and key enablers are highlighted that showcase the feasibility and impact of concerted hepatitis responses across a range of settings, with different levels of available resources and infrastructural development. These case studies demonstrate the utility of taking a multipronged, public health approach to: (a) evidence-gathering and planning; (b) implementation; and (c) integration of viral hepatitis services into the Agenda for Sustainable Development. They provide models for planning, investment and implementation strategies for other countries facing similar challenges and resource constraints

    Knowledge and anticipated behavior of health care workers in response to an outbreak of pandemic influenza in Georgia

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    Background: Avian influenza has been documented in over 331 humans since 2003 with 203 associated deaths. Health Care Workers (HCWs) have been shown to be at personal risk during other highly virulent outbreaks with a high attack rate. This study aimed to determine the magnitude and factors associated with absenteeism of hospital based health care workers (HCWs) in Georgia associated with a potential highly virulent influenza pandemic.Methodology: This was a cross-sectional study of how HCWs responded to a potentially highly virulent influenza pandemic in two urban hospitals in Georgia. Hospital based physicians and nurses were studied. Data was collected utilizing a survey instrument. The survey was either self-administered or interviewer administered based upon the preference of the respondent.Results: There were 288 HCWs surveyed. The study suggested a 23% rate of worker absenteeism, predominately among women and nurses. The majority of the respondents (58.1%), mostly HCWs less than age 35, were opposed to forced isolation or quarantine of staff during a highly virulent influenza pandemic. Seventy-six percent of respondents correctly reported that the strain of virus that was responsible for the outbreaks in the neighboring countries was H5N1. Only 15.5% of respondents, however, correctly identified influenza as the culprit virus.Conclusions: The rate of work absenteeism suggested by this study represents a significant workforce reduction. There are specific groups who would choose not to attend work in the face of a flu pandemic. This information may allow planners to target these specific groups for education and social support services to encourage greater inclination to attend to clinical duties

    Hepatitis C core antigen test as an alternative for diagnosing HCV infection: mathematical model and cost-effectiveness analysis

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    Background: The cost and complexity of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test are barriers to diagnosis and treatment of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. We investigated the cost-effectiveness of testing strategies using antigen instead of PCR testing. Methods: We developed a mathematical model for HCV to estimate the number of diagnoses and cases of liver disease. We compared the following testing strategies: antibody test followed by PCR in case of positive antibody (baseline strategy); antibody test followed by HCV-antigen test (antibody-antigen); antigen test alone; PCR test alone. We conducted cost-effectiveness analyses considering either the costs of HCV testing of infected and uninfected individuals alone (A1), HCV testing and liver-related complications (A2), or all costs including HCV treatment (A3). The model was parameterized for the country of Georgia. We conducted several sensitivity analyses. Results: The baseline scenario could detect 89% of infected individuals. Antibody-antigen detected 86% and antigen alone 88% of infected individuals. PCR testing alone detected 91% of the infected individuals: the remaining 9% either died or spontaneously recovered before testing. In analysis A1, the baseline strategy was not essentially more expensive than antibody-antigen. In analysis A2, strategies using PCR became cheaper than antigen-based strategies. In analysis A3, antibody-antigen was again the cheapest strategy, followed by the baseline strategy, and PCR testing alone. Conclusions: Antigen testing, either following a positive antibody test or alone, performed almost as well as the current practice of HCV testing. The cost-effectiveness of these strategies depends on the inclusion of treatment costs.</p

    Associated factors for recommending HBV vaccination to children among Georgian health care workers

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    <p>Abstract</p> <p>Background</p> <p>Most cases of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection and subsequent liver diseases can be prevented with universal newborn HBV vaccination. The attitudes of health care workers about HBV vaccination and their willingness to recommend vaccine have been shown to impact HBV vaccination coverage and the prevention of vertical transmission of HBV. The purpose of this study was to ascertain the factors associated with health care worker recommendations regarding newborn HBV vaccination.</p> <p>Methods</p> <p>A cross-sectional study of prevalence and awareness of hepatitis B and hepatitis B vaccine was conducted among randomly selected physicians and nurses employed in seven hospitals in Georgia in 2006 and 2007. Self-administered questionnaires included a module on recommendations for HBV, HCV and HIV.</p> <p>Results</p> <p>Of the 1328 participants included in this analysis, 36% reported recommending against hepatitis B vaccination for children, including 33% of paediatricians. Among the 70.6% who provided a reason for not recommending HBV vaccine, the most common concern was an adverse vaccine event. Unvaccinated physicians and nurses were more likely to recommend against HBV vaccine (40.4% vs 11.4%, PR 3.54; 95% CI: 2.38, 5.29). Additionally, health care worker age was inversely correlated with recommendations for HBV vaccine with older workers less likely to recommend it.</p> <p>Conclusion</p> <p>Vaccinating health care workers against HBV may provide a dual benefit by boosting occupational safety as well as strengthening universal coverage programs for newborns.</p