Many countries are launching large-scale, digitally enabled change programmes as part of efforts to improve the quality, safety and efficiency of care. We have been commissioned to conduct an independent evaluation of a major national change programme, the Global Digital Exemplar (GDE) Programme, which aims to develop exemplary digital health solutions and encourage their wider adoption by creating a learning ecosystem across English National Health Service (NHS) provider organisations.
This theoretically informed, qualitative, longitudinal formative evaluation comprises five inter-related work packages. We will conduct a combination of 12 in-depth and 24 broader qualitative case studies in GDE sites exploring digital transformation, local learning and mechanisms of spread of knowledge within the Programme and across the wider NHS. Data will be collected through a combination of semistructured interviews with managers, implementation staff (clinical and non-clinical), vendors and policymakers, plus non-participant observations of meetings, site visits, workshops and documentary analysis of strategic local and national plans. Data will be analysed through inductive and deductive methods, beginning with in-depth case study sites and testing the findings against data from the wider sample and national stakeholders.
This work is commissioned as part of a national change programme and is therefore a service evaluation. We have ethical approval from the University of Edinburgh. Results will be disseminated at six monthly intervals to national policymakers, and made available via our publicly accessible website. We will also identify lessons for the management and evaluation of large-scale evolving digital health change programmes that are of international relevance.
We aimed to examine whether eHealth interventions can effectively improve anthropometric and biochemical indicators of patients with metabolic syndrome (MetS).
Systematic review and meta-analysis.
PubMed, the Web of Science, Embase, Medline, CINAHL, PsycINFO, the Cochrane Library, the Chinese National Knowledge Infrastructure, the Wanfang and Weipu databases were comprehensively searched for papers that were published from database inception to May 2019. Articles were included if the participants were metabolic syndrome (MetS) patients, the participants received eHealth interventions, the participants in the control group received usual care or were wait listed, the outcomes included anthropometric and biochemical indicators of MetS, and the study was a randomised controlled trial (RCT) or a controlled clinical trial (CCT). The Quality Assessment Tool for Quantitative Studies was used to assess the methodological quality of the included articles. The meta-analysis was conducted using Review Manager V.5.3 software.
In our review, seven RCTs and two CCTs comprising 935 MetS participants met the inclusion criteria. The results of the meta-analysis revealed that eHealth interventions resulted in significant improvements in body mass index (standardised mean difference (SMD)=–0.36, 95% CI (–0.61 to –0.10), p
The results indicated that eHealth interventions were beneficial for improving specific anthropometric outcomes, but did not affect biochemical indicators of MetS. Therefore, whether researchers adopt eHealth interventions should be based on the purpose of the study. More rigorous studies are needed to confirm these findings.
To investigate psychological and behavioural responses to COVID-19 among the Chinese general population.
We conducted a population-based mobile phone survey between 1 February and 10 February 2020 via random digit dialling. A total of 1011 adult residents in Wuhan (n=510), the epicentre and quarantined city, and Shanghai (n=501) were interviewed. Proportional quota sampling and poststratification weighting were used. Multivariable logistic regression models were used to investigate perception factors associated with the public responses.
We measured anxiety levels using the 7-item Generalised Anxiety Disorder Scale (GAD-7) and asked respondents to report their precautionary behaviours before and during the outbreak.
The prevalence of moderate or severe anxiety was significantly higher (p
Prevalence of moderate or severe anxiety and strict personal precautionary behaviours was generally high, regardless of the quarantine status. Our results support efforts for handwashing education programmes with a focus on hygiene procedures in China and timely dissemination of reliable information.
Both regional analgesia and intravenous analgesia are frequently used perioperatively for patients with critical limb ischaemia (CLI). Nevertheless, the comparison of perioperative effect of regional and intravenous analgesia has not yet been thoroughly illustrated. This study will comprehensively compare patient-controlled regional analgesia (PCRA) and patient-controlled intravenous analgesia (PCIA) as two different perioperative analgesia approaches for patients with CLI. It investigates their effects on analgesia, reperfusion and the quality of recovery perioperatively, also aims to provide clinical evidence to those non-surgical patients with non-reconstructable arteries.
This trial is a randomised, single-centre, open-label, parallel trial with target sample size of 52 in total. Eligible participants will be randomly allocated to the PCRA group (group R) or the PCIA group (group I) after admission. Participants in group R will receive ultrasound-guided subgluteal sciatic catheterisation, followed by continuous PCRA infusion (0.2% ropivacaine 15 mL as loading dose, 8 mL/hour as background with a patient-controlled bolus of 6 mL). Participants in group I will receive PCIA (morphine is given in boluses of 1 mg as needed, background infusion at 1 mg/hour). Data will be collected at baseline (T0), 2 hours before revascularisation treatment (T1) and 2 hours before discharge (T2). The primary outcomes include the Numerical Rating Scale pain score at T1 and T2. The secondary outcomes include the perioperative transcutaneous oxygen pressure, the Tissue Haemoglobin Index, Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale at T1 and T2; the Patient Global Impression of Change and patient satisfaction at T1 and T2; the perioperative cumulative morphine consumption, the length of postoperative hospital stay and adverse events.
This study received authorisation from the Institutional Review Board of Peking Union Medical College Hospital on 21 March 2017 (approval no. ZS-1289X). Study findings will be disseminated through presentations at scientific conferences or publications in peer-reviewed journals.
Chinese Clinical Trial Registry (ChiCTR2000029298).
V.4CP.B2 (15 June 2020).
We aimed to compare the incidence, subtypes and aetiology of stroke, and in-hospital death due to stroke, between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people in Central Australia, a remote region of Australia where a high proportion Aboriginal people reside (40% of the population). We hypothesised that the rates of stroke, particularly in younger adults, would be greater in the Aboriginal population, compared with the non-Aboriginal population; we aimed to elucidate causes for any identified disparities.
A retrospective population-based study of patients hospitalised with stroke within a defined region from 1 January 2011 to 31 December 2014.
Alice Springs Hospital, the only neuroimaging-capable acute hospital in Central Australia, serving a network of 50 healthcare facilities covering 672 000 km2.
161 residents (63.4% Aboriginal) of the catchment area admitted to hospital with stroke.
Rates of first-ever stroke, overall (all events) stroke and in-hospital death.
Of 121 residents with first-ever stroke, 61% identified as Aboriginal. Median onset-age (54 years) was 17 years younger in Aboriginal patients (p
Stroke incidence (both subtypes) and in-hospital deaths for remote Aboriginal Australians are dramatically greater than in non-Aboriginal people, especially in patients aged
To examine long-term trends in acute myocardial infarction (AMI) incidence and survival among Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people.
Retrospective cohort study.
All first AMI hospital cases and deaths due to ischaemic heart disease in the Northern Territory of Australia (NT), 1992–2014.
Age standardised incidence, survival and mortality.
The upward trend in Aboriginal AMI incidence plateaued around 2007 for males and 2001 for females. AMI incidence decreased for non-Aboriginal population, consistent with the national trends. AMI incidence was higher and survival lower for males, for Aboriginal people and in older age groups. In 2014, the age standardised incidence was 881 and 579 per 100 000 for Aboriginal males and females, respectively, compared with 290 and 187 per 100 000 for non-Aboriginal counterparts. The incidence disparity between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal population was much greater in younger than older age groups. Survival after an AMI improved over time, and more so for Aboriginal than non-Aboriginal patients, because of a decrease in prehospital deaths and improved survival of hospitalised cases.
There was an important breakpoint in increasing trends of Aboriginal AMI incidence between 2001 and 2007. The disparity in AMI survival between the NT Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal populations reduced over time as survival improved for both populations.
To evaluate the impact of new National Drug Pricing Policy (NDPP) 2018 on access to medicines in terms of prices, availability and affordability.
Two cross-sectional surveys were undertaken before and after the launch of NDPP 2018, using a modified WHO/Health Action International (WHO/HAI) methodology.
Four districts of Lahore division, Pakistan.
16 public sector hospitals and 16 private sector retail pharmacies.
The pre and post survey data on prices and availability of lowest price generics (LPGs) and originator brands (OBs) of 50 medicines were obtained by visiting the same public and private sector health facilities (n=32). Out of 50, 46 surveyed medicines were from the National Essential Medicines List. Inflation-adjusted median unit prices (MUPs) and median price ratios (MPRs) from 2019 were used for price comparison. Affordability was calculated in terms of number of days’ wages required to get a standard treatment by the lowest paid unskilled government worker.
The overall mean percent availabilities remained poor in both years, that is, far less than 80%. In the public sector, the mean percent availability of OBs improved from 6.8% to 33.1%, whereas, in the case of LPGs, it was reduced from 35.1% to 9%. In the private sector, the mean percent availability of both OBs and LPGs demonstrated slight improvements in 2019, that is, 55.0%–58.3% and 20.3%–32.3%. The adjusted MUPs and MPRs of OBs significantly increased by a median of 4.29% (Wilcoxon test p=0.001, p=0.0001), whereas the adjusted MUPs and MPRs of LPGs increased by a median of 15.7% (p=0.002, p=0.0002). Overall, the affordability of many medicines for common ailments was reduced significantly in 2019.
The availability of medicines slightly improved, except in the case of LPGs, which was reduced in the public sector. The implementation of NDPP 2018 led to increase in drug prices, making the standard treatment for some of the most prevalent ailments unaffordable. So verily, the drug pricing policy must be reviewed to ensure access to essential medicines.
To explore the experience of parenting for younger stroke survivors (aged 18 to 64 years at the time of the stroke).
Stroke among younger adults increased 43% between 2000 and 2010. The social, emotional, and physical functioning of younger adults affects multiple aspects of their lives including parenting. There is limited research on the experience of parenting after stroke.
This is a qualitative descriptive study.
We conducted individual semi‐structured interviews with 10 younger adults who were actively parenting children under the age of 18 years at the time of the stroke. Conventional content analysis was used to analyze the data. We report the methods and results using the COREQ checklist.
Impairments from stroke disrupted participants’ identity, relationships, and roles as a parent. The degree to which parenting abilities and behaviors were affected by stroke was contingent upon the type and severity of impairments as well as the children's age. Participants also observed emotional and behavioral changes in their children in response to their stroke. Support from family, friends, healthcare providers, and children's school/daycare was crucial to participants throughout their stroke recovery. Two major themes emerged: 1) finding a new normal and 2) support for parenting post‐stroke.
Findings enable a deeper understanding of the distinct parenting challenges younger stroke survivors face and can inform future research on this population.
Study findings highlight the need for continual and tailored follow‐up by nurses and other allied healthcare professionals to decrease the difficulty stroke survivors experience when trying to resume their role as parents.
Epidemiological research on the association between diesel exhaust exposure and lung cancer risk has some methodological challenges that give rise to different conclusions and intense debates. This raises the question about the role of selective citation and of citation bias in particular. Our aim was to investigate the occurrence and prevalence of selective citation in this field.
Web of Science Core Collection.
We identified 96 publications in this network, with 4317 potential citations. For each publication, we extracted characteristics such as study conclusion and funding source. Some of these characteristics are related to the study content: study design, sample size, method of diesel exposure assessment, type of diesel technology under investigation, and whether smoking had been adjusted for.
Whether a citation occurs or not, measured and analysed according to the preregistered protocol. Exploratively we analysed the association between funding source and study conclusion.
Methodological content of a study was clearly related to citation, studies using more sophisticated methods were more likely to be cited. There was some evidence for citation bias: supportive publications had a higher chance of being cited than non-supportive ones, but after adjustment for study quality, this effect decreased substantially (adjusted OR 1.3, 95% CI 1.0 to 1.7). Explorative analyses indicated that three quarters of non-profit funded publications had a supportive study conclusion against only one quarter of the industry-funded publications.
There is evidence for selective citation within this field, but the evidence for citation bias was weak. It seems that factors related to the methodology had more impact on citation than the conclusion of a study. Interestingly, publications that were funded by industry were more skeptical about a causal relationship between diesel exhaust and lung cancer compared to non-profit-funded publications.
Daily physiotherapy is believed to mitigate the progression of cystic fibrosis (CF) lung disease. However, physiotherapy airway clearance techniques (ACTs) are burdensome and the evidence guiding practice remains weak. This paper describes the protocol for Project Fizzyo, which uses innovative technology and analysis methods to remotely capture longitudinal daily data from physiotherapy treatments to measure adherence and prospectively evaluate associations with clinical outcomes.
A cohort of 145 children and young people with CF aged 6–16 years were recruited. Each participant will record their usual physiotherapy sessions daily for 16 months, using remote monitoring sensors: (1) a bespoke ACT sensor, inserted into their usual ACT device and (2) a Fitbit Alta HR activity tracker. Real-time breath pressure during ACTs, and heart rate and daily step counts (Fitbit) are synced using specific software applications. An interrupted time-series design will facilitate evaluation of ACT interventions (feedback and ACT-driven gaming). Baseline, mid and endpoint assessments of spirometry, exercise capacity and quality of life and longitudinal clinical record data will also be collected.
This large dataset will be analysed in R using big data analytics approaches. Distinct ACT and physical activity adherence profiles will be identified, using cluster analysis to define groups of individuals based on measured characteristics and any relationships to clinical profiles assessed. Changes in adherence to physiotherapy over time or in relation to ACT interventions will be quantified and evaluated in relation to clinical outcomes.
Ethical approval for this study (IRAS: 228625) was granted by the London-Brighton and Sussex NREC (18/LO/1038). Findings will be disseminated via peer-reviewed publications, at conferences and via CF clinical networks. The statistical code will be published in the Fizzyo GitHub repository and the dataset stored in the Great Ormond Street Hospital Digital Research Environment.
To define the epidemiological curve of COVID-19 in Qatar and determine factors associated with severe or critical illness.
Case series of first 5685 COVID-19 cases in Qatar.
All confirmed COVID-19 cases in the State of Qatar between 28 February and 18 April 2020.
Number of total and daily new COVID-19 infections; demographic characteristics and comorbidity burden and severity of infection; factors associated with severe or critical illness.
Between 28 February and 18 April 2020, 5685 cases of COVID-19 were identified. Median age was 34 (IQR 28–43) years, 88.9% were male and 8.7% were Qatari nationals. Overall, 83.6% had no concomitant comorbidity, and 3.0% had three or more comorbidities. The overwhelming majority (90.9%) were asymptomatic or with minimal symptoms, with 2.0% having severe or critical illness. Seven deaths were observed during the time interval studied. Presence of hypertension or diabetes was associated with a higher risk of severe or critical illness, but age was not. The epidemiological curve indicated two distinct patterns of infection, a larger cluster among expatriate craft and manual workers and a smaller one among Qatari nationals returning from abroad during the epidemic.
COVID-19 infections in Qatar started in two distinct clusters, but then became more widespread in the population through community transmission. Infections were mostly asymptomatic or with minimal symptoms and associated with very low mortality. Severe/critical illness was associated with presence of hypertension or diabetes but not with increasing age.
Tracheal intubation is one of the most daily practiced procedures performed in intensive care unit (ICU). It is associated with severe life-threatening complications, which can lead to intubation-related cardiac arrest. Using a preshaped endotracheal tube plus stylet may have potential advantages over endotracheal tube without stylet. The stylet is a rigid but malleable introducer which fits inside the endotracheal tube and allows for manipulation of the tube shape; to facilitate passage of the tube through the laryngeal inlet. However, some complications from stylets have been reported including mucosal bleeding, perforation of the trachea or oesophagus and sore throat. The use of a stylet for first-attempt intubation has never been assessed in ICU and benefit remains to be established.
The endotracheal tube plus stylet to increase first-attempt success during orotracheal intubation compared with endotracheal tube alone in ICU patients (STYLETO) trial is an investigator-initiated, multicentre, stratified, parallel-group unblinded trial with an electronic system-based randomisation. Patients will be randomly assigned to undergo the initial intubation attempt with endotracheal tube alone (ie,without stylet, control group) or endotracheal tube + stylet (experimental group). The primary outcome is the proportion of patients with successful first-attempt orotracheal intubation. The single, prespecified, secondary outcome is the incidence of complications related to intubation, in the hour following intubation. Other outcomes analysed will include safety, exploratory procedural and clinical outcomes.
The study project has been approved by the appropriate ethics committee ‘Comité-de-Protection-des-Personnes Nord-Ouest3-19.04.26.65808 Cat2 RECHMPL19_0216/STYLETO2019-A01180-57’". Informed consent is required. The results will be submitted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal and presented at one or more scientific conferences. If combined use of endotracheal tube plus stylet facilitates tracheal intubation of ICU patients compared with endotracheal tube alone, its use will become standard practice, thereby decreasing first-attempt intubation failure rates and, potentially, the frequency of intubation-related complications.
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT04079387; Pre-results.
Although China has done a lot in strengthening the primary healthcare system, the high turnover intention is still a social problem to be reckoned with. The objective of this study is to explore the mediating effect of satisfaction between job burnout and turnover intention.
A cross-sectional study was conducted to make sense of the job burnout, satisfaction and turnover intention among primary healthcare workers in central China. Structural equation modelling (SEM) was performed to study the mediating effect of satisfaction between job burnout and turnover intention with maximum likelihood estimation. The mediation effect test was carried out by using the bootstrap method.
SEM showed that job burnout was positively related to the turnover intention with the standard path coefficient of 0.845 (C.R.=34.055, p
The turnover intention is significantly affected by job burnout, satisfaction and demographical characteristics including age, education level, monthly income, hire form and night shift. Satisfaction can be regarded as a mediator between job burnout and turnover intention. Relative measures can be taken to promote enthusiasm and satisfaction thus decreasing the turnover rate.
We aim to describe the social network members of participants of a behavioural intervention, and examine how the effects of the intervention may spillover among network members.
Secondary analysis of a step-wedge randomised controlled trial.
Change agents (CAs) were recruited from waiting rooms of HIV treatment facilities in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and their network members (NMs) were recruited directly by CAs.
We enrolled 662 CAs in an HIV behavioural intervention. They, along with 710 of their NMs, completed baseline and follow-up interviews from 2011 to 2013.
The primary outcome of this study was change in NMs’ HIV knowledge, and the secondary outcome was whether the NM was lost to follow-up.
At baseline, many characteristics were different between NMs and CAs. We found a number of NM characteristics significantly associated with follow-up of NMs, particularly female gender (OR=1.64, 95% CI: 1.02 to 2.63) and HIV knowledge (OR=20.0, 95% CI: 3.70 to 125); only one CA variable was significantly associated with NM follow-up: having a private source of water (OR=2.17, 95% CI: 1.33 to 3.57). The 14.2% increase in NMs’ HIV knowledge was largely due to CAs feeling empowered to pass on prior knowledge, rather than transmitting new knowledge to their NMs.
Characteristics of social network members of persons living with HIV persons living with HIV may play a role in study retention. Additionally, the HIV knowledge of these NMs increased largely as a function of CA participation in the intervention, suggesting that intervening among highly-connected individuals may maximise benefits to the potential population for whom spillover can occur.
Clinical Trial: NCT01693458; Post-results
With a marginally effective vaccine and no significant breakthroughs in new treatments, a sensitive and specific method to distinguish active tuberculosis from latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) would allow for early diagnosis and limit the spread of the pathogen. The analysis of multiple cytokine profiles provides the possibility to differentiate the two diseases.
Systematic review and meta-analysis.
PubMed, Cochrane Library, Clinical Key and EMBASE databases were searched on 31 December 2019.
We included case–control studies, cohort studies and randomised controlled trials considering IFN-, TNF-α, IP-10, IL-2, IL-10, IL-12 and VEGF as biomarkers to distinguish active tuberculosis and LTBI.
Two students independently extracted data and assessed the risk of bias. Diagnostic OR, sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative likelihood ratios and area under the curve (AUC) together with 95% CI were used to estimate the diagnostic value.
Of 1315 records identified, 14 studies were considered eligible. IL-2 had the highest sensitivity (0.84, 95% CI: 0.72 to 0.92), while VEGF had the highest specificity (0.87, 95% CI: 0.73 to 0.94). The highest AUC was observed for VEGF (0.85, 95% CI: 0.81 to 0.88), followed by IFN- (0.84, 95% CI: 0.80 to 0.87) and IL-2 (0.84, 95% CI: 0.81 to 0.87).
Cytokines, such as IL-2, IFN- and VEGF, can be utilised as promising biomarkers to distinguish active tuberculosis from LTBI.
Exercise interventions have been widely investigated in patients with cancer and demonstrate beneficial effects. However, intervention studies that include older women with breast cancer exercising during medical treatment are scarce. Hence, the aim of this study is to investigate the effect of a 12-week exercise-based intervention in older women (≥65 years) with breast cancer receiving (neo)adjuvant or first-line or second-line systemic therapy.
This is a single-centre, two-armed randomised controlled trial. We anticipate including 100 patients, who will be randomised 1:1 to exercise-based intervention or control stratified by treatment setting ((neo)adjuvant or metastatic) and treatment (chemotherapy or endocrine therapy + cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) 4/6 inhibitors). The intervention group will receive standard oncological treatment and a 12-week supervised exercise-based intervention comprising a progressive resistance exercise programme two times per week, a protein supplement after exercise and a home-based walking programme based on daily step counts. The control group will receive standard oncological treatment. Assessments will be performed at baseline and 6, 12 and 24 weeks after start of the intervention. Primary outcome is physical function, measured by the 30-second Chair Stand Test. Secondary outcomes are feasibility (compliance and adherence to intervention), objective and patient-reported functional measures (6-meter and 10-meter gait speed; 6-min Walk Test; Handgrip Strength; Stair Climb Test; Physical Activity Questionnaire), symptom burden and well-being (MD Anderson Symptom Inventory; Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale), quality of life (European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire Core-30 and B23), body composition (dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry scan), side effects, inflammatory biomarkers, hospitalisation and survival.
The protocol was reviewed and accepted by the Scientific Ethics Review Committee of the Capital Region of Denmark, 17 June 2018 (VEK ref.: H-18021013). Trial results will be submitted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal and presented on conferences, in oncology wards, exercise centres in municipalities and patient organisations, ensuring dissemination to relevant stakeholders.
Cancer screening should be equitably accessed by all populations. Uptake of colorectal cancer screening was examined using the Scottish Health and Ethnicity Linkage Study that links the Scottish Census 2001 to health data by individual-level self-reported ethnicity and religion.
Data on 1.7 million individuals in two rounds of the Scottish Bowel Cancer Screening Programme (2007–2013) were linked to the 2001 Census using the Scottish Community Health Index number.
Uptake of colorectal cancer screening, reported as age-adjusted risk ratios (RRs) by ethnic group and religion were calculated for men and women with 95% CI.
In the first, incidence screening round, compared with white Scottish men, Other White British (RR 109.6, 95% CI 108.8 to 110.3) and Chinese (107.2, 95% CI 102.8 to 111.8) men had higher uptake. In contrast, men of all South Asian groups had lower uptake (Indian RR 80.5, 95% CI 76.1 to 85.1; Pakistani RR 65.9, 95% CI 62.7 to 69.3; Bangladeshi RR 76.6, 95% CI 63.9 to 91.9; Other South Asian RR 88.6, 95% CI 81.8 to 96.1). Comparable patterns were seen among women in all ethnic groups, for example, Pakistani (RR 55.5, 95% CI 52.5 to 58.8). Variation in uptake was also observed by religion, with lower rates among Hindu (RR (95%CI): 78.4 (71.8 to 85.6)), Muslim (69.5 (66.7 to 72.3)) and Sikh (73.4 (67.1 to 80.3)) men compared with the reference population (Church of Scotland), with similar variation among women: lower rates were also seen among those who reported being Jewish, Roman Catholic or with no religion.
There are important variations in uptake of bowel cancer screening by ethnic group and religion in Scotland, for both sexes, that require further research and targeted interventions.
This study explored the illness experiences and healthcare-seeking behaviour of a cross-section of street dwellers of Dhaka City for designing a customised intervention.
A qualitative exploratory study of a sample of street dwellers of Dhaka City.
Samples were taken from three purposively selected spots of Dhaka City with a high concentration of the target population.
Fifteen in-depth interviews and six informal group discussions with 40 street dwellers (≥18 years), and key informant interviews with service providers (n=6) and policymakers (n=3) were conducted during January–June 2019 to elicit necessary data.
Qualitative narrative of illness experiences of the sampled street dwellers, relevant healthcare-seeking behaviour and experiences of interactions with health systems.
We focused on three main themes, namely, reported illnesses, relevant healthcare-seeking behaviour and health system experiences of the street dwellers. Findings reveal that most of the street dwellers suffered from fever and respiratory illnesses in the last 6 months; however, a majority did not visit formal facilities. They preferred visiting retail drug shops for advice and treatment or waited for self-recovery. Formal facilities were visited only when treatment from drug shops failed to cure them or they suffered serious illnesses or traumatic injury. The reproductive-age women did not seek pregnancy care and most deliveries took place in the street dwellings. Lack of awareness, financial constraints and fear of visiting formal facilities were some of the reasons mentioned. Those who visited formal facilities faced barriers like the cost of medicines and diagnostic tests, long waiting time and opportunity cost.
The street dwellers lacked access to formal health systems for needed services as the latter lags far behind to outreach this extremely vulnerable population. What they need is explicit targeting with a customised package of services based on their illness profile, at a time and place convenient to them with minimum or no cost implications.
In sub-Saharan Africa, the burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), particularly diabetes mellitus (DM) and hypertension, has increased rapidly in recent years, although HIV infection remains a leading cause of death among young-middle-aged adults. Health service coverage for NCDs remains very low in contrast to HIV, despite the increasing prevalence of comorbidity of NCDs with HIV. There is an urgent need to expand healthcare capacity to provide integrated services to address these chronic conditions.
This protocol describes procedures for a qualitative process evaluation of INTE-AFRICA, a cluster randomised trial comparing integrated health service provision for HIV infection, DM and hypertension, to the current stand-alone vertical care. Interviews, focus group discussions and observations of consultations and other care processes in two clinics (in Tanzania, Uganda) will be used to explore the experiences of stakeholders. These stakeholders will include health service users, policy-makers, healthcare providers, community leaders and members, researchers, non-governmental and international organisations. The exploration will be carried out during the implementation of the project, alongside an understanding of the impact of broader structural and contextual factors.
Ethical approval was granted by the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (UK), the National Institute of Medical Research (Tanzania) and TASO Research Ethics Committee (Uganda) in 2020. The evaluation will provide the opportunity to document the implementation of integration over several timepoints (6, 12 and 18 months) and refine integrated service provision prior to scale up. This synergistic approach to evaluate, understand and respond will support service integration and inform monitoring, policy and practice development efforts to involve and educate communities in Tanzania and Uganda. It will create a model of care and a platform of good practices and lessons learnt for other countries implementing integrated and decentralised community health services.
Chronic cancer-related pain is one of the most common excruciating symptom that can be caused by the cancer (by the primary tumour or by metastases) or by its treatment (surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy). Although multiple clinical trials and systematic reviews have suggested that acupuncture could be effective in treating chronic cancer-related pain, the comparative efficacy and safety of these acupuncture methods remains unclear. We, therefore, performed this study to evaluate and rank the efficacy and safety of different acupuncture methods for chronic cancer-related pain.
Seven databases will be searched, including Cochrane Library, MEDLINE, Embase, Chinese National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI), Wanfang Database, the Chongqing VIP Chinese Science and Technology Periodical Database and Chinese Biomedical Literature Database (CBM) from their inception to March 2020. The primary outcome is the change of pain intensity. Bayesian network meta-analysis will be conducted using software R3.5.1. Finally, we will use the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation System (GRADE) to assess the quality of evidence.
Ethical approval is not required for literature-based studies. The results will be disseminated through peer-reviewed publication.