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CINeMA: An approach for assessing confidence in the results of a network meta-analysis

Ven, 03/04/2020 - 23:00

by Adriani Nikolakopoulou, Julian P. T. Higgins, Theodoros Papakonstantinou, Anna Chaimani, Cinzia Del Giovane, Matthias Egger, Georgia Salanti

Background

The evaluation of the credibility of results from a meta-analysis has become an important part of the evidence synthesis process. We present a methodological framework to evaluate confidence in the results from network meta-analyses, Confidence in Network Meta-Analysis (CINeMA), when multiple interventions are compared.

Methodology

CINeMA considers 6 domains: (i) within-study bias, (ii) reporting bias, (iii) indirectness, (iv) imprecision, (v) heterogeneity, and (vi) incoherence. Key to judgments about within-study bias and indirectness is the percentage contribution matrix, which shows how much information each study contributes to the results from network meta-analysis. The contribution matrix can easily be computed using a freely available web application. In evaluating imprecision, heterogeneity, and incoherence, we consider the impact of these components of variability in forming clinical decisions.

Conclusions

Via 3 examples, we show that CINeMA improves transparency and avoids the selective use of evidence when forming judgments, thus limiting subjectivity in the process. CINeMA is easy to apply even in large and complicated networks.

Adaptive guidelines for the treatment of gonorrhea to increase the effective life span of antibiotics among men who have sex with men in the United States: A mathematical modeling study

Ven, 03/04/2020 - 23:00

by Reza Yaesoubi, Ted Cohen, Katherine Hsu, Thomas L. Gift, Harrell Chesson, Joshua A. Salomon, Yonatan H. Grad

Background

The rise of gonococcal antimicrobial resistance highlights the need for strategies that extend the clinically useful life span of antibiotics. Because there is limited evidence to support the current practice of switching empiric first-line antibiotic when resistance exceeds 5% in the population, our objective was to compare the impact of alternative strategies on the effective life spans of antibiotics and the overall burden of gonorrhea.

Methods and findings

We developed and calibrated a mathematical model of gonorrhea transmission among men who have sex with men (MSM) in the United States. We calibrated the model to the estimated prevalence of gonorrhea, the rate of gonorrhea cases, and the proportion of cases presenting symptoms among MSM in the US. We used this model to project the effective life span of antibiotics and the number of gonorrhea cases expected under current and alternative surveillance strategies over a 50-year simulation period. We demonstrate that compared to the current practice, a strategy that uses quarterly (as opposed to yearly) surveillance estimates and incorporates both the estimated prevalence of resistance and the trend in the prevalence of resistance to determine treatment guidelines could extend the effective life span of antibiotics by 0.83 years. This is equivalent to successfully treating an additional 80.1 (95% uncertainty interval: [47.7, 111.9]) gonorrhea cases per 100,000 MSM population each year with the first-line antibiotics without worsening the burden of gonorrhea. If the annual number of isolates tested for drug susceptibility is doubled, this strategy could increase the effective life span of antibiotics by 0.94 years, which is equivalent to successfully treating an additional 91.1 (54.3, 127.3) gonorrhea cases per 100,000 MSM population each year without increasing the incidence of gonorrhea. Study limitations include that our conclusions might not be generalizable to other settings because our model describes the transmission of gonorrhea among the US MSM population, and, to better capture uncertainty in the characteristics of current and future antibiotics, we chose to model hypothetical drugs with characteristics similar to the antibiotics commonly used in gonorrhea treatment.

Conclusions

Our results suggest that use of data from surveillance programs could be expanded to prolong the clinical effectiveness of antibiotics without increasing the burden of the disease. This highlights the importance of maintaining effective surveillance systems and the engagement of policy makers to turn surveillance findings into timely and effective decisions.

HIV testing and treatment coverage achieved after 4 years across 14 urban and peri-urban communities in Zambia and South Africa: An analysis of findings from the HPTN 071 (PopART) trial

Gio, 02/04/2020 - 23:00

by Sian Floyd, Kwame Shanaube, Blia Yang, Ab Schaap, Sam Griffith, Mwelwa Phiri, David Macleod, Rosa Sloot, Kalpana Sabapathy, Virginia Bond, Peter Bock, Helen Ayles, Sarah Fidler, Richard Hayes, the HPTN 071 (PopART) study team

Background

In 2014, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) set the 90-90-90 targets: that 90% of people living with HIV know their HIV status, that 90% of those who know their HIV-positive status are on antiretroviral therapy (ART), and that 90% of those on treatment are virally suppressed. The aim was to reach these targets by 2020. We assessed the feasibility of achieving the first two targets, and the corresponding 81% ART coverage target, as part of the HIV Prevention Trials Network (HPTN) 071 Population Effects of Antiretroviral Therapy to Reduce HIV Transmission (PopART) community-randomized trial.

Methods and findings

The study population was individuals aged ≥15 years living in 14 urban and peri-urban “PopART intervention” communities in Zambia and South Africa (SA), with a total population of approximately 600,000 and approximately 15% adult HIV prevalence. Community HIV care providers (CHiPs) delivered the PopART intervention during 2014–2017. This was a combination HIV prevention package including universal home-based HIV testing, referral of HIV-positive individuals to government HIV clinic services that offered universal ART (Arm A) or ART according to national guidelines (Arm B), and revisits to HIV-positive individuals to support linkage to HIV care and retention on ART. The intervention was delivered in 3 “rounds,” each about 15 months long, during which CHiPs visited all households and aimed to contact all individuals aged ≥15 years at least once.In Arm A in Round 3 (R3), 67% (41,332/61,402) of men and 86% (56,345/65,896) of women in Zambia and 56% (17,813/32,095) of men and 71% (24,461/34,514) of women in SA participated in the intervention, among 193,907 residents aged ≥15 years. Following participation, HIV status was known by 90% of men and women in Zambia and by 78% of men and 85% of women in SA. The median time from CHiP referral of HIV-positive individuals to ART initiation was approximately 3 months. By the end of R3, an estimated 95% of HIV-positive women and 85% of HIV-positive men knew their HIV status, and among these individuals, approximately 90% of women and approximately 85% of men were on ART. ART coverage among all HIV-positive individuals was approximately 85% in women and approximately 75% in men, up from about 45% at the start of the study. ART coverage was lowest among men aged 18 to 34 and women aged 15 to 24 years, and among mobile individuals/in-migrants. Findings from Arm B were similar. The main limitations to our study were that estimates of testing and treatment coverage among men relied on considerable extrapolation because, in each round, approximately one-third of men did not participate in the PopART intervention; that our findings are for a service delivery model that was relatively intensive; and that we did not have comparable data from the 7 “standard-of-care” (Arm C) communities.

Conclusions

Our study showed that very high HIV testing and treatment coverage can be achieved through persistent delivery of universal testing, facilitated linkage to HIV care, and universal treatment services. The ART coverage target of 81% was achieved overall, after 4 years of delivery of the PopART intervention, though important gaps remained among men and young people. Our findings are consistent with previously reported findings from southern and east Africa, extending their generalisability to urban settings with high rates of in-migration and mobility and to Zambia and SA.

Trial registration

ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01900977.

Migrant and refugee health: Complex health associations among diverse contexts call for tailored and rights-based solutions

Mar, 31/03/2020 - 23:00

by Paul Spiegel, Kolitha Wickramage, Terry McGovern

In an Editorial, Guest Editors Paul Spiegel, Terry McGovern and Kol Wickramage discuss the Special Issue on Refugee and Migrant Health.

Self-palpation for detection of paroxysmal atrial fibrillation: Much noise with little signal

Mar, 31/03/2020 - 23:00

by Kazem Rahimi, Paulus Kirchhof

Kazem Rahimi and Paulus Kirchhof discuss the latest work from Faris Ghazal et al and how it may impact the way we currently detect Atrial Fibrillation in the general population.

Burden of eye disease and demand for care in the Bangladesh Rohingya displaced population and host community: A cohort study

Mar, 31/03/2020 - 23:00

by Munir Ahmed, Noelle Whitestone, Jennifer L. Patnaik, Mohammad Awlad Hossain, Lutful Husain, Mohammed Alauddin, Mushfiqur Rahaman, David Hunter Cherwek, Nathan Congdon, Danny Haddad

Background

There is a growing awareness that addressing chronic as well as acute health conditions may contribute importantly to the well-being of displaced populations, but eye care service has generally not been prioritized in crisis situations. We describe a replicable model of eye care provision as delivered by Orbis International and local partners to the Rohingya and host population in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, and characterize the burden of vision impairment and demand for sight-restoring services in this setting.

Methods and findings

Orbis International and local secondary facility Cox’s Bazar Baitush Sharaf Hospital (CBBSH) provide eye care support to the Rohingya population and the host community of all ages in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, with fixed vision screening locations established in Camps 4 and 11 of the Kutupalong refugee settlement. Structured outreach targets these camps and four surrounding local subdistricts, with referrals made as needed for refraction (glasses measurement) and cataract surgery to CBBSH. Between February 2018 and March 2019, 48,105 displaced Rohingya (70.3%, among whom 71.6% were children and 46.5% women) and 20,357 local residents (29.7%, 88.5% children, 54.4% women) underwent vision screening. Displaced Rohingya sought services from a total of 12 surrounding camps, within which coverage was 17.3%, including 43.3% (27,027/62,424) of children aged 5–11 years and 60.0% (5,315/8,857) of adults ≥ 60 years old. The prevalence of blindness (presenting acuity < 3/60) among Rohingya patients exceeded that among local residents by 3- to 6-fold in each 10-year age group between 18 and 59 years (P < 0.001 comparing vision between the two groups in this age range), and the prevalence of cataract requiring surgery was also higher in Rohingya patients (18–29 years: 4.67% versus 1.80%, P = 0.0019; 30–39: 7.61% versus 2.39%, P < 0.001; and 40–49 years: 7.91% versus 3.77%, P = 0.0014). A limitation of the study is lack of data on population prevalence of eye disease.

Conclusions

The burden of untreated eye disease is very high among the Rohingya, particularly those in their peak working years who could contribute most to the resiliency of their community. Demand for eye care service is also great among children and adults in this population with many competing healthcare priorities. Research is needed, building on strong evidence of benefit in settled populations, to explore the specific impact of vision care on the well-being of displaced populations.

Pre-migration socioeconomic status and post-migration health satisfaction among Syrian refugees in Germany: A cross-sectional analysis

Mar, 31/03/2020 - 23:00

by Jan Michael Bauer, Tilman Brand, Hajo Zeeb

Background

The large increase in numbers of refugees and asylum seekers in Germany and most of Europe has put the issue of migration itself, the integration of migrants, and also their health at the top of the political agenda. However, the dynamics of refugee health are not yet well understood. From a life-course perspective, migration experience is associated with various risks and changes, which might differ depending on the socioeconomic status (SES) of refugees in their home country. The aim of this paper was to analyze the relationship between pre-migration SES and self-reported health indicators after migration among Syrian refugees. Specifically, we wanted to find out how their SES affects the change in health satisfaction from pre- to post-migration.

Methods and findings

We used data from the 2016 refugee survey, which was part of the German Socio-Economic Panel (GSOEP). Although cross-sectional by design, this survey collected information referring to the current situation as a refugee in Germany as well as to their situation before migration. Using a sample of 2,209 adult Syrian refugees who had entered Germany between 2013 and 2016, we conducted a cross-sectional and a quasi-longitudinal (retrospective) analysis. The mean ± SD age was 35 ± 11 years, with 64% of the participants being male. Our results showed a positive association between pre-migration self-reported SES and several subjective health indicators (e.g., health satisfaction, self-reported health, mental health) in the cross-sectional analysis. However, the quasi-longitudinal analysis revealed that the socioeconomic gradient in health satisfaction before migration was strongly attenuated after migration (SES-by-time interaction: −0.48, 95% CI −0.61 to −0.35, p < 0.001; unstandardized regression coefficients, 5-point SES scale and 11-point health outcome scale). Similar results were produced after controlling for sociodemographic characteristics, experiences during the migration passage, and the current situation in Germany. A sex-stratified analysis showed that while there was some improvement in health satisfaction among men from the lowest SES over time, no improvement was found among women. A limitation of this study is that it considers only the first months or years after migration. Thus, we cannot preclude that the socioeconomic gradient regains importance in the longer run.

Conclusions

Our findings suggest that the pre-migration socioeconomic gradient in health satisfaction is strongly attenuated in the first years after migration among Syrian refugees. Hence, a high SES before crisis and migration provides limited protection against the adverse health effects of migration passage.

Painful gynecologic and obstetric complications of female genital mutilation/cutting: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Mar, 31/03/2020 - 23:00

by Jacob Michael Lurie, Alessandra Weidman, Samantha Huynh, Diana Delgado, Imaani Easthausen, Gunisha Kaur

Background

The health complications experienced by women having undergone female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) are a source of growing concern to healthcare workers globally as forced displacement and migration from countries with high rates of this practice increases. In this systematic review and meta-analysis, we investigate the association between FGM/C and painful gynecologic and obstetric complications in women affected by the practice.

Methods and findings

We performed a comprehensive literature search from inception to December 19, 2019 of Ovid MEDLINE, Ovid EMBASE, The Cochrane Library (Wiley), and POPLINE (prior to its retirement) for studies mentioning FGM/C. Two reviewers independently screened studies reporting prevalences of painful gynecologic and obstetric sequelae resulting from FGM/C. Random effects models were used to estimate pooled odds ratios (ORs) for outcomes obtained from cross-sectional, cohort, and case–control designs. Subgroup analysis was performed to assess and control for effect differences introduced by study design. Validated appraisal tools were utilized to assess quality and risk of bias. Our study was registered with PROSPERO. Two reviewers independently screened 6,666 abstracts. Of 559 full-text studies assessed for eligibility, 116 met eligibility criteria, which included studies describing the incidence or prevalence of painful sequelae associated with FGM/C. Pooled analyses after adjustment for study design found that FGM/C was associated with dyspareunia (6,283 FGM/C and 3,382 non-FGM/C participants; pooled OR: 2.47; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.45–4.21; I2: 79%; p-value < 0.01), perineal tears (4,898 FGM/C and 4,229 non-FGM/C participants; pooled OR: 2.63; 95% CI: 1.35–5.11; I2: 67%; p-value = 0.01), dysuria (3,686 FGM/C and 3,482 non-FGM/C participants; pooled OR: 1.43; 95% CI: 1.17–1.75; I2: 0%; p-value = 0.01), episiotomy (29,341 FGM/C and 39,260 non-FGM/C participants; pooled OR: 1.89; 95% CI: 1.26–2.82; I2: 96%; p-value < 0.01), and prolonged labor (7,516 FGM/C and 8,060 non-FGM/C participants; pooled OR: 2.04; 95% CI: 1.27–3.28; I2: 90%; p-value < 0.01). There was insufficient evidence to conclude that there was an association between FGM/C and dysmenorrhea (7,349 FGM/C and 4,411 non-FGM/C participants; pooled OR: 1.66; 95% CI: 0.97–2.84; I2: 86%; p-value = 0.06), urinary tract infection (4,493 FGM/C and 3,776 non-FGM/C participants; pooled OR: 2.11; 95% CI: 0.80–5.54; I2: 90%; p-value = 0.10), instrumental delivery (5,176 FGM/C and 31,923 non-FGM/C participants; pooled OR: 1.18; 95% CI: 0.78–1.79; I2: 63%; p-value = 0.40), or cesarean delivery (34,693 FGM/C and 46,013 non-FGM/C participants; pooled OR: 1.51; 95% CI: 0.99–2.30; I2: 96%; p-value = 0.05). Studies generally met quality assurance criteria. Limitations of this study include the largely suboptimal quality of studies.

Conclusions

In this study, we observed that specific painful outcomes are significantly more common in participants with FGM/C. Women who underwent FGM/C were around twice as likely as non-FGM/C women to experience dyspareunia, perineal tears, prolonged labor, and episiotomy. These data indicate that providers must familiarize themselves with the unique health consequences of FGM/C, including accurate diagnosis, pain management, and obstetric planning.

Review protocol registration

The review protocol registration in PROSPERO is CRD42018115848.

Contraceptive use among adolescent and young women in North and South Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo: A cross-sectional population-based survey

Mar, 31/03/2020 - 23:00

by Sara E. Casey, Meghan C. Gallagher, Jessica Kakesa, Anushka Kalyanpur, Jean-Baptiste Muselemu, Raoza Vololona Rafanoharana, Nathaly Spilotros

Background

Adolescent girls in humanitarian settings are especially vulnerable as their support systems are often disrupted. More than 20 years of violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has weakened the health system, resulting in poor sexual and reproductive health (SRH) outcomes for women. Little evidence on adolescent contraceptive use in humanitarian settings is available. CARE, International Rescue Committee (IRC), and Save the Children, in collaboration with the Reproductive Health Access, Information and Services in Emergencies (RAISE) Initiative, Columbia University, have supported the Ministry of Health (MOH) since 2011 to provide good quality contraceptive services in public health facilities in conflict-affected North and South Kivu. In this study, we analyzed contraceptive use among sexually active young women aged 15–24 in the health zones served by the partners’ programs.

Methods and findings

The partners conducted cross-sectional population-based surveys in program areas of North and South Kivu using two-stage cluster sampling in six health zones in July–August 2016 and 2017. Twenty-five clusters were selected in each health zone, 22 households in each cluster, and one woman of reproductive age (15–49 years) was randomly selected in each household. This manuscript presents results from a secondary data analysis for 1,022 women aged 15–24 who reported ever having sex: 326 adolescents (15–19 years) and 696 young women (20–24 years), 31.7% (95% confidence interval [CI] 29.5–34.1), of whom were displaced at least once in the previous five years. Contraceptive knowledge was high, with over 90% of both groups able to name at least one modern contraceptive method. Despite this high knowledge, unmet need for contraception was also high: 31.7% (95%CI 27.9–35.7) among 15–19-year-olds and 40.1% (95% CI 37.1–43.1, p = 0.001) among 20–24-year-olds. Current modern contraceptive use (16.5%, 95% CI 14.7–18.4) was similar in both age groups, the majority of whom received their method from a supported health facility. Among current users, more than half of 15–19-year-olds were using a long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC; 51.7%, 95% CI 41.1–61.9) compared to 36.5% of 20–24-year-olds (95% CI 29.6–43.9, p = 0.02). Age, younger age of sexual debut, having some secondary education, being unmarried, and having begun childbearing were associated with modern contraceptive use. The main limitations of our study are related to insecurity in three health zones that prevented access to some villages, reducing the representativeness of our data, and our defining sexually active women as those who have ever had sex.

Conclusions

In this study, to our knowledge one of the first to measure contraceptive prevalence among adolescents in a humanitarian setting, we observed that adolescent and young women will use modern contraception, including long-acting methods. Meaningful engagement of adolescent and young women would likely contribute to even better outcomes. Creating an enabling environment by addressing gender and social norms, however, is key to reducing stigma and meeting the demand for contraception of young women. As we continue to build such supportive environments, we can see that they will use effective contraception when contraceptive services, including short- and long-acting methods, are available, even in protracted crisis settings.

Migration and first-year maternal mortality among HIV-positive postpartum women: A population-based longitudinal study in rural South Africa

Mar, 31/03/2020 - 23:00

by Hae-Young Kim, Adrian Dobra, Frank Tanser

Background

In South Africa, within-country migration is common. Mobility affects many of the factors in the pathway for entry to or retention in care among people living with HIV. We characterized the patterns of migration (i.e., change in residency) among peripartum women from rural South Africa and their association with first-year postpartum mortality.

Methods and findings

All pregnant women aged ≥15 years were followed-up during pregnancy and the first year postpartum in a population-based longitudinal demographic and HIV surveillance program in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, from 2000 to 2016. During the household surveys (every 4–6 months), each household head was interviewed to record demographic components of the household, including composition, migration, and mortality. External migration was defined as moving (i.e., change in residency) into or out of the study area. For women of reproductive age, detailed information on new pregnancy and birth was recorded. Maternal death was ascertained via verbal autopsy and HIV status at delivery via annual HIV surveys. We fitted mixed-effects Cox regression models adjusting for multiple pregnancies per individual. Overall, 19,334 women had 30,291 pregnancies: 3,339 were HIV-positive, 10,958 were HIV-negative, and 15,994 had unknown HIV status at delivery. The median age was 24 (interquartile range: 20–30) years. During pregnancy and the first year postpartum, 64% (n = 19,344) and 13% (n = 3,994) did not migrate and resided within and outside the surveillance area, respectively. Of the 23% who had externally migrated at least once, 39% delivered outside the surveillance area. Overall, the mortality rate was 5.8 per 1,000 person-years (or 831 deaths per 100,000 live births) in the first year postpartum. The major causes of deaths were AIDS- or tuberculosis-related conditions both within 42 days of delivery (53%) and during the first year postpartum (62%). In this study, we observed that HIV-positive peripartum women who externally migrated and delivered outside the surveillance area had a hazard of mortality more than two times greater (hazard ratio = 2.74; 95% confidence interval 1.01–7.40, p-value = 0.047)—after adjusting for age, time period (before or after 2010), and sociodemographic status—compared to that of HIV-positive women who continuously resided within the surveillance area. Study limitations include lack of data on access to antiretroviral therapy (ART) care and social or clinical context at the destinations among mobile participants, which could lead to unmeasured confounding. Further information on how mobile postpartum women access and remain in care would be instructive.

Conclusions

In this study, we found that a substantial portion of peripartum women moved within the country around the time of delivery and experienced a significantly higher risk of mortality. Despite the scale-up of universal ART and declining trends in maternal mortality, there is an urgent need to derive a greater understanding of the mechanisms underlying this finding and to develop targeted interventions for mobile HIV-positive peripartum women.

Health of Special Immigrant Visa holders from Iraq and Afghanistan after arrival into the United States using Domestic Medical Examination data, 2014–2016: A cross-sectional analysis

Mar, 31/03/2020 - 23:00

by Gayathri S. Kumar, Clelia Pezzi, Simone Wien, Blain Mamo, Kevin Scott, Colleen Payton, Kailey Urban, Stephen Hughes, Lori Kennedy, Nuny Cabanting, Jessica Montour, Melissa Titus, Jenny Aguirre, Breanna Kawasaki, Rebecca Ford, Emily S. Jentes

Background

Since 2008, the United States has issued between 2,000 and 19,000 Special Immigrant Visas (SIV) annually, with the majority issued to applicants from Iraq and Afghanistan. SIV holders (SIVH) are applicants who were employed by, or on behalf of, the US government or the US military. There is limited information about health conditions in SIV populations to help guide US clinicians caring for SIVH. Thus, we sought to describe health characteristics of recently arrived SIVH from Iraq and Afghanistan who were seen for domestic medical examinations.

Methods and findings

This cross-sectional analysis included data from Iraqi and Afghan SIVH who received a domestic medical examination from January 2014 to December 2016. Data were gathered from state refugee health programs in seven states (California, Colorado, Illinois, Kentucky, Minnesota, New York, and Texas), one county, and one academic medical center and included 6,124 adults and 4,814 children. Data were collected for communicable diseases commonly screened for during the exam, including tuberculosis (TB), hepatitis B, hepatitis C, malaria, strongyloidiasis, schistosomiasis, other intestinal parasites, syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, and human immunodeficiency virus, as well as elevated blood lead levels (EBLL). We investigated the frequency and proportion of diseases and whether there were any differences in selected disease prevalence in SIVH from Iraq compared to SIVH from Afghanistan. A majority of SIV adults were male (Iraqi 54.0%, Afghan 58.6%) and aged 18–44 (Iraqi 86.0%, Afghan 97.7%). More SIV children were male (Iraqi 56.2%, Afghan 52.2%) and aged 6–17 (Iraqi 50.2%, Afghan 40.7%). The average age of adults was 29.7 years, and the average age for children was 5.6 years. Among SIV adults, 14.4% were diagnosed with latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI), 63.5% were susceptible to hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection, and 31.0% had at least one intestinal parasite. Afghan adults were more likely to have LTBI (prevalence ratio [PR]: 2.0; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.5–2.7) and to be infected with HBV (PR: 4.6; 95% CI 3.6–6.0) than Iraqi adults. Among SIV children, 26.7% were susceptible to HBV infection, 22.1% had at least one intestinal parasite, and 50.1% had EBLL (≥5 mcg/dL). Afghan children were more likely to have a pathogenic intestinal parasite (PR: 2.7; 95% CI 2.4–3.2) and EBLL (PR: 2.0; 95% CI 1.5–2.5) than Iraqi children. Limitations of the analysis included lack of uniform health screening data collection across all nine sites and possible misclassification by clinicians of Iraqi and Afghan SIVH as Iraqi and Afghan refugees, respectively.

Conclusion

In this analysis, we observed that 14% of SIV adults had LTBI, 27% of SIVH had at least one intestinal parasite, and about half of SIV children had EBLL. Most adults were susceptible to HBV. In general, prevalence of infection was higher for most conditions among Afghan SIVH compared to Iraqi SIVH. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Guidelines for the US Domestic Medical Examination for Newly Arriving Refugees can assist state public health departments and clinicians in the care of SIVH during the domestic medical examination. Future analyses can explore other aspects of health among resettled SIV populations, including noncommunicable diseases and vaccination coverage.

Health and well-being of male international migrants and non-migrants in Bangladesh: A cross-sectional follow-up study

Mar, 31/03/2020 - 23:00

by Randall Kuhn, Tania Barham, Abdur Razzaque, Patrick Turner

Background

Temporary labor migration is an increasingly important mode of migration that generates substantial remittance flows, but raises important concerns for migrant well-being. The migration and health literature has seen a growing call for longitudinal, binational surveys that compare migrants to relevant non-migrant counterfactual groups in the sending country, in order to answer the basic question “Is migration good for health?” This study compares the health of male international migrants, internal migrants, and non-migrants using a unique representative panel survey of the Matlab subdistrict of Bangladesh.

Methods and findings

A cohort of 5,072 respondents born 1958–1992 were interviewed in 1996–1997, and reinterviewed in 2012–2014. Extensive migrant follow-up yielded a 92% reinterview rate. We explored health and income outcomes for respondents who at the time of the follow-up interview were current international migrants (n = 790), returned international migrants (n = 209), internal migrants (n = 1,260), and non-migrants (n = 2,037). Compared to non-migrants, current international migrants were younger (mean 32.9 years versus 35.8 years), had more schooling (7.6 years versus 5.8 years), and were more likely to have an international migrant father (9.7% versus 4.0%) or brother (49.1% versus 30.3%). We estimated multivariate ordinary least squares and logistic regression models controlling for a wide range of control variables measured as far back as 1982. Results show that current international migrants had substantially better health status on factors that likely relate to self-selection such as grip strength and self-rated health. Current international migrants had no excess risk of injury in the past 12 months compared to non-migrants (adjusted mean risk = 6.0% versus 9.3%, p = 0.084). Compared to non-migrants, current international migrants had roughly twice the risk of overweight/obesity (adjusted mean risk = 51.7% versus 23.3%, p < 0.001), obesity (6.9% versus 3.4%, p = 0.012), and stage 1 or higher hypertension (13.0% versus 7.0%, p = 0.014). Compared to internal migrants, current international migrants had significantly higher levels of overweight/obesity (adjusted mean risk = 51.7% versus 37.7%, p < 0.001). Current international migrants showed above average levels of depressive symptoms on a 12-item standardized short-form Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (+0.220 SD, 95% CI 0.098–0.342), significantly higher than internal migrants (−0.028 SD, 95% CI −0.111, 0.055; p < 0.001). Depressive symptoms differed significantly from those reported by non-migrants when restricting to items on negative emotions (international migrant score = 0.254 SD, non-migrant score = 0.056 SD, p = 0.004). Key limitations include the descriptive nature of the analysis, the use of both in-person and phone survey data for international migrants, the long recall period for occupational and mental health risk measures, and the coverage of a single out-migration area of origin.

Conclusions

In this study, we observed that international migrants had comparable or lower injury and mortality risks compared to respondents remaining in Bangladesh, due in part to the high risks present in Bangladesh. International migrants also showed higher levels of self-rated health and physical strength, reflective of positive self-selection into migration. They had substantially higher risks of overweight/obesity, hypertension, and depression. Negative health impacts may reflect the effects of both harsh migration conditions and assimilation into host population conditions. Our results suggest the need for bilateral cooperation to improve the health of guest workers.

Comprehensive infectious disease screening in a cohort of unaccompanied refugee minors in Germany from 2016 to 2017: A cross-sectional study

Mar, 31/03/2020 - 23:00

by Ales Janda, Kristin Eder, Roland Fressle, Anne Geweniger, Natalie Diffloth, Maximilian Heeg, Nadine Binder, Ana-Gabriela Sitaru, Jan Rohr, Philipp Henneke, Markus Hufnagel, Roland Elling

Background

Information regarding the prevalence of infectious diseases (IDs) in child and adolescent refugees in Europe is scarce. Here, we evaluate a standardized ID screening protocol in a cohort of unaccompanied refugee minors (URMs) in a municipal region of southwest Germany.

Methods and findings

From January 2016 to December 2017, we employed a structured questionnaire to screen a cohort of 890 URMs. Collecting sociodemographic information and medical history, we also performed a standardized diagnostics panel, including complete blood count, urine status, microbial stool testing, tuberculosis (TB) screening, and serologies for hepatitis B virus (HBV) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The mean age was 16.2 years; 94.0% were male, and 93.6% originated from an African country. The most common health complaints were dental problems (66.0%). The single most frequent ID was scabies (14.2%). Of the 776 URMs originating from high-prevalence countries, 7.7% and 0.4% tested positive for HBV and HIV, respectively. Nineteen pathogens were detected in a total of 119 stool samples (16.0% positivity), with intestinal schistosomiasis being the most frequent pathogen (6.7%). Blood eosinophilia proved to be a nonspecific criterion for the detection of parasitic infections. Active pulmonary TB was identified in 1.7% of URMs screened. Of note, clinical warning symptoms (fever, cough >2 weeks, and weight loss) were insensitive parameters for the identification of patients with active TB. Study limitations include the possibility of an incomplete eosinophilia workup (as no parasite serologies or malaria diagnostics were performed), as well as the inherent selection bias in our cohort because refugee populations differ across Europe.

Conclusions

Our study found that standardized ID screening in a URM cohort was practicable and helped collection of relevant patient data in a thorough and time-effective manner. However, screening practices need to be ameliorated, especially in relation to testing for parasitic infections. Most importantly, we found that only a minority of infections were able to be detected clinically. This underscores the importance of active surveillance of IDs among refugees.

Association of suicidal behavior with exposure to suicide and suicide attempt: A systematic review and multilevel meta-analysis

Mar, 31/03/2020 - 23:00

by Nicole T. M. Hill, Jo Robinson, Jane Pirkis, Karl Andriessen, Karolina Krysinska, Amber Payne, Alexandra Boland, Alison Clarke, Allison Milner, Katrina Witt, Stephan Krohn, Amit Lampit

Background

Exposure to suicidal behavior may be associated with increased risk of suicide, suicide attempt, and suicidal ideation and is a significant public health problem. However, evidence to date has not reliably distinguished between exposure to suicide versus suicide attempt, nor whether the risk differs across suicide-related outcomes, which have markedly different public health implications. Our aim therefore was to quantitatively assess the independent risk associated with exposure to suicide and suicide attempt on suicide, suicide attempt, and suicidal ideation outcomes and to identify moderators of this risk using multilevel meta-analysis.

Methods and findings

We systematically searched MEDLINE, Embase, PsycINFO, CINAHL, ASSIA, Sociological Abstracts, IBSS, and Social Services Abstracts from inception to 19 November 2019. Eligible studies included comparative data on prior exposure to suicide, suicide attempt, or suicidal behavior (composite measure—suicide or suicide attempt) and the outcomes of suicide, suicide attempt, and suicidal ideation in relatives, friends, and acquaintances. Dichotomous events or odds ratios (ORs) of suicide, suicide attempt, and suicidal ideation were analyzed using multilevel meta-analyses to accommodate the non-independence of effect sizes. We assessed study quality using the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute quality assessment tool for observational studies. Thirty-four independent studies that presented 71 effect sizes (exposure to suicide: k = 42, from 22 independent studies; exposure to suicide attempt: k = 19, from 13 independent studies; exposure to suicidal behavior (composite): k = 10, from 5 independent studies) encompassing 13,923,029 individuals were eligible. Exposure to suicide was associated with increased odds of suicide (11 studies, N = 13,464,582; OR = 3.23, 95% CI = 2.32 to 4.51, P < 0.001) and suicide attempt (10 studies, N = 121,836; OR = 2.91, 95% CI = 2.01 to 4.23, P < 0.001). However, no evidence of an association was observed for suicidal ideation outcomes (2 studies, N = 43,354; OR = 1.85, 95% CI = 0.97 to 3.51, P = 0.06). Exposure to suicide attempt was associated with increased odds of suicide attempt (10 studies, N = 341,793; OR = 3.53, 95% CI = 2.63 to 4.73, P < 0.001), but not suicide death (3 studies, N = 723; OR = 1.64, 95% CI = 0.90 to 2.98, P = 0.11). By contrast, exposure to suicidal behavior (composite) was associated with increased odds of suicide (4 studies, N = 1,479; OR = 3.83, 95% CI = 2.38 to 6.17, P < 0.001) but not suicide attempt (1 study, N = 666; OR = 1.10, 95% CI = 0.69 to 1.76, P = 0.90), a finding that was inconsistent with the separate analyses of exposure to suicide and suicide attempt. Key limitations of this study include fair study quality and the possibility of unmeasured confounders influencing the findings. The review has been prospectively registered with PROSPERO (CRD42018104629).

Conclusions

The findings of this systematic review and meta-analysis indicate that prior exposure to suicide and prior exposure to suicide attempt in the general population are associated with increased odds of subsequent suicidal behavior, but these exposures do not incur uniform risk across the full range of suicide-related outcomes. Therefore, future studies should refrain from combining these exposures into single composite measures of exposure to suicidal behavior. Finally, future studies should consider designing interventions that target suicide-related outcomes in those exposed to suicide and that include efforts to mitigate the adverse effects of exposure to suicide attempt on subsequent suicide attempt outcomes.

An Integrative Adapt Therapy for common mental health symptoms and adaptive stress amongst Rohingya, Chin, and Kachin refugees living in Malaysia: A randomized controlled trial

Mar, 31/03/2020 - 23:00

by Alvin Kuowei Tay, Hau Khat Mung, Mohammad Abdul Awal Miah, Susheela Balasundaram, Peter Ventevogel, Mohammad Badrudduza, Sanjida Khan, Karen Morgan, Susan Rees, Mohammed Mohsin, Derrick Silove

Background

This randomised controlled trial (RCT) aims to compare 6-week posttreatment outcomes of an Integrative Adapt Therapy (IAT) to a Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) on common mental health symptoms and adaptive capacity amongst refugees from Myanmar. IAT is grounded on psychotherapeutic elements specific to the refugee experience.

Methods and findings

We conducted a single-blind RCT (October 2017 –May 2019) with Chin (39.3%), Kachin (15.7%), and Rohingya (45%) refugees living in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The trial included 170 participants receiving six 45-minute weekly sessions of IAT (97.6% retention, 4 lost to follow-up) and 161 receiving a multicomponent CBT also involving six 45-minute weekly sessions (96.8% retention, 5 lost to follow-up). Participants (mean age: 30.8 years, SD = 9.6) had experienced and/or witnessed an average 10.1 types (SD = 5.9, range = 1–27) of traumatic events. We applied a single-blind design in which independent assessors of pre- and posttreatment indices were masked in relation to participants’ treatment allocation status. Primary outcomes were symptom scores of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Complex PTSD (CPTSD), Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), the 5 scales of the Adaptive Stress Index (ASI), and a measure of resilience (the Connor–Davidson Resilience Scale [CDRS]). Compared to CBT, an intention-to-treat analysis (n = 331) at 6-week posttreatment follow-up demonstrated greater reductions in the IAT arm for all common mental disorder (CMD) symptoms and ASI domains except for ASI-3 (injustice), as well as increases in the resilience scores. Adjusted average treatment effects assessing the differences in posttreatment scores between IAT and CBT (with baseline scores as covariates) were −0.08 (95% CI: −0.14 to −0.02, p = 0.012) for PTSD, −0.07 (95% CI: −0.14 to −0.01) for CPTSD, −0.07 for MDD (95% CI: −0.13 to −0.01, p = 0.025), 0.16 for CDRS (95% CI: 0.06–0.026, p ≤ 0.001), −0.12 (95% CI: −0.20 to −0.03, p ≤ 0.001) for ASI-1 (safety/security), −0.10 for ASI-2 (traumatic losses; 95% CI: −0.18 to −0.02, p = 0.02), −0.03 for ASI-3 (injustice; (95% CI: −0.11 to 0.06, p = 0.513), −0.12 for ASI-4 (role/identity disruptions; 95% CI: −0.21 to −0.04, p ≤ 0.001), and −0.18 for ASI-5 (existential meaning; 95% CI: −0.19 to −0.05, p ≤ 0.001). Compared to CBT, the IAT group had larger effect sizes for all indices (except for resilience) including PTSD (IAT, d = 0.93 versus CBT, d = 0.87), CPTSD (d = 1.27 versus d = 1.02), MDD (d = 1.4 versus d = 1.11), ASI-1 (d = 1.1 versus d = 0.85), ASI-2 (d = 0.81 versus d = 0.66), ASI-3 (d = 0.49 versus d = 0.42), ASI-4 (d = 0.86 versus d = 0.67), and ASI-5 (d = 0.72 versus d = 0.53). No adverse events were recorded for either therapy. Limitations include a possible allegiance effect (the authors inadvertently conveying disproportionate enthusiasm for IAT in training and supervision), cross-over effects (counsellors applying elements of one therapy in delivering the other), and the brief period of follow-up.

Conclusions

Compared to CBT, IAT showed superiority in improving mental health symptoms and adaptative stress from baseline to 6-week posttreatment. The differences in scores between IAT and CBT were modest and future studies conducted by independent research teams need to confirm the findings.

Trial registration

The study is registered under Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ANZCTR) (http://www.anzctr.org.au/). The trial registration number is: ACTRN12617001452381

Vaccination coverage survey and seroprevalence among forcibly displaced Rohingya children, Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, 2018: A cross-sectional study

Mar, 31/03/2020 - 23:00

by Leora R. Feldstein, Sarah D. Bennett, Concepcion F. Estivariz, Gretchen M. Cooley, Lauren Weil, Mallick Masum Billah, M. Salim Uzzaman, Rajendra Bohara, Maya Vandenent, Jucy Merina Adhikari, Eva Leidman, Mainul Hasan, Saifuddin Akhtar, Andreas Hasman, Laura Conklin, Daniel Ehlman, A. Alamgir, Meerjady Sabrina Flora

Background

During August 2017–January 2018, more than 700,000 forcibly displaced Rohingyas crossed into Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. In response to measles and diphtheria cases, first documented in September and November 2017, respectively, vaccination campaigns targeting children <15 years old were mobilized during September 2017–March 2018. However, in a rapidly evolving emergency situation, poor sanitation, malnutrition, overcrowding, and lack of access to safe water and healthcare can increase susceptibility to infectious diseases, particularly among children. We aimed to estimate population immunity to vaccine-preventable diseases (VPDs) after vaccination activities in the camps to identify any remaining immunity gaps among Rohingya children.

Methods and findings

We conducted a cross-sectional serologic and vaccination coverage survey in Nayapara Registered Refugee Camp (“Nayapara”) and makeshift settlements (MSs) April 28, 2018 to May 31, 2018, among 930 children aged 6 months to 14 years. MSs are informal, self-settled areas with a population of more than 850,000, the majority of whom arrived after August 2017, whereas Nayapara is a registered camp and has better infrastructure than MSs, including provision of routine immunization services. Households were identified using simple random sampling (SRS) in Nayapara and multistage cluster sampling in MSs (because household lists were unavailable). Dried blood spots (DBSs) were collected to estimate seroprotection against measles, rubella, diphtheria, and tetanus, using Luminex multiplex bead assay (MBA). Caregiver interviews assessed vaccination campaign participation using vaccination card or recall. In Nayapara, 273 children aged 1 to 6 years participated; 46% were female and 88% were registered refugees. In MSs, 358 children aged 1 to 6 years and 299 children aged 7 to 14 years participated; 48% of all children in MSs were female, and none were registered refugees. In Nayapara, estimated seroprotection among 1- to 6-year-olds was high for measles, rubella, diphtheria, and tetanus (91%–98%; 95% confidence interval [CI] 87%–99%); children >6 years were not assessed. In MSs, measles seroprotection was similarly high among 1- to 6-year-olds and 7- to 14-year-olds (91% [95% CI 86%–94%] and 99% [95% CI 96%–100%], respectively, p < 0.001). Rubella and diphtheria seroprotection in MSs were significantly lower among 1- to 6-year-olds (84% [95% CI 79%–88%] and 63% [95% CI 56%–70%]) compared to 7- to 14-year-olds (96% [95% CI 90%–98%] and 77% [95% CI 69%–84%]) (p < 0.001). Tetanus seroprevalence was similar among 1- to 6-year-olds and 7- to 14-year-olds (76% [95% CI 69%–81%] and 84% [95% CI 77%–89%], respectively; p = 0.07). Vaccination campaign coverage was consistent with seroprotection in both camps. However, nonresponse, the main limitation of the study, may have biased the seroprotection and campaign coverage results.

Conclusions

In this study, we observed that despite multiple vaccination campaigns, immunity gaps exist among children in MSs, particularly for diphtheria, which requires serial vaccinations to achieve maximum protection. Therefore, an additional tetanus-diphtheria campaign may be warranted in MSs to address these remaining immunity gaps. Rapid scale-up and strengthening of routine immunization services to reach children and to deliver missed doses to older children is also critically needed to close immunity gaps and prevent future outbreaks.

Assessment of immunity to polio among Rohingya children in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, 2018: A cross-sectional survey

Mar, 31/03/2020 - 23:00

by Concepcion F. Estivariz, Sarah D. Bennett, Jacquelyn S. Lickness, Leora R. Feldstein, William C. Weldon, Eva Leidman, Daniel C. Ehlman, Muhammad F. H. Khan, Jucy M. Adhikari, Mainul Hasan, Mallick M. Billah, M. Steven Oberste, A. S. M. Alamgir, Meerjady D. Flora

Background

We performed a cross-sectional survey in April–May 2018 among Rohingya in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, to assess polio immunity and inform vaccination strategies.

Methods and findings

Rohingya children aged 1–6 years (younger group) and 7–14 years (older group) were selected using multi-stage cluster sampling in makeshift settlements and simple random sampling in Nayapara registered camp. Surveyors asked parents/caregivers if the child received any oral poliovirus vaccine (OPV) in Myanmar and, for younger children, if the child received vaccine in any of the 5 campaigns delivering bivalent OPV (serotypes 1 and 3) conducted during September 2017–April 2018 in Cox’s Bazar. Dried blood spot (DBS) specimens were tested for neutralizing antibodies to poliovirus types 1, 2, and 3 in 580 younger and 297 older children. Titers ≥ 1:8 were considered protective. Among 632 children (335 aged 1–6 years, 297 aged 7–14 years) enrolled in the study in makeshift settlements, 51% were male and 89% had arrived after August 9, 2017. Among 245 children (all aged 1–6 years) enrolled in the study in Nayapara, 54% were male and 10% had arrived after August 9, 2017. Among younger children, 74% in makeshift settlements and 92% in Nayapara received >3 bivalent OPV doses in campaigns. Type 1 seroprevalence was 85% (95% CI 80%–89%) among younger children and 91% (95% CI 86%–95%) among older children in makeshift settlements, and 92% (88%–95%) among younger children in Nayapara. Type 2 seroprevalence was lower among younger children than older children in makeshift settlements (74% [95% CI 68%–79%] versus 97% [95% CI 94%–99%], p < 0.001), and was 69% (95% CI 63%–74%) among younger children in Nayapara. Type 3 seroprevalence was below 75% for both age groups and areas. The limitations of this study are unknown routine immunization history and poor retention of vaccination cards.

Conclusions

Younger Rohingya children had immunity gaps to all 3 polio serotypes and should be targeted by future campaigns and catch-up routine immunization. DBS collection can enhance the reliability of assessments of outbreak risk and vaccination strategy impact in emergency settings.

Health screenings administered during the domestic medical examination of refugees and other eligible immigrants in nine US states, 2014–2016: A cross-sectional analysis

Mar, 31/03/2020 - 23:00

by Clelia Pezzi, Deborah Lee, Gayathri S. Kumar, Breanna Kawasaki, Lori Kennedy, Jenny Aguirre, Melissa Titus, Rebecca Ford, Blain Mamo, Kailey Urban, Stephen Hughes, Colleen Payton, Kevin Scott, Jessica Montour, Emily S. Jentes

Background

Refugees and other select visa holders are recommended to receive a domestic medical examination within 90 days after arrival to the United States. Limited data have been published on the coverage of screenings offered during this examination across multiple resettlement states, preventing evaluation of this voluntary program’s potential impact on postarrival refugee health. This analysis sought to calculate and compare screening proportions among refugees and other eligible populations to assess the domestic medical examination’s impact on screening coverage resulting from this examination.

Methods and findings

We conducted a cross-sectional analysis to summarize and compare domestic medical examination data from January 2014 to December 2016 from persons receiving a domestic medical examination in seven states (California, Colorado, Minnesota, New York, Kentucky, Illinois, and Texas); one county (Marion County, Indiana); and one academic medical center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. We analyzed screening coverage by sex, age, nationality, and country of last residence of persons and compared the proportions of persons receiving recommended screenings by those characteristics. We received data on disease screenings for 105,541 individuals who received a domestic medical examination; 47% were female and 51.5% were between the ages of 18 and 44. The proportions of people undergoing screening tests for infectious diseases were high, including for tuberculosis (91.6% screened), hepatitis B (95.8% screened), and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV; 80.3% screened). Screening rates for other health conditions were lower, including mental health (36.8% screened). The main limitation of our analysis was reliance on data that were collected primarily for programmatic rather than surveillance purposes.

Conclusions

In this analysis, we observed high rates of screening coverage for tuberculosis, hepatitis B, and HIV during the domestic medical examination and lower screening coverage for mental health. This analysis provided evidence that the domestic medical examination is an opportunity to ensure newly arrived refugees and other eligible populations receive recommended health screenings and are connected to the US healthcare system. We also identified knowledge gaps on how screenings are conducted for some conditions, notably mental health, identifying directions for future research.

Validity of daily self-pulse palpation for atrial fibrillation screening in patients 65 years and older: A cross-sectional study

Mar, 31/03/2020 - 23:00

by Faris Ghazal, Holger Theobald, Mårten Rosenqvist, Faris Al-Khalili

Background

The European Society of Cardiology guidelines recommend (Class IA) single-time–point screening for atrial fibrillation (AF) using pulse palpation. The role of pulse palpation for AF detection has not been validated against electrocardiogram (ECG) recordings. We aimed to study the validity of AF screening using self-pulse palpation compared with an ECG recording conducted at the same time using a handheld ECG 3 times a day for 2 weeks.

Methods and findings

In this cross-sectional screening study, patients 65 years of age and older attending 4 primary care centers (PCCs) outside Stockholm County were invited to take part in AF screening from July 2017 to December 2018. Patients were included irrespective of their reason for visiting the PCC. Handheld intermittent ECGs 3 times per day were offered to patients without AF for a period of 2 weeks, and patients were instructed in how to take their own pulse at the same time. A total of 1,010 patients (mean age 73 years, 61% female, with an average CHA2DS2-VASc score 2.9) participated in the study, and 27 (2.7%, 95% CI 1.8%–3.9%) new cases of AF were detected. Anticoagulants (ACs) could be initiated in 26 (96%, 95% CI 81%–100%) of these cases. A total of 53,782 simultaneous ECG recordings and pulse measurements were registered. AF was verified in 311 ECG recordings, of which the pulse was palpated as irregular in 77 recordings (25%, 95% CI 20%–30% sensitivity per measurement occasion). Of the 27 AF cases, 15 cases felt an irregular pulse on at least one occasion (56%, 95% CI 35%–75% sensitivity per individual). 187 individuals without AF felt an irregular pulse on at least one occasion. The specificity per measurement occasion and per individual was (98%, 95% CI 98%–98%) and (81%, 95% CI 78%–83%), respectively.

Conclusions

AF screening using self-pulse palpation 3 times daily for 2 weeks has lower sensitivity compared with simultaneous intermittent ECG. Thus, it may be better to screen for AF using intermittent ECG without stepwise screening using pulse palpation. A limitation of this model could be the reduced availability of handheld ECG recorders in primary care centers.

Malnutrition trends in Rohingya children aged 6–59 months residing in informal settlements in Cox’s Bazar District, Bangladesh: An analysis of cross-sectional, population-representative surveys

Mar, 31/03/2020 - 23:00

by Eva Leidman, Md. Lalan Miah, Alexa Humphreys, Leonie Toroitich-van Mil, Caroline Wilkinson, Mary Chelang'at Koech, Henry Sebuliba, Muhammad Abu Bakr Siddique, Oleg Bilukha

Background

More than 700,000 ethnic Rohingya have crossed the border from Rakhine State, Myanmar to Cox’s Bazar District, Bangladesh, following escalated violence by Myanmar security forces. The majority of these displaced Rohingya settled in informal sites on previously forested land, in areas without basic infrastructure or access to services.

Methods and findings

Three cross-sectional population-representative cluster surveys were conducted, including all informal settlements of Rohingya refugees in the Ukhia and Teknaf Upazilas of Cox’s Bazar District. The first survey was conducted during the acute phase of the humanitarian response (October–November 2017), and the second and third surveys were conducted 6 (April–May 2018) and 12 (October–November 2018) months later. Anthropometric indices (weight, height, mid-upper arm circumference [MUAC], oedema) and haemoglobin (Hb) were measured in children aged 6–59 months following standard procedures. Final samples for survey rounds 1, 2, and 3 (R1, R2, and R3) included 1,113, 628, and 683 children, respectively, of which approximately half were male (50.7%–53.5% per round) and a third were 6–23 months of age (32.4%–33.3% per round). Prevalence of global acute malnutrition (GAM) as assessed by weight for height in R2 (12.1%, 95% CI: 9.6–15.1) and R3 (11.0%, 95% CI: 8.4–14.2) represent a significant decline from the observed prevalence in R1 (19.4%, 95% CI: 16.8–22.3) (p < 0.001 for both comparisons). Overall, the prevalence of anaemia significantly declined (p < 0.001) between the first 2 rounds (47.9%, 95% CI: 44.1–51.7 and 32.3%, 95% CI: 27.8–37.1, respectively); prevalence increased significantly (p = 0.04) to 39.8% (95% CI, 34.1–45.4) during R3 but remained below R1 levels. Reported receipt of both fortified blended foods (12.8%) and micronutrient powders (10.3%) were low during R1 but increased significantly (p < 0.001 for both) within the first 6 months to 49.8% and 29.9%, respectively. Although findings demonstrate improvement in anthropometric indicators during a period in which nutrition programme coverage increased, causation cannot be determined from the cross-sectional design.

Conclusions

These data document significant improvements in both acute and micronutrient malnutrition among Rohingya children in makeshift settlements. These declines coincide with a scaleup of services aimed at prevention and treatment of malnutrition. Ongoing activities to improve access to nutritional services may facilitate further reductions in malnutrition levels to sustained below-crisis levels.