Infectious Diseases

Public Health in the Age of Ebola in West Africa

The world is witnessing the unprecedented unfolding of the West African Ebola epidemic. The epidemic could have major ramifications for global public health in ways that no other modern infectious disease has, perhaps including AIDS, and can be viewed as a “Black Swan” event. What we call here a Black Swan (and capitalize it) is an event with the following three attributes. First, it is an outlier, as it lies outside the realm of regular expecta- tions, because nothing in the past can convincingly point to its possibility.

Use of Community Health Workers for Management of Malaria and Pneumonia in Urban and Rural Areas in Eastern Uganda

This study assessed the potential differences between urban and rural areas in the implementation of community case management is implemented for malaria and pneumonia and how community health workers are being used alongside other partners in health care provision. [adapted from introduction]

Final Push for Polio Eradication: Addressing the Challenge of Violence in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Nigeria

The authors explore the different contexts of violence against polio vaccination workers and make policy proposals on how to respond to attacks on vaccination workers and to other factors that are impeding the final push for polio eradication. [adapted from author]

Why We Must Provide Better Support for Pakistan's Female Frontline Health Workers

This article summarizes the key role that lady health workers play in polio eradication; outlines the problems faced by these workers such as the risk to their lives through shootings and bombings, the lack of a living wage and dearth of advancement opportunities; and offers suggestions to improve the situation.

Evaluation of the Global Network of Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Programmes: A Resource for Improving Health Capacity and Increasing the Number of Public Health Professionals Worldwide

This study surveyed field epidemiology training program that are members of the a globally applied epidemiology network to determine progress toward increasing public health capacity for health professionals trained in controlling infectious epidemics globally. [adapted from author]

Human Resource Development and Capacity-Building During China's Rapid Scale-Up of Methadone Maintenance Treatment Services

The purpose of this article is to review human resource development and capacity-building efforts within China’s National Methadone Maintenance Treatment Programme, illustrate changes in program performance metrics over time, and convey lessons that will provide guidance to other developing countries attempting to implement similar programs. [from author]

Human Resources for Health: Practice and Policy Implications for Emergency Response Arising from the Cholera Outbreak in Papua New Guinea

This document describes some of the challenges to cholera preparedness and response in a human resource limited setting, the strategies used to ensure effective cholera management, some lessons learned as well as issues for public health policy and practice. [from summary]

Successful Polio Eradication in Uttar Pradesh, India: The Pivotal Contribution of the Social Mobilization Network, an NGO/UNICEF Collaboration

This article reports on a successful partnership to improve access and reduce family and community resistance to polio vaccination in India. The partners trained thousands of mobilizers from high-risk communities to visit households, promote government-run child immunization services, track children’s immunization history and encourage vaccination of children missing scheduled vaccinations, and mobilize local opinion leaders. [adapted from author]

Voices from the Field: Perspectives from Community Health Workers on Health Care Delivery in Rural KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

As the primary link between the formal health care sector and the household level in South Africa, community health workers (CHWs) provide a critical perspective on barriers
that exist in rural health care delivery. The results of this study suggest that CHWs recognize the need for HIV/AIDS- and TB-related interventions but are unable to provide a response commensurate to this need. [from abstract]

Treating Childhood Pneumonia in Hard-to-Reach Areas: A Model-Based Comparison on Mobile Clinics and Community-Based Care

This paper uses a decision mathematical model to estimate the relative effectiveness of two alternative strategies, mobile clinics and fixed community-based health services, for antibiotic treatment of childhood pneumonia, the world’s leading cause of child mortality. [from abstract]

Community Case Management of Severe Pneumonia with Oral Amoxicillin in children Aged 2-59 Months in Haripur District, Pakistan: A Cluster Randomised Trial

The objective of this study was to assess whether community case management by lady health workers with oral amoxicillin in children with severe pneumonia was equivalent to current standard of care. [from summary]

Thirty Years after Alma-Ata: A Systematic Review of the Impact of Community Health Workers Delivering Curative Interventions against Malaria, Pneumonia and Diarrhoea on Child Mortality and Morbidity in Sub-Saharan Africa

Given the very limited professional health care human resources in these settings, it is important to examine the evidence for the effectiveness of community health worker (CHW) programs as a delivery strategy for health interventions in sub-Saharan Africa. This review focuses on the impact CHWs have when delivering curative interventions. [adapted from author]

Characterizing Hospital Workers' Willingness to Report to Duty in an Influenza Pandemic through Threat and Efficacy Based Assessment

Hospital-based providers’ willingness to report to work during an influenza pandemic is a critical yet under-studied phenomenon. Witte’s Extended Parallel Process Model has been shown to be useful for understanding adaptive behavior of public health workers to an unknown risk, and thus offers a framework for examining scenario-specific willingness to respond among hospital staff. [from abstract]

Community Case Management Improves Use of Treatment for Childhood Diarrhea, Malaria and Pneumonia in a Remote District of Ethiopia

Ethiopia’s health extension workers (HEW) deliver preventive interventions and treat childhood diarrhea and malaria, but not pneumonia. Most of Ethiopia’s annual estimated 4 million childhood pneumonia cases go untreated. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the performance of volunteers in providing community case management for diarrhea, fever and pneumonia in a pre-HEW setting in Ethipia. [adapted from abstract]

Computer-Assisted Resilience Training to Prepare Healthcare Workers for Pandemic Influenza: a Randomized Trial of the Optimal Dose of Training

Working in a hospital during an extraordinary infectious disease outbreak can cause significant stress and contribute to healthcare workers choosing to reduce patient contact. Psychological training of healthcare workers prior to an influenza pandemic may reduce stress-related absenteeism, however, established training methods that change behavior and attitudes are too resource-intensive for widespread use.

Hepatitis B and Liver Cancer Knowledge and Practices among Healthcare and Public Health Professionals in China: a Cross-Sectional Study

Chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is the leading cause of liver disease and liver cancer and a major source of health-related discrimination in China. To better target HBV detection and prevention programs, it is necessary to assess existing HBV knowledge, educational resources, reporting, and preventive practices, particularly among those health professionals who would be responsible for implementing such programs. [from abstract]

Pilot Study of the Use of Community Volunteers to Distribute Azithromycin for Trachoma Control in Ghana

The objective of this study was to assess the skills of community health volunteers in diagnosing active trachoma, the world’s leading cause of preventable blindness, and distributing azithromycin treatment in the Northern Region of Ghana. [adapted from author]

Improving Pneumonia Case Management in Benin: a Randomized Trial of a Multi-Faceted Intervention to Support Health Worker Adherence to Integrated Management of Childhood Illness Guidelines

The Integrated Management of Childhood Illness strategy can improve the quality of care for pneumonia and other common illnesses in developing countries, but adherence to these guidelines could be improved. We evaluated an intervention in Benin to support health worker adherence to the guidelines after training, focusing on pneumonia case management. [from abstract]

Role of Nurses and Midwives in Polio Eradication and Measles Control Activities: a Survey in Suday and Zambia

We conducted a survey among nurses and midwives working at district level in Sudan and Zambia to determine their roles and functions in polio eradication and measles elimination programs. [from abstract]

Will They Just Pack Up and Leave? Attitudes and Intended Behavior of Hospital Health Care Workers During an Influenza Pandemic

There is a general consensus that another influenza pandemic is inevitable. Although health care workers (HCWs) are essential to the health system response, there are few studies exploring HCW attitudes to pandemic influenza. The aim of this study was to explore HCWs knowledge, attitudes and intended behaviour towards pandemic influenza. [from abstract]

Healthcare Workers' Attitudes to Working During Pandemic Influenza: a Qualitative Study

The UK healthcare system's ability to cope during an influenza pandemic will largely depend on the number of healthcare workers (HCWs) who are able and willing to work through the crisis. This paper includes the results of a qualitative study exploring the views of UK HCWs on working during an influenza pandemic in order to identify factors that might influence their willingness and ability to work. [from abstract]

Health Worker Densities and Immunization Coverage in Turkey: a Panel Data Analysis

Increased immunization coverage is an important step towards fulfilling the Millennium Development Goal of reducing childhood mortality. Recent cross-sectional and cross-national research has indicated that physician, nurse and midwife densities may positively influence immunization coverage. However, little is known about relationships between densities of HRH and vaccination coverage within developing countries and over time. This study examines HRH densities and coverage of the Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) in Turkey from 2000 to 2006. [from abstract]

Emergency Preparedness and Public Health Systems: Lessons for Developing Countries

Improving the capacity of developing countries to respond to emerging diseases and especially influenza pandemics is essential to reduce both transmission around the globe and the human toll of outbreaks in the developing world. Investing in this capacity in developing countries is thus increasingly seen as a shared concern within the global community. [from introduction]

Healthcare Workers' Attitudes Towards Working During Pandemic Influenza: a Multi-Method Study

Healthcare workers (HCWs) will be key players in any response to pandemic influenza, and will be in the front line of exposure to infection. This study is designed to determine the range of factors associated with their responses to the prospect of working through pandemic influenza. The findings will be used to estimate of the likely proportion of HCWs affected by each factor, and how likely it is that they would be willing and/or able to continue to work during an influenza pandemic. [adapted from abstract]

Online Educational Tools to Improve the Knowledge of Primary Care Professionals in Infectious Diseases

Infectious diseases kill more than 10 million people worldwide every year. It is therefore vital that doctors receive a good education in this field. Online learning is one way in which doctors can learn new knowledge and skills. We conducted this study to determine whether the infectious diseases interactive online learning packages enabled primary care professionals to increase their knowledge and skills in the area of infectious diseases. [from abstract]

Infectious Disease Surveillance (IDS) in Tanzania

In Tanzania, the PHRplus project developed and tested a set of training materials and tools designed to strengthen the Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response (IDSR) system. All of the tools were implemented in twelve project districts in eight regions of the country. The tools can be adapted for use in other countries and include job aids for district training of trainers, facility training of trainers, district and facility level IDSR training materials and other supporting training tools. [adapted from publisher]

Health Workers and Vaccination Coverage in Developing Countries: an Econometric Analysis

Although health workers are needed to do vaccinations, the role of human resources for health as a determinant of vaccination coverage at the population level has not been investigated. The author’s aim was to test whether health worker density was positively associated with childhood vaccination coverage in developing countries. [from summary]

Reducing the Impact of HIV/AIDS on Nursing & Midwifery Personnel

These revised and expanded guidelines aim to help [national nursing associations], nursing and midwifery personnel, nurse managers, employers and others to address the educational needs and ethical responsibilities of nursing and midwifery personnel in reducing transmission of HIV/AIDS, HBV, HCV and tuberculosis; develop strategies for a safer work environment and increased protection for nursing and midwifery personnel; and address the socioeconomic welfare issues related to the health care needs, compensation and financial security of HIV-positive nursing and midwifery personnel.

Study of Health Workers' Knowledge and Practices Regarding Leprosy Care and Control at Primary Care Clinics in the Eerstehoek Area of Gert Sibande District in Mpumalanga Province, South Africa

A successful leprosy care and control program within the general healthcare services at the PHC level is highly dependent upon the HWs having adequate knowledge of, and practical training on, leprosy. This study describes PHC workers’ knowledge of leprosy, and their practical involvement in leprosy care and control activities at PHC clinics in the Eerstehoek area of Gert Sibande district in Mpumalanga Province, South Africa, where leprosy still occurs. [author’s description]

Integrating Vertical Health Programmes into Sector Wide Approaches: Experiences and Lessons

This paper is a desk study which looks at experiences of integrating vertical health programmes into national delivery systems where government and donors have adopted a sector wide approach (SWAp) to supporting health sector reform. It was commissioned to facilitate decision making in SDC regarding future possible integration of the Tanzania Tuberculosis and Leprosy Programme into national delivery systems and the SWAp process.[author’s description]