The New York Times highlights two new developments on preventing pneumonia that are reason to be encouraged. An excerpt:
First, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has just issued new vaccination recommendations for older adults that should bolster their protection against this dangerous lung infection.
Second, a large-scale study has found that when older Americans do land in hospitals with pneumonia, those hospitals are doing a measurably better job of treating them.
Each year, pneumonia sickens three million to four million American adults, most over 65, according to Dr. Michael Fine, who studies the epidemiology of the disease at VA Pittsburgh Healthcare and is the senior author of the study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine. More than a million adults are hospitalized because of pneumonia, but hospitalization becomes much more common at older ages.
In 2003, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services — which tracks how well hospitals do at treating pneumonia — established seven performance measures. To receive reimbursement, hospitals had to report how frequently they took these steps, including taking cultures in the emergency room to diagnose bloodstream infections, starting appropriate antibiotics within six hours, and offering flu and pneumonia vaccines and smoking-cessation counseling to prevent future infections.
(Viruses, fungi and aspirated food can also cause pneumonia, but only bacterial causes can be effectively treated with antibiotics.)
To gauge how hospitals responded, the researchers examined the records of 1.8 million Medicare beneficiaries hospitalized with pneumonia between 2006 and 2010. They not only looked at how frequently the 4,740 hospitals managed to complete each of the seven processes; they also constructed a composite — an “all-or-none” measure — which showed how often hospitals took all the required actions patients were eligible for.
Spotlight on PSI
New HIV infections in Malawi are down from 52,000 to 35,000 per year, says the Ministry of Health. A news story reports on the gains and how PSI works with the government. An excerpt:
Population Services International (PSI) recently said it has sold 140 million condoms since 1994.
“If one buys a condom, they don’t waste it unlike someone who gets it for free so if our partners like PSI are selling so many condoms it means many people are having safe sex thereby reducing new HIV infections,” he said.
Chimbali added: “The 35,000 new HIV infections is still on the higher side and I urge people and partners not to relax. As MoH, we will continue investing in HIV interventions to achieve zero new infections. Our momentum to fight HIV is still high,” he said.
Reacting to this development, Executive Director for Malawi Health Equity Network, Martha Kwataine said if these figures are true, the country is moving into the right direction in the fight against HIV and Aids.
Global Health and Development Beat
Child marriages are on the rise in Zimbabwe, particularly in rural areas, where girls as young as 15 are married off to men 10 or more years their senior, a survey by the UNFPA and ZimStat reveals.
The kala-azar [visceral leishmaniasis] outbreak in South Sudan continued last week with 4,624 cases reported; compared to 1,614 cumulative cases in the same week in 2013.
An interactive report in Scientific American tells the stories of the 1832 cholera outbreak in New York City and the 2010 outbreak in Haiti.
USAID and the Gates Foundation are set to join Indian PM Modi and his ambitious Clean India initiative.
At the Sibos banking conference, Bill Gates, the ex-Microsoft CEO and chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation talked to the Guardian about Ebola and the low chances of a US epidemic.
In the first days of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, as aid workers and health authorities battled to contain the deadly virus, Mariano Lugli asked himself a simple question: where was the World Health Organization?
Health officials are looking to those who have recovered from Ebola to treat new cases. The World Health Organization hopes to find antibodies in the blood of people who have fought off the virus.
Scientists have used Ebola disease spread patterns and airline traffic data to predict a 75 percent chance the virus could be imported to France by October 24, and a 50 percent chance it could hit Britain by that date.
Buzzing in the Blogs
Lessons on how educated young refugees can become lay counselors in conflict settings such as Syria, from the Lancet Global Health blog. An excerpt:
During the initial training, video-conference presentation (using the online feature of PowerPoint in conjunction with Skype), role-play assignments, case discussions, and Q&A sessions were conducted. The volunteers gained mastery in using PFA techniques as shown in role play, pre- and post-measurement tests, and in the ongoing supervision.
As a result of our training, volunteers were assigned triage responsibilities in the busy mental health clinic to help connect patients needing basic necessities or referring those in need of higher-level of psychiatric care. Sustainability in our model is ensured by continuous weekly videoconferencing sessions that cover ongoing cases, key PFA concepts, difficulties in the practical application of gained knowledge, and ongoing communication-skills training by role-play. Not surprisingly, the role-play element of training was identified by the trainees as the most beneficial learning experience. It is worth noting that the excellent internet connection in Turkey had allowed for good and barely interrupted videoconferencing sessions.
This experience had limitations, given the small cohort. However, the feasibility aspect of such a project should be highlighted. The importance of such training is its ability to build refugees’ capacity and enhance their ability to serve the community. Use of technology made the training more accessible and sustainable. Our pilot cohort will receive training in the IFRC lay counselling manual soon. In addition, more volunteers are to be trained in the coming months. On the basis of the existing experience, future volunteers will be educated more about the “training” nature of our sessions, as our current cohort had an initial impression of a “classroom” nature, resulting in test-anxiety. Education on the expected lack of knowledge (before) and improved knowledge (after) the training had helped relieve some of the anxiety.
To conclude, we report the successful use of technology in creating a sustainable model of training and capacity building in a conflict setting. We believe this model will help in resolving the dilemma of lack of capacity post-conflict and lack of resources on the long run. Mental health providers who cannot dedicate special time to travel, but who are willing to help, will be able to support these training and supervision projects. The ability to create sustainable training systems allows for better training, and perhaps improved clinical outcomes.
12:00 PM – Housing Reconstruction in Haiti: Successes and Lessons for the Future – SID
9:30 AM – 20 Years of Research: Development Challenges in Latin America and the Caribbean – IADB
12:00 PM – Entrepreneurship for Human Flourishing: The Role of Business in Overcoming Poverty – AEI
10:00 AM – Turning the Tide for Girls and Young Women: How to Achieve an AIDS-Free Future – Kaiser Family Foundation and Population Council
1:20 PM – Global Tobacco Control – GHC
4:30 PM – Handwashing Innovations and Inspirations – Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing
2:00 PM – Drumbeat to COP 20: Linking Reproductive Health, Food Security, and Climate Change – Aspen Institute
12:30 PM – Food for the Future: Achieving Food Security in the Face of Climate Change – World Bank=
Friday – 17 October
8:30 AM – Ensuring Equity for NCDs in Women’s Health Throughout the Life Course – FHI 360
By Mark Leon Goldberg and Tom Murphy
Have a news or story tip? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Disclaimer: Opinions presented in this email do not necessarily reflect the views of PSI.