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1.

Exploring Creole women's health using ethnography and Photovoice in Bluefields, Nicaragua.

Mitchell, Emma; Steeves, Richard; Hauck Perez, Katherine
| Idioma(s): Inglés
Bluefields, Nicaragua is the largest city in the Southern Atlantic Autonomous Region (RAAS), and home to communities of Nicaragua's six ethnic groups. Photovoice research techniques were used in this ethnographic study to explore the health experiences of Creole women. After participating in focus groups to discuss women's health, 12 Creole women took photographs to describe their health experiences. The researcher then interviewed them about what each picture meant, and participants selected photos for a community-wide exhibition in Bluefields. Photos and narratives were analyzed to construct a description of the cultural context in which Creole women experienced health. One of the greatest women's health concerns reported was that participants believed the younger generation was losing touch with Creole culture, putting them at risk of disease and illness. For participants, photos were a way to document Creole traditions of healing, traditions in the Creole home, and environmental health concerns.
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2.

Barriers in household access to medicines for chronic conditions in three Latin American countries.

Emmerick, Isabel Cristina Martins; Luiza, Vera Lucia; Camacho, Luiz Antonio Bastos; Vialle-Valentin, Catherine; Ross-Degnan, Dennis
| Idioma(s): Inglés
BACKGROUND: Access to medicines is one of the major challenges in health policy. The high out-of-pocket expenditures on medicines in the Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) region represents important barrier to affordable access to care for NCDs. This paper aim to identify key barriers in access to medicines for household members with a diagnosed chronic condition in three Central America countries. METHODS: This was a cross-sectional analytic study, based on data from three household surveys using a common methodology. We examined associated factors to: (1) seeking care for chronic illness from a trained clinician in the formal health system, and (2) obtaining all medicines sought for the chronic conditions reported. RESULTS: A chronic condition was reported in 29.8 % (827) of 2761 households - 47.0, 30.7 and 11.8 % in Nicaragua, Honduras and Guatemala, respectively. The three main chronic conditions reported were hypertension, arthritis, and diabetes. Seeking care in the formal health system ranged from 73.4 % in Nicaragua to 83.1 % in Honduras, while full access to medicines varied from 71.6 % in Guatemala to 88.0 % in Honduras. The main associated factors of seeking care in the formal health system were geographic location, household head gender, Spanish literacy, patient age, perceived health status, perceived quality of public sector care, household economic level, and having health insurance. Seeking care in the formal health system was the main bivariate associated factor of obtaining full access to medicines (OR: 4.3 95 % CI 2.6 - 7.0). The odds of full access to medicines were significantly higher when the household head was older than 65 years, medicines were obtained for free, households had higher socioeconomic status, and health care was sought in the private sector. CONCLUSIONS: The nature of the health system plays an important role in access to medicines. Access is better when public facilities are available and function effectively, or when private sector care is affordable. Thus, understanding how people seek care in a given setting and strengthening key health system components will be important strategies to improve access to medicines, especially for populations at high risk of poor access.
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3.

Unconditional cash transfers for assistance in humanitarian disasters: effect on use of health services and health outcomes in low- and middle-income countries.

Pega, Frank; Liu, Sze Yan; Walter, Stefan; Lhachimi, Stefan K
| Idioma(s): Inglés
BACKGROUND: Unconditional cash transfers (UCTs) are a common social protection intervention that increases income, a key social determinant of health, in disaster contexts in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). OBJECTIVES: To assess the effects of UCTs in improving health services use, health outcomes, social determinants of health, health care expenditure, and local markets and infrastructure in LMICs. We also compared the relative effectiveness of UCTs delivered in-hand with in-kind transfers, conditional cash transfers, and UCTs paid through other mechanisms. SEARCH METHODS: We searched 17 academic databases, including the Cochrane Public Health Group Specialised Register, the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (The Cochrane Library 2014, Issue 7), MEDLINE, and EMBASE between May and July 2014 for any records published up until 4 May 2014. We also searched grey literature databases, organisational websites, reference lists of included records, and academic journals, as well as seeking expert advice. SELECTION CRITERIA: We included randomised and quasi-randomised controlled trials (RCTs), as well as cohort, interrupted time series, and controlled before-and-after studies (CBAs) on UCTs in LMICs. Primary outcomes were the use of health services and health outcomes. DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: Two authors independently screened all potentially relevant records for inclusion criteria, extracted the data, and assessed the included studies' risk of bias. We requested missing information from the study authors. MAIN RESULTS: Three studies (one cluster-RCT and two CBAs) comprising a total of 13,885 participants (9640 children and 4245 adults) as well as 1200 households in two LMICs (Nicaragua and Niger) met the inclusion criteria. They examined five UCTs between USD 145 and USD 250 (or more, depending on household characteristics) that were provided by governmental, non-governmental or research organisations during experiments or pilot programmes in response to droughts. Two studies examined the effectiveness of UCTs, and one study examined the relative effectiveness of in-hand UCTs compared with in-kind transfers and UCTs paid via mobile phone. Due to the methodologic limitations of the retrieved records, which carried a high risk of bias and very serious indirectness, we considered the body of evidence to be of very low overall quality and thus very uncertain across all outcomes.Depending on the specific health services use and health outcomes examined, the included studies either reported no evidence that UCTs had impacted the outcome, or they reported that UCTs improved the outcome. No single outcome was reported by more than one study. There was a very small increase in the proportion of children who received vitamin or iron supplements (mean difference (MD) 0.10 standard deviations (SDs), 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.06 to 0.14) and on the child's home environment, as well as clinically meaningful, very large reductions in the chance of child death (hazard ratio (HR) 0.26, 95% CI 0.10 to 0.66) and the incidence of severe acute malnutrition (HR 0.44, 95% CI 0.24 to 0.80). There was also a moderate reduction in the number of days children spent sick in bed (MD - 0.36 SDs, 95% CI - 0.62 to - 0.10). There was no evidence for any effect on the proportion of children receiving deworming drugs, height for age among children, adults' level of depression, or the quality of parenting behaviour. No adverse effects were identified. The included comparisons did not examine several important outcomes, including food security and equity impacts.With regard to the relative effectiveness of UCTs compared with a food transfer providing a relatively high total caloric value, there was no evidence that a UCT had any effect on the chance of child death (HR 2.27, 95% CI 0.69 to 7.44) or severe acute malnutrition (HR 1.15, 95% CI 0.67 to 1.99). A UCT paid in-hand led to a clinically meaningful, moderate increase in the household dietary diversity score, compared with the same UCT paid via mobile phone (difference-in-differences estimator 0.43 scores, 95% CI 0.06 to 0.80), but there was no evidence for an effect on social determinants of health, health service expenditure, or local markets and infrastructure. AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS: Additional high-quality evidence (especially RCTs of humanitarian disaster contexts other than droughts) is required to reach clear conclusions regarding the effectiveness and relative effectiveness of UCTs for improving health services use and health outcomes in humanitarian disasters in LMICs.
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4.

Cost Effectiveness of Childhood Cochlear Implantation and Deaf Education in Nicaragua: A Disability Adjusted Life Year Model.

Saunders, James E; Barrs, David M; Gong, Wenfeng; Wilson, Blake S; Mojica, Karen; Tucci, Debara L
| Idioma(s): Inglés
INTRODUCTION: Cochlear implantation (CI) is a common intervention for severe-to-profound hearing loss in high-income countries, but is not commonly available to children in low resource environments. Owing in part to the device costs, CI has been assumed to be less economical than deaf education for low resource countries. The purpose of this study is to compare the cost effectiveness of the two interventions for children with severe-to-profound sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) in a model using disability adjusted life years (DALYs). METHODS: Cost estimates were derived from published data, expert opinion, and known costs of services in Nicaragua. Individual costs and lifetime DALY estimates with a 3% discounting rate were applied to both two interventions. Sensitivity analysis was implemented to evaluate the effect on the discounted cost of five key components: implant cost, audiology salary, speech therapy salary, number of children implanted per year, and device failure probability. RESULTS: The costs per DALY averted are $5,898 and $5,529 for CI and deaf education, respectively. Using standards set by the WHO, both interventions are cost effective. Sensitivity analysis shows that when all costs set to maximum estimates, CI is still cost effective. CONCLUSION: Using a conservative DALY analysis, both CI and deaf education are cost-effective treatment alternatives for severe-to-profound SNHL. CI intervention costs are not only influenced by the initial surgery and device costs but also by rehabilitation costs and the lifetime maintenance, device replacement, and battery costs. The major CI cost differences in this low resource setting were increased initial training and infrastructure costs, but lower medical personnel and surgery costs.
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5.

Progress in reducing inequalities in reproductive, maternal, newborn,' and child health in Latin America and the Caribbean: an unfinished agenda/ Avances en la reducción de las desigualdades en materia de salud reproductiva, materna, neonatal e infantil en América Latina y el Caribe: un programa inacabado

Restrepo-Méndez, María Clara; Barros, Aluísio J. D.; Requejo, Jennifer; Durán, Pablo; Serpa, Luis Andrés de Francisco; França, Giovanny V. A.; Wehrmeister, Fernando C.; Victora, Cesar G.
| Idioma(s): Inglés
OBJECTIVE: To expand the "Countdown to 2015" analyses of health inequalities beyond the 75 countries being monitored worldwide to include all countries in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) that have adequate data available. METHODS: Demographic and Health Surveys and Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys were used to monitor progress in health intervention coverage and inequalities in 13 LAC countries, five of which are included in the Countdown (Bolivia, Brazil, Guatemala, Haiti, and Peru) and eight that are not (Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Guyana, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Suriname). The outcomes included neonatal and under-5 year mortality rates, child stunting prevalence, and the composite coverage index-a weighted average of eight indicators of coverage in reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health. The slope index of inequality and concentration index were used to assess absolute and relative inequalities. RESULTS: The composite coverage index showed monotonic patterns over wealth quintiles, with lowest levels in the poorest quintile. Under-5 and neonatal mortality as well as stunting prevalence were highest among the poor. In most countries, intervention coverage increased, while under-5 mortality and stunting prevalence fell most rapidly among the poor, so that inequalities were reduced over time. However, Bolivia, Guatemala, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Peru still show marked inequalities. Brazil has practically eliminated inequalities in stunting. CONCLUSIONS: LAC countries presented substantial progress in terms of reducing inequalities in reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health interventions, child mortality, and nutrition. However, the poorest 20% of the population in most countries is still lagging behind, and renewed actions are needed to improve equity. OBJETIVO: Extender los análisis de la "Cuenta Regresiva para 2015" de las desigualdades en materia de salud más allá de los 75 países sometidos a vigilancia en todo el mundo para incluir a todos los países de América Latina y el Caribe (ALC) que disponen de datos adecuados. MÉTODOS: Se utilizaron encuestas de demografía y salud y encuestas agrupadas de indicadores múltiples para vigilar el progreso de la cobertura de las intervenciones de salud y de las desigualdades en 13 países de ALC, 5 de ellos incluidos en la Cuenta Regresiva (Bolivia, Brasil, Guatemala, Haití y Perú) y 8 no incluidos (Belice, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guyana, Honduras, Nicaragua, República Dominicana y Suriname). Los resultados incluyeron las tasas de mortalidad neonatal y en menores de 5 años, la prevalencia del retraso del crecimiento en niños y el índice compuesto de cobertura (un promedio ponderado de 8 indicadores de cobertura en materia de salud reproductiva, materna, neonatal e infantil. Para evaluar las desigualdades absolutas y relativas, se emplearon el índice de desigualdad de la pendiente y el índice de concentración. RESULTADOS: El índice compuesto de cobertura mostró patrones monotónicos en función de los quintiles de riqueza, con los niveles más bajos en el quintil más pobre. La mortalidad neonatal y en menores de 5 años, así como la prevalencia del retraso del crecimiento, fueron más elevadas entre los pobres. En la mayor parte de los países aumentó la cobertura de las intervenciones, mientras que la mortalidad en menores de 5 años y la prevalencia del retraso del crecimiento disminuyeron más rápidamente entre los pobres, de manera que las desigualdades se redujeron con el transcurso del tiempo. Sin embargo, en Bolivia, Guatemala, Haití, Nicaragua y Perú aún se observan marcadas desigualdades. Brasil prácticamente ha eliminado las desigualdades en cuanto a retraso del crecimiento. CONCLUSIONES: Los países de ALC mostraron avances considerables en la reducción de las desigualdades con respecto a las intervenciones de salud reproductiva, materna, neonatal e infantil, y en materia de mortalidad y nutrición infantil. Sin embargo, el 20% más pobre de la población en la mayor parte de los países sigue quedándose a la zaga, y son necesarias iniciativas renovadas para mejorar la equidad.
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6.

Cruise ships and bush medicine: globalization on the Atlantic Coast of Nicaragua and effects on the health of Creole women.

Mitchell, Emma McKim; Steeves, Richard; Dillingham, Rebecca
| Idioma(s): Inglés
OBJECTIVES: Global health research into the relationship between health, economic inequalities, and globalization is necessary to address increasing health disparities in low income countries. Nicaragua has high levels of poverty and extreme poverty when compared with other Central and South American Countries. DESIGN AND SAMPLE: Photovoice and ethnographic research methods were used to explore health experiences of Creole women in Bluefields, Nicaragua and the intersections between culture, socioeconomic status, and gender. Twelve Creole women participants, ages 18-45. MEASURES: After initial focus groups, participants used disposable cameras to document health experiences. Follow-up interviews were conducted about the meaning of each photo. Participants then selected photos to be included in a city-wide photoshow. RESULTS: In initial focus groups, participants described great distress over changes they perceived in Creole culture and how these changes affect the health of the next generation. Participants related most of these changes to the economy and globalization. Photos taken were primarily of aspects of Creole culture, including household practices and traditional remedies from Creole culture. CONCLUSIONS: Findings on the relationships between culture, disease, and community-identified health risks in this minority population can help health care providers and public health policymakers develop and sustain culturally appropriate health interventions.
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7.

Scientists raise alarms about fast tracking of transoceanic canal through Nicaragua.

Huete-Pérez, Jorge A; Alvarez, Pedro J J; Schnoor, Jerald L; Rittmann, Bruce E; Clayton, Anthony; Acosta, Maria L; Bicudo, Carlos E M; K Arroyo, Mary T; Brett, Michael T; Campos, Victor M; Chaimovich, Hernan; Jimenez-Cisneros, Blanca; Covich, Alan; Lacerda, Luiz D; Maes, Jean-Michel; Miranda, Julio C; Montenegro-Guillén, Salvador; Ortega-Hegg, Manuel; Urquhart, Gerald R; Vammen, Katherine; Zambrano, Luis
| Idioma(s): Inglés
Seeking economic growth and job creation to tackle the nation's extreme poverty, the Nicaraguan government awarded a concession to build an interoceanic canal and associated projects to a recently formed Hong Kong based company with no track record or related expertise. This concession was awarded without a bidding process and in advance of any feasibility, socio-economic or environmental impact assessments; construction has begun without this information. The 278 km long interoceanic canal project may result in significant environmental and social impairments. Of particular concern are damage to Lake Cocibolca, a unique freshwater tropical lake and Central America's main freshwater reservoir; damage to regional biodiversity and ecosystems; and socio-economic impacts. Concerned about the possibly irreparable damage to the environment and to native communities, conservationists and the scientific community at large are urging the Nicaraguan government to devise and reveal an action plan to address and mitigate the possible negative repercussions of this interoceanic canal and associated projects. Critical research needs for preparation of a comprehensive benefit-cost analysis for this megaproject are presented.
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8.

Providing primary health care through integrated microfinance and health services in Latin America.

Geissler, Kimberley H; Leatherman, Sheila
| Idioma(s): Inglés
The simultaneous burdens of communicable and chronic non-communicable diseases cause significant morbidity and mortality in middle-income countries. The poor are at particular risk, with lower access to health care and higher rates of avoidable mortality. Integrating health-related services with microfinance has been shown to improve health knowledge, behaviors, and access to appropriate health care. However, limited evidence is available on effects of fully integrating clinical health service delivery alongside microfinance services through large scale and sustained long-term programs. Using a conceptual model of health services access, we examine supply- and demand-side factors in a microfinance client population receiving integrated services. We conduct a case study using data from 2010 to 2012 of the design of a universal screening program and primary care services provided in conjunction with microfinance loans by Pro Mujer, a women's development organization in Latin America. The program operates in Argentina, Bolivia, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Peru. We analyze descriptive reports and administrative data for measures related to improving access to primary health services and management of chronic diseases. We find provision of preventive care is substantial, with an average of 13% of Pro Mujer clients being screened for cervical cancer each year, 21% receiving breast exams, 16% having a blood glucose measurement, 39% receiving a blood pressure measurement, and 46% having their body mass index calculated. This population, with more than half of those screened being overweight or obese and 9% of those screened having elevated glucose measures, has major risk factors for diabetes, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease without intervention. The components of the Pro Mujer health program address four dimensions of healthcare access: geographic accessibility, availability, affordability, and acceptability. Significant progress has been made to meet basic health needs, but challenges remain to ensure that health care provided is of reliable quality to predictably improve health outcomes over time.
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9.

Economic and disease burden of dengue in Mexico.

Undurraga, Eduardo A; Betancourt-Cravioto, Miguel; Ramos-Castañeda, José; Martínez-Vega, Ruth; Méndez-Galván, Jorge; Gubler, Duane J; Guzmán, María G; Halstead, Scott B; Harris, Eva; Kuri-Morales, Pablo; Tapia-Conyer, Roberto; Shepard, Donald S
| Idioma(s): Inglés
BACKGROUND: Dengue imposes a substantial economic and disease burden in most tropical and subtropical countries. Dengue incidence and severity have dramatically increased in Mexico during the past decades. Having objective and comparable estimates of the economic burden of dengue is essential to inform health policy, increase disease awareness, and assess the impact of dengue prevention and control technologies. METHODS AND FINDINGS: We estimated the annual economic and disease burden of dengue in Mexico for the years 2010-2011. We merged multiple data sources, including a prospective cohort study; patient interviews and macro-costing from major hospitals; surveillance, budget, and health data from the Ministry of Health; WHO cost estimates; and available literature. We conducted a probabilistic sensitivity analysis using Monte Carlo simulations to derive 95% certainty levels (CL) for our estimates. Results suggest that Mexico had about 139,000 (95%CL: 128,000-253,000) symptomatic and 119 (95%CL: 75-171) fatal dengue episodes annually on average (2010-2011), compared to an average of 30,941 symptomatic and 59 fatal dengue episodes reported. The annual cost, including surveillance and vector control, was US$170 (95%CL: 151-292) million, or $1.56 (95%CL: 1.38-2.68) per capita, comparable to other countries in the region. Of this, $87 (95%CL: 87-209) million or $0.80 per capita (95%CL: 0.62-1.12) corresponds to illness. Annual disease burden averaged 65 (95%CL: 36-99) disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) per million population. Inclusion of long-term sequelae, co-morbidities, impact on tourism, and health system disruption during outbreaks would further increase estimated economic and disease burden. CONCLUSION: With this study, Mexico joins Panama, Puerto Rico, Nicaragua, and Thailand as the only countries or areas worldwide with comprehensive (illness and preventive) empirical estimates of dengue burden. Burden varies annually; during an outbreak, dengue burden may be significantly higher than that of the pre-vaccine level of rotavirus diarrhea. In sum, Mexico's potential economic benefits from dengue control would be substantial.
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10.

Sociopolitical determinants of international health policy.

De Vos, Pol; Van der Stuyft, Patrick
| Idioma(s): Inglés
For decades, two opposing logics have dominated the health policy debate: a comprehensive health care approach, with the 1978 Alma Ata Declaration as its cornerstone, and a private competition logic, emphasizing the role of the private sector. We present this debate and its influence on international health policies in the context of changing global economic and sociopolitical power relations in the second half of the last century. The neoliberal approach is illustrated with Chile's health sector reform in the 1980s and the Colombian reform since 1993. The comprehensive "public logic" is shown through the social insurance models in Costa Rica and in Brazil and through the national public health systems in Cuba since 1959 and in Nicaragua during the 1980s. These experiences emphasize that health care systems do not naturally gravitate toward greater fairness and efficiency, but require deliberate policy decisions.
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