Public Health

Keel S, Evans JR, Block S, Bourne R, Calonge M, Cheng C-Y, Friedman DS, Furtado JM, Khanna RC, Mathenge W, Mariotti S, Matoto E, Müller A, Rabiu MM, Rasengane T, Zhao J, Wormald R, Cieza A. Strengthening the integration of eye care into the health system: methodology for the development of the WHO package of eye care interventions. BMJ Open Ophthalmol 2020;5(1):e000533.Abstract
Objective: To describe the rational for, and the methods that will be employed to develop, the WHO package of eye care interventions (PECI). Methods and analysis: The development of the package will be conducted in four steps: (1) selection of eye conditions (for which interventions will be included in the package) based on epidemiological data on the causes of vision impairment and blindness, prevalence estimates of eye conditions and health facility data; (2) identification of interventions and related evidence for the selected eye conditions from clinical practice guidelines and high-quality systematic reviews by a technical working group; (3) expert agreement on the inclusion of eye care interventions in the package and the description of resources required for the provision of the selected interventions; and (4) peer review. The project will be led by the WHO Vision Programme in collaboration with Cochrane Eyes and Vision. A Technical Advisory Group, comprised of public health and clinical experts in the field, will provide technical input throughout all stages of development. Results: After considering the feedback of Technical Advisory Group members and reviewing-related evidence, a final list of eye conditions for which interventions will be included in the package has been collated. Conclusion: The PECI will support Ministries of Health in prioritising, planning, budgeting and integrating eye care interventions into health systems. It is anticipated that the PECI will be available for use in 2021.
Marmamula S, Barrenkala NR, Challa R, Kumbham TR, Modepalli SB, Yellapragada R, Bhakki M, Friedman DS, Khanna RC. Falls and visual impairment among elderly residents in 'homes for the aged' in India. Sci Rep 2020;10(1):13389.Abstract
We evaluated the prevalence of falls and their association with visual impairment (VI) in elderly residents in 'homes for the aged' in Hyderabad, India. Participants aged ≥ 60 years were recruited from 41 homes, and a comprehensive eye examination was conducted. Interviews were conducted to collect personal and demographic information, systemic health status, fear of falling, depression, and history of falls in the last year. VI categories included low vision (presenting visual acuity worse than 6/18 to 3/60) and blindness (presenting visual acuity worse than 3/60). The data of 1,074 participants were analysed. The mean age was 74.4 years (standard deviation:8.7 years); 63.9% were women, 19.4% had no formal education, 28.1% were diabetic and 56.9% were hypertensive. The annual prevalence of falls was 29.1% (95% CI: 26.4-32.0). Multivariable analysis showed those with VI had significantly higher odds of falls (Odds Ratio:1.47; p = 0.043). The prevalence of falls was higher among those with VI due to uncorrected refractive errors. We found a very high prevalence of falls in elderly individuals living in 'homes for the aged' in Hyderabad, India. Addressing VI can result in fewer falls and contribute to healthy aging in India.
Zheng Q, Jones FK, Leavitt SV, Ung L, Labrique AB, Peters DH, Lee EC, Azman AS, Azman AS. HIT-COVID, a global database tracking public health interventions to COVID-19. Sci Data 2020;7(1):286.Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic has sparked unprecedented public health and social measures (PHSM) by national and local governments, including border restrictions, school closures, mandatory facemask use and stay at home orders. Quantifying the effectiveness of these interventions in reducing disease transmission is key to rational policy making in response to the current and future pandemics. In order to estimate the effectiveness of these interventions, detailed descriptions of their timelines, scale and scope are needed. The Health Intervention Tracking for COVID-19 (HIT-COVID) is a curated and standardized global database that catalogues the implementation and relaxation of COVID-19 related PHSM. With a team of over 200 volunteer contributors, we assembled policy timelines for a range of key PHSM aimed at reducing COVID-19 risk for the national and first administrative levels (e.g. provinces and states) globally, including details such as the degree of implementation and targeted populations. We continue to maintain and adapt this database to the changing COVID-19 landscape so it can serve as a resource for researchers and policymakers alike.
Hu A, Gu SZ, Friedman DS, Cao K, Wang N. Six-Year Incidence and Causes of Low Vision and Blindness in a Rural Chinese Adult Population: The Handan Eye Study. Ophthalmic Epidemiol 2020;:1-9.Abstract
PURPOSE: To determine the six-year incidence, risk factors, and causes of visual impairment in a Chinese population. METHODS: This was a population-based study of eye disease in Chinese adults in a rural district of Handan in China. 6,830 individuals were invited to participate in 2006 and 5,394 returned for follow-up in 2012. All participants underwent standardized eye examinations. Visual impairment was defined according to WHO criteria. The incidence of visual impairment was age- and gender-standardized to the 2010 China Census. Multivariable logistic regression analysis was used to determine risk factors for visual impairment. RESULTS: The leading causes of visual impairment were cataract and refractive error. Based on (PVA), the six-year incidence rates of low vision and blindness were 5.2% and 0.5%, respectively. Incidence of low vision was associated with older age ( < .001), less education ( < .001), diabetes ( < .05), and lower BMI ( < .001). The incidence of blindness was associated with diabetes ( < .05). Based on (BCVA), the six-year incidence rates of low vision and blindness were 0.8% and 0.1%, respectively. Incidence of low vision was associated with older age ( < .001) and lower BMI ( < .05). None of these factors were associated with the incidence of blindness. CONCLUSION: In Handan, the incidence of visual impairment was high and associated with older age, less education, diabetes, and lower BMI. The majority of cases were due to unoperated cataract and uncorrected refractive error, reflecting the need for improved eye care in this region.
Mitchell W, Bhatia R, Zebardast N. Retrospective cross-sectional analysis of the changes in marijuana use in the USA, 2005-2018. BMJ Open 2020;10(7):e037905.Abstract
OBJECTIVES: Understanding trends of marijuana use in the USA throughout a period of particularly high adoption of marijuana-legalisation, and understanding demographics most at risk of use, is important in evolving healthcare policy and intervention. This study analyses the demographic-specific changes in the prevalence of marijuana use in the USA between 2005 and 2018. DESIGN, SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: A 14-year retrospective cross-sectional analysis of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey database, a publicly available biennially collected national survey, weighted to represent the entire US population. A total of 35 212 adults between 18 and 69 years old participated in the seven-cycles of surveys analysed (2005-2018). PRIMARY OUTCOME MEASURED: Lifetime use, first use before 18 years old, and past-year use of marijuana. RESULTS: The majority of adults reported ever using marijuana. While the overall prevalence of lifetime marijuana use remained stable (p=0.53), past-year use increased significantly between 2005 and 2018 (p<0.001) with highest rate of past-year use among younger age groups (p<0.001), males (p<0.001) and those with income below poverty level (p<0.001). Past-year use was the most common among non-Hispanic blacks, and less common among Hispanic/Mexican populations (p<0.002). Trends in past-year use increased among all age categories, males/females, all ethnicities, those with high school education/above, and those at all income levels (p<0.01 for all). CONCLUSIONS: While lifetime marijuana use remained stable, past-year use significantly increased between 2005 and 2018. While past-year use remained the most common in younger age groups, males, non-Hispanic blacks and those with lower income; increasing trends in past-year use were significant for all age, sex, race and income categories, and for those with high school education/above. With high adoption of marijuana-legalisation laws during this period, our results suggest an associated increase in past-year marijuana use.An accurate understanding of those most at risk can help to inform decisions of healthcare policy-makers and professionals, and facilitate a safe transition of changing marijuana legalisation and use in the USA.