National, regional, and worldwide estimates of low birthweight in 2015, with trends from 2000: a systematic analysisby Blencowe et al.
The authors aimed to assist in setting a baseline against which to assess progress towards the achievement of the World Health Assembly targets for reductions in low birth weight (LBW) prevalence. The authors collated data on 1447 country-years of birthweight data (281 million births) for 148 countries of 195 UN member states (47 countries had no data meeting inclusion criteria). The estimated worldwide LBW prevalence in 2015 was 14·6% compared with 17·5% in 2000 (average annual reduction rate 1·23%). In 2015, an estimated 20·5 million livebirths were LBW, 91% from low-and-middle income countries, mainly southern Asia (48%) and sub-Saharan Africa (24%).
Designing programs to improve diets for maternal and child health: estimating costs and potential dietary impacts of nutrition-sensitive programs in Ethiopia, Nigeria, and Indiaby Masters et al
Improving maternal and child nutrition in resource-poor settings requires effective use of limited resources, but priority-setting is constrained by limited information about program costs and impacts, especially for interventions designed to improve diet quality. This study utilized a mixed methods approach to identify, describe and estimate the potential costs and impacts on child dietary intake of 12 nutrition-sensitive programs in Ethiopia, Nigeria and India. Findings suggest that existing evidence on cost-effectiveness for nutrition improvement focuses on interventions to address specific diseases. Future work using these data will analyse net cost-effectiveness.
Countdown to 2030: tracking progress towards universal coverage for reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child healthby Countdown to 2030 Collaboration
To achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, the rate of decline in prevalence of maternal and child mortality, stillbirths, and stunting among children younger than 5 years of age needs to accelerate considerably compared with progress since 2000. Countdown to 2030 is investing in improvements in measurement in several areas, such as quality of care and effective coverage, nutrition programmes, adolescent health, early childhood development, and evidence for conflict settings, and is prioritising its regional networks to enhance local analytic capacity and evidence for RMNCH.
Neonatal, infant, and under-5 mortality and morbidity burden in the Eastern Mediterranean Region: findings from the Global Burden of Disease 2015 studyby Khalil et al
This paper provides an overview of child mortality and morbidity in the EMR based on the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study. The findings from this paper call for accelerated action to decrease child morbidity and mortality in the EMR. Governments and organizations should coordinate efforts to address this burden. Political commitment is needed to ensure that child health receives the resources needed to end preventable deaths.
A continuous quality improvement intervention to improve the effectiveness of community health workers providing care to mothers and children: a cluster randomised controlled trial in South Africaby Horwood et al
Community health workers (CHWs) play key roles in delivering health programmes in many countries worldwide. CHW programmes can improve coverage of maternal and child health services for the most disadvantaged and remote communities, leading to substantial benefits for mothers and children. This is a cluster randomised controlled trial to investigate the effectiveness of a continuous quality improvement (CQI) intervention amongst CHWs providing home-based education and support to pregnant women and mothers. Findings suggest that improved training and CQI-based mentoring of CHWs can improve quantity and quality of CHW-mother interactions at household level, leading to improvements in mothers’ knowledge and infant feeding practices.
Evidence-based policy responses to strengthen health, community and legislative systems that care for women in Australia with female genital mutilation / cuttingby Varol N et al
This article reviews the literature on research on FGM/C in Australia, which focuses on health system response to women and girls with FGM/C. Recommendations are made for policy reform in health, legislation, and community programs to provide the best healthcare, protect children, and help communities abandon this harmful practice. Findings suggest that countries of migration can be part of the solution for abandonment of FGM/C through community interventions and implementation of national and coordinated training in FGM/C of experts involved in the care and protection of children and women. The global focus on collaboration on research, training and prevention programs should be fostered between countries of FGM/C prevalence and migration.
Strategies to improve the implementation of healthy eating, physical activity and obesity prevention policies, practices or programmes within childcare servicesby Wolfenden et al
Current research provides weak and inconsistent evidence of the effectiveness of such strategies in improving the implementation of policies and practices, childcare service staff knowledge or attitudes, or child diet, physical activity or weight status. Further research in the field is required.
Summarizes evidence on the impact of community-based programs for improving reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health (RMNCH) by (1) describing contextual factors affecting implementation; (2) considering issues of cost-effectiveness; and (3) highlighting research gaps, the challenges of scaling up, and the way forward.
Effectiveness of community health workers delivering preventive interventions for maternal and child health in low- and middle-income countries: a systematic reviewby Gilmore et al
This review reports findings on a systematic review analysing effectiveness of preventive interventions delivered by Community Health Workers for Maternal and Child Health in low- and middle-income countries. Community Health Workers were shown to provide a range of preventive interventions for Maternal and Child Health in low- and middle-income countries with some evidence of effective strategies, though insufficient evidence is available to draw conclusions for most interventions and further research is needed.
This short film shows the impact of the CHAPAS trial on patient health and future possibilities of a small boy from Malawi.
The effect of a transition into poverty on child and maternal mental health: a longitudinal analysis of the UK Millennium Cohort Studyby Wickham et al
To inform policy, the authors explore the association between transitions into poverty and subsequent mental health among children and their mothers. In a contemporary UK cohort, first transition into income poverty during early childhood was associated with an increase in the risk of child and maternal mental health problems. These effects were independent of changes in employment status. Transitions to income poverty do appear to affect children's life chances and actions that directly reduce income poverty of children are likely to improve child and maternal mental health.
Simplified antibiotic regimens for treatment of clinical severe infection in the outpatient setting when referral is not possible for young infants in Pakistan (Simplified Antibiotic Therapy Trial)by Mir F et al
Parenteral antibiotic therapy for young infants (aged 0–59 days) with suspected sepsis is sometimes not available or feasible in countries with high neonatal mortality. Outpatient treatment could save lives in such settings. The authors in this study aimed to assess the equivalence of two simplifi ed antibiotic regimens, comprising fewer injections and oral rather than parenteral administration, compared with a reference treatment for young infants with clinical severe infection. Two simplifi ed antibiotic regimens requiring fewer injections are equivalent to a reference treatment for young infants with signs of clinical severe infection but without signs of critical illness. The use of these simplifi ed regimens has the potential to increase access to treatment for sick young infants who cannot be referred to hospital.
Prevalence and determinants of acute diarrhea among children younger than five years old in Jabithennan District, Northwest Ethiopia, 2014by Anteneh ZA et al
The aim of this study was to assess the prevalence and factors associated with diarrhea among children younger than five years old. Approximately one-fifth of the children included in the study reported diarrheal disease. Residence, sex of the child, type of water storage container, methods of complementary feeding, and cleansing materials to wash the hands were the most important variables that affected the occurrence of diarrhea in children. Therefore, families, the government and nongovernmental organizations working in the area must cooperate in interventions and prevention to minimize the risk of disease.
National and subnational all-cause and cause-specific child mortality in China, 1996–2015: a systematic analysis with implications for the Sustainable Development Goalsby He 2016
In this systematic analysis, the authors adjusted empirical data on levels and causes of child mortality collected in the China Maternal and Child Health Surveillance System to generate representative estimates at the national and subnational levels. China has achieved a rapid reduction in child mortality in 1996–2015. The decline has been widespread across regions, urban and rural areas, age groups, and cause-of-death categories, but great disparities remain. The western region and rural areas and especially western rural areas should receive most attention in improving child survival through enhanced policy and programmes in the Sustainable Development Goals era. Continued investment is crucial in primary and secondary prevention of deaths due to congenital abnormalities, preterm birth complications, and injuries nationally, and of deaths due to pneumonia in western rural areas. The study also has implications for improving child survival and civil registration and vital statistics in other low-income and middle-income countries.
Mass deworming to improve developmental health and wellbeing of children in low-income and middle-income countries: a systematic review and network meta-analysisby Welch et al
Soil-transmitted helminthiasis and schistosomiasis, considered among the neglected tropical diseases by WHO, affect more than a third of the world's population, with varying intensity of infection. The authors aimed to evaluate the effects of mass deworming for soil-transmitted helminths (with or without deworming for schistosomiasis or co-interventions) on growth, educational achievement, cognition, school attendance, quality of life, and adverse effects in children in endemic helminth areas. Mass deworming for soil-transmitted helminths with or without deworming for schistosomiasis had little effect. For schistosomiasis, mass deworming might be effective for weight but is probably ineffective for height, cognition, and attendance. Future research should assess which subset of children do benefit from mass deworming, if any, using individual participant data meta-analysis.
Population-level impact, herd immunity, and elimination after human papillomavirus vaccination: a systematic review and meta-analysis of predictions from transmission-dynamic modelsby Marc Brisson et al
The authors did a systematic review and meta-analysis of model predictions of the long-term population-level effectiveness of vaccination against HPV 16, 18, 6, and 11 infection in women and men, to examine the variability in predicted herd effects, incremental benefit of vaccinating boys, and potential for HPV-vaccine-type elimination. Although HPV models differ in structure, data used for calibration, and settings, our population-level predictions were generally concordant and suggest that strong herd effects are expected from vaccinating girls only, even with coverage as low as 20%. Elimination of HPV 16, 18, 6, and 11 is possible if 80% coverage in girls and boys is reached and if high vaccine efficacy is maintained over time.
Risk of poor development in young children in low-income and middle-income countries: an estimation and analysis at the global, regional, and country levelby Lu et al
The authors used country-level prevalence of stunting in children younger than 5 years based on the 2006 Growth Standards proposed by WHO and poverty ratios from the World Bank to estimate children who were either stunted or lived in extreme poverty for 141 low-income and middle-income countries in 2004 and 2010. Progress has been made in reducing the number of children exposed to stunting or poverty between 2004 and 2010, but this is still not enough. Scaling up of effective interventions targeting the most vulnerable children is urgently needed.
Efficacy of a Russian-backbone live attenuated influenza vaccine among children in Senegal: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trialby Victor et al
In Senegal, the authors assessed the efficacy and safety of a live attenuated influenza vaccine based on Russian-derived master donor viruses and licensed as a single dose. Live attenuated influenza vaccine was well tolerated in young children in Senegal, but did not provide protection against influenza. Further study in such populations, which might experience extended periods of influenza circulation, is warranted.
Countdown to 2015 country case studies: what have we learned about processes and progress towards MDGs 4 and 5?by Moucheraud et al
This paper aims to identify cross-cutting themes on how and why these countries achieved or did not achieve MDG progress.
Rational use of antibiotics by community health workers and caregivers for children with suspected pneumonia in Zambia: a cross-sectional mixed methods studyby Graham et al
This study provides evidence on antibiotic use by community health workers (CHWs) and caregivers to inform iCCM programmes, safeguarding current treatments whilst maximising access to care. The findings suggest that CHWs are capable of prescribing treatment corresponding to their assessment of respiratory rate. However, rational use of antibiotics could be strengthened through improved respiratory rate assessment, and better diagnostic tools. Furthermore, a shorter course of dispersible amoxicillin could potentially improve caregiver adherence, reducing risk of resistance and cost.
Daily co-trimoxazole prophylaxis to prevent mortality in children with complicated severe acute malnutrition: a multicentre, double-blind, randomised placebo-controlled trialby Berkley et al
Children with complicated severe acute malnutrition (SAM) have a greatly increased risk of mortality from infections while in hospital and after discharge. In HIV-infected children, mortality and admission to hospital are prevented by daily co-trimoxazole prophylaxis, despite locally reported bacterial resistance to co-trimoxazole. This study aimed to assess the efficacy of daily co-trimoxazole prophylaxis on survival in children without HIV being treated for complicated SAM. This study suggest that daily co-trimoxazole prophylaxis did not reduce mortality in children with complicated SAM without HIV. Other strategies need to be tested in clinical trials to reduce deaths in this population.
After the fall of the Taliban in 2001, Afghanistan experienced a tumultuous period of democracy overshadowed by conflict, widespread insurgency, and an inflow of development assistance. Although there have been several cross-sectional assessments of health gains over the last decade, there has been no systematic analysis of progress and factors influencing maternal and child health in Afghanistan. Despite conflict and poverty, Afghanistan has made reasonable progress in its reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health indicators over the last decade based on contributions of factors within and outside the health sector. However, equitable access to health care remains a challenge and present delivery models have high transactional costs, affecting sustainability.
Reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health: key messages from Disease Control Priorities 3rd Editionby Black et al
As part of Disease Control Priorities 3rd Edition, the World Bank will publish a volume on Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health that identifies essential cost-effective health interventions that can be scaled up to reduce maternal, newborn, and child deaths, and stillbirths. This Review summarises the volume's key findings and estimates the effect and cost of expanded implementation of these interventions. Recognising that a continuum of care from the adolescent girl, woman, or mother to child is needed, the volume includes details of preventive and therapeutic health interventions in integrated packages: Maternal and Newborn Health and Child Health (along with folic acid supplementation, a key reproductive health intervention).
Video of Manson Christmas Lecture 2015 by Professor Charlotte Watts, Chief Scientific Advisor, DfID and founder of the Gender, Violence and Health Centre, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, UK.
Contraceptive use before first pregnancy by women in India (2005–2006): determinants and differentialsby Pandey et al 2015
This study attempts to identify the socio demographic determinants and differentials of contraceptive use or non use by a woman in India, before she proceeds to have her first child. The analysis was done using data from the third National Family Health Survey (2005–2006), India.
A cluster-randomised controlled trial integrating a community-based water, sanitation and hygiene programme, with mass distribution of albendazole to reduce intestinal parasites in Timor-Leste: the WAby Vaz Nery et al 2016
There is limited evidence demonstrating the benefits of community-based water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) programmes on infections with soil-transmitted helminths (STH) and intestinal protozoa. Our study aims to contribute to that evidence base by investigating the effectiveness of combining two complementary approaches for control of STH: periodic mass administration of albendazole, and delivery of a community-based WASH programme.
A seminar presented by Dr Jalemba Aluvaala in the Centre for Tropical Medicine and Global Health, University of Oxford
Damalie Nakanjako (MBChB, MMED, PhD) is an internist whose work focuses on optimizing HIV treatment outcomes and reducing HIV-associated morbidity and mortality in sub-Saharan Africa.
Participation in organized leisure-time activities (OLTA) has been linked to healthy youth development. This study aimed to assess whether participation in OLTA is associated with both physical and mental health in adolescents, and whether this association differs by pattern of activity participation, age and gender. Participation in OLTA is associated with better physical and mental health in adolescents. The association varies by pattern of activity participation and is partly gender- and age-specific.
Difficulties in behaviour and communication are core problems in children with neurodevelopmental disorders, and often cause the most stress to parents and families living in resource poor areas of Africa.
Men in their roles as fathers, husbands, community and religious leaders may play a pivotal part in the continuation of female genital mutilation (FGM). However, the research on their views of FGM and their potential role in its abandonment are not well described. This systematic review suggests that the level of education of men was one of the most important indicators for men’s support for abandonment of FGM. Social obligation and the lack of dialogue between men and women were two key issues that men acknowledged as barriers to abandonment. Advocacy by men and collaboration between men and women’s health and community programs may be important steps forward in the abandonment process.
The articles in this collection examine the evidence and the thinking that form the basis of the new global strategy.
Economic interventions are increasingly recognised as a mechanism to address perinatal health outcomes among disadvantaged groups. In the US, the earned income tax credit (EITC) is the largest poverty alleviation programme. Little is known about its effects on perinatal health among recipients and their children. The authors exploit quasi-random variation in the size of EITC payments to examine the effects of income on perinatal health. Findings suggest that EITC payment size is associated with better levels of several indicators of perinatal health. Instrumental variables analysis, however, does not reveal a causal association between household income and these health measures.
Association between maternal age at childbirth and child and adult outcomes in the off spring: a prospective study in fi ve low-income and middle-income countries (COHORTS collaboration)by Fall et al
The study aimes to assess both child and adult outcomes in five LMICs. Children of young mothers in LMICs are disadvantaged at birth and in childhood nutrition and schooling. Efforts to prevent early childbearing should be strengthened. After adjustment for confounders, children of older mothers have advantages in nutritional status and schooling. Extremes of maternal age could be associated with disturbed off spring glucose metabolism.
The Early Childhood Obesity Prevention Program (ECHO): an ecologically-based intervention delivered by home visitors for newborns and their mothersby Cloutier et al
The goals of the Early Childhood Obesity Prevention Program (ECHO) are to examine the 12-month efficacy of a primary obesity prevention program targeting the first year of life that is delivered by home visitors and that engages mothers as agents of change to modify their own behavior and their infant’s behavior through education and skill-building around nutrition, physical activity, and wellness, and then “echoes” her training with linkages to neighborhood programs and resources. ECHO will provide important information about whether an enhanced behavior change curriculum integrated into an existing home visitation program, focused on the mother as the agent of change and linked to neighborhood resources is effective in changing energy balance behaviors in the infant and in the mother. If effective, the intervention could be widely disseminated to prevent obesity in young children.
Associations between objectively assessed and questionnaire-based sedentary behaviour with BMI-defined obesity among general population children and adolescents living in Englandby Coombs et al
The objective of this study was to examine associations between a range of objectively measured and questionnaire-based SB indicators with obesity and body mass index (BMI) to assess whether these associations were independent of physical activity. TV time (but not non-TV sitting or objectively-measured SB) was consistently associated with higher levels of obesity and BMI SD score, even after adjusting for MVPA and other potential confounders. Weaker associations were observed for total sitting time.
The objective of this systematic review is to investigate the changes in the prevalence of stunting, a chronic form of undernutrition, in South Africa over 40 years, and to derive lessons from the South African experience, a country in an advanced process of transition in sub-Saharan Africa.
Efficacy of Handwashing with Soap and Nail Clipping on Intestinal Parasitic Infections in School-Aged Children: A Factorial Cluster Randomized Controlled Trialby Mahmud et al
Intestinal parasitic infections are highly endemic among school-aged children in resource-limited settings. To lower their impact, preventive measures should be implemented that are sustainable with available resources. The aim of this study was to assess the impact of handwashing with soap and nail clipping on the prevention of intestinal parasite reinfections.
The progress in key maternal health indicators in the Eastern and Southern Africa Region (ESAR) over the past two decades has been slow. This paper analyzed available information on nutrition programs and nutrition-specific interventions targeting maternal nutrition in the ESAR and proposes steps to improve maternal nutrition in this region. Findings from the review suggest that multiple nutrition programs are in place in the ESAR; including programs that directly address nutrition indicators and those that integrate corresponding sectors like agriculture, health, education, and water and sanitation. However, their scale and depth differ considerably. These programs have been implemented by a diverse range of players including respective government ministries, international agencies, non government organisations and the private sector in the region. Most of these programs are clustered in a few countries like Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia while others e.g. Comoros, Somalia and Swaziland have only had a limited number of initiatives.
In this seminar from January 2014, Dr Jane Crawley talks about clinical standardisation in PERCH (Pneumonia Etiology Research for Child Health), a large case-control study of the causes of and risk factors for severe pneumonia.
Childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) can often be traced to a pre-leukemic clone carrying a prenatal genetic lesion. Postnatally acquired mutations then drive clonal evolution toward overt leukemia. The enzymes RAG1-RAG2 and AID, which diversify immunoglobulin-encoding genes, are strictly segregated in developing cells during B lymphopoiesis and peripheral mature B cells, respectively. Here we identified small pre-BII cells as a natural subset with increased genetic vulnerability owing to concurrent activation of these enzymes. Consistent with epidemiological findings on childhood ALL etiology, susceptibility to genetic lesions during B lymphopoiesis at the transition from the large pre-BII cell stage to the small pre-BII cell stage was exacerbated by abnormal cytokine signaling and repetitive inflammatory stimuli. We demonstrated that AID and RAG1-RAG2 drove leukemic clonal evolution with repeated exposure to inflammatory stimuli, paralleling chronic infections in childhood.
In celebration of Global Health Trials' fifth birthday (May 11th 2015) Professor Trudie Lang, Principal Investigator of the programme, talks to us about why Global Health Trials was started, why people should share their experience, and what the future holds.
The feasibility of community mobilisation for child injury prevention in rural Nepal: a programme for female community health volunteersby Raj Pant et al
Injuries accounted for 23% of all deaths in children and adolescents in Nepal during 2010 (n = 3,700). Despite this, there is no national death registration or injury surveillance system. This study developed and implementd a culturally appropriate, educational programme for Female Community Health Volunteers that included both primary and secondary prevention materials for unintentional child injuries. Findings suggest that It is feasible to develop and implement a community mobilisation intervention where women’s groups work together with local FCHVs to prevent injuries in children. The intervention was well received by the women’s groups and by community members.
A review of e-health interventions for maternal and child health (MCH) to explore their influence on MCH practices in sub-Sahara Africa found a total of 18 relevant articles. Findings suggeswt that there is a need to move the application of ICT for MCH care from pilot initiatives to interventions involving all stakeholders on a sub-regional scale. These interventions should also adopt an integrated approach that takes care of the information needs at every stage along the continuum of care. It is anticipated that the study would be useful in the evolution and implementation of future ICT-based programmes for MCH in the region.
Associations between parents’ subjective time pressure and mental health problems among children in the Nordic countries: a population based studyby Gunnarsdottir et al
The purpose of this study was to examine the association between parents’ subjective time pressure and mental health problems among children in the Nordic countries as well as potential disparities between boys and girls in different age groups. In this study an association between parents’ subjective time pressure and increased mental health problems among children was found.
Despite the close interrelation between these infections and nutrition conditions, key nutrition interventions for prevention of childhood diarrhea and pneumonia have not received deserved attention, especially in low- and middle-income countries. Several interventions and strategies can effectively address these issues but are not available to those in need. This article discusses in detail the burden and trends of global under-5 mortality, infections, and nutrition conditions; etiology and associated risk factors; biological plausibility and the interrelation between infections, nutrition, and growth; and existing interventions and strategies to reduce major childhood infections and improve nutrition and growth and implications.
Risk factors for postneonatal, infant, child and under-5 mortality in Nigeria: a pooled cross-sectional analysisby Ezah et al
The study aims to identify common factors associated with post-neonatal, infant, child and under-5 mortality in Nigeria. This study found that no formal education, poor households and living in rural areas increased the risk of postneonatal, infant, child and under-5 mortality among Nigerian children. Community-based interventions for reducing under-5 deaths are needed and should target children born to mothers of low socioeconomic status.
Associations between parental BMI, socioeconomic factors, family structure and overweight in Finnish children: a path model approachby Parikka et al
The aim of this study was to assess the less studied interrelationships and pathways between parental BMI, socioeconomic factors, family structure and childhood overweight. The observed pathways between parental BMI and education and childhood overweight emphasize a need for evidence-based health promotion interventions tailored for families identified with parental overweight and low level of education.
Association between gender inequality index and child mortality rates: a cross-national study of 138 countriesby Brinda et al
Gender inequality weakens maternal health and harms children through many direct and indirect pathways. The global impact of Gender Inequality Index (GII) on the child mortality rates remains uncertain. The study authors have documented statistically significant positive associations between GII and child mortality rates. The authors suggest that initiatives to curtail child mortality rates should extend beyond medical interventions and should prioritize women’s rights and autonomy.
Motor development following in utero exposure to organochlorines: a follow-up study of children aged 5–9 years in Greenland, Ukraine and Polandby Hoyer et al
Study findings suggest that In utero exposure to CB-153 and p,p′-DDE was not associated with parentally retrospectively assessed developmental milestones in infancy or parentally assessed motor skills at young school age. The use of a more sensitive outcome measure may be warranted if subtle effects should be identified.
Global, regional, and national causes of child mortality in 2000–13, with projections to inform post-2015 priorities: an updated systematic analysisby Liu et al 2015
Trend data for causes of child death are crucial to inform priorities for improving child survival by and beyond 2015. We report child mortality by cause estimates in 2000–13, and cause-specific mortality scenarios to 2030 and 2035. The authors in this study estimated the distributions of causes of child mortality separately for neonates and children aged 1–59 months
Effects of bed nets and anti-malaria drugs use on childhood mortality in Kenya’s malaria endemic and epidemic areasby K ’Oyugi et al 2015
This study seeks to establish differentials in childhood mortality rates by these interventions in three malaria prone areas defined as highland epidemic, coast endemic and lake endemic. It also seeks to determine the effects of these interventions on childhood mortality. This study underscore the need for increasing uptake of malaria interventions and complementing them with longer breastfeeding duration and improved toilet facility in efforts towards reducing infant and child mortality rates in Kenya?s malaria prone areas. There is also need to improve quality of individual household data for malaria module in future KDHS undertakings.
Association between Respiratory Syncytial Virus Activity and Pneumococcal Disease in Infants: A Time Series Analysis of US Hospitalization Databy Weinberger DM et al
The importance of bacterial infections following respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) remains unclear. The authors in this study evaluated whether variations in RSV epidemic timing and magnitude are associated with variations in pneumococcal disease epidemics and whether changes in pneumococcal disease following the introduction of seven-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV7) were associated with changes in the rate of hospitalizations coded as RSV. These analyses provide evidence for an interaction between RSV and pneumococcal pneumonia. Future work should evaluate whether treatment for secondary bacterial infections could be considered for pneumonia cases even if a child tests positive for RSV.
Respiratory tract infections (RTIs) are an important cause of death in children, and often contribute to the terminal decline in children with chronic conditions. RTIs are often underrecorded as the underlying cause of death; therefore the overall contribution of RTIs to child deaths and the potential preventability of RTI-related deaths have not been adequately quantified. The authors in this study conclude that RTI-related deaths have not declined in the last decade among children in England, except in infants. Targeted strategies to prevent the winter excess of RTIs and to treat RTIs in children, particularly children with chronic conditions, may reduce RTI-related deaths.
Treatment of Infections in Young Infants in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Frontline Health Worker Diagnosis and Antibiotic Accessby Lee ACC et al
Inadequate illness recognition and access to antibiotics contribute to high case fatality from infections in young infants (<2 months) in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). This study aimed to address three questions regarding access to treatment for young infant infections in LMICs: (1) Can frontline health workers accurately diagnose possible bacterial infection (pBI)?; (2) How available and affordable are antibiotics?; (3) How often are antibiotics procured without a prescription?
WHO European Childhood Obesity Surveillance Initiative: body mass index and level of overweight among 6–9-year-old children from school year 2007/2008 to school year 2009/2010by Wijnhoven et al
The World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for Europe has established the Childhood Obesity Surveillance Initiative (COSI) to monitor changes in overweight in primary-school children. The aims of this paper are to present the anthropometric results of COSI Round 2 (2009/2010) and to explore changes in body mass index (BMI) and overweight among children within and across nine countries from school years 2007/2008 to 2009/2010. Changes in BMI and prevalence of overweight over a two-year period varied significantly among European countries. It may be that countries with higher prevalence of overweight in COSI Round 1 have implemented interventions to try to remedy this situation.
This series of five papers assesses and summarizes information from relevant systematic reviews on the impact of various approaches to improve the quality of care for women and newborns.
Hand Sanitiser Provision for Reducing Illness Absences in Primary School Children: A Cluster Randomised Trialby Priest P et al
The potential for transmission of infectious diseases offered by the school environment are likely to be an important contributor to the rates of infectious disease experienced by children. This study aimed to test whether the addition of hand sanitiser in primary school classrooms compared with usual hand hygiene would reduce illness absences in primary school children in New Zealand. The authors found that the provision of hand sanitiser in addition to usual hand hygiene in primary schools in New Zealand did not prevent disease of severity sufficient to cause school absence.
Worldwide, 250,000–280,000 women die during pregnancy and childbirth every year and an estimated 6.55 million children die under the age of five. The majority of maternal deaths occur during or immediately after childbirth, while 43% of child death occurs during the first 28 days of life. However, the progress in limiting these has been slow and sporadic. In this supplement of five papers, teh authors aim to systematically assess and summarize essential interventions for reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health from relevant systematic reviews.
Intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) is responsible for the higher rates of fetal, perinatal, and neonatal morbidity and mortality. This review details the IUGR risk factors, its short and long-term sequel, themechanism underlying the long-term consequences, and the strategies to tackle IUGR burden.
The prevalence of obesity has substantially increased in the past 3 decades in both developed and developing countries and may lead to an increase in high blood pressure (BP) at an early age. This study aimed to determine the prevalence of obesity and its association with blood pressure among primary school children in central Thailand. Obesity among school children was positively associated with higher BP. Prevention of childhood obesity should be strengthened to prevent the risk of early high BP including cardiovascular risk factors.
Mobile phones support adherence and retention of Indigenous participants in a randomised controlled trial: strategies and lessons learntby Jai K Das
Ensuring adherence to treatment and retention is important in clinical trials, particularly in remote areas and minority groups. This paper describes a novel approach to improve adherence, retention and clinical review rates of Indigenous children. the use of mobile phones within an Indigenous-appropriate framework has been an effective strategy to support a clinical trial involving Australian Indigenous children in urban and remote Australia. Further research is required to explore other applications of this approach, including the impact on clinical outcomes.
Pediatric Oncology as the Next Global Child Health Priority: The Need for National Childhood Cancer Strategies in Low- and Middle-Income Countriesby Jai K Das
While the last several decades have witnessed tremendous advances in cure rates for childhood cancer, these improvements have not translated to low-and-middle-income countries (LMICs), where the majority of children reside. In this article, the authors outline why pediatric cancer should now be considered a global child health priority, describe the need for national childhood cancer strategies (NCCS), and highlight necessary policy components to reduce LMIC pediatric cancer mortality rates.
Food fortification is safe and cost-effective in the prevention of micronutrient deficiencies and has been widely practiced in developed countries for well over a century. The findings in this report clearly support the utilization of food fortification strategies at scale, which could build on the recent success of the iodized salt programme. Given the widespread prevalence in Pakistan of deficiencies in iron and in vitamins A and D, food fortification strategies offer a tangible option for delivering these micronutrients on a large scale.
Factors associated with non-utilization of child immunization in Pakistan: evidence from the Demographic and Health Survey 2006-07by Jai K Das
The proportion of incompletely immunized children in Pakistan varies from 37-58%, and this has recently resulted in outbreaks of measles and polio. The aim of this paper is to determine the factors associated with incomplete immunization among children aged 12-23 months in Pakistan.
Can food vouchers improve nutrition and reduce health inequalities in low-income mothers and young children: a multi-method evaluationby Jai K Das
Good nutrition is important during pregnancy, breastfeeding and early life to optimise the health of women and children. It is difficult for low-income families to prioritise spending on healthy food. Healthy Start is a targeted United Kingdom (UK) food subsidy programme that gives vouchers for fruit, vegetables, milk, and vitamins to low-income families. This paper reports an evaluation of Healthy Start from the perspectives of women and health practitioners.
The latest report by 'Save the Children' highlights that the world has made remarkable progress in the fight to end child mortality in recent years. Since 1990, we have almost halved the number of children who die every year before the age of five – from 12.6 million to 6.6 million. And yet, in spite of this progress, child mortality remains one of the great shames of our modern world. Every day, 18,000 children under five die, and most from preventable causes. See the attach report to discover how 2 million newborn babies who could be saved each year if we end preventable newborn mortality.
Accumulating evidence implicates early life factors in the aetiology of non-communicable diseases, including asthma/wheezing disorders. We undertook a systematic review investigating risks of asthma/wheezing disorders in children born preterm, including the increasing numbers who, as a result of advances in neonatal care, now survive very preterm birth.
Impact of Intermittent Screening and Treatment for Malaria among School Children in Kenya: A Cluster Randomised Trialby Jai K Das
There is limited experimental evidence of the benefits of alternative school-based malaria interventions or how the impacts of interventions vary according to intensity of malaria transmission. The authors investigated the effect of intermittent screening and treatment (IST) for malaria on the health and education of school children in an area of low to moderate malaria transmission.
Perceived family support regarding condom use and condom use among secondary school female students in Limbe urban city of Cameroonby Jai K Das
In this cross sectional survey it is hypothesized that adolescents' perceptions of family support for condom use, would encourage condom use among female students in Limbe urban city of Cameroon.
Non-Specialist Psychosocial Interventions for Children and Adolescents with Intellectual Disability or Lower-Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Systematic Reviewby Jai K Das
The development of effective treatments for use by non-specialists is listed among the top research priorities for improving the lives of people with mental illness worldwide. The purpose of this review is to appraise which interventions for children with intellectual disabilities or lower-functioning autism spectrum disorders delivered by non-specialist care providers in community settings produce benefits when compared to either a no-treatment control group or treatment-as-usual comparator
When to Start Antiretroviral Therapy in Children Aged 2–5 Years: A Collaborative Causal Modelling Analysis of Cohort Studies from Southern Africaby Jai K Das
There is limited evidence on the optimal timing of antiretroviral therapy (ART) initiation in children 2–5 y of age. This study uses a causal modelling analysis using the International Epidemiologic Databases to Evaluate AIDS–Southern Africa (IeDEA-SA) collaborative dataset to determine the difference in mortality when starting ART in children aged 2–5 y immediately (irrespective of CD4 criteria), as recommended in the World Health Organization (WHO) 2013 guidelines, compared to deferring to lower CD4 thresholds, for example, the WHO 2010 recommended threshold of CD4 count <750 cells/mm3 or CD4 percentage (CD4%) <25%
Design of a quasi-experiment on the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of using the child-interview intervention during the investigation following a report of child abuse and/or neglectby Jai K Das
The primary aim of this study is to examine the effect of the participation of maltreated children aged 6-18 years in the Child-Interview intervention on their mental health and quality of life. As a second aim, this study also examines the balance between additional costs and effects of the Child-Interview intervention in comparison with AMK investigation without the Child-Interview intervention (adult-only intervention).
The recent BMC Public Health supplement “The Lives Saved Tool in 2013: new capabilities and applications” has been published. The series comprise of 30 papers focusing on various domains of maternal child health with a special focus on the interventions reviewed for the prevention and management of childhood diarrhea and penumonia.
With an under-five mortality rate of 89 per 1000 live births, Pakistan is lagging behind the desired MDG 4. There is still a need to reduce the under-five mortality rate by 45 percentage points in order to achieve the MDG target by 2015. Each year around 91,000 and 53,300 children die from pneumonia and diarrhea respectively, in Pakistan. Diarrhea, pneumonia and malaria collectively contribute to around 50% of deaths in children. These three diseases, thus, represent a challenging but surmountable obstacle towards achieving the MDG 4 target. Implementation of large-scale interventions and scale-up plan focusing on these three major killers of children in Pakistan is essential. This report identifies the major barriers towards accessing essential medicines by care givers.
This systematic review of the current evidence assessed the effectiveness of food fortification with single micronutrients (iron, folic acid, vitamin A, vitamin D, iodine, zinc) as well as MMN when compared with no fortification on the health and nutrition of women and children.
Despite the global initiative to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV, 210,000 new pediatric infections were added worldwide in 2012 to the existing pool of 3.4 million children living with the virus.Children are more vulnerable to HIV infection and have higher morbidity and mortality. Without treatment, one half of those children infected will die before the age of 2 years, yet only one third of those eligible for treatment are currently receiving antiretroviral therapy. Current initiatives focus on interventions within the traditional prevention of mother-to-child transmission cascade, but the scope of the elimination agenda must be broadened in order to ensure access to care and treatment for all children living with HIV.
Effect of Household-Based Drinking Water Chlorination on Diarrhoea among Children under Five in Orissa, India: A Double-Blind Randomised Placebo-Controlled Trialby Jai K Das
Boiling, disinfecting, and filtering water within the home can improve the microbiological quality of drinking water among the hundreds of millions of people who rely on unsafe water supplies. However, the impact of these interventions on diarrhoea is unclear. The aim of this study was to measure the effect of in-home water disinfection on diarrhoea among children under five.
The Child Survival Call to Action was convened in June 2012 by the Governments of Ethiopia, India and the United States, together with UNICEF, to examine ways to spur progress on child survival. In support of A Promise Renewed, UNICEF is publishing yearly reports on child survival to stimulate public dialogue and help sustain political commitment. The analysis presented in this report provides a strong case for proceeding with optimism. The necessary interventions and know-how are available to drastically reduce child deaths in the next two decades. The time has come to recommit to child survival and renew the promise.
Global Burden of Sickle Cell Anaemia in Children under Five, 2010–2050: Modelling Based on Demographics, Excess Mortality, and Interventionsby Jai K Das
The purpose of this study is to estimate trends in the future number of newborns with Sickle Cell Anemia (SCA) and the number of lives that could be saved in under-five children with SCA by the implementation of different levels of health interventions.
In 2010 Pakistan experienced the worst floods recorded in its history; millions of people were affected and thousands lost their lives. Nutrition assessment surveys led by UNICEF were conducted in flood-affected areas of Punjab and Sindh provinces to assess the nutrition status of children between 6–59 months while Aga Khan University (AKU) undertook a parallel assessment including micronutrient status in their project areas within Balochistan, Sindh and Punjab.
Adherence to antiretroviral therapy among HIV infected children measured by caretaker report, medication return, and drug level in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzaniaby Jai K Das
Adherence to antiretroviral drugs in the treatment of paediatric HIV infection is complicated because of many factors including stigma and drug intake logistics. It is therefore important to identify children with non-adherence in order to intervene before they become at risk of developing treatment failure or drug resistance. The aim of this study was to determine the level of adherence to antiretroviral therapy (ART), measured by caretaker report, medication return and nevirapine plasma concentration.
Malnutrition still remains one of the major public health challenges, particularly in developing countries. Major risk factors for undernutrition such as suboptimal breastfeeding and micronutrient deficiencies (vitamin A and zinc) are responsible for more than one-third of all under five child deaths and 11% of the global total disease burden. Several strategies have been employed to supplement micronutrients. These include education, dietary modification, food provision, supplementation and fortification either alone or in combination.
Maternal and child undernutrition Series was launched in The Lancet in 2008. Five years after the initial series, the issue was re-evaluated including the growing problems of overweight and obesity for women and children, and their consequences in low-income and middle-income countries. Many of these countries are said to have the double burden of malnutrition: continued stunting of growth and deficiencies of essential nutrients along with the emerging issue of obesity. The national progress in nutrition programmes and international efforts toward previous recommendations were also evaluated
Measuring Coverage in MNCH: Challenges in Monitoring the Proportion of Young Children with Pneumonia Who Receive Antibiotic Treatmentby Jai K Das
Pneumonia remains a major cause of child death globally, and improving antibiotic treatment rates is a key control strategy. The third paper in the PLOS series of 'Measuring Coverage in MNCH', the authors show that the performance of survey tools could be improved by increasing the survey recall period or by improving either overall discriminative power or specificity.
The PLOS Medicine “Measuring Coverage in MNCH” Collection of research studies and reviews presents systematic assessments of the validity of health intervention coverage measurement based on household surveys, the primary method for estimating population-level intervention coverage in low- and middle-income countries. This is the first paper of the collection
Over the last decade, a number of influential organisations have called for the integration of mental, neurological and substance use (MNS) disorders into large scale public health programmes. Although progress at the implementation level has been slow, the development of a number of evidence-based, potentially scalable interventions in the MNS field provides new impetus to develop strategies for integration with broader programmes. Integrating maternal mental health care will help advance maternal and child health (MCH) status.
Decline in Diarrhea Mortality and Admissions after Routine Childhood Rotavirus Immunization in Brazil: A Time-Series Analysisby Jai K Das
In 2006, Brazil began routine immunization of infants <15 wk of age with a single-strain rotavirus vaccine. The authors in this paper evaluated whether the rotavirus vaccination program was associated with declines in childhood diarrhea deaths and hospital admissions by monitoring disease trends before and after vaccine introduction in all five regions of Brazil with varying disease burden and distinct socioeconomic and health indicators.
The Lancet Series on Childhood Pneumonia and Diarrhoea, led by Aga Khan University, Pakistan, provides evidence for integrated control efforts for childhood pneumonia and diarrhoea.The series of four papers assesses the global burden of these two illnesses and identifies a set of highly cost-effective interventions that can prevent most diarrhoea deaths and nearly two thirds of pneumonia deaths by 2025, if delivered at scale. It also highlights the findings from consultations with several hundred frontline workers in high-burden countries and explores the barriers and enablers they face in dealing with these two diseases and potential ways forward. The final paper represents a call to action and discusses the global and country-level remedies needed to eliminate preventable deaths from these illnesses by 2025.
Interventions for promoting reintegration and reducing harmful behaviour and lifestyles in street-connected children and young peopleNumbers of street-connected children and young people run into manyby Jai K Das
This systematic review summarises the effectiveness of interventions for street-connected children and young people that promote inclusion and reintegration and reduce harms. It also explores the processes of successful intervention and models of change in this area, and to understand how intervention effectiveness may vary in different contexts.
Young Children's Probability of Dying Before and After Their Mother's Death: A Rural South African Population-Based Surveillance Studyby Jai K Das
There is evidence that a young child's risk of dying increases following the mother's death, but little is known about the risk when the mother becomes very ill prior to her death. We hypothesized that children would be more likely to die during the period several months before their mother's death, as well as for several months after her death. Therefore the authors in this paper investigated the relationship between young children's likelihood of dying and the timing of their mother's death and, in particular, the existence of a critical period of increased risk.
There have been significant improvements in the performance of the Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) in Africa since its inception in 1974. However, there exist wide inter- and intra-country differences.
Study protocol on prospective, cluster randomized, controlled evaluation of the impact of zinc and / or micronutrient supplementation on diarrheal disease burden and growth among children in Pakistanby Zulfiqar A Bhutta
Helminth infections impose a great burden on poor populations in the developing world – yet robust, low-cost and effective public health interventions are available to relieve that burden and provide a better quality of life for people in poor settings. We share the WHO Guidleines for the Preventive chemotherapy in human helminthiasis.
The universal coverage with the full package of these proven interventions at observed levels of program effectiveness could prevent about one quarter of child deaths under 36 months of age and reduce the prevalence of stunting at 36 months by about one third. I attach my recent review on the possible strategies to combat malnutrition include promotion of breastfeeding, dietary supplementation of micronutrients, prevention of protein-energy malnutrition, and hygiene of available weaning foods and how best topackage these intevrentions for universal scale-up.
Translating Coverage Gains into Health Gains for All Women and Children: The Quality Care Opportunityby Jai K Das
The health outcomes of women and children have not matched expectations from the gains in the coverage of care. Robust evidence exists for one explanatory factor: the poor–rich gaps in coverage found along the continuum of care for women and children, and particularly for the crucial period around childbirth. The more-neglected explanation for the mismatch between coverage and health outcomes is the quality of the care provided to women and children. The following paper is structured around a key cause and a consequence of the neglect of quality—weak measurement and poor evidence for action—and concludes with priorities for seizing the quality care opportunity.
These guidelines help address the urgent need to develop tests that can work in children, ideally using non-sputum based samples. It is vital that these reference standards are endorsed and implemented by the major donors, researchers and diagnostic developers.
Maternal, newborn, and child health indices in Nigeria vary widely across geopolitical zones and between urban and rural areas, mostly due to variations in the availability of skilled attendance at birth. To improve these indices, the Midwives Service Scheme (MSS) in Nigeria engaged newly graduated, unemployed, and retired midwives to work temporarily in rural areas. This paper describes the structure, processes, challanges and the outcomes acheived through MSS.
Severe acute malnutrition remains a major killer of children under five years of age. Until recently, treatment has been restricted to facility-based approaches, greatly limiting its coverage and impact. New evidence suggests, however, that large numbers of children with severe acute malnutrition can be treated in their communities without being admitted to a health facility or a therapeutic feeding centre. We share the guidleines of for the management of children with SAM
Use of multiple micronutrient powders for home fortification of foods consumed by infants and children 6–23 months of age-The Guidelinesby Jai K Das
We share the WHO 2009 guideline that provides a framework for integrating nutrition support into the routine care of HIV-infected children (6 months-14 years). HIV-infected children deserve special attention because of their additional needs to ensure growth and development and their dependency on adults for adequate care including nutrition care and support for treatment. Vertical implementation of HIV programmes, such as PMTCT and ART, have resulted in missed opportunities to gain synergy with other existing services.
Addressing inequity to achieve the maternal and child health millennium development goals: looking beyond averagesby Jai K Das
Inequity in access to and use of child and maternal health interventions is impeding progress towards the maternal and child health Millennium Development Goals. This study explores the potential health gains and equity impact if a set of priority interventions for mothers and under fives were scaled up to reach national universal coverage targets for MDGs in Tanzania.
Anemia, malnutrition and their correlations with socio-demographic characteristics and feeding practices among infants aged 0--18 months in rural areas of Shaanxi province in northwestern Chinaby Jai K Das
Anemia and malnutrition occurring in early childhood have serious implications in rural areas in developing country. This paper is a cross sectional study conducted as the baseline survey to provide data for developing a policy-based approach to controlling infant anemia and malnutrition in rural areas of Shaanxi province in northwestern China.
Repository on maternal child health: Health portal to improve access to information on maternal child health in Indiaby Jai K Das
This article describes a health portal developed in India aimed at providing one-stop access to efficiently search, organize and share maternal child health information relevant from public health perspective in the country.
Half the developing world population lack access to flush toilets and other forms of improved sanitation; 1.1 billion people defecate in the open. An estimated 750 million people still live without improved water sources. There are serious adverse health consequences of poor access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), particularly in children, including diarrhoea, respiratory illness, trachoma, and death. Access to safe drinking-water is essential to health, a basic human right and a component of effective policy for health protection. We share the guidelines for Drinking water quality and water safety manual.
About one third of deaths in children under 5 years of age are due to underlying undernutrition, which includes stunting, severe wasting, deficiencies of vitamin A and zinc, and suboptimum breastfeeding. Childhood malnutrition is prevalent in low and middle income countries (LMICs). According to an estimate, 19.4% of children <5 years of age in these countries are underweight (weight-for-age Z score <-2) and about 29.9% are stunted in the year 2011 (height-for-age Z score <-2). The prevalence of both underweight and stunting was highest in Africa and South-Central Asia and stunting and wasting along with intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) are responsible for about 2.1 million deaths worldwide in children <5 years of age. It is well recognized that the period of 6-24 months of age is one of the most critical time periods in the growth of the infant. The incidence of stunting is the highest in this period as children have high demand for nutrients and there are limitations in the quality and quantity of available foods, especially after exclusive breastfeeding.
Progress toward Global Reduction in Under-Five Mortality: A Bootstrap Analysis of Uncertainty in Millennium Development Goal 4 Estimatesby Jai K Das
Special Community Case Management Supplement in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygieneby Jai K Das
The effect of distance to formal health facility on childhood mortality in rural Tanzania, 2005-2007by Jai K Das
Major improvements are required in the coverage and quality of essential childhood interventions to achieve Millennium Development Goal Four (MDG 4). Long distance to health facilities is one of the known barriers to access. We investigated the effect of networked and Euclidean distances from home to formal health facilities on childhood mortality in rural Tanzania between 2005 and 2007.
Essential Interventions, Commodities and Guidelines for Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn and Child Healthby Jai K Das
The Effect of Adding Ready-to-Use Supplementary Food to a General Food Distribution on Child Nutritional Status and Morbidity: A Cluster-Randomized Controlled Trialby Jai K Das
The attached report by World Health Organization and UNICEF reports that Maternal mortality has declined dramatically, but faster progress is needed. The report further highlights geographical disparaties in maternal, newborn and child survival.