FutuResearch Group

Washington, DC, United States

FutuResearch Group

Washington, DC, United States
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Castel A.D.,George Washington University | Befus M.,George Washington University | Befus M.,Columbia University | Willis S.,George Washington University | And 2 more authors.
AIDS | Year: 2012

Objectives: Recent data suggest that community viral load (CVL) can be used as a population-level biomarker for HIV transmission and its reduction may be associated with a decrease in HIV incidence. Given the magnitude of the HIV epidemic in Washington, District of Columbia, we sought to measure the District of Columbia's CVL. Design: An ecological analysis was conducted. Methods: Mean and total CVL were calculated using the most recent viral load for prevalent HIV/AIDS cases reported to District of Columbia HIV/AIDS surveillance through 2008. Univariate and multivariable analyses were conducted to assess differences in CVL availability, mean CVL, proportion of undetectable viral loads, and 5-year trends in mean CVL and new HIV/AIDS diagnoses. Geospatial analysis was used to map mean CVL and selected indicators of socioeconomic status by geopolitical designation. Results: Among 15467 HIV/AIDS cases alive from 2004 to 2008, 48.2% had at least one viral load reported. Viral load data completeness increased significantly over the 5 years (P<0.001). Mean CVL significantly decreased over time (P<0.0001). At the end of 2008, the mean CVL was 33847copies/ml; 57.4% of cases had undetectable viral loads. Overlaps in the geographic distribution of CVL by census tract were observed with the highest means observed in areas with high poverty rates and low high school diploma rates. Conclusion: Mean and total CVL provide markers of access to care and treatment, are indicators of the population's viral burden, and are useful in assessing trends in local HIV/AIDS epidemics. Measurement of CVL is a novel tool for assessing the potential impact of population-level HIV prevention and treatment interventions. © 2012 Wolters Kluwer Health Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Ogden J.,Ogden Health and Development Connections | Morrison K.,FutuResearch Group | Hardee K.,FutuResearch Group
Health Policy and Planning | Year: 2014

This article recounts the development of a model for social capital building developed over the course of interventions focused on HIV-related stigma and discrimination, safe motherhood and reproductive health. Through further engagement with relevant literature, it explores the nature of social capital and suggests why undertaking such a process can enhance health policy and programmes, advocacy and governance for improved health systems strengthening (HSS) outcomes. The social capital process proposed facilitates the systematic and effective inclusion of community voices in the health policy process - strengthening programme effectiveness as well as health system accountability and governance. Because social capital building facilitates communication and the uptake of new ideas, norms and standards within and between professional communities of practice, it can provide an important mechanism for integration both within and between sectors - a process long considered a 'wicked problem' for health policy-makers. The article argues that the systematic application of social capital building, from bonding through bridging into linking social capital, can greatly enhance the ability of governments and their partners to achieve their HSS goals. © 2013 Published by Oxford University Press in association with The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine © The Author 2013.

Cleland J.,London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine | Conde-Agudelo A.,National Health Research Institute | Peterson H.,University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill | Ross J.,FutuResearch Group | Tsui A.,Family and Reproductive Health
The Lancet | Year: 2012

Increasing contraceptive use in developing countries has cut the number of maternal deaths by 40% over the past 20 years, merely by reducing the number of unintended pregnancies. By preventing high-risk pregnancies, especially in women of high parities, and those that would have ended in unsafe abortion, increased contraceptive use has reduced the maternal mortality ratio-the risk of maternal death per 100 000 livebirths-by about 26% in little more than a decade. A further 30% of maternal deaths could be avoided by fulfi lment of unmet need for contraception. The benefi ts of modern contraceptives to women's health, including non-contraceptive benefi ts of specifi c methods, outweigh the risks. Contraception can also improve perinatal outcomes and child survival, mainly by lengthening interpregnancy intervals. In developing countries, the risk of prematurity and low birthweight doubles when conception occurs within 6 months of a previous birth, and children born within 2 years of an elder sibling are 60% more likely to die in infancy than are those born more than 2 years after their sibling.

Hardee K.,FutuResearch Group | Gay J.,J. Gay Consultants LLC | Croce-Galis M.,Artemis | Peltz A.,United States Agency for International Development
Journal of the International AIDS Society | Year: 2014

There is growing interest in expanding public health approaches that address social and structural drivers that affect the environment in which behaviour occurs. Half of those living with HIV infection are women. The sociocultural and political environment in which women live can enable or inhibit their ability to protect themselves from acquiring HIV. This paper examines the evidence related to six key social and structural drivers of HIV for women: transforming gender norms; addressing violence against women; transforming legal norms to empower women; promoting women's employment, income and livelihood opportunities; advancing education for girls and reducing stigma and discrimination. The paper reviews the evidence for successful and promising social and structural interventions related to each driver. This analysis contains peer-reviewed published research and study reports with clear and transparent data on the effectiveness of interventions. Structural interventions to address these key social and structural drivers have led to increasing HIV-protective behaviours, creating more gender-equitable relationships and decreasing violence, improving services for women, increasing widows' ability to cope with HIV and reducing behaviour that increases HIV risk, particularly among young people. © 2014 Hardee K et al; licensee International AIDS Society.

Blanc A.K.,Population Council | Winfrey W.,FutuResearch Institute | Ross J.,FutuResearch Group
PLoS ONE | Year: 2013

Background:With recent results showing a global decline in overall maternal mortality during the last two decades and with the target date for achieving the Millennium Development Goals only four years away, the question of how to continue or even accelerate the decline has become more pressing. By knowing where the risk is highest as well as where the numbers of deaths are greatest, it may be possible to re-direct resources and fine-tune strategies for greater effectiveness in efforts to reduce maternal mortality.Methods:We aggregate data from 38 Demographic and Health Surveys that included a maternal mortality module and were conducted in 2000 or later to produce maternal mortality ratios, rates, and numbers of deaths by five year age groups, separately by residence, region, and overall mortality level.Findings:The age pattern of maternal mortality is broadly similar across regions, type of place of residence, and overall level of maternal mortality. A "J" shaped curve, with markedly higher risk after age 30, is evident in all groups. We find that the excess risk among adolescents is of a much lower magnitude than is generally assumed. The oldest age groups appear to be especially resistant to change. We also find evidence of extremely elevated risk among older mothers in countries with high levels of HIV prevalence.Conclusions:The largest number of deaths occurs in the age groups from 20-34, largely because those are the ages at which women are most likely to give birth so efforts directed at this group would most effectively reduce the number of deaths. Yet equity considerations suggest that efforts also be directed toward those most at risk, i.e., older women and adolescents. Because women are at risk each time they become pregnant, fulfilling the substantial unmet need for contraception is a cross-cutting strategy that can address both effectiveness and equity concerns. © 2013 Blanc et al.

Hardee K.,FutuResearch Group | Gay J.,J. Gay Associates | Blanc A.K.,Population Council
Global Public Health | Year: 2012

In safe motherhood programming in the developing world, insufficient attention has been given to maternal morbidity, which can extend well beyond childbirth. For every woman who dies of pregnancy-related causes, an estimated 20 women experience acute or chronic morbidity. Maternal morbidity adversely affects families, communities and societies. Maternal morbidity has multiple causes, with duration ranging from acute to chronic, severity ranging from transient to permanent and with a range of diagnosis and treatment options. This article addresses six selected relatively neglected aspects of maternal morbidity to illustrate the range of acute and chronic morbidities that can affect women related to pregnancy and childbearing that are prevalent in developing countries: anaemia, maternal depression, infertility, fistula, uterine rupture and scarring and genital and uterine prolapse. Based on this review, recommendations to reduce maternal morbidity include: expand the focus of safe motherhood to explicitly include morbidity; improve data on incidence and prevalence of maternal morbidity; link mortality and morbidity outcomes and programming; increase access to facility- and community-based maternal health care and reproductive health care; and address the antecedents to poor maternal health through a lifecycle approach. © 2012 Taylor & Francis.

Unintended pregnancies can lead to poor maternal and child health outcomes. Family planning use during the first year postpartum has the potential to significantly reduce at least some of these unintended pregnancies. This paper examines the relationship of menses return, breastfeeding status, and postpartum duration on return to sexual activity and use of modern family planning among postpartum women. This paper presents results from a secondary data analysis of Demographic and Health Surveys from 17 countries. For postpartum women, the return of menses, breastfeeding status, and postpartum duration are significantly associated with return to sexual activity in at least 10 out of the 17 countries but not consistently associated with family planning use. Only menses return had a significant association with use of modern family planning in the majority of countries. These findings point to the importance of education about pregnancy risk prior to menses return.

Ross J.A.,FutuResearch Group | Blanc A.K.,Maternal Health Task Force
Maternal and Child Health Journal | Year: 2012

Globally, the number of maternal deaths remains large, and the risk per birth is high in the developing world. Deaths declined between 1990 and 2008, despite the 42% increase in women. We decompose selected determinants to help explain the decline. Numbers of women, births, and fertility rates come from the UN; maternal mortality ratios are from the UN and from Hogan et al. Decomposition isolates the effects of additional women, decreases in fertility, and declines in mortality ratios, also in rates. Women aged 15-49 increased by 42%, but births remained constant due to declining fertility rates. The fertility decline alone averted approximately 1.7 million deaths, 1990-2008. The risk per birth (MMR) also fell, adding to the decline in the number of deaths. Exceptional declines occurred in the maternal mortality rate. Sub- Saharan Africa has experienced minimal declines in deaths, due to increases in women and small declines in fertility and mortality. The growing numbers of women have made international efforts to reduce the number of maternal deaths ever more challenging. Comparatively little attention has been given to the offsetting effect of the historic fertility declines in the developing world, and hence a flat trend in births. The maternal mortality ratio has also fallen, reflecting the success of direct maternal health efforts. Programs that provide couples with the means to control their fertility can reinforce fertility declines. These programs are companions to ongoing, direct measures to reduce the risk of death once pregnant. © Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011.

Ross J.,FutuResearch Group | Hardee K.,FutuResearch Group
Journal of Biosocial Science | Year: 2013

Survey data on contraceptive use for about 80 countries are related to measures of contraceptive access, by method, from 1999 to 2009. Cross-tabulation and correlational methods are employed, with geographic comparisons and time trends. Total prevalence of use for five modern contraceptive methods correlates well to a variety of access measures. Greater access is also accompanied by a better balance among methods for both access and use. Sub-Saharan African countries show similar patterns though at lower levels. Improved access to multiple methods is consistently associated with higher levels of contraceptive use. © 2012 Cambridge University Press.

Nutley T.,FutuResearch Group | Reynolds H.W.,University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Global Health Action | Year: 2013

Background: Good quality and timely data from health information systems are the foundation of all health systems. However, too often data sit in reports, on shelves or in databases and are not sufficiently utilised in policy and program development, improvement, strategic planning and advocacy. Without specific interventions aimed at improving the use of data produced by information systems, health systems will never fully be able to meet the needs of the populations they serve. Objective: To employ a logic model to describe a pathway of how specific activities and interventions can strengthen the use of health data in decision making to ultimately strengthen the health system. Design: A logic model was developed to provide a practical strategy for developing, monitoring and evaluating interventions to strengthen the use of data in decision making. The model draws on the collective strengths and similarities of previous work and adds to those previous works by making specific recommendations about interventions and activities that are most proximate to affect the use of data in decision making. The model provides an organizing framework for how interventions and activities work to strengthen the systematic demand, synthesis, review, and use of data. Results: The logic model and guidance are presented to facilitate its widespread use and to enable improved data-informed decision making in program review and planning, advocacy, policy development. Real world examples from the literature support the feasible application of the activities outlined in the model. Conclusions: The logic model provides specific and comprehensive guidance to improve data demand and use. It can be used to design, monitor and evaluate interventions, and to improve demand for, and use of, data in decision making. As more interventions are implemented to improve use of health data, those efforts need to be evaluated. © 2013 Tara Nutley and HeidiW. Reynolds.

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