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Moodley K.,Stellenbosch University | Hardie K.,Hunter New England Population Health | Selgelid M.J.,Monash University | Waldman R.J.,George Washington University | And 3 more authors.
Bulletin of the World Health Organization | Year: 2013

Humanitarian emergencies result in a breakdown of critical health-care services and often make vulnerable communities dependent on external agencies for care. In resource-constrained settings, this may occur against a backdrop of extreme poverty, malnutrition, insecurity, low literacy and poor infrastructure. Under these circumstances, providing food, water and shelter and limiting communicable disease outbreaks become primary concerns. Where effective and safe vaccines are available to mitigate the risk of disease outbreaks, their potential deployment is a key consideration in meeting emergency health needs. Ethical considerations are crucial when deciding on vaccine deployment. Allocation of vaccines in short supply, target groups, delivery strategies, surveillance and research during acute humanitarian emergencies all involve ethical considerations that often arise from the tension between individual and common good. The authors lay out the ethical issues that policy-makers need to bear in mind when considering the deployment of mass vaccination during humanitarian emergencies, including beneficence (duty of care and the rule of rescue), non-maleficence, autonomy and consent, and distributive and procedural justice.

Lambert S.D.,Western Research Institute | Jones B.L.,University of Pittsburgh | Girgis A.,Western Research Institute | Lecathelinais C.,Hunter New England Population Health
Annals of Behavioral Medicine | Year: 2012

Background Although a number of cross-sectional studies document the distress experienced by partners and caregivers of cancer survivors, few have considered their potential differential patterns of adjustment over time. Purpose Identify distinct trajectories of anxiety and depression among partners and caregivers of cancer survivors and predictors of these trajectories. Methods Participants completed a survey to examine the impact of caring for, or living with, a cancer survivor at 6, 12, and 24 months post-survivor diagnosis. Anxiety and depression were measured using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (Nanxiety0510; Ndepression0511). Results Anxiety trajectories included: no anxiety (15.1% scored <3; 37.8% scored 3-5); chronic, borderline anxiety (33.2%); and chronic, clinical anxiety (13.9%). The depression trajectories were: no depression (38.9% scored <2; 31.5% scored around 3); a sustained score of 7 (25.5%); and chronic, clinical depression (4.1%). Variables associated with the trajectories included most of the psychosocial variables. Conclusions Findings highlight that most caregivers maintained their baseline level of distress, which is particularly concerning for participants reporting chronic anxiety or depression. © The Society of Behavioral Medicine 2012.

Whilst schools provide a potentially appropriate setting for preventing substance use among young people, systematic review evidence suggests that past interventions in this setting have demonstrated limited effectiveness in preventing tobacco, alcohol and other drug use. Interventions that adopt a mental wellbeing approach to prevent substance use offer considerable promise and resilience theory provides one method to impact on adolescent mental well-being. The aim of the proposed study is to examine the efficacy of a resilience intervention in decreasing the tobacco, alcohol and illicit drug use of adolescents. A cluster randomised controlled trial with schools as the unit of randomisation will be undertaken. Thirty two schools in disadvantaged areas will be allocated to either an intervention or a control group. A comprehensive resilience intervention will be implemented, inclusive of explicit program adoption strategies. Baseline surveys will be conducted with students in Grade 7 in both groups and again three years later when the student cohort is in Grade 10. The primary outcome measures will include self-reported tobacco, alcohol, marijuana and other illicit drug use. Comparisons will be made post-test between Grade 10 students in intervention and control schools to determine intervention effectiveness across all measures. To the authors' knowledge this is the first randomised controlled trial to evaluate the effectiveness of a comprehensive school-based resilience intervention, inclusive of explicit adoption strategies, in decreasing tobacco, alcohol and illicit drug use of adolescents attending disadvantaged secondary schools. ACTRN12611000606987.

Dalton C.B.,Hunter New England Population Health
Communicable diseases intelligence | Year: 2011

Flutracking is a national weekly online survey of influenza-like illness (ILI) completed by community members. Flutracking integrates participants' ILI symptom information with their influenza vaccination status to monitor influenza activity and field vaccine effectiveness (FVE). This report summarises results from the 2010 Flutracking season compared with previous seasons. Nationally, participation in Flutracking has more than doubled between 2008 and 2010, with 5,346 new participants enrolled or recruited in 2010 and a peak weekly participation of 10,773. By the end of the 2010 season, 5,904 of 9,109 (64.8%) participants had received the monovalent pandemic vaccine and/or the 2010 seasonal vaccine. From 2007 to 2010 FVE calculations demonstrated that the seasonal vaccine was effective except in 2009 during the pandemic. Peak 2010 ILI activity occurred in early June and August, and peak weekly 2010 ILI rates (4.2% among unvaccinated participants) were lower than the peak ILI rates during the 2009 pandemic (6.0% among unvaccinated participants). However, the decrease in laboratory notifications was much larger than the decrease in Flutracking rates. In summary, the number of Flutracking participants continued to steadily increase over the 2010 influenza season. The system has shown value in providing weekly vaccination uptake data during and beyond the 2009 influenza pandemic, as well as rapid FVE estimates that are qualitatively aligned with findings from other analyses of vaccine efficacy. Flutracking has also provided estimates of weekly community ILI activity that were not biased by health seeking behaviour and clinician testing practices.

Lambert S.D.,University of New South Wales | Girgis A.,University of New South Wales | Lecathelinais C.,Hunter New England Population Health | Stacey F.,Hunter Medical Research Institute
Supportive Care in Cancer | Year: 2013

Purpose: This study aims to examine the prevalence of psychosocial variables associated with anxiety and depression among partners and caregivers of cancer survivors, compare prevalence with community norms and report differences across cancer diagnosis. Methods: A prospective survey of partners and caregivers was undertaken to assess anxiety and depression and potential psychosocial variables associated with these outcomes at 6 and 12 months post-survivor diagnosis (N = 436). Results: Although the proportion of anxious participants decreased over time (p = 0.01), the percentage of those depressed remained stable (p = 0.68). Most participants who were depressed were also anxious. To a certain extent, the prevalence of anxiety and depression exceeded community norms and varied across cancer types. Partners and caregivers particularly vulnerable included those of lung, haematological or head and neck survivors. High use of avoidant coping and interference in regular activities were associated with both anxiety and depression across time points. Of the different types of support measured, only lower emotional/informational support was associated with anxiety and depression at 6 months, whereas lower positive social interaction was associated with depression at 12 months. Additional variables associated with anxiety and depression at 12 months included higher unmet needs and involvement in personal and medical tasks, respectively. Conclusions: Even at 12 months post-survivor diagnosis, almost a third of participants reported anxiety, a result partially predicted by high use of avoidant coping and interference in regular activities. Understanding variables associated with partners' and caregivers' anxiety and depression can lead to optimal referral to supportive care services and inform the tailoring of interventions to address those variables contributing to anxiety and depression at particular time points. © 2012 Springer-Verlag.

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