Healthcare provider-targeted mobile applications to diagnose, screen, or monitor communicable diseases of public health importance in low- and middle-income countries: A systematic review.
PLOS digital health
2023; 2 (10): e0000156
Communicable diseases remain a leading cause of death and disability in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). mHealth technologies carry considerable promise for managing these disorders within resource-poor settings, but many existing applications exclusively represent digital versions of existing guidelines or clinical calculators, communication facilitators, or patient self-management tools. We thus systematically searched PubMed, Web of Science, and Cochrane Central for studies published between January 2007 and October 2019 involving technologies that were mobile phone- or tablet-based; able to screen for, diagnose, or monitor a communicable disease of importance in LMICs; and targeted health professionals as primary users. We excluded technologies that digitized existing paper-based tools or facilitated communication (i.e., knowledge-based algorithms). Extracted data included disease category, pathogen type, diagnostic method, intervention purpose, study/target population, sample size, study methodology, development stage, accessory requirement, country of development, operating system, and cost. Given the search timeline, studies involving COVID-19 were not included in the analysis. Of 13,262 studies identified by the screen, 33 met inclusion criteria. 12% were randomized clinical trials (RCTs), with 58% of publications representing technical descriptions. 62% of studies had 100 or fewer subjects. All studied technologies involved diagnosis or screening steps; none addressed the monitoring of infections. 52% focused on priority diseases (HIV, malaria, tuberculosis), but only 12% addressed a neglected tropical disease. Although most reported studies were priced under 20USD at time of publication, two thirds of the records did not yet specify a cost for the study technology. We conclude that there are only a small number of mHealth technologies focusing on innovative methods of screening and diagnosing communicable diseases potentially of use in LMICs. Rigorous RCTs, analyses with large sample size, and technologies assisting in the monitoring of diseases are needed.
View details for DOI 10.1371/journal.pdig.0000156
View details for PubMedID 37801442
Social Network Analysis of Ebola Virus Disease During the 2014 Outbreak in Sukudu, Sierra Leone.
Open forum infectious diseases
2022; 9 (11): ofac593
Transmission by unreported cases has been proposed as a reason for the 2013-2016 Ebola virus (EBOV) epidemic decline in West Africa, but studies that test this hypothesis are lacking. We examined a transmission chain within social networks in Sukudu village to assess spread and transmission burnout.Network data were collected in 2 phases: (1) serological and contact information from Ebola cases (n = 48, including unreported); and (2) interviews (n = 148), including Ebola survivors (n = 13), to identify key social interactions. Social links to the transmission chain were used to calculate cumulative incidence proportion as the number of EBOV-infected people in the network divided by total network size.The sample included 148 participants and 1522 contacts, comprising 10 social networks: 3 had strong links (>50% of cases) to the transmission chain: household sharing (largely kinship), leisure time, and talking about important things (both largely non-kin). Overall cumulative incidence for these networks was 37 of 311 (12%). Unreported cases did not have higher network centrality than reported cases.Although this study did not find evidence that explained epidemic decline in Sukudu, it excluded potential reasons (eg, unreported cases, herd immunity) and identified 3 social interactions in EBOV transmission.
View details for DOI 10.1093/ofid/ofac593
View details for PubMedID 36467298
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC9709704
A systematic review of healthcare provider-targeted mobile applications for non-communicable diseases in low- and middle-income countries.
NPJ digital medicine
2022; 5 (1): 99
Mobile health (mHealth) interventions hold promise for addressing the epidemic of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) by assisting healthcare providers managing these disorders in low-resource settings. We aimed to systematically identify and assess provider-facing mHealth applications used to screen for, diagnose, or monitor NCDs in LMICs. In this systematic review, we searched the indexing databases of PubMed, Web of Science, and Cochrane Central for studies published between January 2007 and October 2019. We included studies of technologies that were: (i) mobile phone- or tablet-based, (ii) able to screen for, diagnose, or monitor an NCD of public health importance in LMICs, and (iii) targeting health professionals as users. We extracted disease type, intervention purpose, target population, study population, sample size, study methodology, technology stage, country of development, operating system, and cost. Our initial search retrieved 13,262 studies, 315 of which met inclusion criteria and were analyzed. Cardiology was the most common clinical domain of the technologies evaluated, with 89 publications. mHealth innovations were predominantly developed using Apple's iOS operating system. Cost data were provided in only 50 studies, but most technologies for which this information was available cost less than 20 USD. Only 24 innovations targeted the ten NCDs responsible for the greatest number of disability-adjusted life years lost globally. Most publications evaluated products created in high-income countries. Reported mHealth technologies are well-developed, but their implementation in LMICs faces operating system incompatibility and a relative neglect of NCDs causing the greatest disease burden.
View details for DOI 10.1038/s41746-022-00644-3
View details for PubMedID 35853936
Characteristics of Integrated Thoracic Surgery Residency Matriculants: A Survey of Program Directors.
The Annals of thoracic surgery
BACKGROUND: The six-year Integrated Thoracic Surgery (I-6) residency programs have evolved over the past decade. Despite the rising number of programs, there is minimal data published about the criteria utilized by program directors to select candidates. We analyze the characteristics and qualities of successful matriculants using the American Association of Medical College's (AAMC) data reports and survey responses from program directors.METHODS: Using a survey administered via the RedCap service, program directors were asked to rate the importance of a variety of factors in their evaluations of candidates. AAMC data reports from 2018-2020 provided information on the mean matriculant research productivity, United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) Step 1 scores, and Step 2 Clinical Knowledge (CK) scores.RESULTS: Responses were received from 19 of 33 (58%) I-6 programs. Program directors consistently rated interview performance as a very important factor in their evaluation of applicants. Matching into the specialty is becoming more competitive, with mean USMLE Step 1, Step 2 CK, and research productivity increasing over the past few years; matriculants had mean Step 1 and Step 2 CK scores of 247.3 and 254.2, respectively, in the 2020 match.CONCLUSIONS: Thoracic surgery program directors place high value on applicant Interview Performance, Letters of Recommendation, and Professionalism. Program directors agree that a forthcoming pass/fail USMLE Step 1 score report will lead to closer scrutiny of other factors during the decision-making process and may cause future evaluation of applicants to be heavily reliant on letters of recommendation and medical school pedigree.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.athoracsur.2022.01.030
View details for PubMedID 35157846
Long-term consequences of food insecurity among Ebola virus disease-affected households after the 2013-2016 epidemic in rural communities of Kono District, Sierra Leone: A qualitative study.
PLOS global public health
2022; 2 (10)
The 2013-2016 Ebola virus disease (EVD) epidemic caused food insecurity during and immediately following local outbreaks in Sierra Leone, but longer-term effects are less well described, particularly among households with no EVD survivors. We conducted a qualitative sub-study in July 2018 in Kono District, Sierra Leone to understand the impact of food insecurity on EVD-affected households. Using data from a community-based cohort, we compiled a list of all households, within the sampled communities in Kono District, that had at least one EVD case during the epidemic. We used purposive sampling to recruit 30 households, inclusive of 10 households with no EVD survivors, to participate in the study. The research team conducted open-ended, semi-structured interviews with the head of each household. All 30 interviews were transcribed, translated, and analyzed using comparative content analysis consistent with a grounded theory approach. Most household members were facing persistent food insecurity as direct or indirect consequences of the EVD epidemic, regardless of whether they did or did not live with EVD survivors. Three major themes emerged as drivers and/or mitigators of EVD-related food insecurity. Financial instability and physical health complications were drivers of food insecurity in the population, whereas support provided by NGOs or governmental agencies was observed as a mitigator and driver of food insecurity after its removal. Among the EVD-households reporting long-term support through jobs and educational opportunities, there was sustained mitigation of food insecurity. EVD-affected households with and without survivors continue to face food insecurity three years after the EVD epidemic. Provision of support was a mitigator of food insecurity in the short term, but its removal was a driver of food insecurity in the longer term, suggesting the need for longer-term transitional support in affected households.
View details for DOI 10.1371/journal.pgph.0000770
View details for PubMedID 36382340
Autologous and Implant-Based Breast Reconstruction Outcomes in Patients with Autoimmune Connective Tissue Diseases
ELSEVIER SCIENCE INC. 2021: S204
View details for Web of Science ID 000718303100384
Equitable and Feasible Distribution of SARS-CoV-2 Vaccines for All in Africa.
The American journal of tropical medicine and hygiene
As the fight against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic continues, the necessity for wide-scale, global vaccine rollout to reduce the spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and slow its mutation rate remains unassailable. The COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) initiative's campaign involves a proportional framework to finance and distribute SARS-CoV-2 vaccines in low- and middle-income countries. However, the COVAX framework has critical limitations, including limited funding and the failure to account for the special epidemic risks and needs of its participating nations, as recommended by the World Health Organization's Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization framework. These drawbacks disproportionately impact Africa, where many nations rely on COVAX as their main source of vaccines. The current plan to vaccinate only up to 20% of participating nations' populations is short-sighted from both epidemiologic and moral perspectives. COVAX must commit to vaccinating all of Africa and its initiative must be modified to account for the health and economic infrastructures in these countries. Lessons learned from successful vaccination campaigns, including the West African Ebola outbreak, have shown that vaccinating all of Africa is possible and feasible, and that infrastructure and human resources can support mass vaccination. To halt this global pandemic, global responsibility must be accepted to finance and equitably distribute SARS-CoV-2 vaccines to African nations. We urge COVAX to act swiftly to prevent Africa from becoming the new face of a persisting pandemic.
View details for DOI 10.4269/ajtmh.21-0264
View details for PubMedID 34181573