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1.
Int J Public Health ; 67: 1604969, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2199635

ABSTRACT

Objectives: With the application of a systems thinking lens, we aimed to assess the national COVID-19 response across health systems components in Switzerland, Spain, Iran, and Pakistan. Methods: We conducted four case studies on the policy response of national health systems to the early phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. Selected countries include different health system typologies. We collected data prospectively for the period of January-July 2020 on 17 measures of the COVID-19 response recommended by the WHO that encompassed all health systems domains (governance, financing, health workforce, information, medicine and technology and service delivery). We further monitored contextual factors influencing their adoption or deployment. Results: The policies enacted coincided with a decrease in the COVID-19 transmission. However, there was inadequate communication and a perception that the measures were adverse to the economy, weakening political support for their continuation and leading to a rapid resurgence in transmission. Conclusion: Social pressure, religious beliefs, governance structure and level of administrative decentralization or global economic sanctions played a major role in how countries' health systems could respond to the pandemic.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , COVID-19/epidemiology , Health Policy , Humans , Iran/epidemiology , Pakistan/epidemiology , Pandemics , Spain , Switzerland/epidemiology
3.
JMIR Public Health Surveill ; 8(1): e31066, 2022 01 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2197952

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Despite worldwide efforts, control of COVID-19 transmission and its after effects is lagging. As seen from the cases of SARS-CoV-2 and influenza, worldwide crises associated with infections and their side effects are likely to recur in the future because of extensive international interactions. Consequently, there is an urgent need to identify the factors that can mitigate disease spread. We observed that the transmission speed and severity of consequences of COVID-19 varied substantially across countries, signaling the need for a country-level investigation. OBJECTIVE: We aimed to investigate how distancing-enabling information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure and medical ICT infrastructure, and related policies have affected the cumulative number of confirmed cases, fatality rate, and initial speed of transmission across different countries. METHODS: We analyzed the determinants of COVID-19 transmission during the relatively early days of the pandemic by conducting regression analysis based on our data for country-level characteristics, including demographics, culture, ICT infrastructure, policies, economic status, and transmission of COVID-19. To gain further insights, we conducted a subsample analysis for countries with low population density. RESULTS: Our full sample analysis showed that implied telehealth policy, which refers to the lack of a specific telehealth-related policy but presence of a general eHealth policy, was associated with lower fatality rates when controlled for cultural characteristics (P=.004). In particular, the fatality rate for countries with an implied telehealth policy was lower than that for others by 2.7%. Interestingly, stated telehealth policy, which refers to the existence of a specified telehealth policy, was found to not be associated with lower fatality rates (P=.30). Furthermore, countries with a government-run health website had 36% fewer confirmed cases than those without it, when controlled for cultural characteristics (P=.03). Our analysis further revealed that the interaction between implied telehealth policy and training ICT health was significant (P=.01), suggesting that implied telehealth policy may be more effective when in-service training on ICT is provided to health professionals. In addition, credit card ownership, as an enabler of convenient e-commerce transactions and distancing, showed a negative association with fatality rates in the full sample analysis (P=.04), but not in the subsample analysis (P=.76), highlighting that distancing-enabling ICT is more useful in densely populated countries. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings demonstrate important relationships between national traits and COVID-19 infections, suggesting guidelines for policymakers to minimize the negative consequences of pandemics. The findings suggest physicians' autonomous use of medical ICT and strategic allocation of distancing-enabling ICT infrastructure in countries with high population density to maximize efficiency. This study also encourages further research to investigate the role of health policies in combatting COVID-19 and other pandemics.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Health Policy , Humans , Pandemics , Technology
4.
JMIR Public Health Surveill ; 7(6): e28269, 2021 06 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2197912

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: COVID-19 is impacting people worldwide and is currently a leading cause of death in many countries. Underlying factors, including Social Determinants of Health (SDoH), could contribute to these statistics. Our prior work has explored associations between SDoH and several adverse health outcomes (eg, asthma and obesity). Our findings reinforce the emerging consensus that SDoH factors should be considered when implementing intelligent public health surveillance solutions to inform public health policies and interventions. OBJECTIVE: This study sought to redefine the Healthy People 2030's SDoH taxonomy to accommodate the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, we aim to provide a blueprint and implement a prototype for the Urban Population Health Observatory (UPHO), a web-based platform that integrates classified group-level SDoH indicators to individual- and aggregate-level population health data. METHODS: The process of building the UPHO involves collecting and integrating data from several sources, classifying the collected data into drivers and outcomes, incorporating data science techniques for calculating measurable indicators from the raw variables, and studying the extent to which interventions are identified or developed to mitigate drivers that lead to the undesired outcomes. RESULTS: We generated and classified the indicators of social determinants of health, which are linked to COVID-19. To display the functionalities of the UPHO platform, we presented a prototype design to demonstrate its features. We provided a use case scenario for 4 different users. CONCLUSIONS: UPHO serves as an apparatus for implementing effective interventions and can be adopted as a global platform for chronic and infectious diseases. The UPHO surveillance platform provides a novel approach and novel insights into immediate and long-term health policy responses to the COVID-19 pandemic and other future public health crises. The UPHO assists public health organizations and policymakers in their efforts in reducing health disparities, achieving health equity, and improving urban population health.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Health Policy , Healthy People Programs/methods , Population Health , Public Health Surveillance/methods , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , Urban Population
5.
JMIR Public Health Surveill ; 7(6): e24251, 2021 06 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2197876

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: COVID-19 transmission rates in South Asia initially were under control when governments implemented health policies aimed at controlling the pandemic such as quarantines, travel bans, and border, business, and school closures. Governments have since relaxed public health restrictions, which resulted in significant outbreaks, shifting the global epicenter of COVID-19 to India. Ongoing systematic public health surveillance of the COVID-19 pandemic is needed to inform disease prevention policy to re-establish control over the pandemic within South Asia. OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to inform public health leaders about the state of the COVID-19 pandemic, how South Asia displays differences within and among countries and other global regions, and where immediate action is needed to control the outbreaks. METHODS: We extracted COVID-19 data spanning 62 days from public health registries and calculated traditional and enhanced surveillance metrics. We use an empirical difference equation to measure the daily number of cases in South Asia as a function of the prior number of cases, the level of testing, and weekly shifts in variables with a dynamic panel model that was estimated using the generalized method of moments approach by implementing the Arellano-Bond estimator in R. RESULTS: Traditional surveillance metrics indicate that South Asian countries have an alarming outbreak, with India leading the region with 310,310 new daily cases in accordance with the 7-day moving average. Enhanced surveillance indicates that while Pakistan and Bangladesh still have a high daily number of new COVID-19 cases (n=4819 and n=3878, respectively), their speed of new infections declined from April 12-25, 2021, from 2.28 to 2.18 and 3.15 to 2.35 daily new infections per 100,000 population, respectively, which suggests that their outbreaks are decreasing and that these countries are headed in the right direction. In contrast, India's speed of new infections per 100,000 population increased by 52% during the same period from 14.79 to 22.49 new cases per day per 100,000 population, which constitutes an increased outbreak. CONCLUSIONS: Relaxation of public health restrictions and the spread of novel variants fueled the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in South Asia. Public health surveillance indicates that shifts in policy and the spread of new variants correlate with a drastic expansion in the pandemic, requiring immediate action to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Surveillance is needed to inform leaders whether policies help control the pandemic.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Communicable Disease Control/statistics & numerical data , Disease Outbreaks/statistics & numerical data , Health Policy , Public Health/statistics & numerical data , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Asia/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Communicable Disease Control/legislation & jurisprudence , Female , Humans , Longitudinal Studies , Male , Middle Aged , Public Health Surveillance , SARS-CoV-2
6.
Clin Infect Dis ; 73(7): e2243-e2250, 2021 10 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2188368

ABSTRACT

Infectious diseases/human immunodeficiency virus (ID/HIV) physicians and other healthcare professionals advocate within the healthcare system to ensure adults and children receive effective treatment. These advocacy skills can be used to inform domestic and global infectious diseases policies to improve healthcare systems and public health. ID/HIV physicians have a unique frontline perspective to share with federal policymakers regarding how programs and policies benefit patients and public health. Providing this input is critical to the enactment of legislation that will maximize the response to infectious diseases. This article discusses the advocacy of ID/HIV physicians and other healthcare professionals in federal health policy. Key issues include funding for ID/HIV programs; the protection of public health and access to healthcare; improving research opportunities; and advancing the field of ID/HIV, including supporting the next generation of ID/HIV clinicians. The article also describes best practices for advocacy and provides case studies illustrating the impact of ID/HIV physician advocacy.


Subject(s)
Communicable Diseases , HIV Infections , Physicians , Adult , Child , HIV , HIV Infections/epidemiology , HIV Infections/prevention & control , Health Policy , Humans
8.
PLoS One ; 17(10): e0275712, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2154259

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: At present, improving the accessibility to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) health resources is an important component of China's health policy. This study evaluated the trends in the disparities and equity of TCM health resource allocation from 2010 to 2020 to inform optimal future local health planning and policy. METHOD: The data for this study were extracted from the China Health Statistical Yearbook (2011-2021) and China Urban Statistical Yearbook (2020). The equity and rationality of the allocation of TCM health resources at the national and provincial levels were evaluated using the Gini coefficient and the health resource aggregation degree, respectively. RESULT: The number of TCM-related institutions, beds, health staff, outpatients and admissions increased by 1.97, 2.61, 2.35, 1.72 and 2.41 times, respectively, between 2010 and 2020. The population-based Gini coefficients for health staff, beds and institutions were 0.12, 0.23 and 0.13, respectively, indicating acceptable equity, while the geographical area-based Gini index for health staff, beds and institutions were 0.65, 0.62 and 0.62, respectively, indicating serious inequity. The agglomeration degree as a function of geographical area was as follows: eastern region > central region > western region. Moreover, the institutional and health staff gaps between the geographical areas increased from 2012 to 2020. In addition, there was a relatively balanced agglomeration degree based on the population in these three regions and an increasingly equitable allocation of institutions and health staff. CONCLUSION: In recent years, China's TCM health resources and services have increased rapidly, but their proportions within the overall health system remain low. The equity and rationality of TCM health allocated by the population was better than that by the geographic area. Regional differences and inequalities, especially for institutions, still exist. A series of policies to promote the balanced development of TCM need to be implemented.


Subject(s)
Health Equity , Health Resources , China , Health Policy , Humans , Medicine, Chinese Traditional , Resource Allocation
9.
Lancet ; 399(10341): 2082-2084, 2022 06 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2150853
10.
Respirology ; 27(9): 786-787, 2022 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1929641

Subject(s)
Health Policy , Australia , Humans
11.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 119(48): e2201266119, 2022 Nov 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2133956

ABSTRACT

Health authorities have highlighted "pandemic fatigue" as a psychological consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic and warned that "fatigue" could demotivate compliance with health-related policies and mandates. Yet, fatigue from following the policies of authorities may have consequences far beyond the health domain. Theories from the social sciences have raised that real and perceived costs of policies can also drive sentiments of discontent with the entire political establishment. Integrating theories from the health and social sciences, we ask how pandemic fatigue (i.e., perceived inability to "keep up" with restrictions) developed over the pandemic and whether it fueled political discontent. Utilizing longitudinal and panel surveys collected from September 2020 to July 2021 in eight Western countries (N = 49,116), we analyze: 1) fatigue over time at the country level, 2) associations between pandemic fatigue and discontent, and 3) the effect of pandemic fatigue on political discontent using panel data. Pandemic fatigue significantly increased with time and the severity of interventions but also decreased with COVID-19 deaths. When triggered, fatigue elicited a broad range of discontent, including protest support and conspiratorial thinking. The results demonstrate the significant societal impact of the pandemic beyond the domain of health and raise concerns about the stability of democratic societies, which were already strained by strife prior to the pandemic.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pandemics , Humans , COVID-19/epidemiology , Health Policy , Social Sciences , Costs and Cost Analysis
13.
JMIR Public Health Surveill ; 7(9): e30460, 2021 09 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2141344

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The UK National Health Service (NHS) classified 2.2 million people as clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) during the first wave of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, advising them to "shield" (to not leave home for any reason). OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to measure the determinants of shielding behavior and associations with well-being in a large NHS patient population for informing future health policy. METHODS: Patients contributing to an ongoing longitudinal participatory epidemiology study (Longitudinal Effects on Wellbeing of the COVID-19 Pandemic [LoC-19], n=42,924) received weekly email invitations to complete questionnaires (17-week shielding period starting April 9, 2020) within their NHS personal electronic health record. Question items focused on well-being. Participants were stratified into four groups by self-reported CEV status (qualifying condition) and adoption of shielding behavior (baselined at week 1 or 2). The distribution of CEV criteria was reported alongside situational variables and univariable and multivariable logistic regression. Longitudinal trends in physical and mental well-being were displayed graphically. Free-text responses reporting variables impacting well-being were semiquantified using natural language processing. In the lead up to a second national lockdown (October 23, 2020), a follow-up questionnaire evaluated subjective concern if further shielding was advised. RESULTS: The study included 7240 participants. In the CEV group (n=2391), 1133 (47.3%) assumed shielding behavior at baseline, compared with 633 (13.0%) in the non-CEV group (n=4849). CEV participants who shielded were more likely to be Asian (odds ratio [OR] 2.02, 95% CI 1.49-2.76), female (OR 1.24, 95% CI 1.05-1.45), older (OR per year increase 1.01, 95% CI 1.00-1.02), living in a home with an outdoor space (OR 1.34, 95% CI 1.06-1.70) or three to four other inhabitants (three: OR 1.49, 95% CI 1.15-1.94; four: OR 1.49, 95% CI 1.10-2.01), or solid organ transplant recipients (OR 2.85, 95% CI 2.18-3.77), or have severe chronic lung disease (OR 1.63, 95% CI 1.30-2.04). Receipt of a government letter advising shielding was reported in 1115 (46.6%) CEV participants and 180 (3.7%) non-CEV participants, and was associated with adopting shielding behavior (OR 3.34, 95% CI 2.82-3.95 and OR 2.88, 95% CI 2.04-3.99, respectively). In CEV participants, shielding at baseline was associated with a lower rating of mental well-being and physical well-being. Similar results were found for non-CEV participants. Concern for well-being if future shielding was required was most prevalent among CEV participants who had originally shielded. CONCLUSIONS: Future health policy must balance the potential protection from COVID-19 against our findings that shielding negatively impacted well-being and was adopted in many in whom it was not indicated and variably in whom it was indicated. This therefore also requires clearer public health messaging and support for well-being if shielding is to be advised in future pandemic scenarios.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/prevention & control , Communicable Disease Control/methods , Mental Health/trends , Public Health/trends , Quarantine/psychology , Adult , Female , Health Policy , Humans , Longitudinal Studies , Male , Mental Health/legislation & jurisprudence , Middle Aged , Public Health/legislation & jurisprudence , SARS-CoV-2 , State Medicine , Surveys and Questionnaires , United Kingdom
14.
Front Public Health ; 10: 986743, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2119603

ABSTRACT

Background: The novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is an ongoing pandemic that was first recognized in China in December 2019. This paper aims to provide a detailed overview of the first 2 years of the pandemic in Italy. Design and methods: Using the negative binomial distribution, the daily incidence of infections was estimated through the virus's lethality and the moving-averaged deaths. The lethality of the original strain (estimated through national sero-surveys) was adjusted daily for age of infections, hazard ratios of virus variants, and the cumulative distribution of vaccinated individuals. Results: From February 24, 2020, to February 28, 2022, there were 20,833,018 (20,728,924-20,937,375) cases distributed over five waves. The overall lethality rate was 0.73%, but daily it ranged from 2.78% (in the first wave) to 0.15% (in the last wave). The first two waves had the highest number of daily deaths (about 710) and the last wave showed the highest peak of daily infections (220,487). Restriction measures of population mobility strongly slowed the viral spread. During the 2nd year of the pandemic, vaccines prevented 10,000,000 infections and 115,000 deaths. Conclusion: Almost 40% of COVID-19 infections have gone undetected and they were mostly concentrated in the first year of the pandemic. From the second year, a massive test campaign made it possible to detect more asymptomatic cases, especially among the youngest. Mobility restriction measures were an effective suppression strategy while distance learning and smart working were effective mitigation strategies. Despite the variants of concern, vaccines strongly reduced the pandemic impact on the healthcare system avoiding strong restriction measures.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Influenza A Virus, H1N1 Subtype , Influenza, Human , Vaccines , Humans , COVID-19/epidemiology , Incidence , Influenza, Human/epidemiology , Health Policy
15.
J Occup Environ Med ; 64(10): 809-814, 2022 10 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2118085

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: This study clarifies potential misestimation of occupational risk caused by the dichotomy of frontline essential and nonessential occupations in prior studies. METHODS: The linear regression is used to investigate the occupational risk in terms of incidence rate, hospitalization, and mortality on community level during the pandemic. RESULTS: Overall, frontline essential occupations were positively associated with incidence rate, hospitalization, and mortality (156.06, 18.47, and 3.49; P < 0.01). Among essential occupations, however, education, training, and library occupations were negatively associated with them, whereas transportation, protective service, food preparation, and serving occupations were insignificantly associated with them. Moreover, among nonessential occupations, building and grounds cleaning, construction, and extraction occupations were positively associated with them. CONCLUSION: The dichotomy of frontline essential and nonessential occupations can bring overestimation and underestimation of occupational risk during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Occupational Health , COVID-19/epidemiology , Health Policy , Humans , Occupations , Pandemics
16.
Health Aff (Millwood) ; 41(10): 1433-1441, 2022 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2114455

ABSTRACT

The Affordable Care Act mandated data collection standards to identify people with disabilities in federal surveys to better understand and address health disparities within this population. Most federal surveys use six questions from the American Community Survey (ACS-6) to identify people with disabilities, whereas many international surveys use the six-item Washington Group Short Set (WG-SS). The National Survey on Health and Disability (NSHD), which focuses on working-age adults ages 18-64, uses both question sets and contains other disability questions. We compared ACS-6 and WG-SS responses with self-reported disability types. The ACS-6 and WG-SS failed to identify 20 percent and 43 percent, respectively, of respondents who reported disabilities in response to other NSHD questions (a broader WG-SS version missed 4.4 percent of respondents). The ACS-6 and the WG-SS performed especially poorly in capturing respondents with psychiatric disabilities or chronic health conditions. Researchers and policy makers must augment or strengthen federal disability questions to improve the accuracy of disability prevalence counts, understanding of health disparities, and planning of appropriate services for a diverse and growing population.


Subject(s)
Disabled Persons , Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act , Adolescent , Adult , Health Policy , Health Surveys , Humans , Middle Aged , Surveys and Questionnaires , United States , Young Adult
17.
J Am Coll Cardiol ; 80(19): 1844-1847, 2022 Nov 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2114352
18.
BMC Public Health ; 22(1): 785, 2022 04 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2113045

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: In the time of a pandemic, it is typical for public health bodies to collaborate with epidemiologists to design health policies both at national and international levels for controlling the spread. A point largely overlooked in literature is the extent economic capability and public finance status can influence the policy responses of countries during a pandemic situation. This article fills this gap by considering 12 public health and 7 economic measures (i.e., policies) in 200 countries during the COVID-19 first wave, with countries grouped across income categories. METHODS: We apply statistical analysis, inclusive of regression models, to assess the impact of economic capability and public finance status on policy responses. Multiple open-access datasets are used in this research, and information from the hybrid sources are cumulated as samples. In our analysis, we consider variables including population characteristics (population size, density) and economic and public finance status (GDR, current account balance, government surplus/deficit) further to policy responses across public health and economic measures. Additionally, we consider infection rates across countries and the institution of the measures relative to infection rate. RESULTS: Results suggest that countries from all income groups have favoured public health measures like school closures and travel bans, and economic measures like influencing interest rates. However, strong economy countries have more adopted technological monitoring than low-income countries. Contrarily, low-income countries have preferred traditional measures like curfew and obligatory mask-wearing. GDP per capita was a statistically significant factor influencing the institution of both public health and economic measures. Government finance statuses like current account balance and surplus/deficit were also significant factors influencing economic measures. CONCLUSIONS: Overall, the research reveals that, further to biological characteristics, policymakers and epidemiologists can consider the economic and public finance contexts when suggesting health responses to a pandemic. This, in turn, calls for more international cooperation on economic terms further to public health terms.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pandemics , COVID-19/epidemiology , Government , Health Policy , Humans , Pandemics/prevention & control , Public Health
19.
Health Serv Res ; 57 Suppl 2: 165-166, 2022 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2113028
20.
East Mediterr Health J ; 28(10): 705-706, 2022 Oct 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2111421

ABSTRACT

After nearly 3 years of increasingly successful response to the COVID-19 pandemic, policymakers and other stakeholders need to broaden their focus to deal with other public health challenges too. That was the message of the 69th Session of the WHO Regional Committee for the Eastern Mediterranean Region, which took place at WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean (WHO/EMRO) in Cairo, Egypt, from 10 to 13 October 2022. The Regional Committee is the WHO's main governing body in the Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMR). Its 2022 annual session brought together ministers of health, other representatives of Member States, WHO experts, partner organizations, civil society groups, and other stakeholders to discuss a wide range of health policy issues, review achievements and challenges, and chart a course for the region. For the first time in 3 years, Member State delegations were able to meet in person, with many other participants joining virtually.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Sustainable Development , Humans , Pandemics/prevention & control , Health Policy , World Health Organization , Mediterranean Region/epidemiology
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