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Building Blocks for a Data Infrastructure and Services to Empower Agricultural Research Communities  [PDF]
G. Geser, Y. Jaques, N. Manouselis, V. Protonotarios, J. Keizer, M. Sicilia
AGRIS on-line Papers in Economics and Informatics , 2012,
Abstract: The agINFRA project aims to provide the agricultural research communities with e-infrastructure and services for open data access, sharing and re-use. This paper introduces the project’s objectives and data principles, presents the data resources that are covered, and illustrates agINFRA services with examples from the area of agricultural statistics. Finally, it summarises how agricultural research institutions and other stakeholders can participate in, and benefit from, the project.
Smartphone as a Personal, Pervasive Health Informatics Services Platform: Literature Review  [PDF]
Katarzyna Wac
Computer Science , 2013,
Abstract: Objectives: The article provides an overview of current trends in personal sensor, signal and imaging informatics, that are based on emerging mobile computing and communications technologies enclosed in a smartphone and enabling the provision of personal, pervasive health informatics services. Methods: The article reviews examples of these trends from the PubMed and Google scholar literature search engines, which, by no means claim to be complete, as the field is evolving and some recent advances may not be documented yet. Results: There exist critical technological advances in the surveyed smartphone technologies, employed in provision and improvement of diagnosis, acute and chronic treatment and rehabilitation health services, as well as in education and training of healthcare practitioners. However, the most emerging trend relates to a routine application of these technologies in a prevention/wellness sector, helping its users in self-care to stay healthy. Conclusions: Smartphone-based personal health informatics services exist, but still have a long way to go to become an everyday, personalized healthcare-provisioning tool in the medical field and in a clinical practice. Key main challenge for their widespread adoption involve lack of user acceptance striving from variable credibility and reliability of applications and solutions as they a) lack evidence-based approach; b) have low levels of medical professional involvement in their design and content; c) are provided in an unreliable way, influencing negatively its usability; and, in some cases, d) being industry-driven, hence exposing bias in information provided, for example towards particular types of treatment or intervention procedures.
An interactive integrative approach to translating knowledge and building a "learning organization" in health services management
Chunharas,Somsak;
Bulletin of the World Health Organization , 2006, DOI: 10.1590/S0042-96862006000800017
Abstract: this paper proposes a basic approach to ensuring that knowledge from research studies is translated for use in health services management with a view towards building a "learning organization". (a learning organization is one in which the environment is structured in such a way as to facilitate learning as well as the sharing of knowledge among members or employees.) this paper highlights various dimensions that determine the complexity of knowledge translation, using the problem-solving cycle as the backbone for gaining a better understanding of how different types of knowledge interact in health services management. it is essential to use an integrated and interactive approach to ensure that knowledge from research is translated in a way that allows a learning organization to be built and that knowledge is not used merely to influence a single decision in isolation from the overall services and management of an organization.
An interactive integrative approach to translating knowledge and building a "learning organization" in health services management  [cached]
Chunharas Somsak
Bulletin of the World Health Organization , 2006,
Abstract: This paper proposes a basic approach to ensuring that knowledge from research studies is translated for use in health services management with a view towards building a "learning organization". (A learning organization is one in which the environment is structured in such a way as to facilitate learning as well as the sharing of knowledge among members or employees.) This paper highlights various dimensions that determine the complexity of knowledge translation, using the problem-solving cycle as the backbone for gaining a better understanding of how different types of knowledge interact in health services management. It is essential to use an integrated and interactive approach to ensure that knowledge from research is translated in a way that allows a learning organization to be built and that knowledge is not used merely to influence a single decision in isolation from the overall services and management of an organization.
Towards evidence-based, GIS-driven national spatial health information infrastructure and surveillance services in the United Kingdom
Maged Boulos
International Journal of Health Geographics , 2004, DOI: 10.1186/1476-072x-3-1
Abstract: "A new wave of technological innovation is allowing us to capture, store, process and display an unprecedented amount of information about our planet and a wide variety of environmental and cultural phenomena. Much of this information will be 'geo-referenced' – that is, it will refer to some specific place on the Earth's surface. The hard part of taking advantage of this flood of geospatial information will be making sense of it, turning raw data into understandable information."– Former American Vice President Al Gore [1]Geography plays a major role in understanding the dynamics of health, and the causes and spread of disease [2]. The classic public health triad composed of man, agent/vehicle and environment emphasises the importance of geographic location (environment or space where we live) in health and disease. Interactions within this triad can also change with time.Today's health planners aim at developing health policy and services that address geographical and social inequalities in health, and therefore should benefit from evidence-based approaches that can be used to investigate spatial aspects of health policy and practice, and evaluate geographical equity (or inequity) in health service provision [3].Besides policy development, and provision and management of health services, public health practitioners have other important and related tasks including prioritisation of interventions and programmes, responding to health alerts and concerns, intersectoral engagement, and community development initiatives. In all these tasks, they should strive to incorporate searching and using best evidence in their everyday decision-making processes in order to minimise investment of efforts and funds in areas where there is solid evidence of no effect, or evidence of harm, or of poor cost-effectiveness. Evidence-based approaches can also highlight areas where the evidence may be less than reliable, requiring further assessment before expending large funds and efforts.
Building capacity without disrupting health services: public health education for Africa through distance learning
Lucy Alexander, Ehi Igumbor, David Sanders
Human Resources for Health , 2009, DOI: 10.1186/1478-4491-7-28
Abstract: This brief paper describes the innovative aspects of the programme, offering some evaluative indications of its impact, and reviews how the delivery of text-led distance learning has facilitated the realization of the objectives of public health training. Strategies are proposed for scaling up such a programme to meet the growing need in this essential area of health human resource capacity development in Africa.The human resources crisis in Africa is especially acute in the public health field. Sadana and Petrakova [1] note the concentration of public health programmes in "high-income countries" while IJsselmuiden et al. [2] draw attention to the insufficient number of public health programmes in Africa and their limited coverage arising from their inadequate staffing allocation, among other factors.In 1993, when the University of the Western Cape (UWC) established its Public Health Programme (which became a School of Public Health in 2000), public health education in South Africa was concentrated in university medical faculties and did not cater for the broad range of allied health professionals working in the health services. Recognizing the need for "... an adequate supply of equitably distributed and competent personnel" [3], to address the country's public health challenges, the UWC undertook to:? provide an academic environment for appropriate education and training, research and service-oriented courses in the field of public health;? provide field training that is community-based and fosters community partnership;? create a centre for innovative ideas in public health education and research, and become a magnet for international health scholars;? provide a forum for discussion and debate about ethical issues in public health, and empower communities to participate in these debates;? cooperate with future schools of public health in South Africa, the African continent and internationally [Unpublished document: University of the Western Cape: Colloquium: The
Personal stigma and use of mental health services among people with depression in a general population in Finland
Esa Aromaa, Asko Tolvanen, Jyrki Tuulari, Kristian Wahlbeck
BMC Psychiatry , 2011, DOI: 10.1186/1471-244x-11-52
Abstract: We used a large cross-sectional data set from a Finnish population survey (N = 5160). Attitudes were measured by scales which measured the belief that people with depression are responsible for their illness and their recovery and attitudes towards antidepressants. Desire for social distance was measured by a scale and depression with the Composite International Diagnostic Interview Short Form (CIDI-SF) instrument. Use of mental health services was measured by self-report.On the social discrimination scale, people with depression showed more social tolerance towards people with mental problems. They also carried more positive views about antidepressants. Among those with depression, users of mental health services, as compared to non-users, carried less desire for social distance to people with mental health problems and more positive views about the effects of antidepressants. More severe depression predicted more active use of services.Although stronger discriminative intentions can reduce the use of mental health services, this does not necessarily prevent professional service use if depression is serious and views about antidepressant medication are realistic.Unfortunately, only a minority of those who would benefit from professional treatment for depression actually seek it and many discontinue treatment prematurely. Only 34% of people with major depression in Finland seek professional help [1]. Similar results from other countries in Europe and the United States reveal the problem to be global [2,3].Descriptive models, which try to explain service use in terms of the combined effects of socio-demographics (age, gender, education), access (income, insurance, availability of services) and severity of illness, have only modest power to predict the help-seeking of people with mental conditions [4]. Theoretical models on help-seeking behavior suggest that individual progress through several stages before seeking mental health treatment. They experience symptoms, tr
Primary health care facility infrastructure and services and the nutritional status of children 0 to 71 months old and their caregivers attending these facilities in four rural districts in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal provinces, South Africa
S Schoeman, C.M Smuts, M Faber, M Van Stuijvenberg, A Oelofse, J.A Laubscher, A.J.S Benadé, M.A Dhansay
South African Journal of Clinical Nutrition , 2010,
Abstract: Objective: To assess primary health care (PHC) facility infrastructure and services, and the nutritional status of 0 to 71-month-old children and their caregivers attending PHC facilities in the Eastern Cape (EC) and KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) provinces in South Africa. Design: Cross-sectional survey. Setting: Rural districts in the EC (OR Tambo and Alfred Nzo) and KZN (Umkhanyakude and Zululand). Subjects: PHC facilities and nurses (EC: n = 20; KZN: n = 20), and 0 to 71-month-old children and their caregivers (EC: n = 994; KZN: n = 992). Methods: Structured interviewer-administered questionnaires and anthropometric survey. Results: Of the 40 PHC facilities, 14 had been built or renovated after 1994. The PHC facilities had access to the following: safe drinking water (EC: 20%; KZN: 25%); electricity (EC: 45%; KZN: 85%); flush toilets (EC: 40%; KZN: 75%); and operational telephones (EC: 20%; KZN: 5%). According to more than 80% of the nurses, problems with basic resources and existing cultural practices influenced the quality of services. Home births were common (EC: 41%; KZN: 25%). Social grants were reported as a main source of income (EC: 33%; KZN: 28%). Few households reported that they had enough food at all times (EC: 15%; KZN: 7%). The reported prevalence of diarrhoea was high (EC: 34%; KZN: 38%). Undernutrition in 0 to younger than 6 month-olds was low; thereafter, however, stunting in children aged 6 to 59 months (EC: 22%; KZN: 24%) and 60 to 71 months (EC: 26%; KZN: 31%) was medium to high. Overweight and obese adults (EC: 49%; KZN: 42%) coexisted. Conclusion: Problems regarding infrastructure, basic resources and services adversely affected PHC service delivery and the well-being of rural people, and therefore need urgent attention.
Avoiding the danger that stop smoking services may exacerbate health inequalities: building equity into performance assessment
Allan Low, Louise Unsworth, Anne Low, Iain Miller
BMC Public Health , 2007, DOI: 10.1186/1471-2458-7-198
Abstract: This paper proposes an assessment framework, which allows the two dimensions of overall reduction in smoking prevalence and reductions of inequalities in smoking prevalence to be assessed together. The framework is used to assess the performance over time of a stop smoking service in Derwentside, a former Primary Care Trust in the North East of England, both in terms of meeting targets for the overall number of quitters and in terms of reducing socioeconomic inequalities in smoking prevalence.The example demonstrates how the proposed assessment framework can be applied in practice given existing records kept by stop smoking services in England and the available information on smoking prevalence at small area level. For Derwentside it is shown that although service expansion was successful in increasing the overall number of quitters, the service continued to exacerbate inequality in smoking prevalence between deprived and affluent wards.The Secretary of State for Health in the UK has warned about the dangers of health promotion services and messages being taken up more readily by the better-off, thus exacerbating health inequalities. Because smokers from affluent backgrounds are more successful at quitting than those living in deprived circumstances, it is important to build an equity element into the monitoring of individual stop smoking services. Otherwise the danger highlighted by the Secretary of State for Health will go undetected and unaddressed.In the UK, as in many developed countries, tobacco use is the single, greatest cause of preventable illness and premature death [1]. Most heath systems in these countries incorporate stop smoking programmes in one way or the other. For example in the USA smoking cessation clinics have been established by community pharmacists [2]. In some states of the USA Medicaid includes coverage for treatment of tobacco dependence [3]. National programmes have aimed to improve treatments being offered through the establishment of s
Improving health services to displaced persons in Aceh, Indonesia: a balanced scorecard
Chan,Grace J; Parco,Kristin B; Sihombing,Melva E; Tredwell,Susan P; O'Rourke,Edward J;
Bulletin of the World Health Organization , 2010, DOI: 10.1590/S0042-96862010000900016
Abstract: problem: after the indian ocean tsunami in december 2004, the international organization for migration constructed temporary health clinics to provide medical services to survivors living in temporary accommodation centres throughout aceh, indonesia. limited resources, inadequate supervision, staff turnover and lack of a health information system made it challenging to provide quality primary health services. approach: a balanced scorecard was developed and implemented in collaboration with local health clinic staff and district health officials. performance targets were identified. staff collected data from clinics and accommodation centres to develop 30 simple performance measures. these measures were monitored periodically and discussed at meetings with stakeholders to guide the development of health interventions. local setting: two years after the tsunami, 34 000 displaced persons continued to receive services from temporary health clinics in two districts of aceh province. from march to december 2007, the scorecard was implemented in seven temporary health clinics. relevant changes: interventions stimulated and tracked by the scorecard showed measurable improvements in preventive medicine, child health, capacity building of clinic staff and availability of essential drugs. by enhancing communication, the scorecard also led to qualitative benefits. lessons learnt: the balanced scorecard is a practical tool to focus attention and resources to facilitate improvement in disaster rehabilitation settings where health information infrastructure is poor. introducing a mechanism for rapid improvement fostered communication between nongovernmental organizations, district health officials, clinic health workers and displaced persons.
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