Research Articles (Health Systems and Public Health)

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    Mood responses to COVID-19 : implications for family practice in South Africa
    (AOSIS, 2021-07) Van Wijk, Charles; Majola, Pinky Z.
    The effect of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) on the mood responses of individuals is an important indicator of how society is coping with the pandemic. Characterising mood responses in a South African sample could prepare clinicians for possible presentations of mental health concerns in general practice. This study described mood responses during COVID-19 Alert Level 1. The sample of 641 participants who completed the Brunel Mood State Scale during November 2020 was drawn from primary healthcare and family medicine clinics and practices in Cape Town. Their mood response profile was described and compared with pre-COVID-19 norms. The mood profile represented an inverse iceberg profile, with mean scores deviating significantly from pre-COVID-19 norms across all six mood dimensions measured. The inverse iceberg profile had been associated with a range of psychopathologies, suggesting an increased risk of psychological disorders. The current profile of mood responses could alert clinicians to the possibility of increased mental health needs of patients. Patient reports of prolonged anxiety and fatigue, particularly when combined with low mood and low vigour, could signal the need for intervention or referral for further mental health support.
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    Impacts of tooth loss on OHRQoL in an adult population in Cape Town, South Africa
    (MDPI, 2021) Kimmie-Dhansay, Faheema; Pontes, Carla Cruvinel; Chikte, Usuf M. E.; Chinhenzva, Albert; Erasmus, Rajiv T.; Kengne, Andre Pascal; Matsha, Tandi E.
    (1) Background: Tooth loss is an important component of the global burden of oral disease, greatly reducing the quality of life of those affected. Tooth loss can also affect diet and subsequent incidences of lifestyle diseases, such as hypertension and metabolic syndromes. This study aimed to evaluate the oral health-related quality of life (OHRQoL) score using the oral impacts on daily performance (OIDP) index in relation to tooth loss patterns among adults. (2) Methods: From 2014 to 2016, a cross-sectional study was conducted on adults living in Bellville South, Cape Town, South Africa. The OHRQoL measure was used to evaluate the impact of tooth loss. (3) Results: A total of 1615 participants were included, and 143 (8.85%) had at least one impact (OIDP > 0). Males were less likely to experience at least one impact compared to the females, OR=0.6, 95% C.I.: 0.385 to 0.942, p = 0.026. Those participants who did not seek dental help due to financial constraints were 6.54 (4.49 to 9.54) times more likely to experience at least one impact, p < 0.001. (4) Conclusions: Tooth loss did not impact the OHRQoL of these subjects. There was no difference in the reported odds for participants experiencing at least one oral impact with the loss of their four anterior teeth, the loss of their posterior occlusal pairs, or the loss of their other teeth.
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    Improving the quality and use of immunization and surveillance data : summary report of the Working Group of the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization
    (Elsevier, 2020-10-27) Scobie, Heather M.; Edelstein, Michael; Nicol, Edward; Morice, Ana; Rahimi, Nargis; MacDonald, Noni E.; Danovaro-Holliday, M. Carolina; Jawad, Jaleela
    Concerns about the quality and use of immunization and vaccine-preventable disease (VPD) surveillance data have been highlighted on the global agenda for over two decades. In August 2017, the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) established a Working Group (WG) on the Quality and Use of Global Immunization and Surveillance Data to review the current status and evidence to make recommendations, which were presented to SAGE in October 2019. The WG synthesized evidence from landscape analyses, literature reviews, country case-studies, a data triangulation analysis, as well as surveys of experts. Data quality (DQ) was defined as data that are accurate, precise, relevant, complete, and timely enough for the intended purpose (fit-for-purpose), and data use as the degree to which data are actually used for defined purposes, e.g., immunization programme management, performance monitoring, decision-making. The WG outlined roles and responsibilities for immunization and surveillance DQ and use by programme level. The WG found that while DQ is dependent on quality data collection at health facilities, many interventions have targeted national and subnational levels, or have focused on new technologies, rather than the people and enabling environments required for functional information systems. The WG concluded that sustainable improvements in immunization and surveillance DQ and use will require efforts across the health system — governance, people, tools, and processes, including use of data for continuous quality improvement (CQI) — and that the approaches need to be context-specific, country-owned and driven from the frontline up. At the country level, major efforts are needed to: (1) embed monitoring DQ and use alongside monitoring of immunization and surveillance performance, (2) increase workforce capacity and capability for DQ and use, starting at the facility level, (3) improve the accuracy of immunization programme targets (denominators), (4) enhance use of existing data for tailored programme action (e.g., immunization programme planning, management and policy-change), (5) adopt a data-driven CQI approach as part of health system strengthening, (6) strengthen governance around piloting and implementation of new information and communication technology tools, and (7) improve data sharing and knowledge management across areas and organizations for improved transparency and efficiency. Global and regional partners are requested to support countries in adopting relevant recommendations for their setting and to continue strengthening the reporting and monitoring of immunization and VPD surveillance data through processes periodic needs assessment and revision processes. This summary of the WG’s findings and recommendations can support “data-guided” implementation of the new Immunization Agenda 2030.
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    Estimating vaccine confidence levels among healthcare staff and students of a tertiary institution in South Africa
    (MDPI, 2021) Oduwole, Elizabeth O.; Esterhuizen, Tonya; Mahomed, Hassan; Wiysonge, Charles S.
    Healthcare workers were the first group scheduled to receive COVID-19 vaccines when they became available in South Africa. Therefore, estimating vaccine confidence levels and intention to receive COVID-19 vaccines among healthcare workers ahead of the national vaccination roll-out was imperative. We conducted an online survey from 4 February to 7 March 2021, to assess vaccine sentiments and COVID-19 vaccine intentions among healthcare staff and students at a tertiary institution in South Africa. We enrolled 1015 participants (74.7% female). Among the participants, 89.5% (confidence interval (CI) 87.2–91.4) were willing to accept a COVID-19 vaccine, 95.4% (CI 93.9–96.6) agreed that vaccines are important for them, 95.4% (CI 93.8–96.6) that vaccines are safe, 97.4% (CI 96.2–98.3) that vaccines are effective, and 96.1% (CI 94.6–97.2) that vaccines are compatible with religion. Log binomial regression revealed statistically significant positive associations between COVID-19 vaccine acceptance and the belief that vaccines are safe (relative risk (RR) 32.2, CI 4.67–221.89), effective (RR 21.4, CI 3.16–145.82), important for children (RR 3.5, CI 1.78–6.99), important for self (RR 18.5, CI 4.78–71.12), or compatible with religion (RR 2.2, CI 1.46–3.78). The vaccine confidence levels of the study respondents were highly positive. Nevertheless, this could be further enhanced by targeted interventions.
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    Human resources for oral health care in South Africa : a 2018 update
    (MDPI, 2019) Bhayat, Ahmed; Chikte, Usuf M. E.
    To describe the current oral health care needs and the number and category of dental personnel required to provide necessary services in South Africa (SA). This is a review of the current disease burden based on local epidemiological studies and the number of oral health personnel registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA). In SA, oral health services are rendered by oral hygienists, dental therapists, dentists, and dental specialists. Dental caries remains one of the most prevalent conditions, and much of them are untreated. The majority of oral care providers are employed in the private sector even though the majority of the population access the public sector which only offers a basic package of oral care. The high prevalence of caries could be prevented and treated by the public sector. The infrastructure at primary health care facilities needs to be improved so that dentists performing community service can be more effectively utilized. At present, SA requires more dental therapists and oral hygienists to be trained at the academic training institutions.