Risk of Helicobacter pylori infection among long-term residents in developing countries.
The seroprevalence and incidence of Helicobacter pylori infection were determined among 312 North American missionaries who were serving in developing countries between 1967 and 1984. The majority (81%) resided in sub-Saharan Africa. When initially evaluated, the missionaries had a mean age of 40 years, 65% were female, and all were of white race/ethnicity. An ELISA showed that the initial prevalence of IgG antibody to H. pylori was 17%. After a mean of 7.4 years of service (1917 person-years of exposure), 37 (14%) of 259 initially seronegative subjects seroconverted to anti-H. pylori, giving an annual incidence of 1.9%. These data indicate a relatively higher risk of H. pylori infection among missionaries compared with an annual incidence of seroconversion of 0.3-1.0% in industrialized nations. Long-term residents in developing countries should be evaluated for H. pylori infection when gastrointestinal symptoms develop. (+info)
Medical surveillance of multinational peacekeepers deployed in support of the United Nations Mission in Haiti, June-October 1995.
BACKGROUND: Multinational peacekeepers, both military and civilian, often deploy to areas of the world where significant health threats are endemic and host country public health systems are inadequate. Medical surveillance of deployed personnel enables leaders to better direct health care resources to prevent and treat casualties. Over a 5-month period, June to October 1995, a medical surveillance system (MSS) was implemented in support of the United Nations Mission in Haiti (UNMIH). Information obtained from this system as well as lessons learned from its implementation and management may help decrease casualty rates during future multinational missions. METHODS: Over 90% of UNMIH personnel (80% military from over 11 countries and 20% civilian from over 70 countries) stationed throughout Haiti participated in the MSS. A weekly standardized reporting form included the number of new outpatient visits by disease and non-battle injury (DNBI) category and number of personnel supported by each participating UN medical treatment facility (MTF). Previously, medical reporting consisted of simple counts of patient visits without distinguishing between new and follow-up visits. Weekly incidence rates were determined and trends compared within and among reporting sites. The diagnoses and numbers of inpatient cases per week were only monitored at the 86th Combat Support Hospital, the facility with the most sophisticated level of health care available to UN personnel. RESULTS: The overall outpatient DNBI incidence rate ranged from 9.2% to 13% of supported UN personnel/week. Of the 14 outpatient diagnostic categories, the three categories consistently with the highest rates included orthopaedic/injury (1.6-2.5%), dermatology (1.3-2.2%), and respiratory (0.9-2.2%) of supported UN personnel/week. The most common inpatient discharge diagnoses included suspected dengue fever (22.3%), gastro-enteritis (15%), and other febrile illness (13.5%). Of the 249 patients who presented with a febrile illness, 79 (32%) had serological evidence of recent dengue infection. Surveillance results helped lead to interventions that addressed issues related to field sanitation, potable water, food preparation and vector control. CONCLUSIONS: Despite hurdles associated with distance, language, and communications, the MSS was a practical and effective tool for UNMIH force protection. UN requirements for standardized medical surveillance during deployments should be developed and implemented. Furthermore, planners should recognize that if ongoing medical surveillance and related responses are to be effective, personnel should be trained prior to deployment and resources dedicated to a sustained effort in theatre. (+info)
Surveillance of Lassa fever in missionaries stationed in West Africa.
To determine the distribution of Lassa virus in West Africa, a serological survey was undertaken. A number of mission hospital supplied sera from patients admitted with a history of fever and specimens were also collected in New York from missionaries who had experienced an unusual febrile illness while working in Africa. More cases of Lassa fever were detected among missionaries than among Africans, possibly because many African patients had left hospital before the complement fixation tests had become positive. Although most adults had fairly high fever and some were prostrated, fever was less severe in the children examined. In general the findings confirm that not all Lassa fever patients have the severe syndrome described in the original reports. (+info)
Preventing tuberculosis among health workers in Malawi.
OBJECTIVE: Following the introduction of guidelines for the control of tuberculosis (TB) infection in all hospitals in Malawi, a study was carried out to determine whether the guidelines were being implemented, the time between admission to hospital and the diagnosis of pulmonary TB had been reduced, and the annual case notification rates among health workers had fallen and were comparable to those of primary-school teachers. METHODS: The study involved 40 district and mission hospitals. Staff and patients were interviewed in order to determine whether the guidelines had been adopted. In four hospitals the diagnostic process in patients with smear-positive pulmonary TB was evaluated before and after the introduction of the guidelines, with the aid of case notes and TB registers. In all hospitals the proportion of health workers registered with TB before and after the guidelines were introduced, in 1996 and 1999, respectively, was determined by conducting interviews and consulting staff lists and TB registers. A similar method was used to determine the proportion of primary-school teachers who were registered with TB in 1999. FINDINGS: The guidelines were not uniformly implemented. Only one hospital introduced voluntary counselling and testing for its staff. Most hospitals stated that they used rapid systems to diagnose pulmonary TB. However, there was no significant change in the interval between admission and diagnosis or between admission and treatment of patients with smear-positive pulmonary TB. The TB case notification rate for 2979 health workers in 1999 was 3.2%; this did not differ significantly from the value of 3.7% for 2697 health workers in 1996 but was significantly higher than that of 1.8% for 4367 primary-school teachers in 1999. CONCLUSION: The introduction of guidelines for the control of TB infection is an important intervention for reducing nosocomial transmission of the disease, but rigorous monitoring and follow-up are needed in order to ensure that they are implemented. (+info)
Implementation of WHO guidelines on management of severe malnutrition in hospitals in Africa.
OBJECTIVE: To investigate the problems, benefits, feasibility, and sustainability of implementation of WHO guidelines on management of severe malnutrition. METHODS: A postal survey invited staff from 12 African hospitals to participate in the study. Five hospitals were evaluated and two were selected to take part in the study: a district hospital in South Africa and a mission hospital in Ghana. At an initial visit, an experienced paediatrician reviewed the situation in the hospitals and introduced the principles of the guidelines through a participatory approach. During a second visit about six months later, the paediatrician reviewed the feasibility and sustainability of the introduced changes and helped find solutions to problems. At a final visit after one year, the paediatrician reassessed the overall situation. FINDINGS: Malnutrition management practices improved at both hospitals. Measures against hypoglycaemia, hypothermia, and infection were strengthened. Early, frequent feeding was established as a routine practice. Some micronutrients for inclusion in the diet were not locally available and needed to be imported. Problems were encountered with monitoring of weight gain and introducing a rehydration solution for malnutrition. CONCLUSION: Implementation of the main principles of the WHO guidelines on severe malnutrition was feasible, affordable, and sustainable at two African hospitals. The guidelines could be improved by including suggestions on how to adapt specific recommendations to local situations. The guidelines are well supported by experience and published reports, but more information is needed about some components and their impact on mortality. (+info)
Perceptions of science. The anatomical mission to Burma.
Until the 1830s, most Americans were unfamiliar with the images of anatomy. Then a small vanguard of reformers and missionaries began to preach, at home and around the world, that an identification with the images and concepts of anatomy was a crucial part of the civilizing process. In his essay, Sappol charts the changes in the perception of self that resulted from this anatomical evangelism. Today, as anatomical images abound in the arts and the media, we still believe that anatomical images show us our inner reality. (+info)
Medical volunteers: guidelines for success and safety.
Many African Americans from a variety of medical specialties are interested in satisfying a life-long dream of visiting Africa by volunteering their services to faith-based and private volunteer organizations doing missionary work on the continent. While this can be an extremely rewarding experience in which measurable good can be accomplished, this path can also be strewn with many obstacles that will affect both the success of the mission and the personal well-being of the volunteer. The American Medical Team for Africa is a nonprofit, tax-exempt, volunteer organization that has been doing medical missionary work in Africa since 1993. This manuscript is a compilation of this 10-year experience that has established some very useful guidelines for insuring a successful and safe mission if you are fortunate enough to have this opportunity. (+info)
Re-entry adjustment of cross cultural workers--the role of the GP.
BACKGROUND: Re-entry adjustment affects Australian cross cultural workers returning home; and for many, loss and grief issues arise. General practitioners are often the first point of contact in the health care system and are well placed to deal with these issues. OBJECTIVE: This article examines strategies that GPs can use to support the Australian cross cultural worker on re-entry, and focuses on recognition of re-entry adjustment, the role of loss and grief issues, and the importance of dealing with these issues. DISCUSSION: Australian cross cultural workers are valued members of their communities. However, their loss and grief issues associated with re-entry adjustment on return are often unrecognised and may lead to significant morbidity. Acknowledgment of their disenfranchised grief and appropriate therapy may be part of the role of their GP. Further research is needed to equip GPs to manage this important group in the Australian community. (+info)