(1/1358) Avoidable mortality in Europe 1955-1994: a plea for prevention.

OBJECTIVE: To analyse trends of avoidable mortality in Europe, emphasising causes of death amenable to primary prevention through reduction of exposures, secondary prevention through early detection and treatment, and tertiary prevention through improved treatment and medical care. DESIGN: Descriptive study of mortality from avoidable causes for the years 1955 through 1994, for ages 5-64 at time of death. Using the World Health Organisation Mortality Database, five year death rates were standardised to the world population. SETTING: 21 countries of Europe in four regions (northern, central, and southern Europe, Nordic countries). PARTICIPANTS: All causes of deaths for men and women, aged 5-64, at time of death. MAIN RESULTS: Between 1955-59 and 1990-94, the reduction in mortality was somewhat greater for avoidable causes than for all causes: 45.8% v 45.1% (women) and 39.3% v 32.6% among men. Reductions in mortality were greater for causes amenable to improved medical care: 77.9% among women and 76.3% among men. The smallest reduction in mortality was seen in women for causes amenable to secondary prevention (11.0%), and in men for causes amendable to primary prevention including tobacco related conditions (16.6%). From a geographical point of view, there were slight differences in trends between European regions, but overall the patterns were similar. CONCLUSIONS: The greatest reduction of avoidable mortality in Europe from 1955-94 came from causes amenable to improved treatment and medical care for both sexes. Further reductions of avoidable mortality can be achieved through implementation of primary and secondary prevention activities, such as tobacco control, reduction of occupational exposures, and universal access to breast and cervical cancer screening programmes.  (+info)

(2/1358) International economic analysis of primary prevention of cardiovascular disease with pravastatin in WOSCOPS. West of Scotland Coronary Prevention Study.

AIMS: The results of the West of Scotland Coronary Prevention Study (WOSCOPS) demonstrated the clinical benefit of using pravastatin for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease in hypercholesterolaemic men. To inform decision makers, who must also consider costs, this study assesses the economic efficiency of such an intervention in a broad range of countries. METHODS AND RESULTS: A generalized model of cardiovascular disease prevention was used to estimate the cost-effectiveness of primary prevention with pravastatin compared to diet alone. This model follows a cohort of hypercholesterolaemic men over a given period quantifying the effect in terms of the avoidance of cardiovascular disease based on treatment-specific risks derived from WOSCOPS data and extensive record-linkage data on disease-specific survival. Country-specific costs are accounted for by expressing all such parameters in terms of the ratio of monthly treatment to that of managing a myocardial infarction. Over a broad range of inputs the cost-effectiveness ratios remain below $25,000 per life years gained, regardless of country. Subgroups with even better economic efficacy can be defined on the basis of higher baseline risk. CONCLUSIONS: In contrast to some previous reports, this analysis based on trial data demonstrates that pravastatin provides not only an effective means of primary cardiovascular disease prevention, but also an efficient one.  (+info)

(3/1358) Knowledge, attitudes and practices during a community-level ivermectin distribution campaign in Guatemala.

Community acceptance and participation are essential for the success of mass ivermectin chemotherapy programmes for onchocerciasis (river blindness). To explore the local understanding of the purpose of ivermectin and willingness to continue taking the drug, we performed questionnaire surveys in four communities with hyperendemic onchocerciasis after each of three ivermectin treatment rounds. More than 100 respondents participated in each KAP survey, representing the heads of 30% of the households in each community. The respondents rarely stated that the goal of the ivermectin treatment programme was to prevent visual loss. Instead, they said they were taking the drug for their general well-being, to cure the onchocercal nodule (filaria), or to cure the microfilaria, a term newly introduced by agents of the treatment programme. The principal reason identified for refusal to take ivermectin was anxiety about drug-related adverse reactions, and there were marked differences between communities in acceptance of treatment. In one community over 50% of residents initially refused to take ivermectin, although participation rates improved somewhat after programmatic adjustments. We recommend that ivermectin distribution programmes establish surveillance activities to detect where acceptance is poor, so that timely and community-specific adjustments may be devised to improve participation.  (+info)

(4/1358) An extensive literature review of the evaluation of HIV prevention programmes.

This paper draws out and distils three key themes that have emerged from a substantial bibliographical review of a range of HIV intervention programmes, implemented throughout the world between years 1987 and 1995. Specifically, the paper assesses (1) to what extent intervention programmes have been tailored to meet the requirements and needs of specific target groups; (2) to what extent intervention programmes are supported by social and psychological theory of attitudinal and behavioural change, and also to what extent the results and findings from the interventions have amended existing theory; and, finally, (3) the range of methodologies employed in evaluating intervention programmes and also to what extent behavioural measures have been used in examining a programme's effectiveness. In light of these themes, the paper presents and discusses the principal factors thought to contribute towards the effectiveness of HIV intervention programmes.  (+info)

(5/1358) What proportion of primary psychiatric interventions are based on evidence from randomised controlled trials?

OBJECTIVES: To estimate the proportion of psychiatric inpatients receiving primary interventions based on randomised controlled trials or systematic reviews of randomised controlled trials. DESIGN: Retrospective survey. SETTING: Acute adult general psychiatric ward. SUBJECTS: All patients admitted to the ward during a 28 day period. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Primary interventions were classified according to whether or not they were supported by evidence from randomised controlled trials or systematic reviews. RESULTS: The primary interventions received by 26/40 (65%; 95% confidence interval (95% CI) 51% to 79%) of patients admitted during the period were based on randomised trials or systematic reviews. CONCLUSIONS: When patients were used as the denominator, most primary interventions given in acute general psychiatry were based on experimental evidence. The evidence was difficult to locate; there is an urgent need for systematic reviews of randomised controlled trials in this area.  (+info)

(6/1358) The impact of charging for insecticide on the Gambian National Impregnated Bednet Programme.

During the second year of the Gambian National Impregnated Bednet Programme (NIBP) charges for insecticide ($0.50 per net) were introduced into the half of the primary health care villages in the country where insecticide have been provided free of charge the previous year. Free insecticide was provided in the remaining villages that had acted as controls during the previous year. In villages where insecticide was provided free, 77% of nets were treated with insecticide. In contrast, in villages where charges were made coverage was only 14%. During the first year of the NIBP, mortality in children was significantly lower in villages where insecticide was provided free than in the control villages. Introduction of a charge for insecticide into the first group of villages and the provision of free insecticide in the latter abolished this difference. The cash income of rural Gambians is very limited and payment of even $2-3 for insecticide treatment for all the bednets in a household represents a substantial outlay. Further education on the benefits of treatment of nets and/or the provision of cheaper insecticide will be required before the full benefits of this powerful new malaria control measure can be fully realised in the Gambia.  (+info)

(7/1358) The rationale for skin cancer screening and prevention.

Skin cancer, the most common malignancy in the United States, accounts for considerable morbidity and mortality. Efforts at lessening the burden of this disease are possible through both primary and secondary prevention, although some barriers may detract from the ability of primary care physicians to perform skin cancer screening. Public education combined with increased vigilance by physicians and other health professionals may significantly alter the morbidity and mortality associated with this disease entity.  (+info)

(8/1358) Primary prevention of CHD: nine ways to reduce risk.

Lowering cholesterol can reduce the incidence of coronary heart disease. Treating hypertension reduces overall mortality and is most effective in reducing the risk of coronary heart disease in older patients. Smoking cessation reduces the level of risk to that of nonsmokers within about three years of cessation. Aspirin is likely to be an effective means of primary prevention, but a group in whom treatment is appropriate has yet to be defined. Evidence that supplementation with vitamin A or C reduces the risk of coronary heart disease is inadequate; the data for use of vitamin E are inconclusive. Epidemiologic evidence is sufficient to recommend that most persons increase their levels of physical activity. Lowering homocysteine levels through increased folate intake is a promising but unproven primary prevention strategy. Hormone replacement therapy was associated with reduced incidence of coronary heart disease in epidemiologic studies but was not effective in a secondary prevention trial.  (+info)