(1/2916) HIV-1 incidence among opiate users in northern Thailand.

The incidence of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection among opiate users was determined in a retrospective cohort of 436 patients with multiple admissions to the only inpatient drug treatment program in northern Thailand between October 1993 and September 1995. During 323.4 person-years of follow-up, 60 patients presenting for detoxification acquired HIV-1 infection, for a crude incidence rate of 18.6 per 100 person-years (95% confidence interval 14.4-23.9). All seroconverters were male. HIV-1 incidence varied by the current route of drug administration: 31.3 per 100 person-years for injectors and 2.8 per 100 person-years for noninjectors (smoking and ingestion). Significant differences were found by ethnicity: HIV-1 incidence was 29.3 per 100 person-years for Thai lowlanders and 8.5 per 100 person-years for hill tribes. Multivariate relative risk estimates showed that injecting opiates (vs. use by other routes), being unmarried, being under age 40 years, being a Thai lowlander, having a primary and secondary education, and being employed in the business sector were each independently associated with human immunodeficiency virus seroconversion. This HIV-1 incidence rate is double that reported for Bangkok and suggests that prevention and control programs for drug users need to be expanded throughout Thailand. Improved availability of more-effective treatment regimens and increased access to sterile injection equipment are needed to confront the HIV-1 epidemic among opiate users in northern Thailand.  (+info)

(2/2916) Changing epidemiology of dengue hemorrhagic fever in Thailand.

Dengue haemorrhagic fever (DHF) and dengue shock syndrome (DSS) are reportable diseases, the third most common causes for hospitalization of children in Thailand. Data collected from the Ministry of Public Health were analysed for trends. Rates of DHF increased in Thailand until 1987 when the largest epidemic ever, 325/100000 population, was recorded. Whereas the disease used to be confined to large cities, the rate is now higher in rural (102.2 per 100000) than urban areas (95.4 per 100000 in 1997). The age of highest incidence has increased, and the age group most severely affected is now those 5-9 years old (679/100000 in 1997). The case fatality rate has decreased with improved treatment and is now only 0.28%.  (+info)

(3/2916) Ability to pay for health care: concepts and evidence.

In many developing countries people are expected to contribute to the cost of health care from their own pockets. As a result, people's ability to pay (ATP) for health care, or the affordability of health care, has become a critical policy issue in developing countries, and a particularly urgent issue where households face combined user fee burdens from various essential service sectors such as health, education and water. Research and policy debates have focused on willingness to pay (WTP) for essential services, and have tended to assume that WTP is synonymous with ATP. This paper questions this assumption, and suggests that WTP may not reflect ATP. Households may persist in paying for care, but to mobilize resources they may sacrifice other basic needs such as food and education, with serious consequences for the household or individuals within it. The opportunity costs of payment make the payment 'unaffordable' because other basic needs are sacrificed. An approach to ATP founded on basic needs and the opportunity costs of payment strategies (including non-utilization) is therefore proposed. From the few studies available, common household responses to payment difficulties are identified, ranging from borrowing to more serious 'distress sales' of productive assets (e.g. land), delays to treatment and, ultimately, abandonment of treatment. Although these strategies may have a devastating impact on livelihoods and health, few studies have investigated them in any detail. In-depth longitudinal household studies are proposed to develop understanding of ATP and to inform policy initiative which might contribute to more affordable health care.  (+info)

(4/2916) To contract or not to contract? Issues for low and middle income countries.

Many low and middle income countries have inherited publicly funded and provided health services, often operating at relatively low levels of technical efficiency. Changing ideas about the management of the public sector, in particular stemming from new public management theory, are spreading to these countries, whether directly or via the recommendations of multilateral and bilateral aid agencies. Pronouncements of agencies such as the World Bank imply that competitive contracting with the private sector is likely to improve the efficiency of services provision. However, very little evidence is available on whether this is likely to be the case, and in what circumstances delivery of services through contracts with the private sector is likely to be preferable to direct provision by the public sector. This paper draws on evidence from five country case-studies of contractual arrangements, in Bombay, Papua New Guinea, South Africa, Thailand and Zimbabwe, done through collaborative research between the LSHTM Health Economics and Financing Programme and local researchers in each country. A common evaluative framework was applied in each country to selected, existing contractual arrangements. Services provided under contract and evaluated included catering, cleaning, security, diagnostic services and whole hospitals. Information is presented on the design of contracts, the process of agreeing contracts including the extent of competition, and the monitoring of contract performance. A variety of evidence, including information on the relative cost and quality of contracted out versus directly provided services in the case of South Africa, Thailand, and Bombay, is used to explore whether or not contracting out to the private sector represented a preferable means of service provision. This analysis, together with information on the capacity of the agency letting the contract, and on the wider environment including the level of development of the private sector, is used to identify which aspects of the contracting process and the context in which it takes place are important in influencing whether or not contracting with the private sector is a desirable means of service provision.  (+info)

(5/2916) Relaying the message of safer sex: condom races for community-based skills training.

This paper describes a community-based HIV prevention program designed to improve confidence in condom use skills by giving community members 'hands-on' experience in using condoms correctly. A condom race activity which had been effective in increasing condom skills confidence among university students in the US was modified and implemented with the general population in rural Northeast Thailand. In addition to providing training in condom use skills, the condom race was part of an integrated condom promotion and distribution campaign which responded to needs identified by the community, built upon the credibility and influence of local leaders and peers, and extended access to condoms into rural communities. Local leaders who had participated in a training-of-trainers program organized condom races in their communities, serving as positive role models for community acceptance of condom use. The condom race stimulated community discussion about condoms and increased participants' feelings of self-efficacy in correct condom use. Participation in the condom race activity was particularly empowering to women, who reported increased confidence in their ability to use condoms and to suggest using condoms with their partners after the race.  (+info)

(6/2916) Researching the public/private mix in health care in a Thai urban area: methodological approaches.

The private health sector has been growing rapidly in many low and middle income countries, yet not enough is known about its sources of finance or characteristics of its users. Moreover, health care reform measures are leading to alterations in the mix of public and private finance and provision, increasing further the need for information. This paper presents and evaluates some research methods which can be used to collect information relevant to considering policies on the public/private mix. They comprise a household survey, a health diary and interview survey, a bed census, and a health resource survey. Each method is described as it was used in a study in a large urban setting in Thailand, and strengths and weaknesses of the methods are identified. The use of data to estimate the shares of public and private finance and provision, and particularly private sources of finance of public hospitals and public sources of finance for private hospitals, is demonstrated. Policy issues highlighted by the data are identified.  (+info)

(7/2916) A mobile unit: an effective service for cervical cancer screening among rural Thai women.

BACKGROUND: We carried out a systematic screening programme using a mobile unit with the purpose of increasing use of Papanicolaou (Pap) smear screening among rural Thai women. The mobile unit campaign was carried out initially between January and February 1993 and then in 1996 in all the 54 rural villages in Mae Sot District, Tak Province, northern Thailand. METHODS: To evaluate the effect of the programme on changes in knowledge and use of screening, we compared the results of three interview surveys of women, 18-65 years old, in villages selected by systematic sampling for each survey; first in 1991 (before the operation of the programme), secondly in 1994 (one year after the first screening campaign), and last in 1997 (one year after the second campaign). This report also compares data on Pap smears taken by the mobile unit with other existing screening services in the study area. RESULTS: A total of 1603, 1369, and 1576 women respectively, participated in each survey. The proportion of women reported knowing of the Pap smear test increased from 20.8% in 1991 to 57.3% in 1994 and to 75.5% in 1997. The proportion of women who had ever had a Pap smear increased from 19.9% in 1991 to 58.1% in 1994 and to 70.1% by 1997. Screening by the mobile unit accounted for 85.2% of all cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) III and all invasive cancers identified among the Pap smears taken by screening services in the area between 1992 and 1996. The rate of CIN III was 3.5/1000 smears in this screening programme, which was 5.2 and 2.0 times higher than the rates in the maternal and child health/family planning clinic and the annual one-week mass screening campaign respectively. CONCLUSIONS: The use of a mobile unit may be an effective screening programme in rural areas where existing screening activities cannot effectively reach the female population at risk.  (+info)

(8/2916) A national survey of health-service use in Thai elders.

OBJECTIVES: To examine the pattern of health-service use and associated factors among elderly people in Thailand. DESIGN: A cross-sectional multi-stage random sampling household survey. SUBJECTS: 4480 People aged 60 and over. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Responses to illness among elderly Thai subjects and health-service utilization. RESULTS: Of 1954 elderly Thai subjects who reported that they had had an illness without hospitalization during the last month, 93% had sought treatment and 7% did nothing. Just over a half (52.8%) used health services. Subjects who had self-limiting symptoms or diseases tended to not use health services, while subjects with chronic conditions did. Sixty-two percent paid for treatment themselves while 28% of them had their bills paid by their children. Independent determinants of health-service use included living in a rural area, being well-educated and better off, not drinking alcohol and the severity of illness identified. CONCLUSIONS: We found a low rate of state health-service use. Children had an important role in taking care of parents.  (+info)