Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Counting the uncounted can improve world health

25.02.2008
Most of the world's population are not counted. The health consequences of this fact are in focus at the dissertation of Edward Fottrell at Umeå University on 29 February.

More than half of the world's population are born and die without any record of their existence, and these individuals invariably live in the world's poorest countries where the burden of disease is the highest.

In many parts of Africa, Asia and South America, someone can go through life without ever seeing a doctor and when they die they will be buried without any clear understanding of their cause of death. The lack of such information means that it is impossible to accurately determine the important health priorities in a community - if you don't know what people are dying from you cannot know what to do to prevent premature death and sickness.

For anybody to go through life without any official record of their existence has been described as "a scandal of invisibility" and "the single most critical failure of development over the past thirty years."

Systems for measuring mortality in poor countries simply do not exist because they are too expensive to implement on a large scale. As such, a number of smaller scale, localised population 'surveillance' systems have been established in many poor countries over the last 10-15 years. These systems are a useful surrogate for more widespread surveillance activities, but the methods used lack standardisation and a strong evidence base, thereby making comparisons of mortality patterns over time and between different areas difficult.

This thesis evaluates, develops and refines methods of measuring mortality in localised population surveillance settings in Ethiopia, Vietnam and Burkina Faso. A large part of this work focuses on an innovative method of determining cause-of-death through a process of verbal autopsy whereby the relatives of the deceased person are interviewed to gather information on the signs and symptoms of the deceased shortly before death. This information can then be used to derive probable causes of death in settings where Western-style death certification and pathological examinations are very rare or non-existent. The thesis also examines how such data could be used for monitoring important changes in population health by describing a missed humanitarian crisis caused by famine in rural Ethiopia and evaluating a way in which surveillance data could have been used for early detection of the impending crisis.

This work contributes to the understanding of mortality surveillance methods and demonstrates that localised population health surveillance systems have the potential to contribute substantially to developing healthcare systems in resource-poor countries. Ultimately, the value of such systems lies not just in counting all deaths but in making all deaths count.

Edward Fottrell can be reached at the Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Epidemiology and Public Health, mobile phone: + 46(0) 70-293 43 23, e-mail: edwardfottrell@yahoo.co.uk

Hans Fällman | idw
Further information:
http://www.diva-portal.org/umu/abstract.xsql?dbid=1544?=en
http://www.vr.se

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht How cancer metastasis happens: Researchers reveal a key mechanism
19.01.2018 | Weill Cornell Medicine

nachricht Researchers identify new way to unmask melanoma cells to the immune system
17.01.2018 | Duke University Medical Center

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Artificial agent designs quantum experiments

On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.

We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.

Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Let the good tubes roll

19.01.2018 | Materials Sciences

How cancer metastasis happens: Researchers reveal a key mechanism

19.01.2018 | Health and Medicine

Meteoritic stardust unlocks timing of supernova dust formation

19.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>