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 New malaria analysis method reveals disease severity in minutes
14.08.2017 | University of British Columbia

nachricht New type of blood cells work as indicators of autoimmunity
14.08.2017 | Instituto de Medicina Molecular

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: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Gold shines through properties of nano biosensors

17.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Greenland ice flow likely to speed up: New data assert glaciers move over sediment, which gets more slippery as it gets wetter

17.08.2017 | Earth Sciences

Mars 2020 mission to use smart methods to seek signs of past life

17.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>