Health

Jocelyn Kelly, Emily Ausubel, Emma Kenny, Meredith Blake, Christine Heckman, Sonia Rastogi, and Vandana Sharma. 9/2021. “Measuring gender-based violence risk mitigation in humanitarian settings: results from a comprehensive desk review and systematic mapping.” BMJ Open. Read PublicationAbstract

Objectives: To systematically document measurement approaches used in the monitoring and evaluation of gender-based violence (GBV) risk mitigation activities, categorise the types of available literature produced by sector, identify existing tools and measures and identify knowledge gaps within the humanitarian sector.

Design: Systematic mapping and in-depth review.

Data sources: Pubmed, Global Health, PsychInfo, ReliefWeb, OpenGrey (grey literature), Google Scholar, Web of Science (Social Science Index)

Eligibility criteria: a structured search strategy was systematically applied to 17 databases as well as registers, websites and other resources to identify materials published between 1 January 2005 and 15 May 2019.

Data extraction and synthesis: Those resources that met the inclusion criteria underwent a comprehensive full-text review. A detailed matrix was developed and key data from each resource were extracted to allow for the assessment of patterns in thematic areas.

Results: A total of 2108 documents were screened. Overall, 145 documents and 112 tools were reviewed, representing 10 different humanitarian sectors. While numerous resources exist, many lack sufficient information on how to monitor outputs or outcomes of GBV risk mitigation activities. There is also limited guidance on how to integrate the measurement of GBV risk mitigation into existing monitoring and evaluation frameworks. Those reports that aimed to measure GBV risk mitigation activities mostly employed qualitative methods and few measured the impact of a GBV risk mitigation with robust research designs.

Conclusions: Recent efforts to adapt humanitarian response to COVID-19 have highlighted new and existing challenges for GBV risk mitigation. There is a significant gap in the evidence base around the effectiveness of GBV risk mitigation across all sectors. Understanding and strengthening measurement approaches in GBV risk mitigation remains a critical task for humanitarian response.

Indi Trehan, Sean M. Kivlehan, Kamna S. Balhara, Joseph Bonney, Braden J. Hexom, Amelia Y. Pousson, Nana Serwaa A. Quao, Megan M. Rybarczyk, Anand Selvam, Benjamin D. Nicholson, Nidhi Bhaskar, Torben K. Becker, and Global Emergency Medicine Literature Review (GEMLR) Group. 7/2021. “Global Emergency Medicine: A Scoping Review of the Literature from 2020.” Academic Emergency Medicine: Official Journal of the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine. Read PublicationAbstract

Objective: To identify, screen, highlight, review, and summarize some of the most rigorously conducted and impactful original research and review articles in global emergency medicine (EM) published in 2020 in the peer-reviewed and gray literature.

Methods: A broad systematic search of peer-reviewed publications related to global EM indexed on PubMed and in the gray literature was conducted. The titles and abstracts of the articles on this list were screened by members of the Global Emergency Medicine Literature Review team to identify those that met our criteria of original research or review articles in the domains of Disaster and Humanitarian Response, Emergency Care in Resource-Limited Settings, and Emergency Medicine Development. Those articles that met these screening criteria were then scored using one of three scoring templates appropriate to the article type. Those articles that scored in the top 5% then underwent in-depth narrative summarization.

Results: The 2020 GEMLR search initially identified 35,970 articles, more than 50% more than last year’s search. From these, 364 were scored based on their full text. Nearly three-fourths of the scored articles constituted original research, of which nearly three-fourths employed quantitative research methods. Nearly 10% of the articles identified this year were directly related to COVID-19. Research involving Emergency Care in Resource-Limited Settings again constituted most of the articles in this year’s review, accounting for more than 60% of the literature scored. A total of 20 articles underwent in-depth narrative critiques.

Conclusions: The number of studies relevant to global EM identified by our search was very similar to last year. Revisions to our methodology to identify a broader range of research were successful in identifying more qualitative research and studies related to Disaster and Humanitarian Response. The number of COVID-19-related articles is likely to continue to increase in subsequent years.

Indi Trehan, Sean M. Kivlehan, Kamna S. Balhara, Joseph Bonney, Braden J. Hexom, Amelia Y. Pousson, Nana Serwaa A. Quao, Megan M. Rybarczyk, Anand Selvam, Benjamin D. Nicholson, Nidhi Bhaskar, Torben K. Becker, and Global Emergency Medicine Literature Review (GEMLR) Group. 7/2021. “Global Emergency Medicine: A Scoping Review of the Literature from 2020.” Academic Emergency Medicine: Official Journal of the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine. Read PublicationAbstract

Objective: To identify, screen, highlight, review, and summarize some of the most rigorously conducted and impactful original research and review articles in global emergency medicine (EM) published in 2020 in the peer-reviewed and gray literature.

Methods: A broad systematic search of peer-reviewed publications related to global EM indexed on PubMed and in the gray literature was conducted. The titles and abstracts of the articles on this list were screened by members of the Global Emergency Medicine Literature Review team to identify those that met our criteria of original research or review articles in the domains of Disaster and Humanitarian Response, Emergency Care in Resource-Limited Settings, and Emergency Medicine Development. Those articles that met these screening criteria were then scored using one of three scoring templates appropriate to the article type. Those articles that scored in the top 5% then underwent in-depth narrative summarization.

Results: The 2020 GEMLR search initially identified 35,970 articles, more than 50% more than last year’s search. From these, 364 were scored based on their full text. Nearly three-fourths of the scored articles constituted original research, of which nearly three-fourths employed quantitative research methods. Nearly 10% of the articles identified this year were directly related to COVID-19. Research involving Emergency Care in Resource-Limited Settings again constituted most of the articles in this year’s review, accounting for more than 60% of the literature scored. A total of 20 articles underwent in-depth narrative critiques.

Conclusions: The number of studies relevant to global EM identified by our search was very similar to last year. Revisions to our methodology to identify a broader range of research were successful in identifying more qualitative research and studies related to Disaster and Humanitarian Response. The number of COVID-19-related articles is likely to continue to increase in subsequent years.

Agnes Usoro, Benjamin Aiwonodagbon, Jonathan Strong, Sean Kivlehan, Babatunde A. Akodu, and Ayobami Olufadeji. 8/2021. “Perspectives on the current state of Nigeria’s emergency care system among participants of an emergency medicine symposium: a qualitative appraisal.” BMJ Open. Read PublicationAbstract

Emergency care systems provide timely and relevant care to the acutely ill and injured. Published commentaries have characterised deficiencies in the Nigerian emergency care system and offered potential solutions but have not included the perspectives of the Nigerian public. A more inclusive approach that includes feedback from the public may help improve the Nigerian emergency care system through better understanding of the needs, values and expectations of the community.

The participants in this study identified shortcomings and opportunities to improve prehospital care, hospital care and health system governance. The results of this study may help healthcare professionals, policy makers and community leaders identify gaps in the emergency care system and offer solutions in harmony with the needs, values and expectations of the community. If successful, these community-informed interventions may serve as a model to improve emergency care systems throughout Africa.

Luissa Vahedi, Jessica Anania, and Jocelyn Kelly. 8/2021. Gender-Based Violence and COVID-19 in Fragile Settings: A Syndemic Model. Read PublicationAbstract
The long-standing pandemic of gender-based violence has been worsened by COVID-19 and related containment measures, particularly in fragile settings marked by conflict, poverty, and weak infrastructure. At the same time, the implementation of gender-insensitive COVID-19 control policies can exacerbate the community transmission of COVID-19. These interactions form a syndemic—two or more pandemics whose interactions compound the severity of each. This report identifies the key avenues through which these two pandemics have synergistic effects and offers recommendations for mitigating their impact.
Sonny S. Patel, Oleksii Sukhovii, Oleksandr Zvinchuk, Julian H. Neylan, and Timothy Erickson. 2021. “Converging Impact of the Ongoing Conflict and COVID-19 Pandemic on Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders in Ukraine.” Journal of Emergency Management. Read PublicationAbstract

Since the Russian annexation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the subsequent occupation of parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, Ukraine has been facing increasing security and healthcare challenges. The seven-year war in East Ukraine has led to a rise in substance and alcohol use and increasing addiction rates among veterans, internally displaced persons, and civilian survivors. This article examines the combined impact of the ongoing Russo–Ukrainian conflict and COVID-19 pandemic on substance use in Ukraine. It also gives an overview of the institutions in place to monitor and improve mental health in the country. The article highlights the urgent need for further funding and research on substance and alcohol addiction, with vulnerable populations affected by the conflict during the COVID-19 pandemic. Frontline healthcare workers in this region should anticipate an increased burden of patients suffering from substance use disorders who are in need of emergency management intervention and proper behavioral health referrals.

Sonny Patel, Omar Moncayo, Kristina Conroy, Doug Jordan, and Timothy Erickson. 9/2020. “The Landscape of Disinformation on Health Crisis Communication During the COVID-19 Pandemic in Ukraine: Hybrid Warfare Tactics, Fake Media News and Review of Evidence.” Journal of Science Communication. Read PublicationAbstract

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the world in ways not seen since the 1918–1920 Spanish Flu. Disinformation campaigns targeting health crisis communication during this pandemic seek to cripple the medical response to the novel coronavirus and instrumentalize the pandemic for political purposes. Propaganda from Russia and other factions is increasingly infiltrating public and social media in Ukraine. Still, scientific literature has only a limited amount of evidence of hybrid attacks and disinformation campaigns focusing on COVID-19 in Ukraine. We conducted a review to retrospectively examine reports of disinformation surrounding health crisis communication in Ukraine during the COVID-19 response. Based on the themes that emerged in the literature, our recommendations are twofold: 1) increase transparency with verified health crisis messaging and, 2) address the leadership gap in reliable regional information about COVID-19 resources and support in Ukraine.

Virginia M. Tran, Laila Fozouni, Jana K. Denkinger, Caroline Rometsch, Florian Junne, Patrick Vinck, and Phuong Pham. 7/2021. “Factors influencing utilization and perception of health care: a qualitative study among traumatized Yazidi refugees in Germany.” BMC Psychiatry. Read PublicationAbstract

Background: Ensuring adequate utilization of healthcare services for displaced populations is critical, yet there are well-documented treatment gaps. Yazidi women captured by the Islamic State (IS) were subjected to extreme trauma and violence. This study aims to understand perceptions of healthcare providers and utilization of these services among women who experienced extreme trauma.

Methods: This is a qualitative study with voluntary participation offered to approximately 400 women resettled through the Special Quota Program. An empirical approach was used to collect data and a grounded theory approach was used for content analysis. Participants ranked their interactions with providers on a Likert scale. Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms were assessed using the impact of event scale-revised questionnaire.

Results: A total of 116 Yazidi women participated in this study. The women experienced an average of 6.8 months of captivity by IS and 93% met criteria for probable PTSD. Eighty-three percent of the women interacted with a physician; 80% found this interaction helpful. Sixty-nine percent interacted with psychologists; 61% found this interaction helpful. Six themes emerged: “reminders of trauma” and “hopelessness” in relation to the traumatic experience; “immediate relief” and “healing through pharmaceutical treatment” in relation to provider interventions, and “support” and “cultural differences” in relation to interactions with providers.

Conclusions: There exist major barriers to care for Yazidi women who experienced extreme trauma, particularly in regards to psychiatric care. Perceptions of healthcare providers and perceived effectiveness of therapy are critical factors that must be taken into consideration to improve healthcare utilization and outcomes.

Jana Katharina Denkinger, Caroline Rometsch, Martha Engelhardt, Petra Windthorst, Johanna Graf, Phuong Pham, Niamh Gibbons, Stephan Zipfel, and Florian Junne. 5/2021. “Longitudinal Changes in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder After Resettlement Among Yazidi Female Refugees Exposed to Violence.” JAMA Network Open.Abstract

Importance: Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is highly prevalent among refugees surviving mass atrocities, especially among women. Longitudinal studies investigating factors associated with PTSD course are essential to enable adequate treatment yet widely lacking.

Objective: To identify longitudinal changes in PTSD severity and posttraumatic coping among severely traumatized female refugees as well as risk and protective factors for PTSD course.

Design, Setting, and Participants: This prospective cohort study took place in 14 German cities in the context of a humanitarian admission program that resettled 1000 especially vulnerable women and children from northern Iraq to Germany. Approximately 400 adult beneficiaries of the humanitarian admission program were eligible for the study. At baseline, a total of 116 of the 400 beneficiaries (29.0%) participated, with 96 (82.8%) of these women participating in the follow-up assessment. The study included a baseline assessment conducted 2 years after resettlement (September 1, 2017, to January 12, 2018) and a 1-year follow-up (August 29, 2018, to January 15, 2019).

Exposures: Violence and/or captivity during the 2014 genocide in northern Iraq by the so-called Islamic State.

Main Outcomes and Measures: Posttraumatic stress disorder severity and coping strategies were assessed in interpreter-aided interviews using the Impact of Event Scale–Revised.

Results: A total of 116 women (mean [SD] age, 32.2 [8.2] years; 115 [99.1%] Yazidi; 1 [0.9%] Christian) participated at baseline. According to the Impact of Event Scale–Revised, a high PTSD severity was found (mean [SD] raw sum score, 60.88 [15.75] of 88, with higher scores indicating greater distress), with no significant change over time. Helpful coping strategies included prayer, belief in collective strength, and belief in personal strength. Earlier symptoms of intrusions (β = 0.389, P = .007) and longer captivity (β = 0.218, P = .02) were identified as being associated with PTSD severity 1 year later. Longer captivity was associated with PTSD aggravation over time (β = 0.227, P = .04). Posttraumatic strengthening in faith (β = −0.206, P = .05) and in social relationships (β = −0.221, P = .03) were associated with a reduction in PTSD symptoms.

Conclusions and Relevance: These findings suggest that female refugee survivors of genocide are at high risk for severe and chronic PTSD beyond the initial years of resettlement. The findings provide suggestions for mental health care specialized for particularly vulnerable populations.

Asha Devereaux, Holly Yang, Gilbert Seda, Viji Sankar, Ryan C. Maves, Navaz Karanjia, John Scott Parrish, Christy Rosenberg, Paula Goodman-Crews, Lynette Cederquist, Frederick M. Burkle Jr., Jennifer Tuteur, Chiara Leroy, and Kristi L. Koenig. 9/2020. “Optimizing Scarce Resource Allocation During COVID-19: Rapid Creation of a Regional Health-Care Coalition and Triage Teams in San Diego County, California.” Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness. Read PublicationAbstract

Successful management of an event where healthcare needs exceed regional healthcare capacity requires coordinated strategies for scarce resource allocation. Publications for rapid development, training, and coordination of regional hospital triage teams manage the allocation of scarce resources during COVID-19 are lacking. Over a period of 3 weeks, over 100 clinicians, ethicists, leaders, and public health authorities convened virtually to achieve consensus on how best to save the most lives possible and share resources. This is referred to as population-based crisis management. The rapid regionalization of 22 acute care hospitals across 4500 square miles in the midst of a pandemic with a shifting regulatory landscape was challenging, but overcome by mutual trust, transparency, and confidence in the public health authority. Because many cities are facing COVID-19 surges, we share a process for successful rapid formation of healthcare care coalitions, Crisis Standard of Care, and training of Triage Teams. Incorporation of continuous process improvement and methods for communication is essential for successful implementation. Utilization of our regional healthcare coalition communications, incident command system, and the crisis care committee helped mitigate crisis care in the San Diego and Imperial County region as COVID-19 cases surged and scarce resource collaborative decisions were required.

Krzysztof Goniewicz, Mariusz Goniewicz, Frederick M. Burkle Jr., and Amir Khorram-Manesh. 10/2020. “The Impact of Experience, Length of Service, and Workplace Preparedness in Physicians' Readiness in the Response to Disasters.” Journal of Clinical Medicine.Abstract
With an increasing number of natural and man-made disasters, the need for preparedness in all levels of management is obvious. Among healthcare professionals responding to these emergencies, physicians are of particular importance due to their significant roles as leaders and frontline workers in minimizing morbidity and mortality of the affected population. This study analyses the preparedness of 549 physicians from all medical centers in Lublin, Poland to formulate their observations, suggestions, and recommendations concerning the improvement of the chain of response in disaster management. The results of this study show that the perceived preparedness of physicians for disaster management and response is not as high as it should be, and the majority of the respondents perceived their disaster preparedness insufficient. Training of physicians in disaster management and principles of disaster medicine is needed, by focusing on the specificity of rescue response to emergencies following disasters, and medical and non-medical aspects of the response with particular emphasis on a management approach covering all hazards.

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