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  • Publication
    Journal Article
    The Echocardiographic Diagnosis of Rheumatic Heart Disease: A Review of the Performance of the World Heart Federation Criteria 2012-2023.
    (2024-05-13)
    Marangou, James
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    Rwebembera, Joselyn
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    Mwita, Julius
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    Thorup, Lene
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    Nascimento, Bruno Ramos
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    Beaton, Andrea
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    Kumar, Krishna
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    Okello, Emmy
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    Raltson, Kate
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    Sable, Craig
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    Wheaton, Gavin
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    Wilson, Nigel
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    Zuhlke, Liesl
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    Mota, Cleonice
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    Mocumbi, Ana
    The World Heart Federation (WHF) published the first evidence-based guidelines on the echocardiographic diagnosis of rheumatic heart disease (RHD) in 2012. These guidelines have since been applied internationally in research and clinical practice. Substantial research has assessed the utility of the 2012 WHF criteria, including its applicability in low-resource settings. This article summarises the evidence regarding the performance of the guidelines.A scoping review assessing the performance of the guidelines was performed. Cochrane, Embase, Medline, PubMed Lilacs, Sielo, and Portal BVS databases were searched for studies on the performance of the guidelines between January 2012-March 2023, and 4047 manuscripts met the search criteria, of which 34 were included. This included papers assessing the specificity, inter-rater reliability, application using hand-carried ultrasound, and modification of the criteria for simplicity. The review followed the PRISMA Extension for Scoping Reviews guideline.The WHF 2012 criteria were 100% specific for definite RHD when applied in low-prevalence populations. The criteria demonstrated substantial and moderate inter-rater reliability for detecting definite and borderline RHD, respectively. The inter-rater reliability for morphological features was lower than for valvular regurgitation. When applied to hand-carried ultrasound performed by an expert, modified versions of the criteria demonstrated a sensitivity and specificity range of 79-90% and 87-93% respectively for detecting any RHD, performing best for definite RHD. The sensitivity and the specificity were reduced when performed in task-sharing but remains moderately accurate.The WHF 2012 criteria provide clear guidance for the echocardiographic diagnosis of RHD that is reproducible and applicable to a range of echocardiographic technology. Furthermore, the criteria are highly specific and particularly accurate for detecting definite RHD. There are limitations in applying all aspects of the criteria in specific settings, including task-sharing. This summary of evidence can inform the updated version of the WHF guidelines to ensure improved applicability in all RHD endemic regions.
  • Person
  • Publication
    Journal Article
    The roles of emergency medical teams in response to Samoa's 2019 measles outbreak.
    (2024-04-26)
    Casey, Sean T
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    Mamea-Maa, Natasha A
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    Nofoaiga, Matilda
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    Henshall, Kevin A
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    Fidow, Melissa
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    Devanath, Durgavasini
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    Hansell, Lepaitai B
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    Fatupaito, Glen
    On 15 November 2019, Samoa's Government declared a state of emergency in response to a rapidly worsening measles outbreak. The outbreak overwhelmed Samoa's health system, necessitating international assistance, including from emergency medical teams (EMTs).Measles spread globally throughout 2019, with cases rising by more than 300% in the first quarter of 2019, as compared with 2018. Given Samoa's low immunization coverage with a measles-containing vaccine at the time, at 40% for the first dose and 28% for the second, the country was soon overwhelmed with measles cases, hospitalizations and deaths.Following a request for international assistance, 18 EMTs from around the world deployed to Samoa, bringing more than 550 additional clinical, public health and logistics personnel to the country's measles response. Working alongside Samoan health workers, EMTs provided critical surge assistance in clinical management, vaccination, surveillance, infection prevention and control, risk communication and community engagement, and mental health and psychosocial support.A total of 1867 hospitalized measles patients were treated from 30 September 2019 to 13 January 2020, with 83 measles-related deaths recorded. EMTs provided essential surge support across Samoa's health system during the most acute phase of the response, helping to care for the ill and control the outbreak.Samoa's measles response triggered a large-scale and unique EMT activation, with teams integrated into Samoa's hospitals and health centres. The response demonstrated the critical role that EMTs can play in outbreak response and the importance of strong coordination to ensure optimal use of international clinical surge support by a health system in crisis.
  • Person
  • Publication
    Journal Article
    "A Huge Gap": Health Care Provider Perspectives on Cancer Screening for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People in the Northern Territory.
    (2024-01-27)
    Taylor, Emma V
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    Garvey, Gail
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    Thompson, Sandra C
    Cancer is one of the leading causes of death for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the Northern Territory (NT). Accessible and culturally appropriate cancer screening programs are a vital component in reducing the burden of cancer. Primary health care plays a pivotal role in facilitating the uptake of cancer screening in the NT, due to the significant challenges caused by large distances, limited resources, and cultural differences. This paper analyses health care provider perspectives and approaches to the provision of cancer screening to Aboriginal people in the NT that were collected as part of a larger study. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 50 staff from 15 health services, including 8 regional, remote, and very remote primary health care (PHC) clinics, 3 hospitals, a cancer centre, and 3 cancer support services. Transcripts were thematically analysed. Cancer screening by remote and very remote PHC clinics in the NT is variable, with some staff seeing cancer screening as a "huge gap", while others see it as lower priority compared to other conditions due to a lack of resourcing and the overwhelming burden of acute and chronic disease. Conversely, some clinics see screening as an area where they are performing well, with systematic screening, targeted programs, and high screening rates. There was a large variation in perceptions of the breast screening and cervical screening programs. However, participants universally reported that the bowel screening kit was complicated and not culturally appropriate for their Aboriginal patients, which led to low uptake. System-level improvements are required, including increased funding and resourcing for screening programs, and for PHC clinics in the NT. Being appropriately resourced would assist PHC clinics to incorporate a greater emphasis on cancer screening into adult health checks and would support PHCs to work with local communities to co-design targeted cancer screening programs and culturally relevant education activities. Addressing these issues are vital for NT PHC clinics to address the existing cancer screening gaps and achieving the Australian Government pledge to be the first nation in the world to eliminate cervical cancer as a public health problem by 2035. The implementation of the National Lung Cancer Screening Program in 2025 also presents an opportunity to deliver greater benefits to Aboriginal communities and reduce the cancer burden.
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