Publications by authors named "Glennis Andall-Brereton"

20 Publications

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Estimated effect of increased diagnosis, treatment, and control of diabetes and its associated cardiovascular risk factors among low-income and middle-income countries: a microsimulation model.

Lancet Glob Health 2021 Sep 22. Epub 2021 Sep 22.

Institute for Applied Health Research, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK; Centre for Global Surgery, Department of Global Health, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa; Medical Research Council-Wits University Rural Public Health and Health Transitions Research Unit, Faculty of Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa.

Background: Given the increasing prevalence of diabetes in low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs), we aimed to estimate the health and cost implications of achieving different targets for diagnosis, treatment, and control of diabetes and its associated cardiovascular risk factors among LMICs.

Methods: We constructed a microsimulation model to estimate disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs) lost and health-care costs of diagnosis, treatment, and control of blood pressure, dyslipidaemia, and glycaemia among people with diabetes in LMICs. We used individual participant data-specifically from the subset of people who were defined as having any type of diabetes by WHO standards-from nationally representative, cross-sectional surveys (2006-18) spanning 15 world regions to estimate the baseline 10-year risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (defined as fatal and non-fatal myocardial infarction and stroke), heart failure (ejection fraction of <40%, with New York Heart Association class III or IV functional limitations), end-stage renal disease (defined as an estimated glomerular filtration rate <15 mL/min per 1·73 m or needing dialysis or transplant), retinopathy with severe vision loss (<20/200 visual acuity as measured by the Snellen chart), and neuropathy with pressure sensation loss (assessed by the Semmes-Weinstein 5·07/10 g monofilament exam). We then used data from meta-analyses of randomised controlled trials to estimate the reduction in risk and the WHO OneHealth tool to estimate costs in reaching either 60% or 80% of diagnosis, treatment initiation, and control targets for blood pressure, dyslipidaemia, and glycaemia recommended by WHO guidelines. Costs were updated to 2020 International Dollars, and both costs and DALYs were computed over a 10-year policy planning time horizon at a 3% annual discount rate.

Findings: We obtained data from 23 678 people with diabetes from 67 countries. The median estimated 10-year risk was 10·0% (IQR 4·0-18·0) for cardiovascular events, 7·8% (5·1-11·8) for neuropathy with pressure sensation loss, 7·2% (5·6-9·4) for end-stage renal disease, 6·0% (4·2-8·6) for retinopathy with severe vision loss, and 2·6% (1·2-5·3) for congestive heart failure. A target of 80% diagnosis, 80% treatment, and 80% control would be expected to reduce DALYs lost from diabetes complications from a median population-weighted loss to 1097 DALYs per 1000 population over 10 years (IQR 1051-1155), relative to a baseline of 1161 DALYs, primarily from reduced cardiovascular events (down from a median of 143 to 117 DALYs per 1000 population) due to blood pressure and statin treatment, with comparatively little effect from glycaemic control. The target of 80% diagnosis, 80% treatment, and 80% control would be expected to produce an overall incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of US$1362 per DALY averted (IQR 1304-1409), with the majority of decreased costs from reduced cardiovascular event management, counterbalanced by increased costs for blood pressure and statin treatment, producing an overall incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of $1362 per DALY averted (IQR 1304-1409).

Interpretation: Reducing complications from diabetes in LMICs is likely to require a focus on scaling up blood pressure and statin medication treatment initiation and blood pressure medication titration rather than focusing on increasing screening to increase diabetes diagnosis, or a glycaemic treatment and control among people with diabetes.

Funding: None.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2214-109X(21)00340-5DOI Listing
September 2021

Body-mass index and diabetes risk in 57 low-income and middle-income countries: a cross-sectional study of nationally representative, individual-level data in 685 616 adults.

Lancet 2021 07;398(10296):238-248

Non-Communicable Diseases Research Center, Endocrinology and Metabolism Population Sciences Institute, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.

Background: The prevalence of overweight, obesity, and diabetes is rising rapidly in low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs), but there are scant empirical data on the association between body-mass index (BMI) and diabetes in these settings.

Methods: In this cross-sectional study, we pooled individual-level data from nationally representative surveys across 57 LMICs. We identified all countries in which a WHO Stepwise Approach to Surveillance (STEPS) survey had been done during a year in which the country fell into an eligible World Bank income group category. For LMICs that did not have a STEPS survey, did not have valid contact information, or declined our request for data, we did a systematic search for survey datasets. Eligible surveys were done during or after 2008; had individual-level data; were done in a low-income, lower-middle-income, or upper-middle-income country; were nationally representative; had a response rate of 50% or higher; contained a diabetes biomarker (either a blood glucose measurement or glycated haemoglobin [HbA]); and contained data on height and weight. Diabetes was defined biologically as a fasting plasma glucose concentration of 7·0 mmol/L (126·0 mg/dL) or higher; a random plasma glucose concentration of 11·1 mmol/L (200·0 mg/dL) or higher; or a HbA of 6·5% (48·0 mmol/mol) or higher, or by self-reported use of diabetes medication. We included individuals aged 25 years or older with complete data on diabetes status, BMI (defined as normal [18·5-22·9 kg/m], upper-normal [23·0-24·9 kg/m], overweight [25·0-29·9 kg/m], or obese [≥30·0 kg/m]), sex, and age. Countries were categorised into six geographical regions: Latin America and the Caribbean, Europe and central Asia, east, south, and southeast Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, Middle East and north Africa, and Oceania. We estimated the association between BMI and diabetes risk by multivariable Poisson regression and receiver operating curve analyses, stratified by sex and geographical region.

Findings: Our pooled dataset from 58 nationally representative surveys in 57 LMICs included 685 616 individuals. The overall prevalence of overweight was 27·2% (95% CI 26·6-27·8), of obesity was 21·0% (19·6-22·5), and of diabetes was 9·3% (8·4-10·2). In the pooled analysis, a higher risk of diabetes was observed at a BMI of 23 kg/m or higher, with a 43% greater risk of diabetes for men and a 41% greater risk for women compared with a BMI of 18·5-22·9 kg/m. Diabetes risk also increased steeply in individuals aged 35-44 years and in men aged 25-34 years in sub-Saharan Africa. In the stratified analyses, there was considerable regional variability in this association. Optimal BMI thresholds for diabetes screening ranged from 23·8 kg/m among men in east, south, and southeast Asia to 28·3 kg/m among women in the Middle East and north Africa and in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Interpretation: The association between BMI and diabetes risk in LMICs is subject to substantial regional variability. Diabetes risk is greater at lower BMI thresholds and at younger ages than reflected in currently used BMI cutoffs for assessing diabetes risk. These findings offer an important insight to inform context-specific diabetes screening guidelines.

Funding: Harvard T H Chan School of Public Health McLennan Fund: Dean's Challenge Grant Program.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(21)00844-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8336025PMC
July 2021

Cancer Registration in the Caribbean.

J Registry Manag 2020 ;47(3):161-169

The Caribbean region faces a growing burden due to cancer. Urgent action needs to be taken to monitor this disease and inform measures required for prevention and control. Cancer surveillance, supported by the implementation of population-based cancer registries (PBCRs), is an important component of cancer prevention and control strategies. Yet, the ability of some Caribbean countries to implement infrastructure needed for sustainable, high-quality PBCRs remains a challenge given limitations in resources and competing health priorities. While some Caribbean cancer registries have been successful in contributing high-quality cancer data in support of national cancer control and prevention efforts, this represents coverage of only a small percentage of the Caribbean population, and these data have limited generalizability to other countries in the region. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) Caribbean Cancer Registry Hub (http:// caribbeancrh.carpha.org) is performing an important role in providing technical support, capacity building, advocacy, and research needed for strengthening cancer registration in the region. The Caribbean Hub engages high-level political and technical stakeholders, and shares appropriate and relevant resources and expertise to help health care and public health professionals and policymakers understand the importance of data generated from PBCRs for cancer control planning and monitoring. Through the provision of technical support for the implementation or strengthening of PBCRs in the region, the Caribbean Hub will support efforts being made by Caribbean countries to establish high-quality PBCRs. The Hub will continue to facilitate capacity building through training workshops and other similar activities as well as support training opportunities for cancer registries throughout the region. Research initiatives will continue to be conducted and supported by the Caribbean Hub to identify priorities and to monitor and evaluate cancer control strategies in the region. Through the work of the IARC Caribbean Cancer Registry Hub, Caribbean countries are better equipped to overcome challenges faced and strengthen cancer surveillance nationally and regionally. This is an important step towards mitigating the cancer burden and improving cancer prevention and control measures in the Caribbean.
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June 2021

Cardiovascular disease risk profile and management practices in 45 low-income and middle-income countries: A cross-sectional study of nationally representative individual-level survey data.

PLoS Med 2021 03 4;18(3):e1003485. Epub 2021 Mar 4.

Institute of Applied Health Research, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom.

Background: Global cardiovascular disease (CVD) burden is high and rising, especially in low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs). Focussing on 45 LMICs, we aimed to determine (1) the adult population's median 10-year predicted CVD risk, including its variation within countries by socio-demographic characteristics, and (2) the prevalence of self-reported blood pressure (BP) medication use among those with and without an indication for such medication as per World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines.

Methods And Findings: We conducted a cross-sectional analysis of nationally representative household surveys from 45 LMICs carried out between 2005 and 2017, with 32 surveys being WHO Stepwise Approach to Surveillance (STEPS) surveys. Country-specific median 10-year CVD risk was calculated using the 2019 WHO CVD Risk Chart Working Group non-laboratory-based equations. BP medication indications were based on the WHO Package of Essential Noncommunicable Disease Interventions guidelines. Regression models examined associations between CVD risk, BP medication use, and socio-demographic characteristics. Our complete case analysis included 600,484 adults from 45 countries. Median 10-year CVD risk (interquartile range [IQR]) for males and females was 2.7% (2.3%-4.2%) and 1.6% (1.3%-2.1%), respectively, with estimates indicating the lowest risk in sub-Saharan Africa and highest in Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean. Higher educational attainment and current employment were associated with lower CVD risk in most countries. Of those indicated for BP medication, the median (IQR) percentage taking medication was 24.2% (15.4%-37.2%) for males and 41.6% (23.9%-53.8%) for females. Conversely, a median (IQR) 47.1% (36.1%-58.6%) of all people taking a BP medication were not indicated for such based on CVD risk status. There was no association between BP medication use and socio-demographic characteristics in most of the 45 study countries. Study limitations include variation in country survey methods, most notably the sample age range and year of data collection, insufficient data to use the laboratory-based CVD risk equations, and an inability to determine past history of a CVD diagnosis.

Conclusions: This study found underuse of guideline-indicated BP medication in people with elevated CVD risk and overuse by people with lower CVD risk. Country-specific targeted policies are needed to help improve the identification and management of those at highest CVD risk.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1003485DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7932723PMC
March 2021

Association between country preparedness indicators and quality clinical care for cardiovascular disease risk factors in 44 lower- and middle-income countries: A multicountry analysis of survey data.

PLoS Med 2020 11 10;17(11):e1003268. Epub 2020 Nov 10.

Institut Africain de Santé publique (IASP), Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.

Background: Cardiovascular diseases are leading causes of death, globally, and health systems that deliver quality clinical care are needed to manage an increasing number of people with risk factors for these diseases. Indicators of preparedness of countries to manage cardiovascular disease risk factors (CVDRFs) are regularly collected by ministries of health and global health agencies. We aimed to assess whether these indicators are associated with patient receipt of quality clinical care.

Methods And Findings: We did a secondary analysis of cross-sectional, nationally representative, individual-patient data from 187,552 people with hypertension (mean age 48.1 years, 53.5% female) living in 43 low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) and 40,795 people with diabetes (mean age 52.2 years, 57.7% female) living in 28 LMICs on progress through cascades of care (condition diagnosed, treated, or controlled) for diabetes or hypertension, to indicate outcomes of provision of quality clinical care. Data were extracted from national-level World Health Organization (WHO) Stepwise Approach to Surveillance (STEPS), or other similar household surveys, conducted between July 2005 and November 2016. We used mixed-effects logistic regression to estimate associations between each quality clinical care outcome and indicators of country development (gross domestic product [GDP] per capita or Human Development Index [HDI]); national capacity for the prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases ('NCD readiness indicators' from surveys done by WHO); health system finance (domestic government expenditure on health [as percentage of GDP], private, and out-of-pocket expenditure on health [both as percentage of current]); and health service readiness (number of physicians, nurses, or hospital beds per 1,000 people) and performance (neonatal mortality rate). All models were adjusted for individual-level predictors including age, sex, and education. In an exploratory analysis, we tested whether national-level data on facility preparedness for diabetes were positively associated with outcomes. Associations were inconsistent between indicators and quality clinical care outcomes. For hypertension, GDP and HDI were both positively associated with each outcome. Of the 33 relationships tested between NCD readiness indicators and outcomes, only two showed a significant positive association: presence of guidelines with being diagnosed (odds ratio [OR], 1.86 [95% CI 1.08-3.21], p = 0.03) and availability of funding with being controlled (OR, 2.26 [95% CI 1.09-4.69], p = 0.03). Hospital beds (OR, 1.14 [95% CI 1.02-1.27], p = 0.02), nurses/midwives (OR, 1.24 [95% CI 1.06-1.44], p = 0.006), and physicians (OR, 1.21 [95% CI 1.11-1.32], p < 0.001) per 1,000 people were positively associated with being diagnosed and, similarly, with being treated; and the number of physicians was additionally associated with being controlled (OR, 1.12 [95% CI 1.01-1.23], p = 0.03). For diabetes, no positive associations were seen between NCD readiness indicators and outcomes. There was no association between country development, health service finance, or health service performance and readiness indicators and any outcome, apart from GDP (OR, 1.70 [95% CI 1.12-2.59], p = 0.01), HDI (OR, 1.21 [95% CI 1.01-1.44], p = 0.04), and number of physicians per 1,000 people (OR, 1.28 [95% CI 1.09-1.51], p = 0.003), which were associated with being diagnosed. Six countries had data on cascades of care and nationwide-level data on facility preparedness. Of the 27 associations tested between facility preparedness indicators and outcomes, the only association that was significant was having metformin available, which was positively associated with treatment (OR, 1.35 [95% CI 1.01-1.81], p = 0.04). The main limitation was use of blood pressure measurement on a single occasion to diagnose hypertension and a single blood glucose measurement to diagnose diabetes.

Conclusion: In this study, we observed that indicators of country preparedness to deal with CVDRFs are poor proxies for quality clinical care received by patients for hypertension and diabetes. The major implication is that assessments of countries' preparedness to manage CVDRFs should not rely on proxies; rather, it should involve direct assessment of quality clinical care.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1003268DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7654799PMC
November 2020

Analysis of Attained Height and Diabetes Among 554,122 Adults Across 25 Low- and Middle-Income Countries.

Diabetes Care 2020 10 6;43(10):2403-2410. Epub 2020 Aug 6.

Department of Economics and Centre for Modern Indian Studies, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany.

Objective: The prevalence of type 2 diabetes is rising rapidly in low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs), but the factors driving this rapid increase are not well understood. Adult height, in particular shorter height, has been suggested to contribute to the pathophysiology and epidemiology of diabetes and may inform how adverse environmental conditions in early life affect diabetes risk. We therefore systematically analyzed the association of adult height and diabetes across LMICs, where such conditions are prominent.

Research Design And Methods: We pooled individual-level data from nationally representative surveys in LMICs that included anthropometric measurements and diabetes biomarkers. We calculated odds ratios (ORs) for the relationship between attained adult height and diabetes using multilevel mixed-effects logistic regression models. We estimated ORs for the pooled sample, major world regions, and individual countries, in addition to stratifying all analyses by sex. We examined heterogeneity by individual-level characteristics.

Results: Our sample included 554,122 individuals across 25 population-based surveys. Average height was 161.7 cm (95% CI 161.2-162.3), and the crude prevalence of diabetes was 7.5% (95% CI 6.9-8.2). We found no relationship between adult height and diabetes across LMICs globally or in most world regions. When stratifying our sample by country and sex, we found an inverse association between adult height and diabetes in 5% of analyses (2 out of 50). Results were robust to alternative model specifications.

Conclusions: Adult height is not associated with diabetes across LMICs. Environmental factors in early life reflected in attained adult height likely differ from those predisposing individuals for diabetes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2337/dc20-0019DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7646204PMC
October 2020

Cancer care in the Commonwealth Caribbean in COVID times.

Lancet Oncol 2020 08;21(8):1007-1009

Jamaica Cancer Care and Research Institute, Kingston, Jamaica; Hope Institute Hospital, Kingston, Jamaica.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1470-2045(20)30395-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7398666PMC
August 2020

Diabetes Prevalence and Its Relationship With Education, Wealth, and BMI in 29 Low- and Middle-Income Countries.

Diabetes Care 2020 04 12;43(4):767-775. Epub 2020 Feb 12.

Non-Communicable Diseases, Caribbean Public Health Agency, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.

Objective: Diabetes is a rapidly growing health problem in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), but empirical data on its prevalence and relationship to socioeconomic status are scarce. We estimated diabetes prevalence and the subset with undiagnosed diabetes in 29 LMICs and evaluated the relationship of education, household wealth, and BMI with diabetes risk.

Research Design And Methods: We pooled individual-level data from 29 nationally representative surveys conducted between 2008 and 2016, totaling 588,574 participants aged ≥25 years. Diabetes prevalence and the subset with undiagnosed diabetes was calculated overall and by country, World Bank income group (WBIG), and geographic region. Multivariable Poisson regression models were used to estimate relative risk (RR).

Results: Overall, prevalence of diabetes in 29 LMICs was 7.5% (95% CI 7.1-8.0) and of undiagnosed diabetes 4.9% (4.6-5.3). Diabetes prevalence increased with increasing WBIG: countries with low-income economies (LICs) 6.7% (5.5-8.1), lower-middle-income economies (LMIs) 7.1% (6.6-7.6), and upper-middle-income economies (UMIs) 8.2% (7.5-9.0). Compared with no formal education, greater educational attainment was associated with an increased risk of diabetes across WBIGs, after adjusting for BMI (LICs RR 1.47 [95% CI 1.22-1.78], LMIs 1.14 [1.06-1.23], and UMIs 1.28 [1.02-1.61]).

Conclusions: Among 29 LMICs, diabetes prevalence was substantial and increased with increasing WBIG. In contrast to the association seen in high-income countries, diabetes risk was highest among those with greater educational attainment, independent of BMI. LMICs included in this analysis may be at an advanced stage in the nutrition transition but with no reversal in the socioeconomic gradient of diabetes risk.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2337/dc19-1782DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7085810PMC
April 2020

Evaluation of sex differences in dietary behaviours and their relationship with cardiovascular risk factors: a cross-sectional study of nationally representative surveys in seven low- and middle-income countries.

Nutr J 2020 01 13;19(1). Epub 2020 Jan 13.

The George Institute for Global Health, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia.

Background: Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are the leading causes of death for men and women in low-and-middle income countries (LMIC). The nutrition transition to diets high in salt, fat and sugar and low in fruit and vegetables, in parallel with increasing prevalence of diet-related CVD risk factors in LMICs, identifies the need for urgent action to reverse this trend. To aid identification of the most effective interventions it is crucial to understand whether there are sex differences in dietary behaviours related to CVD risk.

Methods: From a dataset of 46 nationally representative surveys, we included data from seven countries that had recorded the same dietary behaviour measurements in adults; Bhutan, Eswatini, Georgia, Guyana, Kenya, Nepal and St Vincent and the Grenadines (2013-2017). Three dietary behaviours were investigated: positive salt use behaviour (SUB), meeting fruit and vegetable (F&V) recommendations and use of vegetable oil rather than animal fats in cooking. Generalized linear models were used to investigate the association between dietary behaviours and waist circumference (WC) and undiagnosed and diagnosed hypertension and diabetes. Interaction terms between sex and dietary behaviour were added to test for sex differences.

Results: Twenty-four thousand three hundred thirty-two participants were included. More females than males reported positive SUB (31.3 vs. 27.2% p-value < 0.001), yet less met F&V recommendations (13.2 vs. 14.8%, p-value< 0.05). The prevalence of reporting all three dietary behaviours in a positive manner was 2.7%, varying by country, but not sex. Poor SUB was associated with a higher prevalence of undiagnosed hypertension for females (13.1% vs. 9.9%, p-value = 0.04), and a higher prevalence of undiagnosed diabetes for males (2.4% vs. 1.5%, p-value = 0.02). Meeting F&V recommendations was associated with a higher prevalence of high WC (24.4% vs 22.6%, p-value = 0.01), but was not associated with undiagnosed or diagnosed hypertension or diabetes.

Conclusion: Interventions to increase F&V intake and positive SUBs in the included countries are urgently needed. Dietary behaviours were not notably different between sexes. However, our findings were limited by the small proportion of the population reporting positive dietary behaviours, and further research is required to understand whether associations with CVD risk factors and interactions by sex would change as the prevalence of positive behaviours increases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12937-019-0517-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6956488PMC
January 2020

Improving management of type 2 diabetes, hypertension and dyslipidaemia in the Caribbean: a systematic review of intervention studies.

Trop Med Int Health 2020 02 4;25(2):159-171. Epub 2019 Dec 4.

Department of Global Health and Population, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA.

Objective: To evaluate published interventions aimed at improving the management of type 2 diabetes, hypertension and dyslipidaemia in the Caribbean.

Methods: We conducted a systematic review of four databases in accordance with PRISMA guidelines. Inclusion criteria were conducted in the Caribbean among adults ≥ 18 years who had type 2 diabetes, hypertension or dyslipidaemia; controlled trials, interventions, or comparative studies with pre-post designs and reported on at least one of the clinical outcomes of interest.

Results: Seventeen studies met the criteria for inclusion. The majority were conducted in Cuba and Trinidad and Tobago, and 35% were conducted over 10 years ago. Samples were small and largely consisted of older adult females and patients with type 2 diabetes. Four of eight (50%) studies that reported on HbA1c, 5 of 12 (42%) that reported on blood pressure and 2 of 7 (29%) that reported on body mass index observed significant improvements. Study heterogeneity precluded our ability to conduct a meta-analysis. The overall quality of evidence based on GRADE criteria was low for all outcomes assessed.

Conclusion: There is insufficient evidence on interventions to address type 2 diabetes, hypertension and dyslipidaemia in the Caribbean.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/tmi.13347DOI Listing
February 2020

Cancer control in the Caribbean island countries and territories: some progress but the journey continues.

Lancet Oncol 2019 09 5;20(9):e503-e521. Epub 2019 Aug 5.

Department of Public Health, University of Otago, Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand.

Cancer causes a fifth of deaths in the Caribbean region and its incidence is increasing. Incidence and mortality patterns of cancer in the Caribbean reflect globally widespread epidemiological transitions, and show cancer profiles that are unique to the region. Providing comprehensive and locally responsive cancer care is particularly challenging in the Caribbean because of the geographical spread of the islands, the frequently under-resourced health-care systems, and the absence of a cohesive approach to cancer control. In many Caribbean countries and territories, cancer surveillance systems are poorly developed, advanced disease presentations are commonplace, and access to cancer screening, diagnostics, and treatment is often suboptimal, with many patients with cancer seeking treatment abroad. Capacity building across the cancer-control continuum in the region is urgently needed and can be accomplished through collaborative efforts and increased investment in health care and cancer control.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1470-2045(19)30512-1DOI Listing
September 2019

Advancing cancer care and prevention in the Caribbean: a survey of strategies for the region.

Lancet Oncol 2019 09 5;20(9):e522-e534. Epub 2019 Aug 5.

Jamaica Cancer Care and Research Institute, University of the West Indies, Kingston, Jamaica; Harvard/ MGH Center on Genomics, Vulnerable Populations, and Health Disparities, Mongan Institute, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA; Department of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.

Cancer is now the second leading cause of death in the Caribbean. Despite this growing burden, many Caribbean small island nations have health systems that struggle to provide optimal cancer care for their populations. In this Series paper, we identify several promising strategies to improve cancer prevention and treatment that have emerged across small island nations that are part of the Caribbean Community. These strategies include the establishment of a Caribbean cancer registry hub, the development of resource-appropriate clinical guidelines, innovations in delivering specialty oncology services (eg, paediatric oncology and palliative care), improving access to opioids, and developing regional training capacity in palliative medicine. These developments emphasise the crucial role of public-private partnerships in improving health care for the region and show how fostering strategic collaborations with colleagues and centres in more developed countries, who can contribute specialised expertise and improve regional collaboration, can improve care across the cancer control continuum.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1470-2045(19)30516-9DOI Listing
September 2019

The state of hypertension care in 44 low-income and middle-income countries: a cross-sectional study of nationally representative individual-level data from 1·1 million adults.

Lancet 2019 08 18;394(10199):652-662. Epub 2019 Jul 18.

Division of Non-Communicable Diseases, Ministry of Health, Nairobi, Kenya.

Background: Evidence from nationally representative studies in low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs) on where in the hypertension care continuum patients are lost to care is sparse. This information, however, is essential for effective targeting of interventions by health services and monitoring progress in improving hypertension care. We aimed to determine the cascade of hypertension care in 44 LMICs-and its variation between countries and population groups-by dividing the progression in the care process, from need of care to successful treatment, into discrete stages and measuring the losses at each stage.

Methods: In this cross-sectional study, we pooled individual-level population-based data from 44 LMICs. We first searched for nationally representative datasets from the WHO Stepwise Approach to Surveillance (STEPS) from 2005 or later. If a STEPS dataset was not available for a LMIC (or we could not gain access to it), we conducted a systematic search for survey datasets; the inclusion criteria in these searches were that the survey was done in 2005 or later, was nationally representative for at least three 10-year age groups older than 15 years, included measured blood pressure data, and contained data on at least two hypertension care cascade steps. Hypertension was defined as a systolic blood pressure of at least 140 mm Hg, diastolic blood pressure of at least 90 mm Hg, or reported use of medication for hypertension. Among those with hypertension, we calculated the proportion of individuals who had ever had their blood pressure measured; had been diagnosed with hypertension; had been treated for hypertension; and had achieved control of their hypertension. We weighted countries proportionally to their population size when determining this hypertension care cascade at the global and regional level. We disaggregated the hypertension care cascade by age, sex, education, household wealth quintile, body-mass index, smoking status, country, and region. We used linear regression to predict, separately for each cascade step, a country's performance based on gross domestic product (GDP) per capita, allowing us to identify countries whose performance fell outside of the 95% prediction interval.

Findings: Our pooled dataset included 1 100 507 participants, of whom 192 441 (17·5%) had hypertension. Among those with hypertension, 73·6% of participants (95% CI 72·9-74·3) had ever had their blood pressure measured, 39·2% of participants (38·2-40·3) had been diagnosed with hypertension, 29·9% of participants (28·6-31·3) received treatment, and 10·3% of participants (9·6-11·0) achieved control of their hypertension. Countries in Latin America and the Caribbean generally achieved the best performance relative to their predicted performance based on GDP per capita, whereas countries in sub-Saharan Africa performed worst. Bangladesh, Brazil, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Kyrgyzstan, and Peru performed significantly better on all care cascade steps than predicted based on GDP per capita. Being a woman, older, more educated, wealthier, and not being a current smoker were all positively associated with attaining each of the four steps of the care cascade.

Interpretation: Our study provides important evidence for the design and targeting of health policies and service interventions for hypertension in LMICs. We show at what steps and for whom there are gaps in the hypertension care process in each of the 44 countries in our study. We also identified countries in each world region that perform better than expected from their economic development, which can direct policy makers to important policy lessons. Given the high disease burden caused by hypertension in LMICs, nationally representative hypertension care cascades, as constructed in this study, are an important measure of progress towards achieving universal health coverage.

Funding: Harvard McLennan Family Fund, Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(19)30955-9DOI Listing
August 2019

Consumption of Fruits and Vegetables Among Individuals 15 Years and Older in 28 Low- and Middle-Income Countries.

J Nutr 2019 07;149(7):1252-1259

Department of Global Health and Population, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA.

Background: The WHO recommends 400 g/d of fruits and vegetables (the equivalent of ∼5 servings/d) for the prevention of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). However, there is limited evidence regarding individual-level correlates of meeting these recommendations in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). In order to target policies and interventions aimed at improving intake, global monitoring of fruit and vegetable consumption by socio-demographic subpopulations is required.

Objectives: The aims of this study were to 1) assess the proportion of individuals meeting the WHO recommendation and 2) evaluate socio-demographic predictors (age, sex, and educational attainment) of meeting the WHO recommendation.

Methods: Data were collected from 193,606 individuals aged ≥15 y in 28 LMICs between 2005 and 2016. The prevalence of meeting the WHO recommendation took into account the complex survey designs, and countries were weighted according to their World Bank population estimates in 2015. Poisson regression was used to estimate associations with socio-demographic characteristics.

Results: The proportion (95% CI) of individuals aged ≥15 y who met the WHO recommendation was 18.0% (16.6-19.4%). Mean intake of fruits was 1.15 (1.10-1.20) servings per day and for vegetables, 2.46 (2.40-2.51) servings/d. The proportion of individuals meeting the recommendation increased with increasing country gross domestic product (GDP) class (P < 0.0001) and with decreasing country FAO food price index (FPI; indicating greater stability of food prices; P < 0.0001). At the individual level, those with secondary education or greater were more likely to achieve the recommendation compared with individuals with no formal education: risk ratio (95% CI), 1.61 (1.24-2.09).

Conclusions: Over 80% of individuals aged ≥15 y living in these 28 LMICs consumed lower amounts of fruits and vegetables than recommended by the WHO. Policies to promote fruit and vegetable consumption in LMICs are urgently needed to address the observed inequities in intake and prevent NCDs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jn/nxz040DOI Listing
July 2019

10-year trends in noncommunicable disease mortality in the Caribbean region.

Rev Panam Salud Publica 2019 27;43:e37. Epub 2019 Mar 27.

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention AtlantaGeorgia United States of America U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, United States of America.

Objective: Between 2006 and 2016, 70% of all deaths worldwide were due to noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). NCDs kill nearly 40 million people a year globally, with almost three-quarters of NCD deaths occurring in low- and middle-income countries. The objective of this study was to assess mortality rates and trends due to deaths from NCDs in the Caribbean region.

Methods: The study examines age-standardized mortality rates and 10-year trends due to death from cancer, heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, and diabetes in two territories of the United States of America (Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands) and in 20 other English- or Dutch-speaking Caribbean countries or territories, for the most recent, available 10 years of data ranging from 1999 to 2014. For the analysis, the SEER*Stat and Joinpoint software packages were used.

Results: These four NCDs accounted for 39% to 67% of all deaths in these 22 countries and territories, and more than half of the deaths in 17 of them. Heart disease accounted for higher percentages of deaths in most of the Caribbean countries and territories (13%-25%), followed by cancer (8%-25%), diabetes (4%-21%), and cerebrovascular disease (1%-13%). Age-standardized mortality rates due to cancer and heart disease were higher for males than for females, but there were no significant mortality trends in the region for any of the NCDs.

Conclusions: The reasons for the high mortality of NCDs in these Caribbean countries and territories remain a critical public health issue that warrants further investigation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.26633/RPSP.2019.37DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6438409PMC
March 2019

Health system performance for people with diabetes in 28 low- and middle-income countries: A cross-sectional study of nationally representative surveys.

PLoS Med 2019 03 1;16(3):e1002751. Epub 2019 Mar 1.

Liberia Ministry of Health, Monrovia, Liberia.

Background: The prevalence of diabetes is increasing rapidly in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), urgently requiring detailed evidence to guide the response of health systems to this epidemic. In an effort to understand at what step in the diabetes care continuum individuals are lost to care, and how this varies between countries and population groups, this study examined health system performance for diabetes among adults in 28 LMICs using a cascade of care approach.

Methods And Findings: We pooled individual participant data from nationally representative surveys done between 2008 and 2016 in 28 LMICs. Diabetes was defined as fasting plasma glucose ≥ 7.0 mmol/l (126 mg/dl), random plasma glucose ≥ 11.1 mmol/l (200 mg/dl), HbA1c ≥ 6.5%, or reporting to be taking medication for diabetes. Stages of the care cascade were as follows: tested, diagnosed, lifestyle advice and/or medication given ("treated"), and controlled (HbA1c < 8.0% or equivalent). We stratified cascades of care by country, geographic region, World Bank income group, and individual-level characteristics (age, sex, educational attainment, household wealth quintile, and body mass index [BMI]). We then used logistic regression models with country-level fixed effects to evaluate predictors of (1) testing, (2) treatment, and (3) control. The final sample included 847,413 adults in 28 LMICs (8 low income, 9 lower-middle income, 11 upper-middle income). Survey sample size ranged from 824 in Guyana to 750,451 in India. The prevalence of diabetes was 8.8% (95% CI: 8.2%-9.5%), and the prevalence of undiagnosed diabetes was 4.8% (95% CI: 4.5%-5.2%). Health system performance for management of diabetes showed large losses to care at the stage of being tested, and low rates of diabetes control. Total unmet need for diabetes care (defined as the sum of those not tested, tested but undiagnosed, diagnosed but untreated, and treated but with diabetes not controlled) was 77.0% (95% CI: 74.9%-78.9%). Performance along the care cascade was significantly better in upper-middle income countries, but across all World Bank income groups, only half of participants with diabetes who were tested achieved diabetes control. Greater age, educational attainment, and BMI were associated with higher odds of being tested, being treated, and achieving control. The limitations of this study included the use of a single glucose measurement to assess diabetes, differences in the approach to wealth measurement across surveys, and variation in the date of the surveys.

Conclusions: The study uncovered poor management of diabetes along the care cascade, indicating large unmet need for diabetes care across 28 LMICs. Performance across the care cascade varied by World Bank income group and individual-level characteristics, particularly age, educational attainment, and BMI. This policy-relevant analysis can inform country-specific interventions and offers a baseline by which future progress can be measured.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1002751DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6396901PMC
March 2019

Prevalence of high-risk human papillomavirus among women in two English-speaking Caribbean countries.

Rev Panam Salud Publica 2017 Jun 8;41:e41. Epub 2017 Jun 8.

Office of Eastern Caribbean Coordination, Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization, Bridgetown, Barbados.

Objective: To characterize high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV) infections in a sample of women in two small English-speaking Caribbean countries: Saint Kitts and Nevis and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

Methods: Sexually active women ≥ 30 years old attending primary care health facilities participated in the study. Each participant had a gynecological examination, and two cervical specimens were collected: (1) a specimen for a Papanicolaou (Pap) test and (2) a sample of exfoliated cervical cells for HPV DNA testing, using the HPV High Risk Screen Real-TM (Sacace). High-risk HPV genotypes were assessed in 404 women in Saint Kitts and Nevis and 368 women in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

Results: High-risk HPV was detected in 102 of 404 (25.2%) in Saint Kitts and Nevis and in 109 of 368 (29.6%) in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. High-risk HPV genotypes 52, 35, 51, 45, and 31 were the most common high-risk types in Saint Kitts and Nevis. In Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, the most common high-risk HPV genotypes were 45, 35, 31, 18, and 51. Current age was found to be significantly associated with high-risk HPV infection in both countries. In addition, in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, high parity (> 3 pregnancies) and having had an abnormal Pap smear were found to be independent risk factors for high-risk HPV.

Conclusions: These results contribute to the evidence on HPV prevalence for small island states of the Caribbean and support the accelerated introduction of the 9-valent HPV vaccine in the two countries and elsewhere in the English-speaking Caribbean. Use of the study's results to guide the development of policy regarding implementation of HPV testing as the primary screening modality for older women is recommended.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6660866PMC
June 2017

Leading Causes of Cancer Mortality - Caribbean Region, 2003-2013.

MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2016 Dec 16;65(49):1395-1400. Epub 2016 Dec 16.

Cancer is one of the leading causes of deaths worldwide (1); in 2012, an estimated 65% of all cancer deaths occurred in the less developed regions of the world (2). In the Caribbean region, cancer is the second leading cause of mortality, with an estimated 87,430 cancer-related deaths reported in 2012 (3). The Pan American Health Organization defines the Caribbean region as a group of 27 countries that vary in size, geography, resources, and surveillance systems.* CDC calculated site- and sex-specific proportions of cancer deaths and age-standardized mortality rates (ASMR) for 21 English- and Dutch-speaking Caribbean countries, the United States, and two U.S. territories (Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands [USVI]), using the most recent 5 years of mortality data available from each jurisdiction during 2003-2013. The selection of years varied by availability of the data from the countries and territories in 2015. ASMR for all cancers combined ranged from 46.1 to 139.3 per 100,000. Among males, prostate cancers were the leading cause of cancer deaths, followed by lung cancers; the percentage of cancer deaths attributable to prostate cancer ranged from 18.4% in Suriname to 47.4% in Dominica, and the percentage of cancer deaths attributable to lung cancer ranged from 5.6% in Barbados to 24.4% in Bermuda. Among females, breast cancer was the most common cause of cancer deaths, ranging from 14.0% of cancer deaths in Belize to 29.7% in the Cayman Islands, followed by cervical cancer. Several of the leading causes of cancer deaths in the Caribbean can be reduced through primary and secondary preventions, including prevention of exposure to risk factors, screening, early detection, and timely and effective treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6549a3DOI Listing
December 2016

Advancing Cancer Control Through Research and Cancer Registry Collaborations in the Caribbean.

Cancer Control 2015 Oct;22(4):520-30

Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, PA.

Background: Few national registries exist in the Caribbean, resulting in limited cancer statistics being available for the region. Therefore, estimates are frequently based on the extrapolation of mortality data submitted to the World Health Organization. Thus, regional cancer surveillance and research need promoting, and their synergy must be strengthened. However, differences between countries outweigh similarities, hampering registration and availability of data.

Methods: The African-Caribbean Cancer Consortium (AC3) is a broad-based resource for education, training, and research on all aspects of cancer in populations of African descent. The AC3 focuses on capacity building in cancer registration in the Caribbean through special topics, training sessions, and biannual meetings. We review the results from selected AC3 workshops, including an inventory of established cancer registries in the Caribbean region, current cancer surveillance statistics, and a review of data quality. We then describe the potential for cancer research surveillance activities and the role of policymakers.

Results: Twelve of 30 Caribbean nations have cancer registries. Four of these nations provide high-quality incidence data, thus covering 14.4% of the population; therefore, regional estimates are challenging. Existing research and registry collaborations must pave the way and are facilitated by organizations like the AC3.

Conclusions: Improved coverage for cancer registrations could help advance health policy through targeted research. Capacity building, resource optimization, collaboration, and communication between cancer surveillance and research teams are key to obtaining robust and complete data in the Caribbean.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4743663PMC
http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/107327481502200420DOI Listing
October 2015

Human papillomavirus genotypes and their prevalence in a cohort of women in Trinidad.

Rev Panam Salud Publica 2011 Apr;29(4):220-6

Caribbean Epidemiology Centre, Pan American Health Organization, World Health Organization, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.

Objective: Human papillomavirus (HPV) genotypes and their relative prevalences were determined in a cohort of 310 sexually active women in Trinidad, West Indies.

Methods: Cervical samples were collected with Ayre's spatulas and endocervical brushes. Samples were used for the conventional Papanicolaou test and for determining HPV genotypes by amplification of a section of the viral L1 gene, followed by DNA sequencing and probe hybridization.

Results: HPV infections were identified in 126 of 310 (40.6%) women. Of them, 83 (65.8%) were infected with high-risk HPV, 16 (12.7%) with low-risk HPV, and 27 (21.4%) with HPV types of unknown risk. HPV 52 (12.7%) was the most frequently occurring high-risk type, followed by HPV 66 (10.3%), HPV 16 (9.5%), and HPV 18 (8.6%). High-risk types HPV 16 and HPV 66 were each found in 3 (20.0%) and HPV 18 was found in 1 (6.6%) of the 15 women with abnormal cytology.

Conclusions: Cervical HPV prevalence and heterogeneity of HPV genotypes are high in this Trinidad cohort. The relative importance of HPV genotypes in the development of cervical lesions needs further investigation in Trinidad in order to better understand the epidemiology of HPV infections as well as to determine the role of HPV testing in the screening, prevention, and control of cervical cancer. This pilot study provided important information on the prevalence of HPV genotypes, which will be used in future nationwide studies.
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April 2011
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