Publications by authors named "Mary Mayige"

22 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Prioritizing Health-Sector Interventions for Noncommunicable Diseases and Injuries in Low- and Lower-Middle Income Countries: National NCDI Poverty Commissions.

Glob Health Sci Pract 2021 09 30;9(3):626-639. Epub 2021 Sep 30.

Partners In Health NCD Synergies, Boston, MA, USA.

Health sector priorities and interventions to prevent and manage noncommunicable diseases and injuries (NCDIs) in low- and lower-middle-income countries (LLMICs) have primarily adopted elements of the World Health Organization Global Action Plan for NCDs 2013-2020. However, there have been limited efforts in LLMICs to prioritize among conditions and health-sector interventions for NCDIs based on local epidemiology and contextually relevant risk factors or that incorporate the equitable distribution of health outcomes. The Commission on Reframing Noncommunicable Diseases and Injuries for the Poorest Billion supported national NCDI Poverty Commissions to define local NCDI epidemiology, determine an expanded set of priority NCDI conditions, and recommend cost-effective, equitable health-sector interventions. Fifteen national commissions and 1 state-level commission were established from 2016-2019. Six commissions completed the prioritization exercise and selected an average of 25 NCDI conditions; 15 conditions were selected by all commissions, including asthma, breast cancer, cervical cancer, diabetes mellitus type 1 and 2, epilepsy, hypertensive heart disease, intracerebral hemorrhage, ischemic heart disease, ischemic stroke, major depressive disorder, motor vehicle road injuries, rheumatic heart disease, sickle cell disorders, and subarachnoid hemorrhage. The commissions prioritized an average of 35 health-sector interventions based on cost-effectiveness, financial risk protection, and equity-enhancing rankings. The prioritized interventions were estimated to cost an additional US$4.70-US$13.70 per capita or approximately 9.7%-35.6% of current total health expenditure (0.6%-4.0% of current gross domestic product). Semistructured surveys and qualitative interviews of commission representatives demonstrated positive outcomes in several thematic areas, including understanding NCDIs of poverty, informing national planning and implementation of NCDI health-sector interventions, and improving governance and coordination for NCDIs. Overall, national NCDI Poverty Commissions provided a platform for evidence-based, locally driven determination of priorities within NCDIs.
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September 2021

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 Nov 22;9(11):e1539-e1552. 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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November 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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July 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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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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November 2020

Availability of equipment and medications for non-communicable diseases and injuries at public first-referral level hospitals: a cross-sectional analysis of service provision assessments in eight low-income countries.

BMJ Open 2020 10 10;10(10):e038842. Epub 2020 Oct 10.

Program in Global Noncommunicable Disease and Social Change, Harvard Medical School Department of Global Health and Social Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Context And Objectives: Non-communicable diseases and injuries (NCDIs) comprise a large share of mortality and morbidity in low-income countries (LICs), many of which occur earlier in life and with greater severity than in higher income settings. Our objective was to assess availability of essential equipment and medications required for a broad range of acute and chronic NCDI conditions.

Design: Secondary analysis of existing cross-sectional survey data.

Setting: We used data from Service Provision Assessment surveys in Bangladesh, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Haiti, Malawi, Nepal, Senegal and Tanzania, focusing on public first-referral level hospitals in each country.

Outcome Measures: We defined sets of equipment and medications required for diagnosis and management of four acute and nine chronic NCDI conditions and determined availability of these items at the health facilities.

Results: Overall, 797 hospitals were included. Medication and equipment availability was highest for acute epilepsy (country estimates ranging from 40% to 95%) and stage 1-2 hypertension (28%-83%). Availability was low for type 1 diabetes (1%-70%), type 2 diabetes (3%-57%), asthma (0%-7%) and acute presentations of diabetes (0%-26%) and asthma (0%-4%). Few hospitals had equipment or medications for heart failure (0%-32%), rheumatic heart disease (0%-23%), hypertensive emergencies (0%-64%) or acute minor surgical conditions (0%-5%). Data for chronic pain were limited to only two countries. Availability of essential medications and equipment was lower than previous facility-reported service availability.

Conclusions: Our findings demonstrate low availability of essential equipment and medications for diverse NCDIs at first-referral level hospitals in eight LICs. There is a need for decentralisation and integration of NCDI services in existing care platforms and improved assessment and monitoring to fully achieve universal health coverage.
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October 2020

COVID-19 and type 1 diabetes: Challenges and actions.

Diabetes Res Clin Pract 2020 08 24;166:108275. Epub 2020 Jun 24.

Life for a Child Program, Diabetes NSW & ACT, Glebe, NSW, Australia.

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August 2020

Sociodemographic inequities associated with participation in leisure-time physical activity in sub-Saharan Africa: an individual participant data meta-analysis.

BMC Public Health 2020 Jun 15;20(1):927. Epub 2020 Jun 15.

Department of Medicine, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.

Background: Leisure-time physical activity (LTPA) is an important contributor to total physical activity and the focus of many interventions promoting activity in high-income populations. Little is known about LTPA in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), and with expected declines in physical activity due to rapid urbanisation and lifestyle changes we aimed to assess the sociodemographic differences in the prevalence of LTPA in the adult populations of this region to identify potential barriers for equitable participation.

Methods: A two-step individual participant data meta-analysis was conducted using data collected in SSA through 10 population health surveys that included the Global Physical Activity Questionnaire. For each sociodemographic characteristic, the pooled adjusted prevalence and risk ratios (RRs) for participation in LTPA were calculated using the random effects method. Between-study heterogeneity was explored through meta-regression analyses and tests for interaction.

Results: Across the 10 populations (N = 26,022), 18.9% (95%CI: 14.3, 24.1; I = 99.0%) of adults (≥ 18 years) participated in LTPA. Men were more likely to participate in LTPA compared with women (RR for women: 0.43; 95%CI: 0.32, 0.60; P < 0.001; I = 97.5%), while age was inversely associated with participation. Higher levels of education were associated with increased LTPA participation (RR: 1.30; 95%CI: 1.09, 1.55; P = 0.004; I = 98.1%), with those living in rural areas or self-employed less likely to participate in LTPA. These associations remained after adjusting for time spent physically active at work or through active travel.

Conclusions: In these populations, participation in LTPA was low, and strongly associated with sex, age, education, self-employment and urban residence. Identifying the potential barriers that reduce participation in these groups is necessary to enable equitable access to the health and social benefits associated with LTPA.
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June 2020

Findings from Community-Based Screenings for Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus in at Risk Communities in Cape Town, South Africa: A Pilot Study.

Int J Environ Res Public Health 2020 04 21;17(8). Epub 2020 Apr 21.

Non-Communicable Diseases Research Unit, South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC), Cape Town 7505, South Africa.

Completed and ongoing implementation activities globally advocate for community-based approaches to improve strategies for type 2 diabetes prevention. However, little is known about such strategies in the African region where there are higher relative increases in diabetes prevalence. We reported findings from the first 8-month pilot phase of the South African diabetes prevention program. The study was conducted across eight townships (four black and four mixed-ancestry communities) in Cape Town, South Africa, between August 2017 and March 2018. Participants were recruited using both random and self-selected sampling techniques because the former approach proved to be ineffective; <10% of randomly selected individuals consented to participate. Non-laboratory-based diabetes risk screening, using the African diabetes risk score, and based on targeted population specific cut-offs, identified potentially high-risk adults in the community. This was followed by an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) to confirm prevalent pre-diabetes. Among the 853 adults without prior diabetes who were screened in the community, 354 (43.4%) were classified as high risk, and 316 presented for further screening. On OGTT, 13.1% had dysglycemia, including 10% with screen-detected diabetes and 67.9% with glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c)-defined high risk. Participants with pre-diabetes ( = 208) had high levels of common cardiovascular risk factors, i.e., obesity (73.7%), elevated total cholesterol (51.9%), and hypertension (29.4%). Self-referral is likely an efficient method for selecting participants for community-based diabetes risk screening in Africa. Post-screening management of individuals with pre-diabetes must include attention to co-morbid cardiovascular risk factors.
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April 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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April 2020

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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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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July 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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March 2019

Knowledge and perception on type2 diabetes and hypertension among HIV clients utilizing care and treatment services: a cross sectional study from Mbeya and Dar es Salaam regions in Tanzania.

BMC Public Health 2018 07 28;18(1):928. Epub 2018 Jul 28.

National Institute for Medical Research, Headquarters, P. O. Box, 9653, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

Background: Type2 Diabetes and Hypertension (T2DM/HTN) have become serious threats to the health and socio-economic development in the developing countries. People living with HIV (PLHIV) infection are more vulnerable of developing T2DM/HTN due to HIV infection itself and antiretroviral treatments. The situation is worse when behavioral and biological risk factors are pervasive to PLHIV. Despite this vicious circle; information on the level of knowledge and perception regarding prevention of T2DM/HTN, risks factors and associated complications among PLHIV is not well documented in Tanzania. The aim of this paper was assess the level of T2DM/HTN knowledge and perception among PLHIV and utilizing care and treatment clinic (CTC) services.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted in randomly selected 12 CTCs between October 2011 and February 2012. Data on demographic characteristics, type 2 diabetes and hypertension knowledge and perception were collected from the study participants.

Results: Out of 754 PLHIV and receiving HIV services at the selected CTCs, 671 (89%) consented for the study. Overall 276/671(41.1%) respondents had low knowledge on type2 diabetes and hypertension risk factors and their associated complications. Locality (rural) (AOR = 2.2; 95%CI 1.4-3.4) and never/not recalling if ever measured blood glucose in life (AOR = 2.3; 95%CI 1.1-5.7) were significant determinants of low knowledge among clients on ART. Being currently not having HIV and T2DM/HTN co-morbidities (AOR = 2.2; 95%CI 1.2-4.9) was the only determinant of low knowledge among ART Naïve clients. With regard to perception, 293/671(43.7%) respondents had negative perception on diabetes and hypertension prevention. Sex (female) (AOR = 2.0, 95%CI 1.2-2.9), being aged < 40 years (AOR = 1.6; 95%CI 1.1-2.5) and education (primary/no formal education) (AOR = 4.4; 95%CI 2.0-9.8) were determinants for negative perception among clients on ART while for ART Naïve clients; HIV and T2DM/HTN co-morbidities (AOR = 2.0; 95%CI 1.2-4.6) was the main determinant for negative perception.

Conclusion: Considerable number of respondents had low level of knowledge (41.1%) regarding T2DM/HTN specifically on the risk factors, prevention strategies and their associated complications and negative perception (43.7%) towards healthy practices for mitigating risk behaviors of the diseases. There is need for promoting awareness of T2DM/HTN risk factors and complications by considering determinants of low knowledge and negative perception among PLHIV.
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July 2018

Cost-effectiveness analysis of population-based tobacco control strategies in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases in Tanzania.

PLoS One 2017 2;12(8):e0182113. Epub 2017 Aug 2.

Japan International Cooperation Agency, Lusaka, Zambia.

Background: Tobacco consumption contributes significantly to the global burden of disease. The prevalence of smoking is estimated to be increasing in many low-income countries, including Tanzania, especially among women and youth. Even so, the implementation of tobacco control measures has been discouraging in the country. Efforts to foster investment in tobacco control are hindered by lack of evidence on what works and at what cost.

Aims: We aim to estimate the cost and cost-effectiveness of population-based tobacco control strategies in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases (CVD) in Tanzania.

Materials And Methods: A cost-effectiveness analysis was performed using an Excel-based Markov model, from a governmental perspective. We employed an ingredient approach and step-down methodologies in the costing exercise following a government perspective. Epidemiological data and efficacy inputs were derived from the literature. We used disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) averted as the outcome measure. A probabilistic sensitivity analysis was carried out with Ersatz to incorporate uncertainties in the model parameters.

Results: Our model results showed that all five tobacco control strategies were very cost-effective since they fell below the ceiling ratio of one GDP per capita suggested by the WHO. Increase in tobacco taxes was the most cost-effective strategy, while a workplace smoking ban was the least cost-effective option, with a cost-effectiveness ratio of US$5 and US$267, respectively.

Conclusions: Even though all five interventions are deemed very cost-effective in the prevention of CVD in Tanzania, more research on budget impact analysis is required to further assess the government's ability to implement these interventions.
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August 2017

Diabetes diagnosis and care in sub-Saharan Africa: pooled analysis of individual data from 12 countries.

Lancet Diabetes Endocrinol 2016 11 7;4(11):903-912. Epub 2016 Oct 7.

Division of Medicine, University College London, London, UK.

Background: Despite widespread recognition that the burden of diabetes is rapidly growing in many countries in sub-Saharan Africa, nationally representative estimates of unmet need for diabetes diagnosis and care are in short supply for the region. We use national population-based survey data to quantify diabetes prevalence and met and unmet need for diabetes diagnosis and care in 12 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. We further estimate demographic and economic gradients of met need for diabetes diagnosis and care.

Methods: We did a pooled analysis of individual-level data from nationally representative population-based surveys that met the following inclusion criteria: the data were collected during 2005-15; the data were made available at the individual level; a biomarker for diabetes was available in the dataset; and the dataset included information on use of core health services for diabetes diagnosis and care. We first quantified the population in need of diabetes diagnosis and care by estimating the prevalence of diabetes across the surveys; we also quantified the prevalence of overweight and obesity, as a major risk factor for diabetes and an indicator of need for diabetes screening. Second, we determined the level of met need for diabetes diagnosis, preventive counselling, and treatment in both the diabetic and the overweight and obese population. Finally, we did survey fixed-effects regressions to establish the demographic and economic gradients of met need for diabetes diagnosis, counselling, and treatment.

Findings: We pooled data from 12 nationally representative population-based surveys in sub-Saharan Africa, representing 38 311 individuals with a biomarker measurement for diabetes. Across the surveys, the median prevalence of diabetes was 5% (range 2-14) and the median prevalence of overweight or obesity was 27% (range 16-68). We estimated seven measures of met need for diabetes-related care across the 12 surveys: (1) percentage of the overweight or obese population who received a blood glucose measurement (median 22% [IQR 11-37]); and percentage of the diabetic population who reported that they (2) had ever received a blood glucose measurement (median 36% [IQR 27-63]); (3) had ever been told that they had diabetes (median 27% [IQR 22-51]); (4) had ever been counselled to lose weight (median 15% [IQR 13-23]); (5) had ever been counselled to exercise (median 15% [IQR 11-30]); (6) were using oral diabetes drugs (median 25% [IQR 18-42]); and (7) were using insulin (median 11% [IQR 6-13]). Compared with those aged 15-39 years, the adjusted odds of met need for diabetes diagnosis (measures 1-3) were 2·22 to 3·53 (40-54 years) and 3·82 to 5·01 (≥55 years) times higher. The adjusted odds of met need for diabetes diagnosis also increased consistently with educational attainment and were between 3·07 and 4·56 higher for the group with 8 years or more of education than for the group with less than 1 year of education. Finally, need for diabetes care was significantly more likely to be met (measures 4-7) in the oldest age and highest educational groups.

Interpretation: Diabetes has already reached high levels of prevalence in several countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Large proportions of need for diabetes diagnosis and care in the region remain unmet, but the patterns of unmet need vary widely across the countries in our sample. Novel health policies and programmes are urgently needed to increase awareness of diabetes and to expand coverage of preventive counselling, diagnosis, and linkage to diabetes care. Because the probability of met need for diabetes diagnosis and care consistently increases with age and educational attainment, policy makers should pay particular attention to improved access to diabetes services for young adults and people with low educational attainment.

Funding: None.
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November 2016

Magnitude and risk factors of non-communicable diseases among people living with HIV in Tanzania: a cross sectional study from Mbeya and Dar es Salaam regions.

BMC Public Health 2014 Sep 2;14:904. Epub 2014 Sep 2.

National Institute for Medical Research-Tukuyu Center, P,O, Box 538, Tukuyu, Mbeya, Tanzania.

Background: HIV and Non communicable diseases (NCDs) are major problem of public health importance in developing countries. This study was conducted to explore and establish information on the magnitude, distribution of NCDs risk factors among people living with HIV (PLWHIV) which is scarce in Tanzania.

Method: A cross sectional study was conducted to PLWHIV from 12 care and treatment clinics in Dar es Salaam and Mbeya regions from October 2011 to February 2012. Data on demographic characteristics, NCD risk factors including behavioral, biochemical tests and physical measurements was collected from PLWHIV.

Results: Of 754 PLWHIV recruited, 671(89.0%) consented to participate in the study and 354/671(52.8%) were on antiretroviral therapy (ART). The following NCD risk factors: raised blood levels of low density lipoprotein (61.3% vs 38.7%, p < 0.001) total cholesterol (TC) (71.6% vs 28.4%, p < 0.001) and triglyceride (67.0% vs 33.0%, p = 0.001) as well as overweight/obesity (61.1% vs 38.9%, p = 0.010), abnormal waist circumference (61.7% vs 38.3%, p < 0.001) and being aged >40 years (63.3% vs 36.7%, p < 0.001) were more prevalent among PLWHIV on ART than ART naïve. The prevalence of Diabetes mellitus among PLWHIV was 4.2% and was slightly high among those ART naïve (4.7% vs 3.7%). The prevalence of hypertension was 26.2% and was high among those on ART (30.0% vs 21.9%, p = 0.010). Being aged >40 years (AOR = 2.52, 95% CI 1.37-4.63), abnormal waist circumference (AOR = 2.37 95% CI 1.13-5.00), overweight/obesity (AOR = 2.71, 95% CI 1.26-5.84) and male sex (AOR = 1.17, 1.02-4.20) were the predictors of hypertension among patients on ART while raised TC (AOR = 1.47 (1.01-2.21) and being aged >40 years (AOR = 3.42, 95% CI 2.06-5.70) were predictors for hypertension among ART naïve patients.

Conclusion: This study has revealed that the magnitude of NCD risk factors is significantly higher among PLWHIV on ART than those not on ART. Initiating and strengthening of interventions for minimizing preventable NCD risks should be considered when initiating ART among PLWHIV. Regular monitoring of NCD risk factors is of paramount importance among ART patients.
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September 2014

Risk scores based on self-reported or available clinical data to detect undiagnosed type 2 diabetes: a systematic review.

Diabetes Res Clin Pract 2012 Dec 23;98(3):369-85. Epub 2012 Sep 23.

Asia Diabetes Foundation, Hong Kong, China.

Objective: To systematically review published primary research on the development or validation of risk scores that require only self-reported or available clinical data to identify undiagnosed Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM).

Methods: A systematic literature search of Medline and EMBASE was conducted until January 2011. Studies focusing on the development or validation of risk scores to identify undiagnosed T2DM were included. Risk scores to predict future risk of T2DM were excluded.

Results: Thirty-one studies were included; 17 developed a new risk score, 14 validated existing scores. Twenty-six studies were conducted in high-income countries. Age and measures of body mass/fat distribution were the most commonly used predictor variables. Studies developing new scores performed better than validation studies, with 11 reporting an AUC of >0.80 compared to one validation study. Fourteen validation studies reported sensitivities of <80%. The performance of scores did not differ by the number of variables included or the country setting.

Conclusions: There is a proliferation of newly developed risk scores using similar variables, which sometimes perform poorly upon external validation. Future research should explore the recalibration, validation and applicability of existing scores to other settings, particularly in low/middle income countries, and on the utility of scores to improve diabetes-related outcomes.
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December 2012

Screening for hyperglycemia in the developing world: rationale, challenges and opportunities.

Diabetes Res Clin Pract 2012 Nov 10;98(2):199-208. Epub 2012 Sep 10.

Hubert Department of Global Health, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA.

Background: The prevalence of diabetes and prediabetes are increasingly high in developing countries, where detection rates remain very low. This manuscript discusses the rationale, challenges and opportunities for early detection of diabetes and prediabetes in developing countries.

Methods: PubMed was searched up to March 2012 for studies addressing screening for hyperglycemia in developing countries. Relevant studies were summarized through key questions derived from the Wilson and Junger criteria.

Results: In developing countries, diabetes predominantly affects working-age persons, has high rates of complications and devastating economic impacts. These countries are ill-equipped to handle advanced stages of the disease. There are acceptable and relatively simple tools that can aid screening in these countries. Interventions shown to be cost-effective in preventing diabetes and its complications in developed countries can be used in screen-detected people of developing countries. However, effective implementation of these interventions remains a challenge, and the costs and benefits of diabetes screening in these settings are less well-known. Implementing screening policies in developing countries will require health systems strengthening, through creative funding and staff training.

Conclusions: For many compelling reasons, screening for hyperglycemia preferably targeted, should be a policy priority in developing countries. This will help reorient health systems toward cost-saving prevention.
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November 2012

Clinical manifestations and outcomes of severe malaria among children admitted at Rungwe and Kyela district hospitals in south-western Tanzania.

Tanzan J Health Res 2012 Jan;14(1):3-8

Tukuyu Medical Research Centre, P O. Box 538, Tukuyu, Tanzania.

Malaria remains as an important public health and a major cause of childhood death and paediatric hospital admission in sub-Saharan Africa. This prospective hospital based cross sectional study was conducted from April 2007 to April 2008. The main objective was to assess clinical manifestations and outcomes of severe malaria in children admitted to district hospital in Rungwe and Kyela in south-western Tanzania. A total of 1371 children were selected as screening group of which 409 (29.8%) were tested positive for malaria. Mean age of the children was 2.7 (95%CI= 2.5, 2.8) years and the majority (86%) were under five years of age. The proportion of children severe malaria in Rungwe was significantly higher than that of Kyela by 21.3% (P=0.002). The common symptoms of severe malaria during admission were convulsions (50.9%) compensated shock (30.6%), prostration (29.1%) and symptomatic severe anaemia (14.9%). The case fatality rate (CFR) was 4.6% and the cure rate (CR) was 95.4%. Children with suspected severe acidosis and symptomatic severe anemia were 4.8 (95%CI=1.6, 14.6) and 5.5 (95%CI 1.1, 28.2), respectively, more likely to die compared to those without these symptoms. The proportion of deaths among children presenting ≥5 symptoms was 32.1% higher than among those presenting one symptom (OR =0.50, 95%CI 0.125-2.000; P=0.000). Convulsions and compensated shock were the leading symptoms at admission. Suspected severe acidosis and symptomatic severe anemia were the predictors of mortality for children. In order to reduce mortality among admitted children with severe malaria there is a need for health providers to deploy strategic management of fatal prognostic factors. In conclusion, convulsion and compensated shock were the leading symptoms among children at admission and that suspected severe acidosis and symptomatic severe anemia were the predictors of mortality. It is therefore important to emphasis early diagnosis and prompt treatment of severe cases of malaria to minimize mortality among children.
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January 2012

Non communicable diseases in Tanzania: a call for urgent action.

Tanzan J Health Res 2011 Dec;13(5 Suppl 1):378-86

National Institute for Medical Research, Tukuyu Centre, P0 Box 538, Tukuyu, Tanzania.

Globally there is evidence of the growing burden of Non Communicable diseases (NCDs) especially in developing countries including Tanzania. This paper summarises the review of published papers on the magnitude of Non Communicable Diseases in the country. Current opportunities for management and control of NCDs are also explored. In this review diseases such as diabetes and hypertension have been shown to have increased over the years. Prevalence of risk factors such as obesity, dyslipidemia and smoking has been shown to be high with clear gender and urban rural differences. Generally there is paucity of national representative data on the burden of risk factors and prevalence of non-communicable diseases. The main risk factors for NCDs namely smoking, alcohol intake, unhealthy diet and low physical activity are prevalent in both rural and urban communities. The socio-demographic and economic transition has a big role in the current rise of non-communicable diseases in Tanzania. There are initiatives to control the burden of non-communicable diseases in the country. However there is need to focus more on primary prevention at population level targeting interventions to reduce exposure to tobacco, reduce alcohol intake, reduce salt intake, promote healthy diets and physical activity. For the prevention and control of NCDs, there needs to be a continuum from primary to tertiary prevention and a scope of interventions from the community level up to the national level. Community-based interventions are needed targeting the risk factors for primary prevention. In addition, secondary prevention measures are needed targeting those at high risk to ensure that they are identified early through a high risk targeted screening for early identification and appropriate care. Effective policies are needed to support such interventions.
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December 2011