Publications by authors named "Shirin Anil"

14 Publications

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Preventing critical failure. Can routinely collected data be repurposed to predict avoidable patient harm? A quantitative descriptive study.

BMJ Qual Saf 2021 Mar 8;30(3):186-194. Epub 2020 Jan 8.

Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Monash University School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health, Clayton, Victoria, Australia

Objectives: To determine whether sharing of routinely collected health service performance data could have predicted a critical safety failure at an Australian maternity service.

Design: Observational quantitative descriptive study.

Setting: A public hospital maternity service in Victoria, Australia.

Data Sources: A public health service; the Victorian state health quality and safety office-Safer Care Victoria; the Health Complaints Commission; Victorian Managed Insurance Authority; Consultative Council on Obstetric and Paediatric Mortality and Morbidity; Paediatric Infant Perinatal Emergency Retrieval; Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency.

Main Outcome Measures: Numbers and rates for events (activity, deaths, complaints, litigation, practitioner notifications). Correlation coefficients.

Results: Between 2000 and 2014 annual birth numbers at the index hospital more than doubled with no change in bed capacity, to be significantly busier than similar services as determined using an independent samples t-test (p<0.001). There were 36 newborn deaths, 11 of which were considered avoidable. Pearson correlations revealed a weak but significant relationship between number of births per birth suite room birth and perinatal mortality ( =0.18, p=0.003). Independent samples t-tests demonstrated that the rates of emergency neonatal and perinatal transfer were both significantly lower than similar services (both p<0.001). Direct-to-service patient complaints increased ahead of recognised excess perinatal mortality.

Conclusion: While clinical activity data and direct-to-service patient complaints appear to offer promise as potential predictors of health service stress, complaints to regulators and medicolegal activity are less promising as predictors of system failure. Significant changes to how all data are handled would be required to progress such an approach to predicting health service failure.
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March 2021

Active Case Finding of Tuberculosis: Randomized Evaluation of Simple and Infotainment Chest Camps.

Ann Glob Health 2016 Sep - Oct;82(5):813-818

PHTB Consult, Tilburg, Netherlands.

Background: In Pakistan, many tuberculosis (TB) cases are not reported to the national surveillance system. An active case finding strategy in the form of conventional (simple) or innovative (infotainment) chest camps can contribute to diagnosing these missed cases.

Objective: To compare the yield in terms of TB patients detected at a simple chest camp (SCC) versus an infotainment chest camp (ICC) in rural areas.

Methods: A cluster randomized controlled trial with 2 parallel arms was conducted in 4 districts of Pakistan from June 2012 to May 2013. Rural neighborhoods (n = 318) were randomly allocated in a ratio of 1:3 to receive either SCC or ICC. Incidence of TB (all forms and sputum smear positive [SS+]) and number needed to screen (NNS) to diagnose 1 TB case were calculated. Cluster analysis was done according to intention to treat and risk ratio (RR), and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated.

Findings: A total of 3086 participants were tested at the SCC and 9029 at the ICC, of whom 38.5% were female. Mean age was 37.4 ± 15.9 years. Incidences of previously undiagnosed TB (all forms) for SCC and ICC were 23.6 (95% CI 20.04-27.4) and 22.1 (95% CI 20.3-24.1) per 100,000 population (P = .42), SS+ TB 22.5 (95% CI 19.3-26.1) and 21.6 (95% CI 19.8-23.6) (P = .67), respectively. NNS to diagnose 1 TB case were 260 (95% CI 234.3-289.6) and 258 (95% CI 233.3-287.9) for SCC and ICC, respectively (P = .9). RRs for all forms of TB and SS+ TB in SCC compared to ICC were 0.94 (95% CI 0.73-1.19) and 0.95 (95% CI 0.74-1.22) and P values were .58 and .71, respectively.

Conclusions: Both types of chest camps are equally effective in active case finding of previously undiagnosed TB cases in rural areas in 2 provinces in Pakistan.
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May 2018

Assessing correlation between students perception of the learning environment and their academic performance.

J Pak Med Assoc 2016 12;66(12):1616-1620

Medical Student, College of Medicine, King Saud University Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Objective: To assess the association between the learning environment and academic performance at medical colleges.

Methods: The cross-sectional study was conducted in four medical colleges in 2014 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Online questionnaire was sent to final year medical students. It included demographic profile, the last Grade Point Average, and the Dundee Ready Education Environment Measure. Data was analysed using SPSS 17.

Results: Of the 423 students who were sent the online form, 261(61.7%) responded and among them 193 (45.6%) questionnaires had been fully filled and were included in the analysis. Mean Dundee Ready Education Environment Measure score was 117.9±27; higher for females (p=0.019). Correlation coefficient 'R' was 0.29 (p<0.001). As the perception of learning environment increased from "Poor", "Plenty of Problems", "More Positive than Negative" to "Excellent", the mean GPA increased gradually (p=0.0006). Perception of learning environment as "More Positive than Negative" and "Excellent" increased the mean GPA by 0.38 (95% confidence interval: 0.19 - 0.56) compared to "Poor", "Plenty of Problems" on multivariable analysis.

Conclusions: Low, yet positive correlation between perception about learning environment and academic performance in the form of GPA indicated that improvement in the learning environment may enhance the academic performance of medical students.
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December 2016

Delivering integrated child development care in Pakistan: protocol for a clustered randomised trial.

BJGP Open 2017 Jan 9;1(1):bjgpopen17X100677. Epub 2017 Jan 9.

Professor of International Public Health, Nuffield Centre for International Health and Development, Leeds Institute of Health Sciences, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK.

Background: Early childhood developmental delay is associated with significant disadvantage in adult life. In Pakistan, high prevalence of developmental delay is associated with poverty, under-nutrition, and maternal depression.

Aim: To assess the effectiveness of an early child development counselling intervention delivered at private GP clinics, in poor urban communities.

Design & Setting: A clustered randomised trial in Pakistan.

Method: The intervention was developed following a period of formative research, and in consultation with local experts. A total of 2112 mother-child pairs will be recruited at 32 clinics, from within the locality (cluster); 16 clinics per arm. A primary care counselling intervention (promoting child development, nutrition, and maternal mental health) will be delivered at 6 weeks, 3, 6, and 9 months of the child's age. Monitoring, assessment, and treatment will also be performed at quarterly visits in intervention clinics. Primary outcome is the developmental delay at 12 months (ASQ-3 scores). Secondary outcomes are stunting rate, and maternal depression (PHQ-9 score). In addition, a process evaluation and costing study will be conducted.

Discussion: This trial will be the first to assess an early child development intervention, delivered in private GP clinics for poor urban communities in Pakistan. If found to be effective, this public-private model may offer a more sustainable, and feasible option for populations in poor urban settings, where private GP clinics are the most accessible provider of primary health care. There is scope for scale-up at provincial level, should the intervention be effective.

Trial Registration: The trial has been registered with the Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN48032200.
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January 2017

Artificial Light at Night and Cancer: Global Study

Asian Pac J Cancer Prev 2016 10 1;17(10):4661-4664. Epub 2016 Oct 1.

Faculty of Medicine, Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM), Selangor, Malaysia.

Background: Artificial light at night (ALAN) has been linked to increased risk of cancers in body sites like the breast and colorectum. However exposure of ALAN as an environmental risk factor and its relation to cancers in humans has never been studied in detail. Objective: To explore the association of ALAN with all forms of cancers in 158 countries. Materials and Methods: An ecological study encompassing global data was conducted from January to June 2015, with age-standardized rates (ASR) of cancers as the outcome measure. ALAN, in the protected areas, as the exposure variable, was measured with reference to the Protected Area Light Pollution Indicator (PALI) and the Protected Area Human Influence Indicator (PAHI). Pearson’s correlations were calculated for PALI and PAHI with ASR of cancers for 158 countries, adjusted for country populations, electricity consumption, air pollution, and total area covered by forest. Stratified analysis was conducted according to the country income levels. Linear regression was applied to measure the variation in cancers explained by PALI and PAHI. Results: PALI and PAHI were positively associated with ASR of all forms of cancer, and also the four most common cancers (p < 0.05). These positive correlations remained statistically significant for PAHI with all forms of cancer, lung, breast, and colorectal cancer after adjusting for confounders. Positive associations of PALI and PAHI with cancers varied with income level of the individual countries. Variation in all forms of cancers, and the four most common cancers explained by PALI and PAHI, ranged from 3.3 – 35.5%. Conclusion: Artificial light at night is significantly correlated for all forms of cancer as well as lung, breast, colorectal, and prostate cancers individually. Immediate measures should be taken to limit artificial light at night in the main cities around the world and also inside houses.
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October 2016

Socioeconomic Impacts of Gluten-Free Diet among Saudi Children with Celiac Disease.

Pediatr Gastroenterol Hepatol Nutr 2016 Sep 29;19(3):162-167. Epub 2016 Sep 29.

Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Pediatrics, King Khalid University Hospital, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.; Prince Abdullah Bin Khalid Celiac Disease Research Chair, College of Medicine, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Purpose: To determine the socio-economic impact of gluten free diet (GFD) on Saudi children and their families.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted in which an online questionnaire was sent to all families registered in the Saudi celiac patients support group. We included only children (age 18 years of age and younger) with biopsy-confirmed celiac disease (CD).

Results: A total of 113 children were included in the final analysis, the median age was 9.9 years; 62.8% were females. One hundred (88.5%) of the participating families reported that GFD food was not easily available in their areas, 17% of them reported that it was not available at all in their area. One hundred and six (93.8%) reported that the price of GFD food was very expensive and 70 (61.9%) families that the diet was heavily affecting their family budget. Significant social difficulties were reported among the participating families and their children including interference with the child's interaction with other children (49.6%), the families' ability to attend social gatherings (60.2%), the families' ability to eat in restaurants (73.5%), and the families' ability to travel (58.4%).

Conclusion: There is significant negative socio-economic impact of GFD on children with CD & their families. Health care providers should be aware of these psycho-social difficulties and be well trained to provide a proper education and psychological support for these patients and their families.
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September 2016

Structured performance monitoring of TB-care at facility, district and province levels - Pakistan experience.

J Pak Med Assoc 2016 Apr;66(4):418-24

Association for Social Development, Islamabad, Pakistan.

Objective: To develop and evaluate a more structured process for effective tuberculosis control monitoring.

Methods: The quasi-experimental exploratory study was conducted from April 2007 to January 2008 in the Punjab province of Pakistan. Eight intervention districts were compared with eight control districts. Intervention consisted of managers using performance monitoring guidelines and tools for monitoring meetings at the facility and district levels. Proportion of tuberculosis suspects among outpatients, registered confirmed cases and patients' default rate were monitored. Semi-structured interviews were done to assess the experience of the participants.

Results: The proportion of TB suspects among outpatient attendees was significantly higher in the intervention districts (95% confidence interval 1.6-1.8%). The pre-registration default also showed difference (p=0.07). The case finding during 9 months of the intervention showed 96.3% increase compared to the 9 months of the preceding year.

Conclusions: The new process was effective in improving tuberculosis case finding. The process may be used to improve tuberculosis monitoring systems and other such healthcare services.
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April 2016

Institutional Research Evaluation Model (IREM): A framework for measuring organizational research trends and impact and its application in medical academia in Saudi Arabia.

J Epidemiol Glob Health 2016 12 16;6(4):249-256. Epub 2016 Apr 16.

Department of Medicine, College of Medicine, King Saud University, P.O. Box 2925 (59), Riyadh 11472, Saudi Arabia. Electronic address:

Increased financial and human resource constraints for research and development (R&D) imply rigorous research evaluation to guide the research policy for wise allocation of resources. In this study, we developed a conceptual framework called the "Institutional Research Evaluation Model" (IREM) to evaluate the quality of research and its determinants. The IREM was then applied to a medical institution to study its applicability in Saudi Arabia. The IREM consists of five levels: duration decision; choice of research quality indicators [impact factor (IF), article influence scores (AIS), citations per paper (CPP), and publication in indexed journal]; trend indicators (numbers of publications, study design, subject); data extraction; and statistical techniques to determine the factors affecting impact of research. Application of the IREM to the College of Medicine, King Saud University (CMKSU) for research evaluation from 2003 to 2013 revealed that during this duration, 1722 studies were published, the highest in 2013 (n=314) and 85.5% (n=1472) in indexed journals (p<0.001). The mean IF was 2.6, mean AIS 1.16, and mean CPP 10.06. IF was positively associated with duration, indexation, CPP, and subject being human genetics at multivariable linear regression. The IREM is an applicable basic tool for institutional research evaluation which can guide the research policy.
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December 2016

Effectiveness of preventive medicine education and its determinants among medical students in Malaysia.

Front Med 2016 Mar 29;10(1):91-100. Epub 2015 Dec 29.

Faculty of Medicine, Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM), Shah Alam, 40450, Malaysia.

Preventive medicine has been incorporated in the medical school curriculum, but its effectiveness and the factors that affect it are yet to be widely looked into in the context of Malaysia. We aimed to measure the familiarity with, perception about the importance to learn, and the ability to practice preventive medicine as well as its determinants among the medical students in Malaysia. Thus, a cross sectional study was conducted through an anonymous online survey among 387 randomly selected final year medical students of four large public medical schools in Malaysia from March to September 2014. Of the total sample, 340 (response rate 87.8%) gave a written informed consent and took part in the survey. The familiarity of the sample with preventive medicine was measured in 19 preventive medicine areas, and their perception about the importance of preventive medicine and their ability to practice it were gauged on a Likert scale (low score indicates disagreement and high indicates agreement). Descriptive statistical analysis was performed, followed by logistic regression. The mean age of the respondents was 23.7 (SD 0.77) years, and 61.2% (n = 208) of them were females. Results showed that 22.9% of the sample (n = 78) had a low familiarity with preventive medicine, whereas 76.8% (n = 261) had a high familiarity. The study sample specified that among all the preventive medicine subjects, screening and control as well as smoking cessation and immunization are "extremely important to learn." In univariable analysis, being a female, medical school, family size, and perception about the importance to learn preventive medicine were associated with the ability to practice it. In multivariable analysis, the perception towards the importance to learn preventive medicine was the only significant determinant: aOR (adjusted odds ratio) for those who "agreed" 17.28 (95% CI aOR 4.44-67.26, P < 0.001) and for "strongly agreed" 35.87 (95% CI aOR 8.04-159.87, P < 0.001). Considering these findings, the familiarity of medical students with preventive medicine should be increased. The perception about the importance to learn preventive medicine is a strong determinant for the ability to practice it.
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March 2016

Strengthening the delivery of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease care at primary health-care facilities: study design of a cluster randomized controlled trial in Pakistan.

Glob Health Action 2015 16;8:28225. Epub 2015 Nov 16.

Nuffield Centre for International Health and Development, Leeds Institute of Health Sciences, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK.

Background: Respiratory diseases, namely asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), account for one-fourth of the patients at the primary health-care (PHC) facilities in Pakistan. Standard care practices to manage these diseases are necessary to reduce the morbidity and mortality rate associated with non-communicable diseases in developing countries.

Objective: To develop and measure the effectiveness of operational guidelines and implementation materials, with sound scientific evidence, for expanding lung health care, especially asthma and COPD through PHC facilities already strengthened for tuberculosis (TB) care in Pakistan.

Design: A cluster randomized controlled trial with two arms (intervention and control), with qualitative and costing study components, is being conducted in 34 clusters; 17 clusters per arm (428 asthma and 306 COPD patients), in three districts in Pakistan from October 2014 to December 2016. The intervention consists of enhanced case management of asthma and COPD patients through strengthening of PHC facilities. The main outcomes to be measured are asthma and COPD control among the registered cases at 6 months. Cluster- and individual-level analyses will be done according to intention to treat. Residual confounding will be addressed by multivariable logistic and linear regression models for asthma and COPD control, respectively. The trial is registered with ISRCTN registry (ISRCTN 17409338).

Conclusions: Currently, only about 20% of the estimated prevalent asthma and COPD cases are being identified and reported through the respective PHC network. Lung health care and prevention has not been effectively integrated into the core PHC package, although a very well-functioning TB program exists at the PHC level. Inclusion of these diseases in the already existent TB program is expected to increase detection rates and care for asthma and COPD.
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June 2016

The role of Fibroscan in predicting the presence of varices in patients with cirrhosis.

Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol 2015 Nov;27(11):1307-12

aGastroenterology Unit Department of Medicine, Departments of bMedical Education cPathology, College of Medicine dKing Saud University Liver Disease Research Center, King Saud University, Riyadh eGastroenterology Unit, Department of Medicine, King Abdulaziz Medical City, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia fDepartment of Tropical Medicine & Gastroenterology, College of Medicine, Assuit University, Asyut, Egypt.

Background/aim: Transient elastography is a relatively new, noninvasive method of measuring liver stiffness. This study aimed to evaluate the diagnostic accuracy of transient elastography and other noninvasive methods for the diagnosis of esophageal varices (EV) in patients with cirrhosis.

Methods: This cross-sectional study graded EV according to size in 145 consecutive patients with cirrhosis who underwent endoscopy, Fibroscan, and other noninvasive diagnostic methods. The accuracy of these diagnostic methods in diagnosing EV was evaluated on the basis of area under receiver operating characteristic (AUROC) curves.

Results: Elastography was successful in 123 patients. Of these, 54.5% had hepatitis C and 10.6% had hepatitis B. EV were absent in 39.8%, small EV was present in 24.4%, and large EV was present in 35.8% of patients. Fibroscan, aspartate aminotransferase-to-platelet ratio index, and international normalized ratio showed low accuracy in diagnosing EV in non-viral-related cirrhosis patients (AUROCs 0.66, 0.68, and 0.67, respectively). Fibroscan and aspartate aminotransferase-to-platelet ratio index were more accurate in measuring EV with a viral etiology (AUROCs 0.704 and 0.703, respectively). A cutoff value of 16.9 kPa was 83.8% sensitive in diagnosing EV in non-viral-cirrhotic patients, whereas a cutoff value of 19.9 kPa was 83.4% sensitive in diagnosing EV in patients with viral hepatitis. Fibroscan was moderately accurate in diagnosing grade I EV and less accurate in diagnosing grades II and III EV in all cirrhotic patients, irrespective of the underlying etiology.

Conclusion: Fibroscan might be useful in predicting the presence of EV in patients with cirrhosis with a viral etiology. However, endoscopy remains the gold standard for EV screening.
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November 2015

Clinical Characteristics of Celiac Disease and Dietary Adherence to Gluten-Free Diet among Saudi Children.

Pediatr Gastroenterol Hepatol Nutr 2015 Mar 30;18(1):23-9. Epub 2015 Mar 30.

Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Pediatrics, King Khalid University Hospital, King Saud University, Saudi Arabia. ; Prince Abdullah Bin Khalid Celiac Disease Research Chair, King Saud University, Saudi Arabia.

Purpose: To describe the clinical characteristics of celiac disease (CD) among Saudi children and to determine the adherence rate to gluten free diet (GFD) and its determinant factors among them.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted, in which all the families registered in the Saudi Celiac Patients Support Group were sent an online survey. Only families with children 18 years of age and younger with biopsy-confirmed CD were included.

Results: The median age of the 113 included children was 9.9 years, the median age at symptom onset was 5.5 years and the median age at diagnosis was 7 years, the median time between the presentation and the final diagnosis was 1 year. Sixty two of the involved children were females. Ninety two percent of the patients were symptomatic at the diagnosis while eight percent were asymptomatic. The commonest presenting symptoms included: chronic abdominal pain (59.3%), poor weight gain (54%), abdominal distention, gases, bloating (46.1%) and chronic diarrhea (41.6%). Sixty percent of the involved children were reported to be strictly adherent to GFD. Younger age at diagnosis and shorter duration since the diagnosis were associated with a better adherence rate.

Conclusion: CD has similar clinical presentations among Saudi children compared to other parts of the ward; however, the adherence to GFD is relatively poor. Younger age at diagnosis and shorter duration since the diagnosis were associated with a better adherence rate.
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March 2015

Clinical trials--discussing your findings.

Shirin Anil

J Pak Med Assoc 2014 Sep;64(9):1095-7

Discussing findings of a clinical trial gives an opportunity to the investigator to elaborate the meaning of the findings of the trial. It should consist of the major findings, interpretation of the results in light of the available literature, theory and practice, limitations, generalizability of the findings and its implication, and way forwards for future research. One should avoid repetition of results in the discussion and give critical appraisal of the findings in such a way as to give a true picture of the internal and external validity of the clinical trial.
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September 2014

Pattern of shisha and cigarette smoking in the general population in Malaysia.

Asian Pac J Cancer Prev 2014 ;15(24):10841-6

Population Health and Preventive Medicine Department, Faculty of Medicine, Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia E-mail :

Background: Smoking is a primary risk factor for cancer development. While most research has focused on smoking cigarettes, the increasing popularity of shisha or water pipe smoking has received less attention. This study measured the prevalence and risk factors for shisha and cigarette smoking and related knowledge.

Materials And Methods: This cross-sectional analytical study was conducted in Shah Alam, Malaysia. Participants aged ≥ 18 years were selected from restaurants. Data regarding demographic variables, smoking patterns, and knowledge about shisha smoking were collected in local languages. Logistic regression was performed to assess risk factors.

Results: Of 239 participants, 61.9 % were male and 99.2% revealed their smoking status. Some 57.4% were smokers: 50.7% only cigarettes, 5.9% only shisha and 42% both. Mean age of starting cigarette smoking was 17.5 ± 2.4 years and for shisha smoking 18.7 ± 2.0 years. In a univariate model, male gender, age 33-52 years and monthly income > MYR 4,000 increased the risk and unemployment and being a student decreased the risk. In a multivariate model, male gender increased the risk of smoking, while being a student decreased the risk, adjusting for age and income. The perception of shisha being less harmful than cigarettes was present in 14.6% and 7.5% had the opinion that shisha is not harmful at all, while 21.7% said that it is less addictive than cigarettes, 39.7% said that shisha did not contain tar and nicotine, 34.3% said that it did not contain carbon monoxide and 24.3% thought that shisha did not cause health problems.

Conclusions: Prevalence of shisha and cigarette smoking is high in the general population in Malaysia and knowledge about shisha smoking is relatively low. The findings of our study might have implications for understanding similarities and differences in incidence of shisha and cigarette smoking in other cultural/geographic regions.
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October 2015