Publications by authors named "Yara A Halasa-Rappel"

9 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Perceived Barriers of Using Modern Family Planning Methods among Women in Jordan: A Qualitative Study.

Int J Community Based Nurs Midwifery 2021 Oct;9(4):278-288

Ray Marshall Center for the Study of Human Resources, Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, The University of Texas at Austin, USA.

Background: Some cultural and social factors may discourage the use of modern family planning (MFP) methods. The purpose of this study was to better understand the barriers and social norms that might affect women's ability to take optimal advantage of the free family planning services offered by the Jordanian Ministry of Health (MOH).

Methods: Using a qualitative descriptive design, 7 focus group discussions were conducted from January to February 2018, with a purposive sample of 52 married women. Each group consisted of 6-12 participants. Ethical approvals were obtained. Data were analysed using inductive thematic analysis.

Results: Data analysis revealed three main themes and four subthemes. The first theme 'conforming to social and cultural norms' included the following subthemes: 'to conform to family and social pressure to bear children' and 'to prioritize having male children'. The second theme 'unmet needs in expected family planning counselling' included the following subthemes: 'need for consistency across providers in family planning counselling', and 'need for follow-up counselling'. The third theme was the 'undesirable side-effects' of the MFP methods, which included both the 'experienced' and the 'anticipated' side effects.

Conclusion: This study identified a number of women's perceived barriers to using MFP methods. These included conforming to the social pressure, inconsistency of the counselling process, and undesirable side effects. Their perspectives should be carefully addressed in any family planning program.
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October 2021

On the cost-effectiveness of insecticide-treated wall liner and indoor residual spraying as additions to insecticide treated bed nets to prevent malaria: findings from cluster randomized trials in Tanzania.

BMC Public Health 2021 09 14;21(1):1666. Epub 2021 Sep 14.

Brandeis University, Waltham, MA, 02453, USA.

Background: Despite widespread use of long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs) and other tools, malaria caused 409,000 deaths worldwide in 2019. While indoor residual spraying (IRS) is an effective supplement, IRS is moderately expensive and logistically challenging. In endemic areas, IRS requires yearly application just before the main rainy season and potential interim reapplications. A new technology, insecticide-treated wall liner (ITWL), might overcome these challenges.

Methods: We conducted a 44-cluster two-arm randomized controlled trial in Muheza, Tanzania from 2015 to 2016 to evaluate the cost and efficacy of a non-pyrethroid ITWL to supplement LLINs, analyzing operational changes over three installation phases. The estimated efficacy (with 95% confidence intervals) of IRS as a supplement to LLINs came mainly from a published randomized trial in Muleba, Tanzania. We obtained financial costs of IRS from published reports and conducted a household survey of a similar IRS program near Muleba to determine household costs. The costs of ITWL were amortized over its 4-year expected lifetime and converted to 2019 US dollars using Tanzania's GDP deflator and market exchange rates.

Results: Operational improvements from phases 1 to 3 raised ITWL coverage from 35.1 to 67.1% of initially targeted households while reducing economic cost from $34.18 to $30.56 per person covered. However, 90 days after installing ITWL in 5666 households, the randomized trial was terminated prematurely because cone bioassay tests showed that ITWL no longer killed mosquitoes and therefore could not prevent malaria. The ITWL cost $10.11 per person per year compared to $5.69 for IRS. With an efficacy of 57% (3-81%), IRS averted 1162 (61-1651) disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) per 100,000 population yearly. Its incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) per DALY averted was $490 (45% of Tanzania's per capita gross national income).

Conclusions: These findings provide design specifications for future ITWL development and implementation. It would need to be efficacious and more effective and/or less costly than IRS, so more persons could be protected with a given budget. The durability of a previous ITWL, progress in non-pyrethroid tools, economies of scale and competition (as occurred with LLINs), strengthened community engagement, and more efficient installation and management procedures all offer promise of achieving these goals. Therefore, ITWLs merit ongoing study.

First Posted: 2015 ( NCT02533336 ).
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September 2021

Cost of Dengue Illness in Indonesia across Hospital, Ambulatory, and not Medically Attended Settings.

Am J Trop Med Hyg 2020 11;103(5):2029-2039

Heller School for Social Management and Policy, Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts.

Informed decisions concerning emerging technologies against dengue require knowledge about the disease's economic cost and each stakeholder's potential benefits from better control. To generate such data for Indonesia, we reviewed recent literature, analyzed expenditure and utilization data from two hospitals and two primary care facilities in Yogyakarta city, and interviewed 67 dengue patients from hospital, ambulatory, and not medically attended settings. We derived the cost of a dengue episode by outcome, setting, and the breakdown by payer. We then calculated aggregate Yogyakarta and national costs and 95% uncertainty intervals (95% UIs). Dengue costs per nonfatal case in hospital, ambulatory, not medically attended, and overall average settings were US$316.24 (95% UI: $242.30-$390.18), US$22.45 (95% UI: $14.12-$30.77), US$7.48 (95% UI: $2.36-$12.60), and US$50.41 (95% UI: $35.75-$65.07), respectively. Costs of nonfatal episodes were borne by the patient's household (37%), social contributors (relatives and friends, 20%), national health insurance (25%), and other sources (government, charity, and private insurance, 18%). After including fatal cases, the average cost per episode became $90.41 (95% UI: $72.79-$112.35). Indonesia had an estimated 7.535 (95% UI: 1.319-16.513) million dengue episodes in 2017, giving national aggregate costs of $681.26 (95% UI: $232.28-$2,371.56) million. Unlike most previous research that examined only the formal medical sector, this study included the estimated 63% of national dengue episodes that were not medically attended. Also, this study used actual costs, rather than charges, which generally understate dengue's economic burden in public facilities. Overall, this study found that Indonesia's aggregate cost of dengue was 73% higher than previously estimated, strengthening the need for effective control.
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November 2020

Oral Health Behaviors among Schoolchildren in Western Iran: Determinants and Inequality.

Clin Cosmet Investig Dent 2020 11;12:319-326. Epub 2020 Aug 11.

Heller School for Social Policy and Management, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA, USA.

Introduction: Little information exists on the status of oral hygiene behavior (OHB) and socioeconomic inequalities in developing countries like Iran. The aim of this study was to assess OHB and its determinants and socioeconomic inequality among schoolchildren in western Iran during 2018.

Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted on 1,457 students aged 12-15 years living in Kermanshah city, western Iran. We used multistage sampling to select the samples. A self-administrated questionnaire was used to collect data on OHB, sociodemographic characteristics, and economic status of the households of students. Multivariate logistic regression was used to examine the association between OHB and its determinants. We used the relative concentration index, normalized (RCIn) and a concentration curve (CC) to examine socioeconomic-related inequality in OHB.

Results: The study indicated that crude and age-adjusted prevalence of good OHB was 14.61% (95% CI 12.89%-16.53%) and 15.17% (95% CI 13.22%-17.35%), respectively. Logistic regression analysis showed that sex, mother's education, socioeconomic status, and oral health literacy had a statistically significant positive impact on OHB. RCIn (0.2582, 95% CI0.1770-0.3395) values and the CC indicated that good OHB was more concentrated among the richer children.

Conclusion: This study provides evidence that good OHB was less prevalent, signifying that oral health remains a public-health concern in Iran. Effective polices aimed at improving the socioeconomic status of households and mother's education can contribute positively and to the prevention of oral disorders among schoolchildren.
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August 2020

Embryo donation: Survey of in-vitro fertilization (IVF) patients and randomized trial of complimentary counseling.

PLoS One 2019 15;14(8):e0221149. Epub 2019 Aug 15.

Boston IVF, Waltham, Massachusetts, United States of America.

Design: This study surveyed patients with stored frozen embryos and developed and tested an intervention through a randomized trial to support subjects to consider embryo disposition options (EDOs), especially donation for family building.

Methods: Based on a review of literature on EDOs, the authors developed and mailed a 2-page anonymous survey to 1,053 patients in Massachusetts (USA) to elicit their feelings about their stored embryos. Target patients had embryos cryopreserved for ≥1 year and had not indicated an EDO. Survey respondents were next randomized between usual care (control arm) or an offer of complimentary counseling and educational support regarding EDOs. These counseling sessions were conducted by a licensed mental health professional specializing in infertility treatment.

Results: Despite telephone reminders, only 21.3% of patients responded, likely reflecting most patients' reluctance to address EDOs. Respondents endorsed an average of 2 of the 5 EDOs, with the following percentages supporting each option: store for future attempts (82%), continue storage (79%), donate to research (29%), discard (14%), and donate for family building (13%). When asked their opinions towards embryo donation to another couple, 78% of patients agreed that donation is a way to help another couple, 48% would consider embryo donation to another family if they had a better understanding of the process, and 38% would be willing to consider donation if they were not going to use the embryos themselves, but 73% expressed discomfort with donation. In the randomized trial, 7.8% of intervention subjects (n = 8) obtained counseling sessions compared to 0.0% (none) of usual care subjects (p = 0.0069). Counseling participants valued not only discussing EDOs, but also assistance in expressing their feelings and differences with their partners.

Conclusion: Improvement in counseling rates over the control arm suggests that free professional counseling is a small, but likely effective, step towards deciding on an EDO. Identifier: NCT01883934 (Frozen embryo donation study).
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March 2020

Broken smiles: The impact of untreated dental caries and missing anterior teeth on employment.

J Public Health Dent 2019 09 16;79(3):231-237. Epub 2019 Apr 16.

Brandeis University, The Heller School for Social Policy and Management, Waltham, MA, USA.

Objectives: We aimed to quantify the impact of dental caries and missing anterior teeth on employment, estimate the impact of a routine dental visit on the health of anterior teeth, and the benefits of expanding dental coverage for nonelderly adults.

Methods: We used the 2013-2014 Continuous National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey to develop a dental problem index (DPI) using tooth counts and tooth surface conditions. We estimated the impact of DPI on employment with logistic regression, controlling for seven demographic and socioeconomic covariates. We used a routine dental visit within 6 months as a proxy for access to dental services, and a linear regression to predict the DPI score for an average individual with and without a recent routine dental visit. We then computed the incremental probability of employment associated with a recent routine dental visit. Finally, we estimated the additional number of working age adults who might become employed due to improved access to dental services.

Results: The probability of being employed was negatively associated with poor oral health: a one-point increase in DPI decreased the odds of being employed by 7.70 percent (CI: 5.15-10.19%). Having a routine dental visit had a negative and statistically significant impact on DPI [-0.41 (CI: -0.68 to -0.14)]. The incremental probability of employment associated with a routine dental visit was 0.62 percent (CI: 0.21-1.03%).

Conclusions: Oral health in the United States is worse among minorities and poor than among other residents. The benefits associated with access to dental care should justify expanding dental services.
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September 2019

How useful are current caries risk assessment tools in informing the oral health care decision-making process?

J Am Dent Assoc 2019 02;150(2):91-102.e2

Background: Caries risk assessment (CRA) tools could address oral health disparities and enhance the efficiency of the oral health care system. The authors aimed to explore the feasibility and limitations of using clinical CRA tools in informing oral health care policy-making processes.

Methods: The authors used the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey to construct 10 CRA models from a sample of clinical CRA tools identified from the literature. They used these models to estimate the proportion of publicly insured people aged 1 through 20 years categorized as at low, moderate, and high risk, and they projected their oral health care costs.

Results: The authors found substantial variation among the selected models in assigning risk levels. The weighted average proportions (range) of people categorized as at low, moderate, and high risk were 25% (0%-66%), 14% (0%-50%), and 61% (11%-100%), respectively. Depending on the CRA model, the projected annual cost of covering this population ranged from $18 billion to $127 billion.

Conclusions And Practical Implications: Developing a valid, evidence-based, accurate, and reliable population-based CRA model could address the variability among clinical CRA tools, improve estimates of dental disease burden, help design targeted oral public health programs, and enable comparative effectiveness analyses among oral health care interventions.
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February 2019

Impact of a Nonfatal Dengue Episode on Disability-Adjusted Life Years: A Systematic Analysis.

Am J Trop Med Hyg 2018 12;99(6):1458-1465

Heller School for Social Policy and Management, Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts.

As dengue causes about 4,000 symptomatic nonfatal episodes for every dengue death globally, quantitative disability assessments are critical to assess the burden of dengue and the cost-effectiveness of dengue control interventions. This systematic analysis of disability or quality of life lost from a symptomatic nonfatal dengue episode combined a systematic literature review, statistical modeling, and probabilistic sensitivity analyses. We conceptualized a dengue episode as having two phases: acute and persistent symptoms. Our estimates for the acute phase, consisting of onset and recovery periods and defined as the first 20 days (0.054 year), were based on literature review. We searched PubMed, POPLINE, EconLit, Google Scholar, scientific conferences, and other sources, for "dengue" plus "quality of life" or related terms. From 4,322 initial entries, six met our criteria (original studies with empirical data). The median disability-adjusted life year (DALY) burden for the acute phase was 0.011 (95% certainty interval [CI]: 0.006-0.015) for ambulatory episodes, 0.015 (CI: 0.010-0.020) for hospitalized episodes, and 0.012 (CI: 0.006-0.019) overall. Using literature reviews about persistent dengue, we estimated that 34% of episodes experienced persistent symptoms with a median duration of symptoms of 0.087 (CI: 0.040-0.359) year, which resulted in median DALYs of 0.019 (CI: 0.008-0.082). Thus, the overall median DALY burden was 0.031 (CI: 0.017-0.092) for ambulatory episodes, 0.035 (CI: 0.024-0.096) for hospitalized episodes, and 0.032 (CI: 0.018-0.093) overall. Our dengue-specific burden of a dengue episode was 2.1 times the 2013 Global Burden of Disease estimate. These literature-based estimates provide an empirical summary for policy and cost-effectiveness analyses.
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December 2018

Cost-effectiveness of dengue vaccination in ten endemic countries.

Vaccine 2018 01 8;36(3):413-420. Epub 2017 Dec 8.

Brandeis University, The Heller School for Social Policy and Management, MS 035, PO Box 549110, Waltham, MA 02454-9110, USA. Electronic address:

Following publication of results from two phase-3 clinical trials in 10 countries or territories, endemic countries began licensing the first dengue vaccine in 2015. Using a published mathematical model, we evaluated the cost-effectiveness of dengue vaccination in populations similar to those at the trial sites in those same Latin American and Asian countries. Our main scenarios (30-year horizon, 80% coverage) entailed 3-dose routine vaccinations costing US$20/dose beginning at age 9, potentially supplemented by catch-up programs of 4- or 8-year cohorts. We obtained illness costs per case, dengue mortality, vaccine wastage, and vaccine administration costs from the literature. We estimated that routine vaccination would reduce yearly direct and indirect illness cost per capita by 22% (from US$10.51 to US$8.17) in the Latin American countries and by 23% (from US$5.78 to US$4.44) in the Asian countries. Using a health system perspective, the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) averaged US$4,216/disability-adjusted life year (DALY) averted in the five Latin American countries (range: US$666/DALY in Puerto Rico to US$5,865/DALY in Mexico). In the five Asian countries, the ICER averaged US$3,751/DALY (range: US$1,935/DALY in Malaysia to US$5,101/DALY in the Philippines). From a health system perspective, the vaccine proved to be highly cost effective (ICER under one times the per capita GDP) in seven countries and cost effective (ICER 1-3 times the per capita GDP) in the remaining three countries. From a societal perspective, routine vaccination proved cost-saving in three countries. Including catch-up campaigns gave similar ICERs. Thus, this vaccine could have a favorable economic value in sites similar to those in the trials.
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January 2018