A minimum data set for traumatic brain injuries in Iran

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is one of the major public health concerns worldwide. Developing a TBI registry could facilitate characterizing TBI, monitoring the quality of care, and quantifying the burden of TBI by collecting comparable and standardized epidemiological and clinical data. However, a national standard tool for data collection of the TBI registry has not been developed in Iran yet. This study aimed to develop a national minimum data set (MDS) for a hospital-based registry of patients suffering from TBI in Iran.

The MDS was designed in two phases, including a literature review and a Delphi study with content validation by an expert panel. After the literature review, a comprehensive list of administrative and clinical items was obtained. Through a two-round e-Delphi approach conducted by invited experts with clinical and research experience in the field of TBI, the final data elements were selected.

An MDS of TBI was assigned to two parts: administrative part with five categories including 52 data elements, and clinical part with nine categories including 130 data elements.

For the first time in Iran, we developed an MDS specified for TBI consisting of 182 data elements. The MDS would facilitate implementing a TBI’s national level registry and providing essential, comparable, and standardized information.

Breast Cancer in the Gaza Strip: The impact of the medical permit regime on public health

For the last 14 years, the Gaza Strip has been subject to an illegal blockade imposed by the Israeli and Egyptian governments. This severe restriction on movement prevents Gazans from accessing critical resources and makes access to health care, even for the most severely ill patients, contingent on a convoluted permit system run by the Israeli military. Consequences of the permit system include major delays in treatment and adverse health outcomes. My thesis explores the impact of the permit system on health outcomes for breast cancer patients in Gaza and offers recommendations for improving public health via community-based and political initiatives

Burden of Cervical Cancer in the Eastern Mediterranean Region During the Years 2000 and 2017: Retrospective Data Analysis of the Global Burden of Disease Study

Cervical cancer is a growing health concern, especially in resource-limited settings.

The objective of this study was to assess the burden of cervical cancer mortality and disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) in the Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMR) and globally between the years 2000 and 2017 by using a pooled data analysis approach.

We used an ecological approach at the country level. This included extracting data from publicly available databases and linking them together in the following 3 steps: (1) extraction of data from the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study in the years 2000 and 2017, (2) categorization of EMR countries according to the World Bank gross domestic product per capita, and (3) linking age-specific population data from the Population Statistics Division of the United Nations (20-29 years, 30-49 years, and >50 years) and GBD’s data with gross national income per capita and globally extracted data, including cervical cancer mortality and DALY numbers and rates per country. The cervical cancer mortality rate was provided by the GBD study using the following formula: number of cervical cancer deaths × 100,000/female population in the respective age group.

The absolute number of deaths due to cervical cancer increased from the year 2000 (n=6326) to the year 2017 (n=8537) in the EMR; however, the mortality rate due to this disease decreased from the year 2000 (2.7 per 100,000) to the year 2017 (2.5 per 100,000). According to age-specific data, the age group ≥50 years showed the highest mortality rate in both EMR countries and globally, and the age group of 20-29 years showed the lowest mortality rate both globally and in the EMR countries. Further, the rates of cervical cancer DALYs in the EMR were lower compared to the global rates (2.7 vs 6.8 in 2000 and 2.5 vs 6.8 in 2017 for mortality rate per 100,000; 95.8 vs 222.2 in 2000 and 86.3 vs 211.8 in 2017 for DALY rate per 100,000; respectively). However, the relative difference in the number of DALYs due to cervical cancer between the year 2000 and year 2017 in the EMR was higher than that reported globally (34.9 vs 24.0 for the number of deaths and 23.5 vs 18.1 for the number of DALYs, respectively).

We found an increase in the burden of cervical cancer in the EMR as per the data on the absolute number of deaths and DALYs. Further, we found that the health care system has an increased number of cases to deal with, despite the decrease in the absolute number of deaths and DALYs. Cervical cancer is preventable if human papilloma vaccination is taken and early screening is performed. Therefore, we recommend identifying effective vaccination programs and interventions to reduce the burden of this disease.

eHealth for service delivery in conflict: a narrative review of the application of eHealth technologies in contemporary conflict settings

The role of eHealth in conflict settings is increasingly important to address geographic, epidemiologic and clinical disparities. This study categorizes various forms of eHealth usage in conflict and aims to identify gaps in evidence to make recommendations for further research and practice. The analysis was carried out via a narrative hermeneutic review methodology. Articles that fulfilled the following screening criteria were reviewed: (1) describing an eHealth intervention in active conflict or ongoing insurgency, (2) an eHealth intervention targeting a conflict-affected population, (3) an e-learning platform for delivery in conflict settings and (4) non-interventional descriptive reviews relating to eHealth in conflict. Of the 489 papers eligible for screening, 46 merited final inclusion. Conflict settings described include Somalia, Sudan, Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Pakistan, Chechnya, Gaza and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Thirty-six studies described specific eHealth initiatives, while the remainder were more generic review papers exploring general principles. Analysis resulted in the elucidation of three final categories of current eHealth activity in conflict-affected settings: (1) eHealth for clinical management, (2) e-learning for healthcare in conflict and (3) eHealth for information management in conflict. Obvious disparities in the distribution of technological dividends from eHealth in conflict are demonstrated by this review. Conflict-affected populations are predominantly subject to ad hoc and voluntary initiatives delivered by diaspora and civil society organizations. While the deployment of eHealth technologies in conflict settings is increasingly normalized, there is a need for further clarification of global norms relating to practice in this context.

Primary care and pulmonary physicians’ knowledge and practice concerning screening for lung cancer in Lebanon, a middle‐income country

Screening for lung cancer with low‐dose computed tomography (LDCT) was shown to reduce lung cancer incidence and overall mortality, and it has been recently included in international guidelines. Despite the rising burden of lung cancer in low and middle‐income countries (LMICs) such as Lebanon, little is known about what primary care physicians or pulmonologists know and think about LDCT as a screening procedure for lung cancer, and if they recommend it.

Evaluate the knowledge about LDCT and implementation of international guidelines for lung cancer screening among Lebanese primary care physicians (PCPs) and pulmonary specialists.

PCPs and PUs based in Lebanon were surveyed concerning knowledge and practices related to lung cancer screening by self‐administered paper questionnaires.

73.8% of PCPs and 60.7% of pulmonary specialists recognized LDCT as an effective tool for lung cancer screening, with 63.6% of PCPs and 71% of pulmonary specialists having used it for screening. However, only 23.4% of PCPs and 14.5% of pulmonary specialists recognized the eligibility criteria for screening. Chest X‐ray was recognized as ineffective by only 55.8% of PCPs and 40.7% of pulmonary specialists; indeed, 30.2% of PCPs and 46% of pulmonary specialists continue using it for screening. The majority have initiated a discussion about the risks and benefits of lung cancer screening.

PCPs and pulmonary specialists are initiating discussions and ordering LDCT for lung cancer screening. However, a significant proportion of both specialties are still using a non‐recommended screening tool (chest x‐ray); only few PCPs and pulmonary specialists recognized the population at risk for which screening is recommended. Targeted provider education is needed to close the knowledge gap and promote proper implementation of guidelines for lung cancer screening.

Evaluating mechanism and severity of injuries among trauma patients admitted at Sina Hospital, the National Trauma Registry of Iran

Injuries are one of the leading causes of death and lead to a high social and financial burden. Injury patterns can vary significantly among different age groups and body regions. This study aimed to evaluate the relationship between mechanism of injury, patient comorbidities and severity of injuries.

The study included trauma patients from July 2016 to June 2018, who were admitted to Sina Hospital, Tehran, Iran, for 2 years. The inclusion criteria were all injured patients who had at least one of the following: hospital length of stay more than 24 h, death in hospital, and transfer from the intensive care unit of another hospital. Data collection was performed using the National Trauma Registry of Iran (NTRI) minimum dataset.

The most common injury mechanism was road traffic injuries (49.0%), followed by falls (25.5%). The mean age of those who fell was significantly higher in comparison with other mechanisms (p < 0.001). Severe extremity injuries occurred more often in the fall group than in the vehicle collision group (69.0% vs. 43.5%, p < 0.001). Moreover, cases of severe multiple trauma were higher amongst vehicle collisions than injuries caused by falls (27.8% vs. 12.9%, p = 0.003). Conclusion Comparing falls with motor vehicle collisions, patients who fell were older and sustained more extremity injuries. Patients injured by motor vehicle collision were more likely to have sustained multiple trauma than those presenting with falls. Recognition of the relationship between mechanisms and consequences of injuries may lead to more effective interventions.

Assessment of Retinoblastoma Capacity in the Middle East, North Africa, and West Asia Region

We aimed to evaluate the capacity to treat retinoblastoma in the Middle East, North Africa, and West Asia region.

A Web-based assessment that investigated retinoblastoma-related pediatric oncology and ophthalmology infrastructure and associated capacity at member institutions of the Pediatric Oncology East and Mediterranean group was distributed. Data were analyzed in terms of availability, location, and confidence of use for each resource needed for the management of retinoblastoma. Resources were categorized by diagnostics, focal therapy, chemotherapy, advanced treatment, and supportive care. Responding institutions were further divided into an asset-based tiered system.

In total, responses from 23 institutions were obtained. Fifteen institutions reported the availability of an ophthalmologist, 12 of which held primary off-site appointments. All institutions reported the availability of a pediatric oncologist and systemic chemotherapy A significant portion of available resources was located off site. Green laser was available on site at seven institutions, diode laser at six institutions, cryotherapy at 12 institutions, and brachytherapy at nine institutions. There existed marked disparity between the availability of some specific ophthalmic resources and oncologic resources.

The assessment revealed common themes related to the treatment of retinoblastoma in low- and- middle-income countries, including decentralization of care, limited resources, and lack of multidisciplinary care. Resource disparities warrant targeted intervention in the Middle East, North Africa, and West Asia region to advance the management of retinoblastoma in the region.

Developing a National Integrated Road Traffic Injury Registry System: A Conceptual Model for a Multidisciplinary Setting

Introduction: Despite a high burden of traffic injuries, effective integrated or linked injury surveillance systems are rarely available in many low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). The aim of the current study was to define a conceptual model for developing a national integrated traffic injury registry in Iran.
Methods: A mult-method study financially and technically supported by the World Health Organization, Iranian Ministry of Health, Iranian Traffic Police, and the Iranian Legal Medicine Organization was conducted. A theoretical framework, forming the core conceptual components, was developed based on expert reviews. The preliminary conceptual model was developed by a panel of experts and tailored through a national workshop of 50 scientists, authorities and experts from nearly all sectors related to road safety promotion and injury management. It was then sent out to external reviewers in order to assess and improve the content validity of the model.
Results: The conceptual model was developed to have six components. These included 1) aims and core definitions; 2) content and core measurements; 3) data flow; 4) data collection routines; 5) organizational matrix; 6) implementation organization. The Haddon’s matrix was adapted to be used as the theoretical framework in defining the content and data flow components of IRTIR. Five subcomponents were defined in the content and core measurements component with each having several subcategories. Each subcomponent/subcategory was finally divided into several item groups to guide defining the final data measurement variables. The data flow component was defined with six data sequence stations. Through the organizational matrix component, five major organizations relevant to road traffic safety were defined as core data production contributors. Some organizations also owned several sub-organizations which contributed in this regard.
Conclusion: It is concluded that the IRTIR conceptual model includes the required six components for developing a national integrated registry for Iran. Its main component called, content and core measurements, leads the researchers in developing final data collection tools in developing the national registry of road traffic injuries in Iran.

The Cervical Cancer (CC) Epidemiology and Human Papillomavirus (HPV) in the Middle East

Viral infections contribute 15–20 percent of all human cancers as a cause. Oncogenic virus infection may spur various stages of carcinogenesis. For several forms for HPV, about 15 associated with cancer. Following successful test techniques, cervical cancer remains a significant public health issue. Prevalence and mortality of per geographic area of cervical cancer were vastly different. The fourth most common cause of death from cancer among women is cervical cancer (CC). Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection in the cervix is the most significant risk factor for forming cervical cancer. Inflammation is a host-driven defensive technique that works rapidly to stimulate the innate immune response against pathogens such as viral infections. Inflammation is advantageous if it is brief and well-controlled; however, it can cause adverse effects if the inflammation is prolonged or is chronic in duration. HPV proteins are involved in the production of chronic inflammation, both directly and indirectly. Also, the age-specific prevalence of HPV differs significantly. Two peaks of HPV positive in younger and older people have seen in various populations. A variety of research has performed worldwide on the epidemiology of HPV infection and oncogenic properties due to specific HPV genotypes. Nevertheless, there are still several countries where population-dependent incidences have not yet identified. Additionally, the methods of screening for cervical cancer differ among countries.

Using modified Delphi method to propose and validate components of child injury surveillance system for Iran

Child injuries are a public health concern globally. Injury Surveillance Systems (ISSs) have a beneficial impact on child injury prevention. There is a need for evidence-based consensus on frameworks to establish child ISSs. This research aims to investigate the key components of a child ISS for Iran and to propose a framework for implementation.

Data were gathered through interview with experts using unstructured questions from January 2017 to December 2018 to identify child ISS functional components. Qualitative data were analyzed using content analysis method. Then, modified Delphi method was used to validate the functional components. Based on the outcomes of the content analysis, a questionnaire with closed questions was developed to be presented to a group of experts. Consensus was achieved in two rounds.

In round one, 117 items reached consensus. In round two, 5 items reached consensus and were incorporated into final framework. Consensus was reached for 122 items comprising the final framework and representing 7 key components: goals of the system, data sources, data set, coalition of stakeholders, data collection, data analysis and data distribution. Each component consisted of several sub-components and respective elements.

This agreed framework will assist in standardizing data collection, analysis and distribution to detect child injury problems and provide evidence for preventive measures.