Concept: Liberal democracies
Candida auris, an emerging fungus that can cause invasive infections, is associated with high mortality and is often resistant to multiple antifungal drugs. C. auris was first described in 2009 after being isolated from external ear canal discharge of a patient in Japan (1). Since then, reports of C. auris infections, including bloodstream infections, have been published from several countries, including Colombia, India, Israel, Kenya, Kuwait, Pakistan, South Africa, South Korea, Venezuela, and the United Kingdom (2-7). To determine whether C. auris is present in the United States and to prepare for the possibility of transmission, CDC issued a clinical alert in June 2016 informing clinicians, laboratorians, infection control practitioners, and public health authorities about C. auris and requesting that C. auris cases be reported to state and local health departments and CDC (8). This report describes the first seven U.S. cases of C. auris infection reported to CDC as of August 31, 2016. Data from these cases suggest that transmission of C. auris might have occurred in U.S. health care facilities and demonstrate the need for attention to infection control measures to control the spread of this pathogen.
Background: Household coverage with iodized salt was assessed in 10 countries that implemented Universal Salt Iodization (USI).Objective: The objective of this paper was to summarize household coverage data for iodized salt, including the relation between coverage and residence type and socioeconomic status (SES).Methods: A review was conducted of results from cross-sectional multistage household cluster surveys with the use of stratified probability proportional to size design in Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Niger, the Philippines, Senegal, Tanzania, and Uganda. Salt iodine content was assessed with quantitative methods in all cases. The primary indicator of coverage was percentage of households that used adequately iodized salt, with an additional indicator for salt with some added iodine. Indicators of risk were SES and residence type. We used 95% CIs to determine significant differences in coverage.Results: National household coverage of adequately iodized salt varied from 6.2% in Niger to 97.0% in Uganda. For salt with some added iodine, coverage varied from 52.4% in the Philippines to 99.5% in Uganda. Coverage with adequately iodized salt was significantly higher in urban than in rural households in Bangladesh (68.9% compared with 44.3%, respectively), India (86.4% compared with 69.8%, respectively), Indonesia (59.3% compared with 51.4%, respectively), the Philippines (31.5% compared with 20.2%, respectively), Senegal (53.3% compared with 19.0%, respectively), and Tanzania (89.2% compared with 57.6%, respectively). In 7 of 8 countries with data, household coverage of adequately iodized salt was significantly higher in high- than in low-SES households in Bangladesh (58.8% compared with 39.7%, respectively), Ghana (36.2% compared with 21.5%, respectively), India (80.6% compared with 70.5%, respectively), Indonesia (59.9% compared with 45.6%, respectively), the Philippines (39.4% compared with 17.3%, respectively), Senegal (50.7% compared with 27.6%, respectively) and Tanzania (80.9% compared with 51.3%, respectively).Conclusions: Uganda has achieved USI. In other countries, access to iodized salt is inequitable. Quality control and regulatory enforcement of salt iodization remain challenging. Notable progress toward USI has been made in Ethiopia and India. Assessing progress toward USI only through household salt does not account for potentially iodized salt consumed through processed foods.
Increasing population-levels of physical activity (PA) is a controversial strategy for managing the obesity epidemic, given the conflicting evidence for weight loss from PA alone per se. We measured PA and weight change in a three-year prospective cohort study in young adults from five countries (Ghana, South Africa, Jamaica, Seychelles and USA).
CONTEXT: From the mid-1990s several countries have introduced elements of regulated competition in healthcare. The aim of this paper is to identify the most important preconditions for achieving efficiency and affordability under regulated competition in healthcare, and to indicate to what extent these preconditions are fulfilled in Belgium, Germany, Israel, the Netherlands and Switzerland. These experiences can be worthwhile for other countries (considering) implementing regulated competition (e.g. Australia, Czech Republic, Ireland, Russia, Slovakia, US). METHODS: We identify and discuss ten preconditions derived from the theoretical model of regulated competition and assess the extent to which each of these preconditions is fulfilled in Belgium, Germany, Israel, the Netherlands and Switzerland. FINDINGS: After more than a decade of healthcare reforms in none of these countries all preconditions are completely fulfilled. The following preconditions are least fulfilled: consumer information and transparency, contestable markets, freedom to contract and integrate, and competition regulation. The extent to which the preconditions are fulfilled differs substantially across the five countries. Despite substantial progress in the last years in improving the risk equalization systems, insurers are still confronted with substantial incentives for risk selection, in particular in Israel and Switzerland. Imperfect risk adjustment implies that governments are faced with a complex tradeoff between efficiency, affordability and selection. CONCLUSIONS: Implementing regulated competition in healthcare is complex, given the preconditions that have to be fulfilled. Moreover, since not all preconditions can be fulfilled simultaneously, tradeoffs have to be made with implications for the levels of efficiency and affordability that can be achieved. Therefore the optimal set of preconditions is not only an empirical question but ultimately also a matter of societal preferences.
Despite the increasing availability of direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic testing, it is currently unclear how such services are regulated in Europe, due to the lack of EU or national legislation specifically addressing this issue. In this article, we provide an overview of laws that could potentially impact the regulation of DTC genetic testing in 26 European countries, namely Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Emphasis is placed on provisions relating to medical supervision, genetic counselling and informed consent. Our results indicate that currently there is a wide spectrum of laws regarding genetic testing in Europe. There are countries (e.g. France and Germany) which essentially ban DTC genetic testing, while in others (e.g. Luxembourg and Poland) DTC genetic testing may only be restricted by general laws, usually regarding health care services and patients' rights.
The Asian bush mosquito, Aedes (Hulecoeteomyia) japonicus japonicus (Theobald, 1901) (Diptera: Culicidae), was first identified in Austria in August 2011 in the federal state of Styria at the border to Slovenia.
Physical activity (PA) is important for maintaining health, but there are fundamental unanswered questions on how best it should be measured.
Industrialized nations face the common challenge of caring for aging populations, with rising rates of chronic disease and disability. Our 2014 computer-assisted telephone survey of the health and care experiences among 15,617 adults age sixty-five or older in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States has found that US older adults were sicker than their counterparts abroad. Out-of-pocket expenses posed greater problems in the United States than elsewhere. Accessing primary care and avoiding the emergency department tended to be more difficult in the United States, Canada, and Sweden than in other surveyed countries. One-fifth or more of older adults reported receiving uncoordinated care in all countries except France. US respondents were among the most likely to have discussed health-promoting behaviors with a clinician, to have a chronic care plan tailored to their daily life, and to have engaged in end-of-life care planning. Finally, in half of the countries, one-fifth or more of chronically ill adults were caregivers themselves.
The United States is in the midst of the most sweeping health insurance expansions and market reforms since the enactment of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965. Our 2013 survey of the general population in eleven countries-Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States-found that US adults were significantly more likely than their counterparts in other countries to forgo care because of cost, to have difficulty paying for care even when insured, and to encounter time-consuming insurance complexity. Signaling the lack of timely access to primary care, adults in the United States and Canada reported long waits to be seen in primary care and high use of hospital emergency departments, compared to other countries. Perhaps not surprisingly, US adults were the most likely to endorse major reforms: Three out of four called for fundamental change or rebuilding. As US health insurance expansions unfold, the survey offers benchmarks to assess US progress from an international perspective, plus insights from other countries' coverage-related policies.
Surveys of patients' experiences with health care services can reveal how well a country’s health system is meeting the needs of its population. Using data from a 2016 survey conducted in eleven countries-Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States-we found that US adults reported poor health and well-being and were the most likely to experience material hardship. The United States trailed other countries in making health care affordable and ranked poorly on providing timely access to medical care (except specialist care). In all countries, shortfalls in patient engagement and chronic care management were reported, and at least one in five adults experienced a care coordination problem. Problems were often particularly acute for low-income adults. Overall, the Netherlands performed at the top of the eleven-country range on most measures of access, engagement, and coordination.