81-100 of 178 Results

Article

How Primary Maternal-Child Healthcare Reduces Mortality among Mothers and Children throughout the World: A Historical and Personal Reflection on Progress and Missed Opportunities  

Nicholas Cunningham

In the first decades of the 21st century, despite major medical advances, women in the least developed parts of the world are dying in childbirth far more often than women in wealthier nations, and their children are far more likely to die before reaching age 5. The major reason for this is that healthcare in these areas lacks its foundation: basic primary maternal and child healthcare (MCH). Two early examples of primary MCH care showed that the high death rates for mothers and children could be reduced substantially at low cost: David Morley’s Under-Fives Clinic in Western Nigeria, which began in the 1960s, and the Aroles’ Jamkhed Project in Maharashtra State in India, which began in the early 1970s. The lessons learned from these two early projects were also highlighted as principles at the Alma Ata International Primary Care Conference in 1978. They included: 1. Integration of basic curative care with the various aspects of promotive/preventive care, the former building the trust required for full acceptance of the less-understood aspects of the latter, such as immunizations, family planning, and exclusive breastfeeding during the first six months of life. 2. Heavy reliance on well-supervised lower-level health workers (including community health workers) to reach entire target populations. 3. Reliable delivery of a limited formulary of common, low-cost medical supplies and medications. 4. Partnerships among government ministries of health, education, and finance with communities and with local, national and international non-governmental organizations, and, 5. Gradual buildup as the health system and the communities enhance their capacity to support the work, so that success builds on success. It is past time for building primary MCH and eventually total population-based care systems everywhere. The first and biggest benefit will be in least developed societies, where the present rate of preventable mother and child deaths is unconscionable.

Article

How Trust and Risk Perception Affect Household Water Use  

Raymond Yu Wang and Xiaofeng Liu

Household water use accounts for an important portion of water consumption. Notably, different households may behave differently regarding how water is used in everyday life. Trust and risk perception are two significant psychological factors that influence water use behavior in households. Since trust and risk perception are malleable and subject to construction, they are useful for developing effective demand management strategies and water conservation policies. The concepts of trust and risk perception are multidimensional and interconnected. Risk perception varies across social groups and is often shaped by subjective feelings toward a variety of activities, events, and technologies. Risk perception is also mediated by trust, which involves a positive expectation of an individual, an organization, and/or an institution that derives from complex processes, characteristics, and competence. Likewise, different social groups’ trust in various entities involved in household water use is subject to the significant and far-reaching impact of risk perception. The complexity of the two notions poses challenges to the measurement and exploration of their effects on household water use. In many cases, risk perception and trust can influence people’s acceptance of water sources (e.g., tap water, bottled water, recycled water, and desalinated water) and their conservation behavior (e.g., installing water-saving technologies and reducing water consumption) in household water use. Trust can affect household water use indirectly through its influence on risk perception. Moreover, trust and risk perception in household water use are neither given nor fixed; rather, they are dynamically determined by external, internal, and informational factors. A coherent, stable, transparent, and fair social and institutional structure is conducive to building trust. However, trust and risk perception differ among groups with diverse household and/or individual demographic, economic, social, and cultural characteristics. Direct information from personal experiences and, more importantly, indirect information from one’s social network, as well as from mass media and social media, play an increasingly important role in the formation and evolution of trust and risk perception, bringing a profound impact on household water use in an era of information. Future directions lie in new dynamics of risk perception and trust in the era of information explosion, the coevolution mechanism of risk perception and trust in household water use, the nuanced impacts of different types of risks (e.g., controllable and uncontrollable) on household water use, and the interactive relations of risk perception and trust across geographical contexts.

Article

Impacts of Climate Change on Workers’ Health and Safety  

Barry S. Levy and Cora Roelofs

Climate change has increased the risk to workers’ health and safety. Workers, especially those who work outdoors or in hot indoor environments, are at increased risk of heat stress and other heat-related disorders, occupational injuries, and reduced productivity at work. A variety of approaches have been developed to measure and assess workers’ occupational heat exposure and the risk of heat-related disorders. In addition, increased ambient temperature may increase workers’ exposure to hazardous chemicals and the adverse effects of chemicals on their health. Global warming will influence the distribution of weeds, insect pests, and pathogens, and will introduce new pests, all of which could change the types and amounts of pesticides used, thereby affecting the health of agricultural workers and others. Increased ambient temperatures may contribute to chronic kidney disease of unknown etiology among workers. Global warming is increasing ground-level ozone concentrations with adverse effects on outdoor workers and others. Extreme weather events related to climate change pose injury risks to rescue and recovery workers. Reducing the risks of work-related illnesses and injuries from climate change requires a three-pronged approach: (1) mitigating the production of greenhouse gases, the primary cause of climate change; (2) implementing adaptation measures to address the overall consequences of climate change; and (3) implementing improved measures for occupational health and safety.

Article

Implementation and Dissemination of Evidence-based Programs for the Prevention and Management of Chronic Conditions in Older Adults: Theoretical Perspectives and Case Examples from the United States  

Marcia G. Ory, Chinelo K. Nsobundu, and Yeka W. Nmadu

More than 50 million Americans are currently 65 and older, with current projections estimating that there will be nearly 100 million by 2060. While there is great variability among the older population, many older adults will be disproportionately affected by negative health and well-being consequences associated with chronic diseases, increased fall risk, and physical inactivity. The implementation and dissemination of evidence-based programs can play a major role in the prevention and management of these conditions, thus improving quality of life for the growing number of older adults worldwide. These goals are consistent with the World Health Organization Declaration of the Decade of Healthy Ageing. Research and practice around evidence-based programs for chronic illness management and related conditions in older adults have spearheaded many new opportunities to promote healthy aging as well as revealing challenges in getting effective programs and policies implemented and widely disseminated. For example, most evidence-based programs are not readily scalable or sustainable. Reasons for this may include delay in implementing programs as a result of contextual barriers or the lack of infrastructure for dissemination. These challenges emphasize the need for strategies to ensure the successful implementation and dissemination of evidence-based programs for older adults. Dissemination and implementation science (DIS) provides a broad framework to design interventions and identify implementation strategies that work in diverse real-world clinical and community settings to meet the need of diverse populations. Advancements in research and practice require a basic understanding of (a) principles of DIS; (b) relevant theories, frameworks, and conceptual models; (c) awareness of national and international case examples of chronic disease, falls, and physical activity initiatives for better management of health and functioning in older adults; and (d) shared lessons from research and practice. This lens helps underscore the importance of the evidence-based program movement to the aging services network.

Article

The Implications of Informal Settlement Upgrading Programs for Access to Water, Sanitation, and Public Health  

David Satterthwaite and Alice Sverdlik

Most cities in low- and middle-income countries have substantial proportions of their population living in informal settlements—sometimes up to 60% or more. These also house much of the city’s low-income workforce; many informal settlements also concentrate informal economic activities. These settlements usually lack good provision for water, sanitation, and other essential services. The conventional government responses were to bulldoze them or ignore them. But from the 1960s, another approach became common—upgrading settlements to provide missing infrastructure (e.g., water pipes, sewers, drains). In the last 20 years, community-driven upgrading has become increasingly common. Upgrading initiatives are very diverse. At their best, they produce high-quality and healthy living conditions and services that would be expected to greatly reduce illness, injury or disablement, and premature death. But at their worst, upgrading schemes provide a limited range of improvements do nothing to reduce the inhabitants’ exclusion from public services. There is surprisingly little research on upgrading’s impact on health. One reason is the very large number of health determinants at play. Another is the lack of data on informal settlement populations. Much of the innovation in upgrading is in partnerships between local governments and organizations formed by informal settlement residents, including slum/shack dweller federations that are active in over 30 nations. Community-driven processes can deal with issues that are more difficult for professionals to resolve—including mapping and enumerations. Meanwhile, local government can provide the connections to all-weather roads, water mains, sewers, and storm drains into which communities can connect.

Article

Improving Post-Acute Care Quality for Older Adults in the U.S.: Nursing Homes and Beyond  

Caroline P. Thirukumaran and Brian E. McGarry

Medical and surgical post-acute care (PAC) encompasses the rehabilitative and palliative health services that individuals typically receive following a stay in an acute care hospital and is a critical source of post-hospitalization care for Medicare-insured patients undergoing surgeries such as hip and knee replacements, or with medical conditions such as septicemia or severe sepsis. PAC, commonly delivered through skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), has long been prone to quality issues, and national policies are routinely reformed to improve their quality. Yet reform initiatives are often hampered by challenges related to the measurement of quality and the way in which PAC, especially in SNFs, is financed. Moreover, the lack of clear guidelines about the optimal PAC setting (e.g., institution vs. home) and the clinical and social characteristics of patients that may benefit from a particular setting has resulted in PAC being a source of wasteful spending. These challenges have been heightened by extensive payment reforms following the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the COVID-19 pandemic. These changes have the potential to upend the status quo of the PAC business model, with wide-ranging potential implications for older adults’ access to high-quality rehabilitative care. The determination of value in PAC settings has commonly used Medicare claims and assessment data; focused on metrics such as readmissions, length of stay, spending, and transition to the community; and relied on reporting through the Care Compare website. The advances in PAC-focused reforms and the growing emphasis on care coordination have motivated promising initiatives such as standardization of metrics across PAC settings; the use of accountable care organizations and episode-based bundled payments for PAC reimbursement; the use of telehealth; and other innovations that are positioned to encourage the delivery of high-quality rehabilitative care.

Article

Inclusive Medicine and Medical Education: Increasing the Number of Clinicians With Disabilities  

Kristina Petersen, Zoie Sheets, Satendra Singh, Zina Jawadi, Dawn Michael, and Lisa Meeks

For two decades, leaders in medical education have emphasized the importance of increasing diversity within the physician workforce to better reflect the general population, including people with disabilities. Historically, the barriers in medical education for the inclusion of learners with disabilities have been many. As we progress through the early 21st century, researchers are seeking to reduce or eliminate these barriers to improve access to medical school education by readily putting forth the value of disability as diversity. Inclusive and accessible learning environments for those with disabilities benefit all learners. Carrying these findings into the healthcare profession brings further evidence to show the concordance between patients and physicians with disabilities through the lived experiences of being a patient with increased empathy and patient-focused care. With the inclusion of learners and practitioners with disabilities, their lived experiences, and allies contributing to the environments and standards in medical education and the medical profession, significant contributions for equitable opportunities and improvements can be made that ultimately benefit all.

Article

Indigenous Health and Connection to Country  

Alister Thorpe, Aryati Yashadhana, Brett Biles, Emily Munro-Harrison, and Jonathan Kingsley

There are an estimated 370 million Indigenous peoples living in more than 70 countries. Indigenous populations are defined as the First Peoples occupying countries or regions at times of colonization, with distinct cultural, religious, and social practices that distinguish them from other populations. Indigenous peoples across the globe have deep, intimate, holistic, localized, and reciprocal relationships and connections to their “Country” (as it is known in Australia), which includes elements of the land, sea, waterways, sky, stars, and living and nonliving entities. This relationship is largely unacknowledged through Western biomedical models of health, which tend to focus on individual risk behaviors and disease outcomes, thereby situating Indigenous health inequities in terms of deficiency and ignoring the ongoing impacts and trauma of colonization. Indigenous concepts of health are holistic, encompassing emotional, physical, cultural, and spiritual health. Country is central to health and is steeped in the harmonized interrelationships that constitute cultural well-being. Models for measuring and understanding health outcomes for Indigenous peoples need to respectfully incorporate the full range of determinants that are relevant to their health that understand the importance of connection to Country.

Article

Indigenous Health Policy  

Ian Anderson and Kate Silburn

The United Nations estimates that there are more than 476 million Indigenous peoples across the globe, which is almost 7% of the world’s population. Although Indigenous peoples are defined in a variety of political and cultural ways, there is increasing recognition of the seven defining criteria for indigeneity as set out by UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. Globally, Indigenous peoples tend to do less well than benchmark populations in health and social outcomes—although the degree of difference varies markedly between countries. Of the vast range of different in-country policy and service responses that address these inequalities, the collection of accurate and relevant data on Indigenous peoples is key to monitoring their health outcomes. Health and data researchers and policymakers have advocated for stronger Indigenous governance of both the data and health system responses. To achieve this, they have increasingly engaged a variety of global governances systems. Principally, but not exclusively, this advocacy has targeted UN mechanisms such as the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and the Human Rights Council Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Article

Inequalities and Inequities in the Health of People With Intellectual Disabilities  

Eric Emerson

Children and adults with intellectual disabilities have poorer health and are more likely to die sooner than their non–intellectually disabled peers. There is growing evidence that some of these inequalities in health are avoidable, unjust, and unfair, given that they are driven by the higher rates of exposure of people with intellectual disabilities to well-established social determinants of poor health. People with intellectual disabilities are more likely than their peers to: live in poverty, not be employed (or if employed to work under precarious conditions), be exposed to discrimination and violence, face significant barriers in accessing effective health care, and be less resilient when exposed to adversities. In other words, they are examples of health inequities that arise from “the societal conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age, referred to as social determinants of health. These include early years’ experiences, education, economic status, employment and decent work, housing and environment, and effective systems of preventing and treating ill health” (World Health Organization). Future research needs to address three key issues. First, most of the existing evidence is based on the experiences of people with intellectual disabilities in the world’s high-income countries. In contrast, the vast majority of the world’s population live in middle- and low-income countries. The limited evidence available suggests that children with intellectual disabilities growing up in middle- and low-income countries are much more likely than their peers to be growing up in poverty and to be exposed to specific social determinants of poorer health associated with poverty such as undernutrition, poor sanitation, low levels of parental stimulation, violent parental discipline, and hazardous forms of child labor. Second, little research has focused on health inequalities and inequities among two important groups of people with intellectual disabilities: people with intellectual disabilities from minority ethnic communities and people with mild intellectual disabilities. Third, very little research has attempted to test the proposition that people with intellectual disabilities may be more or less resilient than their peers when exposed to social determinants of health. While much remains to be learned about the inequalities and inequities faced by people with intellectual disabilities, the existing knowledge is sufficient to guide and drive changes in policy and practice that could reduce the health inequities faced by people with intellectual disabilities. These include: improving the visibility of people with intellectual disabilities in local, national, and international health surveillance systems; making “reasonable accommodations” to the operation of health care systems (e.g., introducing annual health checks into primary care services, making “easy read” materials available, employing intellectual disabilities liaison nurses in acute hospitals) to ensure that people with intellectual disabilities are not exposed to systemic discrimination; and ensuring that people with intellectual disabilities (along with all other people with disabilities) are included in and benefit equally from local and national strategies to reduce population levels of exposure to well-established social determinants of poor health.

Article

Infectious Diseases Among Migrant Populations  

Silvia Declich, Maria Grazia Dente, Christina Greenaway, and Francesco Castelli

Increasing human mobility, of which migration is a component, is a key driver of microorganism circulation. Migration is a minor component of all human mobility, with most movement due to international tourism, travel for work, business, or study, and military operations abroad. Migration flows from southern low-income countries to the industrialized north have steadily increased as a consequences of a complex array of distal and proximal factors such as economic inequality, climate change, political turbulence, war and persecution, and family reunification. This has raised concerns about the potential transmission and reintroduction of microorganisms and infectious diseases into high-income host countries from migrants with asymptomatic infections such as tuberculosis, HIV, viral hepatitis, malaria, Chagas disease, and arboviral infections. These factors contribute to the mounting hostile attitude sometimes observed in receiving countries and deserve careful scientific assessment to inform policies and interventions. The available evidence does not support the hypothesis that migrants constitute a relevant infectious public health risk for the local population, although careful epidemiological surveillance is mandatory, especially where competent vectors for specific infection are present in the destination area, where certain diseases may potentially be introduced or reintroduced. The greatest risk of infectious diseases is to the migrants themselves due to increased risk of exposure within their own communities and from the burden of undetected and untreated infections caused by marginalization and poor living conditions. The health conditions vary at the different stages of settlement and interventions need to be tailored accordingly. In the early arrival phase the main health concerns are psychological, traumatic, and chronic conditions. Crowded unhygienic living conditions often experienced by migrants in reception camps coupled with low vaccination rate may facilitate the transmission of respiratory or gastrointestinal infections or vaccine-preventable diseases. After resettlement, undetected infections and the lack of access to health care due to social marginalization may lead to the reactivation or progression of infections such as tuberculosis, viral hepatitis, HIV, and chronic helminthiasis. These outcomes could be prevented through screening and treatment and would benefit both migrants and the host populations. Pretravel interventions that increase the awareness of the possible infectious risks in their countries of origin are critical to decrease travel-related infection among visiting friends and relatives, especially those traveling with children. Migrant-friendly health systems that ensure prompt access to diagnosis and treatment, regardless of legal status, are the best interventions to limit the burden and transmission of infections in this population.

Article

Injury Prevention Methods  

Samuel Forjuoh and Guohua Li

Injury prevention encompasses all the processes, strategies, and approaches designed to mitigate any unintentional or intentional bodily damage from external causes, such as motor vehicle crashes, falls from height, or incidents resulting in deprivation of the two essential elements needed for the proper functioning of the body, oxygen and heat. The methods for developing injury prevention strategies have undergone a steady upward developmental trajectory since Hippocratic times. In particular, the past few decades have witnessed transformative innovations from a myriad of studies that focused on the best strategies to prevent injury from occurring and/or to mitigate the severity of injury when primary prevention fails. These methods, techniques, and processes for developing injury prevention strategies and interventions are generally classified as falling under the “6 Es” of injury prevention: education, engineering modifications, enforcement/enactment, economic incentive (equity), empowerment, and evaluation. The Haddon matrix is the primary conceptual framework for developing injury prevention strategies. Other issues that are germane to effective injury prevention include synergism of interventions and appropriate transfer of interventions across settings.

Article

The Intersection of Disability With Substance Use and Addiction  

Sharon Reif, Margaret T. Lee, and Emily Ledingham

As many as one in four adults have a disability and up to one in 12 have addiction to alcohol or drugs yet little is known about their intersection or more broadly about substance use among people with disabilities. The complex interplay of social, economic, and health factors associated with disability are also risk factors for substance use, unhealthy use, and addiction. Disability stigma and stereotypes are common around substance use by disabled people and their ability to engage in treatment and recovery. Many people with disabilities abstain from alcohol and drug use yet rates of addiction are higher across most disabilities than among the nondisabled, with the notable exception of alcohol. Despite this, disabled people are less likely to enter addiction treatment than nondisabled people. Stigma and other barriers to treatment are common for all people with substance use problems and more so for people with disabilities. Attitudes, discriminatory policies or practices, communications, and physical constraints reflect ableism and affect the ability of people with disabilities to enter addiction treatment. Once treatment is initiated, success can be maximized by meeting specific disability-related needs. For people with physical and sensory disabilities, if physical accessibility and communications accommodations are met, success in addiction treatment presumably should parallel that of people without these disabilities. For people with intellectual, developmental, and cognitive disabilities, success may require additional adaptations. Promising approaches exist but cross-systems training and collaboration is essential. By reducing ableism, misbeliefs, and stigma and offering flexible treatment approaches along with the required accommodations, people with disabilities who also have addiction should be supported in reducing unhealthy substance use and in their paths to recovery.

Article

The Intersections of Resistance and Health  

Ryan Essex

Resistance refers to a range of actions such as marches, strikes, and civil disobedience. It also refers to less visible and even hidden acts like sabotage. Perhaps more subtly, it refers to discourse and knowledge; how issues are thought or spoken about could be an act of resistance. While the concept of resistance is far from settled, it is a concept that has broad applications and has been applied to better understand a range of actions and struggles. Its relationship to health, however, has often been overlooked or taken for granted. This is despite resistance having an influential role in securing a number of important health related gains and pushing back against powers that would otherwise harm health. Resistance has also been triggered by concerns about health, or framed around issues related to health. The intersections of resistance and health, however, are far more complex. Resistance has challenged and shaped health related knowledge and practice, and health in itself has been used as an act of resistance. Charting the intersections of health and resistance is not only important in itself; it also sheds light on how disruption, dispute, and opposition can shape health and well-being.

Article

Intervention Approaches for Osteoarthritis  

Susan Hughes, Cheryl Der Ananian, and Andrew DeMott

Osteoarthritis (OA) currently affects 32.5 million people in the United States at a cost of $136.8 billion. The available literature on the epidemiology of OA shows that the number of people affected will increase exponentially by the year 2040, affecting 78.4 million people. There is an abundance of evidence that self-management and physical activity (PA) approaches improve multiple outcomes for individuals with arthritis. However, these programs are not widely accessible to the population that can benefit from them across the United States. Two national organizations—the arthritis program of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Administration on Community Living (ACL)—have established similar, but distinct, criteria for the review of evidence-based programs and seek to promote their dissemination. The CDC arthritis program has reviewed the evidence bases of arthritis-appropriate, evidence-based intervention programs and classified them as self-management or PA approaches. These “recognized” programs are recommended for national dissemination by the CDC. The ACL has also recognized several of the same programs by using its own criteria and classified them as Self-Management or Falls Prevention approaches. The different review criteria used by these two national public organizations present significant challenges for investigators who design interventions. The situation is further compounded by an investment in funding that hugely supports the discovery of interventions as opposed to the dissemination of interventions that have demonstrated efficacy. The National Public Health Agenda for Osteoarthritis: 2020 Update presents a blueprint that includes nine strategies for improving public health outcomes among persons with OA. These recommendations should be considered by interventionists in the future when developing programs. Other areas that can substantially benefit from further research include weight management and weight loss, injury prevention, technology-based interventions, addressing comorbid conditions, and understanding program mechanisms of action. Finally, underscoring all of these approaches and common to them is the need to enroll underserved populations to improve health equity. Underserved populations disproportionately include African Americans, Hispanics, persons with low socioeconomic status, and persons who live in rural areas of the United States. Policy recommendations to render future approaches to improving health outcomes for persons with OA are (a) to increase funding for the dissemination of programs that demonstrated efficacy and effectiveness, (b) to increase the transparency of the review and funding processes across public agencies, and (c) to nurture, broker, and provide sustainable funding streams to maintain evidence-based programming for all persons with OA across the United States.

Article

Investing in Community Organizations That Serve Marginalized Populations  

Margarita Alegria, Lauren Cohen, Ziqiang Lin, Michelle Cheng, and Sheri Lapatin Markle

Minoritized racial and ethnic groups experience mental health issues yet persistently encounter systemic barriers to accessing mental health care. Disparities in mental health services are linked to structural racism, discrimination, and stigma. Social determinants of health also impact the risk of experiencing mental health issues and contribute to mental healthcare access. Community-based organizations (CBOs) can serve as vital linkages for delivering much-needed support across many domains (e.g., physical and mental health, housing, food, recreation, etc.) and provide opportunities for fostering connections with members of underserved communities. There is untapped potential in leveraging the skills and expertise offered by CBOs and their staff. Designing programs and interventions that incorporate the goals and ideals of the community served may facilitate sustainability and contribute to a reconceptualization of care delivery based on equity. Ensuring that community-informed initiatives are set up for success will require advocacy for multisector collaboration and innovative approaches and policies that facilitate community collaborations to improve mental health and well-being for communities of color to flourish.

Article

Legal, Regulatory, and Institutional Framework of Water and Sanitation Services in the Eastern and Southern Africa Region  

Yvonne Magawa

Deteriorating quality of service provision and disease outbreaks (such as cholera) led to the institution of water supply and sanitation (WSS) sector reforms in Eastern and Southern Africa region in the 1990s. The realization of the urgent need to improve the performance of the sector, especially as related to health impacts, resulted in the formulation of new policy and legal and institutional frameworks to reorganize the sector and establish regulators who could address networked and nonnetworked WSS systems. Regulators as policy implementers have the delicate role of balancing the interests of government, service providers, and consumers. Decision- makers continue to design, implement, and evaluate the outcomes associated with new frameworks. Regional regulatory cooperation can accelerate improvements in service provision to meet the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals through development of common frameworks and approaches for WSS that can be adapted to unique country situations.

Article

Male Reproductive Function and Fecundity  

Michael T. Mbizvo and Tendai M. Chiware

Male reproductive function entails complex processes, involving coordinated interactions between molecular structures within the gonadal and hormonal pathways, tightly regulated by the hypothalamic–pituitary gonadal axis. Studies in men and animal models continue to unravel these processes from embryonic urogenital development to gonadal and urogenital ducts function. The hypothalamic decapeptide gonadotropin-releasing hormone is released into the hypophyseal portal circulation in a pulsatile fashion. It acts on the gonadotropes to produce the gonadotropins, the main trophic hormones acting on the testis to regulate sperm production. This endocrine control is complemented by paracrine and autocrine regulation arising from the testis, where germ cells originate, modulated by growth factors and local regulators arising within the testis. The process of spermatogenesis, originating in seminiferous tubules, is characterized by stem cell proliferation and differentiation, meiotic divisions, expression of transcriptional regulators, through to morphological changes which include cytoplasm reorganization and flagellum development. Metabolic processes and signal transduction pathways facilitate the functional motion and transport of sperm to the site of fertilization. The normal sperm structure or morphology acquired during spermatogenesis, epididymal maturation, sperm capacitation including motility, and subsequent acrosome reaction are all critical events in the acquisition of sperm fertilizing ability. Generation of the male gamete is assured through adequate gonadal function, involving complex differentiation processes and regulation, during spermiogenesis and spermatogenesis. Sperm functional changes are acquired during epididymal transit, and functional motion is maintained in the female reproductive tract, involving activation of signaling processes and transduction pathways. Infertility can arise in the male, from spermatogenic failure, sperm functional quality, obstruction and other factors, but causes remain unknown in a large proportion of affected men. Semen analysis, complemented by the clinical picture, remains the mainstay of male infertility investigation. Assisted reproductive technology has proved useful in instances where the cause is not treatable. Complications from sexually transmitted infections could lead to male infertility, by impairing sperm quality, production, or transport through the reproductive tract. Male fecundity denotes the biological capacity of men to reproduce, based on ability to ejaculate normal sperm. Lifestyle, environmental, and endocrine disruptors have been implicated in reduced male fecundity. Interactions between vascular, neurological, hormonal, and psychological factors confer normal sexual function in men. Nocturnal erections begin in early puberty, occurring with REM sleep. Sexual health is an integral part of sexual and reproductive health, while sexual dysfunction, in various forms, is also experienced by some men. Methods of contraception available to men are few, and underused. They include condoms and vasectomy. Enhanced knowledge of male reproductive function and underlying physiological mechanisms, including sperm transit to fertilization, can be catalytic in improvements in assisted reproductive technologies, male infertility diagnosis and treatment, and development of contraceptives for men. The article reviews the processes associated with male reproductive function, dysfunction, physiological processes and infertility, fecundity, approaches to male contraception, and sexual health. It further alludes to knowledge gaps, with a view to spur further research impetus towards advancing sexual and reproductive health in the human male.

Article

Malnutrition  

Roger Shrimpton

Malnutrition is caused by consuming a diet with either too little and/or too much of one or more nutrients, such that the body malfunctions. These nutrients can be the macronutrients, including proteins, carbohydrates, and fats that provide the body with its building blocks and energy, or the micronutrients including vitamins and minerals, that help the body to function. Infectious diseases, such as diarrhea, can also cause malnutrition through decreased nutrient absorption, decreased intake of food, increased metabolic requirements, and direct nutrient loss. A double burden of malnutrition (both overnutrition and undernutrition) often occurs across the life course of individuals and can also coexist in the same communities and even the same households. While about a quarter of the world’s children are stunted, due to both maternal and young child undernutrition, overweight and obesity affects about one in three adults and one in ten children. Anemia, most commonly due to iron deficiency, is also affecting about a third of women of reproductive age and almost half of preschool children. Around 90% of nations have a serious burden of either two or three of these different forms of malnutrition. Malnutrition is one of the principal and growing causes of global disease and mortality, affecting at least half of the world’s inhabitants. Programs for tackling maternal and child undernutrition have gained impetus in the last decade with a consensus developing around a package of effective interventions. The nutrition-specific interventions, mostly delivered through the health sector, are directed at immediate levels of causality, while nutrition-sensitive interventions, directed at the underlying and basic levels of causality are delivered through other sectors such as agriculture, education, social welfare, as well as water and sanitation. Less consensus exists around the interventions needed to reduce overnutrition and the associated non-communicable diseases (NCDs), including diabetes, high blood pressure, and coronary heart disease. Prevention is certainly better than cure, however, and creating enabling environments for healthy food choices seems to be the most promising approach. Achieving “healthy diets for all,” by reducing consumption of meat and ultra-processed foods, as well as increasing consumption of fruit and vegetables, would help control rising rates of obesity and reduce NCD mortality. Adopting such healthy diets would also greatly contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions: the agriculture sector is responsible for producing a third of emissions, and a reduction on livestock farming would contribute to reducing global warming. Public health nutrition capacity to manage such nutrition programs is still widely lacking, however, and much still needs to be done to improve these programs and their governance.

Article

Managing Pain Within Vulnerable Populations of Seniors With Chronic Care Issues  

Patricia Schofield

The Western world is facing a crisis. The population is aging dramatically, and soon there will be twice as many older adults as younger counterparts. Clearly, there is a high incidence of pain in the older population, and with this comes a significant burden, including falls, frailty, depression, anxiety, sleep disturbance, reduced mobility, and impaired cognitive function. Unfortunately, chronic pain in the older population is often neglected and poorly managed for many reasons, including the expectation that pain is part of the aging process and therefore to be expected; poor assessment practices, hampered by communication problems; limited time for a comprehensive assessment to be carried out; fear of prescribing and administering drugs; and beliefs held by the older person themselves that they should expect to be in pain and therefore do not report it. All of these issues can be addressed with appropriate education and training to enable staff to appropriately apply evidence-based guidelines and effectively manage pain.