• Intentional injury in young people in Vietnam: prevalence and social correlates Original Research

    Cu Le, Linh; Blum, Robert W.

    Abstract in English:

    INTRODUCTION: Violent acts in young people constitute one of the most serious forms of violence in any society. Violence by young people in schools, on the streets, and in their families has been documented in many studies worldwide. Homicide and non-fatal assaults involving young people have been reported as a great global burden of premature death, injury and disability. Adolescents and young people are both the main victims and perpetrators of such violence. In Vietnam, an emerging pattern of health problems in adolescents related to intentional injury and violence is drawing increasingly more attention from government and the public. OBJECTIVE: Describe the situation of intentional injury among Vietnamese youth, including risk and protective factors, in order to suggest policy implications. METHODS: The 2003 Survey Assessment of Vietnamese Youth was used as a data source, providing a nationally representative sample of 7584 youth aged 14-25 years, resident in 42 of the country's 61 provinces. This sample was drawn from the 45,000 households in the 2002 Vietnam Living Standards Survey, with a multi-staged and stratified design, using the probability-proportional-to-size method to maintain representativity. Data were analyzed using bivariate and multivariate statistical techniques. RESULTS: Of the sample of young people, 2.2% reported injury resulting from violent behavior by a family member and 8.0% by non-family members, the latter demonstrating a significantly higher rate among males than females (13.6% vs. 2.4%). Characteristics of youth most likely to hurt others included: male sex, inebriation at some point, victims of intentional injury, group riot participants and carriers of weapons. Youth who had been members of mass social organizations or clubs in the community were half as likely to hurt other people as those who were unaffiliated with such groups. Females were almost four times more likely than males to attempt suicide. Other risk factors for suicide attempts were past inebriation (OR 2.7, 95% CI 1.3-5.4), ever having been a victim of intentional injury by a family member (OR 3.3, 95% CI 1.1-11.5) or ever having had feelings of hopelessness (OR 6.5, 95% CI 3.3-13.6). CONCLUSIONS: Prevalence of violence and self-harm among Vietnamese youth is comparatively less than in Western and other Asian countries. Risk and protective factors appear similar to those found in most populations. In particular, this study indicated a possible protective effect of membership in social groups. National policy for injury prevention should include strategies to reduce violence and self-harm within this population group.
  • Cuba's strategy for childhood tuberculosis control, 1995-2005 Original Research

    Abreu, Gladys; González, José A.; González, Edilberto; Bouza, Ileana; Velázquez, Antonio; Pérez, Tomás; Rubán, Ruth; González, Miriam; Sánchez, Reinaldo; Muñoz, Roberto; Sánchez, Lizet

    Abstract in English:

    INTRODUCTION: Following a tripling of tuberculosis incidence in Cuba between 1991 and 1994 (from 4.7 to 14.7 per 100,000), the National TB Control Program was revamped in 1995 and the National Reference Center for Childhood TB and Provincial Childhood TB Commissions were created as a strategy for addressing this emerging health problem. OBJECTIVE: Assess the impact of Cuba's new strategy for TB control in children aged <15 years during the period 1995-2005. METHODS: A descriptive review of health services and systems was conducted in Cuba, examining 157 cases of TB diagnosed in children aged <15 years during the period 1995-2005 and comparing impact and process indicators for selected years (1995, 2000, and 2005). Impact indicators included reduction in: a) incidence; b) serious forms (peritoneal, meningeal, miliary, combined); c) mortality; and d) case outcomes (cure, death, treatment drop-out, treatment failure). Process indicators were proportion of cases with: a) microbiological tests; b) knowledge of infection source; c) diagnoses obtained through adult case contact tracing; d) time to diagnosis <60 days; and e) post-mortem diagnoses. RESULTS: During the period 1995-2005, TB rates in children aged <15 years fell by 50% (from 1.0 to 0.5 per 100,000), more evident in children <10 years. The Havana rate was three times the national rate. Diagnosis was post-mortem in three serious cases (1.9%); there were four deaths (2.5%), none after 2000. Only seven children (4.5%) had serious forms, none after 2002. Except for cases diagnosed post-mortem, all children received treatment directly supervised by health personnel. Cure rate was 99.4%; there were no treatment drop-outs or chronic cases; one relapse was reported (0.6%). Knowledge of infection source increased to 90% over the selected years. Microbiological tests were conducted in 90% of cases, with isolation in 30.9%. No isolate was drug-resistant, nor were there reports of infectious contacts with resistance. We found no HIV coinfection. At the end of the study, time to diagnosis of >60 days persisted in 40% of cases. CONCLUSIONS: Creation of a National Reference Center for Childhood TB and Provincial Childhood TB Commissions has contributed to improved TB diagnosis and control in children aged <15 years, achieving incidence similar to that during the period prior to TB re-emergence and to those of some developed countries. Improvements are needed in the work and systematic training of health personnel, especially at the primary health care level, in order to eliminate TB as a national health problem by 2015.
Medical Education Cooperation with Cuba Oakland - California - United States
E-mail: editors@medicc.org