American Journal of Public Health Highlights:
· Immigrant children at higher risk of lead poisoning
· Sixty percent of trafficked women experience sexual or physical violence prior to trafficking
· Increased health care spending in developing countries not enough to increase utilization of skilled birth attendants
Immigrant children at higher risk of lead poisoning
Foreign-born children were five times more likely to have elevated blood lead levels than U.S.-born children.
Researchers conducted a study among children in New York City to investigate associations of childhood lead poisoning with birth and residence in a foreign country. After controlling for housing characteristics and child behaviors such as eating non-food items, data suggested that foreign-born children were five-times more likely than U.S.-born children to have elevated blood lead levels. In addition, children living abroad for less than six months before their blood test had a 10-times increased risk for lead poisoning relative to U.S.-born children with no history of foreign residence.
“These results suggest a need for considering recent immigration as a risk factor for childhood lead poisoning and allocating resources to identify and remove lead exposure sources in the immigrant communities at greater risk,” said the study’s authors. “Equally important is educating immigrant families about methods of reducing children’s exposure to lead paint hazards, given that paint may be an unfamiliar source for many immigrant families.” [From: “Immigration and Risk of Childhood Lead Poisoning: Findings From a Case-Control Study of new York City Children,” Contact: Parisa Tehranifar, DrPH, Department of Epidemiology, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, NY, email@example.com.]
Sixty percent of trafficked women experience sexual or physical violence prior to trafficking
Study is first to quantitatively document the health symptoms of trafficked women and adolescent girls in Europe.
To investigate the health of women trafficked for sexual exploitation in Europe researchers interviewed 192 women and adolescent girls within 14 days of accessing post-trafficking services. Almost 60 percent of participants reported experiences of sexual or physical violence before being trafficked, and 12 percent had a forced or coerced sexual experience before the age of 15. Ninety-five percent of participants reported physical or sexual violence while in the trafficking situation. Symptoms associated with depression were most often reported, with 39 percent of participants acknowledging having suicidal thoughts within the past seven days.
“The severe symptom patterns identified suggest that diagnostic and treatment services should be made immediately available to survivors of trafficking,” said the study’s authors. “However, dissecting the constellation of women’s symptoms and formulating treatment plans are no likely to be easy or short-term tasks.” [From: “The Health of Trafficked Women: A Survey of Women Entering Post-trafficking Services in Europe,” Contact: Cathy Zimmerman, MSc, Gender Violence and Health Centre, Department of Public Health and Policy, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, England, firstname.lastname@example.org.]
Increased health care spending in developing countries not enough to increase utilization of skilled birth attendants
Utilization of skilled birth attendants in developing countries associated with redistributive education policies
The study analyzed data from Demographic and Health Surveys of 45 developing countries to investigate the extent to which redistributive education policies modify the impact of higher health spending on the utilization of skilled birth attendants among the poorest compared with the least poor women. Data suggests that at any given level of health care spending women’s use of skilled birth attendants varied substantially, depending on the equity of distribution of education. The optimal scenario was a country that combined higher health care expenditures and equitable policies.
“This work supports the thesis that higher levels of health expenditure do not automatically mean substantially greater use of skilled birth attendants by poor women,” said the study’s authors. “Poor women’s access to education, which is in the domain of government policy and reflects a redistributive policy environment, is an important influence on improving the equity of access.” [From: “Equity of Skilled Birth Attendant Utilization in Developing Countries: Financing and Policy Determinants.” Contact: Margaret Kruk, MD, MPH, Department of Health Management and Policy, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, email@example.com.]