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National Collaborating Centre for Methods and Tools

August 2015 · Issue 139

In this issue:

New video! A brief introduction to the work of the NCCMT

What we do and why we do it

What exactly is the National Collaborating Centre for Method and Tools? Find out in this short video.

In a couple of minutes, members of the NCCMT team talk about the work of the NCCMT, including:

  • why we believe in evidence-informed decision making
  • what resources and expertise we can provide
  • how we help to build capacity for evidence-informed public health among professionals and educators.

Watch now to learn more about the NCCMT. http://youtu.be/Jbtzp0IsfQs

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Do you want to encourage policy change in your community or organization?

Trying to engage several groups to support policy change in your community or organization? Unsure which strategies could help you gain support for the policies you propose? An initial step might be to assess the level of readiness of the municipality, organization or community for policy change.

The Policy Readiness Tool: Understanding a Municipality’s Readiness for Policy Change and Strategies for Taking Action can help you determine a municipalities, communities or organizations level of readiness for policy change. The tool is appropriate for anyone interested in encouraging health public policy development, including policy developers, advocates, community organizations, community members, and municipalities.

How can the Policy Readiness Tool help you?

The Policy Readiness Tool, was developed by Dr. Candace Nykiforuk and the Policy, Location and Access in Community Environments (PLACE) team in the School of Public Health, University of Alberta (with support from the Alberta Policy Coalition for Chronic Disease Prevention). The Policy Readiness Tool provides a toolkit to help people working towards policy change to:

  • assess a municipality, community or organization’s level of readiness for policy change using a short online questionnaire; and
  • identify key strategies for encouraging policy change, based on the level of readiness.

To see the summary statement of this tool developed by NCCMT click here: http://www.nccmt.ca/registry/view/eng/144.html

Click here for more information about the Policy Readiness Tool and to start the questionnaire: http://policyreadinesstool.com/the-tool/overview/

Register now for a two-part webinar featuring the Policy Readiness Tool

Part 1: Overview of the Policy Readiness Tool

September 17, 2015
1:00pm– 2:30pm (EST).

Learn how the Policy Readiness Tool was developed and how to use the tool in your practice.

Click here for more information or to register for Part 1:  http://ow.ly/Qc4QF

Part 2: Using the Policy Readiness Tool in Public Health

October 1, 2015
1:00pm– 2:30pm (EST).

Hear the stories of how public health practitioners have used the Policy Readiness Tool in practice and discuss challenges and successes when applying the Policy Readiness Tool.

Click here for more information or to register for Part 2: http://ow.ly/Qc50a

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New from Public Health+

Deworming drugs for soil-transmitted intestinal worms in children: effects on nutritional indicators, haemoglobin, and school performance.

BACKGROUND: The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends treating all school children at regular intervals with deworming drugs in areas where helminth infection is common. As the intervention is often claimed to have important health, nutrition, and societal effects beyond the removal of worms, we critically evaluated the evidence on benefits. OBJECTIVES: To summarize the effects of giving deworming drugs to children to treat soil-transmitted helminths on weight, haemoglobin, and cognition; and the evidence of impact on physical well-being, school attendance, school performance, and mortality. SEARCH METHODS: We searched the Cochrane Infectious Diseases Group Specialized Register (14 April 2015); Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), published in the Cochrane Library (2015, Issue 4); MEDLINE (2000 to 14 April 2015); EMBASE (2000 to 14 April 2015); LILACS (2000 to 14 April 2015); the metaRegister of Controlled Trials (mRCT); and reference lists, and registers of ongoing and completed trials up to 14 April 2015. SELECTION CRITERIA: We included randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and quasi-RCTs comparing deworming drugs for soil-transmitted helminths with placebo or no treatment in children aged 16 years or less, reporting on weight, haemoglobin, and formal tests of intellectual development. We also sought data on school attendance, school performance, and mortality. We included trials that combined health education with deworming programmes. DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: At least two review authors independently assessed the trials, evaluated risk of bias, and extracted data. We analysed continuous data using the mean difference (MD) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs). Where data were missing, we contacted trial authors. We used outcomes at time of longest follow-up. The evidence quality was assessed using GRADE. This edition of the Cochrane Review adds the DEVTA trial from India, and draws on an independent analytical replication of a trial from Kenya. MAIN RESULTS: We identified 45 trials, including nine cluster-RCTs, that met the inclusion criteria. One trial evaluating mortality included over one million children, and the remaining 44 trials included a total of 67,672 participants. Eight trials were in children known to be infected, and 37 trials were carried out in endemic areas, including areas of high (15 trials), moderate (12 trials), and low prevalence (10 trials). Treating children known to be infectedTreating children known to be infected with a single dose of deworming drugs (selected by screening, or living in areas where all children are infected) may increase weight gain over the next one to six months (627 participants, five trials, low quality evidence). The effect size varied across trials from an additional 0.2 kg gain to 1.3 kg. There is currently insufficient evidence to know whether treatment has additional effects on haemoglobin (247 participants, two trials, very low quality evidence); school attendance (0 trials); cognitive functioning (103 participants, two trials, very low quality evidence), or physical well-being (280 participants, three trials, very low quality evidence). Community deworming programmesTreating all children living in endemic areas with a dose of deworming drugs probably has little or no effect on average weight gain (MD 0.04 kg less, 95% CI 0.11 kg less to 0.04 kg more; trials 2719 participants, seven trials, moderate quality evidence), even in settings with high prevalence of infection (290 participants, two trials). A single dose also probably has no effect on average haemoglobin (MD 0.06 g/dL, 95% CI -0.05 lower to 0.17 higher; 1005 participants, three trials, moderate quality evidence), or average cognition (1361 participants, two trials, low quality evidence).Similiarly, regularly treating all children in endemic areas with deworming drugs, given every three to six months, may have little or no effect on average weight gain (MD 0.08 kg, 95% CI 0.11 kg less to 0.27 kg more; 38,392 participants, 10 trials, low quality evidence). The effects were variable across trials; one trial from a low prevalence setting carried out in 1995 found an increase in weight, but nine trials carried out since then found no effect, including five from moderate and high prevalence areas.There is also reasonable evidence that regular treatment probably has no effect on average height (MD 0.02 cm higher, 95% CI 0.14 lower to 0.17 cm higher; 7057 participants, seven trials, moderate quality evidence); average haemoglobin (MD 0.02 g/dL lower; 95% CI 0.08 g/dL lower to 0.04 g/dL higher; 3595 participants, seven trials, low quality evidence); formal tests of cognition (32,486 participants, five trials, moderate quality evidence); exam performance (32,659 participants, two trials, moderate quality evidence); or mortality (1,005,135 participants, three trials, low quality evidence). There is very limited evidence assessing an effect on school attendance and

The full text may be available from PubMed

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Registration for Skills Online Fall term is now open

Outbreaks, biostatistics, surveillance, how to do a literature review and more. Register today for Skills Online Fall 2015 courses.

Course descriptions and registration at www.skillsonline.ca

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Past issues of the Round-up are available online: Weekly Digest Archive
NCCMT is funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada and affiliated with McMaster University.
Production of this newsletter has been made possible through a financial contribution from the Public Health Agency of Canada.
The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent the views of the Public Health Agency of Canada.
Contact us at nccmt@mcmaster.ca or www.nccmt.ca.