Special Issue "The World in Crisis: Current Health Issues"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Health Behavior, Chronic Disease and Health Promotion".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 August 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Jimmy T. Efird
Website
Guest Editor
Cooperative Studies Program Epidemiology Center, Health Services Research and Development (DVAHCS/Duke Affiliated Center), Durham, NC, USA
Interests: statistical methods; epidemiological study design; risk modeling; cardiovascular disease; cancer
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Pollie Bith-Melander

Guest Editor
Department of Social Work, CSU Stanislaus, Turlock, CA, USA
Interests: trauma; community mental health; ethnomedicine; HIV/AIDS

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We are organizing a Special Issue on "The World in Crisis: Current Health Issues" in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. The venue is a peer-reviewed scientific journal that publishes articles and communications in the interdisciplinary area of environmental health sciences and public health. For detailed information on the journal, we refer you to https://www.mdpi.com/journal/ijerph.

Articles are invited on a wide range of topics including, but not limited to disaster (e.g., flood, drought, hurricanes, tsunami), child trafficking, domestic violence, sexual abuse, malnutrition, food poisoning, refugee health, overweight, diseases associated with global warming (e.g., malaria, west Nile virus, zika virus, chikungunya, dengue fever), access to health care, climate change, environment quality, disease outbreak, tobacco, substance abuse, HIV/AIDS, mental health, yellow fever, meningitis, diphtheria, cholera, and pandemic influenza.

We are especially interested in manuscripts that address local, regional and international collaboration and geopolitical solutions to complex public health crises occurring throughout the world.

Dr. Jimmy T. Efird
Dr. Pollie Bith-Melander
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2300 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Global health
  • Disaster response
  • Pandemics
  • Emerging infectious diseases
  • Relocation and refugee health
  • Food insecurity
  • Trauma/mental health
  • Disease surveillance
  • Outbreak management
  • Civil war and regional conflict
  • Medical contraception
  • Nutrition programmes
  • Childhood water-borne disease
  • Family planning and women’s health
  • Long-term economic improvement
  • Domestic violence/sexual abuse
  • Trafficking/women’s safety
  • Diarrhoeal disease control
  • Child soldiers
  • Social economic determinants of health
  • Social health programmes
  • Apartheid aftermath
  • Maternal and child health
  • Statistics in international health and medical research
  • Political class structures and patterns of domination in health care

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
The Effects of Obesity-Related Anthropometric Factors on Cardiovascular Risks of Homeless Adults in Taiwan
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(18), 6833; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17186833 - 18 Sep 2020
Abstract
Homelessness is a pre-existing phenomenon in society and an important public health issue that national policy strives to solve. Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is an important health problem of the homeless. This cross-sectional study explored the effects of four obesity-related anthropometric factors—body mass index [...] Read more.
Homelessness is a pre-existing phenomenon in society and an important public health issue that national policy strives to solve. Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is an important health problem of the homeless. This cross-sectional study explored the effects of four obesity-related anthropometric factors—body mass index (BMI), waist circumference (WC), waist-to-hip ratio (WHR), and waist-to-height ratio (WHtR)—on cardiovascular disease risks (expressed by three CVD markers: hypertension, hyperglycemia, and hyperlipidemia) among homeless adults in Taipei and compared the relevant results with ordinary adults in Taiwan. The research team sampled homeless adults over the age of 20 in Taipei City in 2018 and collected 297 participants. Through anthropometric measurements, blood pressure measurements, and blood tests, we calculated the obesity-related indicators of the participants and found those at risks of cardiovascular disease. The results showed that the prevalence of hypertension, hyperglycemia, and hyperlipidemia in homeless adults was significantly higher than that of ordinary adults in Taiwan. Among the four obesity-related indicators, WHtR showed the strongest association with the prevalence of hypertension and hyperlipidemia, followed by WHR, both of which showed stronger association than traditional WC and BMI indicators. It can be inferred that abdominal obesity characterized by WHtR is a key risk factor for hypertension and hyperlipidemia in homeless adults in Taiwan. We hope that the results will provide medical clinical references and effectively warn of cardiovascular disease risks for the homeless in Taiwan. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The World in Crisis: Current Health Issues)
Open AccessArticle
Europe’s War against COVID-19: A Map of Countries’ Disease Vulnerability Using Mortality Indicators
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(18), 6565; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17186565 - 09 Sep 2020
Abstract
Specific and older age-associated comorbidities increase mortality risk in severe forms of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). We matched COVID-19 comorbidities with causes of death in 28 EU countries for the total population and for the population above 65 years and applied a machine-learning-based tree [...] Read more.
Specific and older age-associated comorbidities increase mortality risk in severe forms of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). We matched COVID-19 comorbidities with causes of death in 28 EU countries for the total population and for the population above 65 years and applied a machine-learning-based tree clustering algorithm on shares of death for COVID-19 comorbidities and for influenza and on their growth rates between 2011 and 2016. We distributed EU countries in clusters and drew a map of the EU populations’ vulnerabilities to COVID-19 comorbidities and to influenza. Noncommunicable diseases had impressive shares of death in the EU but with substantial differences between eastern and western countries. The tree clustering algorithm accurately indicated the presence of western and eastern country clusters, with significantly different patterns of disease shares of death and growth rates. Western populations displayed higher vulnerability to malignancy, blood-related diseases, and diabetes mellitus and lower respiratory diseases, while eastern countries’ populations suffered more from ischaemic heart, cerebrovascular, and circulatory diseases. Dissimilarities between EU countries were also present when influenza was considered. The heat maps of EU populations’ vulnerability to diseases based on mortality indicators constitute the basis for more targeted health policy strategies in a collaborative effort at the EU level. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The World in Crisis: Current Health Issues)
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Open AccessArticle
Social Policy Responses to the Covid-19 Crisis in China in 2020
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(16), 5896; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17165896 - 14 Aug 2020
Abstract
The 2020 coronavirus pandemic has catapulted China into a serious social and political crisis. This article focuses upon how Chinese social policy has responded to the Covid-19 crisis. It reveals that the Chinese welfare state has woven a comprehensive social safety net to [...] Read more.
The 2020 coronavirus pandemic has catapulted China into a serious social and political crisis. This article focuses upon how Chinese social policy has responded to the Covid-19 crisis. It reveals that the Chinese welfare state has woven a comprehensive social safety net to mitigate the social suffering of Chinese society in the mid- and post-crisis periods. Different types of social policy programs have been combined and synthesized, including social insurance, social assistance, and social welfare arrangements. Facing the challenges of the new risks caused by the pandemic, the collaboration of the Chinese state and intermediary social welfare organizations has played a crucial role in providing both cash benefits and social services (benefits in kind). For the first time, social policy in China has acted as a major player for coping with the negative outcomes of a pandemic. This article concludes that the pandemic-related crisis has justified an interventionist approach and logic, driven by the state’s welfare system, which favors a model of “big government”. However, this model also requires justification and legitimation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The World in Crisis: Current Health Issues)
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Open AccessArticle
Government Intervention, Risk Perception, and the Adoption of Protective Action Recommendations: Evidence from the COVID-19 Prevention and Control Experience of China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(10), 3387; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17103387 - 13 May 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
This study examines the relationships between government interventions, risk perception, and the public’s adoption of protective action recommendations (PARs) during the COVID-19 coronavirus disease emergency in mainland China. We conducted quota sampling based on the proportion of the population in each province and [...] Read more.
This study examines the relationships between government interventions, risk perception, and the public’s adoption of protective action recommendations (PARs) during the COVID-19 coronavirus disease emergency in mainland China. We conducted quota sampling based on the proportion of the population in each province and gender ratios in the Sixth Census and obtained a sample size of 3837. Government intervention was divided into government communication, government prevention and control, and government rescue. We used multiple regression and a bootstrap mediation effect test to study the mechanism of these three forms of government intervention on the public’s adoption of PARs. The results show that government prevention and control and government rescue significantly increased the likelihood of the public adopting PARs. Risk perception was significantly associated with the public’s adoption of PARs. The effects of government interventions and risk perception on the public’s adoption of PARs was not found to vary by region. Risk perception is identified as an important mediating factor between government intervention and the public’s adoption of PARs. These results indicate that increasing the public’s risk perception is an effective strategy for governments seeking to encourage the public to adopt PARs during the COVID-19 pandemic. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The World in Crisis: Current Health Issues)
Open AccessArticle
A Pilot Study of Airborne Hazards and Other Toxic Exposures in Iraq War Veterans
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(9), 3299; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17093299 - 09 May 2020
Abstract
During their deployment to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), many Veterans were exposed to a wide array of toxic substances and psychologic stressors, most notably airborne/environmental pollutants from open burn pits. Service members do not deploy whilst unhealthy, but [...] Read more.
During their deployment to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), many Veterans were exposed to a wide array of toxic substances and psychologic stressors, most notably airborne/environmental pollutants from open burn pits. Service members do not deploy whilst unhealthy, but often they return with a multitude of acute and chronic symptoms, some of which only begin to manifest years after their deployment. Our findings, while preliminary in nature, suggest that Iraq War Veterans who participated in our survey reported a decrease in overall physical fitness and increased respiratory clinical symptoms compared with pre-deployment periods. The objective of this report is to provide information that will benefit how combat Veterans are cared for post-deployment. Strategies for a wider and more comprehensive assessment and medical screening process post-deployment are recommended. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The World in Crisis: Current Health Issues)
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Open AccessArticle
A Training Program to Enhance Disaster Preparedness of Group Companies in the Tokyo Metropolitan Area
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(23), 4871; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16234871 - 03 Dec 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Many business continuity (BC) plans do not mention food and water for BC personnel. Moreover, the BC relies on the assumption that, during an emergency or crisis, employees’ basic needs and personal hygiene are satisfied. Although no one can engage in BC without [...] Read more.
Many business continuity (BC) plans do not mention food and water for BC personnel. Moreover, the BC relies on the assumption that, during an emergency or crisis, employees’ basic needs and personal hygiene are satisfied. Although no one can engage in BC without these supplies, literature regarding companies’ disaster stocks for their employees is limited. We evaluated the current situation of companies’ stockpiles of food and other supplies and what their employees thought about them after participating in a newly-developed overnight training program that allows the participants to experience situations that they would encounter in a disaster. Thirty-three employees from eight companies in Tokyo participated in the program. Seventy-five percent of the participants’ companies had food stocks for three days as instructed by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government but, after eating four stock meals, 81.3% of the participants thought it would be better if this provision were improved. The stock rate for bedding was 62.5% but less than 30% of companies stocked both blankets and mats, as suggested by the Sphere Standards. There were several people who complained of sleeplessness and a poor physical condition the next morning and this could be an obstacle in the BC. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The World in Crisis: Current Health Issues)
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Open AccessArticle
Design of Temperature Insurance Index and Risk Zonation for Single-Season Rice in Response to High-Temperature and Low-Temperature Damage: A Case Study of Jiangsu Province, China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(7), 1187; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16071187 - 02 Apr 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Disaster insurance is an important tool for achieving sustainable development in modern agriculture. However, in China, the design of such insurance indexes is far from sufficient. In this paper, the single-season rice in Jiangsu Province of China is taken as an example to [...] Read more.
Disaster insurance is an important tool for achieving sustainable development in modern agriculture. However, in China, the design of such insurance indexes is far from sufficient. In this paper, the single-season rice in Jiangsu Province of China is taken as an example to design the high-temperature damage index in summer and the low-temperature damage index in autumn to construct the formula calculating the weather output and single-season rice yield reduction. The daily highest, lowest and average temperatures between 1999 and 2015 are selected as main variables for the temperature disaster index to quantitatively analyze the relationship between the temperature index and the yield reduction rate of the single-season rice. The temperature disaster index can be put into the relevant model to obtain the yield reduction rate of the year and determine whether to pay the indemnity. Then, the burn analysis is used to determine the insurance premium rate for all cities in Jiangsu Province under four-level deductibles, and the insurance premium rate can be used for the risk division of the Province. The research provides some insights for the design of agricultural weather insurance products, and the empirical results provide a reference for the design of similar single-season rice temperature index insurance products. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The World in Crisis: Current Health Issues)
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Open AccessArticle
Current and Emerging Disaster Risks Perceptions in Oceania: Key Stakeholders Recommendations for Disaster Management and Resilience Building
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(3), 460; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16030460 - 05 Feb 2019
Cited by 5
Abstract
Identification and profiling of current and emerging disaster risks is essential to inform effective disaster risk management practice. Without clear evidence, readiness to accept future threats is low, resulting in decreased ability to detect and anticipate these new threats. A consequential decreased strategic [...] Read more.
Identification and profiling of current and emerging disaster risks is essential to inform effective disaster risk management practice. Without clear evidence, readiness to accept future threats is low, resulting in decreased ability to detect and anticipate these new threats. A consequential decreased strategic planning for mitigation, adaptation or response results in a lowered resilience capacity. This study aimed to investigate threats to the health and well-being of societies associated with disaster impact in Oceania. The study used a mixed methods approach to profile current and emerging disaster risks in selected countries of Oceania, including small and larger islands. Quantitative analysis of the International Disaster Database (EM-DAT) provided historical background on disaster impact in Oceania from 2000 to 2018. The profile of recorded events was analyzed to describe the current burden of disasters in the Oceania region. A total of 30 key informant interviews with practitioners, policy managers or academics in disaster management in the Oceania region provided first-hand insights into their perceptions of current and emerging threats, and identified opportunities to enhance disaster risk management practice and resilience in Oceania. Qualitative methods were used to analyze these key informant interviews. Using thematic analysis, we identified emerging disaster risk evidence from the data and explored new pathways to support decision-making on resilience building and disaster management. We characterized perceptions of the nature and type of contemporary and emerging disaster risk with potential impacts in Oceania. The study findings captured not only traditional and contemporary risks, such as climate change, but also less obvious ones, such as plastic pollution, rising inequality, uncontrolled urbanization, and food and water insecurity, which were perceived as contributors to current and/or future crises, or as crises themselves. The findings provided insights into how to improve disaster management more effectively, mainly through bottom-up approaches and education to increase risk-ownership and community action, enhanced political will, good governance practices and support of a people-centric approach. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The World in Crisis: Current Health Issues)
Open AccessArticle
Lifetime Spousal Violence Victimization and Perpetration, Physical Illness, and Health Risk Behaviours among Women in India
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(12), 2737; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15122737 - 04 Dec 2018
Cited by 4
Abstract
The aim of this study was to assess the association between lifetime spousal violence victimization, spousal violence perpetration, and physical health outcomes and behaviours among women in India. In the 2015–2016 National Family Health Survey, a sample of ever-married women (15–49 years) ( [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to assess the association between lifetime spousal violence victimization, spousal violence perpetration, and physical health outcomes and behaviours among women in India. In the 2015–2016 National Family Health Survey, a sample of ever-married women (15–49 years) (N = 66,013) were interviewed about spousal violence. Results indicate that 29.9% of women reported lifetime spousal physical violence victimization and 7.1% lifetime spousal sexual violence victimization (31.1% physical and/or sexual violence victimization), and 3.5% lifetime spousal physical violence perpetration. Lifetime spousal violence victimization and lifetime spousal violence perpetration were significantly positively correlated with asthma, genital discharge, genital sores or ulcers, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), tobacco use, alcohol use, and termination of pregnancy, and negatively associated with daily consumption of dark vegetables. In addition, lifetime spousal violence victimization was positively associated with being underweight, high random blood glucose levels, and anaemia, and negatively correlated with being overweight or obese. Lifetime spousal violence perpetration was marginally significantly associated with hypertension. The study found in a national sample of women in India a decrease of lifetime physical and/or sexual spousal violence victimization and an increase of lifetime spousal physical violence perpetration from 2005/5 to 2015/6. The results support other studies that found that, among women, lifetime spousal physical and/or sexual spousal violence victimization and lifetime spousal physical violence perpetration increase the odds of chronic conditions, physical illnesses, and health risk behaviours. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The World in Crisis: Current Health Issues)

Review

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Open AccessReview
Utilization of Mobile Mental Health Services among Syrian Refugees and Other Vulnerable Arab Populations—A Systematic Review
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(4), 1295; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17041295 - 18 Feb 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
The global refugee crisis is at its most critical state in history; Syria alone has produced 12 million internally displaced persons, with another 5 million refugees seeking protection across the globe. Faced with the heavy burden of mental distress carried by a massive [...] Read more.
The global refugee crisis is at its most critical state in history; Syria alone has produced 12 million internally displaced persons, with another 5 million refugees seeking protection across the globe. Faced with the heavy burden of mental distress carried by a massive refugee influx, many host nations lack the service capacity to respond adequately. While mobile mental health (mMHealth) applications and platforms have the potential to augment screenings and interventions for vulnerable populations, an insufficient gender and cultural adaptation of technology may drastically hamper its uptake in Arab refugees. Reporting only papers originating from Middle Eastern and/or Arab nations or refugee host nations, this systematic review evaluates the available literature published between 2000 and 2019 on the usage acceptability of mMHealth in Syrian refugees and other vulnerable Arab populations. We conducted a systematic review in PubMed, PsychInfo, Association of Computing Machinery (ACM) and the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) using Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines to identify studies that addressed mMHealth implementation in these populations; of a total of 607 articles identified, only 10 (1.6%) available, unique articles met our search criteria. These studies discussed the feasibility and efficacy of mMHealth applications and the barriers to their uptake. The few existing studies show positive impacts of mMHealth on the access to services and on treatment outcomes but also reveal a paucity of literature on mMHealth for vulnerable Arab populations. These findings indicate a critical need for research on the barriers to mMHealth uptake, to bolster service capacity in the Arab Region and in the refugee diaspora of other, non-Arab host countries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The World in Crisis: Current Health Issues)
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