Stephen Birch

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BACKGROUND Many jurisdictions have used public funding of health care to reduce or remove price at the point of delivery of services. Whilst this reduces an important barrier to accessing care, it does nothing to discriminate between groups considered to have greater or fewer needs. In this paper, we consider whether active targeted recruitment, in addition(More)
BACKGROUND South Africa's maternal mortality rate (625 deaths/100,000 live births) is high for a middle-income country, although over 90% of pregnant women utilize maternal health services. Alongside HIV/AIDS, barriers to Comprehensive Emergency Obstetric Care currently impede the country's Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) of reducing child mortality and(More)
We conducted a 6-week, single-blind study of acupuncture for cocaine dependence in methadone-maintained patients (N = 40) for the purpose of identifying an appropriate needle puncture control for use in future large-scale clinical trials. Patients were randomly assigned to receive daily acupuncture in three auricular sites plus one body site (LI-4), or in(More)
BACKGROUND Population health planning aims to improve the health of the entire population and to reduce health inequities among population groups. Socioeconomic factors are increasingly being recognized as major determinants of many aspects of health and causes of health inequities. Knowledge of socioeconomic characteristics of neighbourhoods is necessary(More)
BACKGROUND Toyohari meridian therapy (TMT) is a Japanese system of acupuncture. Acupoint selection follows diagnosis of the primary and secondary patterns of disharmony (sho) and disturbances in the yang channels. Pulse diagnosis and abdominal palpation diagnosis are the two main diagnostic methods used. Little is known about the reliability of pulse,(More)
BACKGROUND Role-substitution describes a model of dental care where Dental Care Professionals (DCPs) provide some of the clinical activity previously undertaken by General Dental Practitioners. This has the potential to increase technical efficiency, the capacity to care and reduce costs. Technical efficiency is defined as the production of the maximum(More)
BACKGROUND In South Africa, HIV/AIDS remains a major public health problem. In a context of chronic unemployment and deepening poverty, social assistance through a Disability Grant (DG) is extended to adults with HIV/AIDS who are unable to work because of a mental or physical disability. Using a mixed methods approach, we consider 1) inequalities in access(More)
In order to identify an appropriate needle puncture control for clinical trials of acupuncture we conducted a study in which ten cocaine dependent subjects rated local and systemic effects of four auricular needle puncture configurations (a) sites commonly used for addiction; (b) sites proximate to addiction specific sites; (c) sites not specific for(More)
Background: Standardized mortality ratios are used to identify geographic areas with higher or lower mortality than expected. This article examines geographic disparity in premature mortality in Ontario, Canada, at three geographic levels of population and considers factors that may underlie variations in premature mortality across geographic areas.(More)
Health care decision makers are required to make planning decisions over a medium to long term planning horizon. Whilst population ageing is an important consideration for planners, age-stratified demographic models may produce misleading estimates of future resource requirements if the actual relationship between age and health is not fixed. We present a(More)