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IMPACT: Ifakara, partners' "multimorbidity" publication in leading medical journal

July 27, 2022
IMPACT: Ifakara, partners' "multimorbidity" publication in leading medical journal
Photos of researchers who contributed to the publication. Sally is second right in the bottom line. PHOTO | COURTESY/Dr. Sally Mtenga

Ifakara's Dr. Sally Mtenga, is among the interdisciplinary group of researchers and clinicians from nine different countries across five continents who this month completed a review on multimorbidity, which was published in Nature Reviews Disease Primers (journal impact factor of 65).

Nature is a top five general medical journal published weekly. It’s based in London, England, and as a multidisciplinary publication, Nature features peer-reviewed research from a variety of academic disciplines, mainly in science and technology.

Along with Dr. Sally, the other researchers who contributed to the publication include Søren Skouf from Research Unit for Musculoskeletal Function and Physiotherapy, Department of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics, University of Southern Denmark; Frances Mair from the Institute of Health and Wellbeing, College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences, University of Glasgow, UK; and Martin Fortin from Department of Family Medicine and Emergency Medicine, Université de Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada.

Other contributors are: Bruce Guthrie from Advanced Care Research Centre, Usher Institute, University of Edinburgh, UK; Bruno Nunes from Faculty of Nursing, Universidade Federal de Pelotas, Pelotas, Brazil; Jaime Miranda from the CRONICAS Center of Excellence in Chronic Diseases, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Lima, Peru; Cynthia Boyd from the Division of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology, Department of Medicine, Epidemiology and Health Policy & Management, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, USA; Sanghamitra Pati from the ICMR Regional Medical Research Centre, Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India; and, Susan Smith from the Institute of Population Health, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland.

Sally and colleagues’ review, called a Primer, provides a global overview of a specific medical field as well as outlining future directions and research questions. Primers provide clinicians and researchers around the world with an understanding of the epidemiology, mechanisms/pathophysiology, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment for a specific medical condition or concept.

The primer underlined the burden of multimorbidity on individuals, carers and society, especially in socioeconomically deprived communities. Furthermore, it highlighted the complex, interrelated and multilevel mechanisms involved in the development of multimorbidity, including aging, biological mechanisms, and broader socio-determinants of health. Evidence for prevention and treatment is still limited.

While there is more literature on interventions there is still no clear evidence to guide clinical practice and policy. The Primer suggests that interventions for multimorbidity may be person-centred, complex and multifaceted, and among other things focus on psychosocial and behavioural factors.

The Primer also highlighted the need for further research particularly in low- and middle-income countries. Finally, the Primer calls for a change in focus for clinical practice and training to become more multimorbidity focused along with a shift in healthcare to support proper prevention and management of multimorbidity.

To read more, you can find the full Primer here: https://rdcu.be/cRBzm