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COVID-19: Original Article
Worsening of health disparities across COVID-19 pandemic stages in Korea
Hyejin Lee, Hyunwoo Nam, Jae-ryun Lee, Hyemin Jung, Jin Yong Lee
Epidemiol Health. 2024;46:e2024038.   Published online March 13, 2024
DOI: https://doi.org/10.4178/epih.e2024038
  • 1,897 View
  • 97 Download
AbstractAbstract AbstractSummary PDF
Abstract
OBJECTIVES
With the end of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, the health outcomes of this disease in Korea must be examined. We aimed to investigate health outcomes and disparities linked to socioeconomic status during the COVID-19 pandemic in Korea and to identify risk factors for hospitalization and mortality.
METHODS
This nationwide retrospective study incorporated an analysis of individuals with and without COVID-19 in Korea between January 1, 2020 and December 31, 2022. The study period was divided into 4 stages. Prevalence, hospitalization, mortality, and case-fatality rates were calculated per 100,000 population. Multivariate logistic regression was performed to identify risk factors for COVID-19 hospitalization and mortality.
RESULTS
Overall, the incidence rate was 40,601 per 100,000 population, the mortality rate was 105 per 100,000 population, and the case-fatality rate was 259 per 100,000 cases. A total of 12,577,367 new cases (24.5%) were recorded in stage 3 and 8,979,635 cases (17.5%) in stage 4. Medical Aid recipients displayed the lowest 3-year cumulative incidence rate (32,737 per 100,000) but the highest hospitalization (5,663 cases per 100,000), mortality (498 per 100,000), and case-fatality (1,521 per 100,000) rates. Male sex, older age, lower economic status, non-metropolitan area of residence, high Charlson comorbidity index, and disability were associated with higher risk of hospitalization and death. Vaccination was found to reduce mortality risk.
CONCLUSIONS
As the pandemic progressed, surges were observed in incidence, hospitalization, and mortality, exacerbating disparities associated with economic status and disability. Nevertheless, Korea has maintained a low case-fatality rate across all economic groups.
Summary
Korean summary
국민건강보험공단 자료를 이용하여 2020-2022년 후향적 코호트를 구축하여 시기별 코로나19 유병률, 입원률, 사망률, 치명률과 장애, 소득에 따른 건강격차를 확인하였을 때, 코로나19 대유행이 진행됨에 따라 발병률, 입원률, 사망률이 급증하고 건강 격차가 확대되었다. 그러나 이러한 격차에도 불구하고 한국은 다른 국가들과 비교하여 모든 소득수준에서 낮은 치명률을 유지하였다.
Key Message
Using data from the National Health Insurance Service, a retrospective cohort for the years 2020-2022 was established. By examining the COVID-19 prevalence rate, hospitalisation rate, mortality rate, and case-fatality rate, along with health disparities based on disability and economic status, as the pandemic progressed, there was a surge in incidence, hospitalisation, and mortality, widening disparities related to economic status and disability. Despite these disparities, Korea has maintained a low case-fatality rate across all economic groups.
Original Article
Socioeconomic inequality in organized and opportunistic screening for colorectal cancer: results from the Korean National Cancer Screening Survey, 2009-2021
Xuan Quy Luu, Kyeongmin Lee, Jae Kwan Jun, Mina Suh, Kui Son Choi
Epidemiol Health. 2023;45:e2023086.   Published online September 17, 2023
DOI: https://doi.org/10.4178/epih.e2023086
  • 5,563 View
  • 139 Download
  • 1 Crossref
AbstractAbstract AbstractSummary PDFSupplementary Material
Abstract
OBJECTIVES
This study aimed to investigate socioeconomic status (SES)-based inequality in colorectal cancer (CRC) screening in Korea. We assessed whether the rates of opportunistic and organized CRC screening differed according to income and education levels.
METHODS
We analyzed data from the Korean National Cancer Screening Survey of 27,654 cancer-free individuals, aged 50-74 years, from 2009 to 2021. The weighted cancer screening rates with trends were estimated with the average annual percentage change using joinpoint regression. Inequality was calculated in both relative and absolute terms, based on a Poisson regression model.
RESULTS
The organized screening rate increased significantly from 22.1% in 2009 to 53.1% in 2020 and 50.6% in 2021, with an average annual change of 8.6% (95% confidence interval [CI], 4.9 to 12.5). In contrast, no significant trend was observed for opportunistic screening. The SES inequality in opportunistic screening uptake was indicated by a slope index of inequality (SII) of 9.74% (95% CI, 6.36 to 13.12), relative index of inequality (RII) of 2.18 (95% CI, 1.75 to 2.70) in terms of education level; and an SII of 7.03% (95% CI, 4.09 to 9.98), RII of 1.81 (95% CI, 1.41 to 2.31) in terms of measured income. Although there was an increasing trend in income inequality, no significant SES inequalities were observed in the overall estimates for organized screening.
CONCLUSIONS
Organized CRC screening is effective in improving the participation rate, regardless of SES. However, significant inequalities were found in opportunistic screening, suggesting room for improvement in the overall equity of CRC screening.
Summary
Korean summary
이번 연구는 한국의 대장암 검진에서 사회경제적 수준에 따른 불평등이 있는지를 분석했다. 국가암검진사업 도입 이래로 2009-2021년 연구기간 동안 공공검진을 통한 대장암 수검률은 지속적으로 증가한 반면, 개인검진의 증가는 관찰되지 않았다. 특히 공공 검진의 경우 소득이나 교육수준에 따른 수검률에 차이는 없는 반면, 개인검진에서는 상당한불평등이 관찰되었다.
Key Message
"The study investigated socioeconomic status (SES)-based inequality in colorectal cancer (CRC) screening in Korea. We found that the introduction of the National Cancer Screening Program for CRC effectively increased the participation rate, regardless of the SES of the individuals throughout the study period. However, significant inequalities were observed in opportunistic screening related to education and income."

Citations

Citations to this article as recorded by  
  • Disparities in Cancer Incidence across Income Levels in South Korea
    Su-Min Jeong, Kyu-Won Jung, Juwon Park, Nayeon Kim, Dong Wook Shin, Mina Suh
    Cancers.2023; 15(24): 5898.     CrossRef
Cohort Profile
Integrated database-based Screening Cohort for Asian Nomadic descendants in China (Scan-China): Insights on prospective ethnicity-focused cancer screening
Yuelin Yu, Liying Qiao, Jing Han, Weiwei Wang, Weiwei Kang, Yunjing Zhang, Shu Shang, Ruogu Meng, Lin Zhuo, Siyan Zhan, Yunfeng Xi, Shengfeng Wang
Epidemiol Health. 2023;45:e2023048.   Published online April 18, 2023
DOI: https://doi.org/10.4178/epih.e2023048
  • 3,957 View
  • 84 Download
AbstractAbstract AbstractSummary PDFSupplementary Material
Abstract
Established in 2017, the Screening Cohort for Asian Nomadic descendants in China (Scan-China) has benefited over 180,000 members of a multi-ethnic population, particularly individuals of Mongolian descent compared with the general population (Han ethnicity), in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, China. This cohort study aims to evaluate the effectiveness of cancer screening and serve as a real-world data platform for cancer studies. The 6 most prevalent cancers in China are considered—namely, breast, lung, colorectal, gastric, liver and esophageal cancer. After baseline cancer risk assessments and screening tests, both active and passive follow-up (based on the healthcare insurance database, cancer registry, the front page of hospital medical records, and death certificates) will be conducted to trace participants’ onset and progression of cancers and other prevalent chronic diseases. Scan-China has preliminarily found a disproportionately lower screening participation rate and higher incidence/mortality rates of esophageal and breast cancer among the Mongolian population than among their Han counterparts. Further research will explore the cancer burden, natural history, treatment patterns, and risk factors of the target cancers.
Summary
Key Message
- Scan-China is the first and largest electronic health data (EHD)-integrated cancer screening program for the Mongolian ethnicity in Inner Mongolia. - Scan-China aims to evaluate the effectiveness of screening interventions, particularly on ethnic minorities, portray the natural history, explore risk factors and summarize treatment patterns and updated outcomes of prevalent tumors/other chronic diseases. - Scan-China database comprises baseline cancer risk assessment, screening tests results, active follow-up investigation for participants at high risk and EHD-integrated passive follow-up. Data sources for passive follow-up include healthcare insurance database, cancer registry, front page of hospital medical record and death certificates.

Epidemiol Health : Epidemiology and Health