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Monday, October 24, 2016

The young, educated, minorities and the poor move out from south central Ethiopia - African Population Studies, Vol. 30, No. 2, 2016, pp. 2296-2305

Migration takes place due to many "Pull Factors" such as better living conditions, better job opportunity, and an overall better life and many "Push Factors" such as unequal access to assets, income, education, healthcare, house ownerships or natural disasters. These natural and manmade factors affect migration rates where communities, individuals, and families move from one area to another. Migration studies conclude that males, youth, people who don’t own property, religious and ethnic minorities, and educated people are highly likely to migrate out of small cities. Furthermore, migration flows also create dramatically during famines.

Guraghe that is one of the most densely populated zones in Ethiopia. A rapid population growth, low cropping intensity, and fragmental rural land holdings have created a surplus of labor. Due to the economic development witnessed in Ethiopia, people are moving into urban hubs. The study was conducted in Butajira district of Guraghe zone that is located in the Southern nation in an arid and semi-arid area geographically. The district not only had Guraghe tribe predominantly inhabiting it, Silti and Mareko were also other major ethnic groups living in the area. There is a cyclical famine that takes place in the district, it is concerning as the time between the famines has shortened drastically.

This study looks at outmigration of people from 10 sample neighborhoods in south central Ethiopia to measure the incidence of outmigration among different population groups. Furthermore, ten sampled kebeles based on proportion to size technique were placed, first, a baseline population and housing census were conducted in 1987. Then, a continues monthly registration event took place monthly till 1999.

Results suggested that there was a 3.97 incidence of out-migration per 100 persons and 95% CI over the 22 years study period. High out migrations were observed among the youth aged 15-19 and 20-29 at the incidence rate of 7/25 and 6.26 per 100 persons. On the contrary, the incidence rate was only 1.94 and 2.08 among adults between the age of 40-49 years and 50 plus.

The study concluded that the young people aged 15-29 had out-migration at the higher rates which could be to find a better education, job, and marital arrangements. Out-migration was also higher among educated individuals compared to land owners and people who were married. Single people have less social and economic obligations giving them an opportunity to move. The study suggests that the local government should consider having strategies to ensure that the young have employment and housing opportunities in order to ensure that there is less out migrations.

The young, educated, minorities and the poor move out from south central Ethiopia - African Population Studies, Vol. 30, No. 2, 2016, pp. 2296-2305

Migration takes place due to many "Pull Factors" such as better living conditions, better job opportunity, and an overall better life and many "Push Factors" such as unequal access to assets, income, education, healthcare, house ownerships or natural disasters. These natural and manmade factors affect migration rates where communities, individuals, and families move from one area to another. Migration studies conclude that males, youth, people who don’t own property, religious and ethnic minorities, and educated people are highly likely to migrate out of small cities. Furthermore, migration flows also create dramatically during famines.

Guraghe that is one of the most densely populated zones in Ethiopia. A rapid population growth, low cropping intensity, and fragmental rural land holdings have created a surplus of labor. Due to the economic development witnessed in Ethiopia, people are moving into urban hubs. The study was conducted in Butajira district of Guraghe zone that is located in the Southern nation in an arid and semi-arid area geographically. The district not only had Guraghe tribe predominantly inhabiting it, Silti and Mareko were also other major ethnic groups living in the area. There is a cyclical famine that takes place in the district, it is concerning as the time between the famines has shortened drastically.

This study looks at outmigration of people from 10 sample neighborhoods in south central Ethiopia to measure the incidence of outmigration among different population groups. Furthermore, ten sampled kebeles based on proportion to size technique were placed, first, a baseline population and housing census were conducted in 1987. Then, a continues monthly registration event took place monthly till 1999.

Results suggested that there was a 3.97 incidence of out-migration per 100 persons and 95% CI over the 22 years study period. High out migrations were observed among the youth aged 15-19 and 20-29 at the incidence rate of 7/25 and 6.26 per 100 persons. On the contrary, the incidence rate was only 1.94 and 2.08 among adults between the age of 40-49 years and 50 plus.

The study concluded that the young people aged 15-29 had out-migration at the higher rates which could be to find a better education, job, and marital arrangements. Out-migration was also higher among educated individuals compared to land owners and people who were married. Single people have less social and economic obligations giving them an opportunity to move. The study suggests that the local government should consider having strategies to ensure that the young have employment and housing opportunities in order to ensure that there is less out migrations.

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Dengue in an area of the Colombian Caribbean - Revista Colombia Médica, Vol. 46, No. 1, 2015, pp. 3-7

    Dengue is a tropical infection that is caused by the bite of the Aedes aegyti mosquito vector.  In recent years, the incident of dengue is considerably on a rise around the world.  Many cases of dengue are underreported or misclassified. A recent estimate indicates that there are 390 million people being infected by dengue per year. Due to its high epidemiological and economic impact, dengue takes the fifth place in the list of unattended tropical disease.

    In Colombia, dengue is an endemic disease and the four serotypes (DENV-1, DENV-2, DENV-3, and DENV-4) have been reported.  The study describes the frequency and severity of dengue in the department of Cordoba in Colombia’s Caribbean. Based on a retrospective study, two data sources, the database from the direction of health in Cordoba and clinical register of patients with hemorrhagic fevers and fevers of unknown origin were analyzed.

    Results stated that the mean incidence of dengue between 2003 and 2010 was 36.5 cases/105 inhabitants and the mean incidence of severe dengue was 4.7 cases/105 inhabitants (CI95%: 4.3–5.0). Mean mortality rate due to dengue was 0.3 cases/105 inhabitants.  One thing to note was a significant difference between the dengue cases found in urban and rural populations. Twenty-six point two percent of cases were in populations that had to affiliation to the health system

   The study summarizes that the incidence of cases summarized for health authorities is not consistent with the behavior of the diseases being transmitted by the vector. Corrections made for the sub-reporting shows results that are closer to reality, between 18.5 and 521.6 cases/ 10 inhabitants. Thus there was an observation of deficiencies in vector management where the etiological diagnosis is made in a low proportion. Furthermore, one could highlight that there is a problem of access to health care and quality of health services provided, as there is a low capacity for diagnosing and in treatment provided.


Thursday, June 25, 2015

NUTRIENT COMPOSITION AND SUSTAINABILITY OF FOUR COMMONLY USED LOCAL COMPLIMENTARY FOODS IN AKWA IBOM STATE, NIGERIA - African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development, Vol. 14, No. 7

It is being called "hidden hunger". The systemic lack of nutrient-rich foods in the diet of over 2 billion people worldwide - with most being within the developing world. Scidev.net, recently, has publicized this chronic issue head-on in their article: "Tapping into local resources to curb malnutrition". 

While it is important that work must be done in order to feed the many hungry people throughout the world, it is just as important to adequately feed them a balanced nutrient-rich meal; not just consisting of protein-heavy foods that give the appearance of a healthy weight [my own opinion added]. 

Andrea Rinaldi - the author - takes on the issue of malnutrition, with emphasis on the use of local resources. She points out that most farmers within the Global South are encouraged to grow foods that are more profitable for the international market, rather than indigenous crops that are high in nutrient value. Accordingly, a focus on planting locally found plants and using age-old techniques, such as the consumption of highly nutritious insects, could help curb this ongoing problem. She goes onto reiterate that the use of these foods is still common amongst "...traditionally oriented" people. 

Adepoju et al., in their journal: "Nutrient Composition and Sustainability of Four Commonly Used Local Complimentary Foods in Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria" and published in the African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development, study the issue of inadequate nutrition more thoroughly. According to the authors, adequate nutrition is of utmost importance during infancy and childhood; where a short period of malnutrition has longstanding effects on growth, development, and overall health in adults. Specifically, the period between 6 months and 2 years of age is crucial for such factors. If a lack of complimentary foods is not provided, long-term ramifications of such inadequacy will - in most circumstances - occur. 

The study was conducted to examine the nutrient composition and suitability of four commonly used complimentary foods in two separate Local Government Areas (LGAs) within Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria. The method used was a descriptive cross-sectional survey involving mothers with children aged 6-24 months old. To avoid any biases within the study, the LGAs were randomly selected to provide accurate information on the commonly used complimentary foods within the regions. A total of 300 mothers aged 18-60 years old, presenting their children for immunisation in the two LGAs, were respondents. A semi-structured questionnaire, that had been pre-tested prior, was used to determine socio-demographic characteristics, knowledge on breastfeeeding, complimentary feeding practices, and types of complimentary foods used in preparation of meals. From this information, standardized samples of four of the most commonly used complimentary foods were analyzed for nutrient and anti-nutrient composition using AOAC methods of analysis.  

Data from the study was then analyzed using descriptive statistics and a Chi square test, with the level of significance set at p= 0.05. The most commonly used complimentary foods used were: two types of unripe banana porridge, one mashed bean porridge, and a type of mixed cereal pap with crayfish and 'turn brown' (soybean, groundnut and crayfish). One hundred gram portions of these foods contained on average between 2.52- 6.70 g of crude protein, 1.26-7.23 g crude lipids, 8.16-13.97 g carbohydrates and yielded up to 415.57 kcal of energy. Measurements of the mineral content were also analyzed: the range was between 31.58-230.40 mg potassium, 46.78-184.68 mg calcium, 55.23-120.93 mg phosphorus, 10.37-23.26 mg iron, 7.53-18.53 mg zinc per 100 gram portions. 
  
Results indicated that the four complimentary foods used by the respondents in this study were nutritionally adequate and were low in anti-nutrients (oxalates, phytates, trypsin inhibitors, saponins and tannins). Therefore, there is little risk of malabsorption of the nutrients. The utilization of unripe banana and mixed cereals with turn brown for infants is recommended. Using this method provides cheap complimentary foods that are adequate in energy and nutrition and promotes biodiversity.  

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Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Team Photo


Bioline would like to take this opportunity to welcome our new and existing work-study students! Blane, Charanya, Ramsha, Kai-Ann,Yuan, Sabika, and of course, the management Leslie and Dong!
















Thursday, May 28, 2015

NATURAL DISASTERS IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES: MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES - Indian Journal of Medical Sciences, Vol. 63, No. 8

One month ago today, Nepal was struck with a 7.5 magnitude earthquake: destroying homes, businesses, villages, and consequently the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands - if not millions - of Nepalese people. The Guardian's recent publication: "Nepal one month after the quake: ' The emotional impact has been devastating", spells-out in great detail the impact the quake has had on the locals. Sam Jones, who is the author, tells a compelling story about a woman's initial fright while her home and the buildings around her crumbled by the shock. How, when a community is devastated by disaster, the people can come together to support one-another. However, while they can support each other emotionally, help is urgently needed by the international community.   

The UN estimates that while international aid has started to arrive, 1.4 million dollars is needed to supply food, water, and other necessities to the many effected within the 39 districts, including the 11 districts that were most severely hurt.

Financial help is of great importance, yet many fail to realize - or at the very least, do not discuss it at great lengths - the impact on mental health of displaced victims of natural disasters. This crucial step in the identification of mental health  is the focus within Nilamadhab Kar's study: "Natural Disasters In Developing Countries: Mental Health Issues".

It is suggested by Kar, cultural differences regarding the perception of stress, resilience and coping are well known. These factors also effect the prevalence of psychiatric morbidity following such disasters. Kar's study brings to light a previous study by Telles et al., which suggests that acute psychological effects, specifically the risk of post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSD) and depression, were found to be more prevalent within the elderly population who had lived through a natural or man-made disaster. Elderly people, according to Kar, are one of the most vulnerable groups for post-disaster psychiatric morbidity.  

After the Tsunami disaster in the Andamans, in the early post-disaster phases, significant mental health problems were recorded. Similarly, 3 months after Orissa super-cyclone, 50% of the victims were reported of having post-traumatic stress symptoms. Further, long-term post-disaster studies in India  have also reported a considerable amount of psychiatric morbidity in the victims, comprising mostly of post-traumatic stress, depression, and anxiety disorders.

Kar goes on to suggest that observations of the study by Telles et al. reemphasize that systematic screenings of the victims in the disaster-affected areas are preferable to routine clinical evaluation. Otherwise many victims may suffer in silence, rather than seek psychological help, due to the cultural stigma attached to mental health. It is also suggested that while it is pertinent to conduct post-disaster studies, arranging such studies can be difficult considering the ground realities in the immediate aftermath of disasters. Yet, data-gathering should be an integral part of disaster relief and support work, which will improve overall knowledge for better care of victims of natural and man-made disasters.

Donations for the relief efforts in Nepal can be given to the Red Cross or any of the many other organizations providing help on the ground.  


For this journal and others from this issue, click here.








Sunday, May 03, 2015

ANALYZING THE INDIVIDUAL AND SOCIAL RIGHTS CONDITION OF CLIMATE CHANGE REFUGEES FROM THE INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL LAW PERSPECTIVE - International Journal of Environment Science and Technology, Vol. 9, No. 1

The recent earthquake that rocked Nepal is a tragedy, to say the least. In some cases where a natural disaster has left cities in ruins, the government is quick to act and rebuild. However, according to Sam Jones - who is the author of a recent article published by the Guardian - and her interviewee, Katie Peters, governments should not be quick when rebuilding. Rather, they should take more time and plan so new infrastructure can withstand such environmental disasters. Such disasters are inevitable, Jones reiterates.

Jones goes onto mention the issue of the millions of displaced locals-turned-migrants from such disasters. Approximately 1.5 million people from Haiti were displaced due to the tragic earthquake in 2010 and while funding from the international community is important, Jones suggests that the funds should be allocated locally. Doing so, makes the process more sustainable and lessens the dependence of such extensive funding in the future.

Pourhameshi et al., in their journal: "Analyzing the individual and social rights condition of climate change refugees from the international environmental law perspective" take on this complex issue of climate change displacement more specifically. While Jones may be correct when emphasizing the importance of a more sustainable development plan. Pourhameshi et al. focus more attention on the countries taking in refugees. With emphasis being placed on the inefficiencies and the lack of rights being provided to each individual migrant, they are - according the Pourhameshi et al. - deprived of the most essential human rights, such as a healthy living environment. Currently, the legal administration has not made the necessary contingencies for responding to the environmental consequences of immigration and is extremely inefficient in expanding this phenomenon.

The journal seeks to address the question: To what extent can existing forms of legal and operational protection be applied in climate change-related displacement, in general, as well as cross-border displacement, in particular. Further, the authors seek to provide a better insight, so as to address the gaps and inefficiencies within the governments providing safe-haven to migrants. It is expected that analyzing these gaps and determining the international community's duties and commitments - both governments and international organizations - can result in a more efficient management of the crisis and prevent contagion of chaos globally. 


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Monday, April 27, 2015

A SURVEY OF ANTIMALARIAL DRUG USE PRACTICES AMONG URBAN DWELLERS IN ABEOKUTA, NIGERIA - African Journal of Biomedical Research, Vol. 13, No. 1

Although development into anti-malarial drugs have come a long way, much work still needs to be done in order to prevent the hundreds of thousands - if not millions - of senseless deaths caused by this rampant virus each year. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 3.2 billion people are at risk of contracting malaria, with an estimated 198 million cases and 584 thousand deaths in 2013, alone. The Guardian recently published an article outlining some of the blockades preventing the treatment of malaria.

Carla Kweifio-Okai in her article: "When people come with severe malaria, it is like a race against time", notes the lack of adequate healthcare services within Ethiopia, Nigeria, Cameroon, Kenya, Malawi, and Uganda. Further, special emphasis is given to the lack of new and better medications being used to treat malaria, such as injectable Artesunate. Despite its advantages, she notes, the use of Artesunate is pitiful and its roll-out has been frustratingly slow. In Ethiopia, the government has introduced the drug into its national guidelines, yet adequate training in administering it ceases to exist; combined with higher prices and shortages, means the many healthcare facilities have chosen to use older, less effective drugs.  

While this is an issue that needs to be addressed, another issue within this area is increasingly becoming a greater threat to the spread of malaria. Omole et al., in their journal: "A Survey of Antimalarial Drug Use Practices among Urban Dwellers in Abeokuta, Nigeria" emphasizes the increasingly problematic use of Artesunate by locals who are self-medicating to treat malaria. While it's noble that they are taking an initiative to get better, the drug is not being used appropriately, which according to the authors, posses a greater risk of new drug-resistant strains of malaria to form.

A descriptive cross-sectional survey was carried out to assess anti-malarial drug-use practices amongst locals residing in Adigbe communities, Abeokuta, Nigeria. The study documented the knowledge, attitudes and behaviour of 350 respondents in terms of drug preference, attitudes to drug use, and effects of non-compliance to anti-malarial medication. Structured questionnaires were used for data collection with a total of 370 being handed out and 350 used for analysis. 125 (35.71%) of the respondents frequently experienced malaria attacks and practiced self-medicating in hopes of ridding themselves of the illness. 115 (32.86%) of the respondents treated their malaria episodes with a Sulphadoxine-Phyrimethamine combination, while 90 of the respondents frequently purchased Artesunate as a monotherepy malaria treatment due to cost-implications associated with newer and readily available Artemisinin Combination Therapies (ACTs). This equates to only 43 (12.29%) of the respondents purchasing the newer and more better Artemisinin- Combination Therapy. 

The results revealed that therapeutic failure to conventional use of Sulphadoxine-Phyrimethamine by the respondents, as 139 (33.71%) of them experienced no cure and had to repeat self-medicating with anti-malarial medication. The authors suggest that if this pattern of self-medicating persists and is not monitored adequately, there is a possibility of early emergence of resistance to the highly effective anti-malarial drugs presently in use.  


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Friday, April 24, 2015

WOMEN'S EDUCATION, EMPOWERMENT, AND CONTRACEPTIVE USE IN SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA: FINDINGS FROM RECENT DEMOGRAPHIC AND HEALTH SURVEY'S - African Population Studies, Vol. 28, No. 2s

Gender equality: while we have come along way to an equal path for both men and women, there is still much work to be done. The United Nations' new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are being finalized at this very moment with much talk and recognition being on equality for women within the developing world. It is within this goal that brings attention to women having adequate access to education and tools for sexual and reproductive health; the choice to choose their family size, according to Sarah Shaw. 

Sarah Shaw is the author of the Guardian's article: "Sustainable development must prioritise women's sexual health" and states that the governments around the world are now accepting the fact that the key to achieving a world without poverty, is the rights of women and their sexual and reproductive health. Having access to adequate women's healthcare services is of great importance, as well as educating them. Most cannot deny this fact. Women are the foundation of our society, they give birth to us and they should have the same rights as men do when it comes to their health and well-being, amongst many other rights they deserve, but do not receive at this present time. 

While there is much talk - Shaw goes on to suggest - between now and September, while in discussions of the post-2015 development proposals, there is no guarantee that the references of sexual and reproductive health will remain in the original document. And so it begins, the push to continue the talk and public opinion on the importance of this crucial issue. Equality of rights has come far, lets continue the push to empower women. To not, would mean the utter breakdown of the new Sustainable Development Goals and continue the existence of deprivation and poverty throughout the Global South. 

Larsson et al. in their journal: "Women's Education, Empowerment, and Contraceptive Use in Sub-Saharan Africa: Findings From Recent Demographic and Health Surveys" echo the need for better sexual and reproductive healthcare services. 

According to Larsson et al., fertility remains higher and contraceptive levels are substantially lower in sub-Saharan Africa than anywhere else in the developing world. In their paper, the authors used information on individuals and couples from recent Demographic and Health Surveys that took place in Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, and Zambia. They used both a bivariate and multivariate method to examining the determinant of contraceptive use among married women (age 15-49), with special emphasis on women's education and empowerment. 

The results indicated that education was an important determinant of contraceptive use, but mattered less in choice of method effectiveness. The overall impact of education was similar in all countries studied, except for Kenya, where it was non-existent. Empowerment of women was less important in determining contraceptive use. 

It is suggested within the study that efforts to increase contraceptive use in general and the use of modern methods needs to be addressed. Specifically, emphasis needs to be taken on providing basic education for all women and on changing gender roles.   


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Wednesday, April 08, 2015

ASSOCIATIONS BETWEEN DEMOGRAPHIC FACTORS AND PERCIEVED ACCULTURATIVE STRESS AMONG AFRICAN MIGRANTS IN GERMANY - African Population Studies, Vol. 28, No. 1

Within the West we experience upheavals that in some cases are severely problematic. Developing countries - on the other hand - continue to face ongoing social, political, climatic and economic disparities on an ongoing basis. In turn, locals are forced to flea these ongoing stresses and migrate in hopes of a better life. Most within the African continent turn to Europe, its faraway neighbor. 

It is a fact that we are bombarded with coverage in the news of the amount of migrants fleeing war-torn areas. Yet, in most cases we are not provided with the full story. Rather, the migrants are described in a negative fashion as being a burden on Western society because of their overwhelming numbers. In turn, most news coverage of this issue lacks acknowledgment of the individual struggles migrants go through for a better life in the West. The Guardian in their article: "Fear, fatigue and separation: a journey with migrants willing to risk everything", has done just this - gave the individuals a voice.

The unnamed journalist followed a group of African migrants and the smugglers from Athens, Greece through the Balkans. Most migrants use Greece as a safe haven because they can claim asylum, but many do not stay due to the economic struggles Greece is currently under. In turn, smugglers then bring the hopeful group on a 10-day journey in hopes of gaining entry to the heart of the EU - Germany and France. Most, however, don't make it and are caught by police who take them back to Athens. One woman in particular was caught and was separated from her small child, causing her great stress and sadness. She describes these ordeals as being wrong and inhuman. 

While most migrants believe that the EU - specifically Germany - would free them of their worries, Erhabor Sunday Idemudia states that this might not be the case. In his journal Idemudia studies the "Associations between demographic factors and perceived acculturative stress among African migrants in Germany". Further, special emphasis is placed on the idea that living in Germany would be stressful on African migrants. 

Data from 85 migrants from the general population, as well as prisons, showed that 73.4% were males and 26.6% were females with age ranging from 18 to 46 years old. Participants of the study completed the MAQ interview that is used while assessing acculturative stress.

Results from the hierarchical regression analysis indicated that: majority of Africans living within Germany reported some form of racial discrimination, a negative situation, precarious job and a substantially large amount of daily hassles. To this extent, acculturative stress increased with duration of stay within Germany. Family fragmentation and being separated from one's spouse was a strong predictor of acculturative stress, as well as being an economic refugee. 

It is recommended that genuine attempts to support African migrants within Germany should be put it place. Moreover, attitudes of "you should not be here in the first place" has not only effected the migrants, but has also put economic and political stresses on the host country - Germany.   



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Saturday, April 04, 2015

IMPACT OF FLOODING ON FISHERMEN'S FAMILIES IN PEDRO COMMUNITY, IWAYA-LAGOS, NIGERIA - Journal of Applied Sciences and Environmental Management, Vol. 18, No. 4

Climate change is getting much worse. While some self-interested individuals like to deny its very existence, many throughout the developing world are seeing it first hand. The Guardian's most recent publication: "Cameroon's fishing industry and tourism industry battered by extreme weather" outlines the struggles many in Kribi southern Cameroon, Africa are feeling. This is due to the increase in unusual heavy rains and inland flooding. Elias Ngalame - who is the author - first opens up the story with a compelling, yet very real, story of a struggling fisherman.

"I go for days without going to sea for my catch because of the frightening weather [...] this is the first time we are witnessing such aggressive weather".

The lack of fishing has essentially increased poverty according to Ngalame's article. The town of Kribi has seen a drastic decrease in tourism, which is another staple the locals rely on. All this due to the vicious increase of torrential rain and argued to be the externalities of global warming.

Chuckwu, MN's journal: "Impact of Flooding on Fishermen's Families in Pedro Community, Iwaya-Lagos, Nigeria" echoes Ngalame's above article. The study examined the effects flooding has had on a total of 50 fishermen within Iwaya-Lagos, Nigeria. Further, the fishermen were interviewed using structured questionnaires that were distributed through a simple random sampling technique. Data was then collected, summarized and computed using a technique called descriptive statistics. 

Results indicated that flooding was a dominant seasonal climate factor. Seventy-six percent of the individuals interviewed stated that flooding played a substantial role in the decrease in fishing. Destroying fishing implements and impacted negatively on their social lives. In turn, flooding also disrupted children's schooling, increased environmental pollution, and reduced the amount of fish caught. Consequently, it decreased family income and increased the occurrence of water born diseases. 

Most (96%) were recorded saying that they would not like their children to continue in the fishing business, and that if they had an alternative means of income, they would opt out altogether. 

The study concludes by suggesting that efforts to remedy the effects of flooding should include: provision of alternative skill development, as well as affordable health services for treatment of water born diseases.



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Thursday, March 26, 2015

A COST-BENEFIT ANALYSIS OF FARMER BASED SEED PRODUCTION FOR COMMON BEAN IN KENYA - African Crop Science Journal, Vol. 19, No. 4, 2011

Just recently, the Guardian published an article named: "Bean breakthrough bodes well for climate change challenge". Which is about a breakthrough in heat-resistant beans that have the potential of flourishing in the African heat. Yet, a question resides on the immediate threat of distribution of the bean seeds because of corporate America's profit-over-prudence ideology. To this end, questioning the ethical boundaries of the international businesses that are contributing to the agricultural and development growth within Africa needs to happen. 

While one could argue that the investment of community growth through the means of private investment is a step forward, Mark Anderson - who is the author - points out that this could backfire. Anderson reiterates concerns that profit seeking corporations have been known to pressure governments to change laws and policy in favor of big business. Mariam Mariet in response to a recent gathering of these businesses, and who is the director of the African Centre For Biodiversity, cements this thought: 

"Public-farmer partnerships that integrate farmer and scientific knowledge will generate a more accountable process, and produce longer-lasting and more meaningful solutions for African  agricultural production, than these profit-driven, exclusive and narrow processes." - The Guardian

While the sentiment of private partnership is not without merit, a business model that creates further dependency is not the best plan of action in order to rid the Global South of hunger and poverty. Katungi et al., in their journal: "A cost-benefit analysis of farmer based seed production for common bean in Kenya", provide a more economically sustainable alternative to this issue.

Community based informal seed production has recently gained popularity as a alternative to the formal seed sector. This is because farmer produced seed, which is readily available, costs much less than certified seed. To this extent, the authors of the study examined the profitability of locally produced common bean seeds within Kenya, Africa. 

The study used data collected from farmers and one seed company participating in seed multiplication. Findings suggested that farmer based common bean seed production was a profitable enterprise and was less sensitive to market price fluctuations. However, compared to certified common bean seed production, net profit margins were five times higher for certified common bean. The reason for this is because of two distinct factors; namely, high productivity from the use of sophisticated irrigation systems and relatively higher prices for certified bean seeds. 

It is suggested by the authors of the study that with the current varieties, profitability - and thus a locally sustainable market - depends on access to irrigation and good agronomy. 
  

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Sunday, March 15, 2015

TOXIC METAL LEVELS NIGERIAN ELECTRONIC WASTE WORKERS INDICATE OCCUPATIONAL METAL TOXICITY ASSOCIATED WITH CRUDE ELECTRONIC WASTE MANAGEMENT PRACTICES - Biokemistri, Vol. 26, No. 4.

Recently, The Guardian's article: "Toxic 'e-waste' dumped in poor nations, says United Nations", outlines the severity of the illegal dumping of what is being referred to as 'e-waste' within developing countries. John Vidal, who is the author of the publication, lists the many hazards of dumping discarded electronics has on both the environment and the locals. Because the areas being used as trash sites for the Wests' addiction of consumer goods, the people - often times small children - use this as a means for income. Because the locals within the exploited communities lack adequate resources, most times they burn the plastics in order to retrieve the metals. This is obviously a health risk.

Vidal goes onto state that the global volume of electronic goods is expected to grow by 33% within the next four years, and that it is now the fastest growing system of waste, with China and the US being on top for the most consumption. The European Environment Agency estimates that between 250,000 tonnes to 1.3 million tonnes of used electronic goods are illegally shipped out of the European Union each year. And while it is highly illegal to ship discarded goods to developing countries, Vidal suggests that they are falsely labeled and packaged as 'used goods' in order to get through customs.

While this is no new issue, it has to be said that it is exciting to see more attention being brought to this serious issue. Igaharo et al. in their journal: "Toxic Metal Levels Nigerian Electronic Waste Workers Indicate Occupational Metal Toxicity Associated With Crude Electronic Waste Management Practices", thoroughly evaluate the health risks associated with electronic waste metals within Nigeria.

In the study, they evaluated the toxic metal levels in Nigerians who have been occupationally exposed to e-waste. Large levels of Lead, Mercury, Arsenic, Cadmium, and Chromium were detected within the blood tests of the Nigerian e-waste workers. To unsure a non-biased study, age-matched non-exposed participants were also studied using: standard electrothermal atomic absorption spectrometry and inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry. 

The results showed statistically significant elevated levels of toxic metals within the workers compared to the non-exposed study group (see: article for scientific measurements). Additionally, data indicated that elevated levels of toxic metals within the e-waste exposed population is directly related to the e-waste management practices within Nigeria. The potential for serious health effects, such as kidney disease and cancer; proceeded by genome instability and depressed immune response were highlighted within the study. 



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