Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 45

Search results for: Fadeke Esther Olu-Owolabi

15 Craftwork Sector of Tangier: Cooperation, Communication and New Opportunities

Authors: María García-García, Esther Simancas-González, Said Balhadj, Carmen Silva-Robles, Driss Ferhane

Abstract:

Cooperation between the territories on both sides of the Strait of Gibraltar is an urgent reality. the south of Spain and northern Morocco share a common historical past and belong to a very similar geographical and ecological area. Economic, social and cultural relations make cooperation between the two countries’ (Spain and Morocco) a priority for the EU and both countries governments. Likewise, deepened changes happened in production systems and consumption patterns had seriously damaged and weakened the craftwork sector. The promotion of local crafts, and its economic value, and the cooperation with the north of Morocco has been an important issue for the Andalusian government in recent years. The main aim of this work is to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the Tangier - Tetuan region craftworks sector in order to develop accurate communication and promotion plans. From the knowledge of the real identity, the sector could be repositioned. Promotion and communication could be a spur to traditional sectors, such as crafts. Competitiveness requires "the culture of communication, the cooperation between different companies to build powerful territory brands and maintain the establishment confidence and effectiveness relationships among agencies and organizations". The lack of previous literature addressing how Tangier craftwork promote and communicate its value to their stakeholders, has conducted the study to an exploratory approach with a double dimension: internal, Tangier craftwork sector image, and external, Andalusia image of the sector in Tangier. Different interviews were conducted with Andalusian partners involved in the artisanal sector (9 master craftsmen and 3 institutions) and focus groups with 9 Tangiers craftsmen were developed. The result of these interviews and expert groups are reflected in a SWOT analysis which reveals a handcraft industry with a worrying wide-spread and undifferentiated identity and reluctance to innovation and new technologies.

Keywords: Image, Communication Management, Moroccan crafts, Spain-Morocco cooperation

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14 Intestacy and Business Continuity among Entrepreneurs in Ondo State, Nigeria

Authors: Olurankinse Felix, Igbekoyi Olusola Esther

Abstract:

This paper examined the factors that militate against Will writing among entrepreneurs in Ondo State Nigeria and the effect of intestate death on business continuity after the exit of the entrepreneurs. The paper was written with a view to providing information on the reasons why intestate death is common among entrepreneurs in Ondo State and the effects on continuity of business after death of the initial owners. Data were obtained from primary source through the administration of questionnaires to entrepreneurs drawn from 50 registered manufacturing companies. These companies have been in existence for a minimum of 10 years with minimum staff strength of 20 workers each. These companies were selected using the purposive random sampling technique in order to capture firms that meet the requirements of this paper. Data obtained were analyzed using descriptive statistics, chi-square and regression analysis. The findings of the paper revealed that administration of Will, traditional beliefs, Will execution procedures, age and non- admissibility of Wills in court are the major factors that militates against Will writing among entrepreneurs in Ondo State. It was also discovered that chaos and instability in business, reduction in sales and productivity, poor succession planning, polygamous nature of marriages, difficulty in sourcing for funds and gender preference are joint predictors of business continuity in event intestate death which is evident in the result where R2 =.954;(F 6, 26)= 89.644; (P < 0.01). The individual beta co-efficient, t- statistics and significance of each variable revealed that gender preference (.735; 7.031; .000) and poor succession plan (.402; 2.840; .009) have significant positive effect on business continuity; while reduction in sales and productivity (-.059; -.335; .740) and difficulty in sourcing for funds (-.217; -1.367; .188) have negative effect; other variables also have positive relationship but they are not significant. It is therefore concluded that business continuity after the exit of the entrepreneur is highly dependent on the rebuilding of confidence on Wills administration in ondo state Nigeria, proper succession planning and elimination of gender preferences.

Keywords: Entrepreneurs, Business Continuity, will, intestacy, succession planning

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13 Antigenic Diversity of Theileria parva Isolates from Cattle and Buffalo at the Wildlife-Livestock Interface in Southern and Eastern Africa

Authors: Mukolwe D. Lubembe, Odongo O. David, Githaka Naftali, Kanduma Esther, Marinda Oosthuizen, Kgomotso P. Sibeko

Abstract:

Theileriosis is a tick-borne disease of cattle caused by an apicomplexan protozoan parasite of the genus Theileria. In eastern and southern Africa, Theileria infections in cattle are caused by the species Theileria parva whose natural reservoir is the African buffalo (Syncerus caffer). Currently, East Coast Fever (ECF) caused by the cattle-derived Theileria parva is still a major problem in eastern Africa and some parts of southern Africa but not in South Africa following its eradication in the 1950s. However, Corridor disease (CD) caused by the buffalo-derived Theileria parva still remains a concern in South Africa. The diversity of Theileria parva in South Africa in comparison to other affected countries is poorly defined yet its known to be the survival strategy of this parasite. We assessed the antigenic diversity of Theileria parva isolates from Buffalo and cattle at the wildlife-livestock interface comparing samples from South Africa, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. Antigenic epitopes of eight schizont antigen genes (Tp1, Tp3, Tp4, Tp5, Tp6, Tp7, Tp8 and Tp10) were amplified by PCR from genomic DNA extracted from blood samples collected from cattle and buffalo at the wildlife-livestock interface. Amplicons were purified and then sequenced on NGS platform. Full length open reading frames (ORFs) of two schizont antigen genes (Tp2 and Tp9) and one sporozoite antigen gene, p67 were also amplified from genomic DNA. Amplicons were then purified and cloned for sequencing. Analysis was based on sequence differences in the genes. Preliminary results show an extensively diverse population of Theileria parva circulating in buffalo and cattle populations at the wildlife-livestock interface. Diversity of the antigen genes contributes to the evasion of the immune system of the host by Theileria parva. This possess a concern in that, some of the Theileria parva populations may re-assort and become adapted to cattle to cause a form of theileriosis that is as fatal as ECF in areas where ECF was eradicated or is absent

Keywords: Diversity, Theileria parva, east coast fever, corridor diseases, antigen genes

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12 Effects of Fe Addition and Process Parameters on the Wear and Corrosion Characteristics of Icosahedral Al-Cu-Fe Coatings on Ti-6Al-4V Alloy

Authors: Esther T. Akinlabi, Stephen A. Akinlabi, Olawale S. Fatoba, Rezvan Gharehbaghi

Abstract:

The performance of material surface under wear and corrosion environments cannot be fulfilled by the conventional surface modifications and coatings. Therefore, different industrial sectors need an alternative technique for enhanced surface properties. Titanium and its alloys possess poor tribological properties which limit their use in certain industries. This paper focuses on the effect of hybrid coatings Al-Cu-Fe on a grade five titanium alloy using laser metal deposition (LMD) process. Icosahedral Al-Cu-Fe as quasicrystals is a relatively new class of materials which exhibit unusual atomic structure and useful physical and chemical properties. A 3kW continuous wave ytterbium laser system (YLS) attached to a KUKA robot which controls the movement of the cladding process was utilized for the fabrication of the coatings. The titanium cladded surfaces were investigated for its hardness, corrosion and tribological behaviour at different laser processing conditions. The samples were cut to corrosion coupons, and immersed into 3.65% NaCl solution at 28oC using Electrochemical Impedance Spectroscopy (EIS) and Linear Polarization (LP) techniques. The cross-sectional view of the samples was analysed. It was found that the geometrical properties of the deposits such as width, height and the Heat Affected Zone (HAZ) of each sample remarkably increased with increasing laser power due to the laser-material interaction. It was observed that there are higher number of aluminum and titanium presented in the formation of the composite. The indentation testing reveals that for both scanning speed of 0.8 m/min and 1m/min, the mean hardness value decreases with increasing laser power. The low coefficient of friction, excellent wear resistance and high microhardness were attributed to the formation of hard intermetallic compounds (TiCu, Ti2Cu, Ti3Al, Al3Ti) produced through the in situ metallurgical reactions during the LMD process. The load-bearing capability of the substrate was improved due to the excellent wear resistance of the coatings. The cladded layer showed a uniform crack free surface due to optimized laser process parameters which led to the refinement of the coatings.

Keywords: Corrosion, Intermetallics, Wear Resistance, Ti-6Al-4V alloy, laser metal deposition, Al-Cu-Fe coating

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11 The Conundrum of Marital Rape in Malawi: The Past, the Present and the Future

Authors: Esther Gumboh

Abstract:

While the definition of rape has evolved over the years and now differs from one jurisdiction to another, at the heart of the offence remains the absence of consent on the part of the victim. In simple terms, rape consists in non-consensual sexual intercourse. Therefore, the core issue is whether the accused acted with the consent of the victim. Once it is established that the act was consensual, a conviction of rape cannot be secured. Traditionally, rape within marriage was impossible because it was understood that a woman gave irrevocable consent to sex with her husband throughout the duration of the marriage. This position has since changed in most jurisdictions. Indeed, Malawian law now recognises the offence of marital rape. This is a victory for women’s rights and gender equality. Curiously, however, the definition of marital rape endorsed differs from the standard understanding of rape as non-consensual sex. Instead, the law has introduced the concept of unreasonableness of the refusal to engage in sex as a defence to an accused. This is an alarming position that undermines the protection sought to be derived from the criminalisation of rape within marriage. Moreover, in the Malawian context where rape remains an offence only men can commit against women, the current legal framework for marital rape perpetuates the societal misnomer that a married woman gives a once-off consent to sexual intercourse by virtue of marriage. This takes us back to the old common law position which many countries have moved away from. The present definition of marital rape under Malawian law also sits at odd with the nature of rape that is applicable to all other instances of non-consensual sexual intercourse. Consequently, the law fails to protect married women from unwanted sexual relations at the hands of their husbands. This paper critically examines the criminalisation of marital rape in Malawi. It commences with a historical account of the conceptualisation of rape and then looks at judgments that rejected the validity of marital rape. The discussion then moves to the debates that preceded the criminalisation of marital rape in Malawi and how the Law Commission reasoned to finally make a recommendation in its favour. Against this background, the paper analyses the legal framework for marital rape and what this means for the elements of the offence and defences that may be raised by an accused. In the final analysis, this contribution recommends that there is need to amend the definition of marital rape. Better still, the law should simply state that the fact of marriage is not a defence to a charge of rape, or, in other words, that there is no marital rape exemption. This would automatically mean that husbands are subjected to the same criminal law principles as their unmarried counterparts when it comes to non-consensual sexual intercourse with their wives.

Keywords: Gender, Criminal Law, Malawi, rape, marital rape, sexual intercourse

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10 Emotions Evoked by Robots - Comparison of Older Adults and Students

Authors: Stephanie Lehmann, Esther Ruf, Sabina Misoch

Abstract:

Background: Due to demographic change and shortage of skilled nursing staff, assistive robots are built to support older adults at home and nursing staff in care institutions. When assistive robots facilitate tasks that are usually performed by humans, user acceptance is essential. Even though they are an important aspect of acceptance, emotions towards different assistive robots and different situations of robot-use have so far not been examined in detail. The appearance of assistive robots can trigger emotions that affect their acceptance. Acceptance of robots is assumed to be greater when they look more human-like; however, too much human similarity can be counterproductive. Regarding different groups, it is assumed that older adults have a more negative attitude towards robots than younger adults. Within the framework of a simulated robot study, the aim was to investigate emotions of older adults compared to students towards robots with different appearances and in different situations and so contribute to a deeper view of the emotions influencing acceptance. Methods: In a questionnaire study, vignettes were used to assess emotions toward robots in different situations and of different appearance. The vignettes were composed of two situations (service and care) shown by video and four pictures of robots varying in human similarity (machine-like to android). The combination of the vignettes was randomly distributed to the participants. One hundred forty-two older adults and 35 bachelor students of nursing participated. They filled out a questionnaire that surveyed 30 positive and 30 negative emotions. For each group, older adults and students, a sum score of “positive emotions” and a sum score of “negative emotions” was calculated. Mean value, standard deviation, or n for sample size and % for frequencies, according to the scale level, were calculated. For differences in the scores of positive and negative emotions for different situations, t-tests were calculated. Results: Overall, older adults reported significantly more positive emotions than students towards robots in general. Students reported significantly more negative emotions than older adults. Regarding the two different situations, the results were similar for the care situation, with older adults reporting more positive emotions than students and less negative emotions than students. In the service situation, older adults reported significantly more positive emotions; negative emotions did not differ significantly from the students. Regarding the appearance of the robot, there were no significant differences in emotions reported towards the machine-like, the mechanical-human-like and the human-like appearance. Regarding the android robot, students reported significantly more negative emotions than older adults. Conclusion: There were differences in the emotions reported by older adults compared to students. Older adults reported more positive emotions, and students reported more negative emotions towards robots in different situations and with different appearances. It can be assumed that older adults have a different attitude towards the use of robots than younger people, especially young adults in the health sector. Therefore, the use of robots in the service or care sector should not be rejected rashly based on the attitudes of younger persons, without considering the attitudes of older adults equally.

Keywords: Robots, Emotions, seniors, young adults

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9 Examining the Mediating and Moderating Role of Relationships in the Association between Poverty and Children’s Subjective Well-Being

Authors: Esther Yin-Nei Cho

Abstract:

There is inconsistency among studies about whether there is an association between poverty and the subjective wellbeing of children. Some have found a positive association, though its magnitude could be limited, others have shown no association. One possible explanation for this inconsistency is that household income, an often-adopted measure of child poverty, may not accurately and stably reflect the actual life experience of children. Some studies have suggested, however, that material deprivation covering various dimensions of children’s lives could be a better measure of child poverty. Another possible explanation for the inconsistency is that the link between poverty and subjective wellbeing of children may not be that straightforward, as there could be underlying mechanisms, such as mediation and moderation, influencing its direction or strength. While a mediator refers to the mechanism through which an independent variable affects a dependent variable, a moderator changes the direction or strength of the relationship between an independent variable and a dependent variable. As suggested by empirical evidence, family relationships and friendships could be potential mediators or moderators of the link between poverty and subjective well-being: poverty affects relationships; relationships are an important element in children’s subjective well-being; and economic status affects child outcomes, though not necessarily subjective wellbeing, through relationships. Since the potential links have not been adequately understood, this study fills this gap by examining the possible role of family relationships and friendships as mediators or moderators between poverty (using child-derived material deprivation as measure) and the subjective wellbeing of children. Improving subjective wellbeing is increasingly considered as a policy goal. The finding of no or a limited association between poverty and subjective wellbeing of children could be a justification for less effort to improve poverty in this regard. But if the observed magnitude of that association is due to some underlying mechanisms at work, the effect of poverty may be underestimated and the potentially useful strategies that take into account both poverty and other mediators or moderators for improving children’s subjective well-being may be overlooked. Multiple mediation, and multiple moderation models, based on regression analyses, are performed to a sample of approximately 1,600 children, who are aged 10 to 15, from the wellbeing survey conducted by The Children’s Society in England from 2010 to 2011. Results show that the effect of children’s material deprivation on their subjective well-being is mediated by their family relationships and friendships. Moreover, family relationships are a significant moderator. It is found that the negative impact of child deprivation on subjective wellbeing could be exacerbated if family relationships are not going well, while good family relationships may prevent the further decline in subjective well-being. Policy implications of the findings are discussed. In particular, policy measures that focus on strengthening the family relationships or nurturing home environment through supporting household’s economic security and parental time with children could promote the subjective wellbeing of children.

Keywords: Mediation, moderation, child poverty, subjective well-being of children

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8 Perspectives of Healthcare Workers on Healthcare-Associated Infections and Infection Control in a Tertiary Care Hospital in Abha, Saudi Arabia

Authors: Esther Paul, Ibrahim A. M. Alzaydani, Al Hakami, Caryl Beynon

Abstract:

Research Objectives and Goal: The main aim of the current study was to explore the perspectives of healthcare workers on Healthcare-associated infections (HAI) and infection control measures in a tertiary care Hospital in Abha, Saudi Arabia. As per our knowledge, this is perhaps the first qualitative study on HAI to be done in Saudi Arabia. The goal of the study was to understand the perspectives of the healthcare workers on the current protocol and guidelines for HAI and infections control measures in the hospital, the effectiveness of the current protocol for HAI and infection control measures and ways of reducing the incidence of HAI and improve infection control measures. Methods used: A qualitative research design was used to collect the data from 25 healthcare workers consisting of doctors and nurses, recruited by Snowball strategy via semi-structured interviews which were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim immediately. An interview guide consisting of open-ended questions about the existing HAI and infection control practices in the healthcare facility, the awareness of the healthcare workers about HAI and the need for safe infection control measures were used to collect the data. The transcribed data were analyzed using the thematic analysis method. Results: Using thematic analysis four themes were identified.1.Knowledge of HAI and infection control 2. Infection control measures in practice 3. The gap in infection control measures and HAI 4. Required Implementations. The first theme covered the participants' knowledge on HAI, its definition, the types of HAI and the infection control measures.Most of the participants were aware of HAI and had some idea of the definition of HAI, its significance and the dangers posed by HAI, but few residents had no idea of the types of HAI. The second theme was focussed on the infection control measures in practice. Most of the participants were aware of the importance of infection control measures like hand hygiene, catheter care, and waste disposal. The nurses were responsible for most of the disinfection and sterilization measures and practiced it effectively. However, some doctors and residents had no inkling about these measures. The third theme emphasized that although most of the participants were aware of HAI and infection control measures and were in practice. There were some lacunae regarding their knowledge of the different types of HAI, Personal Protective Equipment practices, communication among the healthcare personnel and the hospital administrations and the means of waste disposal. The fourth and the final theme identified that most of the participants felt the need for implementations of changes regarding existing protocols, workshops/seminars, methods of waste disposal and sterilization and disinfection practices. Conclusion: The current qualitative study concluded that there is a need for better educational programs and hands-on training for all the healthcare personnel including the paramedical staff as well. The residents should have adequate knowledge of infection control practices to guide the nurses and should share the responsibility with the nurses in the practice of effective infection control measures

Keywords: Qualitative, Perspectives, healthcare-associated infections, infection control measures

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7 Bio-Oil Compounds Sorption Enhanced Steam Reforming

Authors: Esther Acha, Jose Cambra, De Chen

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Hydrogen is considered an important energy vector for the 21st century. Nowadays there are some difficulties for hydrogen economy implantation, and one of them is the high purity required for hydrogen. This energy vector is still being mainly produced from fuels, from wich hydrogen is produced as a component of a mixture containing other gases, such as CO, CO2 and H2O. A forthcoming sustainable pathway for hydrogen is steam-reforming of bio-oils derived from biomass, e.g. via fast pyrolysis. Bio-oils are a mixture of acids, alcohols, aldehydes, esters, ketones, sugars phenols, guaiacols, syringols, furans, multi-functional compounds and also up to a 30 wt% of water. The sorption enhanced steam reforming (SESR) process is attracting a great deal of attention due to the fact that it combines both hydrogen production and CO2 separation. In the SESR process, carbon dioxide is captured by an in situ sorbent, which shifts the reversible reforming and water gas shift reactions to the product side, beyond their conventional thermodynamic limits, giving rise to a higher hydrogen production and lower cost. The hydrogen containing mixture has been obtained from the SESR of bio-oil type compounds. Different types of catalysts have been tested. All of them contain Ni at around a 30 wt %. Two samples have been prepared with the wet impregnation technique over conventional (gamma alumina) and non-conventional (olivine) supports. And a third catalysts has been prepared over a hydrotalcite-like material (HT). The employed sorbent is a commercial dolomite. The activity tests were performed in a bench-scale plant (PID Eng&Tech), using a stainless steel fixed bed reactor. The catalysts were reduced in situ in the reactor, before the activity tests. The effluent stream was cooled down, thus condensed liquid was collected and weighed, and the gas phase was analysed online by a microGC. The hydrogen yield, and process behavior was analysed without the sorbent (the traditional SR where a second purification step will be needed but that operates in steady state) and the SESR (where the purification step could be avoided but that operates in batch state). The influence of the support type and preparation method will be observed in the produced hydrogen yield. Additionally, the stability of the catalysts is critical, due to the fact that in SESR process sorption-desorption steps are required. The produced hydrogen yield and hydrogen purity has to be high and also stable, even after several sorption-desorption cycles. The prepared catalysts were characterized employing different techniques to determine the physicochemical properties of the fresh-reduced and used (after the activity tests) materials. The characterization results, together with the activity results show the influence of the catalysts preparation method, calcination temperature, or can even explain the observed yield and conversion.

Keywords: Hydrogen, CO2 sorbent, enhanced steam reforming

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6 Teacher Characteristics That Influence Development of Oral Language Skills among Pre-Primary School Pupils: Case Study of Nairobi City County, Kenya

Authors: Kenneth Okelo, Esther Waithaka, Maureen Mweru

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Development of oral language skills is a precursor to writing and reading acquisition. Oral skill is a means of communication through which people express their desires, ideas, excitements, amusements, disappointments and exchange information. In addition, oral skills have been found to be an important tool for thinking and concept development in children. Research carried out in industrialised countries have identified some appropriate teaching strategies used to enhance acquisition of oral language skills such as repetition, substitution, explanation, contrast, exemplification and code-switching. However, these studies’ geographical locations do not reflect the diversity of the Kenyan society. In addition, studies conducted in Kenya in the past have not established why pre-primary school teachers are not using appropriate teaching strategies. The purpose of this study was to find out whether teachers’ experience, academic qualification and type of training influences their choice of teaching strategies in the development of oral language skills inside and out of the classroom in selected preschools in Kibra Sub-County, Nairobi County. In addition, this study aimed at finding out the strategies used by teachers in Kibra Sub-County to promote oral skills development among pre-primary school children. The study was guided by Holdaway’s theory of language acquisition. Descriptive survey design was employed during this study. Questionnaires and observation schedules were used to collect data. Eighty-three (83) preschool teachers were sampled using multistage sampling methods for observation. Data was analysed using SPSS version 20. The researcher carried out content analysis on the qualitative data. The main descriptive methods used were tabulation of frequencies and percentages. Chi squire test was the inferential statistic used to test the relationship between variables. The main findings of the study indicate that teaching strategies that were mostly used by pre-primary school teachers were code-switching, examples, repetition, substitution and explanation. While questions, direction, expansion of children words and contrast were the least used teaching strategies when teaching oral language skills. The study revealed that the there is a slight correlation between the type of training of teachers and the teaching strategies as most of DICECE trained teachers used more teaching strategies when teaching oral skills compared to other teachers. The findings also revealed that there was a partial significant correlation between teacher’s academic qualifications and a few teaching strategies. A similar correlation was also observed between teaching experience and a few teaching strategies. Since the strategies used by pre-primary school teachers under the study were less than half of the recommended teaching strategies to promote oral skills, the study recommends that teachers should be encouraged to use more in structural strategies to improve children’s oral language skills.

Keywords: Teaching Methods, Kenya early childhood education, Kenya education, oral language skills acquisition

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5 Improved Signal-To-Noise Ratio by the 3D-Functionalization of Fully Zwitterionic Surface Coatings

Authors: Esther Van Andel, Stefanie C. Lange, Maarten M. J. Smulders, Han Zuilhof

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False outcomes of diagnostic tests are a major concern in medical health care. To improve the reliability of surface-based diagnostic tests, it is of crucial importance to diminish background signals that arise from the non-specific binding of biomolecules, a process called fouling. The aim is to create surfaces that repel all biomolecules except the molecule of interest. This can be achieved by incorporating antifouling protein repellent coatings in between the sensor surface and it’s recognition elements (e.g. antibodies, sugars, aptamers). Zwitterionic polymer brushes are considered excellent antifouling materials, however, to be able to bind the molecule of interest, the polymer brushes have to be functionalized and so far this was only achieved at the expense of either antifouling or binding capacity. To overcome this limitation, we combined both features into one single monomer: a zwitterionic sulfobetaine, ensuring antifouling capabilities, equipped with a clickable azide moiety which allows for further functionalization. By copolymerizing this monomer together with a standard sulfobetaine, the number of azides (and with that the number of recognition elements) can be tuned depending on the application. First, the clickable azido-monomer was synthesized and characterized, followed by copolymerizing this monomer to yield functionalizable antifouling brushes. The brushes were fully characterized using surface characterization techniques like XPS, contact angle measurements, G-ATR-FTIR and XRR. As a proof of principle, the brushes were subsequently functionalized with biotin via strain-promoted alkyne azide click reactions, which yielded a fully zwitterionic biotin-containing 3D-functionalized coating. The sensing capacity was evaluated by reflectometry using avidin and fibrinogen containing protein solutions. The surfaces showed excellent antifouling properties as illustrated by the complete absence of non-specific fibrinogen binding, while at the same time clear responses were seen for the specific binding of avidin. A great increase in signal-to-noise ratio was observed, even when the amount of functional groups was lowered to 1%, compared to traditional modification of sulfobetaine brushes that rely on a 2D-approach in which only the top-layer can be functionalized. This study was performed on stoichiometric silicon nitride surfaces for future microring resonator based assays, however, this methodology can be transferred to other biosensor platforms which are currently being investigated. The approach presented herein enables a highly efficient strategy for selective binding with retained antifouling properties for improved signal-to-noise ratios in binding assays. The number of recognition units can be adjusted to a specific need, e.g. depending on the size of the analyte to be bound, widening the scope of these functionalizable surface coatings.

Keywords: Antifouling, Surface functionalization, signal-to-noise ratio, zwitterionic polymer brushes

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4 The Hidden Mechanism beyond Ginger (Zingiber officinale Rosc.) Potent in vivo and in vitro Anti-Inflammatory Activity

Authors: Shahira M. Ezzat, Marwa I. Ezzat, Mona M. Okba, Esther T. Menze, Ashraf B. Abdel-Naim, Shahnas O. Mohamed

Abstract:

Background: In order to decrease the burden of the high cost of synthetic drugs, it is important to focus on phytopharmaceuticals. The aim of our study was to search for the mechanism of ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe) anti-inflammatory potential and to correlate it to its biophytochemicals. Methods: Various extracts viz. water, 50%, 70%, 80%, and 90% ethanol were prepared from ginger rhizomes. Fractionation of the aqueous extract (AE) was accomplished using Diaion HP-20. In vitro anti-inflammatory activity of the different extracts and isolated compounds was evaluated by protein denaturation inhibition, membrane stabilization, protease inhibition, and anti-lipoxygenase assays. In vivo anti-inflammatory activity of AE was estimated by assessment of rat paw oedema after carrageenan injection. Prostaglandin E2 (PGE2), certain inflammation markers (TNF-α, IL-6, IL-1α, IL-1β, INFr, MCP-1MIP, RANTES, and Nox) levels and MPO activity in the paw edema exudates were measured. Total antioxidant capacity (TAC) was also determined. Histopathological alterations of paw tissues were scored. Results: All the tested extracts showed significant (p < 0.1) anti-inflammatory activities. The highest percentage of heat induced albumin denaturation (66%) was exhibited by the 50% ethanol (250 μg/ml). The 70 and 90% ethanol extracts (500 μg/ml) were more potent as membrane stabilizers (34.5 and 37%, respectively) than diclofenac (33%). The 80 and 90% ethanol extracts (500 μg/ml) showed maximum protease inhibition (56%). The strongest anti-lipoxygenase activity was observed for the AE. It showed more significant lipoxygenase inhibition activity than that of diclofenac (58% and 52%, respectively) at the same concentration (125 μg/ml). Fractionation of AE yielded four main fractions (Fr I-IV) which showed significant in vitro anti-inflammatory. Purification of Fr-III and IV led to the isolation of 6-poradol (G1), 6-shogaol (G2); methyl 6- gingerol (G3), 5-gingerol (G4), 6-gingerol (G5), 8-gingerol (G6), 10-gingerol (G7), and 1-dehydro-6-gingerol (G8). G2 (62.5 ug/ml), G1 (250 ug/ml), and G8 (250 ug/ml) exhibited potent anti-inflammatory activity in all studied assays, while G4 and G5 exhibited moderate activity. In vivo administration of AE ameliorated rat paw oedema in a dose-dependent manner. AE (at 200 mg/kg) showed significant reduction (60%) of PGE2 production. The AE at different doses (at 25-200 mg/kg) showed significant reduction in inflammatory markers except for IL-1α. AE (at 25 mg/kg) is superior to indomethacin in reduction of IL-1β. Treatment of animals with the AE (100, 200 mg/kg) or indomethacin (10 mg/kg) showed significant reduction in TNF-α, IL-6, MCP-1, and RANTES levels, and MPO activity by about (31, 57 and 32% ) (65, 60 and 57%) (27, 41 and 28%) (23, 32 and 23%) (66, 67 and 67%) respectively. AE at 100 and 200 mg/kg was equipotent to indomethacin in reduction of NOₓ level and in increasing the TAC. Histopathological examination revealed very few inflammatory cells infiltration and oedema after administration of AE (200 mg/kg) prior to carrageenan. Conclusion: Ginger anti-inflammatory activity is mediated by inhibiting macrophage and neutrophils activation as well as negatively affecting monocyte and leukocyte migration. Moreover, it produced dose-dependent decrease in pro-inflammatory cytokines and chemokines and replenished the total antioxidant capacity. We strongly recommend future investigations of ginger in the potential signal transduction pathways.

Keywords: anti-lipoxygenase activity, inflammatory markers

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3 Enhancing Police Accountability through the Malawi Independent Police Complaints Commission: Prospects and Challenges That Lie Ahead

Authors: Esther Gumboh

Abstract:

The police play a critical role in society and are an integral aspect of the rule of law. Equally, respect for human rights is an integral part of professional policing. In view of the vast powers that the police enjoy and the attendant risk of abuse and resulting human rights violations, the need for police accountability and civilian police oversight is internationally and regionally recognised. Policing oversight springs from the duty to investigate human rights violations. Those implicated in perpetrating or covering up violations must be disciplined or prosecuted to ensure effective accountability. Police accountability is particularly important in Malawi given the dark history of policing in the country during the 30-year dictatorial era under President Kamuzu Banda. Described as one of the most repressive regimes in Africa, the Banda administration was characterised by gross state-sponsored violence, repressive policing and human rights violations. Indeed, the police were involved in various forms of human rights abuse including arbitrary arrests and unlawful detentions, torture, and excessive use of force in conducting arrests and public order policing. This situation flourished within a culture of police impunity bolstered in part by the absence of clear oversight mechanisms for police accountability. In turn, there was immense public mistrust of the police. Unsurprisingly, the criminal justice system was one of the priority areas for reform when Malawi adopted its first democratic Constitution in 1994. Section 153 of the Constitution envisions a police service that is, for all intents and purposes, there to provide for the protection of public safety and the rights of persons in Malawi according to the prescriptions of the Constitution and any other law. This position reflects the view that the duty to protect and promote human rights is not incompatible with effective policing. Despite this, the police continue to engage in questionable behaviour in public order policing, excessive use of force, deaths in police custody, ill-treatment, torture and other forms of abuse including sexual abuse. Perpetrators of abuses are occasionally punished, but investigations are often delayed, abandoned, or remain inconclusive. Police accountability remains largely elusive. Commendably, the law does subject the police to significant oversight both internally and externally. However, until 2010, Malawi lacked a wholly independent civilian oversight mechanism specifically mandated to monitor the activities of the Malawi Police Service and held it accountable. This void has since been filled by the Independent Complaints Commission established under the Police Act. This is a positive development that reiterates Malawi’s commitment to the investigation of human rights violations by the police and to ending police impunity. This contribution examines the legal framework for this Commission to project the effectiveness of the Commission. While the framework looks promising on various fronts, there are potential challenges that lie ahead. Malawi must pre-emptively deal with these challenges carefully if the Commission is to have any practical significance in transforming police accountability in the country. Drawing on lessons from other jurisdictions like South Africa, the paper makes recommendations for legislative reform to strengthen the Commission’s framework.

Keywords: Police, Policing, Malawi, civilian policing oversight, police accountability, policing oversight

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2 Taking the Good with the Bad: Psychological Well-Being and Social Integration in Russian-Speaking Immigrants in Montreal

Authors: Momoka Sunohara, Ashley J. Lemieux, Esther Yakobov, Andrew G. Ryder, Tomas Jurcik

Abstract:

Immigration brings changes in many aspects of an individual's life, from social support dynamics, to housing and language, as well as difficulties with regards to discrimination, trauma, and loss. Past research has mostly emphasized individual differences in mental health and has neglected the impact of social-ecological context, such as acculturation and ethnic density. Purpose: The present study aimed to assess the relationship between variables associated with social integration such as perceived ethnic density and ways of coping, as well as psychological adjustment in a rapidly growing non-visible minority group of immigrants in Canada. Data: A small subset of an archival data from our previously published study was reanalyzed with additional variables. Data included information from 269 Russian-Speaking immigrants in Montreal, Canada. Method: Canonical correlation analysis (CCA) investigated the relationship between two sets of variables. SAS PROC CANCORR was used to conduct CCA on a set of social integration variables, including ethnic density, discrimination, social support, family functioning, and acculturation, and a set of psychological well-being variables, including distress, depression, self-esteem, and life satisfaction. In addition, canonical redundancy analysis was performed to calculate the proportion of variances of original variables explained by their own canonical variates. Results: Significance tests using Rao’s F statistics indicated that the first two canonical correlations (i.e., r1 = 0.64, r2 = 0.40) were statistically significant (p-value < 0.0001). Additionally, canonical redundancy analysis showed that the first two well-being canonical variates explained separately 62.9% and 12.8% variances of the standardized well-being variables, whereas the first two social integration canonical variates explained separately 14.7% and 16.7% variances of the standardized social integration variables. These results support the selection of the first two canonical correlations. Then, we interpreted the derived canonical variates based on their canonical structure (i.e., correlations with original variables). Two observations can be concluded. First, individuals who have adequate social support, and who, as a family, cope by acquiring social support, mobilizing others and reframing are more likely to have better self-esteem, greater life satisfaction and experience less feelings of depression or distress. Second, individuals who feel discriminated yet rate higher on a mainstream acculturation scale, and who, as a family, cope by acquiring social support, mobilizing others and using spirituality, while using less passive strategies are more likely to have better life satisfaction but also higher degree of depression. Implications: This model may serve to explain the complex interactions that exist between social and emotional adjustment and aid in facilitating the integration of individuals immigrating into new communities. The same group may experience greater depression but paradoxically improved life satisfaction associated with their coping process. Such findings need to be placed in the context of Russian cultural values. For instance, some Russian-speakers may value the expression of negative emotions with significant others during the integration process; this in turn may make negative emotions more salient, but also facilitate a greater sense of family and community connection, as well as life satisfaction.

Keywords: Mental Health, Acculturation, ethnic density, Russian-speaking

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1 Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis in Younger Children: A Qualitative Analysis of Families’ Experiences of the Condition and Perspective on Treatment

Authors: Amberly Brigden, Ali Heawood, Emma C. Anderson, Richard Morris, Esther Crawley

Abstract:

Background: Paediatric chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)/myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) is characterised by persistent, disabling fatigue. Health services see patients below the age of 12. This age group experience high levels of disability, with low levels of school attendance, high levels of fatigue, anxiety, functional disability and pain. CFS/ME interventions have been developed for adolescents, but the developmental needs of younger children suggest treatment should be tailored to this age group. Little is known about how intervention should be delivered to this age group, and further work is needed to explore this. Qualitative research aids patient-centered design of health intervention. Methods: Five to 11-year-olds and their parents were recruited from a specialist CFS/ME service. Semi-structured interviews explored the families’ experience of the condition and perspectives on treatment. Interactive and arts-based methods were used. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed and analysed thematically. Qualitative Results: 14 parents and 7 children were interviewed. Early analysis of the interviews revealed the importance of the social-ecological setting of the child, which led to themes being developed in the context of Systems Theory. Theme one relates to the level of the child, theme two the family system, theme three the organisational and societal systems, and theme four cuts-across all levels. Theme1: The child’s capacity to describe, understand and manage their condition. Younger children struggled to describe their internal experiences, such as physical symptoms. Parents felt younger children did not understand some concepts of CFS/ME and did not have the capabilities to monitor and self-regulate their behaviour, as required by treatment. A spectrum of abilities was described; older children (10-11-year-olds) were more involved in clinical sessions and had more responsibility for self-management. Theme2: Parents’ responsibility for managing their child’s condition. Parents took responsibility for regulating their child’s behaviour in accordance with the treatment programme. They structured their child’s environment, gave direct instructions to their child, and communicated the needs of their child to others involved in care. Parents wanted their child to experience a 'normal' childhood and took steps to shield their child from medicalization, including diagnostic labels and clinical discussions. Theme3: Parental isolation and the role of organisational and societal systems. Parents felt unsupported in their role of managing the condition and felt negative responses from primary care health services and schools were underpinned by a lack of awareness and knowledge about CFS/ME in younger children. This sometimes led to a protracted time to diagnosis. Parents felt that schools have the potential important role in managing the child’s condition. Theme4: Complexity and uncertainty. Many parents valued specialist treatment (which included activity management, physiotherapy, sleep management, dietary advice, medical management and psychological support), but felt it needed to account for the complexity of the condition in younger children. Some parents expressed uncertainty about the diagnosis and the treatment programme. Conclusions: Interventions for younger children need to consider the 'systems' (family, organisational and societal) involved in the child’s care. Future research will include interviews with clinicians and schools supporting younger children with CFS/ME.

Keywords: Pediatric, treatment, Qualitative, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)/myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME)

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