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Monday, March 31, 2014

Featured Issue: African Journal of Reproductive Health, Vol.17 No.4

African Journal of Reproductive Health has recently been updated on Bioline. This issue includes an editorial by Friday Okonofua, "Prevention of Child Marriage and Teenage Pregnancy in Africa: Need for more Research and Innovation". The article discusses the health risks and social consequences of child marriage. The rates of the practice is highest in South-East Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, where they are as high as 75%. Child marriage can prevent girls from reaching their fullest potential, both socially and in an educationally. Child marriage can also have extreme health risks, including STIs, cervical cancer, malaria, maternal mortality and obstetrics fistula. The articles in this issue have a focus on child marriage and the risks associated with the practice.

Articles include one by Mainthia et al., "A Model for Improving the Health and Quality of Life of Single Mothers in the Developing World", in which the "Single Mothers Program" was created in Kenya to help single mothers suffering from problems such as incomplete schooling and economic hardship. The program provided education, training and start-up capital for the women to run their own businesses. The program was tested for effectiveness through the surveys which were completed before and after the program. The results indicated that the women were more educated in the use of contraceptives, had higher literacy rates, increased their incomes, and were more positively perceived by their communities. Overall, the results indicated that the program was effective and could be the model for similar programs in other communities.

For this article and other articles from this issue, click here.

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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Featured Issue: African Crop Science Vol.21 Special Issue No.3

African Crop Science Journal was recently updated on Bioline. Vol.21 special issue 3 includes "Tree and Shrub Species Integration in the Crop-Livestock Farming System" by Sisay and Mekonnen. This article aims to look at the difficulties of integrating trees and shrubs in a watershed in central Ethiopia. The study found that some of the key constraints to integration included soil cracking, lack of seedling of desired species of trees and shrubs, and water-logging. The study recommends that more information be made available on tree and shrub integration so that farmers can be given training on tree planting, management and utilisation practices.

This issue also includes "Participatory identification of farmer acceptable improved rice varieties for rain-fed lowland ecologies in Uganda" by Nanfumba et al. This article studies improved rice varieties, in the Kyoga plains in eastern Uganda. The objective was to determine the preferences of farmers of different varieties of rice. According to the study, improved varieties and production techniques instead of expansion of production could be a viable option to explore. The study evaluates six varieties of rice growin in the Kyoga plain in eastern Uganda. The results indicated that farmers preferred varieties of rice with higher levels of grain yield and short maturity time among other factors.

For these articles and others from this issue, click here.

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Monday, March 24, 2014

Esha Homenauth - A Student Perspective: Determinants of Under-five Mortality in Nigeria

Infant mortality has declined globally by 2.2% between 1990 and 2010,(Rajaratnam et al. 2010), but still falls short of the estimated 4.4% needed to achieve the 4th Millennium Development Goal (MDG 4). Nigeria, the largest country in West Africa, accounted for 12% of the global under-five mortality (U5M) in 2008 (UNICEF, 2010). An unusual trend in U5M decline exists in Nigeria as a result of inconsistencies in the data available for analyses. Currently, the rate of U5M in Nigeria is far behind the decline rate of 11.0% per year needed to acquire the MGD4 in West and Central Africa.

Interventions that target child health need to be efficient in prioritizing scarce resources. A study conducted by Akinyemi et al., published in the African Population Studies Vol 27, No.1, addressed the trends in U5M determinants in Nigeria and determined how the independent contribution of these determinants influenced changes in under-five mortality risks. In this study, a re-analysis of representative sample data collected during the Nigerian Demographic and Health Surveys (NDHS) of 1990, 1999, 2003 and 2008 was done. Eligible women between the ages of 15-49 years in selected households were interviewed. They were asked questions about their summary (number of children born and survived)and detailed reproductive history (sex and date of every live birth, survival status at time of interview, current age of surviving children and age at death).

Results from this study indicated that there was an increase in U5M deaths between 1990 - 2003, but later reduced in 2003-2008. Greater reductions however, were observed in mortality during age 1-4 years than during infancy (0-11 months). A number of variables were observed to have varying degrees of influence on U5M risk. Improvements in the level of maternal and paternal education (through the introduction of universal basic education) was observed to be a significant indicator in the decline of infant mortality. Improvements in antenatal care, skilled delivery, contraceptive use and tetanus toxoid injection during pregnancy were observed to improve U5M mortality risk, however, little change has been observed in these areas of maternal health between 1990 - 2008; largely as a result of population expansion while the number of health facilities and personnel remain unchanged. Improvements in childhood vaccination and oral rehydration therapy has also resulted in a decline in infant mortality. Reduced access to potable drinking water and toilet facilities were observed to increase the risks of under-five deaths.

This study was successful in demonstrating that the effect of changes on mortality risk is proportional to the magnitude of the changes in the determinants. Reduction in U5M risk requires a combination of factors such as maternal education, antenatal care, childhood vaccinations, improvements in household environmental health and birth spacing.

From the perspective of a Health Studies student, this study provides important policy implications for Public Health. Improvements in female education, behavioural/health-related, household environmental health factors and birth practices will result in a reduction in under-five mortality. Promoting birth space is imperative country-wide, as well as improvements in the quality of maternal and child health services. With Bioline International providing open access to articles from this journal, important discussions about the issue of under-five mortality can be stimulated, and relevant interventions can be implicated. As mentioned, disparities in under-five mortality trends in Nigeria exists as a result of insufficient data. Interventions that target improvements in collection of data and analysis is important such that policy implications can be made and resources can be efficiently targeted.

Akinyemi, J.O., Bamgboye, E.A., Ayeni, O.(2013)New trends in under-five mortality determinants and their effects on child survival in Nigeria: A review of childhood mortality data from 1990-2008. African Population Studies, 27(1): 25-42

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Friday, March 07, 2014

Featured Issue: Malaysian Journal of Medical Sciences Vol.20 No.5

a) A smartphone with the Vision Touch app
b) Self-adhesive skin with embossed/in-depth markngs
c) A 'VisionTouch' phone touch screen with apps and skin
Photo by Robest Yong
Vol.20 no.5 of Malaysian Journal of Medical Sciences was recently updated on Bioline. This issues includes an editorial, "'VisionTouch Phone' for the Blind" by Robest Yong. The article proposes a platform to allow people with a visual impairment to better locate positions of keypads using the "VisionTouch" app.

According to the article, with over 285 million people with a visual impairment around the world, the need for smartphones with suitable applications and features is pivotal. Unfortunately, many of these products and smartphones are expensive and unaffordable to those with low incomes. Even though touch screen phones are now available with voice command software, they don't always function properly and can prove problematic due to its sensitivity, which allows it to pick up background noise and voice misinterpretation. For an economical and easy solution, the Vision Touch app was invented. The application is downloaded to produce the key layout on the screen, over which a stick-on plastic skin is placed and used to identify the position of the keys.

This issue also includes "Effects of a Worksite Health Programme on the Improvement of Physical health among Overweight and Obese Civil Servants: A Pilot Study" by Ramli et al. The article discusses a health programme developed for workplaces to promote physical activity for those who work in office environments. 28 participants completed the six-month program. It involved the participants undergoing two exercise sessions that occurred once a week and diet and health education sessions once a month. After six months, the participants' physical fitness and body fat percentages were measured. The results indicated that although the participants overall had increased physical fitness and reduced body fat percentages, the programme did not have a significant impact on the body mass, self-perception of level of physical activity, or behaviour toward exercise.

For the editorial, this study and other articles from this issue, click here.

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Thursday, March 06, 2014

Featured Issue: Chilean Journal of Agricultural Research Vol.73 No.3

The Chilean Journal of Agricultural Research has recently been updated on Bioline with vol.73 no.2. 

This issue includes "Performance and ultrasound measurements of beef cattle fed diets based on whole corn or oats grains" by Arelovich et al. The article aims to study the effects of whole grain oats and corn on performance of the cattle as well as the beef ultrasound measurements, and rumen and blood parameters. 

Ten Aberdeen Angus steers were fed in individuals pens twice a day with either whole oats- or corn-based diets. The results indicated that cattle fed with whole oats had higher protein level, and there was no significant differences in performance of the cattle, their rumen environment or blood parameters.

The complete study and other articles from this issue can be found here.

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Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Featured Issue: Ciência Florestal Vol.23 No.3

Loblolly Pine by Chris M Morris
Today we will be featuring vol.23 no.3 of Ciência Florestal. This issue includes "Guidelines for Thinning of Pinus taeda L. Because of Dominant Height" by Weber et al. This articles looks at techniques and strategies for the best growth and quality of forests. Thinning, which is the removal of vegetation to allow for growth of other plants or trees, is commonly used in forest production. This study aims to develop a system to determine how many trees of dominant height per hectare can sustain the forest. Data was provided by a number of forestry companies. The results indicated that dominant height is efficient to describe the guidelines for thinning in Pinus taeda, or the loblolly pine.

For complete study and other articles from this issue, click here.

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