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Tuesday, February 24, 2015


The Guardian's recent publication: "Why are there still so many hungry people in the world?", crucially outlines the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), while at the same time, lightly critiquing the achievements and progress made by the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). While most tend to stray towards paying close attention to the achievements made, it's just as important to study the potential improvements. It is suggested by the author of the article, Hilal Elver, "that the greatest challenge for the [...SDG's] is to eradicate poverty and hunger while maintaining sustainable food security for all in a crowded and dramatically unequal world". While the MDG's reduced poverty, they essentially failed at improving food security and nutrition because food has not been considered a human right. Elver goes onto suggest that in order for the SDG's to succeed in eliminating hunger, a shift is needed from a development model based on charity and aid, to one based on human rights reinforced by accountability mechanisms. 

Kamara et al., in their journal: "The Politics of Food and The Fight for Hunger: Reflections and Lessons From Uganda", echos Elver's views for better policy, as well the social effects associated with this issue. While Uganda can be seen as having major successes in economic progress. The country still faces substantial developmental issues, with a large percentage being that of hunger and malnutrition. This effectively creates a situation in which threatens the economic stability, essentially unraveling the hard work and progress that has been made. Civil unrest within the country is a large part of the negative externalities associated with food deprivation; and understandably so, when people become desperate they do whatever is necessary to survive. The urban poor are most affected by this, as apposed to the rural poor, who have the ability to farm and live off their land. 
The journal is an analysis of how Ugandan politics is being reshaped by the geopolitics of food, taking into consideration the impact of various factors such as:international food markets, population growth and increasing demand for biofuel. Further, the journal also examines other forces driving food insecurity including: changes in the weather, the growing middle-class, government policies, and the increase in urbanization. 

In summary, food insecurity is a threat that can no longer be ignored. By achieving food security, especially for the urban poor, it is an effective way of preventing further civil unrest, violence, and insecurity in Uganda. It is suggested that in order for this to occur, the government must be proactive in creating food independence and national security.

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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Impact on nursery seeding density, nitrogen, and seedling age on yield and yield Attributes of fine rice - Chilean Journal of Agricultural Research, Vol. 71, No. 3

The Guardian's recent publication: "India's rice revolution", outlines the remarkable use of a more sustainable way of agricultural rice production. Specifically, it outlines the record-breaking yield one farmer has produced using a unique, yet simplistic, method called System of Rice Intensification- SRI for short. While this method can be traced as far back as Madagascar - according to the author John Vidal - it has seen wide use around the world with staggering and impressive results that could be implemented further in developing countries, as a more economically-sound, and environmentally efficient process of agricultural production.

Sarwar et al., in their study: " Impact on Nursery Seeding Density, Nitrogen, and Seedling Age on Yield and Yield Attributes of Fine Rice", compliments Vidal's article nicely. They state within their journal that the most important aspect to the process of rice production is producing vigorous seedlings and planting them at the appropriate age, in order for a high yield to occur. Further, the impact of seeding densities, nitrogen, and seedling age was assessed after transplanting 10, 20, 30, and 40 day-old seedlings raised by using different seeding rates (high and low); as well as different nitrogen conditions (with and without) during the 2008 - 2009 rice growing seasons. 

The Study brought to light some key aspects: That 10 day-old nursery seedlings, regardless of seedling density and fertilizer application, showed higher yields and yield attributes (productive tillers, plant height, 1000-grain weight, and straw yield), while at later stages significant interaction was observed with nursery management. The transplanting of 20 day-old fertile seedlings grown with low seeding density during nursery-bed growth stages, engendered in a higher number of productive tillers per squared meters (233.3 227.3), straw yield (11.1, 10.7 t ha-1), and a final yield (3.6, 3.5 t ha-1) in both 2008 and 2009.

The results to the study were that yield and yield attributes significantly diminished when transplanting older seedlings grown at high seeding density and without nitrogen application during the nursery-bed growth stages. Minimum productive tillers (165.7, 133), straw yield (8.7, 8.1 t ha-1), as well as rice paddy yield (2.0, 1.8 t ha-1) were observed with transplanting 40 day-old seedlings grown at high seeding density and without the use of nitrogen application. These results support the use of young seedlings in a system of rice intensification, and illustrates by making minor changes to production methods, farmers can increase their rice yield exponentially. 

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Sunday, February 01, 2015

PneumoADIP: An Example of Translational Research to Accelerate Pneumococcal Vaccination in Developing Countries - The Journal of Health, Population and Nutrition, Vol. 22, No. 3

The Guardian's recent publication: "Help us crowdsource vaccine prices around the world" outlines the need for pneumococcal vaccination prices to be cut. It is suggested by the aid agency, Médecins sans Frontières (MSF), that due to the domination of the two main pharmaceutical companies (GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer) and thus the lack of competing forces within the market, that this has essentially created a monopolistic market for vaccines. This situation has allowed the companies to price the vaccines at a substantially higher price per vaccine, creating a situation in which it is not sustainable for developing countries to provide adequate vaccination care to children. A call to these companies to fix their prices at five dollars per vaccine, per child, for developing countries, is strongly suggested by the MSF in order to counter this ongoing problematic situation.

Levine et al., in their journal: "PneumoADIP: An Example of Translational Research To Accelerate Pneumococcal Vaccination in Developing Countries" echoes this need, as well as provides a theoretical model for future success of public-private coordination and vaccine distribution. It is suggested that the introduction of new vaccines in developing countries has largely been delayed due to a lack of coordinating efforts to address both supply and demand issues. Further, is the fact that the introduction of vaccines in developing countries has been plagued by a vicious cycle of the uncertainty of demand, which has lead to limited supply output, which keeps prices substantially higher, and in turn, leads to an uncertainty of demand in the longterm. 

To overcome this problem, the authors of the study suggest using the Pneumococcal Vaccines Accelerated Development and Introduction Plan (PneumoADIP), which will assure an affordable and sustainable supply of vaccines within the developing countries. Translational research will be important in achieving the goals of PneumoADIP by concretizing the burden of pneumococcal disease and establishing the value of vaccines regionally, as well as on a global scale. If correct, the PneumoADIP will reduce the uncertainty of demand, allow appropriate planning of supply, and attain acceptable and affordable availability of product for the introduction of pneumococcal vaccines within developing countries.

Using this model could provide a useful example and valuable lessons for how a successful public-private partnership can improve global health.

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