85 research outputs found

    A Scoping Review of the Demographic and Contextual Factors in Canada’s Educational Opportunity Gaps

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    Despite widespread discussion in the United States, up until now there has not been a review of the demographic and contextual factors associated with Canadian academic achievement. Using Arksey and O’Malley’s (2005) framework, a scoping review was conducted to answer two questions: What demographic and contextual factors are most commonly used in K–12 academic achievement studies in Canada? What, if any,research gaps exist? Fifty-four studies were identified for review. The results reveal 40 demographic or contextual factors, with socio-economic status (SES), gender, language factors, immigrant status, family structure, and Indigenous status being the most commonly studied. Race, religion, and LGBTQ+ identity were understudied factors. The authors recommend the adoption of “educational opportunity gap” as a consistentresearch term, identify understudied factors, and outline several research design considerations

    Scalable, Nanometer-Accurate Fabrication of All-Dielectric Metasurfaces with Narrow Resonances Tunable from Near Infrared to Visible Wavelengths

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    Dielectric metasurfaces are a class of flat-optical elements that provide new ways to manipulate light. Irrespective of the underlying operation principle, the realization of such nanometer-sized structures requires a high fabrication accuracy, e.g., to match resonant conditions. While electron-beam lithography (EBL) achieves feature sizes below 10 nm, transparent substrates, as used for transmission devices, are challenging due to proximity effects. Furthermore, EBL's sequential exposure limits the exposable area, making it unaffordable for applications. Here, a novel fabrication route is described based on a master template created by EBL, which is then replicated by nanoimprint lithography (NIL). A three-layer process enables high-resolution nanoimprint resists with low etching selectivity with respect to semiconductors yet to be used. The resulting structures are highly reproducible and defect-free thanks to the selective removal of residual layers and a master not suffering from proximity effects. Exemplarily, elliptical Mie resonators are fabricated with tunable resonances from the near infrared (NIR) to the visible wavelength regime. They reveal a high uniformity and sensitivity toward dielectric changes. The generic fabrication approach enables upscaling of nanoscale metasurfaces to wafer scales by step-and-repeat techniques and deployment of the optical devices fabricated in real-world applications due to massively reduced costs

    Community-informed research on malaria in pregnancy in Monrovia, Liberia: a grounded theory study

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    Background: Liberia is a West African country that needs substantial investment to strengthen its National Malaria Control Programme (NMCP), which was disrupted during the 2014–2016 Ebola epidemic. As elsewhere, Liberian pregnant women are especially vulnerable to malaria. Understanding prevention and treatment-seeking behaviours among the population is crucial to strategize context-specifc and women-centred actions, including locally-led malaria research, to improve women’s demand, access and use of NMCP strategies against malaria in pregnancy. Methods: In 2016, after the Ebola crisis, a qualitative inquiry was conducted in Monrovia to explore populations’ insights on the aetiology, prevention and therapeutics of malaria, as well as the community and health workers’ perceptions on the utility of malaria research for pregnant women. In-depth interviews and focus group discussions were conducted among pregnant women, traditional community representatives and hospital staf (n=38), using a feminist interpretation of grounded theory. Results: The narratives indicate that some Liberians believed in elements other than mosquito bites as causes of malaria; many had a low malaria risk perception and disliked current efective prevention methods, such as insecticide-treated nets; and some would resort to traditional medicine and spiritual care to cure malaria. Access to clinic-based malaria care for pregnant women was reportedly hindered by lack of fnancial means, by unofcial user fees requested by healthcare workers, and by male partners’ preference for traditional medicine. The participants suggested that malaria research in Liberia could help to design evidence-based education to change current malaria prevention, diagnostic and treatment-seeking attitudes, and to develop more acceptable prevention technologies. Conclusion: Poverty, insufcient education on malaria, corruption, and poor trust in healthcare establishment are structural factors that may play a greater role than local traditional beliefs in deterring Liberians from seeking, access‑ ing and using government-endorsed malaria control strategies. To increase access to and uptake of preventive and biomedical care by pregnant women, future malaria research must be informed by people’s expressed needs and constructed meanings and values on health, ill health and healthcare

    Training through malaria research: building capacity in good clinical and laboratory practice in Liberia

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    Background: Limited health research capacities (HRC) undermine a country’s ability to identify and adequately respond to local health needs. Although numerous interventions to strengthen HRC have been conducted in Africa, there is a need to share the lessons learnt by funding organizations, institutes and researchers. The aim of this report is to identify best practices in HRC strengthening by describing a training programme conducted between 2016 and 2017 at the Saint Joseph’s Catholic Hospital (SJCH) in Monrovia (Liberia). Methods: A call for trainees was launched at the SJCH, the Liberia Medicines and Health Products Regulatory Author‑ ity (LMHRA), the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, the Mother Pattern College of Health Sciences (MPCHS) and community members. Selected trainees participated in four workshops on Good Clinical Laboratory Practice (GCLP), standard operating procedures (SOP) and scientifc communication, as well as in a 5-months eLearning mentoring programme. After the training, a collectively-designed research project on malaria was conducted. Results: Twenty-one of the 28 trainees (14 from the SJCH, 3 from LMHRA, one from MPCHS, and 10 community representatives) completed the programme satisfactorily. Pre- and post-training questionnaires completed by 9 of the trainees showed a 14% increase in the percentage of correct answers. Trainees participated in a mixed-methods crosssectional study of Plasmodium falciparum infection among pregnant women at the SJCH. Selected trainees dissemi‑ nated activities and research outcomes in three international meetings and three scientifc publications. Conclusion: This training-through-research programme successfully involved SJCH staf and community members in a practical research exercise on malaria during pregnancy. The challenge is to ensure that the SJCH remains active in research. Harmonization of efectiveness indicators for HRC initiatives would strengthen the case for investing in such eforts

    Hepatitis-C Multimedia Prevention Program in Poor Hispanic HIV-Infected Injecting drug users: Six Months after Intervention

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    In order to prevent the spread of the hepatitis C virus (HCV) amongst Hispanic injecting drug users (IDUs), we developed, validated, and implemented a multimedia educational intervention program

    Host age and expression of genes involved in red blood cell invasion in Plasmodium falciparum field isolates

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    Plasmodium falciparum proteins involved in erythrocyte invasion are main targets of acquired immunity and important vaccine candidates. We hypothesized that anti-parasite immunity acquired upon exposure would limit invasion-related gene (IRG) expression and affect the clinical impact of the infection. 11 IRG transcript levels were measured in P. falciparum isolates by RT-PCR, and IgG/IgM against invasion ligands by Luminex(R), in 50 Mozambican adults, 25 children with severe malaria (SM) and 25 with uncomplicated malaria (UM). IRG expression differences among groups and associations between IRG expression and clinical/immunologic parameters were assessed. IRG expression diversity was higher in parasites infecting children than adults (p = 0.022). eba140 and ptramp expression decreased with age (p = 0.003 and 0.007, respectively) whereas p41 expression increased (p = 0.022). pfrh5 reduction in expression was abrupt early in life. Parasite density decreased with increasing pfrh5 expression (p < 0.001) and, only in children, parasite density increased with p41 expression (p = 0.007), and decreased with eba175 (p = 0.013). Antibody responses and IRG expression were not associated. In conclusion, IRG expression is associated with age and parasite density, but not with specific antibody responses in the acute phase of infection. Our results confirm the importance of multi-antigen vaccines development to avoid parasite immune escape when tested in malaria-exposed individuals

    Impact Assessment Modeling of Low-Water Management Policy

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    International audienceWe briefly present the main steps involved in designing and developing a platform for the numerical simulation of environmental and social impacts of the implementation of new environmental norms related to low-water management in France (MAELIA Project: multi-agents for environmental norms impact assessment). Some results are highlighted concerning in particular the structure of the underlying low-water management model and the process and agents' activity modeling

    Prevalence of Plasmodium falciparum infection among pregnant women at first antenatal visit in post-Ebola Monrovia, Liberia

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    Background: Disruption of malaria control strategies during the West African 2014–2016 Ebola epidemic led to an increase in malaria-attributable mortality. However, recent data on malaria infection in vulnerable groups, such as pregnant women, are lacking in this post-Ebola scenario. This cross-sectional study aimed to assess the prevalence of Plasmodium falciparum infection and of molecular markers of drug resistance among pregnant women attending antenatal care in Monrovia, capital of Liberia. Methods: From October 2016 to June 2017, all pregnant women attending their frst antenatal care visit at the Saint Joseph’s Catholic Hospital, Monrovia, were invited to participate in the study. In addition to their routine antenatal care tests, capillary blood spotted onto flter papers were collected from all consenting participants to determine presence of P. falciparum by real-time quantitative PCR. Molecular markers of anti-malarial drug resistance were assessed through Sanger sequencing and quantitative PCR in specimens positive for P. falciparum analysis. Results: Of the 195 women participants, 24 (12.3%) were P. falciparum-positive by qPCR. Infected women tended to be more commonly primigravidae and younger than uninfected ones. Parasite densities were higher in primigravidae. Fever was more frequently detected among the infected women. No statistically signifcant association between P. falciparum infection and haemoglobin levels or insecticide-treated net use was found. While high prevalence of genetic polymorphisms associated with chloroquine and amodiaquine resistance were detected, no molecular markers of artemisinin resistance were observed. Conclusion: Plasmodium falciparum infections are expected to occur in at least one in every eight women attending frst ANC at private clinics in Monrovia and outside the peak of the rainy season. Young primigravidae are at increased risk of P. falciparum infection. Molecular analyses did not provide evidence of resistance to artemisinins among the P. falciparum isolates tested. Further epidemiological studies involving pregnant women are necessary to describe the risk of malaria in this highly susceptible group outside Monrovia, as well as to closely monitor the emergence of resist‑ ance to anti-malarials, as recommended by the Liberian National Malaria Control Programme

    'Researchers have love for life': opportunities and barriers to engage pregnant women in malaria research in post-Ebola Liberia

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    BACKGROUND: Adoption of prevention and therapeutic innovations to ensure that National Malaria Control Programmes meet their incidence reduction targets is highly dependent on the conduct of rigorous clinical trials. In Liberia, malaria control virtually halted during the recent Ebola epidemic, and could enormously benefit from innovations to protect its most vulnerable populations, including pregnant women, against malaria. Health policy-planners could feel more inclined to adopt novel interventions with demonstrated safety and efficacy when trialled among their women population. However, pregnant women are especially vulnerable when targeted as research participants. Whilst some studies in the region attempted to understand the ethical issues around the conduct of clinical research, there is need of such information from Liberia to inform future malaria research. METHODS: This is a grounded theory study that aims to understand the barriers and opportunities for pregnant women to consent to participate in malaria research in Liberia. The study was conducted between November 2016 and May 2017 at the St Joseph's Catholic Hospital, Monrovia. In-depth interviews and focus group discussions were held with hospital staff, traditional community representatives, and pregnant women. RESULTS: According to the participants, useful strategies to motivate pregnant women to consent to participate in malaria research could be providing evidence-based education on malaria and research to the general population and encouraging engagement of traditional leaders in research design and community mobilization. Fears and suspicions towards research and researchers, which were amplified during the conduct of Ebola vaccine and drug clinical trials, may influence women's acceptance and willingness to engage in malaria research. Population's mistrust in the public healthcare system might hinder their acceptance of research, undermining the probability of their benefiting from any improved malaria control intervention. CONCLUSION: Benchmarking for acceptable practices from previous public health interventions; building community discussion and dissemination platforms; and mapping communication and information errors from how previous research interventions were explained to the Liberian population, are strategies that might help ensure a safe and fully informed participation of pregnant women in malaria research. Inequity issues impeding access and use of biomedical care for women must be tackled urgently