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    The wrong side of the mining belt? Spatial transformation and identies in the Southern Surburbs of Johannesburg
    (Wits Press, 2014) Harrison, Philp; Zack, Tanya
    A mix of respected academics, practising urban planners and experienced policymakers offer compelling overviews of the rapid and complex spatial developments that have taken place in Johannesburg since the end of apartheid, along with tantalising glimpses into life on the streets and behind the high walls of this diverse city. The book has three sections. Section A provides an overview of macro spatial trends and the policies that have infl uenced them. Section B explores the shaping of the city at district and suburban level, revealing the peculiarity of processes in different areas. This analysis elucidates thelarger trends, while identifying shifts that are not easily detected at the macro level. Section C is an assembly of chapters and short vignettes that focus on the interweaving of place and identity at a micro level. With empirical data supported by new data sets including the 2011 Census, the city’s Development Planning and Urban Management Department’s information system, and Gauteng City-Region Observatory’s substantial archive, the book is an essential reference for planning practitioners, urban geographers, sociologists, and social anthropologists, among others.
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    Eco-efficiency assessment of pork production through life-cycle assessment and product system value in South Africa
    (EDP Sciences, 2022-05-20) Qalase, C.; Harding, K.G.
    The consumption of pork as a source of animal protein has increased worldwide, especially in developing countries such as South Africa. The increase in pork demand is putting pressure on the natural environment, and the costs of production are increasing. This study sought to determine what is the eco-efficiency of pork production in a South African context. It also was meant to determine which processes in the value chain have low eco-efficiencies. Lastly, it sought to find what strategies could be recommended to improve overall eco-efficiency. Eco-efficiency was assessed by following the requirements of the International Standards Organisation ISO 14045 standard, which requires that the Life cycle assessment (LCA) method and product system value be combined. The environmental life cycle costing (LCC) method was used to determine the product system value (Value Added) of pork production. The functional unit was 1 kg of pork carcass, specifically from the cradle to the abattoir gate. The findings indicated that the pig farm and abattoir were the processes that had low eco-efficiencies and eco-efficient strategic improvements could be made. Mitigation strategies could be developed to concentrate on the production of animal feed and the use of renewable energy sources at the abattoir. The use of water could be improved by automation of the abattoir processes. Therefore, this study achieved its goal as economic and environmental areas of interest were identified in this specific case study for South Africa. This framework could be extended to study the eco-efficiency of other meat production chains and other sectors.
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    The Inequality—Financial Markets Nexus: Implications for Developing Metrics for Voluntary Disclosures
    (Southern Centre for Inequality Studies (SCIS), 2023-11-21) Khan, Zoheb; Theobald, Stuart; Ewinyu, Arabo K.; Francis, David; Mogale, Etumeleng; Valodia, Imraan
    Can a disclosure framework reduce overall socio-economic inequality, or will it shift inequality somewhere else, for example, to other firms, other regions, or out of the firm and the private sector and into households? Are there material regional variations in the perceptions of the causes and effects of socio-economic inequality? What is the appropriate level of focus for an inequality disclosure framework? Surplus generated by workers accrues to the owners of capital and, at the most basic level, is a significant contributor to socio-economic inequality. There is also inequality in income between workers within firms and sectors. Furthermore, inequality is produced by access to and changes in asset prices, and by sovereign investing activities, among other factors. The correct unit of analysis for the proposed Taskforce on Inequality-related Financial Disclosures (TIFD – which since the original drafting of this paper has now converged efforts with new partners to form the Taskforce on Inequality and Social-related Financial Disclosures (TISFD)) deserves attention. The authors of this paper believe that regional variations mean that a one-size-fits-all disclosure framework is unlikely to be appropriate. For instance, the distribution of informal employment needs to be considered, with 61% of all global employment being informal and with as much as 90% of employment being informal in many countries in the global South. While disclosure frameworks matter for formal companies, what is often overlooked in the development of disclosure frameworks are the implications for the large number of people, particularly in the global South, who are informally employed or who work in informal enterprises. A second consideration is high unemployment given that the distribution of labour income is one of the great drivers of income inequality. Furthermore, the growth of precarious and non-standard employment, with the rise of platform work as an example, is an additional concern.
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    Financial Directions and Budget Trends in Government Healthcare
    (Southern Centre for Inequality Studies (SCIS), 2023-11) Sachs, Michael; Abdullah, Fareed; Madonko, Thokozile; Jonas, Kim; Slingers, Nevilene; Zvawada, Tanaka; Ewinyu, Arabo; Shedi, Olwethu
    This working paper provides evidence and analysis that can assist in taking forward the agenda of the Presidential Health Compact. It does so by reviewing the financial performance of the government healthcare system over the last decade. After assessing the financial management performance, it looks at the “financial health” challenges facing the system, including the problems of accruals and medico-legal claims. The report then examines the budget pressures faced by provincial healthcare departments, as well as the different allocation of resources and levels of care across provinces. It ends with a conclusion and tentative reflections informed by the evidence.
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    Participatory action research to address lack of safe water, a community-nominated health priority in rural South Africa
    (2023-07-27) Jennifer Hove; Denny Mabetha; Maria van der Merwe; Rhian Twine; Kathleen Kahn; Sophie Witter; Lucia D’Ambruoso
    Background Despite international evidence supporting community participation in health for improved health outcomes and more responsive and equitable health systems there is little practical evidence on how to do this. This work sought to understand the process involved in collective implementation of a health-related local action plan developed by multiple stakeholders. Methods Communities, government departments and non-government stakeholders convened in three iterative phases of a participatory action research (PAR) learning cycle. Stakeholders were involved in problem identification, development, and implementation of a local action plan, reflection on action, and reiteration of the process. Participants engaged in reflective exercises, exploring how factors such as power and interest impacted success or failure. Conclusion The process offered new ways of thinking and stakeholders were supported to generate local evidence for action and learning. The process also enabled exploration of how different stakeholders with different levels of power and interest coalesce to design, plan, and act on evidence. Creation of safe spaces was achievable, meanwhile changing stakeholders’ level of power and interest was possible but challenging. This study suggests that when researchers, service providers and communities are connected as legitimate participants in a learning platform with access to information and decision-making, a shift in power and interest may be feasible. Results The local action plan was partially successful, with three out of seven action items achieved. High levels of both power and interest were key factors in the achievement of action items. For the achieved items, stakeholders reported that continuous interactions with one another created a shift in both power and interest through ownership of implementation processes. Participants who possessed significant power and influence were able to leverage resources and connections to overcome obstacles and barriers to progress the plan. Lack of financial support, shifting priorities and insufficient buy-in from stakeholders hindered implementation.
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    Household structure, composition and child mortality in the unfolding antiretroviral therapy era in rural South Africa: comparative evidence from population surveillance, 2000–2015
    (2023-03-15) Brian Houle; Chodziwadziwa Kabudula; Dickman Gareta; Kobus Herbst; Samuel J Clark
    Objectives The structure and composition of the household has important influences on child mortality. However, little is known about these factors in HIVendemic areas and how associations may change with the introduction and widespread availability of antiretroviral treatment (ART). We use comparative, longitudinal data from two demographic surveillance sites in rural South Africa (2000–2015) on mortality of children younger than 5 years (n=101 105). Design We use multilevel discrete time event history analysis to estimate children’s probability of dying by their matrilineal residential arrangements. We also test if associations have changed over time with ART availability. Setting Rural South Africa. Participants Children younger than 5 years (n=101 105). Results 3603 children died between 2000 and 2015. Mortality risks differed by co-residence patterns along with different types of kin present in the household. Children in nuclear households with both parents had the lowest risk of dying compared with all other household types. Associations with kin and child mortality were moderated by parental status. Having older siblings lowered the probability of dying only for children in a household with both parents (relative risk ratio (RRR)=0.736, 95%CI (0.633 to 0.855)). Only in the later ART period was there evidence that older adult kin lowered the probability of dying for children in single parent households (RRR=0.753, 95%CI (0.664 to 0.853)). Conclusions Our findings provide comparative evidence of how differential household profiles may place children at higher mortality risk. Formative research is needed to understand the role of other household kin in promoting child well-being, particularly in one-parent households that are increasingly prevalent.
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    The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on postnatal depression: analysis of three population-based national maternity surveys in England (2014–2020)
    (2023-05-15) Siân Harrison; Maria A. Quigley; Gracia Fellmeth; Alan Stein; Fiona Alderdice
    Background Few studies have evaluated postnatal depression before and during the Covid-19 pandemic using comparable data across time. We used data from three national maternity surveys in England to compare prevalence and risk factors for postnatal depression before and during the pandemic. Methods Analysis was conducted using population-based surveys carried out in 2014 (n = 4571), 2018 (n = 4509), and 2020 (n = 4611). Weighted prevalence estimates for postnatal depression (EPDS score ≥13) were compared across surveys. Modified Poisson regression was used to estimate adjusted risk ratios (aRR) for the association between sociodemographic, pregnancy- and birth-related, and biopsychosocial factors, and postnatal depression. Findings Prevalence of postnatal depression increased from 10.3% in 2014 to 16.0% in 2018 (difference = +5.7% (95% CI: 4.0–7.4); RR = 1.55 (95% CI: 1.36–1.77)) and to 23.9% in 2020 (difference = +7.9% (95% CI: 5.9–9.9); RR = 1.49 (95% CI: 1.34–1.66)). Having a long-term mental health problem (aRR range = 1.48–2.02), antenatal anxiety (aRR range = 1.73–2.12) and antenatal depression (aRR range = 1.44–2.24) were associated with increased risk of postnatal depression, whereas satisfaction with birth (aRR range = 0.89–0.92) and social support (aRR range = 0.73–0.78) were associated with decreased risk before and during the pandemic. Interpretation This analysis indicates that Covid-19 had an important negative impact on postnatal women’s mental health and may have accelerated an existing trend of increasing prevalence of postnatal depression. Risk factors for postnatal depression were consistent before and during the pandemic. Timely identification, intervention and followup are key to supporting women at risk, and it is essential that mechanisms to support women are strengthened during times of heightened risk such as the pandemic.
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    Community Health Worker Use of Smart Devices for Health Promotion: Scoping Review
    (2023-02-25) Merlin Greuel1 , BA, MGH, MD; Frithjof Sy1 , BSc, MD; Till Bärnighausen1,2,3 , MSc, MD, SCD; Maya Adam1,4 , BA, MD; Alain Vandormael1 , MSc, PhD; Jennifer Gates5 , BA; Guy Harling2,6,7,8,9 , BSc, MA, MPH, SCD
    Background: Community health workers (CHWs) have become essential to the promotion of healthy behaviors, yet their work is complicated by challenges both within and beyond their control. These challenges include resistance to the change of existing behaviors, disbelief of health messages, limited community health literacy, insufficient CHW communication skills and knowledge, lack of community interest and respect for CHWs, and CHWs’ lack of adequate supplies. The rising penetration of “smart” technology (eg, smartphones and tablets) in low- and middle-income countries facilitates the use of portable electronic devices in the field. Objective: This scoping review examines to what extent mobile health in the form of smart devices may enhance the delivery of public health messages in CHW-client interactions, thereby addressing the aforementioned challenges and inducing client behavior change. Methods: We conducted a structured search of the PubMed and LILACS databases using subject heading terms in 4 categories: technology user, technology device, use of technology, and outcome. Eligibility criteria included publication since January 2007, CHWs delivering a health message aided by a smart device, and face-to-face communication between CHWs and clients. Eligible studies were analyzed qualitatively using a modified version of the Partners in Health conceptual framework. Results: We identified 12 eligible studies, 10 (83%) of which used qualitative or mixed methods approaches. We found that smart devices mitigate challenges encountered by CHWs by improving their knowledge, motivation, and creativity (eg, through self-made videos); their status within the community; and the credibility of their health messages. The technology stimulated interest in both CHWs and clients—and sometimes even in bystanders and neighbors. Media content produced locally or reflecting local customs was strongly embraced. Yet, the effect of smart devices on the quality of CHW-client interactions was inconclusive. Interactions suffered as CHWs were tempted to replace educational conversations with clients by passively watching video content. Furthermore, a series of technical difficulties experienced especially by older and less educated CHWs compromised some of the advantages brought about by mobile devices. Adequate CHW training ameliorated these difficulties. Only 1 study (8%) considered client health behavior change as an end point, thus revealing a major research gap. Conclusions: Smart mobile devices may augment CHWs’field performance and enhance face-to-face interactions with clients, yet they also generate new challenges. The available evidence is scarce, mostly qualitative, and focused on a limited range of health outcomes. Future research should include larger-scale interventions across a wide range of health outcomes and feature client health behavior change as an end point.
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    We Should Not Be Quiet but We Should Talk’: Qualitative Accounts of CommunityBased Communication of HIV PreExposure Prophylaxis
    (2023) Hannah Goymann1; Mxolisi Mavuso; Shannon A. McMahon; Anita Hettema; Allison B. Hughey; Sindy Matse; Phiwa Dlamini; Kathleen Kahn; Till Barnighausen; Albrecht Jahn; Kate Barnighausen
    Community leaders play an important role in the acceptance of public health services, but little is known about their willingness to facilitate HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) roll-out in Eswatini. We conducted in-depth interviews (n = 25) with purposefully selected male and female community leaders in Eswatini. We analysed our data inductively using a thematic analysis approach. Community leaders feel they are important communicators of culturally appropriate PrEP messaging. Our participants described a complex social space within their communities influenced by religion, tradition, values, and HIV stigma. Community leaders use their position to provide leverage for unique, effective, and easily accessible messages and platforms to reach the community in a manner that ensures trust, relatability, familiarity, and shared faith. Community leaders feel that they are trusted and see trust manifesting in the conversations they are able to engage in, and have a reach that extends beyond formal health services. Existing PrEP programming should embed community leader participation in PrEP programming and engage the trust, knowledge, and potential of community leaders to support PrEP uptake and acceptance.
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    Prevalence and risk factors for postnatal mental health problems in mothers of infants admitted to neonatal care: analysis of two population-based surveys in England
    (2023) Jenny Gong; Gracia Fellmeth; Maria A. Quigley; Chris Gale; Alan Stein; Fiona Alderdice; Siân Harrison
    Background Previous research suggests that mothers whose infants are admitted to neonatal units (NNU) experience higher rates of mental health problems compared to the general perinatal population. This study examined the prevalence and factors associated with postnatal depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress (PTS), and comorbidity of these mental health problems for mothers of infants admitted to NNU, six months after childbirth. Methods This was a secondary analysis of two cross-sectional, population-based National Maternity Surveys in England in 2018 and 2020. Postnatal depression, anxiety, and PTS were assessed using standardised measures. Associations between sociodemographic, pregnancy- and birth-related factors and postnatal depression, anxiety, PTS, and comorbidity of these mental health problems were explored using modifed Poisson regression and multinomial logistic regression. Results Eight thousand fve hundred thirty-nine women were included in the analysis, of whom 935 were mothers of infants admitted to NNU. Prevalence of postnatal mental health problems among mothers of infants admitted to NNU was 23.7% (95%CI: 20.6–27.2) for depression, 16.0% (95%CI: 13.4–19.0) for anxiety, 14.6% (95%CI: 12.2–17.5) for PTS, 8.2% (95%CI: 6.5–10.3) for two comorbid mental health problems, and 7.5% (95%CI: 5.7–10.0) for three comorbid mental health problems six months after giving birth. These rates were consistently higher compared to mothers whose infants were not admitted to NNU (19.3% (95%CI: 18.3–20.4) for depression, 14.0% (95%CI: 13.1–15.0) for anxiety, 10.3% (95%CI: 9.5–11.1) for PTS, 8.5% (95%CI: 7.8–9.3) for two comorbid mental health problems, and 4.2% (95%CI: 3.6–4.8) for three comorbid mental health problems six months after giving birth. Among mothers of infants admitted to NNU (N=935), the strongest risk factors for mental health problems were having a long-term mental health problem and antenatal anxiety, while social support and satisfaction with birth were protective. Conclusions Prevalence of postnatal mental health problems was higher in mothers of infants admitted to NNU, compared to mothers of infants not admitted to NNU six months after giving birth. Experiencing previous mental health problems increased the risk of postnatal depression, anxiety, and PTS whereas social support and satisfaction with birth were protective. The fndings highlight the importance of routine and repeated mental health assessments and ongoing support for mothers of infants admitted to NNU.
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    Pregnancy-related mortality up to 1 year postpartum in sub-Saharan Africa: an analysis of verbal autopsy data from six countries
    (2023-06-25) Ursula Gazeley; Georges Reniers; Julio E. Romero-Prieto; Clara Calvert; Momodou Jasseh; Kobus Herbst; Sammy Khagayi; David Obor; Daniel Kwaro; Albert Dube; Merga Dheresa; Chodziwadziwa W. Kabudula; Kathleen Kahn; Mark Urassa; Amek Nyaguara; Marleen Temmerman; Laura A. Magee; Peter von Dadelszen; Veronique Filippi
    Objective: To compare the causes of death for women who died during pregnancy and within the first 42days postpartum with those of women who died between >42days and within 1 year postpartum. Design: Open population cohort (Health and Demographic Surveillance Systems). Setting: Ten Health and Demographic Surveillance Systems (HDSS) in The Gambia, Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, Ethiopia and South Africa. Population: 2114 deaths which occurred within 1 year of the end of pregnancy where a verbal autopsy interview was conducted from 2000 to 2019. Methods: InterVA5 and InSilicoVA verbal autopsy algorithms were used to attribute the most likely underlying cause of death, which were grouped according to adapted International Classification of Diseases-Maternal Mortality categories. Multinomial regression was used to compare differences in causes of deaths within 42days versus 43–365days postpartum adjusting for HDSS and time period (2000– 2009 and 2010–2019). Main outcome measures: Cause of death and the verbal autopsy Circumstances of Mortality Categories (COMCATs). Results: Of 2114 deaths, 1212 deaths occurred within 42days postpartum and 902 between 43 and 365days postpartum. Compared with deaths within 42days, deaths from HIV and TB, other infectious diseases, and non-communicable diseases constituted a significantly larger proportion of late pregnancy-related deaths beyond 42days postpartum, and health system failures were important in the circumstances of those deaths. The contribution of HIV and TB to deaths beyond 42days postpartum was greatest in Southern Africa. The causes of pregnancy-related mortality within and beyond 42days postpartum did not change significantly between 2000–2009 and 2010–2019. Conclusions: Cause of death data from the extended postpartum period are critical to inform prevention. The dominance of HIV and TB, other infectious and non-communicable diseases to (late) pregnancy-related mortality highlights the need for better integration of non-obstetric care with ante-, intra- and postpartum care in high-burden settings.
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    Age-incidence and prevalence of HIV among intact and circumcised men: an analysis of PHIA surveys in Southern Africa
    (2022-10-05) Michel Garenne
    The study investigates the statistical relationship between male circumcision and HIV prevalence in Africa, in the context of the Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision (VMMC) campaigns in place since 2008. Data from the Population-based HIV Impact Assessment (PHIA) surveys conducted in African countries in 2017-2018 were utilized. Six countries with high HIV prevalence, low traditional circumcision and large VMMC programs were selected: Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe. The statistical analysis investigated the relative risk (RR) of HIV prevalence by circumcision status (circumcised vs intact) among men age 20-59, and the age-incidence of HIV in the two groups among men age 20-49, defined as the linear-logistic slope of the relationship between prevalence and age. Results show that the standardized RR was not different from 1 at older ages (50-59): RR = 0.923, 95% CI = 0.769-1.108, P = 0.390. Furthermore, the age-incidence was at least as high or higher among the circumcised groups than among the intact groups. The standardized RR was lower than 1 at younger ages, and this could be explained by selection biases. HIV prevalence at age 40-59 (27.3%) was also the same in the four groups of circumcision status (intact, traditional, medical, unknown). Results matched earlier observations made in South Africa that circumcised and intact men had similar levels of HIV infection. The study questions the current strategy of large scale VMMC campaigns to control the HIV epidemic. These campaigns also raise a number of ethical issues
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    Where Are the Demographic Dividends in Sub-Saharan Africa?
    (2023-09-20) Michel Garenne
    This paper reviews the concept of the demographic dividend and the empirical evidence therefor. The demographic dividend is mainly the result of fertility decline (lower number of births, lower population growth) which translates into a population age structure with a larger work force (age 15–64) and a smaller proportion of children (age 0–14), together with initially few elderly persons (age 65+). In turn, this favors economic growth, but it also has many consequences for households and for state budgets, as well as long-term consequences for population size and the environment. The first part of this paper shows the small correlations at the national macro-economic level between dependency ratios and economic growth. The second part shows the strong correlations at the household level between levels of fertility, child mortality and modern education. The third part discusses the many other correlates of the demographic dividend. The often-cited and controversial focus of the demographic dividend on economic growth hides many other positive effects of fertility control on households, on state budgets, and, in the long-run, on societies and the environment.
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    Changing relationships between HIV prevalence and circumcision in Lesotho
    (2023-04-04) Michel Garenne
    The study investigates the complex relationships between circumcision and HIV prevalence in Lesotho, using Demographic and Health surveys (DHS) conducted in 2004, 2009 and 2014. Before the HIV epidemic, about half of the male adult population was circumcised as part of a traditional custom, and this proportion increased markedly after 2008 with the campaigns of Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision (VMMC), while HIV prevalence stayed at the same level. In 2004, HIV prevalence was higher in circumcised groups than in intact groups (RR=1.49, 95% CI=1.20-1.86). This relationship changed over time, and was inversed in 2014 (RR=0.86; 95% CI=0.70-1.06). The changing relationship seems to be due to an interaction with education, with more educated men being more circumcised and having less HIV over time. A multivariate analysis showed no net effect of circumcision on HIV, after controlling for wealth, education, and indicators of marriage and sexual behaviour. A small net effect of VMMC was found, probably due to condom use. In couple studies, the effect of circumcision and VMMC on HIV was not significant, with similar transmission from female to male and male to female. The study questions the amount of effort and money spent on VMMC in Lesotho.
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    Significant improvement in blood pressure control among older adults with hypertension in rural South Africa: findings from a prospective 5,000-patient cohort, 2014–2019
    (2022-10-03) E G Ferro; S Abrahams-Gessel; D Kapaon; B Houle; R Wagner; X Gomez-Olive; A N Wade; S Tollman
    Sub-Saharan Africa is undergoing an epidemiologic transition dominated by a widespread epidemic of hypertension (HTN). Since 2014, we began studying a cohort of 5,059 individuals in rural South Africa, to describe the evolution of HTN among older adults, and understand the impact of targeted interventions by local health systems.
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    Consensus study on factors influencing the academic entrepreneur in a middle-income country’s university enterprise
    (2023-05-20) Alfred Austin Farrell; James Ashton; WitnessMapanga; Maureen Joffe; Nombulelo Chitha; Mags Beksinska; Wezile Chitha; Ashraf Coovadia; Clare L. Cutland; RobinL. Drennan; Kathleen Kahn; Lizette L. Koekemoer; Lisa K.Micklesfield; JacquiMiot; Julian Naidoo; Maria Papathanasopoulos; Warrick Sive; Jenni Smit; StephenM. Tollman; Martin G. Veller; Lisa J.Ware; Jeffrey Wing; Shane A. Norris
    Purpose – This study aims to ascertain the personal characteristics of a group of successful academic entrepreneurs in a South African university enterprise and the prevalent barriers and enablers to their entrepreneurial endeavour. Design/methodology/approach – The authors used a Delphi process to identify and rank the characteristics, enablers, barriers and behaviours of entrepreneurial academics, with a Nominal Group Technique applied to establish challenges they encounter managing their enterprise and to propose solutions. Findings – Perseverance, resilience and innovation are critical personal characteristics, while collaborative networks, efficient research infrastructure and established research competence are essential for success. The university’s support for entrepreneurship is a significant enabler, with unnecessary bureaucracy and poor access to project and general enterprise funding an impediment. Successful academic entrepreneurs have strong leadership, and effective management and communication skills. Research limitations/implications – The main limitation is the small study participant group drawn from a single university enterprise, which complicates generalisability. The study supported the use of Krueger’s (2009) entrepreneurial intentions model for low- and middle-income country (LMIC) academic entrepreneur investigation but proposed the inclusion of mitigators to entrepreneurial activation to recognize contextual deficiencies and challenges.
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    All-cause mortality of hospitalised patients with suspected COVID-19 in Sierra Leone: a prospective cohort study
    (2023-02-05) Olivia Farrant; Mamadu Baldeh; Joseph Baio Kamara; Emma Bailey; Stephen Sevalie; Gibrilla Deen; James Baligeh Walter Russell; Daniel Youkee; Andy JM Leather; Justine Davies; Sulaiman Lakoh
    Objectives To study the mortality of patients with COVID-19 in Sierra Leone, to explore the factors associated with mortality during the COVID-19 pandemic and to highlight the complexities of treating patients with a novel epidemic disease in a fragile health system. Study design A prospective single-centre cohort study. Data were extracted from paper medical records and transferred onto an electronic database. Specific indicators were compared between survivors and non-survivors, using descriptive statistics in Stata V.17. Study setting The infectious diseases unit (IDU) at Connaught Hospital in Freetown, Sierra Leone Participants Participants were all patients admitted to the IDU between March and July 2020. Aims of study The primary outcome of the study was to examine the all-cause mortality of hospitalised patients with suspected COVID-19 in Sierra Leone and the secondary outcome measures were to examine factors associated with mortality in patients positive for COVID-19. Results 261 participants were included in the study. Overall, 41.3% of those admitted to the IDU died, compared with prepandemic in-hospital mortality of 23.8%. Factors contributing to the higher mortality were COVID-19 infection (aOR 5.61, 95% CI 1.19 to 26.30, p=0.02) and hypertension (aOR 9.30, 95% CI 1.18 to 73.27, p=0.03) Conclusions This study explores the multiple factors underpinning a doubling in facility mortality rate during the COVID-19 pandemic in Sierra Leone . It provides an insight into the realities of providing front-line healthcare during a pandemic in a fragile health system.
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    Epidemiology of chronic multimorbidity and temporary migration in a rural South African community in health transition: A cross-sectional population-based analysis
    (2023-04-21) Armstrong Dzomba; Carren Ginsburg; Chodziwadziwa W. Kabudula; Rachel R. Yorlets; Pedzisai Ndagurwa; Sadson Harawa; Mark N. Lurie; Stephen T. McGarvey; Stephen Tollman; Mark A. Collinson; Michael J. White; Francesc X. Gomez-Olive
    Introduction: In sub-Saharan African settings, the increasing non-communicable disease mortality is linked to migration, which disproportionately exposes subpopulations to risk factors for co-occurring HIV and NCDs. Methods: We examined the prevalence, patterns, and factors associated with two or more concurrent diagnoses of chronic diseases (i.e., multimorbidity) among temporary within-country migrants. Employing a cross-sectional design, our study sample comprised 2144 residents and non-residents 18–40 years interviewed and with measured biomarkers in 2018 in Wave 1 of the Migrant Health Follow-up Study (MHFUS), drawn from the Agincourt Health and Demographic Surveillance System (AHDSS) in rural north-eastern South Africa. We used modified Poisson regression models to estimate the association between migration status and prevalent chronic multimorbidity conditional on age, sex, education, and healthcare utilisation. Results: Overall, 301 participants (14%; 95% CI 12.6–15.6), median age 31 years had chronic multimorbidity. Multimorbidity was more prevalent among non-migrants (14.6%; 95% CI 12.8–16.4) compared to migrants (12.8%; 95% CI 10.3–15.7). Nonmigrants also had the greatest burden of dual-overlapping chronic morbidities, such as HIV-obesity 5.7%. Multimorbidity was 2.6 times as prevalent (PR 2.65. 95% CI 2.07– 3.39) among women compared to men. Among migrants, men, and individuals with secondary or tertiary education manifested lower prevalence of two or more conditions. Discussion: In a rural community with colliding epidemics, we found low but significant multimorbidity driven by a trio of conditions: HIV, hypertension, and obesity. Understanding the multimorbidity burden associated with early adulthood exposures, including potential protective factors (i.e., migration coupled with education), is a critical first step towards improving secondary and tertiary prevention for chronic disease among highly mobile marginalised sub-populations.
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    Estimating population level 24-h sodium excretion using spot urine samples in older adults in rural South Africa
    (2023-02-01) Jacques D. Du Toita; David Kapaonb; Nigel J. Crowtherc; Shafika Abrahams-Gessele; June Fabian; Chodziwadziwa W. Kabudula; Alisha N. Wade; Stephen Tollman; Thomas A. Gaziano
    Background: South Africa has introduced regulations to reduce sodium in processed foods. Assessing salt consumption with 24-h urine collection is logistically challenging and expensive. We assess the accuracy of using spot urine samples to estimate 24-h urine sodium (24hrUNa) excretion at the population level in a cohort of older adults in rural South Africa. Methods: 24hrUNa excretion was measured and compared to that estimated from matched spot urine samples in 399 individuals, aged 40–75 years, from rural Mpumalanga, South Africa.We used the Tanaka, Kawasaki, International Study of Sodium, Potassium, and Blood Pressure (INTERSALT), and Population Mean Volume (PMV) method to predict 24hrUNa at the individual and population level. Results: The population median 24hrUNa excretion from our samples collected in 2017 was 2.6 g (interquartile range: 1.53–4.21) equal to an average daily salt intake of 6.6 g, whereas 65.4% of participants had a salt excretion above the WHO recommended 5 g/day. Estimated population median 24hrUNa derived from the INTERSALT, both with and without potassium, showed a nonsignificant difference of 0.25 g (P = 0.59) and 0.21 g (P = 0.67), respectively. In contrast, the Tanaka, Kawasaki, and PMV formulas were markedly higher than the measured 24hrUNa, with a median difference of 0.51 g (P = 0.004), 0.99 g (P = 0.00), and 1.05 g (P = 0.00) respectively. All formulas however performed poorly when predicting an individual’s 24hrUNa, Conclusion: In this population, the INTERSALT formulas are a well suited and cost-effective alternative to 24-h urine collection for the evaluation of population median 24hrUNa excretion. This could play an important role for governments and public health agencies in evaluating local salt regulations and identifying at-risk populations.
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    Obstacles and facilitators to communicating with children about their parents’ mental illness: a qualitative study in a sub‑district of Mpumalanga, South Africa
    (2023) Lucy Dean; Hadassah Buechner; Bianca Moffett; Meriam Maritze; Louise J. Dalton; Jeffrey R. Hanna; Elizabeth Rapa; Alan Stein; Stephen Tollman; Kathleen Kahn
    Background Given that common mental disorders are one of the leading causes of disease burden worldwide, it is likely that many children are growing up with a parent or other adult within their family who has anxiety or depression. Parents with a mental illness may not consider it appropriate to discuss their illness with their child, and consequently an absence of communication may lead to stigmatization, shame, misunderstanding their parents’ symptoms, and even blaming themselves. There is a scarcity of research exploring the experiences and perceptions of healthcare professionals about communication with children of parents with mental illness in low-resource and African contexts. Methods A qualitative study using semi-structured interviews with healthcare professionals (n = 15) was conducted within the Bushbuckridge sub-district of Mpumalanga Province, South Africa. Data were analysed using Thematic Analysis. Results Four themes were identified relating to the obstacles around communication with children. These included: (1) finding an appropriate language to describe mental illness, as well as the prevailing cultural explanations of mental illness (2) the stigma associated with mental illness (3) the perceived role of children in society and (4) mental health services and staff skills. Two themes that addressed facilitators of communication about parental mental illness were identified: (1) the potential to increase mental health awareness amongst the broader community through social media, the internet, and general psychoeducation (2) healthcare professionals’ concerns for the wellbeing and future mental health of patients’ children, as well as their hopes for increased mental health awareness amongst future generations. Conclusions This study provides insight into healthcare professionals’ attitudes and perceptions about talking to patients and families within their community about mental illness. The results provide recommendations about possible ways to promote sharing information about a parent’s mental illness with children at an individual and community level. Future research should focus on the collaborative creation of culturally sensitive psychoeducational
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