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Boulder, CO, United States

Nackoney J.,University of Maryland University College | Rybock D.,GeoConnects LLC | Facheux C.,Congo Inc
Landscape and Urban Planning | Year: 2013

Participatory methods that consider the land use of local communities are critical to resource planning. In the Maringa-Lopori-Wamba (MLW) Landscape located in northern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) is leading efforts to engage the DRC Government in developing strategies for sustainable forest management and micro-zoning. In developing these strategies, we used participatory mapping to determine collaboratively with the local communities the delimitation of village-level agricultural zones for 16 villages located in easterncentral MLW Landscape. For this, we developed methods that combined participatory mapping, satellite image interpretation and GPS data collection. To inform the dynamics of agricultural land use, we collected human population data at the village level and calculated the maximum distance from each agricultural area to the nearest road. The surface area of the delineated village-level agricultural boundaries ranged from 241ha to 2616ha. We found a significant and positive relationship between the villages' human population and the surface area of their agricultural limits (r2=0.43, p=0.005). There was also a significant and positive relationship between the villages' population and the maximum distance that their agricultural limits extended from the road. We highlight observations from our participatory mapping experiences and explain the applicability of our findings to participative micro-zoning and understanding agricultural land use in the DRC. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.

Ansong D.,Kwame Nkrumah University Of Science And Technology | Nhlema-Simwaka B.,Research for Equity and Community Health Trust | Baba A.,Congo Inc
Health Research Policy and Systems | Year: 2011

Background: Despite substantial investment in health capacity building in developing countries, evaluations of capacity building effectiveness are scarce. By analysing projects in Africa that had successfully built sustainable capacity, we aimed to identify evidence that could indicate that capacity building was likely to be sustainable.Methods: Four projects were selected as case studies using pre-determined criteria, including the achievement of sustainable capacity. By mapping the capacity building activities in each case study onto a framework previously used for evaluating health research capacity in Ghana, we were able to identify activities that were common to all projects. We used these activities to derive indicators which could be used in other projects to monitor progress towards building sustainable research capacity.Results: Indicators of sustainable capacity building increased in complexity as projects matured and included. - early engagement of stakeholders; explicit plans for scale up; strategies for influencing policies; quality assessments (awareness and experiential stages). - improved resources; institutionalisation of activities; innovation (expansion stage). - funding for core activities secured; management and decision-making led by southern partners (consolidation stage).Projects became sustainable after a median of 66 months. The main challenges to achieving sustainability were high turnover of staff and stakeholders, and difficulties in embedding new activities into existing systems, securing funding and influencing policy development.Conclusions: Our indicators of sustainable capacity building need to be tested prospectively in a variety of projects to assess their usefulness. For each project the evidence required to show that indicators have been achieved should evolve with the project and they should be determined prospectively in collaboration with stakeholders. © 2011 Bates et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

Bartholome J.,CIRAD | Bartholome J.,French National Institute for Agricultural Research | Salmon F.,CIRAD - Agricultural Research for Development | Vigneron P.,Congo Inc | And 4 more authors.
BMC Plant Biology | Year: 2013

Background: The genetic basis of growth traits has been widely studied in forest trees. Quantitative trait locus (QTL) studies have highlighted the presence of both stable and unstable genomic regions accounting for biomass production with respect to tree age and genetic background, but results remain scarce regarding the interplay between QTLs and the environment. In this study, our main objective was to dissect the genetic architecture of the growth trajectory with emphasis on genotype x environment interaction by measuring primary and secondary growth covering intervals connected with environmental variations. Results: Three different trials with the same family of Eucalyptus urophylla x E. grandis hybrids (with different genotypes) were planted in the Republic of Congo, corresponding to two QTL mapping experiments and one clonal test. Height and radial growths were monitored at regular intervals from the seedling stage to five years old. The correlation between growth increments and an aridity index revealed that growth before two years old (r = 0.5; 0.69) was more responsive to changes in water availability than late growth (r = 0.39; 0.42) for both height and circumference. We found a regular increase in heritability with time for cumulative growth for both height [0.06 - 0.33] and circumference [0.06 - 0.38]. Heritabilities for incremental growth were more heterogeneous over time even if ranges of variation were similar (height [0-0.31]; circumference [0.19 to 0.48]). Within the trials, QTL analysis revealed collocations between primary and secondary growth QTLs as well as between early growth increments and final growth QTLs. Between trials, few common QTLs were detected highlighting a strong environmental effect on the genetic architecture of growth, validated by significant QTL x E interactions. Conclusion: These results suggest that early growth responses to water availability determine the genetic architecture of total growth at the mature stage and highlight the importance of considering growth as a composite trait (such as yields for annual plants) for a better understanding of its genetic bases. © 2013 Bartholomé et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

Background: The primary open angle glaucoma (POAG) is the most common form of glaucoma in Africa. This is a serious disease as it induces a definitive blindness. Early diagnosis is critical to prevent this blindness. In Sub-Sahara Africa, the lack of ophthalmologists gives general practitioner a particular role; that of being generally the first contact of the patient. Between 2011 and 2013, our department received 215 patients with POAG and referred by their general practitioner for a visual loss. In 100[%] of cases, a reading glasses for presbyopia has been prescribed them for an average of two years before the visit to the ophthalmologist. In 97.67[%] of cases (210 patients / 215) POAG was terminally on both sides. The purpose of this study was to assess knowledge of these general practitioners on the POAG. Methods: A total of 100 general practitioners working in private practice in Brazzaville, answered a questionnaire in the form of multiple-choice question (MCQ). The study took place over one month (January 2014). These physicians were randomly selected based on their availability to complete the MCQ. Each physician was seen only once and disposed of 30 minutes to answer four questions, namely, the definition of POAG, circumstances of discovery, the duration of the monitoring and whether or not family screening of POAG was necessary. Each answer was worth 1 point. Knowledge of glaucoma was deemed insufficient for a score less than or equal to 1/4, for an average rating greater than 1/4 but less than or equal to 3/4, sufficient for a score of 4/4. Results: Only 8[%] were able to define POAG, 12[%] had a clear idea about the circumstances of discovery of the disease, 10[%] knew that the follow-up was lifetime, and 16[%] had checked the appropriate box on family screening of POAG cases. Six (6) [%] had a score of 4/4, 18[%] had a score between 1/4 and 3/4, and 76[%] had a rating lower than 1/4. Conclusion: The general practitioner in Brazzaville poorly understands POAG. Hence, severe visual impairment is commonly diagnosed because patients arrived late at the hospital. Training curricula for medical students should be adapted. © 2015, Bioline International. All rights reserved.

Rock K.S.,University of Warwick | Torr S.J.,University of Warwick | Lumbala C.,Congo Inc | Keeling M.J.,University of Warwick
Parasites and Vectors | Year: 2015

Background: The virulent vector-borne disease, Gambian human African trypanosomiasis (HAT), is one of several diseases targeted for elimination by the World Health Organization. This article utilises human case data from a high-endemicity region of the Democratic Republic of Congo in conjunction with a suite of novel mechanistic mathematical models to address the effectiveness of on-going active screening and treatment programmes and compute the likely time to elimination as a public health problem (i.e. <1 case per 10,000 per year). Methods: The model variants address uncertainties surrounding transmission of HAT infection including heterogeneous risk of exposure to tsetse bites, non-participation of certain groups during active screening campaigns and potential animal reservoirs of infection. Results: Model fitting indicates that variation in human risk of tsetse bites and participation in active screening play a key role in transmission of this disease, whilst the existence of animal reservoirs remains unclear. Active screening campaigns in this region are calculated to have been effective, reducing the incidence of new human infections by 52-53 % over a 15-year period (1998-2012). However, projections of disease dynamics in this region indicate that the elimination goal may not be met until later this century (2059-2092) under the current intervention strategy. Conclusions: Improvements to active detection, such as screening those who have not previously participated and raising overall screening levels, as well as beginning widespread vector control in the area have the potential to ensure successful and timely elimination. © 2015 Rock et al.

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