United States Peace Corps

Villarrica, Paraguay

United States Peace Corps

Villarrica, Paraguay
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Cipollini M.,Berry College | Dingley N.R.,United State Peace CorpsNueva Guinea | Felch P.,United States Peace Corps | Maddox C.,University of Georgia
Global Ecology and Conservation | Year: 2017

American chestnut (Castanea dentata) was once a cultural, ecological, and economic staple of hardwood forests of the Eastern United States; however, chestnut blight caused by Cryphonectria parasitica has severely threatened its significance. The American Chestnut Foundation (TACF) is a non-profit organization that has focused on backcross breeding as a means of restoring C. dentata to the wild. A major goal of this breeding program has been to introduce blight resistance from Chinese chestnut [Castanea mollissima ] while recovering “American chestnut” morphology by backcrossing with C. dentata. The Berry College backcross orchard, in northwest Georgia, was the first such orchard established by TACF with the goal of producing advanced hybrids derived from crosses with wild C. dentata from Georgia (part of TACF's state chapter program). In 2008, three lines of third backcross (BC3) hybrids were planted at the orchard along with F1, C. mollissima, and C. dentata controls. The theoretical model for the backcross breeding program predicts intermediate blight resistance, at best, in BC3 trees, along with an otherwise American chestnut morphology. This paper focuses on the degree to which this combination of desired traits has been found among the first lines of BC3 trees generated in Georgia. Trees were inoculated with blight in May 2013 (at age 4–5 yrs), and blight resistance was evaluated in October 2013 and March 2014 and used to calculate an average blight-susceptibility index (BSI). In September 2013, branch samples were collected and used to evaluate 20 leaf, stem, and bud traits known to differ consistently between C. mollissima and C. dentata. The average of standardized scores for morphological traits was used as an index of species identity (ISI) for each tree. On average, BC3 lines showed significant morphological differences when compared with Chinese chestnut lines, nesting morphologically with American chestnuts. Each BC3 line contained some trees with both intermediate blight resistance and morphological traits similar to C. dentata, supporting the prediction that both sets of traits have been advanced using the backcross methodology. These results are discussed in relationship to currently evolving understanding of the genetics of blight resistance and with respect to other traits needed for successful restoration in the southern United States. © 2017 The Authors


Drewry J.,United States Peace Corps | Shandro J.,University of Victoria | Winkler M.S.,Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute | Winkler M.S.,University of Basel
International Journal of Public Health | Year: 2016

Objectives: The extractive industries have contributed to the economic and social development of Latin America and the Caribbean for centuries. We have undertaken a narrative review to assess the role of the health authority in the decision-making process as it relates to extractive industry projects. Methods: A narrative literature review was conducted with a keyword search conducted using PubMed, Scientific Electronic Library Online and Google. This was complemented with manual searches of relevant journals and reference lists of primary articles. Results: A broad body of literature from Latin America and the Caribbean region provides evidence that the public health of communities engaged in extractive industry is not being assured and that significant gaps exist in aligning public and private sector efforts to improve health. Conclusions: Inclusion of the health authority in impact assessment has the potential to result in lasting positive effects on communities involved directly and indirectly in the extractive industry, while preventing a large range of potential adverse health impacts. © 2016 Swiss School of Public Health (SSPH+)


Garen E.J.,Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute | Saltonstall K.,Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute | Slusser J.L.,United States Peace Corps | Mathias S.,United States Peace Corps | Hall J.S.,Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
Forest Ecology and Management | Year: 2011

To examine the opportunities available for designing diverse tree planting and land restoration initiatives in agricultural landscapes that contain tropical dry forests, the tree planting and protecting practices of cattle ranchers and small-scale agriculturalists were examined in two study sites in rural Panama. Ninety-nine tree species were identified that they utilize, plant, or protect on their land, the majority of which are native to Panama. The farmers had diverse reasons for maintaining trees, including improving the environment, providing food and shade for cattle, and generating a source of wood for construction, furniture, and firewood. Most of the trees mentioned in the study provide multiple uses and values and the majority of farmers wanted to plant additional trees. Some differences in species preferences and motivations for planting and protecting trees were seen between sites, thereby suggesting that land restoration and tree planting projects should be site specific. Our data indicate that there are ample opportunities to increase native tree cover in our study sites and highlight the need to incorporate farmer input into project design, implementation, and evaluation as a necessary and continuous feature throughout projects. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.


PubMed | University of Victoria, United States Peace Corps and Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute
Type: | Journal: International journal of public health | Year: 2016

The extractive industries have contributed to the economic and social development of Latin America and the Caribbean for centuries. We have undertaken a narrative review to assess the role of the health authority in the decision-making process as it relates to extractive industry projects.A narrative literature review was conducted with a keyword search conducted using PubMed, Scientific Electronic Library Online and Google. This was complemented with manual searches of relevant journals and reference lists of primary articles.A broad body of literature from Latin America and the Caribbean region provides evidence that the public health of communities engaged in extractive industry is not being assured and that significant gaps exist in aligning public and private sector efforts to improve health.Inclusion of the health authority in impact assessment has the potential to result in lasting positive effects on communities involved directly and indirectly in the extractive industry, while preventing a large range of potential adverse health impacts.


PubMed | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Ndola Central Hospital, Tropical Diseases Research Center, United States Peace Corps and 3 more.
Type: | Journal: Malaria journal | Year: 2015

Intermittent preventive treatment of malaria in pregnancy (IPTp) with sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) decreases placental parasitaemia, thus improving birth outcomes. Zambian policy recommends monthly SP-IPTp doses given presumptively during pregnancy at each antenatal examination, spaced one month apart after 16 weeks of gestation. The effectiveness of SP-IPTp was evaluated in Zambia where a recent study showed moderate prevalence of Plasmodium falciparum parasites with genetic mutations that confer SP resistance.HIV-negative women were enrolled at the time of delivery at two facilities in Mansa, Zambia, an area of high malaria transmission. Women were interviewed and SP exposure was determined by antenatal card documentation or self-reports. Using Poisson regression modelling, the effectiveness of SP-IPTp was evaluated for outcomes of parasitaemia (microscopic examination of maternal peripheral, cord, and placental blood films), maternal anaemia (Hb<11 g/dl), placental infection (histopathology), and infant outcomes (low birth weight (LBW), preterm delivery, and small for gestational age) in women who took 0-4 doses of SP-IPTp.Participants included 435 women, with a median age of 23 years (range 16-44). Thirty-four women took zero doses of SP-IPTp, while 115, 142 and 144 women took one, two, orthree doses, respectively. Multivariate Poisson regression models considering age, mosquito net usage, indoor residual spraying, urban home, gravidity, facility, wet season delivery, and marital status showed that among paucigravid womentwo doses of SP-ITPp compared to one or less doses was associated with a protective effect on LBW (prevalence ratio (PR) 0.33, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.12-0.91) and any infection (PR 0.76, CI 0.58-0.99). Multivariate models considering SP-IPTp as a continuous variable showed a protective dose-response association with LBW (paucigravid women: PR 0.54, CI 0.33-0.90, multigravid women: PR 0.63, CI 0.41-0.97).In Mansa, Zambia, an area of moderate SP resistance, two doses of SP-IPTp were associated with a protective effect from malaria in pregnancy, especially among paucigravid women. Each dose of SP-IPTp contributed to a 46 and 37% decrease in the frequency of LBW among paucigravid and multigravid women, respectively. SP-IPTp remains a viable strategy in this context.


PubMed | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, University of Malawi, Ministry of Health and United States Peace Corps
Type: | Journal: Malaria journal | Year: 2016

Malaria causes significant morbidity in Malawi, with an estimated 5 million cases in 2014. Artemether-lumefantrine (AL) and artesunate-amodiaquine (ASAQ) are the first- and second-line treatments for uncomplicated malaria, respectively, but emerging resistance threatens their efficacy. In order to understand whether AL and ASAQ remain efficacious for the treatment of uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria in Malawi, a therapeutic efficacy trial was conducted.During March-July 2014, febrile children aged 6-59months with microscopy-confirmed uncomplicated P. falciparum malaria (1000-200,000 parasites/L) were enrolled in a 28-day randomized in vivo efficacy trial at three sites: one each in northern (Karonga), central (Nkhotakota) and southern (Machinga) Malawi. The study was powered to estimate site-specific efficacy for AL and overall efficacy for ASAQ, with 3:1 randomization to AL or ASAQ. Blood was collected for malaria microscopy and molecular testing on days 0-3, 7, 14, 21, and 28. Recrudescence and reinfection were differentiated using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) genotyping of merozoite surface protein. The primary outcome was the PCR-corrected day 28 Kaplan-Meier cumulative success rate.A total of 452 children were enrolled; 303/338 (89%) and 98/114 (86%) reached a study endpoint in AL and ASAQ arms, respectively. All treatment failures occurred after day 3. The day 28 uncorrected cumulative success rate was 97.1% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 93.9-100%) for ASAQ and 76.8% (95% CI 72.1-81.5%) for AL, with 82.5% (95% CI 75.4-89.7%), 69% (95% CI 59.9-78.1%), and 78.2% (95% CI 70.2-86.3%) success in the northern, central, and southern regions, respectively. The day 28 PCR-corrected cumulative success rate was 99% (95% CI 97.2-100%) in the ASAQ arm and 99.3% (95% CI 98.3-100%) in the AL arm, with 98-100% efficacy in each site.As evidenced by the day 28 PCR-corrected cumulative success rates, both AL and ASAQ remain efficacious treatments for uncomplicated malaria in Malawi. The lower uncorrected efficacy in the AL arm compared to ASAQ may be explained by the shorter half-life of lumefantrine (3-6days) compared to amodiaquine (9-18days). The high reinfection rate suggests that there is a continued need to scale-up effective malaria prevention interventions.


News Article | December 13, 2016
Site: globenewswire.com

MILLWOOD, Va., Dec. 13, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Project HOPE is pleased to announce the appointment of Chris Skopec, a leader in global health development and humanitarian relief, as its new Executive Vice President. Reporting to the President and CEO, Chris Skopec will oversee Project HOPE’s global health programs worldwide and lead the NGO’s response to emergencies. “I’m thrilled to welcome Chris to Project HOPE as a member of our senior leadership team and believe he will play a key role in driving our global health development strategy as we confront the greatest health challenges of our time,” said Tom Kenyon, M.D., M. P. H., President and CEO of Project HOPE. “His expertise in humanitarian work will undoubtedly help refine our approach to disaster response and linkages with development programs based on local needs.” Project HOPE is active in 29 countries in maternal, neonatal and child health, combating infectious and noncommunicable diseases, training the health workforce, and providing medical volunteers. It also publishes the leading health policy journal, Health Affairs, and is involved in emergency response and need-driven GIK. Mr. Skopec previously served as Senior Director for Emergency Preparedness and Response at International Medical Corps (IMC) after leading IMC’s International Operations for four years. In his role as Director of International of Operations, he managed 30 country programs in five regions of the world, overseeing thousands of field staff, hundreds of projects and over $260 million in annual project work since 2011. At IMC, Mr. Skopec also nurtured the development of new country programs in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Caribbean and helped grow IMC’s operations to $408 million since 2007. “I am excited to join Project HOPE’s global team to further its mission of building health capacity to save lives and to collaborate with partners in the field and the private sector to strive for sustainable solutions to serious health challenges,” said Chris Skopec. He holds a Master's degree from Georgetown University in Eurasian, Russian, and East European Studies, and a B.A. in Anthropology from University of California, San Diego. He also attended the University of Legon in Ghana for African Studies and served as a United States Peace Corps volunteer in Kazakhstan. About Project HOPE Founded in 1958, Project HOPE (Health Opportunities for People Everywhere) is dedicated to providing lasting solutions to health problems with the mission of helping people to help themselves. Identifiable to many by the SS Hope, the world’s first peacetime hospital ship, Project HOPE now provides medical training and health education, and conducts humanitarian assistance programs in more than 30 countries. Visit our website projecthope.org or follow us on Twitter @projecthopeorg. A photo accompanying this release is available at: http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=41994


Stevens E.R.,United States Peace Corps | Aldridge A.,United States Peace Corps | Degbey Y.,Ministere de la Sante | Pignandi A.,Secretariat Permanent du CCM | And 3 more authors.
Malaria Journal | Year: 2013

Background: Malaria remains a substantial public health problem in Togo. An integrated child health campaign was conducted in Togo in October 2011. This campaign included a component of free distribution of 2,799,800 long-lasting, insecticide-treated nets (LLINs) to households throughout Togo. This distribution marked the first effort in Togo at universal LLIN coverage and was not targeted specifically to children under five years and pregnant women, but to all household members. This study reports the results of the LLIN distribution campaign in terms of bed net possession and utilization. Methods. A representative household survey was implemented during the rainy season nine months after the LLIN distribution component of the campaign. Some 6,015 households selected through two stages of probability proportion to size stratified random sampling were interviewed using a brief questionnaire that included a demographic section with questions on the number of household members and sleeping spaces, and a campaign participation section with questions used to evaluate non-LLIN aspects of the campaign. A net roster listed all nets and their characteristics, and a household roster listed all members and visitors with information about bed net use. The questions addressed different aspects of bed net and LLIN possession and utilization. Crude weighted frequencies, percentages, and t- tests of association were calculated using the Stata 12.0 Survey features. Results: Possession of at least one bed net and/or LLIN increased from 41.3% to 96.7% (P <0.001). Household possession of at least one campaign LLIN was 93.3%. Report LLIN among pregnant women was 77.5% and 79.3% for children under five. For the general population LLIN use was 68.3%. Conclusions: Due to the gap in LLIN possession and use and the significant number of individuals reporting a lack of nets as a reason for non-use, additional national LLIN distribution campaigns with a stronger educational component need to be implemented in order increase the use of available LLINs and to reach and maintain universal coverage of LLINs in Togo. The LLIN distribution campaign focusing on universal coverage of the general population in Togo was more successful at increasing LLIN possession and use of children under five years and pregnant women than other campaigns focusing only on these target groups. © 2013 Stevens et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.


Baral S.,Center for Public Health and Human Rights | Adams D.,United States Peace Corps | Lebona J.,Matrix | Kaibe B.,Matrix | And 4 more authors.
Journal of the International AIDS Society | Year: 2011

Background: Evidence is increasing of high HIV risks among southern African men who have sex with men (MSM). This represents the first study of HIV risks and human rights contexts among MSM in Lesotho. Methods. Two hundred and fifty-two men who reported ever having anal sex with another man were accrued with snowball sampling and were administered a structured quantitative instrument in October and November 2009. Results: Of the participants, 96.4% (240/249) were ethnic Basotho with a mean age of 26.3 years (range 18-56), 49.6% (124/250) were currently employed, and 95.2% (238/250) had at least a secondary-level education. Self-reported HIV prevalence was 11.6% (22/190); 54.5% (128/235) reported being tested for HIV in the last year. HIV knowledge was low; only 3.7% (8/212) of MSM knew that receptive anal intercourse was the highest risk for HIV and that a water-based lubricant was most appropriate to use with condoms. Bivariate associations of wearing condoms during last intercourse with men include: having easy access to condoms (OR 3.1, 95% CI 1.2-8.5, p < 0.05); being older than 26 years (OR 2.3, 95% CI 1.3-4.2, p < 0.01); knowing that receptive anal intercourse is higher risk than insertive anal intercourse (OR 2.6, 95% CI 1.2-5.9, p < 0.05); wearing condoms with female sexual partners (OR 3.5, 95% 1.4-8.3, p < 0.01); using water-based lubricants (OR 2.8, 95% CI 1.4-5.5, p < 0.01); being less likely to report having been diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infecton (OR 0.21, 95% CI 0.06-0.76, p < 0.05); and being more likely to have been tested for HIV in the last year (OR 2.0, 95% CI 1.2-3.6, p > 0.05). Human rights abuses were common: 76.2% (170/223) reported at least one abuse, including rape (9.8%, 22/225), blackmail (21.3%, 47/221), fear of seeking healthcare (22.2%, 49/221), police discrimination (16.4%, 36/219), verbal or physical harassment (59.8%, 140/234), or having been beaten (18.9%, 43/228). Conclusions: MSM in Lesotho are at high risk for HIV infection and human rights abuses. Evidence-based and rights-affirming HIV prevention programmes supporting the needs of MSM should be developed and implemented. © 2011 Baral et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.


Pratt O.J.,United States Peace Corps | Wingenbach G.,Texas A&M University
Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems | Year: 2016

Paraguay faces significant generational challenges in its agricultural industry, especially challenges in subsistence farming practices. Landless or smallholder farmers are less likely to adopt or use long-term soil management practices such as green manure and cover crop technologies. The purpose was to examine factors affecting adoption of green manure and cover crop technologies among Paraguayan smallholder farmers. Farmer training events, access to green manure and cover crop information, social participation, technical assistance (extension), and using chemical fertilizer significantly influenced, albeit weakly, farmers’ adoption of conservation agriculture practices. The results support further research to effectively refine agricultural adoption modeling. © 2016 Taylor & Francis.

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