Expansion of cropland in tropical countries is one of the principal causes of biodiversity loss, and threatens to undermine progress towards meeting the Aichi Biodiversity Targets. To understand this threat better, we analysed data on crop distribution and expansion in 128 tropical countries, assessed changes in area of the main crops and mapped overlaps between conservation priorities and cultivation potential. Rice was the single crop grown over the largest area, especially in tropical forest biomes. Cropland in tropical countries expanded by c. 48,000 km(2) per year from 1999-2008. The countries which added the greatest area of new cropland were Nigeria, Indonesia, Ethiopia, Sudan and Brazil. Soybeans and maize are the crops which expanded most in absolute area. Other crops with large increases included rice, sorghum, oil palm, beans, sugar cane, cow peas, wheat and cassava. Areas of high cultivation potential-while bearing in mind that political and socio-economic conditions can be as influential as biophysical ones-may be vulnerable to conversion in the future. These include some priority areas for biodiversity conservation in tropical countries (e.g., Frontier Forests and High Biodiversity Wilderness Areas), which have previously been identified as having ‘low vulnerability’, in particular in central Africa and northern Australia. There are also many other smaller areas which are important for biodiversity and which have high cultivation potential (e.g., in the fringes of the Amazon basin, in the Paraguayan Chaco, and in the savanna woodlands of the Sahel and East Africa). We highlight the urgent need for more effective sustainability standards and policies addressing both production and consumption of tropical commodities, including robust land-use planning in agricultural frontiers, establishment of new protected areas or REDD+ projects in places agriculture has not yet reached, and reduction or elimination of incentives for land-demanding bioenergy feedstocks.
In Nigeria, 30% of child deaths are due to malaria. The National Malaria Control Program of Nigeria (NMCP) during 2009 initiated a program to improve the quality of paediatric malaria services delivered in health facilities (HF). This study reports a rapid approach used to assess the existing quality of services in Jigawa state at decentralised levels of the health system.
In its largest outbreak, Ebola virus disease is spreading through Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria. We sequenced 99 Ebola virus genomes from 78 patients in Sierra Leone to ~2000× coverage. We observed a rapid accumulation of interhost and intrahost genetic variation, allowing us to characterize patterns of viral transmission over the initial weeks of the epidemic. This West African variant likely diverged from central African lineages around 2004, crossed from Guinea to Sierra Leone in May 2014, and has exhibited sustained human-to-human transmission subsequently, with no evidence of additional zoonotic sources. Because many of the mutations alter protein sequences and other biologically meaningful targets, they should be monitored for impact on diagnostics, vaccines, and therapies critical to outbreak response.
Background On March 23, 2014, the World Health Organization (WHO) was notified of an outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD) in Guinea. On August 8, the WHO declared the epidemic to be a “public health emergency of international concern.” Methods By September 14, 2014, a total of 4507 probable and confirmed cases, including 2296 deaths from EVD (Zaire species) had been reported from five countries in West Africa - Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal, and Sierra Leone. We analyzed a detailed subset of data on 3343 confirmed and 667 probable Ebola cases collected in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone as of September 14. Results The majority of patients are 15 to 44 years of age (49.9% male), and we estimate that the case fatality rate is 70.8% (95% confidence interval [CI], 69 to 73) among persons with known clinical outcome of infection. The course of infection, including signs and symptoms, incubation period (11.4 days), and serial interval (15.3 days), is similar to that reported in previous outbreaks of EVD. On the basis of the initial periods of exponential growth, the estimated basic reproduction numbers (R0 ) are 1.71 (95% CI, 1.44 to 2.01) for Guinea, 1.83 (95% CI, 1.72 to 1.94) for Liberia, and 2.02 (95% CI, 1.79 to 2.26) for Sierra Leone. The estimated current reproduction numbers ® are 1.81 (95% CI, 1.60 to 2.03) for Guinea, 1.51 (95% CI, 1.41 to 1.60) for Liberia, and 1.38 (95% CI, 1.27 to 1.51) for Sierra Leone; the corresponding doubling times are 15.7 days (95% CI, 12.9 to 20.3) for Guinea, 23.6 days (95% CI, 20.2 to 28.2) for Liberia, and 30.2 days (95% CI, 23.6 to 42.3) for Sierra Leone. Assuming no change in the control measures for this epidemic, by November 2, 2014, the cumulative reported numbers of confirmed and probable cases are predicted to be 5740 in Guinea, 9890 in Liberia, and 5000 in Sierra Leone, exceeding 20,000 in total. Conclusions These data indicate that without drastic improvements in control measures, the numbers of cases of and deaths from EVD are expected to continue increasing from hundreds to thousands per week in the coming months.
The West African cocoa belt, reaching from Sierra Leone to southern Cameroon, is the origin of about 70% of the world’s cocoa (Theobroma cacao), which in turn is the basis of the livelihoods of about two million farmers. We analyze cocoa’s vulnerability to climate change in the West African cocoa belt, based on climate projections for the 2050s of 19 Global Circulation Models under the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change intermediate emissions scenario RCP 6.0. We use a combination of a statistical model of climatic suitability (Maxent) and the analysis of individual, potentially limiting climate variables. We find that: 1) contrary to expectation, maximum dry season temperatures are projected to become as or more limiting for cocoa as dry season water availability; 2) to reduce the vulnerability of cocoa to excessive dry season temperatures, the systematic use of adaptation strategies like shade trees in cocoa farms will be necessary, in reversal of the current trend of shade reduction; 3) there is a strong differentiation of climate vulnerability within the cocoa belt, with the most vulnerable areas near the forest-savanna transition in Nigeria and eastern Côte d'Ivoire, and the least vulnerable areas in the southern parts of Cameroon, Ghana, Côte d'Ivoire and Liberia; 4) this spatial differentiation of climate vulnerability may lead to future shifts in cocoa production within the region, with the opportunity of partially compensating losses and gains, but also the risk of local production expansion leading to new deforestation. We conclude that adaptation strategies for cocoa in West Africa need to focus at several levels, from the consideration of tolerance to high temperatures in cocoa breeding programs, the promotion of shade trees in cocoa farms, to policies incentivizing the intensification of cocoa production on existing farms where future climate conditions permit and the establishment of new farms in already deforested areas.
Near the end of 2013, an outbreak of Zaire ebolavirus (EBOV) began in Guinea, subsequently spreading to neighboring Liberia and Sierra Leone. As this epidemic grew, important public health questions emerged about how and why this outbreak was so different from previous episodes. This review provides a synthetic synopsis of the 2014-15 outbreak, with the aim of understanding its unprecedented spread. We present a summary of the history of previous epidemics, describe the structure and genetics of the ebolavirus, and review our current understanding of viral vectors and the latest treatment practices. We conclude with an analysis of the public health challenges epidemic responders faced and some of the lessons that could be applied to future outbreaks of Ebola or other viruses.
Response to the 2014-2015 Ebola outbreak in West Africa overwhelmed the healthcare systems of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, reducing access to health services for diagnosis and treatment for the major diseases that are endemic to the region: malaria, HIV/AIDS, and tuberculosis. To estimate the repercussions of the Ebola outbreak on the populations at risk for these diseases, we developed computational models for disease transmission and infection progression. We estimated that a 50% reduction in access to healthcare services during the Ebola outbreak exacerbated malaria, HIV/AIDS, and tuberculosis mortality rates by additional death counts of 6,269 (2,564-12,407) in Guinea; 1,535 (522-2,8780) in Liberia; and 2,819 (844-4,844) in Sierra Leone. The 2014-2015 Ebola outbreak was catastrophic in these countries, and its indirect impact of increasing the mortality rates of other diseases was also substantial.
In Nigeria, fertility continues to be high and contraceptive prevalence remains low. This study was conducted in order to understand the perceptions of, experiences with and challenges of delivering family planning services in two urban areas of Nigeria from the perspectives of family planning service providers.
BACKGROUND: Nigeria is one of the major African countries in which incidences of polio infection persist in spite of several eradication efforts. The preponderance of paralytic poliomyelitis particularly in the northern part of Nigeria raises the question as to whether parents of children affected with polio know how polio is contracted and spread, whether having a disabled child affects the parents' attitude towards these children, and what they believe about poliomyelitis in view of their socio-cultural and belief system in the sub-region. Zamfara State, in the north-west of Nigeria is one of the endemic areas where resistance to the global campaign on polio eradication was very high. Therefore this study was conducted to investigate the knowledge, attitudes and beliefs of parents/primary caregivers of children affected with paralytic poliomyelitis in Zamfara State. METHODS: This study is a cross-sectional survey in which the multistage probability sampling technique was used to randomly select two local government areas in Zamfara State where consenting parents/primary caregivers of children with paralytic poliomyelitis were purposively selected. The knowledge, attitudes and beliefs of parents were assessed with the aid of a 4-part 52-item structured researcher administered questionnaire and the data obtained were analyzed. RESULTS: Two hundred and seventeen parents/primary caregivers participated in the study. One hundred and forty-two, (65.4%) reported good, 51 (23.8%) reported fair, while 24 (11%) of participants reported poor knowledge of paralytic poliomyelitis. More respondents 120 (55.3%) showed a positive attitude towards children with paralytic poliomyelitis. Younger age (P=0.016) and paid employment (P=0.020) were positively associated with good knowledge of paralytic poliomyelitis. Female gender (P=0.020), higher educational level (P=0.015), being employed (P=0.010) and having from middle to high household income (P=0.016) were positively associated with a positive attitude toward children with paralytic poliomyelitis. Most respondents showed a reasonable belief over the cause of their children’s condition rather than the erroneous traditional belief that paralytic poliomyelitis is caused by spirit forces. CONCLUSIONS: It is of great concern that the good knowledge, positive attitude and reasonable belief by parents/primary caregivers about paralytic poliomyelitis observed in this study did not play a prominent role in preventing susceptibility of children in north-west Nigeria to paralytic poliomyelitis. It is imperative that Nigerian policy makers should device more strategic measures toward the prevention of paralytic poliomyelitis in this sub region.
Background: Abdominal colic is common in infants but generally harmless. The exact aetiology is unknown but it has been associated with vicious cycle of crying and swallowing of air by the infant. The excessive crying associated with it can result in a lot of distress for family members creating unnecessary panics. We sought to find the perception and management of abdominal colic by mothers in Enugu. Objective: Objective of this study is to determine the perception and ‘home management’ of abdominal colic in infants by mothers in Enugu, south-east Nigeria and the factors associated with them. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional survey involving 177 mothers that presented with their infants at the pediatric outpatient clinic of the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Ituku Ozalla, Enugu between June and November 2011. A pretested questionnaire was used after obtaining their consent. Results: A total of one hundred and seventy-seven mothers participated in this study. They were aged 20 to 60 years with mean age of 34 ± 7.3 years. Most of them (99.4%) believed that babies can have abdominal colic. While 41.3% attributed no problems to colic, the rest believed that it causes loose/greenish stools (12.4%), fever (16.4%) and vomiting (9.6%) etc. Most of the mothers (87.7%) do apply medications for colic which range from paracetamol (33.1%), Gbomoro (16.2%), teething powder (15.4%), salt water (13.2%), Buscopan (7.7%) and gripe water (4.6%). Conclusions : Mothers attribute symptoms of childhood illnesses to abdominal colic. This may have led to unnecessary and sometimes harmful management. There is need for health education of mothers and potential mothers.