The Sentinel

Human Rights Action :: Humanitarian Response :: Health :: Education :: Heritage Stewardship ::
Sustainable Development
Week ending 26 November 2016

This weekly digest is intended to aggregate and distill key content from a broad spectrum of practice domains and organization types including key agencies/IGOs, NGOs, governments, academic and research institutions, consortia and collaborations, foundations, and commercial organizations. We also monitor a spectrum of peer-reviewed journals and general media channels. The Sentinel’s geographic scope is global/regional but selected country-level content is included. We recognize that this spectrum/scope yields an indicative and not an exhaustive product. Comments and suggestions should be directed to:

David R. Curry
Editor &
Founding Managing Director
GE2P2 Global Foundation – Center for Governance, Evidence, Ethics, Policy, Practice

pdf version: the-sentinel_-week-ending-26-november-2016

:: Week in Review
:: Key Agency/IGO/Governments Watch – Selected Updates from 30+ entities
:: INGO/Consortia/Joint Initiatives Watch – Media Releases, Major Initiatives, Research
:: Foundation/Major Donor Watch -Selected Updates
:: Journal Watch – Key articles and abstracts from 100+ peer-reviewed journals

:: Journal Watch

:: Journal Watch
The Sentinel will track key peer-reviewed journals which address a broad range of interests in human rights, humanitarian response, health and development. It is not intended to be exhaustive. We will add to those monitored below as we encounter relevant content and upon recommendation from readers. We selectively provide full text of abstracts and other content but note that successful access to some of the articles and other content may require subscription or other access arrangement unique to the publisher. Please suggest additional journals you feel warrant coverage.

BMC Infectious Diseases (Accessed 26 November 2106)

BMC Infectious Diseases
(Accessed 26 November 2106)

Research article
It’s complicated: why do tuberculosis patients not initiate or stay adherent to treatment? A qualitative study from South Africa
Individuals who test positive for active tuberculosis (TB) but do not initiate treatment present a challenge to TB programmes because they contribute to ongoing transmission within communities. To better under...
Donald Skinner and Mareli Claassens
BMC Infectious Diseases 2016 16:712
Published on: 25 November 2016


Research article
Community-based interventions to enhance knowledge, protective attitudes and behaviors towards canine rabies: results from a health communication intervention study in Guangxi, China
In China canine rabies poses a serious public health problem in that human mortality ranks the second highest globally. While rabies health education interventions are advocated by WHO to be critical component…
Hairong Wu, Jiao Chen, Lianbin Zou, Liefeng Zheng, Weichao Zhang, Zhenmu Meng, Ricardo J. Soares Magalhaes, Youming Wang, Jingli Kang and Xiangdong Sun
BMC Infectious Diseases 2016 16:701
Published on: 24 November 2016

BMC Medicine (Accessed 26 November 2106)

BMC Medicine
(Accessed 26 November 2106)

A framework: make it useful to guide and improve practice of clinical trial design in smaller populations
The increased attention to design and analysis of randomised clinical trials in small populations has triggered thinking regarding the most appropriate design methods for a particular clinical research question…
Kit C. B. Roes
BMC Medicine 2016 14:195
Published on: 25 November 2016


How do you design randomised trials for smaller populations? A framework
How should we approach trial design when we can get some, but not all, of the way to the numbers required for a randomised phase III trial?
Mahesh K. B. Parmar, Matthew R. Sydes and Tim P. Morris
BMC Medicine 2016 14:183
Published on: 25 November 2016

Domestic violence among antenatal attendees in a Kathmandu hospital and its associated factors: a cross-sectional study

BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth
(Accessed 26 November 2106)

Research article
Domestic violence among antenatal attendees in a Kathmandu hospital and its associated factors: a cross-sectional study
Domestic violence during pregnancy is a public health problem which violates human rights and causes an adverse effect on both maternal and fetal health. The objectives of the study were to assess the prevalen…
Monika Shrestha, Sumina Shrestha and Binjwala Shrestha
BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth 2016 16:360
Published on: 21 November 2016

BMC Public Health (Accessed 26 November 2106)

BMC Public Health
(Accessed 26 November 2106)
Research article
Individual, household and community level factors associated with keeping tuberculosis status secret in Ghana
In tuberculosis (TB) control, early disclosure is recommended for the purposes of treatment as well as a means of reducing or preventing person-to-person transmission of the bacteria. However, disclosure maybe…
Joshua Amo-Adjei
BMC Public Health 2016 16:1196
Published on: 25 November 2016
Research article
Social norms and family planning decisions in South Sudan
Sumit Kane, Maryse Kok, Matilda Rial, Anthony Matere, Marjolein Dieleman and Jacqueline EW Broerse
BMC Public Health 2016 16:1183
Published on: 22 November 2016
With a maternal mortality ratio of 789 per 100,000 live births, and a contraceptive prevalence rate of 4.7%, South Sudan has one of the worst reproductive health situations in the world. Understanding the social norms around sexuality and reproduction, across different ethnic groups, is key to developing and implementing locally appropriate public health responses.
A qualitative study was conducted in the state of Western Bahr el Ghazal (WBeG) in South Sudan to explore the social norms shaping decisions about family planning among the Fertit community. Data were collected through five focus group discussions and 44 semi-structured interviews conducted with purposefully selected community members and health personnel.
Among the Fertit community, the social norm which expects people to have as many children as possible remains well established. It is, however, under competitive pressure from the existing norm which makes spacing of pregnancies socially desirable. Young Fertit women are increasingly, either covertly or overtly, making family planning decisions themselves; with resistance from some menfolk, but also support from others. The social norm of having as many children as possible is also under competitive pressure from the emerging norm that equates taking good care of one’s children with providing them with a good education. The return of peace and stability in South Sudan, and people’s aspirations for freedom and a better life, is creating opportunities for men and women to challenge and subvert existing social norms, including but not limited to those affecting reproductive health, for the better.
The sexual and reproductive health programmes in WBeG should work with and leverage existing and emerging social norms on spacing in their health promotion activities. Campaigns should focus on promoting a family ideal in which children become the object of parental investment, rather than labour to till the land — instead of focusing directly or solely on reducing family size. The conditions are right in WBeG and in South Sudan for public health programmes to intervene to trigger social change on matters related to sexual and reproductive health; this window of opportunity should be leveraged to achieve sustainable change.
Research article
Causes of maternal and child mortality among Cambodian sex workers and their children: a cross sectional study
To reach global and national goals for maternal and child mortality, countries must identify vulnerable populations, which includes sex workers and their children. The objective of this study was to identify a…
Brian Willis, Saki Onda and Hanni Marie Stoklosa
BMC Public Health 2016 16:1176
Published on: 21 November 2016

Food Policy -vVolume 65, Pages 1-90 (December 2016)

Food Policy
Volume 65, Pages 1-90 (December 2016)

Original Research Article
Returns to food and agricultural R&D investments in Sub-Saharan Africa, 1975–2014
Pages 1-8
Philip G. Pardey, Robert S. Andrade, Terrance M. Hurley, Xudong Rao, Frikkie G. Liebenberg
Research-enabled growth in agricultural productivity is pivotal to sub-Saharan Africa’s overall economic growth prospects. Yet, investments in research and development (R&D) targeted to many national food and agricultural economies throughout Africa are fragile and faltering. To gain insight into what could be driving this trend, this article updates, summarizes and reassesses the published evidence on the returns to African agricultural R&D. Based on a compilation of 113 studies published between 1975 and 2014 spanning 25 countries, the reported internal rates of return (IRRs) to food and agricultural research conducted in or of direct consequence for sub-Saharan Africa averaged 42.3%py. In addition to the 376 IRR estimates, the corresponding 129 benefit-cost ratios (BCRs) averaged 30.1. Most (96.5%) of the returns-to-research evaluations are of publicly performed R&D, and the majority (87.6%) of the studies were published in the period 1990–2009. The large dispersion in the reported IRRs and BCRs makes it difficult to discern meaningful patterns in the evidence. Moreover, the distribution of IRRs is heavily (positively) skewed, such that the median value (35.0%py) is well below the mean, like it is for research done elsewhere in the world (mean 62.4%py; median 38.0%py). Around 78.5% of the evaluations relate to the commodity-specific consequences of agricultural research, while 5.5% report on the returns to an “all agriculture” aggregate. The weight of commodity-specific evaluation evidence is not especially congruent with the composition of agricultural production throughout Africa, nor, to the best that can be determined, the commodity orientation of public African agricultural R&D.


Original Research Article
Facing famine: Somali experiences in the famine of 2011
Pages 63-73
Daniel Maxwell, Nisar Majid, Guhad Adan, Khalif Abdirahman, Jeeyon Janet Kim
In 2011–12, Somalia experienced the worst famine of the twenty- first century. Since then, research on the famine has focused almost exclusively on the external response, the reasons for the delay in the international response, and the implications for international humanitarian action in the context of the “global war on terror.” This paper focuses on the internal, Somali response to the famine. Themes of diversification, mobility and flexibility are all important to understanding how people coped with the famine, but this paper focuses on the factor that seemed to determine whether and how well people survived the famine: social connectedness, the extent of the social networks of affected populations, and the ability of these networks to mobilize resources. These factors ultimately determined how well people coped with the famine. The nature of reciprocity, the resources available within people’s networks, and the collective risks and hazards faced within networks, all determined people’s individual and household outcomes in the famine and are related to the social structures and social hierarchies within Somali society. But these networks had a distinctly negative side as well—social identity and social networks were also exploited to trap humanitarian assistance, turn displaced people into “aid bait,” and to a large degree, determined who benefited from aid once it started to flow. This paper addresses several questions: How did Somali communities and households cope with the famine of 2011 in the absence of any state-led response—and a significant delay in a major international response? What can be learned from these practices to improve our understanding of famine, and of mitigation, response and building resilience to future crises?