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Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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    Stadium Coltan : artisanal mining, reforms and social change in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo
    Wakenge, Claude Iguma - \ 2017
    Wageningen University. Promotor(en): D.J.M. Hilhorst, co-promotor(en): K. Vlassenroot; J.G.R. Cuvelier. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789463434560 - 210
    mining - conflict - economic sociology - cooperatives - reconstruction - poverty - rural sociology - workers - feedstocks - minerals - congo democratic republic - central africa - mijnbouw - conflict - economische sociologie - coöperaties - reconstructie - armoede - rurale sociologie - werkers - industriële grondstoffen - mineralen - democratische republiek kongo - centraal-afrika

    In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the mining sector has the potential to play a pivotal role in post-conflict reconstruction (World Bank, 2008), and artisanal mining sustains the livelihoods of millions people in the country (PACT, 2010). However, in the last 15 years, minerals from this artisanal mining have been ill-reputed. Eastern DRC has often been characterised by chronic instability and violent conflicts (Autesserre, 2010; Stearns, 2011) because it is widely believed that minerals in this region have attracted the greed of national and foreign armed groups, who benefit from the mining business.

    Although this ‘greed hypothesis’ has been criticised for its inconsistent performance in explaining resource-related conflicts (Le Billon, 2010; Ross, 2006), various national and international reform initiatives have gained momentum (Verbruggen et al., 2011). These initiatives aim to make the Congolese artisanal mining sector more transparent and to prevent ‘conflict minerals’ from entering the international market. In 2014, 13 reform initiatives—10 focusing on 3T (tantalum, tin and tungsten) and three on gold—were operational in eastern DRC (Cuvelier et al. 2014: 5). The implicit assumptions are that mining reforms will fully ‘clean’ artisanal mining of violence and corruption and that this will contribute to sustaining people’s livelihoods (Garrett and Mitchell, 2009: 12).

    This study investigated initiatives intended to ‘formalise’ artisanal mining in DRC—in other words, they aimed to bring mining under state control. The study especially focuses on the effects of one among these initiatives—the ITRI Tin Supply Chain Initiative (iTSCi)—on two groups of actors: miners (creuseurs) and middlemen (négociants). This thesis thus presents a fine-grained case study of the iTSCi. Designed by the International Tin Research Institute in 2009, iTSCi provides a means of determining the origin of 3T and documenting the trading chain for these minerals by ‘tagging and bagging’ the loads of 3T near miners’ shafts (at postes d’achat/selling points or buying stations), at counting offices (comptoirs) and in mineral depots, before the minerals are exported through the international market.

    This is a qualitative study undertaken at three coltan mining sites of northern Katanga: Kahendwa, Kisengo and Mai-Baridi. Coltan has been extracted at these sites since 2007. From March 2013 to September 2014, data were collected using participant observation of people’s practices (extraction/sale of coltan and various types of interactions between trading houses, cooperatives, mineworkers (creuseurs) and middlemen (négociants), as well as detailed in-depth interviews with creuseurs, négociants and their households. Data were also collected from the staff of mining cooperatives, trading houses, state authorities and civil servants—predominantly of the Service d’Assistance et d’Encadrement du Small-Scale Mining (SAESSCAM) and the Division des Mines. The last group of informants were a group of clandestine coltan négociants (known as hiboux—literally, ‘owls’), who were followed in the study.

    The purpose of this research is to study the micro-dynamics of changes after the reforms following the implementation of iTSCi. The study thus provides insights into how iTSCi is concretely implemented and how it has altered the organisation of mining and the trade of coltan. The study also aims to examine how this organisation affected creuseurs and négociants. The main research question of this study is as follows:

    How have initiatives to reform artisanal mining (iTSCi in particular) affected institutional change, how does this relate to changes in patterns of coltan production and trade, how were creuseurs and négociants affected by these changes, and how did these groups respond in the coltan mining areas of Kahendwa, Kisengo and Mai Baridi (northern Katanga) from 2009 to 2014?

    Analytically, the study adopted three main theoretical perspectives. First, an actor-oriented approach was taken, building on the premise that individual actors have the agency, knowledge and experience to reflect upon their situation and to respond to changes in their surrounding context (Giddens, 1984). Although the examined mining reforms consist predominantly of ‘ready-made’ techniques such as iTSCi’s ‘tagging and bagging’, analysing reforms with an actor orientation helps to highlight people’s reactions and responses. This includes how reform policies are applied in institutions (e.g. mining cooperatives), how they interact, how they are assigned meaning and how they are negotiated by social actors (Christoplos and Hilhorst, 2009).

    Second, the study builds on the sociology of economic life, which holds that economic action is a form of social action that is socially ‘embedded’, meaning that it is linked with or dependent on actions and institutions (such as social networks) that are noneconomic in content, goals and processes (Granovetter, 2005). This perspective facilitates the analysis of the livelihoods of négociants, including mechanisms of smuggling minerals into and beyond the mining areas where iTSCi is in force.

    Third, this thesis introduced the original concept of ‘enclaves of regulations’. These enclaves refer to the mining areas where iTSCi or other reforms are in force. This thesis has shown that, although these ‘enclaves’ appear to be ‘closed’ and insulated from the environment in terms of the locally applied rules for the mining and trading of minerals (e.g. ‘tagging and bagging’), in reality, such closure is not complete. This thesis has demonstrated that it would therefore be more appropriate to consider these ‘enclaves’ as semi-autonomous fields with porous boundaries.

    Apart from the introduction and the concluding chapters, this thesis is composed of five chapters. Chapter 2 explores the evolution of the mineral sector in the Katanga province. It analyses the history of mining, the initiation of artisanal mining and how the ongoing reforms have been informed by this history. In this chapter, it is shown that there is a long history of the organisation of mining in the Katangese province. The reforms therefore did not enter into a stage of anarchy, or an institutional void, but they added a layer to already existing forms of organisation.

    Chapter 3 focuses on mining cooperatives as newly introduced institutions aimed at governing the artisanal mining sites. Through a single case study, the chapter analyses how these cooperatives —especially the Coopérative des Artisanaux Miniers du Congo, CDMC—were introduced into the mining areas and how they interacted and blended with pre-existing miners’ organisations. This chapter demonstrates that cooperatives have been an emergent—rather than durable—solution in terms of representing the interests of artisanal miners.

    In Chapter 4, I provide a different perspective on ‘conflict minerals’. I thus introduce the notion of ‘reform conflicts’ to emphasise that, although ongoing reforms aim to sever the supposed linkages between the artisanal mining business and violent conflicts, these reforms have become a driving force behind the emergence of new conflicts over property rights and access to minerals.

    Chapter 5 is about livelihoods. It analyses how the reforms have influenced the livelihoods and socioeconomic position of négociants. This chapter also explores what kind of opportunities the reforms have offered to this group of mineral brokers often considered powerful in the mineral supply chain and explains what kind of constraints the négociants have confronted and why they have opted to diversify their livelihood portfolios. The chapter has shown that the reforms have affected this group of mineral brokers in different ways. Some négociants were well off, whereas others have been excluded from the mineral commodity chain. These findings contradict the widespread opinion that négociants are always abusive brokers in the mineral production and commodity chain.

    Chapter 6 analyses the responses of creuseurs and négociants to iTSCi. Although the mining sites where iTSCi is in force appear to be ‘enclaves of regulations’, I explore the strategies of creuseurs and négociants to bypass iTSCi and the reforms, especially around the coltan trade. This chapter demonstrates that coltan smuggling is a deeply rooted practice. Despite the reforms, smuggling continues in different forms.

    All of the elements highlighted above suggest that mining reforms have undergone a major shift, from addressing the initial problems associated with ‘conflict minerals’ to creating or reinforcing various types of problems, such as the influence of ‘big men’ in the mining business, coltan smuggling and the emergence of new conflicts over accessing minerals. This means that reform initiatives such as iTSCi should be based on knowledge about the actual situation. Thus, understanding and addressing these new types of problems calls for a comprehensive approach at both local and broader levels.

    Information, trust and pesticide overuse: Interactions between retailers and cotton farmers in China
    Jin, S. ; Bluemling, B. ; Mol, A.P.J. - \ 2015
    NJAS Wageningen Journal of Life Sciences 72-73 (2015). - ISSN 1573-5214 - p. 23 - 32.
    risk perceptions - bt cotton - knowledge - management - pest - workers - health - costs - crops - ipm
    In the absence of adequate extension services, retailers have become the major information source for farmers’ pesticide use in rural China. Pesticide application for smallholders is rather complex, and mistakes can lead to significant crop losses. Farmers, therefore, seek sources of information regarding pesticide use. This paper first explores how different kinds of retailers may employ different strategies of providing information to farmers. We find that for village, town, and county retailers, the more familiar they are with farmers, the more likely they are to amplify the recommended dosage of pesticide use. In cooperatives, who buy pesticides from an extension station, the information is directly transferred to member farmers without information distortion. Apart from examining retailers’ different strategies of information provision, this paper also asks in how far farmers’ trust in retailers may affect pesticide use. It finds that trust in different kinds of retailers indeed varies and plays a critical role in converting information into farming behavior. Members of the cooperative show rather high levels of trust in their retailer, while farmers who are not members of a cooperative show low levels of trust in retailers. Pesticide use is a joint result of retailers’ information provision strategies and farmers’ trust. The lowest pesticide use occurs when accurate information is provided and when farmers highly trust the information provider. Overuse occurs with either information distortion or low levels of trust. Cooperatives have advantages both in terms of information provision and trust, thereby leading to the lowest use of pesticides.
    Farmers and retailers knowledge and awareness of the risk from pesticide use: a case study in the Wei River catchment, China
    Yang, X. ; Wang, L. ; Meng, L. ; Zhang, W. ; Fan, L. ; Geissen, V. ; Ritsema, C.J. - \ 2014
    Science of the Total Environment 497-498 (2014). - ISSN 0048-9697 - p. 172 - 179.
    developing-countries - human health - safe use - attitudes - workers - management - suicide - smallholders - protection - behaviors
    Monitoring the educational level of farmers and retailers on pesticide use would be useful to assess the appropriateness of information for reducing or/and avoiding the risks from pesticides in rural regions. The levels of knowledge and awareness of the dangers to the environment and human health were investigated by questionnaires for farmers (209) and retailers (20) in two rural regions (Qianyang County (S1) and Chencang County (S2)) of the Wei River catchment in China where the modes of farming and the state of erosion are very different. The results showed that farmers learned the use and dangers of pesticides mainly by oral communication (p <0.01). Protective measures were inadequate; 65% (S1) and 55% (S2) of farmers never used any protective measures during spraying (p <0.05). Washing hands (> 70%) was the most common mode of personal hygiene, relative to wearing masks, showering, and changing clothes, but no significant differences were observed between the selected regions. Most pesticide wastes were dumped directly onto the land or into water, suggesting that educational measures should be taken to address the potential risks from the residues in the wastes. Over 85% of farmers (S1 and S2) claimed to use illegal pesticides, but the reasons for their use varied (p <0.01). Retailers were well-informed and highly conscious of their responsibility for the safe use of pesticides, especially in S2 (p <0.01). A canonical correspondence analysis indicated that educational level and age differed between the two regions and contributed greatly to the risks from pesticide use (p <0.01). Educational programmes targeted to age groups, proper disposal of pesticide waste, and sufficient supervision from authorities should consequently be considered for improving the levels of knowledge and awareness of the dangers of pesticides to human health and environmental pollution in the Wei River catchment, China.
    Advancing the application of systems thinking in health: realist evaluation of the Leadership Development Programme for district manager decision-making in Ghana
    Kwamie, A. ; Dijk, J.W.M. van; Agyepong, I.A. - \ 2014
    Health Research Policy and Systems 12 (2014). - ISSN 1478-4505 - 12 p.
    total quality management - care - workers - models - uganda
    Background Although there is widespread agreement that strong district manager decision-making improves health systems, understanding about how the design and implementation of capacity-strengthening interventions work is limited. The Ghana Health Service has adopted the Leadership Development Programme (LDP) as one intervention to support the development of management and leadership within district teams. This paper seeks to address how and why the LDP ‘works’ when it is introduced into a district health system in Ghana, and whether or not it supports systems thinking in district teams. Methods We undertook a realist evaluation to investigate the outcomes, contexts, and mechanisms of the intervention. Building on two working hypotheses developed from our earlier work, we developed an explanatory case study of one rural district in the Greater Accra Region of Ghana. Data collection included participant observation, document review, and semi-structured interviews with district managers prior to, during, and after the intervention. Working backwards from an in-depth analysis of the context and observed short- and medium-term outcomes, we drew a causal loop diagram to explain interactions between contexts, outcomes, and mechanisms. Results The LDP was a valuable experience for district managers and teams were able to attain short-term outcomes because the novel approach supported teamwork, initiative-building, and improved prioritisation. However, the LDP was not institutionalised in district teams and did not lead to increased systems thinking. This was related to the context of high uncertainty within the district, and hierarchical authority of the system, which triggered the LDP’s underlying goal of organisational control. Conclusions Consideration of organisational context is important when trying to sustain complex interventions, as it seems to influence the gap between short- and medium-term outcomes. More explicit focus on systems thinking principles that enable district managers to better cope with their contexts may strengthen the institutionalisation of the LDP in the future.
    Social Movements and Risk Perception: Unions, Churches, Pesticides and Bananas in Costa Rica
    Barraza-Ruiz, D.A. ; Jansen, K. ; Wendel de Joode, B. van; Wesseling, C. - \ 2013
    International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health 19 (2013)1. - ISSN 1077-3525 - p. 11 - 21.
    governance - politics - workers - africa - rights - state
    Background: Between 1992 and 2010 in the Costa Rican Caribbean, a social movement coalition called Foro Emaús sought to change people’s view on problems of high pesticide use in banana production. Objective: To understand the formation and membership of Foro Emaús, its success period, and its decline. Methods: Semi-structured interviews of 28 key actors; a questionnaire survey among school personnel (n = 475) in Siquirres, Matina, and Talamanca counties; and secondary data from newspapers, leaflets, and movement documents were used. Results: Foro Emaús developed activism around pesticide issues and put pressure on governmental agencies and banana companies and shaped people’s perception of pesticide risks. The success of the Foro Emaús movement led to the reinforcement of a counteracting social movement (Solidarismo) by conservative sectors of the Catholic Church and the banana companies. We found that the participation of unions in Foro Emaús is an early example of social movement unionism. Conclusions: Scientific pesticide risk analysis is not the only force that shapes emerging societal perceptions of pesticide risk. Social movements influence the priority given to particular risks and can be crucial in putting health and environmental risk issues on the political and research agenda.
    Quantification of transmission of livestock-associated methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus in pigs
    Broens, E.M. ; Graat, E.A.M. ; Giessen, A.W. van de; Broekhuizen-Stins, M. ; Jong, M.C.M. de - \ 2012
    Veterinary Microbiology 155 (2012)2-4. - ISSN 0378-1135 - p. 381 - 388.
    netherlands - mrsa - competition - prevalence - carriage - piglets - workers - design
    Antimicrobial resistance in pigs becomes a public health issue when resistant organisms transfer from pigs to humans. Pigs are a large reservoir for livestock-associated (LA-)MRSA and people in contact with pigs are at risk for infection with LA-MRSA. Transmission and persistence of LA-MRSA within a pig population contributes to the maintenance of this zoonotic reservoir. Current knowledge on colonization and transmission of LA-MRSA in pigs is limited and mainly based on observational field surveys. Two experiments were performed to colonize pigs and quantify transmission of LA-MRSA between pigs. In the first experiment, colonization of six-week old piglets failed after intranasal inoculation, confirming the complexity of MRSA-colonization. In the second experiment, naive pigs got colonized after exposure to orally inoculated pigs. Subsequently, these contact-infected pigs transmitted MRSA to a new group of naive pigs. The reproduction ratio, R0, was estimated with a SIS-model to quantify transmission between the first and second contact pigs as this resembles more the natural transmission. Two scenarios were evaluated, with different assumptions regarding infection status of individual pigs. R0 varied between 3.7 and 4.3 and was significantly above 1, indicating a high probability of persistence of LAMRSA, even without antimicrobial use.
    Longitudinal study on transmission of MRSA CC398 within pig herds
    Broens, E.M. ; Espinosa-Gongora, C. ; Graat, E.A.M. ; Vendrig, N.J. ; Wolf, P.J. van der; Guardabassi, L. ; Butaye, P. ; Nielsen, J.P. ; Jong, M. de; Giessen, A.W. van de - \ 2012
    BMC Veterinary Research 8 (2012). - ISSN 1746-6148
    resistant staphylococcus-aureus - livestock-associated mrsa - netherlands - prevalence - swine - quantification - carriage - workers - design - virus
    Background Since the detection of MRSA CC398 in pigs in 2004, it has emerged in livestock worldwide. MRSA CC398 has been found in people in contact with livestock and thus has become a public health issue. Data from a large-scale longitudinal study in two Danish and four Dutch pig herds were used to quantify MRSA CC398 transmission rates within pig herds and to identify factors affecting transmission between pigs. Results Sows and their offspring were sampled at varying intervals during a production cycle. Overall MRSA prevalence of sows increased from 33% before farrowing to 77% before weaning. Overall MRSA prevalence of piglets was > 60% during the entire study period. The recurrent finding of MRSA in the majority of individuals indicates true colonization or might be the result of contamination. Transmission rates were estimated using a Susceptible-Infectious-Susceptible (SIS-)model, which resulted in values of the reproduction ratio (R0) varying from 0.24 to 8.08. Transmission rates were higher in pigs treated with tetracyclins and ß-lactams compared to untreated pigs implying a selective advantage of MRSA CC398 when these antimicrobials are used. Furthermore, transmission rates were higher in pre-weaning pigs compared to post-weaning pigs which might be explained by an age-related susceptibility or the presence of the sow as a primary source of MRSA CC398. Finally, transmission rates increased with the relative increase of the infection pressure within the pen compared to the total infection pressure, implying that within-pen transmission is a more important route compared to between-pen transmission and transmission through environmental exposure. Conclusion Our results indicate that MRSA CC398 is able to spread and persist in pig herds, resulting in an endemic situation. Transmission rates are affected by the use of selective antimicrobials and by the age of pigs.
    A technical framework for costing health workforce retention schemes in remote and rural areas
    Zurn, P. ; Vujicic, M. ; Lemiere, C. ; Juquois, M. ; Stormont, L. ; Campbell, J. ; Rutten, M.M. ; Braichet, J.M. - \ 2011
    Human Resources for Health 9 (2011). - ISSN 1478-4491
    recruitment - incentives - countries - district - workers - malawi
    Background: Increasing the availability of health workers in remote and rural areas through improved health workforce recruitment and retention is crucial to population health. However, information about the costs of such policy interventions often appears incomplete, fragmented or missing, despite its importance for the sound selection, planning, implementation and evaluation of these policies. This lack of a systematic approach to costing poses a serious challenge for strong health policy decisions. Methods: This paper proposes a framework for carrying out a costing analysis of interventions to increase the availability of health workers in rural and remote areas with the aim to help policy decision makers. It also underlines the importance of identifying key sources of financing and of assessing financial sustainability. The paper reviews the evidence on costing interventions to improve health workforce recruitment and retention in remote and rural areas, provides guidance to undertake a costing evaluation of such interventions and investigates the role and importance of costing to inform the broader assessment of how to improve health workforce planning and management. Results: We show that while the debate on the effectiveness of policies and strategies to improve health workforce retention is gaining impetus and attention, there is still a significant lack of knowledge and evidence about the associated costs. To address the concerns stemming from this situation, key elements of a framework to undertake a cost analysis are proposed and discussed. Conclusions: These key elements should help policy makers gain insight into the costs of policy interventions, to clearly identify and understand their financing sources and mechanisms, and to ensure their sustainability
    The danger of unrealistic optimism - linking cargivers' perceived ability to help victims of terror with their own secondary trauma
    Shalvi, S. ; Shenkman, G. ; Handgraaf, M.J.J. ; Dreu, C.K.W. De - \ 2011
    Journal of Applied Social Psychology 41 (2011)11. - ISSN 0021-9029 - p. 2656 - 2672.
    positive illusions - mental-health - self - depression - perspective - prevalence - relevant - behavior - workers - future
    This study examined how caregivers' biased perceptions of ability to help traumatized patients relates to the caregivers' secondary traumatic stress (STS). There is reason to believe that caregivers overestimate their ability to help and underestimate their vulnerability to develop STS, but it is unclear how such unrealistic optimism relates to STS. The results show that Israeli caregivers working with terror victims believed that their ability to help traumatic patients is superior to their peers' while their likelihood to be negatively affected by such treatment is lower. Beyond the impact of the number of patients treated and caregivers' experience, unrealistic optimism was positively correlated to caregivers' STS. Theoretical and practical implications for those working with traumatized patients are discussed. In a world filled with conflict and terror, an increasing number of individuals are traumatized and both seek and need help to cope with their gruesome experiences. Unfortunately, the impact of a traumatic experience goes beyond those who experience it themselves. Helping traumatic patients bear their pain and reconstruct their shattered reality comes at considerable costs for treating caregivers. Caregivers working with traumatized patients often experience compassion fatigue or, more generally, secondary traumatic stress (STS). STS is manifested in symptoms similar to those of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) including fear, difficulty sleeping, recurringimages of traumatic experience, and cognitive and behavioral avoidance of trauma reminders (Boscarino, Figley, & Adams, 2004; Figley, 1995). Listening to the stories of traumatized patients, helping them bear their pain, and attempting to reconstruct their shattered reality extracts a personal price from caregivers (Pearlman & Saakvitne, 1995). The transfer of trauma from victims to their immediate social environment creates what Basham (2008) referred to as a new front, calling for special awareness to these exposed groups. Therapists working with survivors of the September 11, 2001, World Trade Center attack (Boscarino et al., 2004; Creamer & Liddle, 2005; Eidelson, D'Alessio, & Eidelson, 2003), as well as the 1995 Oklahoma City Federal Building bombing (Wee & Myers, 2002) suffered from high levels of STS. High STS levels were also found among social workers working in Israeli hospitals sharing the patients' war reality (Lev-Wiesel, Goldblatt, Eizikovits, & Admi, 2008). In recent years, awareness of the impact of trauma treatment on caregivers is growing rapidly. Social workers engaged in direct practice with traumatic patients of domestic and politically related violence have experienced symptoms of STS (Bride, 2007). Caregivers who tend not to work thoroughly through the traumatic events with their patients and advocate that perspective have been found to demonstrate high STS levels (Deighton, Gurris, & Traue, 2007). Among the situational characteristics that (negatively) correlate with lay trauma counselors' STS are the level of their program coordination, perceived social support, and the program director's commitment. On the chronic personality level, self-efficacy and sense of coherence have been negatively correlated with STS levels (Ortlepp & Friedman, 2002). Exploring factors that correlate with STS manifestation is of high importance, as it may contribute to mapping potential STS risk factors. The current study focuses on one prominent factor: the extent to which the caregiver's perceived ability to help is accurate or, instead, is biased in an optimistic, self-serving manner. As far as we know, ours is the first study to look directly at this relationship between unrealistic optimism and STS. It addresses questions such as the following: Do caregivers who treat traumatized patients perceive their ability to help patients recover as superior to the ability of peers with similar experience? Do they feel less vulnerable than their peers to suffering from the negative consequences of trauma treatment? Are these biased perceptions associated with lower levels of STS, as positive illusions theories might suggest? Or are these biased perceptions associated with higher levels of STS, as suggested by theories considering the individual as a naïve scientist? To answer these and related questions, we used a cross-sectional design to survey Israeli caregivers working with traumatized victims of war and terror. These caregivers are typically called to hospitals in a mass-casualty event to provide psychological first aid (Gagin, Cohen, & Peled-Avram, 2005). Many of these caregivers work with multiple helping systems (e.g., social security, welfare) simultaneously (Woodrow & Ginsberg, 1997), and face difficulties creating a sense of safe environment for their patients (Shalvi & Luzzatto, 2006). Thus, apart from a theoretical contribution concerning the relationship between unrealistic optimism and STS, the current study also highlights practical implications for a particularly important and vulnerable group of caregivers.
    Pesticide use in banana and plantain production and risk perception among local actors in Talamanca, Costa Rica
    Barraza-Ruiz, D.A. ; Jansen, K. ; Wendel de Joode, B. van; Wesseling, C. - \ 2011
    Environmental Research 111 (2011)5. - ISSN 0013-9351 - p. 708 - 717.
    workers - agriculture - poisonings - nicaragua - exposure - farmers - system - health
    The Talamanca County in Costa Rica has large-scale banana and small-scale plantain production, probably causing pesticide exposure in indigenous children. We explored to what extent different community actors are aware of children's pesticide hazards and how their awareness related to socio-economical and cultural conditions. Methods comprised eight focus groups with fathers and mothers separately, 27 semi-structured interviews to key actors, and field observations. As a whole, the indigenous plantain farmers and banana plantation workers had some general knowledge of pesticides concerning crop protection, but little on acute health effects, and hardly any on exposure routes and pathways, and chronic effects. People expressed vague ideas about pesticide risks. Inter-community differences were related to pesticide technologies used in banana and plantain production, employment status on a multinational plantation versus smallholder status, and gender. Compared to formalized practices on transnational company plantations, where workers reported to feel protected, pesticide handling by plantain smallholders was not perceived as hazardous and therefore no safety precautions were applied. Large-scale monoculture was perceived as one of the most important problems leading to pesticide risks in Talamanca on banana plantations, and also on neighboring small plantain farms extending into large areas. Plantain farmers have adopted use of highly toxic pesticides following banana production, but in conditions of extreme poverty. Aerial spraying in banana plantations was considered by most social actors a major determinant of exposure for the population living nearby these plantations, including vulnerable children. We observed violations of legally established aerial spraying distances. Economic considerations were most mentioned as the underlying reason for the pesticide use: economic needs to obtain the production quantity and quality, and pressure to use pesticides by other economic agents such as middlemen. Risk perceptions were modulated by factors such as people's tasks and positions in the production process, gender, and people's possibilities to define their own social conditions (more fatalistic perceptions among banana workers). The challenge for the future is to combine these insights into improved health risk assessment and management that is culturally adequate for each particular community and agricultural context.
    Source analysis of fine and coarse particulate matter from livestock houses
    Cambra-Lopez, M. ; Torres, A.G. ; Aarnink, A.J.A. ; Ogink, N.W.M. - \ 2011
    Atmospheric Environment 45 (2011)3. - ISSN 1352-2310 - p. 694 - 707.
    swine confinement buildings - respiratory symptoms - dust particles - airborne dust - lung-function - poultry - workers - samples - farm
    The analyses of the different sources which can contribute to particulate matter (PM) emissions from livestock houses are essential to develop adequate reduction techniques. The aim of this study was to morphologically and chemically characterize several sources of PM from livestock houses. We collected known sources of PM from different housing systems for poultry and pigs, which were later aerosolized in a customized laboratory dust generator to collect fine and coarse PM samples. These samples were morphologically and chemically characterized using scanning electron microscopy with X-ray microanalysis to develop comprehensive morphological and chemical source profiles. Moreover, source particle-size distribution was determined. Results showed distinct and unique particle morphologies in collected sources from different housing systems for poultry and pigs. Although presence of N, Na, Mg, Al, Si, P, S, Cl, K, and Ca were identified in all sources, their relative element concentrations varied amongst sources and could be used to discriminate amongst them. Particle size and size distribution also varied amongst sources (size ranged from 2.1 µm to 18.1 µm projected area diameter), and mainly depended on its mineral or organic origin. The results from this work can be useful information for source identification and quantification in PM from livestock houses, improving the understanding of how PM is generated in such environments, and developing strategies for its reduction
    Transmission of methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus among pigs during transportation from farm to abattoir
    Broens, E.M. ; Graat, E.A.M. ; Wolf, P.J. van der; Giessen, A.W. van de; Jong, M.C.M. de - \ 2011
    The Veterinary Journal 189 (2011)3. - ISSN 1090-0233 - p. 302 - 305.
    salmonella-typhimurium - rapid infection - high prevalence - risk-factors - netherlands - mrsa - exposure - workers - swine
    The prevalence of methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in pigs at abattoirs is higher than in pigs sampled on farms. This study investigated whether MRSA negative pigs can become MRSA positive during transportation from the farm to the abattoir after exposure to other pigs and environmental sources of MRSA. Nasal swabs were collected from four batches of pigs during loading at the farm, on arrival at the abattoir and after stunning. Environmental wipes were taken from lorries after transporting pigs and from lairages after holding pigs. All pigs (n = 117) tested MRSA negative before transportation. On arrival at the abattoir, 12/117 (10.3%) pigs in two batches tested MRSA positive. In lorries that tested positive after transportation, the prevalence of MRSA positive pigs was 21.1%, whereas no MRSA was detected in pigs that had been transported in lorries that tested negative after transportation. At stunning, all batches and 70/117 (59.8%) pigs tested MRSA positive. Pigs can become MRSA positive in the short period of time during transportation from the farm to stunning at the abattoir
    Diagnosing foodborne illness: A behavioral analysis of barriers to testing
    Kaptan, G. ; Fischhoff, B. - \ 2011
    Journal of Public Health Policy 32 (2011). - ISSN 0197-5897 - p. 60 - 72.
    population-based estimate - united-states - foodborne disease - infectious diarrhea - surveillance - burden - outbreaks - guidelines - etiology - workers
    Public health authorities rely on the timely flow of laboratory results to detect and control food-borne illnesses. At times, social and economic barriers limit individuals’ ability to get needed tests. We demonstrate a simple behavioral approach to assess the cost-effectiveness of interventions designed to remove three social and economic barriers to testing individuals with acute diarrheal illness: testing costs, income loss, and inconvenience. We use readily available statistics to rank programs by their cost effectiveness to identify those most worthy of studying in greater detail.
    Cost-effectiveness of a minimal intervention for stress-related sick leave in general practice: Results of an economic evaluation alongside a pragmatic randomised control trial
    Uegaki, K. ; Bakker, I.M. ; Bruijne, M. ; Beek, A. van der; Terluin, B. ; Marwijk, H. van; Heymans, M. ; Stalman, W. ; Mechelen, W. van - \ 2010
    Journal of Affective Disorders 120 (2010)1-3. - ISSN 0165-0327 - p. 177 - 187.
    mental-health problems - adjustment disorders - recommendations - perspective - population - disability - workplace - quality - workers - absence
    Background. Stress-related mental health problems negatively impact quality of life and productivity. Worldwide, treatment is often sought in primary care. Our objective was to determine whether a general practitioner-based minimal intervention for workers with stress-related sick leave (MISS) was cost-effective compared to usual care (UC). Methods. We conducted an economic evaluation from a societal perspective. Quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) and resource use were measured by the EuroQol and cost diaries, respectively. Uncertainty was estimated by 95% confidence intervals, cost-effectiveness planes and acceptability curves. Sensitivity analyses and ancillary analyses based on preplanned subgroups were performed. Results. No statistically significant differences in costs or QALYs were observed. The mean incremental cost per QALY was € 7356 and located in the southeast quadrant of the cost-effectiveness plane, whereby the intervention was slightly more effective and less costly. For willingness-to-pay (¿) thresholds from € 0 to € 100,000, the probability of MISS being cost-effective was 0.58-0.90. For the preplanned subgroup of patients diagnosed with stress-related mental disorders, the incremental ratio was € 28,278, again in the southeast quadrant. Corresponding probabilities were 0.92 or greater. Limitations. Non-significant findings may be related to poor implementation of the MISS intervention and low power. Also, work-presenteeism and unpaid labor were not measured. Conclusions. The minimal intervention was not cost-effective compared to usual care for a heterogeneous patient population. Therefore, we do not recommend widespread implementation. However, the intervention may be cost-effective for the subgroup stress-related mental disorders. This finding should be confirmed before implementation for this subgroup is considered
    A Cluster-Randomised Trial Evaluating an Intervention for Patients with Stress-Related Mental Disorders and Sick Leave in Primary Care
    Bakker, I.M. ; Terluin, B. ; Marwijk, H.W.J. van; Windt, D.A.W.M. van der; Rijmen, F. ; Mechelen, W. van; Stalman, W.A.B. - \ 2007
    PloS Clinical trials 2 (2007)6. - ISSN 1555-5887 - 9 p.
    adjustment disorders - health problems - absence - certification - workers - cohort
    Objective: Mental health problems often affect functioning to such an extent that they result in sick leave. The worldwide reported prevalence of mental health problems in the working population is 10%–18%. In developed countries, mental health problems are one of the main grounds for receiving disability benefits. In up to 90% of cases the cause is stress-related, and health-care utilisation is mainly restricted to primary care. The aim of this study was to assess the effectiveness of our Minimal Intervention for Stress-related mental disorders with Sick leave (MISS) in primary care, which is intended to reduce sick leave and prevent chronicity of symptoms. Design: Cluster-randomised controlled educational trial. Setting: Primary health-care practices in the Amsterdam area, The Netherlands. Participants: A total of 433 patients (MISS n ¼ 227, usual care [UC] n ¼ 206) with sick leave and self-reported elevated level of distress. Interventions: Forty-six primary care physicians were randomised to either receive training in the MISS or to provide UC. Eligible patients were screened by mail. Outcome Measures: The primary outcome measure was duration of sick leave until lasting full return to work. The secondary outcomes were levels of self-reported distress, depression, anxiety, and somatisation. Results: No superior effect of the MISS was found on duration of sick leave (hazard ratio 1.06, 95% confidence interval 0.87–1.29) nor on severity of self-reported symptoms. Conclusions: We found no evidence that the MISS is more effective than UC in our study sample of distressed patients. Continuing research should focus on the potential beneficial effects of the MISS; we need to investigate which elements of the intervention might be useful and which elements should be adjusted to make the MISS effective.
    Odor and irritation thresholds for ammonia: A comparison between static and dynamic olfactometry
    Smeets, M.A.M. ; Bulsing, P.J. ; Rooden, S. van; Steinmann, R. ; Ru, J.A. de; Ogink, N.W.M. ; Thriel, C. van; Dalton, P.H. - \ 2007
    Chemical Senses 32 (2007)1. - ISSN 0379-864X - p. 11 - 20.
    occupational-exposure limits - temporal integration - allergic rhinitis - sensitivity - chemicals - air - performance - irritants - workers - humans
    Odor and lateralization (irritation) thresholds (LTs) for ammonia vapor were measured using static and dynamic olfactometry. The purpose of the study was to explore the test-retest reliability and comparability of dynamic olfactometry methodology, generally used to determine odor thresholds following European Committee for Standardization guidelines in the context of odor regulations to outside emissions, with static olfactometry. Within a 2-week period, odor and LTs for ammonia were obtained twice for each method for 24 females. No significant differences between methods were found: mean odor detection thresholds (ODTs) were 2.6 parts per million (ppm) for either method (P = 0.96), and mean LTs were 31.7 and 60.9 ppm for the static and dynamic method, respectively (P = 0.07). Test-retest reliability was higher for the dynamic than for the static method (r = 0.61 vs. 0.14 for ODTs and r = 0.86 vs. 0.45 for LTs). The choice of optimal method for any application, however, depends not only on psychometric factors but also on practical factors such as physicochemical properties of the compound, availability of equipment and expertise, task efficiency, and costs.
    Bangladesh apparel industry and its workers in a changing world economy
    Ahmed, N. - \ 2006
    Wageningen University. Promotor(en): Arie Oskam, co-promotor(en): Jack Peerlings. - [S.l. ] : S.n. - ISBN 9789085044154
    economische ontwikkeling - textielindustrie - economie - globalisering - werkers - arbeid (werk) - arbeidsverhoudingen - kleding - kleding maken - handel - textielarbeiders - bangladesh - vrijhandel - handelsakkoorden - economische verandering - economic development - textile industry - economics - globalization - workers - labour - labour relations - clothing - clothing construction - trade - textile workers - bangladesh - free trade - trade agreements - economic change
    This thesis explores and analyses recent changes and challenges faced by the apparel industry of Bangladesh and the consequences of those for the Bangladesh economy. More specifically, it explores and analyses the importance of the apparel industry in the Bangladesh economy, the challenges faced by this industry, impacts of implementation of various international trade rules on the apparel industry, consequences of Bangladesh's attempts to enter in bilateral and regional free trade agreements with its neighbouring countries, status of workers' rights in the apparel industry of Bangladesh and how globalisation is affecting the level of addressing these workers' rights and also impacts of increases in workers' productivity and wage on the apparel industry and on the Bangladesh economy.
    A rapid lateral flow immunoassay for the detection of fungal alpha-amylase at the workplace
    Koets, M. ; Sander, I. ; Bogdanovic, J. ; Doekes, G. ; Amerongen, A. van - \ 2006
    Journal of Environmental Monitoring 8 (2006)9. - ISSN 1464-0325 - p. 942 - 946.
    inhalable dust - exposure - sensitization - bakeries - allergens - symptoms - workers
    Fungal alpha-amylase is a flour supplement which is added to improve the quality of bakery products. Various studies have shown that exposure to this enzyme is an important risk factor for the development of bakers allergy and this allergy is reported to be one of the most frequent causes of occupational asthma. A rapid assay was developed to monitor exposure to occupational allergens directly at the workplace. The sensitivity of the developed assay is 0.32 ng amylase mL¿1 in a buffer system with the commercially available alpha-amylase preparation Fungamyl 1600S as the standard. Initial validation tests (n = 33) were performed with airborne and settled dust from an industrial bakery. The new lateral flow immunoassay detected amylase in 22 of the 26 samples regarded as positive in an enzyme immunoassay, and was negative for all seven enzyme immunoassay-negative samples, while the four lateral flow immunoassay-negative/enzyme immunoassay-positive samples all had levels below 2 ng mL¿1. The sensitivity of 2 ng mL¿1 of the amylase lateral flow immunoassay is sufficient for first screening purposes and, therefore, this simple and rapid assay may allow direct on-site demonstration of work-related hazards of bio-allergen exposure. This would be particularly useful in occupational hygiene practice, especially in traditional or small-scale bakeries which lack the technological skills for testing the exposure to respiratory allergens
    Acute pesticide poisoning among female and male cotton growers in India
    Mancini, F. ; Bruggen, A.H.C. van; Jiggins, J.L.S. ; Ambatipudi, A.C. ; Murphy, H. - \ 2005
    International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health 11 (2005). - ISSN 1077-3525 - p. 221 - 232.
    organophosphate - health - exposure - farmers - workers - kenya
    A season-long assessment of acute pesticide poisoning among farmers was conducted in three villages in India. Fifty female cotton growers reported the adverse effects experienced after exposures to pesticides by themselves and by their male relatives (n = 47). The study documented the serious consequences of pesticide use for the health of farmers, particularly women field helpers. Typically female tasks such as mixing concentrated chemicals and refilling spraying tanks were as hazardous as direct pesticide application. Of 323 reported events, 83.6 % were associated with signs and symptoms of mild to severe poisoning, and 10 % of the pesticide application sessions were associated with three or more neurotoxic/systemic signs and symptoms typical of poisoning by organophosphates, which were used in 47 % of the applications. Although in 6 % of the spray sessions the workers' neurotoxic effects were extremely serious, none sought medical care. Low-income marginal farmers were more often subjected to severe poisoning than were landlords.
    HRD and Learning Organisations in Europe
    Tjepkema, S. ; Stewart, J. ; Sambrook, S. ; Mulder, M. ; Horst, H. ter; Scheerens, J. - \ 2002
    London [etc.] : Routledge - ISBN 9780415277884 - 198
    personeel - werkers - organisaties - opleiding - leren - menselijke hulpbronnen - personeelsmanagement - europa - bijscholing - organizations - learning - training - personnel - workers - human resources - personnel management - europe - continuing training
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