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critical for fostering innovation:

Research suggests that the following network characteristics are critical
for fostering innovation:
¦ Partner diversity
¦ Third parties, science partners and institutional mechanisms
¦ Networked approaches to investment – through co-investment
¦ Proactive management of networks and networking processes
Partner diversity
Innovation occurs more effectively where there is an exchange of knowledge between
systems. This may be between different industries, regions or countries, even
between science and industry. In this context the diversity of relationships in networks
has a significant impact on innovativeness and is a critical focus of research.

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European Integration

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The European Rescue of the nation state book by Wilwald shows explicitly the origin and involvement of the European community by explaining; it’s historical, analytical and developmental aspects, it also looks at the critical issues like the Belgian coal during the Schuman plan, the Origin of the European Community, the progress in agricultural policy and the involvement of the Britain. Wilwald, a British historian who is popular believes that the European states needs more integration instead of producing blandishing nationalists.

European integration is one of the most significant developments in the 20th century. 1But why did it emerge? What are we to make of it? And is it the world’s future, as some claim? What are its prospects? Or is it just about Europe’s past. Integration can be defined as giving up or rather selectively surrendering matters of countries’ sovereignty by the state members to the European Union. A great deal of selective Surrendering has been experienced in the last half a century, During the 1950s six European state put their Coal and steel industries which had partnership control that had high authority being administered to them and later in 1960s they abolished tariffs on most of their dependent commerce and authorized high level agents to represent them on matters pertaining trade globally. They increased their membership and resumed on a dependent exchange rate stabilization program in 1970s. They further increased their network in 1980s and agreed to remove regular barriers facing them in their trade. In 1990 the membership grew even bigger and a large group left their national currencies for them to form a monetary union. A tremendous growth was realized in the 21st century by the European Union and twelve members were allowed to join the Union from the old soviet territory.

The postwar nation state was meant to increase the number of students’ who are interested in knowing how Western Europe got devastated in 1945 and how they were able to recover quickly and intensively in just a decade, despite difficulties experienced on the onset of the cold war. The Soviet Union and western democracies held several conferences in the year between 1943 and 1945(Tehran, Yalta and Potsdam respectively), and the agenda was on the progress of the World War II. After the war, disputes between the two sides especially over the Soviet Union who wanted to takeover the Eastern Europe made Winston Churchill to issue a warning in 1946 that an “iron curtain” was descending through the middle of Europe.

Joseph Stalin made it clear that the World War II between the United States and Soviet Union 1946 was inevitable and cannot be avoided, this was as a result of capital imperialism and he further warned that this war can reoccur. The cold war resulted during the East-West European competition which resulted to tension and full-scale war due to mutual perception and hostile intension between political alliances and the military, there were real war because the Soviet allies fought themselves instead of the USSR itself along with the fight for major superpower arms race and the battle for influence in the third world.

Andrew Moravcsik a political scientist and Alan Milward a British historian 1 crusaded against partial and convergent interpretations of the post war occurrences in Europe; they pushed state leaders to accept additional nuanced view inception of the role played by the European Union both nationwide and worldwide matters. They have really contributed greatly in their respective disciplines on issues pertaining the origins and European Community in the early development. Milwald wrote the ultimate account on social and economic basics of the European integration. He tried to show the conflicting outcome of the European nation-states, supporting influence after World War II and concurrent designation by the nation state of specific aspects of country’s dominion to the European Community were equally a supportive process.

1 With the 1993 ratification of the Maastricht Treaty, the institutions of the European Community became subsumed in a larger edifice known as the European Union.

Moravcsik made some comparison with Milwald’s observations and showed consistency with the perception of current political theory. Moravcsik argued that the accomplishment of the European Integration was just a normal state behavior.

Both authors show similarities in the sense that they bring sense to community project needs understanding of economic policy facing its member government. 2 Both insist that a persuasive report during insights of universal theories of global cooperation,they included logic of worldwide regimes and changes in interdependence.

In Milward’s The European Rescue of the Nation-State and Moravcsik’s The Choice for Europe2, their suggestions vary especially in current and future community’s significance. Moravcsik viewed that the European political landscape of the community as a lasting aspect. But Milward’s defended his suggestions significantly.

Germany’s constituted a limited exemption as claimed by the French, but British and American policy which France had matched was that some form of government would be formed as soon as possible after they had surrendered.

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Nonviolence and Cival Disobedience

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Introduction

Nonviolence is the practice of using symbolic protests, economic or political noncooperation, civil disobedience and other methods to achieve socio-political goals where no violence is used

In 2006 peace ethnologist Judith Hand presented a strategy for abolishing war premised on using nonviolent resistance (A Future Without War: the Strategy of a Warfare Transition)

Civil disobedience and non-violent resistance are more contagious than most people think; they are always justifiable by a larger cross section of a nation, and to a much larger and more influential international community. Today for most people, non-violent resistance and civil disobedience are more justifiable than violence. In the Middle East and to be precise Palestine, belief in these principles can spread within a short period throughout the Palestinian territories. Add to that movement the peace activists in Israel itself, Arab and Jewish citizens alike, and you will have a viable movement on both sides that can seek common ground peacefully and very effectively.

The 2010–2011 Tunisian uprising: where a chain of demonstrations against unemployment and government corruption in Tunisia. The protests were triggered by the self-immolation of the vegetable seller Mohamed Bouazizi and resulted in the 24-year-ruling president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali fleeing the country a month later.

The cost will definitely be less in terms of lives and property when compared to the cost of the current mindless violent means of the militants, who have played into the hands of Sharon by destroying the intifada with misdirected violence. Even if the cost of the non-violent resistance is the same in the number of lives lost or property destroyed, the Palestinian peace movement will at least have produced some tangible results which the militants so far can not claim to have accomplished.

Some of the nonviolent resistance tactics that have been and are being employed today include: information warfare, vigils, samizdat, picketing, leafleting, protest art/music and poetry, tax resistance, legal/diplomatic wrestling, principal refusal of awards/honors and general strikes

Dr. Martin Luther king Jr. in his own words says;

 “This is not a method of cowardice or stagnant passivity; it does resist. The non-violent resister is just as opposed to the evil he is protesting as the person who used violence.

“This method is that it does not seek to defeat or humiliate the opponent but to win his friendship and understanding.

“That the attack is directed toward the forces of evil, rather than the persons caught in the forces. Those of us who struggle against racial injustice must come to see that the basic tension is not between races. The tension is at bottom between justice and injustice, between the forces of light and the forces of darkness.

“This method not only avoids external physical violence, but also internal violence of the spirit. At the center of nonviolence stands the principle of love. We have learned through the grim realities of life and history that hate and violence solve nothing. Violence begets violence; hate begets hate; and toughness begets toughness. It is all a descending spiral, and the end is destruction — for everybody”

 

Nonviolence/civil disobedience today

Today the focus should go to the political elites who are so much interested in their political careers and survival than they are in humanity, and are not ready to sacrifice in doing justice to humanity. Civil disobedience/nonviolence is demonstrated on them through general strikes, demanding their resignation through boycotts and protests, for example the Tunisia uprising 2010-2011, Egyptian protests 2011 and the Syrian uprising 2011

The citizens have an obligation and moral responsibility to oppose indiscriminate appointments, amendments of the existing laws, wrong procedures of vetting and decisions by the government. In Martin Luther king’s words, “without nonviolent forceful direct actions, true civil rights could never be achieved”

Today democracy should not be assumed as the ultimate source or cure for injustice and all sought of malpractices by the governments Thoreau asserts that because governments are typically more harmful than helpful, they therefore cannot be justified. Democracy is no cure for this, as majorities simply by virtue of being majorities do not also gain the virtues of wisdom and justice. The judgment of an individual’s conscience is not necessarily inferior to the decisions of a political body or majority, and so “it is not desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right. The only obligation which I have a right to assume is to do at any time what I think right… Law never made men a whit more just; and, by means of their respect for it, even the well-disposed are daily made the agents of injustice. “He adds, “I cannot for an instant recognize as my government which is the slave’s government also.”

 

Face book as a method of nonviolence/civil disobedience

This is a social network among others like twitter, MySpace, Google+, and Net log which has globalized socializing. Face book though is more common with the young generation but the old are also catching up

Activists, elites as well as the human rights organizations are too running their daily affairs on face book where they are able to get instant responses in order to decide on the next course of action

Through face book and other social websites, people are able to coordinate and communicate faster with people on the ground deprived of any organizing bodies to facilitate civil disobedience and peaceful protests in streets or cities

Social networks and media allow anyone to speak up about his or her concerns and access information on corruption. Attention can be raised using blogs, petitions, video, tags etc., all of which can be anonymous, although in today’s day and age it is much easier to trace uploaded videos, posts, tags etc.

Social networks sites like face book facilitates in disrupting of systems of corruption and social injustices, strengthens citizen participation, strengthens campaign organization and capacity, wins people over and weakens sources of support and control for unaccountable unjust law supporters and corrupt power holders

One of the shortcomings of Face book is that does not allow much customization of the profile beyond a logo and description, but with MySpace, you can really go wild. There are several free services that will help you customize your profile without needing to do too much direct coding

Face book too is not common with all ages, it’s the youths who are mostly aware of it hence it tends to discriminate based on age brackets, using it as a method of nonviolence will be partial and incomplete. Martin Luther king says in his letter, “all communities and states were interrelated, injustice anywhere is a threat to injustice everywhere”

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Project Management

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Introduction

According to Project Management Institute (PMI) a project is any work that happens only once, has a clear beginning and an end, and is intended to create a unique product or knowledge. It ma involve only one person or thousands. It may last several days or many years. It may be undertaken by a single organization or an alliance of several stakeholders.

Project management is the discipline of planning, organizing, securing, and managing resources to achieve specific goals. A project is a temporary endeavor with a defined beginning and end (usually time-constrained, and often constrained by funding or deliverables), undertaken to meet unique goals and objectives, typically to bring about beneficial change or added value.

The temporary nature of projects stands in contrast with business as usual or operations which are repetitive permanent or semi-permanent functional activities to produce products or services. In practice, the management of these two systems is often quite different, and as such requires the development of distinct technical skills and management strategies. (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

Characteristics of successful projects

It should have clear objectives-the most successful projects always have well defined objectives from the outset.

A good project plan-this enables everyone involved to understand and perform their part in the project, it shows who is responsible for what, and estimates how much money, people, equipment and time will be required to complete the project. It also serves as a monitoring tool, allowing you to take early actions if things go wrong.

Communication-A project is a collaborative effort between all the individuals and organizations involved. They all need to work together to maintain effective and continual communication between the parties.

A controlled scope- it is common that numerous issues will come up throughout the project and not all that contribute to the overall objectives. It is vital to stay focused on the priority issues.

Stakeholder’s support-projects generally involve several stakeholders who invest their time and resources in the project. For this reason it is important to maintain their support throughout the life of the project up to it completion in order to meet the set goals.

Project managers

 According to Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, a project manager is the person accountable for accomplishing the stated project objectives. Key project management responsibilities include creating clear and attainable project objectives, building the project requirements, and managing the triple constraint for projects, which is cost, time, and scope.

A project manager is often a client representative and has to determine and implement the exact needs of the client, based on knowledge of the firm they are representing. The ability to adapt to the various internal procedures of the contracting party, and to form close links with the nominated representatives, is essential in ensuring that the key issues of cost, time, quality and above all, client satisfaction, can be realized.

Cleland and king (1993) suggest that the managers of a complex project should possess the following attributes:

Knowledge of technology in ration to project products

An understanding of the concept of project management

Interpersonal styles to get thing done

Ability to see the project as an open system and understand the external and internal interactions

Understand the people and the social context in which the project will operate

Project plan

A project plan should include the following elements:

A project charter-this is a document that demonstrates management support for the project, authorizes the manger to lead the project, and allocate resources as required.

A calendar of activities

A time schedule

A responsibility matrix

A project plan budget

Major milestones with target dates

A risk management strategy

Project management principles

Good project management principles should have the following fundamental qualities.

Should express the basic concept or idea

Be universally applicable if a successful project result is to be achieved

Be capable of straight forward expression in one or two sentences

Should be self –evident to project management personnel with considerable experience of practical project work

Provide the basis for research, practical testing as to value and the development of supporting practices

Project organization and people

From, http://www.advstr.com. Advanced strategies, Inc.

Project Organization is the process of configuring a project’s resources into an effective arrangement to execute the project plan. Disorganization can account for more than 20% of the cost of most efforts. While organization is less important for smaller projects, as projects become larger and more complicated an optimal and flexible organization becomes critical for success.

Some of the factors which are driving the importance of correct organization in today’s environment are:

The shortage of IT personnel

Other constrained resources

People and other resources existing at multiple distributed locations

People and other resources working on multiple projects simultaneously

Ever tightening time deadlines

 

The objective of this stage is to select and prepare the people, whose involvement will be necessary for the project to succeed. Once the objectives of the project have been identified and a work breakdown structure developed for how to meet these objectives, it is necessary to plan for the people involvement on the project.

An important step in this planning is to identify the required roles and responsibilities. This methodology provides a standard set of roles and responsibilities for a project and it is necessary to review this list and customize it for the particular project.

Once the roles, responsibilities, and time requirements for each activity are defined, it is possible to assign individuals to perform the activities.  It will often be necessary to assign individuals to the projects that do not have all the skills required to perform their roles.  Therefore, it is necessary to identify what additional training these individuals require.

Individuals then need to be made available for their involvement on the project. Identify key personnel, recruit the project board, recruit stage manager, recruit project coordinators, recruit key stakeholders, recruit stage teams, recruit key resources, determine training requirements, create project organization chart, and review project organization.

Using the Project Assignment Worksheet, allocate the identified personnel to one or more roles.

Ensure all key individuals are assigned an appropriate role, but don’t overwhelm the project with too many people.

Produce a Project Organization Chart defining reporting and communication lines between all parties involved in the project.

Conduct a product review of the Project Organization to ensure that the proposed organization reflects all participants needed to achieve the project objective.

Project management processes and procedures

According to Allan Chapman on the website (www.businessballs.com), the following are the project management processes:

Agree precise specification for the project -Often called the project ‘terms of reference’, this is the stage to agree special conditions or exceptions with those in authority. Once you’ve published the terms of reference you have created a very firm set of expectations by which you will be judged. So if you have any concerns, or want to renegotiate, now’s the time to do it.

Plan the project – time, team, activities, resources, and financials – using suitable project management tools. Where possible (and certainly where necessary) involve your team in the planning. A useful tip is to work backwards from the end aim, identifying all the things that need to be put in place and done, in reverse order. Additionally, from the bare beginnings of the project, use brainstorming (noting ideas and points at random – typically with a project team), to help gather points and issues and to explore innovations and ideas.

Communicate the project plan to your project team – and to any other interested people and groups. This serves two purposes: it informs people what’s happening, and it obtains essential support, agreement and commitment. If your project is complex and involves a team, then you should involve the team in the planning process to maximize buy-in, ownership, and thereby accountability.

Agree and delegate project actions. Using proper delegation methods is vital for successful project management involving teams. When delegated tasks fail this is typically because they have not been explained clearly, agreed with the other person, or supported and checked while in progress. Manage and motivate – inform, encourage, and enable the project team.

Check, measure, monitor, review project progress – adjust project plans, and inform the project team and others.

Complete project – review and report on project performance; give praise and thanks to the project team.

Project follow-up – train, support, measure and report results and benefits

Project Control Procedures

Setting up Project administration-Create an electronic file structure to consistently maintain the administration of plans, progress, status reports, change control and issue management.

Establish Quality Control Procedure-Determine the mechanisms to be used to ensure the quality of products produced during the project.

Establish Progress Control Procedures-Set up the infrastructure to facilitate:

Capture of actual effort and re-estimated effort to complete

Weekly status meetings to discuss achievements, forthcoming work, and issues

Production of weekly status reports

Establish Project Control Factors-Determine the project control factors. It is important to agree in advance with the project board the “elasticity” of the project, so that the suitable controls are applied in response to deviations from the plan.

Establish Change Control Procedures-Identify the need for change control on the project. A change request may require rework to both completed products and those under development, as well as future tasks.  If it is not controlled then it will impact the project schedule and costs, and quality of the final product.

Establish Issue Resolution Procedure-Create the issue log.

Review Project Control Procedures-Conduct a review to ensure that the standard project controls are in place.

Conclusion

It is clear that every stage in a project is vital in order to not only meet the set objectives but answer questions that arise as well as hiving good strategies to handle any risks that arise in the course of the project. Quality of the project is a key issue too since to deliver the best, all begins with the initial plan. It is important to adopt project portfolio management (PPM) as a means of selecting the right projects and then using project management techniques as the means for delivering the outcomes in the form of benefits to the performing private or not-for-profit organization.

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CHRONIC CARE IN AMERICA

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Introduction

A chronic disease is a disease or other human condition that is persistent or long-lasting in nature and generally slow progression. This term chronic is applicable whereby the course of the said disease lasts for more than three months. The most common chronic diseases in the world include asthma, diabetes, cancer, and HIV/AIDS. According to the Department of Health & Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, United States, 2010, at least one chronic disease or condition affects 45% of persons and account for seven of the 10 leading causes of death in the United States. Persons who suffer from chronic diseases and conditions e.g., obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and asthma, experience limitations in function, health, activity, and work, affecting the quality of their lives as well as the lives of their family. Preventable health-risk factors e.g., insufficient physical activity, poor nutrition, and tobacco use and exposure, contribute substantially to the development and severity of certain chronic diseases and conditions.

The burden of chronic disease worldwide is accompanied by a shift in health policies towards patient-centered care, and at the same time putting in mind that the population prospects are increasing. In the last 50 years, chronic disease has become the number one in terms of morbidity and mortality in the US accounting for three fourths of the total health care expenditure (The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation 2008).

 

 

Impacts of chronic diseases on the society

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in America points out that chronic disease affects more than just health care dollars; these illnesses have financial, personal, and occupational costs that go beyond healthcare expenditure. Chronic disease has major impacts that seriously affects the day-to-day lives of the society, it is onerous because it,

  • Has a major adverse effect on the quality of life of the affected individuals.
  • Causes premature deaths.
  • Creates large and underappreciated adverse economic effects on families, communities and society in general according to (WHO 2005).

 

How healthcare systems are addressing the chronic disease issue

  • Establishment of coordinated system of intervention and information sharing for patients with particular chronic condition or set of conditions and their providers
  • Encouraging all health providers to make use of the established practice guidelines when treating chronic diseases.
  • The process of educating patients to manage their conditions well and avoid disease complications.
  • Monitoring the quality of health care provided as well as patients outcomes overtime to ensure the program achieves its desired objectives.
  • Establishing more Medicare centers to conduct pilot studies on disease management, as well as establishing rules to encourage states to adopt such programs to help chronically ill patients better manage their diseases, improve health outcomes and lower medical costs.

 

Treatment of chronic disease and future improvements

For most chronic diseases, they require chronic care management for effective long term treatment. Effective chronic disease control requires attention to, social, behavioral, environmental and clinical aspects.

Obtaining recommended health screenings. This has been facilitated by the U.S Preventive Service Task Force which has established specific recommendations for cancer, blood pressure, diabetes, and other diseases as well as the risk factors.

State Wellness Programs (promoting health and avoiding costs). The state official’s guide to wellness discuss the wellness programs and initiatives (www.healthystate, c&g.org)

In future improvements can be made in the prevention and treatment of chronic diseases through.

  • Access to healthcare-ensuring the establishment of health coverage as it is said united state is the only country with no health coverage especially for the African American population.
  • Ensuring medical advances including.
  • Discoveries in diagnosing and treating heart diseases and stroke.
  • Developing of effective medications for treatment of hypertensions.
  • A greater number of specialists and health care providers focusing in the various diseases.
  • Increasing the number of emergency-care units.
  • Adoption of good sex life.
  • Decline in cigarette smoking.
  • Decrease in mean blood pressure levels.
  • Change in the American diet.
  • Decrease in mean blood cholesterol levels.
  • Changing the individual controlled behaviors for the long term e.g.
  • Ensuring a nearer balance in socioeconomic status (SES). Individuals with higher SES tend to be better educated, have high incomes, and practice better individual behaviors(less smoking, controlled sex life, proper diets) and are most likely to have financial muscles or health insurance to help them access medical care with ease.
  • Having strong social policies. In the United States, some social policies such as, Medicare and Medicaid are an orientation to health improvement. They ease access to health care for vulnerable populations, the poor and the elderly.
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PIGS AND THE EUROS

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Abstract

‘PIGS’ is an acronym for Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain, mostly used by economists to describe their weak economy and huge debts that have raised concern in Europe and the world at large. The situation has caused economic crisis in these countries and also caused problems for the euro. The single currency’s fall against the dollar saw the decrease in income for the big American companies exporting to Europe. The European union leaders should come together in order to find the root causes of the problems affecting their member states, as this will aid them in finding lasting solutions to the same and save the euro.

Introduction

Before the euro was introduced, Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain were constantly facing economic crises which later came to disappear as a result of prospering economically in the subsequent years. This was brought about by the adoption of the euro which imposed monetary and economic moderation upon them. Nonetheless, these PIGS countries were unable to meet the economic as well as monetary requirements that were imposed on them by Maastricht. This led to intensification of economic hardship and the member states of Eurozone felt that they were no longer able to support their already weak economic and monetary stability which was even becoming harder to conceal. In point of fact, the PIGS countries were not only facing excessive debts and deficits but were also engulfed with economic imbalances like excessive and unmanageable deficits of their current account and as a result they begun to put the blame on the euro (Lorca-susino, 2011).

 

 

The root of the problem

The problems faced by these countries comes from the fact that monetary union boosts fiscal unbalances, since it is no longer an alternative to opt for devaluation of competitive currency and what remains a substitute is abuse of fiscal policy which thereupon affecting the differentials of the sovereign bond yield. In the year 2005, the yield differentials were almost zero betwixt German Bund and the yield of countries whose current account deficits were in excess. However, during the year ago, yield spreads became a disturbing reality, which in turn raised governments default risks, judged by sudden rise in demand for ‘credit default swaps’. Thus the economic distress occurring currently, has for a fact shown that, default risk is a substitute for currency risk in monetary union, since every member state sovereign debt is given under the authority of the respective finance ministries (Lorca-susino, 2011).

How to repair the problems

During the Euro zone’s government regime deep flaws were revealed by the crisis. After the financial market fiasco that mostly occurred in Western Europe and United States of America in the years 2007, 2008, 2009 and more especially from 2010, deep expressed concerns have highly affected the financial markets about some European nation’s states solvency. Fundamental questions should be addressed by European Union leaders on the principles of operation on which the euro is based upon. The European Union is face two main challenges; regulating the crisis while at the same time carrying out the adjustments of Eurozone and making government reforms to avoid crises in the future. The euro problem can be blamed on poor implementation of rules, therefore enforcing this rules might be part of the solution  (Lorca-susino, 2011).

Such changes may include;

Realistic policy framework reform

European Central Bank is currently assigned price Stability and stability and Growth Pack assigned budgetary discipline. The existing framework assumes explicitly that all threats on stability arise from budgetary indiscipline. Apart from price stability, Eurozone governance has three other economic objectives which include financial stability, avoidance of macroeconomic imbalances and budgetary discipline. Therefore, the new reformed policy framework should clearly define task allocation (Lorca-susino, 2011).

Encourage decentralization

The budgetary discipline of Eurozone was not a big success and this could succeed even more if the system was somehow decentralized. A system that puts together market forces and domestic institutional reforms to keep checking deficits and debts would emerge. Decentralization should therefore be encouraged by government through provision of umbrella framework for institutions and national rules. By ensuring that eurozone objectives are in consistence with government reform frameworks and rewarding countries with better institutions, the European Union should see its economy a yardstick ahead (Lorca-susino, 2011).

Defining complete policy regime

A full crisis resolution regime needs to be defined regarding the debt crises which may include the modalities and principles of assistance and debt restructuring. In that accord, Eurozone economic stability will be secured (Lorca-susino, 2011).

 

 

Conclusion

Enforcement might be part of the solution to the European Union’s problem, but their problem surely runs deeper than that. In that case their leaders should sit down and find a lasting solution to their crisis. Important questions about the operational principles in which the euro is based should be addressed. The Eurozone leaders should adapt to the changing situation and change with it as the future of the euro entirely depends on them.

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Army Forces

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 Introduction

The army forces are mainly land based military whose crucial role is to carry out multinational as well as joint operations. They organize, train and equip its forces to fight a winning battle as an achievement to the nation’s objectives. The army are also conferred the duty of punishing criminals as the will of the military leaders and the non state and state political leaders. This acts as a warning to the would-be criminals that their actions will have uncalled for repercussions. The state is therefore reliant upon them for peace keeping and power retention within and beyond borders. Their ability to decisively seize and occupy a given territory enables them to impose the will of the nation on the enemy thus defending the nation and retaining power. In terms of peace keeping, the army, through peace time military engagement activities assists in shaping the environment of international security. They also assist the civil authorities in the nation as well as outside the nation to prepare and respond to manmade and natural disasters (Casey & Morrow, 2010).

 

Assess

The army carries out their operations in environments characterized by uncertainty, continuous change and complexities. In that accord therefore, commanders need to think critically on ways to counteract with their enemies as success in an operation requires that leaders build, maintain and revise the understanding of a situation all through a process. Leaders are expected to continuously anticipate, learn and manage the transition in order to be more effective than their opponents. During the control and command tasks of conducting the full spectrum operations, the commanders are assisted by their subordinate commanders, staff and other partners of military. This is done through a step operations process of; plan, preparation, execution and continuous assessment of the operation as shown in the figure below (Casey & Morrow, 2010).

 

Plan

 

 

 

Assess

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fig 1. The operations process (Casey & Morrow, 2010)

Components of the operation process

 

The full spectrum operations

There is a range of full spectrum activities across the spectrum of conflict and it is addressed in the army doctrine and they include; offensive, defensive, stability and support operations. Operation missions in any environment require that the army be prepared so as to conduct any of these operations in a combination. The full spectrum operation is comprised of a mixture of nonlethal and lethal actions over a period of time subject to change social, economic, military, political and other conditions in an area of operation (Casey & Morrow, 2010).

Command and control

This is the process whereby a designated commander exercises authority over assigned forces in order to accomplish a mission. This is performed by commanders through command and control system. War fighting functions such as fires, intelligence, sustainment and protection is integrated by commanders by exercising all through the conduction of full spectrum operations. The commander is also in charge of the decision making process in the military and he is responsible for deciding the operations to be used in every situation. He plans, prepares for and executes operations as part of his personal responsibility. From the beginning to the end, the role he plays is central and his presence provides focus and guidance to the staff (Casey & Morrow, 2010).

Mission statement

The mission of an operation is to perform a given task with a purpose that clearly dictates the course of action and the reasons thereof. The commander considers the mission of the adjacent units in order to understand how their decisive operations contribute to the higher headquarters. The elements of mission statement comprises of; why, when, what, where and who but rarely specifies how (Casey & Morrow, 2010).

The commander’s intent

It is a clear and concise statement that specifies the actions of the forces and the conditions in which they must establish under certain circumstances in regard to terrain, civil considerations and the enemy that yields the desired victory. The commander’s intent generally describes the constituents of success in a given operation. It is used to refine and determine the courses of action during the initial planning process as it sums up the visualization of the commander (Casey & Morrow, 2010).

Decisive points and objectives

Concepts of operations can be based by commanders on lines of operation, single objective or even points of effort. Determination of objectives and identification of decisive points are central to creation of operation concepts in every case. A decisive point can be ruled as a geographic place, critical factor or a specific event that when impacted upon, permits commanders to gain great advantage over an opponent thus largely contributing towards an achievement of success (Casey & Morrow, 2010).

Course of Action

Prior to guidance received, the entire staff is involved by the commander in the development of COAs for analysis and comparison. The commander’s intent and guidance help the staff focus creatively in order to produce a flexible comprehensive plan within the constraints of time. His participating directly aids in the generation of answers quickly and accurately by the staff in the process. The development of COA is an attempt deliberately aimed at designing an unpredictable COA to the enemy (Casey & Morrow, 2010). The following qualities must be met by COA;

Feasibility: The unit must be capable of accomplishing the mission in terms of available resources, space and time.

Suitability: the staff must be able to adapt to changes by the commander for mission accomplishment and success.

Acceptability: The tactical advantages gained in execution of COA must justify resource cost more especially casualties (Casey & Morrow, 2010).

Conclusion

The army forces task requires enough preparation and thorough training in anticipation of a crucial task. All this requires prior planning by the commander as a component of the execution process. The army plays a major role in maintaining peace and retaining the power of the nation.

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Leadership in Education

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Introduction

The main focus or expected outcome of a leader specifically in school is how he/she plays the roles as a principal, the content of the role, decision making, instructions, curriculum, norms and authority in relations that govern the main description of a principal in a school. Complexities and change are dominant in working as a leader in school; it shapes the dynamics and results of successions (cited in Hart 1998).

According to Davies & birdhouse (2008, p.1), passionate leadership is explained to be all about energy, commitment, a belief  that every child is able and can learn, a concern with social justice and the optimism that we can make a difference. The passion to leave a mark is what turns beliefs into becoming realities and this portrays leadership in depth. Through passionate leadership certain set of values are established and purpose which uphold processes of education in schools. The values and purpose are to driven by personal commitment and passion of the leader hence driving them into reality (Davies & Brighouse, 2008).

The main concern and focus here is what are the requirements for deep leadership in order to translate passion into reality, how to cultivate those unique skills in leadership in order to change those around such leaders and enable them meet daily challenges rising above them with fashionable leadership. Davies & Brighouse (2008) explains that values with no implementation by the concerned principals do nothing for the school. Through tracking of situations and challenges that are hard, improvements and changes are eminent. Passionate leaders show their worth and value by confronting abominable practices. Visions are moved into action through passion and creating a sense of meaning is a distinguishing factor in leadership and all that is incorporated in it.

Passionate head teachers/ principals

Davies & Brighouse (cited in Clegg, 1980) explains of Samuel Clegg who was a poet, an artist, a pioneer, and a teacher. He later became a distinguished head teacher:

He was an artist, a poet, a radical pioneer, a stringent stimulating teacher, an undaunted soul… He had faith and character. His work in school was an intimate echo of his inner life. He loved his fellow men, gave himself generously for others and by losing himself in his appointed task, gained new life and power… Nothing but the best he loved was good enough for children and strove to surround them with good things.

Being an inspiration, questioning with enthusiasm and an expert in story telling-A passionate leader especially in a school set up should be a storyteller. There is need for passionate schools to tell stories of the past, present and the future according to the achievements by different groups within the society. The head teacher leads in story telling cross-referencing all sorts of stories on others with a reflection on the common values and varying acts of school members. He links the past with the present and with a speculative aspect, to future achievements that are withstanding, highlighting achievement a little ahead of where they really happen to be i.e. not very far away such that they don’t appear inaccessible (cited in Davies & Brighouse, 2008).

Ability to create capacity and vigour among the staff-as the head and at the same time a leader the head teacher should have unshakable ability to select and mould staff with similar passion and no room for excuses. Never permit their individual passion cast a shadow over other member’s passions. To keep everyone in toes harness their energy and curiosity intellectually (cited in Davies & Brighouse, 2008). Other elements of a passionate leader/head in a school set-up as outline by Davies & Brighouse (2008, p.26 & 29) are:

  • The habit of seeking, charting improvement and constantly extending the vision.
  • Constantly living one’s life at the highest common factor from religious and humanist traditions.
  • Always striving for success for all pupils and staff rather than acting on the assumption that creating room for any kind of failure by some.

In a magazine entitled ‘Black Enterprise’ by Richard Green (1988), he points out that where children attend their education and places of work be viewed as valuable areas. He points out that it should be of concern for any leader in a school to focus on issues of performance by students. When there are a substantial number of students who are performing poorly or for whatever reasons not completing their High school studies successfully, this does not only impact their personal lives but also on more on the general society, the product from the school and those that are responsible for the schools. Heads of those schools ought to understand that an achievement to a student is a very vital tool of priority. An illiterate person has a hard time succeeding in complex societies more to this illiteracy puts limits in student’s choices in life. It is a major challenge on how students are shaped up in secondary schools.

 Issues of professionalism

Teachers have been undervalued over the last decades have been undervalued, teachers leaving g the profession, or looking forward to when they will no longer be in service means that the school system is weakening and will no longer succeed. Teachers are a source of success and if all missions, commitments, security measures and dreams are in place with inefficiencies of levels of teaching ongoing in classes, education cannot and isn’t going to grow. The community has a role to play in monitoring how their schools and principals in those schools discharge their roles and effective leadership i.e. in ensuring that resources are availed to people enabling them do their job (cited in Richard ,1988, p.74). Parents too have a role to play, giving their children to the school system and leave it there, “they have to walk the path of education with their children not send them ahead” (Richard, 1988, p.76). They should be involved in the life of the schools, principals, and the overall school systems in order to ensure responsible leadership and accountability by school heads.

Roles of a principal in leadership

The role of principals has been drastically changing from a manager to the school catalyst for success according to the stakeholders (i.e. based on accountability and the success of students), he becomes a liaison for all resources (parents, neighbours, caregivers, churches, and other agencies) included. He becomes the ultimate voice of the school, the pioneer of appropriate education and finally the chief campaigner of value of education in a democratically driven society. He is referred to as the education facilitator by the learning masses of the society (cited in Elaine 2002).

Principals are regarded as problem solving figures in a school setup, they are required and expected to buffer and address the technical core of the school. All the pressing needs of students, parents, and any other source that require attention from the principal to complete the cycle in the system (cited in Jossey, 2007). According to Jossey-Bass Inc (cited in Keller, 1998, p.2), he suggests a variety of attributes of a perfect school principal:

  • Recognise teaching and learning as the main business of the school.
  • Communicates the school’s mission clearly and consistently, to all staff, students and parents.
  • Fostering standards for teaching and learning that are high and attainable.
  •  Providing clear goals and monitors the progress of students and teachers towards meeting them.
  • Promoting an atmosphere of trust and sharing.
  • Building good staff and making professional development a top priority.
  • Spends time in classrooms and listening to teachers.
  • Does not tolerate bad and incompetent teachers.

There are a number of leadership models that have been suggested through analysis of various articles on leadership in schools. Jossey (cited in Leithwood & Duke, 1999) identifies the following models:

  • Transformation based leadership-this focuses on the capability and commitment of members. It brings about charisma, empowerment concept of leadership, vision, and culture.
  • Leadership based on instructions,focussed on the behaviour of teachers as they undertake their roles that has an effect on student growth.
  • Leadership based on morals-it is focused on the ethical behaviour and values of an individual leader which are the basis for decision making and conflict resolution
  • Contingency based approach.
  • Managerial approach of leadership.
  • Participatory approach.

It is imperative for the principal not to be disillusioned by the extra class activities since their work of administration involves a lot of problems. Principals though a are called to support co curricular activities by students because they help them in having opportunities to pursue other interests and development of other interests, provides a well rounded social development of students as well as a morale buster in school (cited in Rain, 2007).

Families are cited to be the best providers of informal education, therefore parents, teachers and principals have a task of organizing activities in the interest of families. For example meetings focusing on teenagers in relation to problems facing their age groups, parties, future education choices and many more (cited in Jaap, 2009)

Conclusion

In exercising leadership as a principal in a school setup, the proficient principal should demonstrate vision and portray leadership that appropriately involves the school community in creating shared values and believes, demonstrate ethical behaviour, judgement and morals, facilitate the leadership of others, be able to recognize the individual needs and contribution of all students and staff and finally identifying, pursuing, actively coordinate the availability of material, human and financial resources to meet the schools goals and aspirations.

The learning society or community has to participate in helping the principal implement the set strategies to ensure accountability and actualization of values and visions of the school community. Co-curricular activities should not be looked down upon by principal since they play a role in development of students morally, build their morale and give them opportunities to establish them self, pursuing other developments.

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Principles of Macroeconomics

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   Macroeconomics is a field in economics whose main area of study is the behavior of the collective economy. Its area of examination is wider and larger in phenomena.  It is concerned with the growth rates, inflation, variations in employment, income and price changes. The term principle of macroeconomics was used to refer to the idea of the way the economy functions or how it should work. More specifically, the main objective of these principles is the maximization of income in a country, assisting in the growth of the economy while still raising the standards of living. While there exists variations on these principles there are other secondary objectives applicable to all countries.

Despite its globalization, Canada has been faced with several economic challenges like inflation, price variations and high levels of unemployment. However several macroeconomics statistics have revealed that its economy has also grown. It is therefore worthy to investigate whether the principles of macroeconomics have played a role in a country that has ranked high in several areas of macroeconomics.

Mankiw is well known for his ten principles of macro economics which we will critically look at and their relevance to the Canadian economy. He classifies the ten principles according to the way the economy functions as a whole, the interaction of people and how they make decisions. In his first principle Mankiw asserts that people are often faced with trade offs. These trade offs are in regard to efficiency and equality.  Efficiency is the ability of the country to maximize on their resources even when they are scarce and equality will be their ability to uniformly distribute the benefits to the members of the society. In the second principle Mankiw refers to the price of something as what you give in order to get it. Since people often encounter trade offs it becomes necessary to compare costs between something before taking any action. The problem in this principle arises when people realize that the benefit may not be worth its cost (Mankiw, 2000 p. 4).

In the third principle, Mankiw asserts that rational human beings focus on the marginal cost. Before making any decisions it is necessary to compare marginal benefits with the cost to determine the decisions you are going g to take. He further asserts that economists have the tendency of assuming that all human being are rational whereas this is not always the case.  In Canada firms and industries take great precaution while hiring their workers and settling on the amount of a product to manufacture. As a result the industries have maximized on the profits and led to tremendous, improvement in the economy. The international indicators have pointed that trade in Canada has resulted in more development and financial growth.

People often tend to react to incentives. This reward and punishment principle show how people respond to the changes in the market. When the price of something goes up people tend to buy less of the commodity but people often buy more of the same when the price reduces. In Canada the makers of public policies have resulted to using more incentives to draw and attract more consumers. They have realized that when the benefits or the costs are altered with so does the behavior of the people.  For example Saab United a motor vehicle selling company in Canada started an incentive program that allowed customers to purchase their products at lower prices attracting numerous clients.

The second cluster of principles was classified in regard to how humans interact. The first principle in this cluster was in regard to the ability of trade to improve a country holistically. In fact this principle insists that trade must not be seen as a form of competition among countries but rather when two countries unite together to trade they both benefit from the activity. Trade unlike other partnerships allows a country to specialize in what they are best in bringing in a lot of profits as well as foreign investment. Canada for example is well known for its trade relations with other countries. Recently the 50th anniversary was celebrated as they marked fifty years of diplomatic relations with Panama. Attended by their minister of foreign affairs, this convention marked Canada’s commitment to the world of trade.

In all economic activities, markets often stand out as a good way of organizing the activity. This principle acknowledges that only the market is capable of rewarding in accordance with what others are want to pay for the same. Consequently when the market is defined through politics in the government, unequal distribution may arise and these policies simply result to rewarding those in power rather than the people. However Canada boasts of very informed leaders who are able to make properly informed decisions and this has improved the market, even though recently the leaders have been put on the spot.

In the same way, the government is entitled to improving the outcome of the markets. More often than not the markets are unsuccessful while allocating the resources and this principle states that the government is responsible for correcting this mistake. Often this is done through making a public policy that rectifies this problem. Thus the government should always be in check to ensure that the right decisions are made in the market. Such policies can include regulations against pollution. For instance the government of Canada has ensured that they have made regulations to discourage monopoly in the county.

The third cluster of principles is in regard to the functioning of a country’s economy. The sub principle in this cluster justifies the standard of living of a country to its ability to create goods and services. There have been fluctuations and variations in standards of living in different countries with Africa ranking high with very low standards of living. These variations however can be attributed to the level of productivity in these countries that referring to the goods and services produced for each labor input unit.  Countries that produce more labor with time happen to have more income as compared to the countries that produce less. This results in higher standards of living and their growth rate also increases. Canada is among the top ten countries ranked with very high standards of living. Over the past two decades the business sector has increased in productivity resulting in very high standards of living. This tremendous growth has been attributed to the increase in productivity and in particular the labor productivity per every worker.

Printing money in many African countries have resulted in inflation. Mankiw’s principle argues that it is very evident that when a country results to printing of more money, it is the value of the money that reduces translating to inflation. Many countries have resulted to printing of money only as a short term tool in avoiding an economic depression. In 2009, the Bank of Canada nearly resulted to printing money to solve the economic crisis that had engulfed the country. On second thought however the bank’s CEO discovered that this move would have led to inflation like it had done with their US and French counterparts. This indeed would just be a short term solution to the problem.

Finally Mankiw summarized his last principle as the trade off society faces between unemployment and inflation. While trying to fight inflation, the level of unemployment rises though temporarily. Basically when more money is brought into the economy, people tend to spend more compared to before forcing the markets to increase the prices. While doing so they are still forced to increase the labor leading them to hiring more workers. As a result the level of unemployment may decrease thus justifying the increase as just temporary. More recently however, Canada has been through a period of inflation with its citizens fearing that they could be headed for a deflation. The country has continued to up the interest rates in order to keep up with this inflation. The government has therefore failed in formulating policies that are relevant to the market.

While Mankiw’s principle equips us with a wealth of knowledge on the macroeconomic principles, it is wise to chip in another economist’s principle. Gotheil is also widely known for his principles. In his principle of economy, he asserts that this should be the main application to situations with scare resources. He argues that the focus here should to minimize the cost with the desired goal. Whenever we are faced with minimal resources, do not at any cost waste the resources. Canada for example is the among the largest as well as independent producer of crude oil and gas. The natural resource has encouraged not just trade in the country but also foreign investment (Gotheil, 2002 p 8).

It should be noted that the main goal of these principles if applied to a country is to increase the sustainability of its people and reduce inflation. The main goal of this approach is to increase the level of employment as well as encouraging the minimization of constraints such as costs and budget. In Canada some of these principles have been properly applied as explained by the economic growth though a lot still needs to be done in order to work on the country’s increasing inflation.

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Cultural Practices in Africa: The Implication on Public Health

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Introduction

     Man constantly finds himself in the struggle for survival, during this process traces of his previous achievements are left at different developmental levels. He accumulates knowledge of these achievements constituting what is referred to as culture. Culture therefore refers to the sum total of the needs of man both social and biological and his adaptation to the environment. Culture incorporates whatever constitutes man’s survival whether physical or social. Africa has an indigenous culture meaning it is peculiar to the African society. The basic unit of any society is the family and this is what sums up to form the society. We therefore can refer to culture as belonging to every society (Ayisi, 1992).

Cultural practices on the other hand refer to those specific rituals that every society observes as part of their culture in their day to day life. The society requires that its members conform to these practices and often provides sanctions to those that defy. Society tends to reward those that conform and punish those that do not. Therefore the members tend to follow a particular culture in order to belong to the society. In Africa, a culture is unique to a specific people sometimes ethnic or a certain geographical area hence what is considered normal in one society may be completely bizarre in another.

In as much as culture holds a sacred place in the African society, continued cultural practices have proved to be a major challenge to the public health sector. Culture demands that those who do not conform are punished and have laid out sanctions for deviant members. Therefore members conform and religiously follow a particular culture in order to avoid punishment as well as seek rewards. Africa is rich in culture and even though some cultures have been shed off as a result of globalization, most communities in the remote areas have religiously continued to follow their cultures despite the oblivious implications this has had on their health as well as that of the society as a whole.

The public health sector is mainly concerned with the prevention of disease, prolonging of life as well as encouraging the physical fitness and efficiency of individuals. This has been done through community mobilization, promoting the personal hygiene of individuals and other areas such as sanitation and infections. Their main concern however is prevention of disease rather than cure. Over the decades, the sector has been successful in the implementation of these objectives though they also have been faced with massive challenges. Rather than lack of funds, various health problems have continued to emerge such as the Aids epidemic, massive increase in population, pollution as well as social cultural practices. It is these cultural practices that have been hardest to change especially in parts of Africa (Schneider, 2010). We will therefore look at these cultural practices in Africa and the implications they have had on the public health sector.

Rites of passage

       In many African societies, circumcision is cultural. Normally the setting in which the procedure is carried out is not clinical neither is the provider trained medically. The victims of this practice are normally young men or adolescents who must undergo this practice as a rite of passage. HIV infection has taken a massive toll in Africa and this can be largely attributed to the circumcision practices especially in the remote areas. Female circumcision on the other hand has brought in a lot of controversy and has been illegalized in many countries. However, it is still being practiced in some countries. In 1991, Gambia was under pressure to eradicate female genital mutilation like its neighboring countries since the act was proving to be a health hazard to the women. Radio stations that broadcasted against or portrayed FGM as bad or hazardous were banned and it took a lot of effort and protest to help eradicate the practice. Culture proved to be a major challenge in the fight because even though the women were continually warned on the implications during child birth, a considerable number boasted of having enough children even though they had undergone circumcision (Ayisi, 1992).

Female circumcision has led to HIV infection as well as having health implications on the girl child involved. Due to the low level of hygiene observed, it is very likely that the risk of infection ups since the blades lack sterilization. In other instances where a mistake occurs the girls bleed to death as relatives and the traditional healers watch helplessly. In such instances they are quick to point out cultural reasons as the cause of death rather than their owning up to their mistake. In 2008, a civil rights group in Ghana claimed that 21 girls had bled to death as a result of FGM and filed a petition against the Ministry of Health (Winkelman).

Studies have also revealed that FGM has resulted in complications during child birth. These may include the requirement for a caesarian section, bleeding heavily and longer hospitalization after delivery. The likelihood of these implications varies and depends on how severe the FGM was. The delivery is in turn very complicated for these women and more often results in the child dying during delivery. The practice often done on girls less than 10 years normally leaves the young girl with a scar. This evidence of health implication to both mother and child has made the practice a focus of human rights activists even though the fight has been challenging (Read, 2003).

Male circumcision on the other hand has been equally challenging. Almost all African males undergo male circumcision as a rite of passage. However, only a few entrust this to a medical practitioner. Instead this rite of passage is conducted in groups and normally by an old traditional healer. The level of hygiene observed during this exercise is completely off.  The blades are never sterilized and are used on almost all of the boys. This indicates that the risk of spreading HIV is considerably high if any of the boys were to be infected. Serious clinical implications have been reported on these adolescents as well as death. In as much as the health sector has continued to emphasize medical circumcision this has proved to be futile due to the cultural role the traditional circumciser holds. Therefore replacing them in Southern and Eastern Africa is no mean task.

For example a study done in South Africa searched medical records revealing that in 2008, 5% of 10,609 circumcised were admitted due to circumcision complications such as amputation, mutilation, dehydration and pneumonia. Even though data for most African countries was not taken the research revealed that three out of four boys in African countries are circumcised by a traditional healer (Uchendu).

Birth practices

     African society regard children highly and often a woman or a particular family is valued in regard to the number of children. Unlike other cultures children are highly valued and many women are encouraged to have a lot of children. They are therefore discouraged from using contraceptives and other methods of birth control. As a result it becomes a health risk especially where a woman is unable to undergo a normal birth. Normally when a woman has a caesarian birth, she is advised to observe a period of time before conceiving again in order to recover in terms of health. However due to the place of the child in African cultures most women end up getting pregnant before the recommended time and instead advised to visit traditional healers. This has in turn resulted in high maternal and infant mortality since either the mother or the child dies during child birth.

On the other hand most African cultures consider a mother as women if she is able to successfully deliver her child at home. This practice common in many African countries has resulted in many women attending ante natal care but often chose to deliver themselves at home. In cases where the mother was infected with HIV, the risk of infecting the baby becomes far much higher as compared to when the baby is delivered in a medical facility. Besides that, the infant and maternal mortality rises as birth complications arise during home births. In a research conducted in Uganda 8 out of every 10 women who attended ante natal care chose to deliver at home. One out of these eight women died out of birth complications or the baby (Read, 2003).

Read further explains that in Malawi for example, the women prefer traditional mid wives during child birth who often are not trained while other chose them from their group of close friends. However she goes on to explain that there are other areas where women prefer midwives but do not object if they happen to be trained medically. This she says has led to at least a noticeable decrease in the maternal and paternal deaths in countries like Nigeria and Kenya. However she recommends that further intervention is still necessary.

Traditional medicine and utilization of health services

Traditional medicine normally employs the knowledge, beliefs, practices and experiences of a certain culture to diagnose, treat and prevent mental and physical sickness. A considerably high percentage in Africa depends on alternative medicine as it is commonly referred. Even though evidence in research has revealed that some of these medicines are effective, some of them have proved to be hazardous to the patient. These medicines include herbal medicine and though most people regard them as harmless they can lead to serious health problems if either the product or the therapy is of poor quality.

O’mathuna (2007) in his research on alternative medicine concluded that alternative medicine can not be dismissed as useless and continues to play a major role even in the public health sector. However, Africans need to shed off the culture of overreliance on the medicine and acknowledge the role of medical doctors where they are available.

The culture of utilizing health facilities has also been a challenge to the public health sector. This has been particularly in the fight against HIV and Aids. Generally the poor especially in Africa do not find the need of visiting a medical facility unless they are ailing. The preventive care concept is therefore new to this population and self medication is more common. Routinely testing the people may cause a decrease in the spread of HIV but their failure to seek medical attention has constantly resulted in more infections in the continent. Short term research by the Ministry of Health established that out of the patients who visit hospitals monthly, only 1% does so for normal check up (O’mathuna, 2007).

Wife inheritance and polygamy

   Finally, it would be incomplete if we focused on cultural practices that have had an impact on public health if we left out polygamy and wife inheritance. Common in most African countries these two practices are linked to the value Africans have in regard to children and kinship. Even though these practices have played a role in strengthening the family, wife inheritance has lead to the spread of HIV and Aids just like polygamy. Heath workers in 2004, in Malawi warned the citizens of health implications that were arising as a result of wife inheritance. They were advised to undergo testing before engaging in the practice as well as polygamy. This practice has been dismissed in many African countries as land and property grabbing where the greedy brother in laws rushes to inherit the wives of the deceased without due consideration on their health status (Shumaker et.al 2009).

In many countries the act has been viewed as dehumanizing and undermining the dignity of women. Many widows are continually being encouraged to be more positive about widow hood rather than see it as a curse as many African countries have done. Gender activists against wife inheritance in Africa have teamed up with civil rights groups, NGO’s and the government to ensure that these widows are not forced to undergo this ‘death sentence’ as it is commonly being referred. Particularly, widows result to this dehumanizing act as a means of survival; it is only through poverty eradication that the woman can be set free of such traditions. The African culture discourages the woman from working and instead the woman waits on the husband to provide. In the event that the husband dies then she is left at the mercy of greedy relatives to be able to feed her children.

In a research by civil rights activists in Burundi, wife inheritance was found to be more common in instances where the women were illiterate. In provinces where the woman was at least educated, they were found to vehemently object wife inheritance. Some women even went ahead and filed court cases objecting the move and also rightfully claiming their husband’s property. A similar study testing the effect of education on wife inheritance was conducted in a different province and the findings were that the level of education of a woman greatly affected the possibility of her being inherited. However the shortcoming is that the African woman is not encouraged to go to school. Instead, African women are encouraged to cook and do house chores while their male counterparts are taken to school. The researchers concluded that the fight had to begin with educating the girl child (Winkelman, 2008).

Conceptual framework

  A conceptual framework in simple terms is an illustration that shows how variables interact in a relationship. Often, the independent variable refers to the variable that is not affected by the changes and variations on the dependent variable. Dependent variable on the other hand depends on the independent variable. The independent variable in this case refers to the cultural practices that are practiced in Africa. On the other hand the dependent variable is the public health sector that is continually affected by the independent variable.

 

Independent Variables                                   Dependent Variable

 

 

Health behavior models

Health behavior models give us a definition of what we should measure in regard to behavioral aspects of health. There are several models of behavior but this section will only focus on models linked to the behaviors already discussed. These models will provide as with an insight into our previous and also future understanding of behaviors related to health.

The social cognitive theory

     This theory was the work of Albert Bandura and some scholars also refer to it as the social learning model. Bandura used this theory to incorporate both social factors and environmental factors encouraging behavior change in the health sector rather than merely focusing on individual factors. The approach in this theory is mainly clinical and has been applied in preventing and modification of risky health behaviors and in turn promoting health of individuals.

The concepts in this model emphasize on the interaction that exists between the individual, the behavior and the environment. Bandura constantly refers to this relationship as dynamic. The person is associated with several major concepts such as, individual characteristics, emotional coping, self efficacy, reinforcement, expectations and observational learning.  The factors that influence the behavior in regard to the environment are cultural, social, economical, physical or political in nature. Situations in this model are used to refer to how the individual perceives the environment. Therefore as the scheme continues to interact, the behavior influences the individual and the environment simultaneously (Hayden, 2009).

This model puts a lot of emphasis on observation and insists that behaviors are learned hence it is also possible to unlearn this behavior as well. Therefore, in order to learn how to change a particular health behavior it is advisable to equip yourself with cognitive as well as behavioral skills in order to cope with a situation. Bandura is most famous for his self efficacy concept which refers to an individual’s confidence in being able to change their own behavior. This concept has been very important in the health sector especially in helping individuals change risky behaviors.

Bandura’s proposition was that the levels of self efficacy in an individual will affect their possibility of successfully undertaking a task. Individuals who have low self efficacy will poorly fair in a task while individuals whose self efficacy is low will not only be successful in the task but will also perform the task with a lot of ease. Bandura highlighted several factors as affecting a person’s level of self efficacy. Such factors include, persuasion, the feedback a person gets on the behavior, modeling through observation as well as other experiences the individual has in performing the task.

In culture for example, it is possible for Africans to stop the practices if 1)they are constantly enlightened and discouraged from doing so- through  persuasion, 2)they have attempted to quit previously 3) through observing others who have managed to quit such cultural practices 4) the ability to cope with the negative concepts resulting from quitting the cultures. This model in health change has been found to be very influential and assertive.

It also has applied the concept of reinforcement through management as a way of encouraging behavior change. Reinforcement works through use of rewards whenever the desired behavior is expressed and the decrease of rewards if the behavior is stopped. In the same way punishment is used when the undesired behavior is expressed and withdrawn whenever it is stopped. The government sin Africa can employ this method by rewarding communities that quit primitive cultural practices such as FGM. In the same way practice of FGM has been illegalized in almost all African countries even though it is continually been practiced. Punishment will be demonstrated by enforcing strict laws and sanctions on those who violate them will discourage people from performing it.

Finally the model emphasizes the importance of helping the person cope with emotionally threatening situations. Since most of these cultures may not be as easy to shed for those communities involved it is important for the government to conduct training and intensive counseling on the dangers of these cultural practices to their health. This way the government can also provide alternative ways to substitute these practices in order to ease the emotional burden this might create. In conclusion Bandura’s model if applied to the latter can provide impressive results in health behavior change.

Transtheoretical model

     This model has been researched on for more than 20 years with results showing that it has been effective in helping change several health attitudes and behavior. Such behaviors include observing a proper diet, use of condoms, management of stress, abuse of drugs and encouraging patients to adhere to the prescribed drugs. All these behaviors are pertinent to the field of public health and increase morbidity while reducing the quality of life for individuals.  This model focuses on intentionally changing behavior of individuals and has led to extensive research in the field of public health (Schneider, 2010).

The constructs in this model focus on the different stages that change undergoes, the process, and the advantages and disadvantages of change. The main strength of this model is its focus on change not as an event but a process and later breaking it down into constructs and stages then establishing whish among the stages is more concerned with making progress towards change. The explicit constructs also form a very firm foundation for this model. In this way, various populations and types of behaviors can be identified at the different levels of change.

This model has also been constantly called the stages of change model only because the stages are seen as the major constructs. Since individuals do not transform their behaviors in an instance this model highlights several stages of change. The first one is referred to as the precontemplation. At this stage are individuals unwilling to change, at least not in a period of about six months while others express a lot of commitment to their behavior and are not willing to change. This may include communities that have practiced wife inheritance for a long time and are not willing to shed the behavior. The second stage is the contemplation where they are considering changing within 6months and are more willing to listen to information regarding behavior change unlike those in the precontemplation stage. These could be communities that have acknowledged the negative effects of practicing culture in regard to health.

The third stage in TSM is the stage of preparation. Often these people are willing to change at least for duration of thirty days. The group of people in this stage has attempted to change their behavior in the past and continue to exhibit some efforts of willingness to change. The other stage was referred to as action stage to refer to people that have undergone behavior change in a period of less than 6months. To these people the change is still very raw and their chances of relapse tend to be overly high should they be faced with challenges. The final stage which they referred to as the maintenance is a stage for individuals who have changed for a period of six months. For them they have practiced the new habits and their risk of relapsing is quite lower though it cannot be dismissed.

The process of change was then defined by researchers where they defined the behavioral, cognitive, emotional as well as personal strategies as agents of change. Consciousness and the evaluation of self are classified as experimental constructs and are emphasized on the initial stages while the behavioral constructs such as reinforcement, liberation and conditioning are encouraged in the later stages of change.

In his research, Winkelman (2008) established that this model or theory has widened in scope and incorporated other behavior change such as culture though the model is most famous for cigarette quitting. The model is solely founded on the exact nature of the behavior in order to facilitate change. In Africa it is worthy to notice that the exact nature of the practices is clearly defined and the process of change is easier to establish.

There should be conscious awareness programmes in Africa to help give an insight into the causes, consequences, cure and the solution of the health behavior problems. Let there be extensive education and give an opportunity for feedback. In Kenya for example, the media played a great role in 2002 up to the present in increasing the people’s awareness on the repercussions of FGM on the girl child. International non governmental organizations with the help o the government have tried to reach the remote areas and educate the community on how to get rid of hazardous cultural practices.

 

Conclusion

     The mere application of these models may not propel the African community to drop their cultural practices in an instance. The right policies need to be put in order to facilitate the process. Africans need to be liberated socially to discourage the over reliance on cultural practices. For example the over reliance on traditional healers in most African countries is as a result of failure to access medical or health facilities. In other cases the medical facilities are available but expensive compared to the traditional provider prompting them to continue relying on the latter.

In a research conducted Uganda, counter conditioning was highly encouraged. Let the community learn healthy attitudes and behaviors in order to substitute the behavior which is problematic. Africa as a whole is very rich in culture that is not at all harmful to their health. It is important to acknowledge that we are not trying to dismiss all their cultural practices as bad but rather the ones that have implications on their health. In this area certain practices such as weaving, art and decoration were encouraged. The communities were rewarded and the activities generated a lot of income. Male circumcision by traditional providers was not discarded but the traditional providers were encouraged to undergo clinical training at no cost in order to encourage adherence to medical conditions (Ayisi, 1992).

If planned and comprehensive interventions are not put into place, the population will get stuck at the initial stages of change. The only motivation that will trigger the process of change is the implementation and formulation of the right policies. Follow up is also necessary in order for the process to continue smoothly. The Ministry of Health in the African countries has a lot to work on if this is to be done in the long run. The public health sector should take note that a single model can never account for change in behavior due to its complexity.  Therefore the comprehensive theory or model is likely to come from an integration of all the major theories in order to change these cultural practices. It is important to note that these cultural practices if not completely stopped will continue to be a major threat to the public health sector.

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