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1.
Environ Sci Pollut Res Int ; 29(12): 18077-18102, 2022 Mar.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1826827

ABSTRACT

After more than a year from the first confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) disease, the role of meteorological factors in the transmission of the virus still needs to be correctly determined. In this scenario of deep uncertainty, the present study aims to investigate the effects of temperature and relative humidity on daily new cases of COVID-19. For this purpose, the COVID-19's development of infection in fourteen Algerian cities characterized by different climatic conditions, during the period from April 1, 2020, to August 31, 2020, has been investigated. A detailed time series analysis along with linear regression was used to state a possible correlation among some climate's factor variability (temperature and relative humidity) and daily new confirmed cases of COVID-19. The results showed a weak correlation between daily new cases of COVID-19 and meteorological factors throughout the selected regions. In addition, we concluded that the COVID-19 could fit to high or low values of temperature and relative humidity, and other factors not climates could affect the spreading of the virus like demography and human contact. So, after the discovery of the vaccine and before vaccination of 70% of the world's population, living with the virus has become an inevitable reality, and it is mandatory to apply the sanitary procedures to slow down the COVID-19 transmission.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pandemics , Africa, Northern , Algeria/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , Humans , Humidity , SARS-CoV-2 , Temperature
2.
Hum Vaccin Immunother ; 18(5): 2043719, 2022 Nov 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1752037

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: COVID-19 vaccines emerged as a worldwide hope to contain the pandemic. However, many people are still hesitant to receive these vaccines. We aimed to systematically review the public knowledge, perception, and acceptability of COVID-19 vaccines in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) countries and the predictors of vaccine acceptability in this region. METHODS: We systematically searched databases of PubMed, Scopus, Web of Science, and Cochrane and retrieved all relevant studies by 5 August 2021. RESULTS: There was a considerable variation in the COVID-19 vaccine acceptance rates, from 12% in a study from Israel to 83.3% in Kuwait, although two other studies from Israel mentioned 75% and 82.2% acceptability rates. Concerns about the side effects and safety of the vaccine were the main reasons for the lack of acceptability of taking the vaccine, which was reported in 19 studies. . CONCLUSION: Several factors, such as age, gender, education level, and comorbidities, are worthy of attention as they could expand vaccine coverage in the target population. .


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines , COVID-19 , Africa, Northern/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Humans , Middle East/epidemiology , Pandemics
3.
Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci ; 26(3): 1049-1055, 2022 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1708988

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: The reorganization of cancer services and the increased work burden on health care providers during the COVID-19 pandemic are likely to be associated with significant negative psychological impact. The aim of this study is to evaluate the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the psychological well-being of oncology clinicians in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. MATERIALS AND METHODS: We randomly invited 1500 oncology clinicians including medical oncologists, clinical oncologists, radiation oncologists and surgical oncologists from 17 countries in the MENA region to complete a web-based survey to determine the level of psychological stress during the COVID-19 pandemic from October 2020 to January 2021. The questionnaire was based on the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS), Generalized Anxiety Disorders Scale (GAD-7) and WHO Well-being Index (WHO-5). The data was analyzed using SPSS version 21 and the difference between groups was measured by t-test and ANOVA. RESULTS: Overall, 520 (35%) clinicians including 368 (71%) males and 152 (29%) females participated in the survey with 247 (47%) participants between the ages of 36 to 45 years. Average score of 29.6 for males and 30.2 on PSS-10, indicative of high-perceived stress in both the genders. Compared to males, females had significantly higher anxiety levels on GAD-7 scale (p=.04), but this difference in stress level and well-being was not observed on PSS-10 (p=.134) and WHO -5 well-being index (p=.709). Clinicians of age 25-35 years had significantly higher anxiety levels on GAD-7 scale (p=.004) and higher stress on PSS (p=.000) as compared to other age groups. Age over 55 years was associated with lower levels of anxiety and stress on GAD-7 and PSS. Oncology clinicians working in public sector experienced significantly lower stress as compared to private sector on PSS scale (p=.041). CONCLUSIONS: Anxiety and stress levels among oncology clinicians have significantly increased in COVID-19 pandemic in the MENA region. Females and young clinicians had higher anxiety and stress, while oncology clinicians over the age of 55 years and working in the public sector reported less stress and anxiety. The general wellbeing of clinicians was well preserved even in a highly stressful and anxious situation.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/psychology , Oncologists/psychology , Stress, Psychological/epidemiology , Adult , Africa, Northern/epidemiology , Anxiety/epidemiology , Female , Health Surveys/statistics & numerical data , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Middle East/epidemiology , Pandemics , Private Sector , Public Sector
4.
Viruses ; 14(3)2022 02 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1701375

ABSTRACT

This study was intended to explore sociodemographic, nutritional, and health-related factors on the incidence of COVID-19 infection within the Egyptian population by assessing the frequency and determinants of post-COVID-19 symptoms and complications. A cross-sectional study using a structured survey on 15,166 participants was adopted. The results revealed common symptoms including fever (79.1%), cough (74.5%), anosmia& ageusia (68.4%), and dyspnea (66.9%). The patients were nonsmokers (83.9%), while 9.7% were mild smokers. The percentage of infected patients with comorbidities versus those without comorbidities were 29%, 71%, respectively. The highest incidence of infection was in those patients with hypertension (14.8%) and diabetes (10.9%), especially females with age >50 years and obesity (BMI; 30-39.9). The highest risks were observed for anticoagulants in the age above 50 years, morbid obesity, presence of comorbidities, and being a healthcare worker. The predictors of clot risk were in the age above 50 years, non-educated, and eating meat and eggs. Nonetheless, the highest risk of using antidepressants was in patients >50 years and those who traveled abroad. These findings and similarities within the surrounding region, the Middle East, North Africa, and South Europe, indicate the possibility of sharing the same viral strain and characteristics that may predict a similar vaccine efficacy and response.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Africa, Northern , COVID-19/complications , COVID-19/epidemiology , Cross-Sectional Studies , Egypt/epidemiology , Female , Humans , Incidence , Middle Aged
5.
Sci Rep ; 12(1): 2700, 2022 02 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1705446

ABSTRACT

Stroke is one of the leading causes of mortality and morbidity across the globe. Providing comprehensive data on the burden of stroke in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) could be useful for health policy makers in the region. Therefore, this article reported the burden of stroke and its attributable risk factors between 1990 and 2019 by age, sex, type of stroke, and socio-demographic index. Data on the point prevalence, death, and disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs), due to stroke, were retrieved from the Global Burden of Disease study 2019 for the 21 countries located in the MENA region from 1990 to 2019. The counts and age-standardised rates (per 100,000) were presented, along with their corresponding 95% uncertainty intervals (UIs). In 2019, the regional age-standardised point prevalence and death rates of stroke were 1537.5 (95% UI: 1421.9-1659.9) and 87.7 (78.2-97.6) per 100,000, which represent a 0.5% (- 2.3 to 1.1) and 27.8% (- 35.4 to - 16) decrease since 1990, respectively. Moreover, the regional age-standardised DALY rate in 2019 was 1826.2 (1635.3-2026.2) per 100,000, a 32.0% (- 39.1 to - 23.3) decrease since 1990. In 2019, Afghanistan [3498.2 (2508.8-4500.4)] and Lebanon [752.9 (593.3-935.9)] had the highest and lowest age-standardised DALY rates, respectively. Regionally, the total number of stroke cases were highest in the 60-64 age group and was more prevalent in women in all age groups. In addition, there was a general negative association between SDI and the burden of stoke from 1990 to 2019. Also, in 2019, high systolic blood pressure [53.5%], high body mass index [39.4%] and ambient particulate air pollution [27.1%] made the three largest contributions to the burden of stroke in the MENA region. The stroke burden has decreased in the MENA region over the last three decades, although there are large inter-country differences. Preventive programs should be implemented which focus on metabolic risk factors, especially among older females in low SDI countries.


Subject(s)
Cost of Illness , Stroke/epidemiology , Adolescent , Adult , Africa, Northern/epidemiology , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Child , Child, Preschool , Female , Humans , Infant , Male , Middle Aged , Middle East/epidemiology , Prevalence , Quality-Adjusted Life Years , Risk Factors , Socioeconomic Factors , Young Adult
6.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 19(4)2022 Feb 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1686797

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic-related measures in the Near East and North Africa (NENA) region have resulted in many lifestyle modifications, including changes in diet and food buying patterns among adults. However, the pandemic has impacted women and men differently and exacerbated existing socio-economic and gender inequalities. Indeed, numerous studies conducted worldwide have shown that the COVID-19 pandemic had a disproportionately negative impact on women compared to males. Therefore, this paper aims to analyze the effects of COVID-19 on women's food behaviors in three countries of the North Africa sub-region, namely, Egypt, Morocco, and Tunisia. The study was based on an online poll conducted by SurveyMonkey from 15 September to 5 November 2020, with 995 participants. The outcomes of the research found that when compared to men, (1) women tend to consume more food out of fear, anxiety, or boredom; (2) women prefer to eat more unhealthy food; (3) women tend to stockpile a greater amount of food; and (4) women tend to modify their shopping habits more often. The findings should inform gender-sensitive strategies and policies to address the negative impacts of the pandemic and foster transition towards healthier diets and resilient food systems during the recovery period.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Adult , Africa, Northern/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , Egypt/epidemiology , Female , Humans , Male , Morocco/epidemiology , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Tunisia/epidemiology
7.
BMJ Open ; 12(2): e045348, 2022 02 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1685579

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: Vaccine-preventable disease outbreaks have increased in past years, and there is great public health interest in monitoring attitudes towards vaccination as well as identifying factors contributing to vaccine hesitancy and refusal. Although the WHO declared vaccine hesitancy as one of the top threats to global health in 2019, studies focused on the determinants and extent of vaccine hesitancy in Arab countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region are lacking. This scoping review explores the various factors surrounding vaccine hesitancy, including but not limited to geographic, cultural and religious factors, and examines the extent and nature of the existing evidence on this topic. In light of current development of various COVID-19 vaccines, our work seeks to elucidate the barriers to vaccine uptake in specific populations. METHODS AND ANALYSIS: This review will be conducted using the Joanna Briggs Institute Manual for Scoping Reviews. It will comply with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses extension for Scoping Reviews guidelines. Studies published in English, Arabic and French between January 1998 and December 2020 will be drawn from PubMed, Embase, Cochrane and Scopus. The search strategy will include terms related to vaccination and vaccine hesitancy in Arab countries in the MENA region. We will also include grey literature on the topic by searching Google and Google Scholar. Studies will be selected according to the Participants-Intervention-Comparators-Outcome model, and all study titles and abstracts will be screened by two reviewers. Disagreements will be resolved with a third reviewer's input. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: This review is exempted from ethical approval and will be published in a peer-reviewed open-access journal to ensure wide dissemination.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines , Africa, Northern/epidemiology , Arabs , COVID-19 , Humans , Middle East/epidemiology , Research Design , SARS-CoV-2 , Systematic Reviews as Topic
8.
J Leukoc Biol ; 111(1): 269-281, 2022 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1591653

ABSTRACT

The immune system plays a crucial role in the response against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 with significant differences among patients. The study investigated the relationships between lymphocyte subsets, cytokines, and disease outcomes in patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The measurements of peripheral blood lymphocytes subsets and cytokine levels were performed by flow cytometry for 57 COVID-19 patients. Patients were categorized into two groups according to the severity of the disease (nonsevere vs. severe). Total lymphocytes, T cells, CD4+ T cells, CD8+ T cells, B cells, and natural killer cells were decreased in COVID-19 patients and statistical differences were found among different severity of illness and survival states (P ˂ 0.01). The levels of IL-6 and IL-10 were significantly higher in severe and death groups and negatively correlated with lymphocyte subsets counts. The percentages of Th17 in the peripheral blood of patients were higher than those of healthy controls whereas the percentages of Th2 were lower. For the severe cases, the area under receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve of IL-6 was the largest among all the immune parameters (0.964; 95% confidence interval: 0.927-1.000, P < 0.0001). In addition, the preoperative IL-6 concentration of 77.38 pg/ml was the optimal cutoff value (sensitivity: 84.6%, specificity: 100%). Using multivariate logistic regression analysis and ROC curves, IL-6 > 106.44 pg/ml and CD8+ T cell counts <150 cells/µl were found to be associated with mortality. Measuring the immune parameters and defining a risk threshold can segregate patients who develop a severe disease from those with a mild pathology. The identification of these parameters may help clinicians to predict the outcome of the patients with high risk of unfavorable progress of the disease.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/mortality , Interleukin-6/blood , Severity of Illness Index , Africa, Northern , Aged , Biomarkers/blood , CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Cytokines/metabolism , Female , Humans , Kaplan-Meier Estimate , Lymphocyte Count , Lymphocyte Subsets/immunology , Male , Middle Aged , Multivariate Analysis , Prognosis , Treatment Outcome
9.
J Neurol Sci ; 432: 120060, 2022 01 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1536917

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted stroke care services at multiple levels. There was a decline in acute stroke admissions. Fewer interventions have been performed. Increased "door-to-needle times and "door-to-groin puncture" during this pandemic. These factors combined have led to declining in the favoured outcomes of stroke patients' globally. Yet this pandemic permits an opportunity for higher preparedness for future pandemics. OBJECTIVES AND METHODS: This paper aims to shed light on the main lessons learned in the field of stroke care during the first wave of COVID-19 pandemic. Here we are presenting proposals and initiatives for better preparedness in future similar emergencies. These proposals are based primarily on literature review of COVID-19 publications, as well as the first-hand experience gained during the first wave at the regional level. In addition to the consensus and collective ride of stroke experts in the Middle East North Africa Stroke and Interventional Neurotherapies Organization (MENA+-SINO) and interaction and collaboration with international stroke specialists from the Stroke World Organization (WSO), European Stroke Organization (ESO) and stroke and COVID-19 papers authors. CONCLUSION: Stroke care is very complex, particularly in the initial hours after onset of symptoms. A successful outcome requires very close collaboration between clinical personnel from multiple specialties. Preparedness for future pandemics requires the improvement of care plans that allow for rapid assessment of stroke patients and ensuring that regular 'mock exercises' familiarize quintessential services that care for the stroke patients.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Stroke , Africa, Northern , Humans , Middle East/epidemiology , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Stroke/epidemiology , Stroke/therapy
10.
Global Health ; 17(1): 133, 2021 11 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1528687

ABSTRACT

Revised: Nov 6 2021The shortfalls of multilateral and regional organizations in respect of handling the COVID-19 pandemic have been well rehearsed by scholars and policy makers in multiple publications and statements. While the World Health Organization (WHO) and its regional offices have coordinated global responses, regional organizations, like the European Union, Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or African Union, have played complementary roles. However, the response of different regions has varied, revealing multiple deficits in the structures of regional governance. The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is a region affected by chronic ongoing conflicts and serious inequalities in health and welfare provision, reflected in the absence of concerted responses to the pandemic. Its young population has meant lower comparative mortality rates, but the socio-economic spill-over effects are grave in terms of interrupted education, high unemployment, particularly in respect to vulnerable communities like refugees and migrant workers. With the current situation remaining critical, this paper reviews the impact of COVID-19 on MENA and considers the variable performance of states and institutions to the pandemic, highlighting the shortfalls, but also opportunities for collective action. Drawing on data from the WHO, United Nations (UN), regional organizations, media and secondary sources, it first discusses the wider global-regional context; second, reviews the actions of regional bodies, like the League of Arab States, Gulf Cooperation Council and the cross-regional Organization of Islamic Cooperation; and third, looks at some country-specific situations where both evidence of good practice and the absence of appropriate regional level provision have exposed deep regional divides. It concludes with a call for more collaboration between states and international organizations: better regional coordination is urgently needed to supplement existing multilateral efforts. A collective local response to the COVID-19 pandemic could help transcend regional divides and spur much-needed security cooperation in other areas.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pandemics , Africa, Northern/epidemiology , Humans , Middle East/epidemiology , Pandemics/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2
11.
PLoS One ; 16(11): e0257736, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1511815

ABSTRACT

Since 2016, fall armyworm (FAW) has threatened sub-Saharan 'Africa's fragile food systems and economic performance. Yet, there is limited evidence on this transboundary pest's economic and food security impacts in the region. Additionally, the health and environmental consequences of the insecticides being used to control FAW have not been studied. This paper presents evidence on the impacts of FAW on maize production, food security, and human and environmental health. We use a combination of an agroecology-based community survey and nationally representative data from an agricultural household survey to achieve our objectives. The results indicate that the pest causes an average annual loss of 36% in maize production, reducing 0.67 million tonnes of maize (0.225 million tonnes per year) between 2017 and 2019. The total economic loss is US$ 200 million, or 0.08% of the gross domestic product. The lost production could have met the per capita maize consumption of 4 million people. We also find that insecticides to control FAW have more significant toxic effects on the environment than on humans. This paper highlights governments and development partners need to invest in sustainable FAW control strategies to reduce maize production loss, improve food security, and protect human and environmental health.


Subject(s)
Agriculture/economics , Insecticide Resistance/genetics , Insecticides/pharmacology , Spodoptera/pathogenicity , Africa, Northern , Animals , Ethiopia , Humans , Insecticides/economics , Larva/genetics , Larva/parasitology , Socioeconomic Factors , Spodoptera/drug effects , Zea mays/growth & development , Zea mays/parasitology
12.
Mult Scler Relat Disord ; 51: 102885, 2021 Jun.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1454374

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: There is evidence of an increased prevalence and disease burden of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in parts of the world where the risk was once considered low, such as Latin America (LA), Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and the Middle East-North Africa (MENA). Despite the growing number of clinical reports, the phenotype and course of MS in these regions remains understudied compared with Europe and North America. We aimed to investigate MS phenotypes and long-term clinical outcomes across these regions. METHOD: A Boolean search of the medical literature was conducted between January 1980 and April 30, 2020. PubMed, SCOPUS, Global Health, and the Cochrane databases, were used to identify all relevant citations. Articles were collated and managed on Covidence® software. We independently appraised the articles for meeting study criteria and for quality using the Critical Appraisal Skills Program (CASP) and the Specialist Unit for Review Evidence (SURE) system. RESULTS: A total of 1,639 studies were imported for screening. After removing 545 duplicates, two authors assessed 1,094 abstracts and selected 515 for full-text screening. 72 articles met study criteria, including 19 studies from LA, 4 from sub-Saharan Africa, 24 from Asia and 25 from MENA. The overall sex ratio was 2.5:1 (female: male). Disability was assessed using the Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS). Longitudinal disability progression and time to standard endpoints was compared by region and with relevant Western reports. Patients with MS living in the MENA region appear to reach disability milestones faster than those in the Western world, although this finding is not uniform. South Asia shows distinct disability features compared with East Asia, more closely resembling those of the West. Disease morbidity in East Asia appears more benign than in the West after careful exclusion of neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder cases. Populations in LA tend to have similar MS features to the Western world, but some exceptions exist, including African descendants that reach disability milestones earlier. Using all studies with appropriate survival analysis, the mean time to EDSS 6.0 was 16.97 years with a heterogeneity index of 24.59. CONCLUSION: The clinical phenotypes and disability progression of MS in LA, Africa, Asia and the MENA region have similarities to Western MS. In some regions and subpopulations there is evidence of a more aggressive course, possibly due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors. More population-based longitudinal data are needed, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa.


Subject(s)
Multiple Sclerosis , Africa/epidemiology , Africa, Northern/epidemiology , Asia/epidemiology , Europe , Female , Humans , Latin America/epidemiology , Male , Middle East/epidemiology , Multiple Sclerosis/epidemiology , North America
13.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 18(14)2021 07 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1302332

ABSTRACT

Scientometrics enables scholars to assess and visualize emerging research trends and hot-spots in the scientific literature from a quantitative standpoint. In the last decades, Africa has nearly doubled its absolute count of scholarly output, even though its share in global knowledge production has dramatically decreased. The still-ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly impacted the way scholarly research is conducted, published, and disseminated. However, the COVID-19-related research focus, the scientific productivity, and the research collaborative network of African researchers during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic remain to be elucidated. This study aimed to clarify the COVID-19 research patterns among African researchers and estimate the strength of collaborations and partnerships between African researchers and scholars from the rest of the world during the COVID-19 pandemic, collecting data from electronic scholarly databases such as Web of Science (WoS), PubMed/MEDLINE and African Journals OnLine (AJOL), the largest and prominent platform of African-published scholarly journals. We found that COVID-19-related collaboration patterns varied among African regions. For instance, most of the scholarly partnerships occurred with formerly colonial countries (such as European or North-American countries). In other cases, scholarly ties of North African countries were above all with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. In terms of number of publications, South Africa and Egypt were among the most productive countries. Bibliometrics and, in particular, scientometrics can help scholars identify research areas of particular interest, as well as emerging topics, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. With a specific focus on the still-ongoing viral outbreak, they can assist decision- and policy-makers in allocating funding and economic-financial, logistic, organizational, and human resources, based on the specific gaps and needs of a given country or research area.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pandemics , Africa, Northern , Bibliometrics , Egypt , Humans , Leadership , North America , SARS-CoV-2 , Saudi Arabia , South Africa
14.
Front Public Health ; 9: 628211, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1290271

ABSTRACT

COVID-19 is a global pandemic that has affected all aspects of life. Understanding its geographical and epidemiological characteristics has become particularly important in controlling the spread of the pandemic. Such studies are lacking in North African countries, particularly in Libya, which has the second largest area of any country in Africa and the longest coast facing Europe. The objectives of this study are to determine the epidemiological parameters and spatiotemporal patterns of COVID-19 and outline strategies for containing the spread and consequences of the pandemic. This comprehensive study included all the confirmed cases of COVID-19 since its emergence in Libya on March 24, 2020 until July 31, 2020. The epidemiological characteristics of COVID-19 were analyzed and the spatial dynamic trends were explored. Regional counts of weekly reported cases were used to characterize the spatial dynamics of COVID-19. A total of 3,695 confirmed cases of COVID-19 were recorded: 2,515 men (68.1%) and 1,180 women (31.9%), with a male-to-female ratio of 2.1:1. Ages ranged between 2 and 78 years. Older patients infected with COVID-19 were at a risk of higher disease severity and mortality. Broad geographic variability and spatiotemporal spread variation of the COVID-19 pandemic in Libya was observed, indicating a significant increase of COVID-19 spread starting in the middle of July 2020, particularly in the western and southern regions, although it was consistently reported in the central and eastern regions as well. Assessing the spatiotemporal dynamics of COVID-19 in the early stages of the epidemic is particularly important in understanding the pandemic spread. Such assessments are essential for designing effective prevention and control programs aimed at reducing the impact of the COVID- 19 pandemic, particularly in countries with limited resources.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pandemics , Adolescent , Adult , Africa , Africa, Northern , Aged , Child , Child, Preschool , Europe , Female , Humans , Libya , Male , Middle Aged , SARS-CoV-2 , Young Adult
15.
PLoS One ; 16(6): e0253803, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1282316

ABSTRACT

This paper investigates how banking competition and capital level impact on the risk-taking behavior of banking institutions in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. The topic is perceived to be of significant importance during the COVID-19 pandemic. We use data for more than 225 banks in 18 countries in the MENA region to test whether increased competition causes banks to hold higher capital ratios. Employing panel data techniques, and distinguishing between Islamic and conventional banks, we show that banks tend to hold higher capital ratios when operating in a more competitive environment. We also provide evidence that banks in the MENA region increase their capitalization levels in response to a higher risk and vice versa. Further, banking concentration (measured by the HH-index) and credit risk have a significant and positive impact on capital ratios of IBs, whereas competition does play a restrictive role in determining the level of their capital. The results hold when controlling for ownership structure, regulatory and institutional environment, bank-specific and macroeconomic characteristics. Our findings inform regulatory authorities concerned with improving the financial stability of banking sector in the MENA region to strengthen their policies in order to force banks to better align with capital requirements and risk during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Subject(s)
Banking, Personal/economics , COVID-19 , Employment , Models, Economic , Pandemics/economics , SARS-CoV-2 , Africa, Northern/epidemiology , COVID-19/economics , COVID-19/epidemiology , Humans , Risk-Taking
16.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 18(12)2021 Jun 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1270054

ABSTRACT

While the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic wreaked havoc across the globe, we have witnessed substantial mis- and disinformation regarding various aspects of the disease. We conducted a cross-sectional study using a self-administered questionnaire for the general public (recruited via social media) and healthcare workers (recruited via email) from the State of Qatar, and the Middle East and North Africa region to understand the knowledge of and anxiety levels around COVID-19 (April-June 2020) during the early stage of the pandemic. The final dataset used for the analysis comprised of 1658 questionnaires (53.0% of 3129 received questionnaires; 1337 [80.6%] from the general public survey and 321 [19.4%] from the healthcare survey). Knowledge about COVID-19 was significantly different across the two survey populations, with a much higher proportion of healthcare workers possessing better COVID-19 knowledge than the general public (62.9% vs. 30.0%, p < 0.0001). A reverse effect was observed for anxiety, with a higher proportion of very anxious (or really frightened) respondents among the general public compared to healthcare workers (27.5% vs. 11.5%, p < 0.0001). A higher proportion of the general public tended to overestimate their chance of dying if they become ill with COVID-19, with 251 (18.7%) reporting the chance of dying (once COVID-19 positive) to be ≥25% versus 19 (5.9%) of healthcare workers (p < 0.0001). Good knowledge about COVID-19 was associated with low levels of anxiety. Panic and unfounded anxiety, as well as casual and carefree attitudes, can propel risk taking and mistake-making, thereby increasing vulnerability. It is important that governments, public health agencies, healthcare workers, and civil society organizations keep themselves updated regarding scientific developments and that they relay messages to the community in an honest, transparent, unbiased, and timely manner.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Africa, Northern/epidemiology , Anxiety/epidemiology , Cross-Sectional Studies , Health Personnel , Humans , Middle East/epidemiology , Qatar/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2 , Surveys and Questionnaires
17.
JCO Glob Oncol ; 7: 242-252, 2021 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1197355

ABSTRACT

PURPOSE: As frontline workers facing the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare providers should be well-prepared to fight the disease and prevent harm to their patients and themselves. Our study aimed to evaluate the knowledge, attitude, and practice of oncologists in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on them. METHODS: A cross-sectional study was conducted using a validated questionnaire disseminated to oncologists by SurveyMonkey. The tool had 42 questions that captured participants' knowledge, attitude, and practice; their experiences; and the pandemic's impact on various aspects of their lives. Participants from Middle East and North African countries, Brazil, and the Philippines completed the electronic survey between April 24 and May 15, 2020. RESULTS: Of the 1,010 physicians who participated in the study, 54.75% were male and 64.95% were medical or clinical oncologists. The level of knowledge regarding the prevention and transmission of the virus was good in 52% of participants. The majority (92%) were worried about contracting the virus either extremely (30%) or mildly (62%), and 84.85% were worried about transmitting the virus to their families. Approximately 76.93% reported they would take the COVID 19 vaccine once available, with oncologists practicing in Brazil having the highest odds ratio of intention to receive the COVID-19 vaccine (odds ratio, 11.8, 95% CI, 5.96 to 23.38, P < .001). Participants reported a negative impact of the pandemic on relations with coworkers (15.84%), relations with family (27.84%), their emotional and mental well-being (48.51%), research productivity (34.26%), and financial income (52.28%). CONCLUSION: The COVID-19 pandemic has adverse effects on various personal and professional aspects of oncologists' lives. Interventions should be implemented to mitigate the negative impact and prepare oncologists to manage future crises with more efficiency and resilience.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/prevention & control , Oncologists/psychology , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Surveys and Questionnaires , Africa, Northern , Brazil , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , Cross-Sectional Studies , Female , Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice , Humans , Male , Middle East , Oncologists/economics , Oncologists/statistics & numerical data , Pandemics , Philippines , Practice Patterns, Physicians' , SARS-CoV-2/physiology
18.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 18(8)2021 04 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1194644

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 lockdown could engender disruption to lifestyle behaviors, thus impairing mental wellbeing in the general population. This study investigated whether sociodemographic variables, changes in physical activity, and sleep quality from pre- to during lockdown were predictors of change in mental wellbeing in quarantined older adults. METHODS: A 12-week international online survey was launched in 14 languages on 6 April 2020. Forty-one research institutions from Europe, Western-Asia, North-Africa, and the Americas, promoted the survey. The survey was presented in a differential format with questions related to responses "pre" and "during" the lockdown period. Participants responded to the Short Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale, the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) questionnaire, and the short form of the International Physical Activity Questionnaire. RESULTS: Replies from older adults (aged >55 years, n = 517), mainly from Europe (50.1%), Western-Asia (6.8%), America (30%), and North-Africa (9.3%) were analyzed. The COVID-19 lockdown led to significantly decreased mental wellbeing, sleep quality, and total physical activity energy expenditure levels (all p < 0.001). Regression analysis showed that the change in total PSQI score and total physical activity energy expenditure (F(2, 514) = 66.41 p < 0.001) were significant predictors of the decrease in mental wellbeing from pre- to during lockdown (p < 0.001, R2: 0.20). CONCLUSION: COVID-19 lockdown deleteriously affected physical activity and sleep patterns. Furthermore, change in the total PSQI score and total physical activity energy expenditure were significant predictors for the decrease in mental wellbeing.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Africa, Northern , Aged , Asia, Western , Communicable Disease Control , Europe , Exercise , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , Sleep , Surveys and Questionnaires
19.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 18(8)2021 04 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1178264

ABSTRACT

This study investigated effects of home confinement on physical activity (PA) in Team Handball during the COVID-19 outbreak. A total of 1359 handball players participated (age: 23 ± 6 years). Participants from Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa answered an online version of the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ) considering "before" and "during" confinement. COVID-19 home confinement has had a negative effect on PA (vigorous, moderate, walking, and overall). The largest decrease was in the sum parameter "all PA" (MET (metabolic equivalent of task)-min/week, ηp2 = 0.903; min/week, ηp2 = 0.861). Daily sitting time increased from 2.7 to 5.0 h per weekday (p < 0.001, ηp2 = 0.669). For gender, continent, country, level of handball league, and playing position, no significant differences (group and interaction effects) were observed. The largest change in PA behavior was in walking (minutes per day: ηp2 = 0.755), with males displaying the greatest decrease (from 62 ± 11 to 30 ± 14 min per weekday; d = 2.67). In terms of magnitude, difference between genders was greatest for sitting time (difference in d = 1.20). In conclusion, while COVID-19 measures were essential to preserve public health, PA was compromised and sedentary behavior increased because of these public health measures regardless of gender, playing position, and competition level.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Adolescent , Adult , Africa, Northern , Asia, Western , Disease Outbreaks , Europe , Exercise , Female , Humans , Male , SARS-CoV-2 , Young Adult
20.
J Infect Dev Ctries ; 15(3): 342-349, 2021 Mar 31.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1175615

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: Our study aims to assess the prevalence of COVID-19 in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. It aims also to examine the various factors that have led to the unequal distribution of the confirmed cases among the different MENA countries. METHODOLOGY: Data was retrieved from the World Health Organization situation reports issued between January 29 and June 5, 2020. It included the numbers of cumulative cases, new cases, and cumulative deaths reported by MENA countries. Similarly, we searched for relevant articles in PubMed and Medline. RESULTS: A total of 481,347 cases and 11,851 deaths occurred in the MENA region, accounting for 7.37% and 3.06% of the global cases and deaths respectively. Iran had the highest number of cases and deaths accounting for 34.1% and 68.1% of the MENA cases and deaths respectively. Together the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries accounted for 52.2% and 10.6% of MENA cases and deaths respectively. Egypt had the highest number of confirmed cases and deaths among the African countries of the region. Syria, Libya and Yemen (countries at war) had the lowest numbers of reported cases. The MENA region overall case fatality rate (CFR) was estimated at 2.46%. The highest CFR (22.75%) occurred in Yemen, and the lowest (0.07%) in Qatar. CONCLUSIONS: The unequal distribution of wealth among the MENA countries, the lack of sociopolitical stability, and the high number of undetected and underreported cases in some of them have resulted in varied incidences of COVID-19 related morbidity and mortality.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/mortality , World Health Organization , Africa, Northern/epidemiology , COVID-19/diagnosis , Humans , Incidence , Middle East/epidemiology , Politics , Prevalence , Socioeconomic Factors
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