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52 Research products, page 1 of 6

  • COVID-19
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  • Rural Digital Europe

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  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Lena Dafgård; Alastair Creelman;
    Publisher: Högskolan Dalarna, Verksamhetsstödet
    Country: Sweden

    The covid-19 emergency presented daunting challenges for all in higher education, in particular teachers and students who were forced to quickly pivot from the familiar setting of the campus to purely online education in a matter of days. Despite the enormity of this challenge the transition was negotiated successfully in terms of online teaching though issues such as social interaction, student isolation and digital divides remained largely unaddressed. In Sweden, the pandemic response has been a wake-up call to address the lack of national coordination of online and blended education as well as the need for more coordinated approaches to professional pedagogical development. This paper outlines the response of several national networks and stakeholder organisations, notably the Network for IT in Higher Education (ITHU), though the forming of a mutual support group on Facebook to coordinating workshops and sharing resources. A survey of ITHU members revealed a number of key focus areas for national coordination as well as the development of a culture of sharing between teaching staff and educational technicians that did not exist before the pandemic.

  • Open Access

    Safe water and sanitation, which give rise to appropriate hygiene, are fundamental determinants of individual and social health and well-being. Thereby, assessing and widening access to sustainable, durable water and sanitation infrastructure remains a global health issue. Rural areas are already at a disadvantage. Poor access to water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) can have a major negative effect on students in rural schools. Thus, the paper aims to assess the current condition and the challenge to access WASH in rural Kazakh schools. The study was conducted in three rural schools in Central Kazakhstan. Data were gathered through a survey among pupils, observations of the WASH infrastructure and maintenance, and a face-to-face interview with school administrators. The mean survey response rate was 65% across schools. Results indicated there was no alternative drinking-water source in schools, and 15% of students said they had access to water only occasionally. Half of the students reported that the water was unsafe to drink because of a poor odor, taste, or color. The toilet in school 3 was locked with a key, and a quarter of the students reported there was no access to a key. Moreover, not having gender-separated toilet facilities was a challenge because of the traditional gender norms. Despite the effective regulations and measures of handwashing taken during COVID-19, 27.7% of the students answered that soap was not offered daily in classrooms. Additionally, warm water was only provided in school 2. About 75% of students did not have access to drying materials continuously. The study shows that having the schools’ infrastructure is not enough when characteristics, such as availability, accessibility, maintenance, operation, quality of services, education, and practices, are ignored. Cooperation between local education authorities, school administration, and parents should be encouraged to the achievement of the sustainable development goals (SDGs) by 2030.

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Joakim Björkdahl; Charlotta Kronblad;
    Publisher: Oxford University Press

    Abstract This article analyses organizational change and new ways of working in one of our most institutionalized and professionalized contexts—the courts. Here, digital technologies and the implementation of digital work practices carry great promise as they enable more accessible and qualitative services to be produced more efficiently and effectively. While prior studies have shown that institutionalized and professionalized actors are reluctant to respond to change, attempts to change work practices through digital technologies remain understudied. In particular, we do not know how COVID-19 has influenced the motivation and implementation of digitalized work. This article draws on a large Swedish administrative court and its attempts to digitalize its work starting in 2018. We find that several barriers first inhibited a successful transformation of work practices. These barriers were connected to the institution of the court and the institutionalized profession of judges, which worked together in preventing organizational change. However, COVID-19 radically accelerated the digital implementation of work practices and gave rise to two separate re-assessment processes. The first established new motivations for digitalized work, and the second allowed for a new perception of value in digital work. These processes effectively broke down perceived barriers and substantially facilitated a more successful digital transformation of working practices.

  • Open Access
    Authors: 
    Ricard Giné-Garriga; Antoine Delepiere; Robin Ward; Jorge Alvarez-Sala; Isabel Alvarez-Murillo; Virginia Mariezcurrena; Henning Göransson Sandberg; Panchali Saikia; Pilar Avello; Kanika Thakar; +5 more
    Publisher: Elsevier BV

    The COVID-19 pandemic has shone a light on handwashing as an inexpensive, widely applicable response measure. In consequence, most governments have taken action to promote access to water and sanitation services for all. This paper documents an overview of initiatives and interventions that countries have implemented during the first months of the COVID-19 response. Initiatives have been identified across 84 countries worldwide, and categorized into those that aimed at securing water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) for all, and those that sought to provide technical and financial support to service providers. The pandemic has not hit countries in the same way. Accordingly, results show disparities in the response between and within regions, with the level of activity found in the countries varying largely in terms of ambition and scope. Hygiene promotion and infection prevention and control (IPC) has been widely adopted – at least one response measure found in 94% of mapped countries -, although not always matched in ambition with the assured availability of soap, water, and handwashing facilities. Support to vulnerable households to promote basic access to WASH services at scale was weak (38% of countries) or implemented locally (25%), and requiring additional focus, particularly in rural areas and small towns. In addition, parallel support needs to be extended to service providers or to households themselves in the form of cash transfers, in order to ensure the financial viability and the continuity of services. All lessons learned distilled from the pandemic should help strengthen the enabling environment for more resilient services in future emergencies. Areas for focus could include developing specific pandemic response strategies and plans; strengthening coordination; and establishing emergency financial support mechanisms for water operators, for example. Overall, findings presented herein contribute to enhance current and future pandemics prevention, mitigation, and recovery. Graphical abstract Unlabelled Image

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Assem Abu Hatab; Zhen Liu; Asmaa Abdel Nasser; Abourehab Esmat;
    Country: Sweden

    Simple Summary The COVID-19 pandemic has exerted a substantial impact on small-scale broiler production systems in developing countries and put their supply chains at risk of disruption. Drawing on a survey of 205 small-scale commercial broiler farms (SCBFs) in Egypt, this study identifies the primary pathways through which the pandemic has affected these farms and investigates the determinants of their perception of COVID-19 effects. The empirical results revealed that the pandemic affected SCBFs heterogeneously based on their management and production systems and resource endowment. In particular, individually owned farms and those with membership of poultry producer organizations and larger total asset values perceived significantly fewer effects. In addition, SCBFs operating in both local and provincial markets were less likely to perceive negative effects from the pandemic. Despite that the adoption of strict containment measures was essential for protecting public health, our results indicate that policy responses to COVID-19 must consider the likely effects on small businesses such as SCBFs since disruptions to such socioeconomically important supply chains will intensify human suffering from the pandemic. These findings of our study provide important implications for enhancing the preparedness and resilience of small-scale broiler production systems in developing countries to future pandemics and natural hazards. Abstract As in many other countries, the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, together with subsequent government containment measures, posed significant challenges to small-scale broiler production systems in Egypt. Based on a survey of 205 specialist small-scale commercial broiler farms (SCBFs) consisting of both farm-based and household-based production systems, this study identifies the primary pathways through which COVID-19 has affected SCBFs and investigates the determinants of farm perception of these effects. A polychoric principal component analysis sorted the effects of the pandemic on the SCBFs surveyed into five categories, namely, input availability, production and operational costs, labor and human resources, consumer demand and sales, and farm finances. Next, five ordered logit models were constructed to examine the determinants of the SCBFs’ perception of each category of these effects. Generally, the empirical results revealed that COVID-19 affected SCBFs heterogeneously based on their management and production systems and resource endowment. Female-led and household-based SCBFs perceived significantly greater COVID-19 effects. In contrast, individually owned farms and those with membership of poultry producer organizations and larger total asset values perceived fewer effects. In addition, SCBFs operating in both local and provincial markets were less likely to perceive negative effects from the pandemic on their broiler farming activities. Although the adoption of strict and immediate containment measures was essential for controlling the virus and protecting public health, our results indicate that policy responses to COVID-19 must consider the likely effects on small businesses such as SCBFs since disruptions to such socioeconomically important supply chains will intensify human suffering from the pandemic. Overall, our findings provide important implications for the formulation of effective strategies for mitigating the impact of COVID-19 on small-scale broiler production systems in Egypt and enhancing their preparedness and resilience to future pandemics, natural hazard risks, and market shocks.

  • Open Access
    Authors: 
    Qinglei Ji; Mo Chen; Xi Vincent Wang; Lihui Wang; Lei Feng;
    Publisher: Elsevier BV

    4D printing technology, as a new generation of Additive Manufacturing methods, enables printed objects to further change their shapes or other properties upon external stimuli. One main category of 4D printing research is 4D printed thermal Shape Memory Polymer (SMP). Its morphing process has large time delay, is nonlinear time variant, and susceptible to unpredictable disturbances. Reaching an arbitrary position with high precision is an active research question. This paper applies the Reinforcement Learning (RL) method to develop an optimal control method to perform closed loop control of the SMP actuation. Precise and prompt shape morphing is achieved compared with previous control methods using a PI controller. The training efforts of RL are further reduced by simplifying the optimal control policy using the structural property of the prior trained results. Customized protective visors against COVID-19 are fabricated using the proposed control method. © 2021 The Author(s)

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Alexander P. Henkel; Martina Caic; Marah Blaurock; Mehmet Okan;
    Countries: Netherlands, Croatia, Sweden

    PurposeBesides the direct physical health consequences, through social isolation COVID-19 affects a considerably larger share of consumers with deleterious effects for their psychological well-being. Two vulnerable consumer groups are particularly affected: older adults and children. The purpose of the underlying paper is to take a transformative research perspective on how social robots can be deployed for advancing the well-being of these vulnerable consumers and to spur robotic transformative service research (RTSR).Design/methodology/approachThis paper follows a conceptual approach that integrates findings from various domains: service research, social robotics, social psychology and medicine.FindingsTwo key findings advanced in this paper are (1) a typology of robotic transformative service (i.e. entertainer, social enabler, mentor and friend) as a function of consumers' state of social isolation, well-being focus and robot capabilities and (2) a future research agenda for RTSR.Practical implicationsThis paper guides service consumers and providers and robot developers in identifying and developing the most appropriate social robot type for advancing the well-being of vulnerable consumers in social isolation.Originality/valueThis study is the first to integrate social robotics and transformative service research by developing a typology of social robots as a guiding framework for assessing the status quo of transformative robotic service on the basis of which it advances a future research agenda for RTSR. It further complements the underdeveloped body of service research with a focus on eudaimonic consumer well-being.

  • Closed Access
    Authors: 
    Håkan Nero; M. Misini Ignjatovic; L.S. Lohmander; Leif Dahlberg;
    Publisher: Elsevier BV

    Purpose: Since 2008 Sweden has had a structured first-line face-to-face knee and hip osteoarthritis (OA) treatment program, BOA (Better management of OsteoArthritis) However, records show that this face-to-face program is underutilized and reaches only a minority of those that would benefit from it The first-line OA management program has been transformed into a digital version, Joint Academy® (JA), to facilitate implementation, scaling, increased accessibility, and improved patient adherence The smartphone application consists of video instructions distributed daily with individualized exercises for participants with knee or hip OA, as well as educational information on OA symptoms and self-management based on current international guidelines for the management of OA Each participant is assigned to a physical therapist available through asynchronous chat and telephone who supervises the participant throughout the whole program To improve chronically ill patients' health and quality of life, long-standing and continuous treatment is needed at an acceptable cost Recent evidence suggests that JA costs 25% compared to the BOA program for three months of treatment Providing patients with equal access to care necessitates availability in urban and rural areas alike This can potentially be achieved by digital delivery, but it is yet unknown if digital delivery of first-line OA treatment, compared with face-to-face, improves equal access to care The purpose of this study was to compare utilization of digital and face-to-face delivered OA treatment in the 21 different county councils of Sweden that are responsible for providing healthcare to the residents Methods: Registered patient participation in the BOA program during 2019 and 2020 was retrieved from the BOA annual reports and live statistics from the BOA website (for 2020, unknown final data retrieval data) Data from digital program participation was retrieved from the JA database (for 2020 until Nov 18th) To be included, a patient needed to have registered for the first visit in the BOA registry or have enrolled in the program by answering the first questionnaire in the JA registry Population density per county and county size were retrieved from Statistics Sweden Results were calculated and presented as users per 100 000 residents Mean and median values as well as standard deviations were calculated separately for registered participants/100 000 for BOA and JA programs, and for regions with more (n=12) or less (n=8) than 20 residents per km2 Results: In total 25652 patients from the BOA registry and 12240 patients from the JA database were included The differences between individual county councils in the number of registered program participants per 100 000 residents varied far more for the face-to-face BOA program than for the digital JA program (Table 1) This is illustrated by the ratio between the highest and lowest participation numbers/100 000 being 13 6 for BOA and 2 6 for JA, and standard deviations of 162 and 27, respectively The variability between county councils was greater for remote regions of the country with a population density below 20 per km2, than for more densely populated regions Conclusions: The results of this preliminary report suggest that digital first-line treatment, compared with the same treatment delivered face-to-face, improves equal access to recommended first-line care of OA of the knee and hip in Sweden Ongoing work aims to explore temporal changes in usage of the different platforms associated with the COVID-19 pandemic [Formula presented] [Formula presented]

  • Open Access
    Authors: 
    Stig Vinberg; Peter Danielsson;
    Publisher: Informa UK Limited

    The aim of this study is to identify how managers of micro-sized enterprises experience the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on their business operations, work-life balance and well-being. Further, the study aims to make comparisons between managers of micro-sized businesses and managers of small-sized businesses. This mixed-method study is based on qualitative interviews with ten managers of micro-sized enterprises and a questionnaire answered by 95 managers of micro-sized and small-sized enterprises in regions in the north of Sweden. Managers of micro-sized enterprises reported significantly worse scores for mental well-being, job satisfaction and life satisfaction in comparison with managers of small-sized enterprises. Three themes emerged from the qualitative analysis: Changed leadership role, Impact on private life and Impact on well-being. In the interviews, the managers of micro-sized enterprises reported that the pandemic had increased their workload and forced them to mobilise strategies for enterprise survival. This study indicates that managers of micro-sized enterprises had changed their leadership role and increased their workload and number of work tasks, including supporting the employees, developing strategies for business survival and applying for governmental support. However, the managers demonstrated creativity in finding new solutions for their enterprises. Småföretag och Covid-19 – ledares lärdomar inför framtida kriser

  • Open Access
    Authors: 
    Gianluca Sarà; Maria Cristina Mangano; M. Berlino; L. Corbari; M. Lucchese; Giacomo Milisenda; S. Terzo; M. S. Azaza; José M. F. Babarro; Rigers Bakiu; +44 more
    Publisher: Taylor & Francis
    Countries: Italy, Spain, Turkey, Norway, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Malta, Croatia, Norway

    The rapid, global spread of COVID-19, and the measures intended to limit or slow its propagation, are having major impacts on diverse sectors of society. Notably, these impacts are occurring in the context of other anthropogenic-driven threats including global climate change. Both anthropogenic stressors and the COVID-19 pandemic represent significant economic challenges to aquaculture systems across the globe, threatening the supply chain of one of the most important sources of animal protein, with potential disproportionate impacts on vulnerable communities. A web survey was conducted in 47 countries in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic to assess how aquaculture activities have been affected by the pandemic, and to explore how these impacts compare to those from climate change. A positive correlation between the effects of the two categories of drivers was detected, but analysis suggests that the pandemic and the anthropogenic stressors affect different parts of the supply chain. The immediate measurable reported losses varied with aquaculture typology (land vs. marine, and intensive vs. extensive). A comparably lower impact on farmers reporting the use of integrated multitrophic aquaculture (IMTA) methods suggests that IMTA might enhance resilience to multiple stressors by providing different market options under the COVID-19 pandemic. Results emphasize the importance of assessing detrimental effects of COVID-19 under a multiple stressor lens, focusing on areas that have already locally experienced economic loss due to anthropogenic stressors in the last decade. Holistic policies that simultaneously address other ongoing anthropogenic stressors, rather than focusing solely on the acute impacts of COVID-19, are needed to maximize the long-term resilience of the aquaculture sector. The Open Access publication of the MS was funded by M. Cristina Mangano FOE N. 418 at Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn (personal OA publication fund). People at Laboratory of Ecology have been found by the PRIN-MAHRES project (Ministry of Italian Research; MUR) 2017MHHWBN_003 Linea C and by the HARMONY Project Italy-Malta 2016 (grant C1-3.1-31) funded by the Sicilian Region and Maltese Government. A. Nogueira thanks FCT/MCTES for the financial support to CESAM (UIDP/50017/2020+UIDB/50017/2020), through national funds. J.M.F. Babarro thanks project PID2019-106008RB-C21 for support through Spanish Government funds 13 pages, 6 figures, 2 tables.-- This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License Peer reviewed

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The following results are related to COVID-19. Are you interested to view more results? Visit OpenAIRE - Explore.
52 Research products, page 1 of 6
  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Lena Dafgård; Alastair Creelman;
    Publisher: Högskolan Dalarna, Verksamhetsstödet
    Country: Sweden

    The covid-19 emergency presented daunting challenges for all in higher education, in particular teachers and students who were forced to quickly pivot from the familiar setting of the campus to purely online education in a matter of days. Despite the enormity of this challenge the transition was negotiated successfully in terms of online teaching though issues such as social interaction, student isolation and digital divides remained largely unaddressed. In Sweden, the pandemic response has been a wake-up call to address the lack of national coordination of online and blended education as well as the need for more coordinated approaches to professional pedagogical development. This paper outlines the response of several national networks and stakeholder organisations, notably the Network for IT in Higher Education (ITHU), though the forming of a mutual support group on Facebook to coordinating workshops and sharing resources. A survey of ITHU members revealed a number of key focus areas for national coordination as well as the development of a culture of sharing between teaching staff and educational technicians that did not exist before the pandemic.

  • Open Access

    Safe water and sanitation, which give rise to appropriate hygiene, are fundamental determinants of individual and social health and well-being. Thereby, assessing and widening access to sustainable, durable water and sanitation infrastructure remains a global health issue. Rural areas are already at a disadvantage. Poor access to water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) can have a major negative effect on students in rural schools. Thus, the paper aims to assess the current condition and the challenge to access WASH in rural Kazakh schools. The study was conducted in three rural schools in Central Kazakhstan. Data were gathered through a survey among pupils, observations of the WASH infrastructure and maintenance, and a face-to-face interview with school administrators. The mean survey response rate was 65% across schools. Results indicated there was no alternative drinking-water source in schools, and 15% of students said they had access to water only occasionally. Half of the students reported that the water was unsafe to drink because of a poor odor, taste, or color. The toilet in school 3 was locked with a key, and a quarter of the students reported there was no access to a key. Moreover, not having gender-separated toilet facilities was a challenge because of the traditional gender norms. Despite the effective regulations and measures of handwashing taken during COVID-19, 27.7% of the students answered that soap was not offered daily in classrooms. Additionally, warm water was only provided in school 2. About 75% of students did not have access to drying materials continuously. The study shows that having the schools’ infrastructure is not enough when characteristics, such as availability, accessibility, maintenance, operation, quality of services, education, and practices, are ignored. Cooperation between local education authorities, school administration, and parents should be encouraged to the achievement of the sustainable development goals (SDGs) by 2030.

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Joakim Björkdahl; Charlotta Kronblad;
    Publisher: Oxford University Press

    Abstract This article analyses organizational change and new ways of working in one of our most institutionalized and professionalized contexts—the courts. Here, digital technologies and the implementation of digital work practices carry great promise as they enable more accessible and qualitative services to be produced more efficiently and effectively. While prior studies have shown that institutionalized and professionalized actors are reluctant to respond to change, attempts to change work practices through digital technologies remain understudied. In particular, we do not know how COVID-19 has influenced the motivation and implementation of digitalized work. This article draws on a large Swedish administrative court and its attempts to digitalize its work starting in 2018. We find that several barriers first inhibited a successful transformation of work practices. These barriers were connected to the institution of the court and the institutionalized profession of judges, which worked together in preventing organizational change. However, COVID-19 radically accelerated the digital implementation of work practices and gave rise to two separate re-assessment processes. The first established new motivations for digitalized work, and the second allowed for a new perception of value in digital work. These processes effectively broke down perceived barriers and substantially facilitated a more successful digital transformation of working practices.

  • Open Access
    Authors: 
    Ricard Giné-Garriga; Antoine Delepiere; Robin Ward; Jorge Alvarez-Sala; Isabel Alvarez-Murillo; Virginia Mariezcurrena; Henning Göransson Sandberg; Panchali Saikia; Pilar Avello; Kanika Thakar; +5 more
    Publisher: Elsevier BV

    The COVID-19 pandemic has shone a light on handwashing as an inexpensive, widely applicable response measure. In consequence, most governments have taken action to promote access to water and sanitation services for all. This paper documents an overview of initiatives and interventions that countries have implemented during the first months of the COVID-19 response. Initiatives have been identified across 84 countries worldwide, and categorized into those that aimed at securing water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) for all, and those that sought to provide technical and financial support to service providers. The pandemic has not hit countries in the same way. Accordingly, results show disparities in the response between and within regions, with the level of activity found in the countries varying largely in terms of ambition and scope. Hygiene promotion and infection prevention and control (IPC) has been widely adopted – at least one response measure found in 94% of mapped countries -, although not always matched in ambition with the assured availability of soap, water, and handwashing facilities. Support to vulnerable households to promote basic access to WASH services at scale was weak (38% of countries) or implemented locally (25%), and requiring additional focus, particularly in rural areas and small towns. In addition, parallel support needs to be extended to service providers or to households themselves in the form of cash transfers, in order to ensure the financial viability and the continuity of services. All lessons learned distilled from the pandemic should help strengthen the enabling environment for more resilient services in future emergencies. Areas for focus could include developing specific pandemic response strategies and plans; strengthening coordination; and establishing emergency financial support mechanisms for water operators, for example. Overall, findings presented herein contribute to enhance current and future pandemics prevention, mitigation, and recovery. Graphical abstract Unlabelled Image

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Assem Abu Hatab; Zhen Liu; Asmaa Abdel Nasser; Abourehab Esmat;
    Country: Sweden

    Simple Summary The COVID-19 pandemic has exerted a substantial impact on small-scale broiler production systems in developing countries and put their supply chains at risk of disruption. Drawing on a survey of 205 small-scale commercial broiler farms (SCBFs) in Egypt, this study identifies the primary pathways through which the pandemic has affected these farms and investigates the determinants of their perception of COVID-19 effects. The empirical results revealed that the pandemic affected SCBFs heterogeneously based on their management and production systems and resource endowment. In particular, individually owned farms and those with membership of poultry producer organizations and larger total asset values perceived significantly fewer effects. In addition, SCBFs operating in both local and provincial markets were less likely to perceive negative effects from the pandemic. Despite that the adoption of strict containment measures was essential for protecting public health, our results indicate that policy responses to COVID-19 must consider the likely effects on small businesses such as SCBFs since disruptions to such socioeconomically important supply chains will intensify human suffering from the pandemic. These findings of our study provide important implications for enhancing the preparedness and resilience of small-scale broiler production systems in developing countries to future pandemics and natural hazards. Abstract As in many other countries, the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, together with subsequent government containment measures, posed significant challenges to small-scale broiler production systems in Egypt. Based on a survey of 205 specialist small-scale commercial broiler farms (SCBFs) consisting of both farm-based and household-based production systems, this study identifies the primary pathways through which COVID-19 has affected SCBFs and investigates the determinants of farm perception of these effects. A polychoric principal component analysis sorted the effects of the pandemic on the SCBFs surveyed into five categories, namely, input availability, production and operational costs, labor and human resources, consumer demand and sales, and farm finances. Next, five ordered logit models were constructed to examine the determinants of the SCBFs’ perception of each category of these effects. Generally, the empirical results revealed that COVID-19 affected SCBFs heterogeneously based on their management and production systems and resource endowment. Female-led and household-based SCBFs perceived significantly greater COVID-19 effects. In contrast, individually owned farms and those with membership of poultry producer organizations and larger total asset values perceived fewer effects. In addition, SCBFs operating in both local and provincial markets were less likely to perceive negative effects from the pandemic on their broiler farming activities. Although the adoption of strict and immediate containment measures was essential for controlling the virus and protecting public health, our results indicate that policy responses to COVID-19 must consider the likely effects on small businesses such as SCBFs since disruptions to such socioeconomically important supply chains will intensify human suffering from the pandemic. Overall, our findings provide important implications for the formulation of effective strategies for mitigating the impact of COVID-19 on small-scale broiler production systems in Egypt and enhancing their preparedness and resilience to future pandemics, natural hazard risks, and market shocks.

  • Open Access
    Authors: 
    Qinglei Ji; Mo Chen; Xi Vincent Wang; Lihui Wang; Lei Feng;
    Publisher: Elsevier BV

    4D printing technology, as a new generation of Additive Manufacturing methods, enables printed objects to further change their shapes or other properties upon external stimuli. One main category of 4D printing research is 4D printed thermal Shape Memory Polymer (SMP). Its morphing process has large time delay, is nonlinear time variant, and susceptible to unpredictable disturbances. Reaching an arbitrary position with high precision is an active research question. This paper applies the Reinforcement Learning (RL) method to develop an optimal control method to perform closed loop control of the SMP actuation. Precise and prompt shape morphing is achieved compared with previous control methods using a PI controller. The training efforts of RL are further reduced by simplifying the optimal control policy using the structural property of the prior trained results. Customized protective visors against COVID-19 are fabricated using the proposed control method. © 2021 The Author(s)

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Alexander P. Henkel; Martina Caic; Marah Blaurock; Mehmet Okan;
    Countries: Netherlands, Croatia, Sweden

    PurposeBesides the direct physical health consequences, through social isolation COVID-19 affects a considerably larger share of consumers with deleterious effects for their psychological well-being. Two vulnerable consumer groups are particularly affected: older adults and children. The purpose of the underlying paper is to take a transformative research perspective on how social robots can be deployed for advancing the well-being of these vulnerable consumers and to spur robotic transformative service research (RTSR).Design/methodology/approachThis paper follows a conceptual approach that integrates findings from various domains: service research, social robotics, social psychology and medicine.FindingsTwo key findings advanced in this paper are (1) a typology of robotic transformative service (i.e. entertainer, social enabler, mentor and friend) as a function of consumers' state of social isolation, well-being focus and robot capabilities and (2) a future research agenda for RTSR.Practical implicationsThis paper guides service consumers and providers and robot developers in identifying and developing the most appropriate social robot type for advancing the well-being of vulnerable consumers in social isolation.Originality/valueThis study is the first to integrate social robotics and transformative service research by developing a typology of social robots as a guiding framework for assessing the status quo of transformative robotic service on the basis of which it advances a future research agenda for RTSR. It further complements the underdeveloped body of service research with a focus on eudaimonic consumer well-being.

  • Closed Access
    Authors: 
    Håkan Nero; M. Misini Ignjatovic; L.S. Lohmander; Leif Dahlberg;
    Publisher: Elsevier BV

    Purpose: Since 2008 Sweden has had a structured first-line face-to-face knee and hip osteoarthritis (OA) treatment program, BOA (Better management of OsteoArthritis) However, records show that this face-to-face program is underutilized and reaches only a minority of those that would benefit from it The first-line OA management program has been transformed into a digital version, Joint Academy® (JA), to facilitate implementation, scaling, increased accessibility, and improved patient adherence The smartphone application consists of video instructions distributed daily with individualized exercises for participants with knee or hip OA, as well as educational information on OA symptoms and self-management based on current international guidelines for the management of OA Each participant is assigned to a physical therapist available through asynchronous chat and telephone who supervises the participant throughout the whole program To improve chronically ill patients' health and quality of life, long-standing and continuous treatment is needed at an acceptable cost Recent evidence suggests that JA costs 25% compared to the BOA program for three months of treatment Providing patients with equal access to care necessitates availability in urban and rural areas alike This can potentially be achieved by digital delivery, but it is yet unknown if digital delivery of first-line OA treatment, compared with face-to-face, improves equal access to care The purpose of this study was to compare utilization of digital and face-to-face delivered OA treatment in the 21 different county councils of Sweden that are responsible for providing healthcare to the residents Methods: Registered patient participation in the BOA program during 2019 and 2020 was retrieved from the BOA annual reports and live statistics from the BOA website (for 2020, unknown final data retrieval data) Data from digital program participation was retrieved from the JA database (for 2020 until Nov 18th) To be included, a patient needed to have registered for the first visit in the BOA registry or have enrolled in the program by answering the first questionnaire in the JA registry Population density per county and county size were retrieved from Statistics Sweden Results were calculated and presented as users per 100 000 residents Mean and median values as well as standard deviations were calculated separately for registered participants/100 000 for BOA and JA programs, and for regions with more (n=12) or less (n=8) than 20 residents per km2 Results: In total 25652 patients from the BOA registry and 12240 patients from the JA database were included The differences between individual county councils in the number of registered program participants per 100 000 residents varied far more for the face-to-face BOA program than for the digital JA program (Table 1) This is illustrated by the ratio between the highest and lowest participation numbers/100 000 being 13 6 for BOA and 2 6 for JA, and standard deviations of 162 and 27, respectively The variability between county councils was greater for remote regions of the country with a population density below 20 per km2, than for more densely populated regions Conclusions: The results of this preliminary report suggest that digital first-line treatment, compared with the same treatment delivered face-to-face, improves equal access to recommended first-line care of OA of the knee and hip in Sweden Ongoing work aims to explore temporal changes in usage of the different platforms associated with the COVID-19 pandemic [Formula presented] [Formula presented]

  • Open Access
    Authors: 
    Stig Vinberg; Peter Danielsson;
    Publisher: Informa UK Limited

    The aim of this study is to identify how managers of micro-sized enterprises experience the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on their business operations, work-life balance and well-being. Further, the study aims to make comparisons between managers of micro-sized businesses and managers of small-sized businesses. This mixed-method study is based on qualitative interviews with ten managers of micro-sized enterprises and a questionnaire answered by 95 managers of micro-sized and small-sized enterprises in regions in the north of Sweden. Managers of micro-sized enterprises reported significantly worse scores for mental well-being, job satisfaction and life satisfaction in comparison with managers of small-sized enterprises. Three themes emerged from the qualitative analysis: Changed leadership role, Impact on private life and Impact on well-being. In the interviews, the managers of micro-sized enterprises reported that the pandemic had increased their workload and forced them to mobilise strategies for enterprise survival. This study indicates that managers of micro-sized enterprises had changed their leadership role and increased their workload and number of work tasks, including supporting the employees, developing strategies for business survival and applying for governmental support. However, the managers demonstrated creativity in finding new solutions for their enterprises. Småföretag och Covid-19 – ledares lärdomar inför framtida kriser

  • Open Access
    Authors: 
    Gianluca Sarà; Maria Cristina Mangano; M. Berlino; L. Corbari; M. Lucchese; Giacomo Milisenda; S. Terzo; M. S. Azaza; José M. F. Babarro; Rigers Bakiu; +44 more
    Publisher: Taylor & Francis
    Countries: Italy, Spain, Turkey, Norway, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Malta, Croatia, Norway

    The rapid, global spread of COVID-19, and the measures intended to limit or slow its propagation, are having major impacts on diverse sectors of society. Notably, these impacts are occurring in the context of other anthropogenic-driven threats including global climate change. Both anthropogenic stressors and the COVID-19 pandemic represent significant economic challenges to aquaculture systems across the globe, threatening the supply chain of one of the most important sources of animal protein, with potential disproportionate impacts on vulnerable communities. A web survey was conducted in 47 countries in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic to assess how aquaculture activities have been affected by the pandemic, and to explore how these impacts compare to those from climate change. A positive correlation between the effects of the two categories of drivers was detected, but analysis suggests that the pandemic and the anthropogenic stressors affect different parts of the supply chain. The immediate measurable reported losses varied with aquaculture typology (land vs. marine, and intensive vs. extensive). A comparably lower impact on farmers reporting the use of integrated multitrophic aquaculture (IMTA) methods suggests that IMTA might enhance resilience to multiple stressors by providing different market options under the COVID-19 pandemic. Results emphasize the importance of assessing detrimental effects of COVID-19 under a multiple stressor lens, focusing on areas that have already locally experienced economic loss due to anthropogenic stressors in the last decade. Holistic policies that simultaneously address other ongoing anthropogenic stressors, rather than focusing solely on the acute impacts of COVID-19, are needed to maximize the long-term resilience of the aquaculture sector. The Open Access publication of the MS was funded by M. Cristina Mangano FOE N. 418 at Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn (personal OA publication fund). People at Laboratory of Ecology have been found by the PRIN-MAHRES project (Ministry of Italian Research; MUR) 2017MHHWBN_003 Linea C and by the HARMONY Project Italy-Malta 2016 (grant C1-3.1-31) funded by the Sicilian Region and Maltese Government. A. Nogueira thanks FCT/MCTES for the financial support to CESAM (UIDP/50017/2020+UIDB/50017/2020), through national funds. J.M.F. Babarro thanks project PID2019-106008RB-C21 for support through Spanish Government funds 13 pages, 6 figures, 2 tables.-- This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License Peer reviewed