Publication of Four Scientific Articles by Kateb Research Center!

In order to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – SDG3: Health and Well-Being –, four scientific articles by Dr. Mohammad Yasir Essar, a researcher at Kateb Research Center, were published in international journals with the affiliation of Kateb University.

1. Scientific article entitled “Public Willingness and Hesitancy to Take the COVID-19 Vaccine in Afghanistan” was published in an ISI and prestigious journal of “The American journal of tropical medicine and hygiene” with an impact factor of 2.

Abstract:

COVID-19 has been causing a global threat to almost all countries for more than one year. Vaccination of the majority of any country’s population is considered to be an effective way of controlling the spread and mortality of this infection. Therefore, it is important to assess the public’s willingness to be vaccinated against COVID-19. In this study, we evaluated the public willingness and hesitancy to take the vaccine in Afghanistan, during December 2020 and January 2021. Sociodemographic data, awareness on vaccine production, vaccine availability, willingness and hesitancy to take the COVID-19 vaccine were collected. The Statistical Package for Social Studies (SPSS) version 25 was used for data analysis. A total of 806 complete responses were received. Majority of the respondents were ≤ 40 years old (89.8%) and male (72.7%). Less than two-thirds (509; 63%) of the participants reported willingness to take the vaccine when it becomes available, whereas almost one-third (297; 37%) of them were hesitant to take the COVID-19 vaccine. More female than male respondents were willing to take the vaccine (χ2 = 13.176, P value = 0.001). A significant portion of the public were not willing to take the COVID-19 vaccine. In a country like Afghanistan, which already has a low coverage of vaccination, this could pose a challenge for the vaccination program against COVID-19 to be effective. The Ministry of Public Health should work on public trust and change people’s mindset about vaccine reality and efficacy to prevent the rejection of this health intervention.

Link to the article.

2. Scientific article entitled “A Survey on the Health and Financial Status of Private Educational Institutions in Afghanistan During COVID-19 Pandemic” was published in as ISI and prestigious journal of “journal of multidisciplinary healthcare” with an impact factor of 2.4.

Summary of the article:

Purpose

The worldwide spread of the coronavirus named SARS-CoV-2 has disrupted the world economy and the economy of Afghanistan as part of it. In addition, it has affected health and education in the country. The aim of this study is to highlight the damage the pandemic has done to private educational institutes in Afghanistan, in terms of finances, health and educational aspects. This is to draw attention to the setbacks the COVID-19 pandemic has caused to post-war (ie, post 2001) Afghan private education.

Methods

A cross-sectional study was conducted with the help of Afghanistan’s Educational Centers Association (AECA) members to analyze the impact of the COVID-19-related lockdown. The questionnaire for the survey was distributed through SurveyMonkey to founders of educational institutes. It included basic demographics, perception of and exposure to COVID-19 by the participants and the educational and financial state of their institutions. Data analysis was conducted using SPSS software version 25.

Results

Almost all participants who completed the questionnaire were male; 82% of them were under 35 years old, the others were older. Fifty-one percent obtained their COVID-19-related information through social media. Fifty-six percent confirmed that either they themselves or employees had tested positive with COVID-19. Eighty-seven percent of their educational institutes were not conducting any online classes. Only 2% received continued payment from their students. Five percent did not pay rent for their center’s lease. Regarding the economic damage during the lockdown period (March to July 2020) they encountered, 47% reported a loss of 2000–5000$ with a decreasing amount of participants responding and an ascending amount of financial loss.

Conclusion

COVID-19 pandemic caused a significant financial and educational loss to the private educational institutes in Afghanistan. The lockdown induced by it affected students’ fees transactions, induction of online classes, substantial financial loss, and it elevated the health crisis according to the founders of private educational institutes’ reports.

Link to the article.

3. Scientific article entitled “COVID‐19 And Zika: An emerging dilemma for Brazil” was published in a prestigious journal of “Journal of Medical Virology”.

Summary of the article:

Brazil is currently facing one of the biggest public health crises in its history. It is widely accepted that the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID‐19) pandemic is testing the resilience of health systems as the demand for resources, laboratories, and task force allocation is increasing, as well as the number of cases requiring hospitalization in intensive care units (ICU). In addition, the fact that residues from previous epidemics caused by arboviruses—such as the Zika virus (ZIKV)—coexist in Brazil increases the burden health sector in the country.

The outbreak of Zika infection began in Brazil in 2015, quickly reaching many cases due to lack of access to water, sanitation, and unequal access to health care for the most impoverished families. In 2019, a total of 10 768 plausible cases of Zika infection were identified in Brazil. A few months later, in February 2020, the health system was severely hit by the first cases of COVID‐19 in the country. The absence of stricter social distance measures made the disease spread more quickly in Brazil, placing the country as one of the most affected nations in the world, with more than 270 thousand deaths and 10 million COVID‐19 cases in early March 2021.

As the contagion curve of coronavirus grows sharply, the pandemic increases the burden already imposed by Zika on the Brazilian public health system. The similarities in the clinical presentations of these two diseases, illustrated in Table 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 aggravate this situation since the initial stages of Zika correspond to the clinical manifestations of SARS‐CoV2 infection, makes the diagnostic approach more difficult. Therefore, there may be a delay in diagnosis and appropriate treatment, worsening clinical outcomes and potentially increasing the spread of infection. Diagnostic delay due to overlapping symptoms of COVID‐19 and other infectious diseases, such as Dengue, and Typhoid fever, has also been reported in India and Pakistan, where the similarity between COVID‐19 symptoms and these diseases has led to their underdiagnosis.

Link to the article.

4. Scientific article entitled “COVID-19 disruption to medicine supply in Bangladesh: Searching for a solution to drug shortages” was published in the prestigious journal of “Public Health in Practice”

Summary of the article:

The pharmaceutical industry in Bangladesh is one of the largest sectors to bring in foreign currency. According to the Bangladesh Association of Pharmaceutical Industries (BAPI) and Directorate General of Drug Administration (DGDA), approximately 98% of the domestic demand for pharmaceutical products is supplied by local manufacturers, with the foreign market responsible for only 2% of the products produced. However, approximately 95% of all active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) that are needed for domestic production come from other countries, such as China, South Korea and India. Because of this dependency, circumstances where governments limit exports, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, can substantially impact the production capacity of pharmaceutical industries and, as a result, an increase in price is seen for both the raw materials and medicines themselves. In addition, the government restrictions and blockages can lead to the temporary closure of factories and interrupt the distribution and sale of medicines, thus increasing demand and, consequently, prices.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, a substantial decline was seen in the pharmaceutical industry in Bangladesh, with reduced expansion in the life-saving drug market. As in other countries around the world, where the impending shortage of essential medicines during the pandemic has impacted the health and quality of life of the population, drug shortage in Bangladesh has become a growing problem due to lockdowns and increasing demand. Currently, the demand for antimalarials, antibiotics, painkillers, medicines for common colds and vitamins is up by 70%, which has resulted in the shortage of these drugs and a price increase of more than 50% for these medicines. The medicine shortage is also seen for essential drugs that treat non-communicable diseases, such as diabetes and hypertension, whose treatment was a challenge in Bangladesh, even before the pandemic. As a result, mortality in Bangladesh could be further exacerbated, as the burden of deaths caused by COVID-19 may be compounded by the increased deaths due to the shortage of essential drugs, making it impossible for the industry to fill the gap produced by the lethal virus.

Link to the article.

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2021-10-25