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    Surviving the turbulence: a retrospective account of designedpolicies for mitigating the spread of COVID-19 in Ghana
    (Taylor and Francis, 2023) Assibey, Ginn Bonsu; https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8646-6404
    Several policies were designed during the COVID-19 pandemic to control the virus from spreading. However, little is known about the nature of the designed policies and how the citizens lived with the designed policies in Ghana. This paper attempts a retrospective exploratory account of the COVID-19 policies in Ghana through an amalgamation lens of design matrix and activity theory from 15March to 10 July 2020. The population for the study was the COVID-19 policies adopted by Ghana. Out of 16 countries in West Africa with COVID-19 cases, Ghana was selected due to the online avail-ability of its COVID-19 policies and the fact that the policies were in English. Content analysis was used to gather data on Ghana COVID-19 policies and innovative scenarios used for living with the designed policies. The results show that the designed policies adopted a top down approach and were difficult for the citizens to live with but most were adjusted later, which triggered social and economic challenges for the citizens and were to some extent mitigated by the government and the citizens through innovations. Therefore, the government should leverage ideas from the citizens and engage social designers in policy design through the proposed hybrid-designed model.
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    Shared genetic risk between major orofacial cleft phenotypes in an African population
    (Genetic Epidemiology, 2024) Alade, Azeez; Tabitha, Peter; Busch, Tamara; Awotoye, Waheed; Anand, Deepti; Gowans, Lord J. J.; et.al...; 0000-0003-0080-9101
    Nonsyndromic orofacial clefts (NSOFCs) represent a large proportion (70%–80%) of all OFCs. They can be broadly categorized into nonsyndromic cleft lip with or without cleft palate (NSCL/P) and nonsyndromic cleft palate only (NSCPO). Although NSCL/P and NSCPO are considered etiologically distinct, recent evidence suggests the presence of shared genetic risks. Thus, we investigated the genetic overlap between NSCL/P and NSCPO using African genome‐wide association study (GWAS) data on NSOFCs. These data consist of 814 NSCL/P, 205 NSCPO cases, and 2159 unrelated controls. We generated common single‐nucleotide variants (SNVs) association summary statistics separately for each phenotype (NSCL/P and NSCPO) under an additive genetic model. Subsequently, we employed the pleiotropic analysis under the composite null (PLACO) method to test for genetic overlap. Our analysis identified two loci with genome‐wide significance (rs181737795 [p = 2.58E−08] and rs2221169 [p = 4.5E−08]) and one locus with marginal significance (rs187523265 [p = 5.22E−08]). Using mouse transcriptomics data and information from genetic phenotype databases, we identified MDN1, MAP3k7, KMT2A, ARCN1, and VADC2 as top candidate genes for the associated SNVs. These findings enhance our understanding of genetic variants associated with NSOFCs and identify potential candidate genes for further exploration.
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    Synthesis of magnesium oxide from waste magnesium-rich Cucurbita pepo (pumpkin) seeds
    (Sustainable Environment, 2023-09-21) Agyapong, Patience Oduroa; Gikunoo, Emmanuel; Arthur, Emmanuel Kwesi; Anang, Daniel Adjah; Agyemang, Frank Ofori; Foli, Gordon; Baah, Douglas Siaw
    Recent studies have focused on the processing of biowaste to obtain added value and to reduce organic waste in the general stream. This study investigated the synthesis of magnesium oxide (MgO) from magnesium-rich Cucurbita pepo (pumpkin) seeds for a precursor solution as a reducing agent via an eco-friendly method for the first time. The pumpkin seeds were ashed at 550°C for 6 h and subjected to acid-leaching. Mg(OH) 2 M NaOH. The Mg(OH) 2 was then precipitated using an aqueous solution of 2.0 was then calcined at 550°C for 4 h to obtain MgO. Physicochemical properties (i.e. proximate analysis, elemental composition, electrical conductivity (EC), pH) and selected heavy metals (i.e. Pb, Fe, As, Cd, Cr, Hg, Cu, and Ni) analyses were conducted on the seed samples and as-synthesized MgO. X-ray fluorescence (XRF), X-ray diffraction (XRD), Fourier- transform infrared (FTIR), citric acid test (CAT), and acid neutralization capacity (ANC) tests were techniques used to characterize the synthesized MgO. The results revealed the percentage yield of the MgO to be 23%. The pH of the as-synthesized MgO was recorded as 10.63. XRF studies showed that MgO made up 75.1% of the total weight synthesized. XRD results showed the presence of crystalline cubic structures of MgO. FTIR results showed a peak at 584 cm −1 which confirmed the formation of MgO. The produced MgO was highly reactive, with a CAT time of 2 s. The ANC of the MgO was high at 22.77 mol + /kg. Also, metal concentrations such as Fe, Cu, Cd, Ni, Pb, Hg, As, and Cr in MgO were below the WHO stipulated limits of 350, 36, 0.8, 35, 85, 0.03, 40, and 100, respectively. This implies its suitability for soil remediation purposes. Results indicate that the as-synthesized MgO from Cucurbita pepo (C. pepo) seeds could be used for several applications due to its high alkalinity, reactivity, and fast CAT time.
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    Physicochemical evaluation of okra residue obtained after pectin extraction
    (International Journal of Food Properties, 2023) Williams, Gifty; De-Souza, Leonard D.K.; Kpodo, Fidelis M.; Agbenorhevi, Jacob K.; 0000-0002-6077-0854; 0000-0002-7949-0502; 0000-0002-8516-7656
    This study aimed to evaluate the physicochemical properties of okra residue obtained after pectin extraction from three okra genotypes (Asha, Balabi, and Agbagoma). The okra residue was oven-dried. Proximate analysis and functional properties were determined using standard AOAC methods, whereas mineral content was determined using atomic absorption spectroscopy. Phenolics and antioxidant capacity were determined using the FolinCiocalteu and DPPH methods. The okra pectin extraction residues were rich in carbohydrates (70.0–71.7%) and ash (19.55–21.9%), but had relatively low proteins (0.87–3.62%) and moisture (4.71–5.94%) contents. The okra residue samples had high potassium (8.59–9.27 mg/100 g) and sodium (.380– 3.93 mg/100 g) contents. The solubility index for the varieties ranged from 18% to 25%, whiles swelling power ranged from 8% (Balabi) to 10% (Asha). The pectin extraction by-products showed high water absorption (546% to 617%) and oil absorption (216% to 318%) capacities. Residues from all okra genotypes demonstrated antioxidant activity (7.13–15.15%) and contained varied amounts of phenolic compounds (13.85–33.58 mg GAE/100 g). The results showed that okra residue obtained after pectin extraction has high nutritive and functional values, and could be exploited for other economic utilization instead of discarded as waste.
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    Integration of Advanced Metering Infrastructure for Mini-Grid Solar PV Systems in Off-Grid Rural Communities (SoAMIRural)
    (Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute (MDPI), 2023) Duah, Daniel Y.A.; Marful, Alexander Boakye; https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6526-9137; https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9663-8890
    Solar energy is considered a promising source of power generation in sub-Saharan Africa due to the high sunshine in these areas. Deploying decentralised solar-powered mini-grid systems to provide access to electricity in rural areas is fraught with difficulties in accurately predicting consumption, automatic monitoring, and operation sustainability to support the socio-economic conditions of rural communities. This study proposed SoAMIRural, which integrates solar PV minigrid and advanced metering infrastructure for rural communities. SoAMIRural was implemented and tested for a case study community in Ghana. Solar PV Selection Equation Matrix (SPSEM) and Sample Size Equation (SSE) were used to determine the sustainable demand generation capacity of 24 kVA. Load estimations and need assessments were conducted to ascertain the rural community’s electric load and priority needs. SoAMIRural was evaluated with an error margin of 5%, resulting in 95% accuracy in energy consumption threshold management and monitoring to ensure energy conservation and sustainability of the mini-grid system. This study maps out a conceptual framework for a smart solar PV mini-grid system for rural communities and its advantages in realising SDG 7 in Ghana by 2030.