Open Access Original Research Article

Availability and Use of Information and Communication Technology by Oil Palm Farmers in the Akyemansa District, Ghana

F. K. M. Swanzy, E. K. M. Sosu, W. O. Danso

Advances in Research, Page 1-10
DOI: 10.9734/air/2020/v21i130177

The use of ICTs forms part of efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs) especially ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promote life-long learning opportunities for all. In the agricultural sector, access to the right knowledge and information in a timely manner enhances agricultural production and thus increase food production. In Ghana, several studies have reported on the access and use of ICT tools by farmers in food crop and poultry sectors, however, much work has not been done in the tree crop sector, especially the oil palm subsector.

This study sought to determine the availability and use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) by oil palm farmers in the Akyemansa District of Ghana. The primary data used in the study were collected through focus group discussions and structured questionnaires administered to 150 randomly selected oil palm farmers. Both descriptive and inferential statisticswere employed in analyzing the data. Results show that 99.00% of farmers have access to radio with very low availability and access to a computer. Chi-square test analysis showed that there was a significant difference p= (0.00 and 0.00) between farmers’ extent of access to ICTs and their use for oil palm production activities. However, there was no significant relationship p= (.8137, and .2233) between farmers extent of access to the mobile phone, radio and how often farmers used them for oil palm production. There is a need to improve organizational structures, technical and infrastructural facilities regarding ICT availability to allow more access to and use of these facilities.

Open Access Original Research Article

Enhanced Biogas Production from Anaerobic Codigestion of Lignocellulosic Waste for Efficient Bioenergy Utilization in Heating and Combustion Engine

Uduak U. Ndubuisi-Nnaji, Utibe A. Ofon, Ata O. Inyang-Enin, Georgina N. Ananso

Advances in Research, Page 11-21
DOI: 10.9734/air/2020/v21i130178

Anaerobic digestion (AD) of lignocellulosic agro-waste such as coconut husk fibre, pineapple floret and banana stem was studied using standard protocols. A combination of physical, chemical and biological Pre-treatment was performed to facilitate the anaerobic digestion process. The experiment was carried out using laboratory-scale batch bioreactors maintained at 44.5 ± 2ºC and retention time of 25 days. Biogas production, pH, total and volatile solids concentrations (TS, VS) were also measured. With a general increase in pH after Pre-treatment of all substrates, biogas yield was significantly improved by 83.1% in all codigestion assays when compared to control (untreated substrates) with highest TS and VS removal rates of 77.7% and 87.2% respectively. In terms process performance, Pre-treatment of single substrate did not significantly improve AD of single substrates (coconut husk fibre/pineapple floret) and biogas production was inhibited in pre-treated banana stem. However, the highest biogas production with corresponding TS and VS removal rates of 78.3% and 92.9% respectively were obtained from untreated banana stem. Codigestion significantly enhanced biogas production that can be utilized for heating and knowledge of appropriate Pre-treatment choice is recommended to improve bioenergy production efficiency during anaerobic digestion.

Open Access Original Research Article

Echocardiographic Findings in HIV Positive Children on Anti-retroviral Therapy Attending Routine Outpatient Infectious Disease Clinics in the Niger Delta Region of Nigeria

Chika O. Duru, Nsirimobu I. Paul, Immaculata Tunde-Oremodu

Advances in Research, Page 22-33
DOI: 10.9734/air/2020/v21i130179

Background: The aim of this study was to investigate the echocardiographic findings of stable HIV positive children on Highly Active Anti-retroviral Therapy (HAART) attending routine Paediatric Infectious disease clinics in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria.

Methods: Over a 3 month period (1st October to 31st December 2019) 71 apparently stable HIV positive children who had been on HAART for at least 3 months had a transthoracic echocardiogram done after written informed consent. A proforma containing their clinical and socioeconomic information and the echocardiographic findings was filled. Data was entered into an Excel spread sheet and analysed using SPSS 22.0.

Results: Among the 71 children studied, 34 (47.89%) were aged 6 – 10 years, 42 (59.15%) were females while 15 (26.01%) belonged to social class 3. Of the 71 participants studied, forty-four (61.97%) had abnormal echocardiographic findings on echocardiogram. Mild pulmonary regurgitation was the commonest finding and occurred in 32 (45.07%) of the patients. This was followed by Left Ventricular diastolic dysfunction (LVDD) which occurred in 9 (12.68%) patients, while Left Ventricular systolic dysfunction (LVSD) and Congenital heart defects occurred in 6 (8.45%) subjects each. There was no significant association between occurrence of echocardiographic findings and age, gender, duration of HIV disease, type of HAART and stage of disease at diagnosis and at the time of the study (p<0.05).

Conclusion: This study shows that mild pulmonary regurgitation is the commonest echocardiographic finding among stable HIV patients followed by left ventricular dysfunction. Routine baseline and intermittent echocardiography are recommended for initial evaluation and continued care for early detection and quick intervention of cardiac diseases of children with HIV disease. 

Open Access Original Research Article

Impact of Land Use Types and Seasonal Variations on Soil Physico-chemical Properties and Microbial Biomass Dynamics in a Tropical Climate, Ghana

Alex Amerh Agbeshie, Simon Abugre, Rita Adjei, Thomas Atta-Darkwa, Joseph Anokye

Advances in Research, Page 34-49
DOI: 10.9734/air/2020/v21i130180

Land use conversion significantly impact on sensitive soil quality parameters such as microbial biomass and soil microbial quotient. Therefore, soil microbial biomass and physicochemical properties were compared under three different land use systems namely agricultural land, degraded mine land and an adjacent natural forest in the Newmont Gold Ghana Limited concessional areas, Kenyasi, Ghana. In our field experimentation, an area of 300 m2 was demarcated in each land use type for soil sampling. In each of the land use type, we collected soil 5 samples at a depth of 0-15 cm in both the dry and wet seasons respectively. Parameters we measured included soil bulk density, pH, particle size distribution, organic carbon, total nitrogen, available phosphorus, microbial biomass carbon and nitrogen, and moisture content. Our results revealed that land use type significantly impacted on soil microbial biomass and physicochemical properties. Microbial biomass carbon and nitrogen was higher in the forested land compared to the agricultural land and degraded mine land, which was due to relatively higher amounts of litter inputs. Microbial biomass carbon decreased between 20.23 - 88.36% when land use changed from forested land to other land uses. Significant positive correlation was observed between soil microbial biomass and water content, soil organic carbon, phosphorus, clay, nitrogen. Generally, seasonal variation in our study area did not influence soil physical and chemical properties, however, it significantly affected microbial biomass indices. Findings of our study further revealed the importance of forested area in the maintenance of soil quality parameters.

Open Access Original Research Article

Upgradation of Existing Substation into a Smart Substation

Veena Kumari, Preetinder Singh

Advances in Research, Page 50-66
DOI: 10.9734/air/2020/v21i130181

The evolution of existing grids to smart grids for power supply is technologically the most prominent research area. It is one of the hot projects considered to contribute in national economy, also at the top priority for the country and involves hefty investments, although the entire research and development area is still immature. The work in this paper describes smart substation and its components which is fully in compliance with IEC61850 standard. It demonstrates a functional architectural framework of smart substation with its three layers. This work compares both systems and proposes a new system in single line diagram. The way to the establishment of smart fully digitized substation is although just in the initial stage in India, but work on improvement must carry on to keep up in pace with the fast growing technology especially integration of information technology for the communication between different entities. This paper presents a model of power system in case of fault how a merging unit can send information with high speed Ethernet in the form of sampled value messages. Intelligent substation can consist of various smart equipments capable of functioning instantaneously replacing the huge web of copper wires with fibre optic cables. Hence Smart substation is the first step in the implementation of smart grid.

Open Access Original Research Article

Impact of Self-efficacy and Social Support on Intention to Quit Drug Use among People with Drug Abuse Cases

Mokuolu, Bolade Olubunmi, Ajiboye Samuel Adedotun

Advances in Research, Page 67-74
DOI: 10.9734/air/2020/v21i130182

Self-efficacy and social support according to various researches have shown to be important factors in the initiation, recognition and enactment of behavioural changes. This study examines the influence of self-efficacy and social support on the intention to quit drug use among clients in some mental health settings and students in a university setting. The sampled participants in this study include 25 students of Ekiti State University, Nigeria and 60 patients drawn from different mental health settings. General self-efficacy scale was used to measure self-efficacy while multi-dimensional social support scale was used to measure social support. Intention to quit drug use was measured using the Stages of Change Readiness and Treatment Eagerness Scale (SOCRATES). The result shows that there is a significant difference between drug abusers in a mental health setting and drug abusers in a university setting on all the three dimensions of intention to quit drug use; the patients having a higher score on the three. The three dimensions of social support do not have a significant influence on intention to quit drugs while Self-efficacy has a major influence on the intention to quit drug use (Beta = .244, P<.05). From the research findings, individual characteristics like self-efficacy play a major role in therapy and on patients’ intention to quit drugs than social support but this does not negate the importance of social support in therapy. So, therapists should endeavour to assess and develop an individual's attitude to prevent relapse after treatment. More so, psycho-education is pivotal in drug use cessation when compared with the population that was not exposed to psycho-education. So, awareness about the dangers of drug abuse should not only be done in mental health settings; but also in schools and our society at large.