A few years ago, Bonny Wolf told a great story on NPR that goes something like this:In Chicago, a friend cuts off the end of roast beef before she cooks it. She does it because her mother does it. Her mother does it because her grandmother did it. So one day, the friend asks her grandmother why for years she has cut the end off the roast beef. The reason? Her grandmother says, “because my pan is too small.”I love this story because it tells us so much of how humans think. We often do as we have always done out of tradition or habit or imitation without questioning why. We move within our personal frames of reference, over and over, back and forth, until our ways are ingrained and unquestioned.Established nonprofits and companies create cultures that inadvertently lock in this dynamic. It is a very hard thing to resist the comfort of checking the same boxes without even asking how they got there. Each of my children went through a phase where they asked “why?” about every last thing. It has passed. Things get familiar and they don’t feel the need to pose the question. I think familiarity is one of the biggest barriers to innovation. It’s why we pay for fresh eyes – like consultants. – to ask “why?”In the spirit of rejecting the familiar frame we’re given, here are four questions to ask yourself before you check the same old box:1. Why did we start doing this activity?2. What underlying purpose does this activity serve?3. If it’s because of problem, is there a way to solve its root cause and prevent even needing to do the activity in the first place?4.If it’s because of an opportunity, is there a way to go bigger?The box may not be needed after all. There may be better ways to spend your time.
In addition to your ongoing fundraising, advocacy and communication activities, there are times throughout the year when you need to lead your members through a series of actions. Whether it’s communication-list building, hitting a fundraising target to support a new program or structure, or gathering support for a community initiative (to name a few possibilities), you’ll get the most bang for your buck by conducting a targeted fundraising campaign. We’ve put together a step by step guide to the outreach,tracking, follow-up and other activities necessary to reach your goals. Download the free guide: Fundraising Campaign in a Box
I’m a big fan of Heather Yandow from Third Space Studio. Heather produces a labor of love for small and mighty nonprofits: The Individual Donor Benchmark Report (IDBR). The IDBR highlights fundraising data trends for nonprofit organizations with annual budgets under $2 million. If you’d like to share your organization’s data for the next IDBR, please visit Heather’s website for more info.Keep reading this post to discover why the IDBR’s data is so valuable and to collect a few nuggets of wisdom from Heather about donor data.What is the IDBR and why should organizations care about the findings?Heather Yandow (HY): The Individual Donor Benchmark Report digs into the fundraising data of small and mighty nonprofits, those with annual budgets under $2 million.It’s a best practice that nonprofits need to set goals, track outcomes, and learn from past performance. But collecting and analyzing data in a vacuum only gives part of the picture. Organizations also need to the ability to measure the impact of their fundraising and compare it other organizations like theirs, as well as to the larger sector. That’s why we created the Individual Donor Benchmark Project.There is no other benchmarking resource for smaller organizations with individual donor fundraising programs. Simply put, the IDBR is a resource for nonprofits to see how they stack up. It helps answer questions like:Where is our fundraising doing well?What parts of our fundraising program might need a little more attention?What experiments could we try to improve our fundraising program? What data do you need to have in order to participate in the research?HY: We’ve tried to streamline the data organizations need to participate to only the most critical metrics. To participate, you’ll need to report numbers like:Organizational revenue and expensesTotal amount of individual donor revenue and number of donorsAmount raised online and number of online donorsYou can preview of the full set of questions on this site .We’ve also decided that none of the questions are required. So, if you are unable to answer a question or two (or five), that’s okay! Set aside one hour to dig into your data. You’d be surprised how much you can accomplish with one focused hour! And you might just get on a roll and keep going. Now, for something fun. On a scale from 1-10, how much do you love data?HY: I’m probably an eight. I do love data and spend a good bit of my time collecting data, training about data, and helping organization harness the power of data. But to be a ten, I think I’d have to be this guy. I’m not there yet! What are common challenges orgs face when trying to access the data they need and how can they overcome these challenges?HY: The most common challenge is that organizations don’t have a database that they know and love. For some, it’s hard to get data out of their system. For others, they don’t trust the data they do access.Here are four tips to help you start gathering this data:Take a look at this year’s survey questions. Print them out and identify what data you can easily find (like last year’s total income) and what might take a little more time to figure out (like retention rate). If you run into problems, know that you can skip a question or two on the survey. I know that sometimes a number just isn’t easily available, so you can just leave that question blank.From Network for Good: Don’t have a user-friendly donor database that can help you store, access, and analyze your donor data? Network for Good’s new donor management system is everything you need and nothing you don’t. Check it out now! Last year’s big finding was about how much more money organizations raised when they had a fundraising plan. Are you looking into that again this year or are you trying to determine new/different factors that contribute to fundraising success/misses?HY: Both! We are definitely digging in to our finding that a fundraising plan is the secret to individual donor success. To start, we want to get a better understanding of what a typical fundraising plan looks like. Does it include an annual development calendar? An analysis of the previous year? We’re hoping that getting more specific information will help identify the critical parts of the fundraising plan.At the same time, we will also be looking into other factors that may contribute to fundraising success, like Board participation in fundraising or the number of meetings organizations hold with donors and potential donors.If organizations want to participate in your research, what’s in it for them and how can they sign up?It’s easy to be part of the survey! Just visit http://www.thirdspacestudio.com/idbproject/ to learn more and start the survey.As a thank you for being part of the survey, you will receive:a results reports as well as the complete survey results to share with your colleagues and Boardan invitation to a special webinar just for survey participants to dig into the resultsa copy of official Individual Donor Benchmark Report and Infographica chance to win one of 50 coveted consultations with Ravela Insights, experts in donor data analytics, database strategy, and prospect identificationa chance to win one of five Grassroots Institute for Fundraising Training prize packs with a subscription to the Grassroots Fundraising Journal as well as a book from the Kim Klein Fundraising Series Consider all the many ways that you might get the data you need. Your database may produce a perfect report – but it might not! You may need to take a closer look at your data by putting it into Excel. Or, you might need to look at the report from your online payment processor to find information about online gifts and monthly donations.
Posted on April 26, 2013March 13, 2017By: Sarah Blake, MHTF consultantClick to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)The latest in the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Knowledge Summary series highlights the potential for integration of immunization services with other reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health. This summary, “Integrating Immunizations and Other Services for Women and Children,” was prepared by IDEAS. As with the series as a whole, it synthesizes scientific evidence into a brief, user-friendly format so that key findings can inform policy and practice.From the introduction to the “Integrating Immunizations” knowledge summary:The Expanded Program on Immunizations (EPI) has dramatically decreased childhood morbidity and mortality since its introduction in 1974, and now reaches over 85% of the world’s children. Some countries and regions are still working to achieve high coverage, however, and many non-vaccine programs have not gained the same traction needed for maximum impact. Integrating service delivery, for example, health service providers could use the opportunity of immunizing a child to provide nutrition and family planning services for the parents, can provide a program foundation through which broad services can be equitably provided as well as give a beneficial boost to EPI coverage. While integration requires thoughtful and measured planning, the potential impact for families and communities is great.For the full series, including summaries on child marriage, the economic benefits of investments in maternal and child health and midwifery, visit PMNCH’s RMNCH knowledge portal.Share this: ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read:
Here at Network for Good, we’re continuously innovating our platform. The best way we do this is by immersing ourselves in the lives of our nonprofit users to understand the everyday problems they are trying to solve.Last week, during a quarterly business review meeting in Baltimore, our team was challenged to meet with local nonprofits to help them drive awareness and increase funds. Below are the cliff notes from the day:The ChallengeWe arrived in Baltimore at 9AM on Wednesday, July 19. We broke into five teams and were given a task: find a nonprofit and help them fundraise leveraging the “Jobs to be Done” philosophy around functional, social, and emotional drivers. The team that raises the most, wins.The results: $7,360. In a single day.That’s $7,360 that went to five local nonprofits: Wide Angle Youth Media, Holistic Life Foundation, Playworks Maryland, Women’s Housing Coalition, and University of Maryland Baltimore.As we got to know these five nonprofits and the people who lead them, four lessons stood out. We thought we would share them in a new Blog Series to help you prepare for giving season.Here’s what we learned:1. Giving is an emotional act.We quickly learned the real-life value of emotionally driven appeals. Most of the donations we collected were from people who had an emotional connection to us. We had greater luck raising funds from text messages to our personal network than asking for donation on the streets – although we did both! This builds the case for the power behind peer-to-peer fundraising.2. Not all nonprofits are created equal, but they all face time and capacity challenges.Each nonprofit we helped had their own set of challenges to overcome. Some had more limited resources than others. Some had a lot of pressure on them to fundraise in order to serve their clients, while others needed more strategic help. But what they all had in common was time and capacity challenges and the need for systems that would solve this problem.3. All of them wonder, “Are we doing enough?”All of the nonprofits we worked with that day shared concerns about their funding and sustainability. They wondered if they were doing enough to diversity their funding strategy. Creating a sustainable individual giving program and having the right mix of individual giving and additional funding sources are continual concerns.4. There’s nothing like the power of a team.When we set out to raise as much as we could in just one day, we quickly learned that we were all motivated to win the challenge because we all knew what we were working towards. We saw this at the nonprofits too, and believe those with a strong strategy were able to rally their troops and others around their cause more easily.Check back next week as we dive into the first lesson, on how you can leverage the emotional connection when developing your appeals this giving season.
Let them know you care about more than their wallets. A good direct mail campaign is part of a comprehensive communication strategy. Ensure you are communicating with your community year-round, sharing the successes made possible through their support. Invite donors and potential donors to participate in events, volunteer, receive your newsletter, or follow your blog. But you should still respect their wishes. Give them the opportunity to ‘opt out’ of communications they don’t want, while still receiving the ones they do.Direct mail still matters. Take the time to be strategic and intentional with your direct mail efforts and you will see return on your investment. Your community will grow and your fundraising results will increase. Build a campaign page on your website that mirrors the core message of your letter.Shoot a brief, 2-minute video to share on social media.Send an email that will arrive within a few days of the expected letter arrival.Write a blog post that speaks to the same core message that is within your email appeal.Plan social media posts in and around the letter timing, to lift the message.The days of a one-and-done letter being effective are gone. When you are sick of hearing the message, it will begin to penetrate your audience. Make it as easy as possible for them to reply. Include a self-addressed envelope with postage on it if you can. (A U.S. Postal Service indicia makes it easy and allows you to only pay for those that are returned.) Also, make it easy for them to give online by including a direct and memorable URL that goes directly to your donation page. Make a compelling case and cast donors as the heroes. It is one thing to ask for money and quite another to invite people to join you in making a real difference. Are you ‘selling to them’ in your letter or offering them an amazing opportunity to partner with you for change? Think about what your donors care about and use your letter as a place to explain what you are doing about it. And a good direct mail appeal will answer the questions, “What’s in it for me?” and “Why should I care?” for the donor. Test and measure. After a campaign’s completed, take time to learn from it. Review your results, process what you’ve learned, and respond to feedback.Find out the percentage of people who responded and how many gave online as a direct response. This is easy to track if you have a branded donation page and have analytics on your website. If you don’t yet have these capabilities, then determine if you had an increase in online donations while your campaign was happening.Need a donor management system or branded donation page to help you track your campaigns? Talk to us!Other good questions to ask include:What number of donors responded to each list?What was the average gift size?What did you spend on the production and mailing vs. the return received? Keep it simple and be concise. People are scanners. When they open your letter, if it is a sea of black type with no ‘design,’ they’ll lay it down and never read it. Or, they’ll just scan the first sentence of a few paragraphs and miss your core message.Just like a good sauce needs to be boiled down, reduce your message to as few words as possible. That means edit, then edit again. Use short paragraphs and bullet points. And always include a call-out box or a P.S. that hits your main point, as these are always read first. Cut through the clutter with layered messaging. From emails and text messages to Facebook posts, we are constantly bombarded with information. That’s why it is important for you to develop a layered communication strategy to compliment your direct mail campaign. Here are a few ideas: A solid development plan used to rise and set around direct mail, and while there are many new fundraising channels available today, direct mail can and should still be an important part of your plan. Here are seven steps to executing an effective direct plan campaign that’s also integrated into your overall communication and fundraising strategy.Begin with good data. Solid data management is the bedrock of effective direct mail. We all know how easy it is personalize content, so never start a letter “Dear friend.” People who receive your piece should feel like they are on a first-name basis with your organization. As best as you can, track relationships: Bob and Jane are married (Mr. & Mrs.), but Jane and Tom are mother and son (not Mr. and Mrs.). Try to capture birthdates so that a 5-year-old event participant doesn’t get an appeal.Data can also help you personalize what your piece says. For consistent givers, start by thanking them for their ongoing support. For those who have lapsed, make a compelling case for why they should come back. For those that have never given, draw them into your mission and let them know that even a small gift makes a big difference.
ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on May 14, 2015August 8, 2016Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)We are excited to present a new feature on the MHTF website: the organizations search.We have created a database of maternal health organizations to help foster connections and build partnerships between groups working on similar issues. There are many diverse organizations around the world working on maternal health, and this new tool will help you connect with them!The organizations database grew out of the maternal health mapping project, part of phase 1 of the MHTF. As more and more organizations added themselves to the map, it became difficult to find anyone! The new search-based interface enables easy access to the information.We want to hear from you! Test out the new organizations search feature and let us know what you think. If your organization is not included in the search, but you would like it to be, please fill out the information form. We would be happy to add you!Share this:
Watch experts share their insights from GMNHC 2015 and ideas for next steps in maternal newborn health | Global Maternal Newborn Health: Current Progress and Future DirectionsNews stories from GMNHC 2015:UN set new targets to protect more moms, babiesCCTV America | June 2016Gates, Slim target maternal, newborn health in Central AmericaMichael O’Boyle, Reuters | October 2015Are we winning against maternal and infant mortality?Azad Essa, Al Jazeera | October 2015Q&A: Mother-infant health progress requires no magicAzad Essa, Al Jazeera | October 2015Melinda Gates’ keys to leadership (Las claves de Melinda Gates para el liderazgo)CNN TV | October 2015Melinda Gates: Still work to do in maternal, newborn healthChristopher Sherman, Associated Press | October 2015For more information, please visit:GMNHC 2015 websiteMHTF blog seriesMHTF events pageCommentary on the PLOS blog—Watch other videos from the MHTF.Don’t miss out on special announcements about upcoming events! Subscribe to receive updates from the MHTF.Share this: Political leadership should act on strong scientific evidence and empower the public.Global and national health communities must integrate strategies, services and funding streams.Reaching the most vulnerable, including adolescents, is an urgent priority.Maternal newborn survival efforts should improve maternal morbidities, stillbirths and child development.Increasing investments to improve quality of maternal newborn health services is necessary.Providers have an obligation to treat women with compassion and respect.Universal access to integrated sexual and reproductive health care is essential.Addressing gaps in measurement, information and accountability is key for assessing progress.Sharing success in maternal newborn health is an opportunity to strengthen health programs.Supporting all providers, especially midwives, is imperative. ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Did you miss the conference? Videos of many of the sessions are available for you to watch online:Welcome Event | Julio Frenk, Christopher Elias, Pablo Kuri Morales, Ariel Pablos-Méndez, Geeta Rao GuptaOpening Ceremony | Ana Langer, Mercedes Juan López, Melinda Gates, Babatunde OsotimehinKeynote Address | Hans RoslingThe Next Frontier: Approaches to Advance the Quality of Maternal Newborn Health Care | Ana Langer, Richard Horton, Fernando Althabe, Address Malata, Mouzinho Saide, Vinod PaulBenefiting Mothers and Newborns through Integrated Care | Koki Agarwal, Zulfiqar Bhutta, Joy Lawn, Nosa Orobaton, Jane Otai, Pronita Rani Raha, José VillarAddressing Equity and Reaching the Most Vulnerable Mothers and Newborns | Joy Riggs-Perla, Alain Damiba, Carolyn Miles, Anuradha Gupta, Cesar Victora, Alicia Ely YaminFAIL: First Attempt in Learning – Learning from What Doesn’t Work in Maternal and Newborn Health | Katja Iversen, Priya Agarawal, Sharad Agarwal, France Donnay, Margaret Kruk, Richard HortonMeasurement and Accountability: Better Data for Better Decision Making | Robert Clay, Muhammad Baharuddin, Agbessi Amouzou, Shams El Arifeen, Peter WaiswaFunding for Impact: Global Financing for Maternal and Newborn Health | Katie Taylor, Ariel Pablos-Méndez, Roberto Tapia Conyer, Dinesh Nair, Mariam Claeson, Charles MwansamboClosing Ceremony | Mary Nell Wegner, Mary Kinney, Katja Iversen, Mary Mwanyika-Sando, Koki Agarwal, Joy Riggs-Perla, Ana Langer Posted on October 18, 2016January 6, 2017By: Sarah Hodin, Project Coordinator II, Women and Health Initiative, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public HealthClick to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Exactly one year has passed since the 2015 Global Maternal Newborn Health Conference, an event organized by the Maternal Health Task Force (MHTF) in collaboration with USAID’s flagship Maternal and Child Survival Program, Saving Newborn Lives at Save the Children and other partners. Researchers, policymakers, funders, implementers and other stakeholders from around the world gathered in Mexico City to share new evidence, identify knowledge and implementation gaps, build inter-disciplinary consensus and discuss strategies for integrating and improving global maternal newborn health.Conference participants proposed ten critical actions necessary to create momentum for maternal newborn health:
ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on November 21, 2017November 21, 2017By: Nicole Sijenyi Fulton, Team Leader, Options Consultancy Services Ltd.Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)As project managers and organizational leaders, many of us oversee programs that strengthen the public sector to deliver high quality maternal and newborn health (MNH) services. Our efforts depend heavily on the functionality of the health workforce in the countries where we work.But what happens when public sector health workers are on strike? Health facilities in low-income countries often close down completely during industrial action, disrupting what can be the only health system accessible to poor individuals. This can have especially severe consequences for pregnant women and their newborns. When the public health workforce is not operating, many women and their families must choose between having a risky home delivery with an unskilled provider, going to an unaffordable private hospital or crossing the border into a neighboring territory.Public sector health workers go on strike for many reasons, usually as a last resort. In resource-poor settings, major staffing shortages are widespread, making individual workloads unsustainable. Supervision is often poor with limited access to training and development. Robust management systems are rarely in place, and health workers miss opportunities for career progression and salary adjustments over many years. Under these circumstances, doctors, nurses and other health professionals pursue collective bargaining not only for themselves, but in the long-term interests of the communities they serve.Over the past year, Kenya’s public health system has faced numerous strikes of multiple cadres, including nurses and clinical officers, sometimes for several months at a time. The latest national nurses’ strike lasted from June to October 2017. During these extended periods, most public dispensaries and health centers close their doors. Some hospitals remain open on a limited basis, but even when they do, service uptake drops dramatically and mortality rises. Recent media coverage in Kenya has indicated a potential doubling of maternal deaths during the recent nurses’ strike.While political action is underway, what can health program managers do to prevent maternal and newborn deaths? MNH programs in Bungoma, Kenya have revealed effective strategies for safeguarding the health of pregnant women and newborns under challenging circumstances.Supporting the faith-based sectorFor most poor families, the faith-based sector is the only option for facility delivery when the public sector closes because other private sector facilities tend to be too expensive. This trend is exemplified by shifts in where cesarean sections take place during and after strike periods in Bungoma, Kenya:Source: Kenya District Health Information System (DHIS2)This influx of patients creates an unmanageable workload for health workers and affects the quality of care they are able to provide.Programs can provide targeted support to health facilities in the faith-based sector in several areas:Procurement of essential drugs, supplies and equipment to ensure that over-crowded facilities can maintain high quality services during surges in patient volume.Mentorship programs for emergency obstetric and newborn care can be implemented so that nurses from public facilities on strike can practice their skills while assisting with staffing needs.Financial support to help offset higher operating costs.Program adaptationWhen health workers go on strike, health programs must adapt in the following ways:Fail fast. Learn from failure and move on quickly. Regular reviews of routine data will quickly point to a health system that is not working during a health worker strike and can offer clues for adjustment.Support decentralized decision-making. The staff who are closest to the ground are the ones who see the problems and the solutions most clearly—but they are often too far away from decision-making authority to change a programming approach without extensive consultation. Breaking down these barriers speeds up the change process.Be ready. After one strike ends, another one might be on the horizon. With each cycle, learn and adapt for the future.In the long term, health system reforms are needed to support the health workforce and equip it with sufficient resources to provide high quality care. In the meantime, program managers can play a critical role in ensuring quality MNH services are available during health worker strikes. Women are counting on us to roll up our sleeves, think creatively and work together to keep essential services available.—Read other posts from the Maternal Health Task Force (MHTF)’s Global Maternal Health Workforce blog series.Browse maternal health organizations working in Kenya.Interested in writing for the MHTF blog? Check out our guest post guidelines.Share this:
Posted on December 13, 2017December 13, 2017By: Sarah Hodin, Project Coordinator II, Women and Health Initiative, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public HealthClick to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)What do we know?One of the strongest predictors of a woman’s likelihood of having a cesarean delivery is whether she has had one with a previous pregnancy. Vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) has been a contentious area in medicine for decades. Studies have demonstrated an association between VBAC and ruptured uterus and neonatal morbidity. However, repeat cesarean delivery also carries increased risks of complications such as placenta accreta in future pregnancies.When done in an appropriate context with the necessary resources in place, VBAC can have high rates of success. Evidence suggest that the relative risks associated with VBAC and repeat elective cesarean delivery are comparable among low-risk women. In addition to clinical risk factors, there are several elements that can influence a woman’s decision to attempt a VBAC including providers’ beliefs and practices, hospital-level and national policies, limited resources, lack of information, health insurance reimbursement and concerns about malpractice litigation.Clinical guidelines related to VBAC decision-making and management are inconsistent across hospitals and countries, and most of the research on the safety of and indications for VBAC has been conducted in high-income countries (HICs).Expanding the conversationOver the past few decades, cesarean section rates have increased dramatically in virtually every part of the world—including in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). As global cesarean rates rise, more and more women will be faced with a dilemma: “Do I attempt a VBAC or choose a repeat cesarean?” Weighing the risks and benefits of these choices becomes even more complicated in health facilities that do not meet basic requirements for safe surgery.More evidence from diverse settings is needed to understand the complexity surrounding VBAC in the global context. Very few studies on this topic have been conducted in LMICs, and findings from HICs may not always apply to different populations and health systems. For example, in some cases, the process of assessing whether a women is a good candidate for VBAC might incorporate facility-level factors such as the availability of safe anesthesia, a sterile operating room and a properly trained surgeon. In HICs, these issues are often not considered relevant in conversations about VBAC.Obstetricians, midwives and other maternal health care providers around the globe must be trained and equipped to safely conduct cesarean deliveries when needed, carefully monitor attempted VBACs to prevent complications and help women to make informed decisions about which option is best for them and their babies.—Explore the Maternal Health Task Force (MHTF)’s mini-series, “The Global Epidemic of Unnecessary Cesarean Sections” [Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3]Read the report from a technical meeting that the MHTF hosted with the Fistula Care Plus Project, “Cesarean Section Safety and Quality in Low Resource Settings.”Subscribe to receive new posts from the MHTF blog in your inbox.Share this: ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read:
“Our intention in this reform of the exit exam, coming out of the primary system, is largely to ensure that we are better preparing our students for the next level of the education system, which is the secondary system. We want every student to have the opportunity to go right up to grade 13 and forward to university,” he added. Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid, says the Primary Exit Profile (PEP), scheduled to commence in the 2018/2019 academic year, will help to tailor learning to meet the needs of all students, particularly those with special requirements. Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid, says the Primary Exit Profile (PEP), scheduled to commence in the 2018/2019 academic year, will help to tailor learning to meet the needs of all students, particularly those with special requirements.“The profile [PEP] will allow us to identify the strengths and weaknesses of our students, and so we can customise our teaching and learning strategies… . So it’s going to be a very holistic, inclusive-type education system dealing with special needs as well as exceptional students. We can take care of those at the very top and those who are in need of support at the bottom,” Mr. Reid said.“Our intention in this reform of the exit exam, coming out of the primary system, is largely to ensure that we are better preparing our students for the next level of the education system, which is the secondary system. We want every student to have the opportunity to go right up to grade 13 and forward to university,” he added.Senator Reid was speaking at the final PEP town hall for the year held on December 19 at the Karl Hendrickson Auditorium at Jamaica College in St. Andrew.PEP, which will replace the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) as the national secondary school entrance test, is intended to provide a better and more complete profile of students’ academic and critical-thinking capabilities at the end of primary-level education.It comprises a Performance Task Test, Ability Task Test and a Curriculum-Based Test.PEP will be rolled out on a phased basis beginning in September 2018, with students who are now in grade five to be the first cohort. They will do only the Grade Six components in 2019.Students who are currently in grade four will do their Grade Five Performance Task in 2019, and in 2020 they will do the Grade Six components.Students who are currently in grade three will be the first cohort that will have a complete profile generated. This means that they will do the Grade Four Performance Task section in 2019, Grade Five Performance Task in 2020 and all Grade Six components in 2021.PEP grades will be made available to schools in the third week of June every year.Minister Reid said PEP will prepare the nation’s children to be critical thinkers with good analytical and problem-solving skills.He said the profile will better align with the objectives of the Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).Minister Reid expressed confidence “in the ability of the Ministry based on the systems that we’ve put in place for us to be able to complete all the work (that) we have to do in terms of the final assessments and the final profile.”“I expect a very smooth landing as we commence the roll-out of PEP in 2019,” he said. Story Highlights PEP, which will replace the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) as the national secondary school entrance test, is intended to provide a better and more complete profile of students’ academic and critical-thinking capabilities at the end of primary-level education.
The downloading of illicit content from the internet in France is decreasing, while the consumption of legal content is growing, according to the latest survey by the Hadopi, the authority charged with implementing France’s antipiracy law.According to the survey, 78% of users now download legal content exclusively, , up from 71% in December 2011, while 15% use illegitimate sites, a lower proportion than previously. In total, 87% use legitimate sites. However, while the illicit consumption of music, images, video games and books has been decreasing, the consumption of TV shows and films is still giving cause for concern, with 21% admitting to accessing TV series from illicit sites and 24% accessing films and videos illicitly.
Human studies implicate microbial transglutaminaseRelated StoriesStudy reveals link between inflammatory diet and colorectal cancer riskDiet and nutrition influence microbiome in colonic mucosaNanoparticles used to deliver CRISPR gene editing tools into the cellThis all begs the question: if it is gluten-derived proteins that stimulate immune cells in celiac disease, why does the immune response target transglutaminase? And are microbial and human transglutaminase recognized interchangeably by the immune system?“In one of our own studies, we tested antibodies from the blood of celiac patients. We found that more antibodies were active against complexes of transglutaminase bound to gluten fragments, than against either component alone. The anti-complex antibody count was also the best predictor of intestinal damage in these patients. This was true of both microbial and human transglutaminase complexes, for which there were similar antibody counts.”In other words, microbial transglutaminase (bound to gluten fragments) could in fact be the target of the immune response in celiac disease – and the attack on our own transglutaminase merely a case of mistaken identity. Microbial transglutaminase present in processed foods is therefore a potential environmental cause of celiac disease.Is microbial transglutaminase safe?But according to Lerner, the jury is still out.“Ultimately all we have so far are associations between microbial transglutaminase and celiac disease. To test whether this enzyme causes or triggers immune damage in celiac disease will require experimenting with exposure in animal models, intestinal cell lines or biopsies”.Nevertheless, with no known cure for celiac disease, treatment depends on preventive measures – namely, adhering to a gluten-free diet.“Until there is a clearer answer, we recommend transparency and vigilance with regards to labeling of foods processed using microbial transglutaminase.”In Switzerland for example, it is already a requirement that such products be labeled as unsuitable for persons with celiac disease.Source: https://www.frontiersin.org/ The gluten protein fragments or ‘peptides’ that remain after digestion are highly susceptible to transglutaminase, which modifies them to make a variety of new peptides. These unusual peptides are particularly likely to resist further breakdown, and to be recognized as ‘foreign’ by HLA-DQ immune receptors inside the gut wall – but only in those carrying the HLA-DQ variants associated with celiac disease.”Lerner There is a direct positive correlation between rising use of industrial enzymes in bakery products and rising incidence of celiac disease in the last four decades, according to Lerner and co-author Dr Matthias Torsten of the Aesku.KIPP Institute, Germany. But if transglutaminase is produced normally in our tissues – and by our own gut microbes – what difference should a little more in our diet make? This is mostly a question of scale. Our own transglutaminase has a different structure to the microbial sort, which allows its activity to be tightly controlled. And while the relatively indiscriminate microbial transglutaminase is produced by some of our normal gut fauna, the amount of the enzyme could be significantly increased when this microbial population is altered by factors like infection, antibiotics or stress – or, indeed, through consumption of industrially processed foods.”Lerner Microbial transglutaminase itself could also increase intestinal permeability by directly modifying proteins that hold together the intestinal barrier.”Lerner Microbial transglutaminase can glue together proteins, so it’s used to improve food texture, palatability and shelf-life. This enzyme functions like the transglutaminase produced by our body, which is known to be the target of autoimmunity in celiac disease.”co-author Aaron Lerner, visiting professor at the Aesku.Kipp Institute in Germany Compounding this, components of gluten also loosen the connections between cells lining the gut, allowing more gluten-derived proteins – as well as microbial transglutaminase – to breach this barrier and interact with immune cells. What links gluten, transglutaminase, HLA-DQ genes and autoimmunity?Gluten is tough to break down completely. This is useful for helping baked goods to rise and keep their shape, but in celiac sufferers presents a problem – and a possible causal link with microbial transglutaminase. Jan 7 2019Research suggests that celiac disease could be caused by a bacterial enzyme used to manufacture sausages, cheese, bread and other processed foods.Myths about gluten are hard to bust. Intolerance, allergy, sensitivity, hypersensitivity. What is what?Celiac disease is none of these things. It is an autoimmune disorder, where gluten triggers the immune system to attack the gut. It is common, lifelong, and can seriously harm health – but nobody knows for sure what causes it. Now a review in Frontiers in Pediatrics says a common food additive could both cause and trigger these autoimmune attacks, and calls for warnings on food labels pending further tests.Environment causes celiac disease – but only in susceptible individualsGluten-free diets have become popular despite little or no evidence of benefit for most people. But for the 1 in 100 with celiac disease, even a mouthful of bread can trigger an immune response that damages the small intestine, impairing nutrient absorption.Exactly what causes this autoimmune reaction to gluten – a protein found in wheat, rye and barley – is uncertain. Specific mutations in an important immunity-related gene called HLA-DQ seem to be necessary for developing celiac disease, with one of two HLA-DQ variants present in virtually every sufferer – but insufficient, as these variants are also present in about 30% of the general population.As a result, myriad environmental factors have proposed to interact with genetic risk to cause celiac disease. These span infections, food and toxins; vaccination, drugs and surgery. Most recently, food additives have been suggested to contribute. Among these, microbial transglutaminase – a bacterial enzyme heavily used in industrial processing of meat, dairy, baked and other food products – has emerged as a likely culprit, according to the new review.How a food binder could be our undoing
Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jan 28 2019Researchers at LSTM and Imperial College London have designed drugs which could help combat any potential new flu pandemic, by targeting the receptors of the cells by which the virus gains entry to the human body.In a paper published today(link is external) in the Journal of Immunology the team, led by LSTM’s Professor Richard Pleass, show that by engineering a part of an antibody they can target the viral proteins that allow flu to mutate and become so deadly to humans.Last year marked the centenary of the 1918 influenza pandemic that claimed nearly 100 million lives worldwide, thus becoming the deadliest disease outbreak in recorded history. Global annual influenza outbreaks account for 300,000-650,000 respiratory deaths, mostly in children and the elderly.Related StoriesResearchers map virulence factor of influenza A virus in real-timeNaturally occurring human antibody reveals hidden weakness in influenza virusDrugs designed with advanced computing technologies could help tackle hospital superbugsProfessor Pleass explained: “Influenza vaccines have limited public health impact during pandemics, and current influenza vaccines are less efficacious than vaccines for many other infectious diseases. This is because influenza viruses that circulate in human and animal populations mutate two key viral surface proteins, haemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA), thus allowing them to escape from protective antibodies produced through natural infection or vaccination”Both HA and NA target a sugar called sialic acid, that is found in abundance on the receptors of cells lining the mammalian respiratory tract, which the virus uses to gain entry into the body. The sialic acid-binding contacts on HA and NA do not mutate readily, otherwise the virus would not be able to infect human cells.The team has engineered antibody Fc fragments with enhanced sialic acid that target these conserved parts of both HA and NA, binding influenza viruses and thus blocking their interactions with human cells.By targeting sialic acid, these engineered biologicals may also be useful in the control of other pathogens, such as group B streptococci, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Mycoplasma genitalium, and Newcastle Disease Virus.”Better anti-influenza therapeutics are urgently needed.” Continued Professor Pleass: “The transfer of antibodies from people recovering from influenza during the 1918 and 2009 pandemics reduced mortality from influenza by 50% and 26% respectively. However, to be useful, these antibody medicines (also called FLU-IVIG) need to be manufactured in advance of future epidemics, which is obviously problematic as there may be modest or little neutralising activity against newly emerging strains. Therefore, combinations of existing medicines, including FLU-IVIG, with sialic acid blockers could increase their efficacy while future-proofing against the next pandemic.”Professor Sara Marshall, Head of Clinical and Physiological Sciences at the Wellcome Trust, who provided funding for this work, said: “This is a fascinating project, and one which could have really far-reaching impact not only for influenza but as a platform technology to develop new medicines for many other diseases that are currently treated by antibodies.” Source:https://www.lstmed.ac.uk/news-events/news/lstm-and-imperial-college-researchers-design-new-anti-influenza-drugs
Reviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Jun 10 2019Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory autoimmune disorder that leads to significant health issues as well as high treatment costs. In this themed issue of Clinical Therapeutics, published by Elsevier, experts review multiple aspects of RA detection and intervention with the overall goal of moving the field closer to developing effective preventive measures. Identifying people before they develop the disorder could significantly alter the course of disease and spare people its damaging effects.RA affects around one percent of the population worldwide. It leads to swollen, painful joints and can also damage other body systems such as the skin, eyes, lungs, heart, and blood vessels. This debilitating disease results in diminished quality of life, loss of work, pain, and suffering. It is also largely a “forever” disease from which patients with full-blown RA will suffer for the rest of their lives. While medications can control RA for many patients, very few experience a complete cure and are able to discontinue treatment. RA is an expensive disease. In the United States it currently costs around $20,000-30,000 per patient annually for treatment.Guest-edited by Kevin D. Deane, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Rheumatology, Department of Medicine University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine, Denver, CO, USA; and Tsang Tommy Cheung, MBBS (HK), Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, LKS Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, this themed issue taps into the expertise of many scientists across the world and discusses multiple aspects of RA prevention. “These discussions will hopefully provide insights into how we can move RA forward to the point where we are preventing disease and also give guidance on how other autoimmune diseases could be prevented as well,” explain the Guest Editors.Many studies are already underway to learn how to prevent RA, however, prevention of autoimmune diseases is still new territory and there is a lot to discuss and learn. “Most people are familiar with prevention for diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, or cancer,” notes Dr. Deane. “For example, it is very common for someone to have routine blood tests, which might reveal high cholesterol, a potential risk factor for a future heart attack. That individual can then implement lifestyle changes like more healthful eating, smoking cessation, and more exercise, or taking a medication to lower the risk of a future heart attack. We developed these approaches for heart attack prevention through clinical trials. The RA community has learned from these approaches and similar prevention-type trials are now underway in RA.””Most autoimmune diseases are only identified once an individual gets ‘sick.’ For example, with RA, once someone has painful, swollen joints,” adds Dr. Cheung. “Blood-based tests can now identify individuals who are at risk before they feel sick, opening a whole new world of screening and possible prevention. Treating RA very early may allow for cheaper, safer therapies to work because once full-blown RA has developed, typically very powerful medications are needed to control disease.”In a Commentary on the clinical burden of RA, John M. Davis III, MD, MS, Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Rheumatology, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science, Rochester, MN, USA, makes the case that preventive approaches would greatly benefit RA patients. “There have been great advances in the development of conventional synthetic, biologic, and targeted disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) to treat RA as well as strategies to use these agents to control disease-associated inflammation to the state of either low disease activity or clinical remission,” he comments. “However, with any given treatment strategy, up to 40-60 percent of patients ultimately respond inadequately. Investment in developing preventive strategies is expected to lead eventually to a paradigm shift from treating disease and disease-related complications to maintaining health of people worldwide.”Related StoriesResearch suggests new way to improve the efficacy of arthritis drugResearchers develop NO-scavenging hydrogel for treatment of rheumatoid arthritisStudy shows link between BMI and disease severity in psoriatic arthritisThe rigorously peer-reviewed articles in this themed issue cover topics such as the natural history of RA; nomenclature for the stages of development of RA; potential pharmacological targets; potential for prevention by targeting mucosal processes; predicting RA in at-risk individuals; optimal trial design for RA prevention studies; patient preferences; regulatory considerations; system challenges; monitoring safety; and adverse events. All of the authors contributed in a significant way to the overall picture of how RA prevention is developing.The issue identifies several important challenges: Finding individuals who are at-risk for future RA through simple methods, which could be population-based blood testing or other approaches. Getting the research and medical community to agree on the right terminology for RA. “Right now, RA is only applied once someone has arthritis. But it may be that we need to develop new terms like ‘Pre-RA’ that can be used to identify someone at high risk for future RA. For example, the term pre-diabetes is commonly used and is helpful for people to understand that they are in a stage of disease that indicates that they are at risk for getting worse unless they do something. We need similar terms in RA that can resonate with people, and help them take action,” comments Dr. Deane. Editor-in-Chief Richard Shader, MD, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, USA comments: The efforts of this team of experts to raise awareness of RA and to explore methods for early detection and intervention should catalyze the medical and scientific communities to increase their efforts to find better ways to treat and perhaps even prevent RA and its complications.” Many other rheumatic and autoimmune diseases follow a similar model as RA where there are blood markers that are abnormal, sometimes years before an individual feels “sick” from disease. These diseases include lupus, gout, and others such as vasculitis. Getting society to invest in prevention, which requires that groups such as governments, the insurance industry, and pharmaceutical companies are also interested in prevention and willing to support it. RA science is in a fortunate situation compared to many other inflammatory diseases where it is rarely known when and where disease-specific immunity may be triggered and how it may gradually evolve towards targeting of the end organ. Research and solutions proposed in this issue may also serve as a demonstration example for many other chronic immune-mediated diseases.”Lars Klareskog, MD, PhD, Rheumatology Unit, Department of Medicine, Karolinska Institutet and Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden, in a Guest Editorial Prior research has already shown that the development of RA can be delayed with a single dose of medication that is typically used in people who have full-blown RA. That finding suggests that if individuals can be identified at the right time, future RA can be delayed or completely prevented. There are also multiple clinical trials underway that should help determine which drugs have the potential to prevent RA and who the best candidates are to receive this treatment.”Treating RA very early may allow for cheaper, safer therapies to work because once full-blown RA has developed, typically very powerful medications are needed to control the disease. This is like stopping a fire when it is still at the stage of a candle – pretty easy. However, stopping a fire once a full-blow forest fire has developed is very hard!” conclude the Guest Editors. Patient preference is also a major challenge. “Asking at-risk individuals to take medications with possible side effects when there is no clinically apparent disease is not easy at all,” observes Dr. Cheung. Finding prevention approaches that work – whether drugs or lifestyle changes (e.g., smoking cessation), or combinations of both. Source:Elsevier
This significant research is a result of the collaborative spirit NETRF fosters among our funded researchers. Drs. Ramesh Shivdasani and Bradley Bernstein assembled a top team of scientists who shared knowledge and resources, to advance our understanding of NETs that can help us improve care for those facing the highest risks.”Elyse Gellerman, NETRF chief executive officer Currently, physicians predict a patient’s risk of pNET recurrence using tumor size. Non-functional pNETs larger than 2 centimeters are considered the most likely to metastasize following surgery.Building on molecular findings in about a dozen pNETs, Shivdasani and colleagues analyzed the molecular profiles of another 142 pNET tumor specimens using new laboratory tests for expression of specific proteins. Shivdasani notes that the findings divided pNETs, sharply and unexpectedly, into roughly equal fractions of those that resemble normal alpha cells and express the regulatory protein ARX and others that resemble beta cells and express the regulatory protein PDX1.Related StoriesScientists reveal mechanism of tumor metastasis and tumor-suppressive role of UDP-glucoseNovel anticancer agents show promise to control tumor growth in nearly every cancer type3D breast tumor models may improve drug discovery and testingThe researchers were able to analyze data on tumor relapse for most patients whose tumor specimens were included in the study. Tumors with exclusive ARX expression had more than 35% risk of recurrence following surgery, compared to less than 5% risk if the tumor lacked ARX. Among study participants whose tumors showed high ARX levels, cancer recurred in the liver within 1 to 4 years, compared to the rare recurrence of tumors that expressed PDX1.ARX and PDX1 levels can be measured using immunohistochemistry (IHC), a test that stains tumor tissue and is routine in clinical laboratories. Current IHC assays do not test for these proteins, but the researchers note that they could easily be brought into routine diagnostic testing in a matter of months. Should the findings of this study be corroborated in future clinical research, the prognostic impact for patients with a new pNET diagnosis will be significant.The next steps are to make the distinction of the new pNET subtypes possible in clinical laboratories and to confirm the findings in larger groups of patients.This laboratory study is an early step in identifying prognostic markers for non-functioning pNETs. Medical research often starts in the laboratory and then takes years to move into clinical testing in humans. Because IHC assays for ARX and PDX1 can be developed readily, the new findings could be implemented into routine patient care considerably faster.The finding is the result of NETRF grants given to Drs. Shivdasani and Matthew Kulke at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Drs. Bradley Bernstein and Daniel Chung at Massachusetts General Hospital. All the investigators are on the faculty of Harvard Medical School. Source:Neuroendocrine Tumor Research FoundationJournal reference:Shivdasani, R et al. (2019) Enhancer signatures stratify and predict outcomes of non-functional pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors. Nature Medicine. doi.org/10.1038/s41591-019-0493-4. Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jul 2 2019A group of researchers funded by Neuroendocrine Tumor Research Foundation (NETRF) has discovered molecular information that may help predict recurrence of non-functional pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (pNETs), which do not release excess hormones into the bloodstream. In a paper published today in Nature Medicine, the researchers describe new subtypes of pNETs with vastly different risks of recurrence.Lead investigator Ramesh Shivdasani, MD, PhD, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, said the finding moves us closer to being able to identify patients with a high risk for metastasis at diagnosis and initial treatment. “These patients can be monitored vigilantly for recurrent cancers, which may be treatable if detected early, while patients with the less aggressive kind of pNET can be advised that the prognosis is excellent.”
Citibike station in midtown Manhattan. Credit: Jim Henderson, CC BY Seattle turned to dockless companies to fill the gap after a publicly funded dock bike-share system there failed in 2016. The city could soon have one of the largest bike-share systems in the country. Cities around Boston that are outside of the service area of Hubway, the area’s public bike-share system, just reached a deal to provide dockless bike-share service, expanding access to hundreds of thousands of people. And in San Francisco, Uber recently purchased Jump Bikes, a dockless electric bike-share startup, and soon will allow users to reserve electric bikes with their Uber app. If recent examples are any indication, bike sharing in the United States will be a mix of complementary dock-based and dockless systems, run by both public entities and private companies. The humble bicycle, aided by smartphone technology, is resurging as an urban transportation option. Officials in Dallas warn dockless bike-share companies to keep bikes from blocking sidewalks, ramps and trails. Dockless systems are also helping to address equity issues posed by public dock-based systems, which often are located in more affluent and predominantly white urban neighborhoods. Because dockless systems don’t require stations, they can be rapidly deployed in zones that dock-based systems may be slow to reach. Students at Beijing University developed this approach in 2014 to improve campus mobility. Dockless bike-share companies have flooded Chinese cities with bikes in the past two years, leading to massive piles of discarded bicycles in public spaces. The modern concept of bike sharing – offering bikes for short-term public rental from multiple stations in cities – was launched in Copenhagen in 1995, but U.S. cities only started piloting their own systems in the past decade. Washington D.C. led the way, launching SmartBike DC in 2008 and an expanded network called Capital Bikeshare in 2010. This program now boasts over 480 stations and a daily ridership of 5,700. Within a few years, bike-share systems launched in Boston, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle and dozens of other cities. In 2016 there were 55 systems across the country with a total of over 40,000 bikes. And momentum continues to grow. In 2017 Citi Bike in New York City added 2,000 bikes, increasing its fleet to a total of 12,000. San Francisco is expanding its system from just 700 bikes to 7,000, thanks to a sponsorship deal with Ford. Going docklessThe newest twist in this rapid expansion is dockless bike sharing, which lets users park bikes anywhere within defined districts and lock and unlock their bikes with smartphone apps. Users don’t have to locate docking stations or worry about whether space will be available at their destination. These systems also are cheaper to set up, so providers can charge lower user fees. Some dockless bike-share companies offer rides for as little as US$1 for the first half hour. Provided by The Conversation Dockless bike-share hits US capital, following craze in China (Update) Dockless cycle share bike in Seattle. Credit: Joe Mabel, CC BY Explore further Citation: Bike-share companies are transforming US cities – and they’re just getting started (2018, April 19) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-04-bike-share-companies-cities-theyre.html This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Residents of major U.S. cities are becoming used to seeing docks for bike sharing programs nestled into parking spaces or next to subway station entrances. Adorned with stylish branding and corporate sponsors’ logos, these facilities are transforming transportation in cities across the country. This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.
More talks aimed at resolving the conflict are planned for next week in Washington, while both sides dig in for a fight over their trade imbalance.The tech giant, telecommunications equipment and smartphone maker ZTE, said Wednesday that it’s ceasing “major operations” after the U.S. last month banned it from doing business with American suppliers for seven years as a punishment for illegal exports.Also this week, businesses and officials reported that American products are running into delays in customs clearance because of stepped-up inspections at Chinese ports, suggesting Beijing may be making life tougher for U.S. companies as the dispute drags on.The ZTE business ban stems from a case dating to before the Trump administration, but analysts say the outcome was worse than expected, reflecting a deterioration in trade relations as the two countries vie for technological dominance.”It has become really political now,” said Nikhil Batra, a telecom analyst at IDC. “There would be wider consequences than for just the telecom industry” and for the companies directly involved, he added.The U.S. Commerce Department’s ban cut off ZTE’s access to vital technology and components like semiconductors from U.S. suppliers. A Chinese tech giant has been brought to its knees. Tougher inspections at Chinese ports are holding up cars, apples and lumber imported from the U.S. These are among the early signs that the widening trade dispute between China and the U.S. is exacting a toll on both sides. In this Oct. 8, 2012, file photo, a salesperson stands at counters selling mobile phones produced by ZTE Corp. at an appliance store in Wuhan in central China’s Hubei province. The tech company, ZTE, a Chinese tech giant brought to its knees and delayed shipments of imported U.S. cars, apples, lumber and other agricultural products are the early casualties as China and the U.S. exchange salvos in a trade dispute.(Chinatopix Via AP, File) China’s ZTE stops major operations following US export ban Citation: China tech giant sidelined, US imports held amid trade spat (2018, May 10) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-05-china-tech-giant-sidelined-imports.html © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. At the same time, U.S. companies exporting to China are seeing their goods held up at China’s ports.Customs officials are doing stricter inspections of the emissions systems in Ford vehicles, ostensibly to comply with new regulations. “That check is apparently quite onerous,” said a person briefed on the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity. “It involves disassembling the vehicles and evaluating each of the components of the emissions system. Once a vehicle is taken apart it can’t be sold so it forces long delays and high storage fees for those vehicles in China.”Last year Ford imported 18,819 autos, including Lincoln-brand vehicles, which arrived at ports in Shanghai and Tianjin. The company said in a statement, “We are closely monitoring our situation at the port.”The U.S. Department of Agriculture said it has received reports of “increased inspections” of many products, without being more specific. The department said in a statement that it is “troubled by reports that China continues to impose unjustified restrictions on U.S. products.”Chinese customs officials said Monday they were tightening up quarantine inspections of apples and lumber imported from the U.S. for signs of rot, pests or diseases.Inspectors in Shanghai, Shenzhen, Qingdao and Xiamen will send samples for lab testing and shipments will not be able to pass through customs while the tests are carried out. Any contaminated shipments will be returned or destroyed, according to the notice posted on China’s General Administration of Customs website.China’s Foreign Ministry said it had no information on the inspections and spokesman Geng Shuang said at a regular briefing that the country “always follows law-based, scientific and fair principles when carrying out quarantine and inspection on imported products.” In this Feb. 26, 2014, file photo, people gather at the ZTE booth at the Mobile World Congress, the world’s largest mobile phone trade show in Barcelona, Spain. Chinese telecommunications company ZTE has halted its main operations after U.S. authorities cut off its access to American suppliers as President Donald Trump steps up pressure over trade and technology issues with Beijing. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez, File) In this Feb. 26, 2014, file photo, a sign for the ZTE booth is seen at the Mobile World Congress, the world’s largest mobile phone trade show in Barcelona, Spain. Chinese telecommunications company ZTE has halted its main operations after U.S. authorities cut off its access to American suppliers as President Donald Trump steps up pressure over trade and technology issues with Beijing. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez, File) Explore further ZTE said in a statement that is has enough cash and will seek to fulfill its contracts. It was unclear if the company is planning to shut down: Last week during trade talks in Beijing, Chinese officials appealed to their U.S. counterparts to end the ban.But in another sign of fallout, Australian telecom company Telstra said Thursday it will stop selling the company’s mobile phones and broadband devices because of the U.S. ban.”This was a difficult but necessary step,” Telstra’s head of innovation and strategy, Michele Garra, wrote in a blog post .ZTE sells smartphones globally and supplies networks or equipment to some of the world’s biggest telecoms companies.Losing access to U.S. suppliers is a heavy blow for it and the companies it buys from. The company is the No. 4 smartphone vendor in the U.S., where it also sources more than 40 percent of its components, according to IDC data, creating a multibillion-dollar revenue stream for suppliers like Qualcomm and Intel. Finding alternate suppliers won’t be easy, “therefore, this U.S. ban would be a fatal crisis for any company,” said Yan Sufei, analyst at Zero Power Intelligence Group. “We can’t rule out that there will be layoffs later on.” This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.