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Alexa, Are You Listening?Smart voice assistants have expanded from personal use in the home to applications in public services and educational spaces. The library and information science (LIS) trade literature suggests that libraries are part of this trend, however there are few empirical studies that explore how libraries are implementing smart voice assistants in their services, and how these libraries are mitigating the potential patron data privacy issues posed by these technologies. This study fills this gap by reporting on the results of a national survey that documents how libraries are integrating voice assistant technologies (e.g., Amazon Echo, Google Home) into their services, programming, and checkout programs. The survey also surfaces some of the key privacy concerns of library workers in regard to implementing voice assistants in library services. We find that although voice assistant use might not be mainstreamed in library services in high numbers (yet), libraries are clearly experimenting with (and having internal conversations with their staff about) using these technologies. The responses to our survey indicate that library workers have many savvy privacy concerns about the use of voice assistants in library services that are critical to address in advance of library institutions riding the wave of emerging technology adoption. This research has important implications for developing library practices, policies, and education opportunities that place patron privacy as a central part of digital literacy in an information landscape characterized by ubiquitous smart surveillant technologies.
Exploring resource scarcity and contextual influences on wellbeing among young refugees in Bidi Bidi refugee settlement, Uganda: findings from a qualitative studyAbstract Background Contextual factors including poverty and inequitable gender norms harm refugee adolescent and youths’ wellbeing. Our study focused on Bidi Bidi refugee settlement that hosts more than 230,000 of Uganda’s 1.4 million refugees. We explored contextual factors associated with wellbeing among refugee adolescents and youth aged 16–24 in Bidi Bidi refugee settlement. Methods We conducted 6 focus groups (n = 3: women, n = 3: men) and 10 individual interviews with young refugees aged 16–24 living in Bidi Bidi. We used physical distancing practices in a private outdoor space. Focus groups and individual interviews explored socio-environmental factors associated with refugee youth wellbeing. Focus groups were digitally recorded, transcribed verbatim, and coded by two investigators using thematic analysis. Analysis was informed by a social contextual theoretical approach that considers the interplay between material (resource access), symbolic (cultural norms and values), and relational (social relationships) contextual factors that can enable or constrain health promotion. Results Participants included 58 youth (29 men; 29 women), mean age was 20.9 (range 16–24). Most participants (82.8%, n = 48) were from South Sudan and the remaining from the Democratic Republic of Congo (17.2% [n = 10]). Participant narratives revealed the complex interrelationships between material, symbolic and relational contexts that shaped wellbeing. Resource constraints of poverty, food insecurity, and unemployment (material contexts) produced stress and increased sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) targeting adolescent girls and women. These economic insecurities exacerbated inequitable gender norms (symbolic contexts) to increase early marriage and transactional sex (relational context) among adolescent girls and young women. Gendered tasks such as collecting water and firewood also increased SGBV exposure among girls and young women, and this was exacerbated by deforestation. Participants reported negative community impacts (relational context) of COVID-19 that were associated with fear and panic, alongside increased social isolation due to business, school and church closures. Conclusions Resource scarcity produced pervasive stressors among refugee adolescents and youth. Findings signal the importance of gender transformative approaches to SGBV prevention that integrate attention to resource scarcity. These may be particularly relevant in the COVID-19 pandemic. Findings signal the importance of developing health enabling social contexts with and for refugee adolescents and youth.
A case analysis of partnered research on palliative care for refugees in Jordan and RwandaAbstract Background This case analysis describes dilemmas and challenges of ethical partnering encountered in the process of conducting a research study that explored moral and practical dimensions of palliative care in humanitarian crisis settings. Two contexts are the focus of this case analysis: Jordan, an acute conflict-induced refugee situation, and Rwanda, a protracted conflict-induced refugee setting. The study’s main goal was to better understand ways humanitarian organizations and health care providers might best support ethically and contextually appropriate palliative care in humanitarian contexts. An unintended outcome of the research was learning lessons about ethical dimensions of transnational research partnerships, which is the focus of this case analysis. Discussion There exist ongoing challenges for international collaborative research in humanitarian conflict-induced settings. Research partnerships were crucial for connecting with key stakeholders associated with the full study (e.g., refugees with life limiting illness, local healthcare providers, aid organization representatives). While important relationships were established, obstacles limited our abilities to fully attain the type of mutual partnership we aimed for. Unique challenges faced during the research included: (a) building, nurturing and sustaining respectful and equitable research partnerships between collaborators in contexts of cultural difference and global inequality; (b) appropriate ethics review and challenges of responding to local decision-maker’s research needs; and (c) equity and fairness towards vulnerable populations. Research strategies were adapted and applied to respond to these challenges with a specific focus on (d) research rewards and restitution. Conclusions This case analysis sheds light on the importance of understanding cultural norms in all research roles, building relationships with decision makers, and developing teams that include researchers from within humanitarian crisis settings to ensure that mutually beneficial research outcomes are ethical as well as culturally and contextually relevant.
In the era of humanitarian crisis, young women continue to die in childbirth in MaliAbstract Maternal mortality occurs mostly in contexts of poverty and health system collapse. Mali has a very high maternal mortality rate and this extremely high mortality rate is due in part to longstanding constraints in maternal health services. The central region has been particularly affected by the humanitarian crisis in recent years, and maternal health has been aggravated by the conflict. Sominé Dolo Hospital is located in Mopti, central region. In the last decade, a high number of pregnant or delivering women have died in this hospital. We conducted a retrospective and exhaustive study of maternal deaths occurring in Mopti hospital. Between 2007 and 2019, 420 women died, with an average of 32 deaths per year. The years 2014–2015 and the last 2 years have been particularly deadly, with 40 and 50 deaths in 2018 and 2019, respectively. The main causes were hypertensive disorders/eclampsia and haemorrhage. 80% of these women’s deaths were preventable. Two major explanations result in these maternal deaths in Sominé Dolo’s hospital: first, a lack of accessible and safe blood, and second, the absence of a reference and evacuation referral system, all of which are aggravated by security issues in and around Mopti. Access to quality hospital care is in dire need in the Mopti region. There is an urgent need for a safe blood collection system and free of charge for pregnant women. We also strongly recommend that the referral/evacuation system be reinvigorated, and that universal health coverage be strengthened.
Publisher Correction to: Challenges and strategies in conducting sexual and reproductive health research among Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar, BangladeshAn amendment to this paper has been published and can be accessed via the original article.