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Article
Clinical vaccine research in children in Malta
David Pace
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Abstract:
Clinical vaccine trials in children are extremely important for the investigation of new vaccines as well as for studying different ways of scheduling vaccines that are currently in use. Data from such trials, in addition to epidemiological data on the infectious disease the vaccines are trying to prevent, can be used to introduce vaccines as well as to improve the current immunisation schedules. The purpose of this review is to showcase the clinical vaccine research on meningococcal C vaccines in children that was carried out in Malta in collaboration with the UK from 2010 to 2013, data from which have already been presented and published in peer reviewed journals. This review gives a synopsis of the immunogenicity of reduced dose meningococcal C vaccine schedules in infants as well as the immune kinetics of the antibodies induced following a booster dose at 12 months of age. The practicality of the study findings are discussed, including their relevance to the meningococcal vaccines that were recently introduced on the national immunisation schedule in Malta. Hopefully this research will encourage doctors to show interest in leading future research in children in Malta with appropriate support from our clinical and academic institutions.
Article
Living in the era of multiple epidemics – A Malta perspective
Sarah Cuschieri
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Abstract:
Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) have long been a global epidemic way before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2016, it was estimated that 6.55% of the adult population in Malta suffered from at least one NCD, with type 2 diabetes, obesity and low back pain dominating the NCD scene. The onset of COVID-19 challenged the healthcare systems, as well as the wellbeing of the population. Restrictions instituted to control COVID-19 led to negative repercussions on those suffering from NCDs apart from bringing to the fore specific NCDs such as mental illness, obesity, and back pain. Furthermore COVID-19 increased the population burden through enhanced morbidity and mortality. However, the COVID-19 vaccination was observed to have helped dampen this burden. Yet, it is important that a syndemic approach is adopted to ensure that all epidemics are simultaneously given the appropriate attention and timely action is provided to safeguard the population health and wellbeing.
Article
Research on Microgrids at the University of Malta
Alexander Micallef
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Abstract:
This article presents some of the work done in recent years by the microgrids research team at the Department of Industrial Electrical Power Conversion (IEPC). Research activities are dedicated towards enabling secure, reliable, and carbon free electricity systems. To date, the main contributions by the department were made to the operation, control and management of microgrids in low voltage (LV) distribution networks, ship electrification (shipboard microgrids) and low voltage DC microgrids. The paper also presents a few of the significant results achieved by the department to date including a hierarchical control architecture for single phase microgrids, control algorithms of power electronic converters for AC and DC microgrids, energy and power management strategies, power quality improvement algorithms and technologies, demand response strategies and devices, and the effective integration of renewables and energy storage systems.
Article
Quality education, social cohesion and active labour market policies: A comparative analysis of two European island states
Camilleri Mark Anthony, Adriana Caterina Camilleri
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Abstract:
Societies benefit from the delivery of inclusive education, lifelong learning and from active labour market policies. Therefore, this research presents a critical review of the relevant literature. It features a comparative analysis on the latest socio-economic policies that are currently being implemented in the Mediterranean island states of Malta and Cyprus. The findings suggest that both countries need to attract more students to vocational and higher education in order to improve their employment prospects. The latest European reports indicate that their labour market policies are increasingly targeting vulnerable individuals, including women, single parents, older adults and migrant workers, among others, who are not in employment, education or training. In conclusion, this contribution implies that the pursuit of continuous improvements in quality education and social cohesion can create a virtuous cycle of productivity outcomes, including job creation and societal well-being.
Article
Cannabinoids For Fibromyalgia: An Updated Systematic Review
Jean Claude Scicluna, Giuseppe Di Giovanni
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Abstract:
Fibromyalgia is an increasingly prevalent condition resulting in high morbidity and economic burden for sufferers. Minimal to modest benefit has been achieved by pharmacotherapies, creating a strong rationale for novel therapies. Substantial evidence has implicated the endocannabinoid system in the modulation of fibromyalgia symptoms. However, the therapeutic potential and potential adverse effects of cannabis-based therapy in fibromyalgia are still under-reported, leading to clinicians’ hesitation to opt for such therapy. This systematic review examined the literature and provided a critical review of the safety and efficacy of cannabis-based therapy in fibromyalgia. It resulted that medical cannabis is a safe and effective treatment option for fibromyalgia, whilst further research in this area is needed.
Article
A Decomposition of Poverty Headcount: Income and Population Dynamics
Melchior Vella, Gilmour Camilleri
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Abstract:
We formalise and present a detailed decomposition method to explain changes in poverty when the poverty line is not fixed and depends on the income distribution. Using the shift-share simulation approach, we decompose poverty change into four components, namely income growth, change in inequality, change in poverty line, and change in total population. We provide empirical illustrations with EU-SILC data for Malta between 2005 and 2018. We find that the poverty line and income growth have been the most important contributors to poverty changes, especially during periods of rapid income growth. This decomposition can be used either to interpret changes between two periods or to microsimulation models of taxes and benefits.

Doi: 10.7423/XJENZA.2022.2.01
Article
Understanding the Economic and Sociodemographic Determinants of Early School Leaving: A Configurational Approach
Fabri Stephanie, Victor Martinelli, Spiteri Jonathan, Vincent Cassar
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Abstract:
Education is at the heart of any nation's social and economic development and certainly within the specific scope of the European Union’s strategic development. As a result, early school leaving is a subject of inexorable importance because its effect reverberates in other social and economic realities. This paper examines the macroeconomic and socioeconomic determinants of ESL by adopting a multi-analytical strategy involving a linear regression method and a configurational approach. The outcomes highlight the complexity of ESL involving nonlinearity, equifinality, and asymmetric relations. Inequality and parental education emerge as key determinants of ESL; these relationships are more robust compared to the other determinants, namely Gross Domestic Product per capita, youth unemployment, and parental job status. The practical and theoretical aspects of these outcomes are explained throughout the discussion.

Doi: 10.7423/XJENZA.2022.2.02