TRC Research Grant for Six New Projects Issue 212 Department of Public

On Women Entrepreneurs
Livestock Development for Food Security
Mind Over Matter
Large Turnout at Career Fair 2011
News Update
TRC Research Grant
for Six New Projects
Department of Public
Relations and Information
Sultan Qaboos University
Issue 212
View Point
Another Feather in SQU’s Cap
Winning the Middle East level competition of the American Association of
Petroleum Geologists’ (AAPG) Imperial Barrel Award Program (IBA) is truly a
remarkable achievement for the five undergraduate students from the Department
of Earth Sciences at SQU. IBA is an annual hydrocarbon basin/prospect evaluation
competition for geoscience graduate students from universities around the world.
University teams compete to win scholarship funds dedicated to graduate student
petroleum geoscience education. What makes the achievement of SQU students
more valuable is the fact that the program is rigorous and contributes to AAPG’s
mission of promoting petroleum geoscience training and advancing the careers of
geoscience students.
Khamis Rajab Al Busaidi
Editorial Supervision
Humaid Al Adwani
Editor -in-chief
M.K. Santhosh
As part of the procedure, our students analyzed a dataset (geology, geophysics,
land, economics, production infrastructure, and other relevant materials) in the
eight weeks prior to their local competition held in Dubai. The team delivered its
results in a 25 minute presentation to a panel of industry experts. Students had
the chance to use real technology on a real dataset, receive the feedback from an
industry panel, and had the opportunity to impress potential employers in the
audience. The selection was done on the basis of the technical quality, clarity and
originality of the team’s presentation.
Senior Editor
Younis Al Harrasi
Editor & Translator
Ahlam Al Wahaibi
Design & Layout
Rashad Al Wahaibi
& Photography Dept., CET
The SQU team completed a technical assessment of the petroleum potential of the
basins; defined the key plays, petroleum systems, prospects, and risks; and made
recommendations on future exploration activity based on prevailing technical and
economic conditions. After having won the regional level contest, SQU team is now
qualified for the final competition to be held in Huston, USA from 8 to 13 of April.
In the final round, 12 universities from across the world, including SQU, will contest.
The global level competition will be much tougher compared to the regional level.
However, the team is very much confident about themselves. The team takes
full responsibility of the fact that it will be representing SQU and Oman and the
members will spare no efforts to project Oman very remarkably. The members are
optimistic to emerge as one of the topmost winners in the global competition. We
wish them all success!
Horizon invites contributions from SQU members of staff and faculty. Contributions in the form of articles, news, travelogues, stories of unique and interesting experiences, encounters, etc., are welcome. Contributions may be edited
for the sake of clarity and length. Please send your contributions to preferably, as MSWord attachments. Authors will be suitably credited.
Horizon is published three times a month by the Department of Public Relations and Information,
Sultan Qaboos University, P.O. Box 50, P.C. 123, Muscat, Sultanate of Oman.
Phone: +968 24141045
30 March 2011
Fax: +968 24413 391
SQU Receives Singaporean Official
News Update
Large Turnout at Career Fair 2011
HE Dr. Ali bin Saud Al Bimani, Vice Chancellor of SQU received in his office, HE
Kemal Siddique, Economic Affairs Advisor to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of
the Republic of Singapore. The discussed prospective collaboration between
SQU and universities in Singapore in the fields including medical sciences
and engineering. HE Kemal Siddique evinced special interest establishing
academic ties with SQU in boosting knowledge based economy, and research
and development in both countries.
Students Showcase Innovative
Skills at Agricultural Festival
The students, who are members of the Agricultural & Marine Sciences Society
of the College of Agricultural & Marine Sciences at Sultan Qaboos University
showcased their innovative research and technical skills in the spheres of
agriculture, marine sciences and food science at the third Agricultural Festival
organised by the college. The event was opened under the patronage of HE Dr.
Hamed Said al Aufi, Undersecretary for Fisheries at the Ministry of Agriculture &
Fisheries, in the presence of HE Dr. Ali bin Saud al Bimani, SQU vice Chancellor
and senior academics of the College of Agricultural & Marine Sciences.
The Career and Training Opportunities Fair 2011 hosted by the Centre for
Career Guidance witnessed large turnout of students from different colleges
of SQU. The event was opened in the Grand Hall of the Cultural Centre
under the patronage of HE Dr. Hammad bin Hamad al Ghafri, Adviser at the
Ministry of Civil Service. As many as 57 organizations from the Sultanate
and abroad took part in the career fair that continued for three days. The
institutions were chosen depending on specific criteria such as the number
of jobs and training opportunities made available in these institutions for
SQU graduates, the types of jobs and the range of specializations.
The career fair was accompanied by a seminar organized by the Centre
for Career Guidance in co-operation with the Instructional and Learning
Technologies Department in the College of Education. A large number of HR
managers from various private sector organizations took part in the seminar.
The Centre for Career Guidance pays much attention to organizing several
lectures to promote awareness on job-seeking, preparation for job interviews
and other aspects related to job hunting for university graduates. The career
fair is a platform for direct communication between the students and the
prospective employers. This year’s fair gave the students, the opportunity
to know about job vacancies and available training opportunities. The
event was successful in educating students about work atmosphere in the
private sector through direct communication and giving the private sector
organizations an opportunity to know the academic level as well as skills
and competencies of the university students.
Forum Promotes Culture
of Invention
The theme of this years festival was “Dimensions of Innovation”. All the six
student sub groups in the college namely, the Animal and Veterinary Science
Group, the Soil, Water, Agricultural Engineering Group, the Natural Resources
Economics Group, the Food Science & Nutrition Group, the Crop Sciences
Group, and the Marine Sciences & Fisheries Group, displayed their innovations
in the festival.
The student innovations ranged from the use of seaweeds in food processing
industries, value added products from date fruit and kernel, application of
nano particles in food industries, development of omega 3 enhanced tilapia,
methods for rejuvenating lime production in Oman, use of treated wastewater
for crop cultivation, etc.
Dr. Omar Al Jabri, supervisor of the student group said that the first
Agricultural Festival was held under the theme “Red Tide” which discussed
the environmental problems in the Sultanate, and the theme of the second
festival was “Mine is Green “ which focussed on conserving and boosting date
palm cultivation and production in the Sultanate as envisioned by His Majesty
who ordered planting of one million date palms in the country.
The third developmental forum ‘The Culture of Invention’ was held at SQU
under the patronage of HE Dr. Yahya bin Badr al Ma’awali, Undersecretary
of the Social Development Ministry in the presence of HE Dr. Ali bin Saud al
Bemani, SQU Vice Chancellor, and a number of academicians and students.
The forum, organized by Development Voice Group at the Student Affairs
Deanship, under the theme ‘enlightened thought for better society ‘ was
aimed at raising awareness of individuals, society and organization on the
importance of invention and creation, as well as, identifying the talented
minds in a bid to improve and develop the invention culture. It also aimed at
inculcating the culture of invention among students and advising the public
and private sector establishments about the importance of supporting
inventors and providing them with the suitable milieu that promotes
invention and innovation.
30 March 2011
TRC Research Grant
for Six New Projects
Dr. Raeid Abed
Dr. Manickavasagan
Dr. Abdelmajid Bouazza
Dr. Yassine Charabi
Dr. Emad Khudaish
Dr. Saqib Ali
30 March 2011
Six research projects from different colleges at SQU have been
selected for funding by the Research Council in the second
allotment of open research grants to the university. Two
projects each from the College of Arts & Social Sciences and
the College of Science and one project each from the College
of Commerce & Economics and the College of Agricultural
& Marine Sciences have been qulified for a total financial
support of RO 4,71,843/-.
Bioremediation of Oil-polluted Ecosystem
Dr. Raeid Abed, Assistant Professor in the Department
of Biology is the Principal investigator of the project
“Bioremediation of oil-polluted ecosystem in the Sultanate
of Oman” which is qualified for financial assistance of RO
133,000/- from TRC. This project aims at testing various
bioremediation approaches for the cleanup of oil pollution
using indigenous bacteria under the extreme environmental
conditions of the Gulf region. The research team will
investigate the use of oil-polluted cyanobacterial mats
and isolated cyanobacterial consortia for bioremediation.
The proposed research will enable the scientists to gain a
better fundamental understanding of polluted ecosystems
in Oman and bacterial diversity and activity under multiple
extreme conditions. The project will lay the foundation for
bioremediation of oil polluted ecosystems in Oman, help
in capacity building and training of Omani students and
contribute to the establishment of a bioremediation research
nucleus at SQU with most modern techniques.
Computer Vision Technology
Dr. Manickavasagan Annamalai, Assistant Professor in the
Department of Soils, Water and Agricultural Engineering
proposed the project “Development of Computer Vision (CV)
Technology for Quality Assessment of Dates in Oman”. The
approved budget is RO 109,100/-. Computer vision (CV) is a
proven technology for the assessment of various qualities of
agricultural and food materials in developed countries. The
objective of this project is to design and develop a quality
assessment and grading system for dates during processing
and packaging. The developed CV system could be used to
identify and remove insect damaged dates; grade based on
size and color; and determine moisture, sugar and texture.
At the end of this project, a comprehensive CV system will
be readily available for dates handling facilities in Oman. In
this project, three graduate students will get trained in CV
Internet Addiction among Secondary and University
Dr. Abdelmajid Bouazza, Associate Professor in the
Department of Information Studies of the College of Arts
& Social Sciences,will lead the project “Internet Addiction
among Secondary and University Students in Oman: An
Interdisciplinary Investigation”. The research grant amounts to
RO 82,300/-. This project will study internet addiction among
secondary and university students in Oman, as this segment
of young people are more prone to the use of the Internet.
The study will be carried out by an interdisciplinary research
team belonging to disciplines such as Information Science,
Social Work and Mental Health of SQU and the Ministries
of Education and Higher Education. Three postgraduate
students from SQU will also assist in the completion of the
study. The study would provide the information required by
some government agencies to identify the causes of Internet
addiction among high school and university students as
well as shed light on the psychological and social effects on
their behaviour and then develop appropriate strategies for
dealing positively with them.
Assessment of Dust Deposition
The proposal by Dr. Yassine Charabi, Assistant Professor in
the Department of Geography of the College of Arts & Social
Sciences titled “Quantitative Assessment of Dust Deposition
and its Effect on Solar Energy Systems in Selected Sites in
Oman” will receive RO 61,100/- from the Research Council.
The Sultanate has an enormous potential of solar energy
and the government has triggered in the last few years
deep and pertinent studies in order to select the adequate
locations for the future large scale implementation of a Solar
Power Plant. One of the major challenges for the large scale
implementation of solar power plants is dust deposition on
solar collectors (panels or mirrors) due to the coupled effect
of the climate or ecosystem of the country. The abundance of
dust, combined with the occurrence of fog and mist in large
area of Oman, will affect the efficiency (revenue) of any solar
power station. Fog and mist contribute to the adhesion of
dust on the surface of the solar collectors. That calls for this
experimental study to evaluate the dust deposition and its
impact on solar energy systems in some selected sites in
Development of solid state sensors
Another project selected for TRC funding was proposed
by Dr. Emad Aldeen Khudaish, Assistant Professor in the
Department of Chemistry of the College Of Science. RO
44,500/- has been sanctioned for the project “Development of
solid state sensors based on tris (2,2’-bipyridyl) ruthenium(II)
electroluminescence and their applications to biological and
pharmaceutical analysis”. Electrochemiluminescence (ECL)
involves the production of reactive intermediates from stable
precursors at the electrode surface. These intermediates can
undergo chemical reactions with the targeted species under
various experimental conditions to form excited states that
emit light. It can be said that ECL is a way of converting electrical
energy into radiation energy. The project aims to develop
the analytical protocol for monitoring of some biological
and pharmaceutical species such as chloropheniramine,
ephedrine, fluoroquinolenes, dopamine and ascorbic
acid. The project is expected to furnish a suitable training
platform of the engaged student in a multidisciplinary fields
including electrochemistry, analytical chemistry, synthesis
and polymerization, nanotechnology and surface science
A Framework for Accessibility Aware E-content
The project titled “A framework for accessibility aware
e-content in Oman” submitted by Dr. Saqib Ali, Assistant
Professor in the Department of Information Systems of the
College Of Commerce And Economics has received a financial
grant of RO 41,843/-. People with disabilities represent an
important segment of the Omani society. They are perhaps
the single segment of society with the most to gain from
the new technologies of the electronic age. Yet they are
among few who don’t have an exposure to such modern
technologies. As a result, the potential benefits of computer
and Internet to the disable community are a long way from
being realized. Dr. Saqib’s research investigates the number
and types of disabilities in Oman and how can the disabled
people benefit from the advances of Information Technology
in education as well as their daily life activities.
Mind Over Matter
Livestock Development
for Food Security
The world’s food security is threatened by the lack of food resources necessary
to feed the world’s growing population. The Middle East can contribute
to supporting the agricultural sector including both plant and livestock.
Milk, poultry and meat play a key role in human nutrition for the supply of
nutrients. An increase in livestock production and a reduction in diseases
would help to reduce the gap between production and the growing demand
for animal products. This could reduce malnutrition among a large number
of the world’s population. To increase local animal production, it is vital that
local personnel be trained on the most modern methods of animal farming.
An efficient system of disease control will reduce the incidence of livestock
diseases and improve the quality of animal products. Livestock in Oman and
across the world suffer from a number of diseases. More important is the
fact that zoonotic diseases, or diseases transmitted to human beings from
animals, are common throughout the world and constitute a major threat to
human health.
By virtue of its land area and diversity of climate, Oman’s livestock population
is estimated to be about 2.5 million (which includes cattle, sheep, goat and
camels) in addition to a significant amount of poultry. In order to attain self
sufficiency of food, the government has focussed on improving animal health
and increasing livestock numbers; the plan being to double the number of
livestock in order to reduce the amount of imported animal products. To
achieve the strategic objectives of the national plan in the livestock sector,
adaptation of modern methods is required to increase production. This calls
for maintenance and improvement of natural pastures and collection of plant
seeds, improved distribution to grazing areas, and the expansion of veterinary
services to protect livestock from disease and epidemics.
The College of Agricultural and Marine Sciences at SQU plays a leading role in
the development of the agricultural sector in the Sultanate. The establishment
of the Animal and Veterinary Sciences Department in the college in 1986
is considered as an important step in the right direction for providing the
livestock sector with highly qualified graduates. The increasing demand for
livestock products in the Sultanate requires proper distribution of cadres with
practical and theoretical skills in the field of livestock production and animal
By: Dr. Isam Tawfik Kadim,
Department of Animal &
Veterinary Sciences
the private sectors. The private sector has the potential to advance poultry, egg
and dairy production to meet the needs of the local market in addition to the
export of meat and dairy products to neighbouring countries. It should be noted
that there is plenty of room for Omanization in this sector with opportunities in
management and research. The most important concern of the Omani society
is the transmission of diseases among animals and the spread of diseases from
animals to humans. Trained veterinarian positions are important to meet this
challenge and to facilitate provision of health conditions appropriate for these
animals for optimal food production, which contributes to raising the efficiency
of food consumption.
The Veterinary Technology graduates have a leading role to play in the field of
combating major diseases affecting animals. The veterinary technology program
is unique of its kind in the region, the first in the Arabian Gulf, which helps in
producing cadres capable of diagnosing and treating of diseases in all types of
animals, which contributes effectively in reducing the disease in animals and
preventing transmission to humans. The graduates have a key role to play in
ensuring that animal products are free from pathogens. In Oman, contaminants
such as antimicrobials, hormones, heavy metals and other toxins are found in
animal products.
There is a significant lack of qualified specialists in this field in Oman. To address
this issue, the Department of AVS will be training students enrolled in this
specialization on treatment of animals and carrying out general examination
for animals, as well as on diagnostic processes in the labs. These graduates must
be regarded as specialists who play a supportive role in ensuring human health.
This program aims to educate and train students for practising procedures in
clinical and paraclinical veterinary subjects. The curriculum includes specialized
training in anatomy, physiology, nutrition,
meat science, pathology, parasitology,
veterinary diagnostic imaging, and animal
diseases. The procedures in which they are
trained include minor surgical procedures
and anaesthesia for animals.
Theory and practise are given equal
importance in the curriculum. Graduates
who pass the program will be able to
efficiently identify animal diseases on the
basis of symptoms and necessary laboratory
procedures. They will also be qualified
to administer medicines and vaccines.
Veterinary technology graduates are also
eligible for preparing animals for surgery,
preparing equipment, and assisting in
diagnostic procedures, and medical and
surgical procedures. They can also provide
guidance and advice to farmers with respect
to nutrition, food and reproduction of
animals and animal health management.
They are eligible for employment in the
Ministry of Agriculture, Veterinary Services
Division of the Diwan of Royal Court, private
veterinary clinics, dairy farms, poultry farms,
feed processing plants, and diagnostic
laboratories and research institutes.
The Animal and Veterinary Sciences graduates will be equipped with sound
technical foundations of research in the field and proper handling skills
that enable them to transfer the latest knowledge in a simple manner to
the farmers. The arid climatic condition and the high ambient temperatures
affect the production process, increase the spread of diseases among animals
and increase scarcity of fodder in the country. Graduates of the Animal and
Veterinary science program are qualified to work in both the government and
30 March 2011
News Round Up
SQU Wins Imperial Barrel Award at Middile East Level
Five students from the Department of Earth Sciences at Sultan Qaboos
University have won first place in the Middle East regional level contest
of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) Imperial
Barrel Award Program. Ismail Said Rashid Al Dhahli, Shaikha Hamed
Hilal Al Qassabi, Asya Ahmed Hammdan Al Abri, Nasser Sultan
Mohammed Al Habsi, and Omar Mohammed Marhoon Al Riyami, all of
them undergraduate students in the Department of Earth Sciences of the
College of Science, attended the regional level contest under the guidance
of Khalil Juma Mahmood Al Hooti who is working as a demonstrator in
the department. The project assigned to SQU team was titled “Evaluation
of Hydrocarbon Prospects in Cooper and Eromanga Basins”. The assigned
task was the assessment of hydrocarbon potential of these basins (located
in Australia) by utilizing all available data. The end product should clearly
outline the commercial availability of the area in terms of hydrocarbon
The AAPG Imperial Barrel Award goes to competitive, exploration-based
project undertaken by groups of students (typically 4-5 students per team
and one faculty advisor) studying masters-level petroleum geoscience in
academic institutions from around the world. Khalil Al Hooti said that
the contest is open to all institutions offering MSc and PhD degrees in
Petroleum Geology, Petroleum Geophysics, Petroleum Geoscience,
or closely related topics. “The team cannot be comprised of more than
two Ph.D. students. Middle East is exempted from this rule due to the
fewer numbers of universities offering postgraduate programs and hence
undergraduate students from Middle East universities can participate”.
After having won first place in the regional level contest, the SQU is now
qualified for the final competition to be held in Huston, USA from 8th to
13th of April, 2011 during AAPG annual convention. In the final round,
12 universities from across the world, including SQU, will contest. Khalil
Al Hooti said that the competition in the Middle East started by end of
December, when the dataset including seismic 3D cube and associated
well logs were released. It took the team nine weeks of intensive hard
work to analyze, interpret and evaluate the dataset and end up with a
full development plan to further explore the study area and set plans
on the best practice to elevate the area from hydrocarbon exploration
phase to appraisal and development. Such kinds of projects are regarded
as professional oil industry projects and usually require months to be
completed. Later decisions regarding drilling in prospective locations,
risk assessment, etc are taken on the basis of the outcomes of this type of
In 10th of March, 2011 the team went to Dubai to compete regionally against
other universities from the region and presented their final outcomes to a
panel of industry expert judges. SQU team left very good impression on
all judges. Khalil Al Hooti said: “It is true that this time the competition
will be much stronger since the team will be competing against well
known universities from around the world and with students studying
postgraduate degrees. However, the team is very much confident about
themselves. The team takes the full responsibility of the fact that it will be
representing SQU and Oman and they will spare no efforts to represent
Oman very remarkably and hopefully be one of the top most winners in
the global competition next month”, he added.
SQU Holds Workshop on Hydrology
opportunities in Oman. He hoped that the event would pave way for
SQU in joining hands with scientists from abroad in pursuing water
research in Oman.
The International Workshop “Hydrology: Nature & Engineering”,
jointly organized by SQU, the Ministry of Regional Municipalities
and Water Resources, Oman Chapter of UNESCO International
Hydrology Programme, the Research Council and the Helmholtz
Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) was held recently under the
patronage of Prof. Amer Ali al Rawas, SQU Deputy Vice Chancellor
for Postgraduate Studies & Research, in the presence of distinguished
guests and speakers from different national and international bodies.
The event was successful in bringing together scientists and experts
from different parts of the world to explore collaborative research
activities and work out common research platforms in the field of water
resources management and hydrology.
Prof. Anwar Kacimov, Head of the Department of Soil, Water &
Agricultural Engineering at SQU chaired the opening session. In
his welcome address, Dr. S. A. Prathapar, Dean of the College of
Agricultural & Marine Sciences, gave a talk on water resources research
30 March 2011
In the opening session, Prof. Adrian Bejan, from Duke University in
USA and proponent of the constructal theory of design and evolution
in nature gave a presentation on “designed porous media”. In the first
session “fundamentals of mechanics of porous media and associated
phenomena”, Prof. Otto Strack from the University of Minnesota in USA
delivered a presentation titled “Principles of the analytic element method
for Laplace’s equation”. Prof Strack is the original developer of the
analytic element method which has been used extensively in groundwater
modelling of large domains. This was followed by a presentation on
“Tree shaped designs for fluid flow and heat transfer” delivered by Prof.
Sylvie Lorente from the University of Toulouse in France. The workshop
discussed as many as 25 papers in four different sessions.
Meanwhile, the opening ceremony of the research symposium on water
security and management, jointly organised by the British Council,
the Research Council and the Water Research Centre at Sultan Qaboos
university was held under the patronage of HE Ali bin Mohammed al
Abri, Under Secretary of Regional Municipalities and Water Resources
Ministry for Water Resources Affairs. HE Dr. Noel Joseph Guckian, the
British Ambassador to the Sultanate of Oman was also present on the
occasion. The aim of the symposium was to promote long term research
links among water scientists in the GCC countries and Yemen and
British scientists. The workshop was part of the British Council’s new
International Higher Education programme Global Partnerships for the
Knowledge Economy.
On Women Entrepreneurs
It was a great achievement
for Khadija Abdullah Al-Kindi,
a fifth year Management
major student at Sultan
Qaboos University’s College
of Commerce & Economics.
She presented a paper based
on a study performed in
GCC countries on the role of
management skills of women
entrepreneurs at the 9th IAMB
(International Academy of
Management and Business)
Conference (Orlando 2011
Winter Conference) held in the
United States of America in
January this year.
This study, titled “The Role of Management Skills of Women Entrepreneurs:
A case from Sultanate of Oman” is the first ever study done in Oman and
GCC to explore quantitatively, the determinant of venture performance
owned and run by women entrepreneurs. Furthermore, given the
increasing number of self-employed women in Oman and in the region
as well as the government push for active participation of women in the
economy, this study provides an important information and understanding
for researchers and policy makers about management by women. The
finding of this study will help to develop programs to improve women
venture performance and productivity.
According to Khadija, this study uses the institution theories, resourcesbased view, and theoretical frameworks to examine how the level of new
ventures’ resources affects the venture performance. “In particular, the study
examines the role of family attachment, business network, and government
support and their impact on venture performance. Furthermore, the study
explored the proposed moderating role of entrepreneurs’ management
skills on business network-venture relationship”, she said.
The study found that married entrepreneurs reported higher venture
performance than non-married entrepreneurs. The findings show that
business network and perception of government support significantly and
positively impact venture performance. Consistent with the theoretical
explanation, management skills were found to significantly moderating
the relationship between business network and venture performance. That
is, having network will not result in higher performance unless the women
entrepreneurs have the skills to use these resources in the advantage of the
venture. Khadija said that the comments received from the participants of
the US conference were excellent and the paper was well accepted by the
More on the study
The objective of the study was to help to develop programs to improve
women venture performance and productivity; to examine the impact
of social capital on small firms’ performance while acknowledging
the multifaceted nature of network construct; and to investigate how
entrepreneurs’ management skills can make social capital a liability instead
of a source of competitive advantage.
The study assumes importance as little empirical research have been done
on this topic in GCC countries. Those studies that examined the determinants
of the performance of women’s ventures provided inconclusive results.
Moreover, this study examined the level of entrepreneurs’ management
skills as a moderator of the relationship between resources and performance.
The research questions were the following: Using institution theory and
resources based view, what are the determinants of performance of women
Khadija Al-Kindi
owned and run businesses in Oman? What are the effects of management skills on
the performance of new venture?
The study found that business network and government support has a positive
and significant impact on the performance of women venture. A managerial skill
is important in determinant in the direction of the impact of business network on
venture performance. Married women are reporting a better perceived performance
than not-married women.
Khadija on her trip to US
It was the first trip of Khadija to the United States and she had a lot of new experiences
during her visit. She observed that in the US, people are very friendly, helpful and
polite. The journey gave her the opportunity to know more about American civil
life, the culture of the people there and to what extent the culture is different from
that of Arab countries. Khadija was the only undergraduate student to present a
paper during the conference. The rest of the participants were all Master’s or PhD
Khadija further said: “There was another study related to the women entrepreneurs
presented by a Saudi Arabian delegate at the conference. However, it was totally
different from our study because Saudi women entrepreneurs do not directly
involve in business except by investing money in business. However, Omani
women entrepreneurs invest money and manage business firms by themselves”.
She added that most of the papers presented in the conference were highly useful
and appealing to the participants.
Commenting on the difficulties her team faced in performing the study, Khadija
said the sample was small as the number of respondents were small. There were
some difficulties in meeting business women as most of them were engaged in
their professions in tight schedules. Khadija recommends researchers who wish
to do studies on this topic to collect more data and consider specific element
to investigate with enough time. If all goes well, Khadija wishes to continue the
research and update the results. She is thankful to her parents, supervisor and
fellow students who supported in completing this paper and presenting it before a
elite audience in the United States.
30 March 2011
Straight Talk
Horizon: Why patient safety is considered a major health care issue worldwide?
Dr. Agnes: Growing number of health care-associated infections in countries
Dr. Agnes Leotsakos
Technical Officer for Patient
Safety Programme at the World
Health Organization in Geneva,
Switzerland. She delivered a
keynote address on the topic
“Global aspects of patient
safety by WHO” at the recently
Conference organized by SQU
across the world shows that patient safety is a major problem and indicates that
better surveillance and reporting is essential to understand the magnitude of the
problem and address it. These infections can prolong hospital stays, create longterm disability, increase resistance to life-saving medications, drive up costs for
patients and their family, and even lead to death. Health care-associated infections
have long been established as the biggest cause of avoidable harm and unnecessary
death in the health systems of high income countries.
Horizon: What are the major factors that increase the risk of health care-associated
Dr. Agnes: The factors include poor hygiene and waste disposal, inadequate
infrastructure and equipment, understaffing, overcrowding, lack of basic infection
control knowledge and implementation, unsafe procedures, and a lack of guidelines
and policies. At the moment, there is no system in place in low- and middle-income
settings to determine the likelihood and magnitude of the risk of infection associated
with each of these factors. Implementing system-wide surveillance, training,
education and good communication, using devices appropriately and following
proper procedures, and ensuring optimal hand hygiene practices are some of the
solutions that must be tailored to the reality of these settings. To be successful,
these solutions ultimately require a change of health-care workers’ behaviour - in all
settings. Surveillance is the key to the reduction of health care-associated infections.
Not only can it point to some issues which can be immediately addressed, it also
enables facilities and public health authorities to understand the magnitude of the
problem and what interventions are needed, and to assess their impact.
Hand-hygiene is an important measure to ensure patient safety in
hospitals and clinics. Your organization has put much importance to this. Could you
Dr. Agnes: Thousands of people die every day around the world from infections
acquired while receiving health care. Hands are the main pathways of germ
transmission during health care. Hand hygiene is the most important measure
to avoid the transmission of harmful germs and prevent health care-associated
infections. Healthcare workers and caregivers should clean their hands by rubbing
them with an alcohol-based formulation, as the preferred mean for routine hygienic
hand antisepsis if hands are not visibly soiled. It is faster, more effective, and better
tolerated by your hands than washing with soap and water.
Horizon: Could you elaborate on WHO’s campaign “Safe Surgery Saves Lives”?
Dr. Agnes: The goal of the Safe Surgery Saves Lives challenge is to improve
the safety of surgical care by ensuring adherence to proven standards of care in
all countries. WHO has charted a Surgical Safety Checklist and this has improved
compliance with standards and decreased complications from surgery in selected
hospitals where it was evaluated. This is comparable to the checklist system followed
in aviation industry. The purpose of a checklist is to detect a potential error before
it leads to harm. Building on the Surgical Safety Checklist, additional patient care
checklists are being developed for safe childbirth, trauma, etc.
Horizon: At SQU, you gave a presentation on educating future leaders in patient
safety. WHO has prepared a curriculum on patient safety. How would you comment
on these aspects?
Dr. Agnes: Patient safety education of healthcare staff has the potential to
improve safety of patients worldwide by creating a basis for students to build on in
professional life. WHO embarked on this project to assist the development of patient
safety education in heath care and contribute towards safer care by developing
and disseminating globally the patient safety curriculum guide. This guide is a
comprehensive one for implementation of patient safety education in medical
schools worldwide and contains information for all levels of faculty staff and lays
the foundation for capacity building in the essential patient safety principles and
concepts . It has shown that faculty are very open to incorporate patient safety topics
into the existing curricula; learner’s perception of their knowledge of patient safety
issues has been significantly increased after teaching the curriculum; and significant
improvements in the know how before and after cohorts were observed.