Synopsis

Synopsis

A critical incident technique investigation of customers’ waiting experiences in service encounters

Author: Ramseook-Munhurrun, P.

Synopsis:

The purpose of this paper is to explore customers’ reactions to waiting experiences in service encounters. It seeks to explore the key driving features determining customer satisfaction and dissatisfaction with waiting experiences during service encounters. The main challenge for service organisation is to understand the satisfactory and dissatisfactory features of the waiting experiences so as to design and deliver a memorable experience leading to positive post-consumption reactions. The critical incident technique (CIT) was used to explore the salient factors on which customers forged their evaluation and based their satisfaction while waiting in lines in the context of various service encounters. To elicit incidents, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 25 customers in Mauritius and a total of 297 critical incidents involving customers’ waiting experiences in service encounters were identified. Based on the CIT analysis, four distinctive features associated with the satisfying and dissatisfying waiting experiences emerged: social justice, servicescapes, affective response and service outcome. The customers exhibited mostly dissatisfying reactions to waiting experiences during the service encounters.

While CIT has been used extensively in services management, it has not been used to explore customers’ reactions to waiting experiences. Therefore, this study extended the waiting experience literature in service encounters to explain customers’ reactions to waiting.

Keywords Customer satisfaction, Service encounter, Mauritius, Critical incident technique,

Waiting experience

Article access:

http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/JSTP-12-2014-0284

Drivers and Challenges of Creative and Innovative Sustainable Entrepreneurship: Case of Souvenirs and Crafts Production in Mauritius

Author: Ramseook-Munhurrun P., Naidoo P., Lukea-Bhiwajee S. and Bhoojedhur S.

Synopsis:

The purpose of this study was to explore the key drivers and challenges in souvenirs entrepreneurship and to broaden understanding of souvenir production through the examination of creativity and innovation in craft souvenirs. Despite the importance of innovation to all sectors of the economy, creativity and innovation has not been sufficiently studied from the perspective of SMEs in the tourism industry in Mauritius. A qualitative approach was used to explore entrepreneurs’ understanding and experiences of creative and innovative sustainable approaches in designing and producing sustainable locally made artefacts for the tourism industry. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 25 SMEs using purposive and snowballing samplings to facilitate access to hard-to-reach SMEs. The data was content analysed for prominent themes. The criteria used by SMEs to explain creative and innovative sustainable crafts and souvenirs were workmanship, eco-friendly, originality and uniqueness of local heritage, and local inspiration. The findings further revealed that challenges such as lack of skilled labour, labour cost, availability and price of raw materials, unfair competition, and sales and marketing support impacted on the production of locally handmade and authentic crafts and souvenirs. The findings of this study can provide useful information for souvenir producers/retailers, tourism decision-makers and tourism authorities when developing crafts and souvenirs that reflect aspirational experiences for travellers and also an opportunity to use these tourism products as a powerful destination marketing tool.

Keywords: Crafts and Souvenirs, Creativity and innovation, Sustainability, Destination marketing, Mauritius

Article access:

DOI: 10.35666/25662880.2021.7.25

Examining the structural relationships of destination image, perceived value, tourist satisfaction and loyalty: Case of Mauritius

Author: Ramseook-Munhurrun, P., Seebaluck, N.V. and Naidoo, P.

Synopsis:

Tourists’ perceptions of destination image, perceived value, tourist satisfaction and loyalty are vital for successful destination marketing. The literature on travel and tourism reveals an abundance of studies on destination image, perceived value and tourist satisfaction, however their relationships with destination loyalty have not been thoroughly investigated in small island destination. Consequently, the aim of the study was to investigate the relationship among destination image and perceived value and to empirically test the constructs that are likely to influence tourist satisfaction, which in turn affect tourist loyalty. The conceptual model was developed on the basis of existing theoretical and empirical research in the fields of marketing and tourism. The empirical data was collected in an island tourism destination – Mauritius. A total of 370 questionnaires were returned and the data were analysed using Structural Equation Modelling (SEM). The theoretical and managerial implications were drawn based on the study findings, and recommendations for future researchers were made.

Keywords: destination image, perceived value, tourist satisfaction, destination loyalty, Mauritius

Article access:

doi: 10.1016/j.sbspro.2015.01.1198

Health Care Delivery System and the Reduction of Maternal and Child Mortality in Hospitals of Makurdi Benue State, Nigeria.

Authors: Comfort EO, Luximon-Ramma A and Jamda AM

Synopsis: The objectives of this publication are to find the historical background of maternal and child health care delivery, the incidence of maternal and child mortality, causes of maternal and child mortality, challenges in accessing maternal health care services of Nigeria. Data for the study were sourced from both primary and secondary means. Primary data was drawn through questionnaire and hospital records. Questionnaire was distributed to a sample of 369 respondents out of 4,740 population of staff of four (4) purposely selected largest hospitals in Makurdi, Benue State. The sample size was determined through Taro Yamane’s formula while the Bourley’s proportional allocation formula was used to determine the sample size per each hospital. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics like tables, percentages, mean and standard deviation, while the test of hypotheses were done through Chi-square. The analyzed result shows that the availability of maternal and child health care services in the hospitals and accessibility of maternal and child health care services were poor. Furthermore, maternal and infant mortality is essentially high and increasing in hospitals of Makurdi, Benue State, Nigeria. Several challenges are militating against effective healthcare delivery, therefore, the study recommended, among others, that government and other stakeholders should make conscious efforts to ensure that adequate facilities, tools, and equipment are provided for the hospitals to enhance the quality of maternal and child healthcare services in the Benue State of Nigeria.

Access: International Journal of Public Health,10 (1). DOI: 10.21522/TIJPH.2013.10.01.Art027 (March 2022)

Perceptions and Experiences about Device-Emitted Radiofrequency Radiation and its effects on selected Brain Health Parameters in Southwest Nigeria.

Authors: Owolabi J, Ilesanmi OS and Luximon-Ramma A

Synopsis: This research considered the perceptions and exposure-related experiences of people within a Nigerian population with respect to Radiofrequency Radiation. Structured and validated questionnaires were used to profile self-reported patterns of behaviour and sleep in humans. Questionnaire administration-electronic was opened for exactly one week, consisting of 25 specific questions and five open-ended questions [total = 30 questions]. A total population approach was adopted [N=~240]. Bivariate analysis using Chi-square tests were conducted to determine the association between knowledge of electronic gadgets as a source of radiofrequency radiation and sociodemographic characteristics of respondents. Binary logistic regression was used to determine the factors associated with good knowledge of electronic gadgets as a source of radiofrequency radiation. The level of statistical significance was set at p ≤ 0.05. The response rate was approximately 84%. Fatigue/tiredness (69.6%), attention deficit (69.1%) and headache (62.4%) ranked top amongst RFR-associated negative effects on mental health. Among the respondents, 29 (56.9%) among those above 20 years had good knowledge of radiofrequency radiation from electronic gadgets compared to 72 (47.2%) aged 20 years and below (X2 = 1.285, p = 0.257). Also, 45 (59.2%) of persons who lived in a town/village had good knowledge of radiofrequency radiation from electronic gadgets compared to 56 (44.4%) who lived in the city (X2 = 4.135, p = 0.042). Persons who lived in a town/village had nearly two times the odds of having good knowledge of RFR from electronic gadgets. The study showed that respondents had experienced significant and negative effects of RFR on their mental health. The current level of knowledge and awareness on the nature of RFR and exposures was just about average, indicating a critical and urgent need to educate the public on the subject.

Access: Cureus 13(9): Journal of Medical Science. DOI: 10.7759/cureus.18211. (September 23, 2021)

A Study of Radiofrequency Radiation (RFR) effects on the Brain Neurochemistry during Pre- and Postnatal Brain Development.

Authors: Owolabi JO, Ilesanmi OS and Luximon-Ramma V.

Synopsis: The research was designed to model animals which mimic the exposure to the radiofrequency radiation [RFR] by habitual users of RFR-enabled devices and to observe possible aberrations in behaviours that are attributable to exposures. The research was designed to model cases of continuous and intermittent exposures in human conditions, using Wistar rats. The primary objective of this study was to study intrauterine and postnatal exposure and study the effects brain structures, functions and behaviours in Wistar rats. The experiment started with 42 pregnant rats that were exposed to RFR [4G] to observe the possibilities of RFR-induced teratogenic effects. Thereafter, half of the offspring were sacrificed for their brains to be studied at birth. The other half was exposed to RFR to observe postnatal effects of RFR radiation until puberty. The exposure regimen was the same for the mothers and the offspring in each group. What varied was the duration of exposure per day being 6 hours, 24 hours and 24 hours. Experimental Wistar rats were housed in facilities that enabled exposure to specific dose (4G) of radiations during pregnancy (~21 days) and during postnatal days until day 35, marking approximately the point of puberty. Following the dissection of the rat, brain tissue samples were homogenized in buffered phosphate saline [PBS] and the supernatant was assayed for each neurotransmitter of interest. The results showed that RFR-exposure caused changes in neurotransmitters and enzyme neurochemistry. Cytochrome C oxidase enzyme and neurotransmitters especially dopamine, gamma-amino butyric acid, glutamine and serotonin and their activities levels were significantly altered especially with prolonged duration of RFR exposure. These findings would altogether suggest that radiofrequency radiation exposure might change brain neurochemistry permanently following exposure either during the intrauterine or the postnatal stage of life. The implications of these changes on later life mental health and neurological attributes will require further investigation.

Access: Journal of Advances in Medicine and Medical Research, 33 (15): 53-63.                          DOI: 10.9734/JAMMR/2021/v33i1530986 (July 2021)

Living through COVID-19 pandemic in Mauritius: mental well-being and dependance on Facebook

Authors: Ramdawor S., Putteeraj M, Moty N. & Somanah J

Publication year: 2022

Journal: Discover Psychology

Synopsis: The unprecedented outbreak of the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) resulted in numerous psychological consequences among young Mauritians. Prominently, an increase in Facebook usage during the pandemic was observed which could influenced the mental well-being of Facebook users. The current study sought to explore how the pattern of use, as well as the purpose of Facebook usage, could impact the mental well-being of young Mauritian adults, before, during and after the pandemic-mediated confinement. The findings revealed a radical proliferation of social media through a self-perceived dependency for its informative purpose and related addiction; as well as an evolution of adverse psychological effects characterized by a spectrum of feelings such as restlessness and lowered self-esteem. Changes in emotional states were also identified as important predictors of Facebook addiction with 48.8% of the variation in the reported addiction behavior matched with 92.6% of perceived addictive characteristics. A remarkable recovery was observed post the confinement phase which was likely associated with the frequency and purpose of Facebook use during the pandemic.

Access:

Ramdawor, S., Putteeraj, M., Moty, N. Somanah J. (2022) Living through the COVID-19 pandemic in Mauritius: mental well-being and dependence on Facebook. Discover Psychology 2(32):1-13

https://doi.org/10.1007/s44202-022-00044-4

 


Authors: Putteeraj M, N Bhungee, Somanah J, Moty N

Publication year: 2022

Journal: International Health

Synopsis: The preparedness of healthcare institutes for the foreseen changes expected to arise through the implementation of E-Health is a significant turning point in determining its success. This should be evaluated through the awareness and readiness of healthcare workers to adopt E-Health technology to reduce health information technology failures. This study investigated the relationship between the perceived attributes of innovation and E-Health adoption decisions of healthcare workers as part of a preimplementation process. Using a cross-sectional quantitative approach, the dimensions of the diffusion of innovation (DOI) theory were used to assess the E-Health readiness of 110 healthcare workers in a Mauritian specialized hospital. A strong inclination towards E-Health adoption was observed, where the prime stimulators were perceived as modernization of healthcare management, increased work efficiency through reduction of duplication and faster generation of results. The findings of this study also validated the use of five DOI dimensions (i.e. relative advantage, compatibility, complexity, trialability and observability) in a predictability model towards E-Health adoption. A significant association between ‘adopter category’ and ‘willingness to recommend E-Health adoption’ endorsed the fact that physicians and nursing managers have central roles within a social ecosystem to facilitate the diffusion of technology and influence the adoption of innovation. This is the first study of its kind in Mauritius to successfully characterize each adopter’s profile and demonstrate the applicability of the DOI framework to predict the diffusion rate of E-Health platforms, it also highlights the importance of identifying key opinion leaders who can be primed by innovators regarding the benefits of E-Health platforms

Access:

Putteeraj, M., Bhungee, N., Somanah, J. Moty, N., 2022. Assessing E-Health adoption readiness using diffusion of innovation theory and the role mediated by each adopter’s category in a Mauritian context. International Health, 14(3):236–249 

 https://doi.org/10.1093/inthealth/ihab035

Parenting style and its effect on eating disorders and substance abuse across the young population

Authors: Ramsewak S., Moty N., Putteeraj M, Somanah J, Lounge N

Publication year: 2022

Journal: Discover Psychology 

Synopsis: This article attempts to examine the occurrence of two behavioural changes, namely, substance abuse and eating disorders in order of onset mediated by ineffective parenting styles during young age. The four parenting styles and their consequential behavioural adverse effects are taken as the focal point of this study and are synthesized to provide an outlook on the status of ineffective parenting and deviant offspring behaviours. A review of literature was primarily undertaken to examine the characteristic features of ineffective parenting. A causal relationship was then drawn between the onset of behavioural disorders with an emphasis on substance abuse and eating disorders, along the parenting spectrum. We probed into the order and directionality of the offspring behavioural changes against ineffective parenting. The current available data shows the superimposition of the parenting style spectrum on a bell-shaped distribution of behavioural outcomes as exemplified by authoritarian, permissive and neglectful parenting as a prime determinant of several disorders among the young age; parenting styles being at the extremities of the parenting spectrum. The sweet spot of parenting, mainly associated to the authoritative approach, bears the most positive effect on the growing child. The extreme ends of parenting as per the varying degree of responsiveness and demandingness, generally observed in authoritarian and neglectful parenting precipitate concomitant deviant behaviours cascading from one another; intricately linking substance abuse and eating disorders. A number of studies have described the isolated effects of ineffective parenting on the development of substance abuse and eating disorders during the adolescent period. However, the relationship between both eating disorders and substance abuse is underplayed and need to be stressed upon to tailor behaviour-specific targeted therapies and restore the normalcy of these altered behaviours.

Access:

Ramsewak, S., Moty, N., Putteeraj, M. Somanah J., Lounge N. (2022) Parenting style and its effect on eating disorders and substance abuse across the young population. Discover Psychology 2(9): 1-12

https://doi.org/10.1007/s44202-022-00025-7

Exploring substance use disorders and relapse in Mauritian male addicts

Authors: Ramsewak S., Putteeraj M, Somanah J

Publication year: 2020

Journal: Heliyon

Synopsis: Substance Use Disorder (SUD) places a heavy burden on societal and health systems given its association with high mortality and morbidity rates worldwide, including Mauritius. Illicit substances act as a positive reinforcement and stimulate addiction through its pleasure-seeking attributes. This study focused on identifying the risk factors leading to SUD among Mauritian male addicts as well as examining the potency of those factors in SUD development. The study also aimed at determining the prevalence of relapse and its causation. A cross-sectional study was conducted over a period of six months using a sample of 180 male addicts registered in a public hospital. A questionnaire investigating dimensions such as risk factors, self-esteem and peer pressure was administered. A high percentage of relapse was noted amongst users within the first year of abstinence. Majority of respondents originated from nuclear or single parents’ family and were deprived of adequate social supports given their marital status. 57.5% of participants had a positive family history of SUD. Cannabis was the most commonly abused substance and 76.2% of the addicts were introduced to drugs through curiosity. Transposing the results against the Gateway Drug Theory showed a constant progression from soft to hard drugs for male addicts, a trend which was consistent with literature. Lastly, a theoretical model was developed based on the strong statistical association found between impulsivity and reduced thought processes prior to relapse; data revealing increased impulsivity which is a common trait in antisocial personality disorder and borderline personality disorder as being largely responsible for relapse. The inability of addicts to progress with their rehabilitation given the alarming 92% of relapse was related to social pressure as prime deterrent to successful remission. Programmes involving relapse prevention must implemented in the first year of abstinence to facilitate rehabilitation.

Access:

Ramsewak, S., Putteeraj, M. Somanah J., (2020) Exploring substance use disorders and relapse in Mauritian male addicts. Heliyon 6(8): e04731

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.heliyon.2020.e04731

Discovering the Health Promoting Potential of Fermented Papaya Preparation—Its Future Perspectives for the Dietary Management of Oxidative Stress During Diabetes

Authors: Somanah J., Putteeraj M., Okezie IA., Bahorun T

Publication year: 2018

Journal: Fermentation 

Synopsis: The simplistic morphological characteristics of Carica papaya fruit or “pawpaw” should not be the cause for underestimating its potential as a nutraceutical. The market for papaya has been expanding at a staggering rate, partly due to its applicability as a biofortified product, but also due to its phytochemical properties and traditional health benefits. Papaya or formulations of fermented papaya promotion (FPP) display effective free radical scavenging abilities thought to be influenced by its phenolic, carotenoid, flavonoid, or amino acid profile. The antioxidant properties of FPP have been extensively reported in literature to potently target a broad spectrum of free radical-induced diseases ranging from neurological impairments, such as senile dementia, to systemic diseases, to its interference at the cellular level and the support of normal biological ageing processes. FPP has thus been extensively investigated for its ability to exert cellular protective effects and reduce oxidative stress via the mitigation of genetic damage, reduction of lipid peroxidation, and enzymatic inactivation in specific diseases. The focus of this review is to appraise the potential of oxidative stress reduction strategies of FPP and discuss its holistic approach in disease prevention and management, with a particular focus on diabetes and cancer. However, with the current lack of information surrounding its mechanism of action, this review wishes to set the stage and aspire researchers to more profoundly investigate molecular pathways related to how FPP can unequivocally contribute to wellness in an aging population

Access:

Somanah J., Putteeraj M., Okezie IA., Bahorun T (2018) Exploring substance use disorders and relapse in Mauritian male addicts. Fermentation 4(4): 83

https://doi.org/10.3390/fermentation4040083

Development and testing of a prototype face shield and face mask buckle for the safety and protection of vulnerable essential service workers in Mauritius

Principle investigator : Dr. Somanah J

Team members : Dr. Putteeraj M. (School of Health Sciences) and Mr Mardemootoo D (Fancy Dreams Co Ltd)

Project submitted to : Mauritius Research and Innovation Council

Category : Special call for proposals- fast-track innovative projects to counter the impacts of COVID-19

Synopsis

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic caused a collapse in the manufacturing and supply of personal protective equipment (PPE). This led to the creation of a ‘scammers paradise’. Defective in quality and in design, several countries raised serious concerns concerning the low supply rates and exorbitant prices. Similar apprehensions were voiced by those providing services to the public during the pandemic, such as educators, pharmacy dispensers, bank tellers, petrol pump attendants, drivers of public transport and food vendors. The situation extended even to those offering social support to needy and vulnerable communities during the COVID-19 outbreak. Since all of these professions contribute directly or indirectly to the growth of the Mauritian economy- their health and safety could not be overlooked. This project describes a prototype face shield and face mask buckle that were designed to protect the health and safety of vulnerable workers providing ‘essential’ services around Mauritius. The proposed PPE items are easily customization to maintain marketability for sectors where continual implementation of strict health sanitation protocols is required. It is hoped that this project will foster future endeavors into the local manufacturing of PPE to help strengthen the PPE supply chain of our island enabling Mauritius to become self-sufficient in these products and avoid the dependency on foreign import.

Dissemination of Information Event link

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8qJk0wHd75Uhttps://doi.org/10.3390/fermentation4040083

Status: Completed

Exercise Referral Mauritius- a 20-week pilot project

Team members :

Dr. C A Bholah (Mauritius Sports Council),

Somanah J and Putteeraj M. (School of Health Sciences)

Dr R Lutchumun (Ministry of Health and Wellness)

Mrs K Sawmy (Kantar Analysis Co Ltd)

Project submitted to : Ministry of Health and Wellness

Category : Exercise Prescription Phase 2 (Active Mauritius)

Synopsis

Mauritius has a strong prevalence of non-communicable diseases (NCD) with 28.4% of its population suffering hypertension, 20.5% diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and 19.1% having obesity. There is general consensus that physical activity can indeed help reduce the burden of non-communicable diseases and improve the health status of patients. Exercise Referral Schemes (ERS) are multifaceted interventions that are supervised, safe and appropriately adapted to suit the patient’s needs. However evidence-based efficacy of ERS and the vital role of an exercise referral consultant within the scheme is lacking. This project aims to investigate the effectiveness of a 20-week exercise referral scheme (prescription exercise) in a group of Mauritian adults diagnosed with diabetes, hypertension and/or diabetes. A sample of 200 consenting patients clinically diagnosed with diabetes, hypertension and/or obesity will be recruited from different area health centers in Mauritius and randomly assigned into one of three

study groups: intervention group (exercise prescription + guidance and support by physical activity leader), control group 1 (exercise ‘advice’ from general physician only) and control group 2 (no exercise at all). Patients will be followed for a period of 20 weeks. Variables such as BMI, grip strength, waist circumference, fasting blood glucose, HbA1c, triglyceride profile and blood pressure will be measured at week 0, week 10 and week 20 to obtain comparative data. A self-reporting questionnaire to assess quality of life and physical activity level during the intervention period will also be issued. Based on data collected from a previous pilot project, several parameters have been taken into consideration to improve the study design of the present study. Should the results of this 20-week intervention study prove to be convincing the Mauritius Sports Council will propose this scheme to the Ministry of Health and Wellness for possible integration into the existing health care services offered to the Mauritian public.

Status: On-Going, expected completion by December 2022

E-Banking Literacy and Skills for Improved SMEs Financial Management – The Case of Women Entrepreneurs

Author: Padachi, K.*, Narrainen, D. and Boolaky, A.

.

Synopsis:

Many SMEs are being managed and operated by women entrepreneurs (WEs) who contribute much to the SME sector. In Mauritius, women empowerment through entrepreneurship is among the main themes in the national SME Master Plan. However according to the world Bank “While Mauritian women are making major strides in terms of educational attainment at primary and secondary levels, they often lack the combination of education, vocational and technical skills and work experience needed to support the development of highly productive businesses”. Nevertheless, with the explosion in use of mobile devices and reduction in cost of ICT in Mauritius using online tools has become more accessible.

The main aim of this project is to empower Women Entrepreneurs (WEs) through digital education and how to use e-banking tools as a service enabler and facilitator in their financial transactions by using a personalized and adaptive approach through an online platform.

This study has unveiled the need to adopt e-banking tools, especially at a time when the world has witnessed the worst pandemic. The Covid-19 pandemic has reinforced the need to move to a digitalized platform to perform banking transactions. This is even more pressing for WEs who run their businesses predominantly within the local community, where access to the traditional banking channel is inexistent. Thus, the findings of this study have important implications for entrepreneurs and in particular WEs who have no choice than to embrace the e-banking tools to facilitate the business financial transactions. This was one of the overriding objectives of the study where WEs can self learn on the use of the e-banking tools, namely ATM, IB, POS and MB. This platform can be used as an educational tool to impart digital skills to SMEs and young entrepreneurs in the execution of their financial dealings. The research findings also have important implications to the service providers and the key stakeholders involved in ensuring the sustainability of WEs as part of the ecosystems. There is a pressing need to raise awareness about the potential benefits of using these e-banking tools, especially at a time when there are strict sanitary measures due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Article access:

https://doi.org/10.20935/AL1018

Prototyping an innovative e-platform of financial assistance for small medium enterprises in Mauritius

Author: Padachi, K.*, Narrainen, D. and Boolaky, A.

.

Synopsis:

The SMEs form a vibrant pillar of the Mauritian economy through their important contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth and socio-economic development. SMEs are recognized for their significance and their resilience in responding to fast changing conditions, even in times of the economic downturn. This paper aims to address financial illiteracy among Mauritian SMEs by proposing an integrated financial assistance strategy for small firms in view of enhancing the financial sustainability, growth and development of their business entities. The study adopts a dual methodology to address the study objectives. Two focus groups were held as part of the qualitative approach to quantify the level of financial literacy and to ultimately assess the extent of the problem. The paper also highlights the specific gaps and needs in terms of financial education and contributes to designing the most adapted solutions in terms of training and IT to respond to these needs. The research findings confirm the lack of financial knowledge among the Mauritian SMEs and the extent of their IT readiness. The survey has also revealed that although there is some degree of awareness about the most common sources of finance, the cost implications are not always fully understood. This lack of awareness on the mode of finance and the conditions apply thereto point to the existing financial education gap in the Mauritian SME sector. This further reinforces the need to implement an integrated financial platform

Article access:

https://doi.org/10.5897/AJBM2018.8572

Book Chapter in Adapting to the digital trade era: challenges and opportunities - The digital trade era – challenges and opportunities for developing countries WTO Publications

Chapter 3: Opportunities and challenges of e-commerce in Mauritius

Author: Boopen Seetanah, Kesseven Padachi, Sheereen Fauzel, Vinesh Sannassee and Sunil Boodoo

Synopsis:

This study explores the status, challenges and opportunities of e-commerce in Mauritius. The share of the population making online purchases was 14 per cent in 2017, the secondhighest level (after Libya) in Africa, largely due to increases in internet use and penetration, coupled with increased credit card usage and the development of secure online payment systems. And Mauritius topped the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) B2C E-commerce Index (e-readiness) for Africa. A survey of customers revealed high levels of satisfaction with online shopping, due to wider choices, the ability to save time, accessibility and the relative ease of searching for products online. Major concerns included uneasiness over disclosure of personal information and limited ability to contact vendors. Respondents who have not shopped online cited concerns over navigating online, payment security and high costs. Online sellers expressed considerable optimism over future market growth, but also were concerned over a local bias towards international websites, technical limitations of internet service and the small market size. Interviews with policymakers cited the strong legal and regulatory framework supporting electronic payments, but described a need for stronger regulatory cooperation with other countries on e-commerce, and more work to collect statistics. Technical assistance would be useful in these efforts.

Financial Literacy of Young Professionals in the Context of Financial Technology Developments in Mauritius

Author: Boolaky A; Mauree-Narrainen D and Padachi K

Synopsis:

The emergence of financial technology (Fintech) has led to an increased need to promote efforts to boost the financial literacy of young professionals, as the financial decision-making process has become more challenging. The specific objectives of this study are to gauge the financial knowledge of young professionals and analyze their attitudes and behavior in regards to the use of Fintech for basic money management, financial planning and investment decisions. The study also aims to analyze the extent to which Fintech is used and its impact on financial literacy levels. The research methodology employs a dual approach. A quantitative study using a survey targets young professionals in the different occupational groups that constitute the Mauritian professional workforce. A regression model is developed to investigate the impact of Fintech usage and demographic factors on financial literacy. The findings reveal significant differences in financial knowledge, attitudes and behaviors attributable to various demographic factors. Furthermore, Fintech usage is limited to the traditional offerings while more innovative Fintech has relatively lower adoption rates. The study has uncovered the positive impact of Fintech usage on financial literacy, opening avenues for rethinking the content and scope of traditional financial education programs.

Article access:

https://archive.conscientiabeam.com/index.php/35/article/view/1373

Alternative Digital Packaging Design Strategies to gain visibility in E-tailing

Dr. Leila Denmamode
School of Innovative Technologies and Engineering,
Department of Creative Arts, Film And Media Technologies,
University of Technology,
Mauritius, La Tour Koenig, Mauritius.
[email protected], [email protected]

Associate Professor Dr. June Ngo Siok Kheng
Faculty of Applied and Creative Arts,
Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, Malaysia
[email protected]

Alternative Digital Packaging Design Strategies to gain visibility in E-tailing

Purpose: Brand visibility is an ever increasing sensitive subject with the number of similar products on sale in e-tailing. This paper mainly focused on graphical and structural design opportunities of packaging that demonstrated tendency to amplify product and brand visibility in e-tailing. The study aspires to capture and retain browsers’ attention through interactive packaging display in online environment while building on consumers’ relationship with brands and products during browsing phase.

Methodology: The paper proposes a new design concept: Attention Vehicle addressing brand visibility. The concept was constructed following basic requirements that involved theories and principles of packaging design, website design, e-tailing context, sensory marketing and consumer emotional behaviour philosophy. Through mixed research methods, including observation, interviews, online chat and survey questionnaires, the concept and its design strategies were developed, evaluated and finalised.

Findings: The concept recommends three design strategy dimensions – (1) Sensorial Labelling, (2) Brand Feel and (3) Elemental Traits – as corresponding influential attributes for brand visibility in e-tailing to gain competitive edge. Findings highlighted the possibility to incorporate sensory expressions to packaging design intended for e-tailing.

Implications: This study allows insights for tailor-made packaging design features and digital marketing strategies contributing to improve online shopping experience, consequently expanding packaging design prospect, e-marketers’ potential, e-tailers’ business opportunities and emotional online shopping feel for customers.

Keywords: Digital packaging design, E-tailing visibility, Attention vehicle, Brand visibility, Online product presence

This paper was awarded BEST TRACK PAPER AWARD at The Third North American International Conference on Industrial Engineering and Operations Management, Washington DC, USA, September 2018.

A PEG Construction of LDPC Codes Based on the Betweenness Centrality Metric, Advances in Electrical and Computer Engineering, vol.16, no.2, pp.85-92, May 2016

Author: I. Bhurtah, P. C. Catherine and K. M. S. Soyjaudah

Synopsis:

Progressive Edge Growth (PEG) constructions are usually based on optimizing the distance metric by using various methods. In this work however, the distance metric is replaced by a different one, namely the betweenness centrality metric, which was shown to enhance routing performance in wireless mesh networks. A new type of PEG construction for Low-Density Parity Check (LDPC) codes is introduced based on the betweenness centrality metric borrowed from social networks terminology given that the bipartite graph describing the LDPC is analogous to a network of nodes. The algorithm is very efficient in filling edges on the bipartite graph by adding its connections in an edge-by-edge manner. The smallest graph size the new code could construct surpasses those obtained from a modified PEG algorithm – the RandPEG algorithm. To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this paper produces the best regular LDPC column-weight two graphs. In addition, the technique proves to be competitive in terms of errorcorrecting performance. When compared to MacKay, PEG and other recent modified-PEG codes, the algorithm gives better performance over high SNR due to its particular edge and local graph properties.

Article access:

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/303808358_A_PEG_Construction_of_LDPC_Codes_Based_on_the_Betweenness_Centrality_Metric/citations

Citation :

I. Bhurtah-seewoosungkur, P. C. Catherine, K. M. S. Soyjaudah, “A PEG Construction of LDPC Codes Based on the Betweenness Centrality Metric,” Advances in Electrical and Computer Engineering, vol.16, no.2, pp.85-92, 2016, doi:10.4316/AECE.2016.02012

Erasing Bit Nodes on the Bipartite Graph for Enhanced Performance of LDPC Codes, in Emerging Trends in Engineering and Technology (ICETET), 2011 4th International Conference on, vol., no., pp.107-111, 18-20 Nov. 2011

Author: P. C. Catherine and K. M. S. Soyjaudah

Synopsis:

The proposed work is based on the fact that the complete set of bit nodes for an LDPC code may not always be required at the receiving side for successful decoding. A corresponding strategy is therefore built up. In contrast to common practice, the total number of iterations available is shared among different sets. The first set runs the decoding algorithm with all its bit nodes. Successive sets (in case of decoding failure) runs each with a different selection of “erased” bit nodes, leading to an overall nonmonotonic behavior. The end result is a system capable of effectively dealing with the problem of cycles and trapping sets without even being aware of their existence. Reported results show an important
coding gain over conventional systems.

Article access:

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/261302727_Erasing_Bit_Nodes_on_the_Bipartite_Graph_for_Enhanced_Performance_of_LDPC_Codes

Citation :

P. C. Catherine and K. M. S. Soyjaudah, “Erasing Bit Nodes on the Bipartite Graph for Enhanced Performance of LDPC Codes,” 2011 Fourth International Conference on Emerging Trends in Engineering & Technology, 2011, pp. 107-111, doi: 10.1109/ICETET.2011.45.

A density-based progressive edge-growth matrix creation technique for LDPC codes, in Turbo Codes and Iterative Information Processing (ISTC), 2010 6th International Symposium on, vol., no., pp.211-215, 6-10 Sep. 2010

Author: P. C. Catherine and K. M. S. Soyjaudah

Synopsis:

In this work, a method especially suited for creating high rate LDPC codes is proposed. The technique employed adds the connections of the bipartite graph on an edge-by-edge basis. Unlike other progressive edge growth methods however, we favor the use of a density metric over the conventional distance metric for the node selection process. As benchmark, the algorithm yield codes of higher rates than those obtained from bit-filling algorithms. Because of its efficient approach in filling edges on the bipartite graph however, the algorithm may also be used to produce codes (of various rates) that are very competitive in terms of error-correcting performance.

Article access:

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/261482059_A_density-based_progressive_edgegrowth_matrix_creation_technique_for_LDPC_codes

Citation :

P. C. Catherine and K. M. S. Soyjaudah, “A density-based progressive edge-growth matrix creation technique for LDPC codes,” 2010 6th International Symposium on Turbo Codes & Iterative Information Processing, 2010, pp. 211-215, doi: 10.1109/ISTC.2010.5613841.

Exploring Medical Tourism in Mauritius: An Identification of Challenges and Opportunities Affecting the Sector

Authors: Needesh Ramphul1*, Manish Putteeraj , N. Vanessa Seebaluck

Synopsis: 

Mauritius although known for its tourism worldwide has reached a stagnating phase due to its reliance on the traditional sea, sand and sun concept; leading led to the branching of tourism industry towards medical tourism. This paper aims at identifying the limiting and precipitating factors in the Mauritian medical tourism industry; and tailor market-driven strategies in line with the governmental policies, ensuring a sustainable growth of this sector and most importantly remove trans-boundary barriers to medical services offered in Mauritius. A qualitative approach was used through face-to-face interviews with stakeholders from the private and public sector, inclusive of the main body regulating foreign investment and access to local medical platforms. Individuals within the category of medical tourists were also interviewed. Questions were formulated and systematically administered based on the SWOT framework. The Mauritian government is incentivizing this sector as reflected by the mushrooming of private clinics catering for international patients. However, the expansion is not rapid enough given the challenges they face legislatively as well as harboring and attracting more investors. The inability to showcase the existing state-of-the-art facilities on the international market is a major inhibiting factor. Relevant to the SWOT framework, the following were identified as per the Strengths: safety and location; Weaknesses: legislative boundaries and medical coverage; Opportunities: Branding and capacity-building; and Threats: Other travel destinations and Covid-19. Mauritius is still at its embryonic stage with respect to the medical tourism hub with the potential of becoming a support pillar to the economic development, given its central location bridging Asian and African regions. The legislative frameworks do require an extensive review to be more supportive of such developments, while bi-lateral agreements with foreign allies may potentiate this hub.

Keywords: Healthcare, Medical Tourism, SWOT Analysis, Strategic Management

Ramphul, N., Putteeraj, M., & Seebaluck, N. V. (2022). Exploring Medical Tourism in Mauritius: An identification of Challenges and Opportunities Affecting the Sector. Journal of Tourism Hospitality and Environment Management, 7 (28), 01-17. DOI: 10.35631/JTHEM.728001.

A Conceptual Framework of Management Development Process in The Mauritian Hotel Sector based on The Grounded Theory Approach

Authors:

Needesh Ramphul, University of Technology Mauritius

Hemant Chittoo, University of Technology, Mauritius

Tegshbuyan Munkhbat, National University of Mongolia

Synopsis: 

Managers have a vital role to play in ensuring quality and efficiency of service in the hotel sector in general. Effective Management development programmes and processes ensure that hotels have the right quantity and quality of managers that they need in order to be competitive and achieve their objectives especially in a very competitive and fast changing business environment. However, few studies have been carried out to understand the actual process of developing managers within the hotel sector in Mauritius from the perspectives of participants of the management development programmes. The purpose of this paper is to understand the way in which management development process operates within the Mauritian hotel sector. A grounded theory approach was used since little research has been carried out on this aspect in Mauritius. In this context, 25 participants (resort managers, reservation managers, finance managers, front office managers, room service managers and food and beverages managers) from Mauritian hotels were interviewed to get relevant information on the management development process. The data was analysed using the Nvivo software. The research enables to come up with a new conceptual framework on the management development process based on the views of participants. The conceptual framework helps to understand the actual process of management development within the Mauritian context and it can help to compare with other models that exist in the hotel sector around the world.

Keywords: Grounded theory approach, Management development, Mauritian hotels, perspectives of participants

Ramphul N., Chittoo H., and Munkhbat T. (2018), “A conceptual framework of management development process in the Mauritian hotel sector based on the grounded theory approach”, International Journal of Research in Management, Vol 3 (8), Page 62-75, ISSN 2249-5908 .

Predictors of Whistle Blowing Intentions: An Analysis of Multi-Level Variables

Authors: Soma Pillay, Needesh Ramphul, Nirmala Dorasamy, and Denny Meyer

Synopsis: 

The purpose of this study was to examine the variables impacting on whistleblowing intentions in the public services of two developing countries, South Africa and Mauritius. In particular, this study considers the barriers to whistle-blowing and the effect of demographic and cultural values on the perceptions of these barriers. The study finds major differences between South Africa and Mauritius with minor differences in regard to gender and education.

Keywords : Whistle-blowing, corruption, South Africa, Mauritius, intentions

Soma Pillay, Needesh Ramphul, Nirmala Dorasamy, and Denny Meyer (2015),“Predictors of Whistle Blowing Intentions: An Analysis of  Multi-Level Variables”, , Administration and Society, Page 1-31, 27 May 2015, Sage Publication

"Use of Facebook for improving student engagement in a higher education blended engineering course”, Innovative Issues and Approaches in Social Sciences, Vol. 10, No. 1

Authors: Foogooa, R. & Ferdinand-James, D. (2017)

Synopsis: 

In spite of the fact that many universities include blended learning in offering their programmes, student engagement in courses remains a challenge. This research started off as an investigation into the use of the Learning Management System (LMS) by students of an engineering course and into ways to improve student engagement. The heavy usage of social media by the students prompted us to find how Facebook could be used in a course in conjunction with an LMS. A closed Facebook group was created by the lecturer and used to interact with the class. Data collection was done through an online survey of the students at the end of the class. A social media analytics software was also used to analyse the interactions on the Facebook group. A journal was also kept for the lecturer’s thoughts throughout the class. To avoid bias, the second author, an educational technologist whose conference paper on Social Media inspired this one, was involved in the analysis and interpretation of the data. The results were very encouraging. A majority of students were actively engaged by the Facebook group. However, this research put into perspective a series of potential issues with the use of Facebook or any other social media in higher education which would warrant further research.

Access : http://dx.doi.org/10.12959/issn.1855-0541.IIASS-2017-no1-art1

“Green ICT Maturity Models – Towards a General Approach”, International Conference on Computing, Communication & Security 2015, Mauritius (2015)

Authors: Foogooa, R., Bokhoree, C. & Dookhitram K.

Synopsis: 

A lot of effort is still required in greening ICT and the use of ICT to green organisations. However, Green ICT initiatives are hard to sustain. In this context, Green ICT maturity models help by providing a benchmarking tool and a roadmap. However, several Green ICT maturity models have been proposed by different researchers over the years with no clear justification. This makes it difficult for companies to choose which Green ICT maturity model to adopt. This research aims at comparing the different Green ICT maturity models. This could help companies manage their Green ICT initiatives in a more sustainable way. It will analyse the evolution of Green ICT maturity models and provide cues for further research in this area.

Access : https://doi.org/10.1109/CCCS.2015.7374163

“IS Outsourcing – A Strategic Perspective”, Business Process Management Journal, Issue 6 (Volume 14) (2008)

Authors: Foogooa, R

Synopsis: 

The purpose of this paper is to study the different facets of the strategic perspective of information systems (IS) outsourcing, compare strategic IS outsourcing with traditional IS outsourcing and identify research opportunities. This paper is based primarily on a review of the literature. IS outsourcing is now an accepted practice and the market is growing regularly. The initial hype surrounding IS outsourcing has died out and there is now a more rational approach towards outsourcing with an increasing emphasis for a strategic approach towards IS outsourcing rather than just a cost‐cutting motivation. The paper clarifies the definitions of IS outsourcing and strategy, taking into consideration the evolution of the definitions before comparing strategic IS outsourcing with traditional IS outsourcing. The paper is concluded with identification of future research opportunities in the field of strategic IS outsourcing.

Access : https://doi.org/10.1108/14637150810916035

The protective effect of a novel sunscreen against blue light.

Authors: Francois-Newton V, Kolanthan VL, Mandary MB, Philibert EG, Soobramaney V, Petkar G, Sokeechand BN, Hosenally M, Cavagnino A, Baraibar MA, Ng SP. Int J Cosmet Sci. 2022 Jun 10.

Synopsis: 

Premature skin ageing, and skin hyperpigmentation are influenced by exogenous factors, such as ultraviolet radiation and blue light. In this study, the protective effect of a sunscreen (TDF® Blu Voile Sunscreen) against the harmful effects of blue light irradiation in vivo and through the in situ quantitative and qualitative evaluation of protein carbonylation in human skin explants were evaluated. We show that human skin explants treated with test product showed significantly lower levels of accumulated carbonylated proteins, with a protection of 82%, following exposure to blue light 460 nm. Findings of the in vivo studies also indicated that the test product presented significantly better protective efficacy against immediate and persistent pigmentation induced by blue light 415 nm.

Hence, it can be concluded that the test product can protect against the oxidative stress as well as the immediate and persistent pigmentation induced by blue light.

Article access : DOI: 10.1111/ics.12794

A novel method for evaluating the effect of pollution on the human skin under controlled conditions.

Authors: Curpen S, Francois-Newton V, Moga A, Hosenally M, Petkar G, Soobramaney V, Ruchaia B, Lutchmanen Kolanthan V, Roheemun N, Sokeechand BN, Aumeeruddy Z, Ramracheya RD. Skin Res Technol. 2020 Jan;26(1):50-60.

Synopsis: 

Generally considered as a major risk factor for various respiratory diseases, air pollution can also have a significant impact on the skin. To date, there is a plethora of cosmetics products with “anti-pollution” claims. However, these claims have not been fully substantiated with robust scientific evidence and currently there is no standardized method in place for validating the anti-pollution efficacy of cosmetics products. This article discusses an innovative Controlled Pollution Exposure System (CPES) which allows quantified administration of pollutants on the skin and analysis of their direct impact. Using CPES, human subjects were exposed to ambient dust and ozone and sebum were sampled and analyzed for biomarkers. We show that following exposure of human subjects’ skin to either ambient dust (100-450 μg/cm3) or ozone (100-1000 ppb), a significant decrease in squalene concentration, and significant increases in squalene monohydroperoxide and malondialdehyde concentration could be observed.

The findings demonstrate cutaneous oxidative stress induced by ambient dust and ozone. The findings also demonstrate the efficacy of CPES to accurately measure the direct effect of controlled gaseous and particulate pollutants on human skin and indicate that squalene, squalene monohydroperoxide and malondialdehyde may serve as potent biomarkers for evaluating potential anti-pollution claims of cosmetics products.

Article access : DOI: 10.1111/srt.12763

Human intracellular ISG15 prevents interferon-α/β over-amplification and auto-inflammation.

Authors: Zhang X*, Bogunovic D*, Payelle-Brogard B*, Francois-Newton V*, Speer SD, Yuan C, Volpi S, Li Z, Sanal O, Mansouri D, Tezcan I, Rice GI, Chen C, Mansouri N, Mahdaviani SA, Itan Y, Boisson B, Okada S, Zeng L, Wang X, Jiang H, Liu W, Han T, Liu D, Ma T, Wang B, Liu M, Liu JY, Wang QK, Yalnizoglu D, Radoshevich L, Uzé G, Gros P, Rozenberg F, Zhang SY, Jouanguy E, Bustamante J, García-Sastre A, Abel L, Lebon P, Notarangelo LD, Crow YJ, Boisson-Dupuis S, Casanova JL, Pellegrini S. Nature. 2015 Jan 1;517(7532):89-93

*shared first authorship

Synopsis: 

Intracellular ISG15 is an interferon (IFN)-α/β-inducible ubiquitin-like modifier which can covalently bind other proteins in a process called ISGylation; it is an effector of IFN-α/β-dependent antiviral immunity in mice. We previously published a study describing humans with inherited ISG15 deficiency but without unusually severe viral diseases. We showed that these patients were prone to mycobacterial disease and that human ISG15 was non-redundant as an extracellular IFN-γ-inducing molecule. We show here that ISG15-deficient patients also display unanticipated cellular, immunological and clinical signs of enhanced IFN-α/β immunity, reminiscent of the Mendelian autoinflammatory interferonopathies Aicardi-Goutières syndrome and spondyloenchondrodysplasia. We further show that an absence of intracellular ISG15 in the patients’ cells prevents the accumulation of USP18, a potent negative regulator of IFN-α/β signalling, resulting in the enhancement and amplification of IFN-α/β responses. Human ISG15, therefore, is not only redundant for antiviral immunity, but is a key negative regulator of IFN-α/β immunity. In humans, intracellular ISG15 is IFN-α/β-inducible not to serve as a substrate for ISGylation-dependent antiviral immunity, but to ensure USP18-dependent regulation of IFN-α/β and prevention of IFN-α/β-dependent autoinflammation.

Article access : DOI: 10.1038/nature13801.

Y Sunechur

1.      Hassan, B., Sunecher Y., Mamode Khan, Jowaheer, V.  (2020). ‘A Non-stationary BINAR(1) Process with a simple cross dependence:  Estimation with some properties’, Australian and New Zealand journal of statistics, volume 62(1), pg 25-48. Impact factor=0.642. (https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/anzs.12285).

 

2.      Sunecher Y., Mamode Khan, N. M.Ristic and Jowaheer, V. (2019). ‘BINAR(1) Negative Binomial Model for Bivariate Non-Stationary Time Series with Different Over-Dispersion Indices’, Statistical Methods and Applications. Impact factor=0.932. (https://link.Sp ringer.com/article/10.1007/s10260-019-00454-0).

 

3.      Sunecher, Y., Mamode Khan, N and Jowaheer, V. (2019). ‘Modelling with dispersed bivariate moving average processes’, Journal of time series Econometrics, Volume 11, pg 1-19. Impact factor=0.37 and MCQ=0.10. (https://www.degruyter.com/document /doi/10.1515/jtse-2018-0009/html).

H Chittoo
  1. Coothoopermal S. and Chittoo H.B. (2017) “The impact of consumer decision‐making styles on consumer confusion in Mauritius: An empirical analysis”, International Journal of Consumer Studies Vol 41 Issue 3, May 2017, p 312-324, 14 February 2017 https://doi.org/10.1111/ijcs.1234
  2. Odit, M.and Chittoo H. (2008) ‘Does Financial Leverage Influence Investment Decisions? The Case of Mauritian Firms, in Journal of Business Case Studies, Vol. 4, No. 9, Sept. 2008, pp. 49-60, Clute Institute for Academic Research, USA
  3. Beebeejaun R. and Chittoo H.B (2017) “An Assessment of e-Health Readiness in the Public Health Sector of Mauritius”, International Journal of Sciences: Basic and Applied Research (IJSBAR) ISSN 2307-4531 (Print & Online) http://gssrr.org/index.php?journal=JournalOfBasicAndApplied