ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202304.0090.v1
Subject: Business, Economics And Management, Business And Management Keywords: performance appraisal; management; financial crisis; covid-19; banking sector; Lebanon
Online: 6 April 2023 (10:45:48 CEST)
The Covid-19 health crisis and its related confinement measures and policies has had a significant impact on the telework adoptions rates, where many businesses were affected abruptly without being prepared, resulting in numerous ad-hoc applications especially while assessing employee’s performance and productivity while working remotely. The difficulties that have emerged with the pandemic have revealed the fragility of the traditional performance appraisal process and the unintentional existence of proximity bias. The Lebanese liquidity crisis is an ongoing financial crisis affecting Lebanon that became fully apparent toward late-2019 when large demonstrations erupted amid acute political instability and economic challenges. In light of the compounded simultaneous occurrence of recurring episodes of COVID-19 outbreaks and the ongoing country’s financial liquidity crisis, the standing of the Lebanese banking sector – who played key roles in the Lebanese economy and were long considered as financially sound and stable – has drastically changed. Faced with such a situation, Lebanese commercial banks started contracting both their branch network and human capital base, and thus they been forced to rethink their human capital strategies by implementing new practices allowing them to adapt to this context of crisis. It is in this perspective that the present research work is inscribed, where we explore the main managerial practices and processes implemented within top Lebanese banks to assess their employee’s performance during the compounded simultaneous crises. A thematic qualitative analysis method of an exploratory nature was adopted, and semi-structured interviews were conducted with senior managers from top Lebanese commercial banks. Results were processed using a deductive approach for themes identifications. Accordingly, it was concluded that in such times of acute crisis, Lebanese banks have altered the purpose of their Performance Appraisal Review (PAR) process and have implicitly or explicitly adopted a Forced Ranking method to primarily focus on retaining just the top performers, while placing those at the bottom on probation with the risk of termination.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202310.1384.v1
Subject: Medicine And Pharmacology, Neuroscience And Neurology Keywords: cognitive reserve 2; Cognitive Reserve Index Questionnaire (CRIq); Arabic; Lebanon; psychometric validation
Online: 23 October 2023 (05:03:13 CEST)
Cognitive reserve is the adaptability of cognitive processes in the face of brain aging and pathology. This study aimed to validate the Arabic version of the Cognitive Reserve Index Questionnaire (CRIq) in a healthy Lebanese sample. CRIq assesses cognitive reserve through three domains: education, working activity, and leisure time. Statistical measures, including descriptive and regression analysis along with structural equation modeling, were utilized to investigate the convergent and discriminant validity of CRIq, incorporating fluid intelligence (Gf) and measures of cognitive function, long-term memory encoding and retrieval (Glr), and processing speed (Gs). Results from 174 participants revealed that the activities assessed by CRIq-Arabic were comparable to the original CRIq study, with slight cultural differences. The internal consistency of CRIq-Arabic was good (Cronbach's α = 0.88), indicating reliability. Convergent validity was confirmed, with moderate to high loadings on the cognitive reserve latent construct. Discriminant validity was supported as correlations between cognitive reserve variables and non-target constructs (Gf, Glr, Gs) were less than 1. The findings provide an initial psychometric validation of the CRIq-Arabic. Further research in clinical samples is needed to enhance its utility in neuropsychological practice.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202209.0234.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Food Science And Technology Keywords: early initiation of breastfeeding; exclusive breastfeeding; anemia; nutritional status; infants under six months; Syrian refugees; Lebanon
Online: 16 September 2022 (02:01:22 CEST)
The objective is to describe infant feeding practices and the nutritional status of infants under six months among Syrian refugees in Greater Beirut, Lebanon. A cross-sectional study was conducted among Syrian refugee mothers with children under five years (July-October 2018), mothers with infants under six months were included in the analysis (n=114). Additionally, eleven focus groups discussions were conducted to explore supportive factors and barriers associated with early breastfeeding practices. The prevalence of pre-lacteal feeding was high (62.5%), whereas early initiation of breastfeeding (EIBF) was low (31%), and exclusive breastfeeding (EBF) very low (24.6%). About one-fifth of the infants were suffering from anemia (20.5%) and 9.6% were wasted. Supporting factors of adequate infant feeding practices comprised knowledge on maternal nutrition and EBF, in addition to receiving support from healthcare professionals and family members. Identified barriers included preterm delivery, pre-lacteal feeding, an at-risk waist circumference and moderate to severe depression among mothers, bottle feeding, early introduction of food, maternal health reasons, breastmilk substitutes’ distribution, and misinformation offered by mothers-in-law. To address sub-optimal feeding practices documented among Syrian refugees in our study, existing infant and young child feeding policies and programs need to be strengthened and revised to tackle the identified gaps.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202305.0783.v1
Subject: Medicine And Pharmacology, Epidemiology And Infectious Diseases Keywords: Candida; Candidemia; invasive candidiasis; Candida auris; non-albicans candida; COVID-19; antifungal susceptibility; Lebanon; Arab world; EQUAL score
Online: 11 May 2023 (04:37:02 CEST)
Invasive fungal infections, notably candidemia, have been associated with COVID-19. The epidemiology of candidemia has significantly changed during the COVID-19 pandemic. We aim to identify the microbiological profile, resistance rates, and outcomes of COVID-19 associated candidemia (CAC) compared to patients with candidemia not associated with COVID-19. We retrospectively collected data on patients with candidemia admitted to the American University of Beirut Medical Center between 2004 and 2022. We compared the epidemiology of candidemia during and prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, we compared the outcomes of critically ill patients with CAC to those with candidemia without COVID-19 from March 2020 till March 2022. Among 245 candidemia episodes, 156 occurred prior to the pandemic and 89 during the pandemic. Of the latter, 39 (43.8%) were CAC, most of which (82%) were reported from intensive care units (ICU). Non-albicans Candida (NAC) spp. were predominant throughout the study period (67.7%). Candida auris infection was the most common cause of NAC spp. in CAC. C. glabrata had decreased susceptibility rates to fluconazole and caspofungin during the pandemic period (46.1% and 38.4% respectively). Mortality rate in the overall ICU population during the pandemic was 76.6%, much higher than the previously reported mortality of candidemia from previous studies at our center. There was no significant difference in 30-day mortality between CAC and non-CAC (75.0% vs 78.1%; P =0.76). Performing ophthalmic examination (P = 0.002), CVC removal during the 48 hours following the candidemia (P = 0.008) and identifying the Candida spp. (P = 0.028) were significantly associated with a lower case-fatality rate. The epidemiology of candidemia has been significantly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic at our center. Rigorous infection control measures and proper antifungal stewardship are essential to combat highly resistant species like C. auris.