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  • Sub-Saharan Africa news in brief: 18–31 December


Below is a round up of news from or about Sub-Saharan Africa for the period 18–31 December 2008.

New malaria drugs don't need to be perfect — just appropriate
New ways to assess drugs that reach phase three trials are needed, according to researchers from the Kenya Medical Research Institute/Wellcome Trust Research Programme, who argue for more emphasis to be given to ''advantages in cost, dosing, shelf lives or tolerability''. They warn that badly designed trials could mean useful new drugs are wrongly rejected. More>>

At least seven African nations 'may not be able to adapt to climate change'
Burkina Faso, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali and Mozambique are among the nations lacking the resources to adapt to climate change, according to a report in the journal Climate Research. Algeria, Egypt, Morocco and South Africa may be able partly to reduce the impact of global warming. More>>

Sierra Leone emphasises teamwork between farmers and researchers
Hassan Ahmed Jalloh and Francis Johnston of the Research Into Use campaign say farmers and agricultural researchers will increase their cooperation when the Sierra Leone Coalition launches in January. The coalition will support the Partnership in Agricultural Innovation for Development (PAID) programme, solar crop drying and work to improve poultry feed. More>>.

CNN cuts daily science coverage
CNN television has reorganised its science, technology and environment unit, replacing daily science coverage with specialist shows. The move is harmful for African viewers, according to the newly-formed South African Science Journalists Association. It is one of several Africa-based science media groups that — through the World Federation of Science Journalists — have criticised the move. More>>
South Africa's super-thin solar panel factory gets funding
University of Johannesburg physicist Vivian Alberts says the European Investment Bank will put €40 million into a South African factory that will produce thin-film photovoltaic modules for local and export use. Alberts has found a way of creating panels without using silicon as a raw material, lowering costs substantially. More>>

Nigeria's oil and gas regulation reforms criticised
A series of editorials in a Nigerian newspaper criticises the government's decision to replace the National Petroleum Corporation with five different institutions — after eight years of debate. The articles argue that the new system will fail to ensure an adequate separation of business interests and policymaking, and that the new national petroleum research centre is ''redundant'', given existing institutes and universities. More>>

South African health dips 'because of HIV'
South Africa's high HIV rate is the main reason for the worsening of people's health, says a report. A ''relentless increase'' in deaths is "particularly pronounced" in women. South Africa is one of only 12 countries in the world where child mortality is getting worse — also because of HIV. More>>

Survey of traditional herbs in Mali spots promising candidates
The pharmaceutical powers of four traditional medical herbs — Korôgué, Ganianka, N´tabanokò and Yeleni Nèloutogo — are to be investigated after traditional healers highlighted their importance in a survey done by Ngolo Ballo, Sekou Bah and Drissa Diallo, of the University of Bamako medical school. More>>[1.43 MB] 

Veterinarians 'should work more closely with health workers' in Tanzania
The under-diagnosis of anthrax, rabies, undulant fever, sleeping sickness, tapeworm and bovine tuberculosis can be resolved when doctors join forces with veterinarians, according to a survey, in the journal Infectious Diseases, by John Kunda and Godfrey Mfinanga of the Muhimbili Medical Research Centre and Rudovic Kazwala of Sokoine University. More>>

Kenyan parents 'need to take their children for HIV tests'
A Human Rights Watch report says two out of every three HIV-positive children in Kenya who need antiretrovirals will die, even though the drugs are free and available, because neither parents nor nurses insist on the freely available HIV testing. However, Kenya medical services ministry director Francis Kimani denies the claim. More>>

Compiled by Christina Scott.

If you would like to suggest a story for this news in brief, please contact the Africa News Editor Christina Scott ([email protected]).

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