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  • Sub-Saharan Africa news in brief: 7–19 November 2008

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Below is a round up of news from or about Sub-Saharan Africa for the period 7–19 November.

Zimbabwe repays missing vaccine money
Zimbabwe's Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono, has repaid US$7.3 million from the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria . Earlier this month it emerged that the money, which was meant to supply vaccines in the country, had been "erratically and only partially" spent according to the fund, which warned that no more money would be forthcoming until the full sum had been safeguarded. Gono refused to say how he had repaid the money. The Global Fund's board has now approved a new US$169 million grant for Zimbabwe. More>>

Botswana plans second dam
Drought problems in Botswana may be alleviated in the long term by a new dam, announced by Fred Muange, head of Botswana's Water Utilities Corporation. The 1.5 billion Botswana Pula (US$350 million) dam — the country's second — will be connected to hundreds of kilometres of piping. The country has minimal surface water with almost all its demand met from groundwater. More>>

Wind power for Lesotho?
Lesotho, which has just one hydroelectric dam and has to ration electricity, has commissioned a study by April 2009 on the feasibility of producing 20 megawatts of wind power, according to Leloko Mokhutsoane, deputy director at Lesotho's energy department. Another study[297kB] on the feasibility of more hydropower stations will consider the future impacts of climate change. More>>

Turkana's traditional knowledge 'threatened by Kenyan land grabs'
Government land acquisition laws threaten the traditional pastoralist knowledge of the Turkana people in arid northern Kenya, according to Nigerian environmental lawyer Kent Nnadozie in a new report ''Toward a New Era of Intellectual Property: From Confrontation to Negotiation'' from the International Expert Group on Biotechnology, Innovation and Intellectual Property. More>>[657kB]

Uganda and South Africa promote science communication
Science journalists from Uganda and South Africa met this month to improve their coverage of science in Africa. Also this month, the University of Cape Town finished its second communication course for scientists.
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Africa focuses on mental health
Food insecurity damages mental health, say Ethiopian researchers who studied more than 900 adults in rural areas of their country. Makonnen Asefa, Ayalew Tegegn and Fasil Tessema say that their findings probably apply across Sub-Saharan Africa. Meanwhile, the Mental Health and Poverty Project[497kB] at South Africa's University of Cape Town has published a policy document on intersectoral collaboration for mental health in South Africa. More>>

Clean water and toilets in crisis across Africa
Just six out of 26 African nations are on track to reach their clean water and sanitation Millennium Development Goals by the 2015 deadline, and only about half the people living on the continent have access to safe drinking water. There have been cholera outbreaks this month in Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe. More>> 

Sexual exploitation 'rife' in African education
Teachers' sexual exploitation and physical abuse of students — especially females — is widespread across the continent, damaging learners' health and their chances of gaining knowledge, according to a new report by international development agency Plan International. In Cameroon, for example, although corporal punishment in schools was outlawed in 1998, regular beatings continue. More>>

Addressing the shortage of African veterinarian research
Africa's oldest veterinary college, the Onderstepoort complex in South Africa, celebrated its centenary with a Pan-African Veterinary Conference, which coincided with a push by vets to provide greater rural treatment. Meanwhile, the University of Zambia School of Veterinary Medicine is training poultry vendors to reduce the risk of bird flu. More>>

Refusal to provide antiretroviral drugs 'killed 300,000 South Africans'
Policies promoted by former South African president Thabo Mbeki were responsible for the deaths of 300,000 people with HIV, according to research[921kB] by Zimbabwean doctor Pride Chigwedere and others. Mbeki's refusal to allow the roll-out of antiretroviral drugs was also blamed for the birth of 35,000 HIV-infected babies. 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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