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  • Sub-Saharan Africa news in brief: 11–24 February 2010

Below is a round up of news from or about Sub-Saharan Africa for the period 1124 February 2010.

South Africa closer to once-a-week TB treatment
South Africa's Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) says that it is a step closer to replacing daily tuberculosis drugs with weekly therapy. A study found that providing drugs once a week for four weeks is just as effective as daily treatment over the same period. More

UK seeks a biotechnology solution for Africa livestock diseases
The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)has announced plans to fund 16 projects aiming to tackle the increasing risks of livestock diseases in developing countries. The US$13 million scheme includes plans to tackle foot and mouth disease in Tanzania and develop new diagnostic tests for goat plague in Uganda, as well as other projects in Ethiopia and Kenya. More

E-health technologies 'working well' in Africa
Health system in developing countries are using information and communication technologies (ICT) to improve their care of patients, a survey has shown. The benefits of e-health projects in Africa include the ability to track patients, and using communication technologies to encourage and monitor medication use among rural populations and people in areas with poor infrastructure. More

Tackling environment and transport in Africa
A three-year international project is underway to solve African's transport infrastructure problems, which have a negative effect on public health and the environment. Through the Transport and Environment Science Technology (TEST) network, researchers will engage in knowledge-sharing, networking and building research capacity. More

Maternal deaths in Africa avoidable
Research conducted in Sub-Saharan Africa has indicated that most maternal deaths reported in the region could be avoided. According to the research, published in BioMed Central Public Health, the main causes of death are blood loss, infection, pre-eclampsia and obstruction during birth, all of which could be prevented by effective and efficient health systems. More

Obesity on the rise among Africa's urban poor
Rates of obesity are increasing among Africa's urban populations, particularly the poor, a study of seven countries has found. The report, published in BioMed Central, warns that the continent faces a serious health problem and calls for early prevention through measures such as diet and physical activity. More

African tree provides insights into water purification
Researchers from Botswana and Sweden have described how seeds from the Moringa oleifora tree can be used to purify water. They say that small amounts of protein contained within the seeds bind the seeds to each other and other surfaces, causing contaminated particles to clump together. They said this insight into how the seeds interact could inform water purification research. More

Free trade hurting African agriculture
A report appearing in the Proceedings of National Academies of Sciences (PNAS) says that the emergence of free trade policies has increased hunger and diminished food production in Africa. The report says farmers in Africa were forced to compete with farmers across the world who have advanced farming technologies. More

Compiled by Kimani Chege.

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