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  • Sub-Saharan Africa news in brief: 17–31 July


Below is a round up of news from or about Sub-Saharan Africa for the period 17–31 July 2008.

Childhood cancer under the spotlight in Senegal and Tanzania
The first My Child Matters report from the International Union Against Cancer reveals that the chances of children surviving five years after being diagnosed with cancer is only five per cent in Senegal and Tanzania. The research, published in Lancet Oncology, found survival rates of 30 per cent in Morocco and 40 per cent in Egypt. More>>

South Africa considers air pollution tax
A low-level tax on carbon dioxide emissions may soon become part of South Africa's voluntary commitment to climate change mitigation. Industrial energy efficiency targets may be mandatory by the end of 2008, with no future coal-fired power stations or coal-to-liquid gas facilities approved unless they offer carbon capture and storage. More>>

Antibiotics 'effective' in fighting childhood blindness
A three-year study among children in rural Ethiopia has shown that community-based health education programmes can have a strong impact against trachoma, the world's leading cause of infectious blindness. Researchers, writing in the International Journal of Epidemiology,say antibiotics remain the best way to treat the highly infectious eye disease.More>>

Rotavirus vaccine 'would avoid thousands of hospitalisations'
A vaccine for rotavirus — a major cause of life-threatening diarrhoea, particularly in young children in the developing world — could prevent more than 28,000 hospitalisations a year in Kenya, according to research by the Kenya Medical Research Institute. Two promising vaccines are currently in being evaluated for effectiveness in Sub-Saharan Africa. More>>

Population mobility increasing antimalarial drug resistance
Research at 30 sites in Burkina Faso, Cameroon and Senegal suggests that resistance to the antimalarial drug chloroquine is being pushed by environmental and behavioural issues as humans become more mobile and less isolated. Communities near crossroads or tarred roads are among those most at risk from drug resistant malaria strains. More>> [708 kB]

Results of failed microbicide trial published
Researchers have published the results of a study that halted clinical trials of a microbicide. Trials of the cellulose sulfate vaginal gel were halted in January 2007 after it was found to increase risk of HIV infection (see Safety concerns halt trials of HIV microbicide). More>>

Gates goes bananas for Africa
The Bill and Melinda Gates foundation have given US$74,000 to sponsor a Banana 2008, a pan-African conference aiming to develop a ten year research strategy that will stimulate trade and boost the growth of the banana industry. The conference will be held in October in Mombasa, Kenya. More>>

Nigerian research presents solutions for rubber factory discharges
Simple techniques could reduce the amount of pollutants such as ammonium and phosphate from indigenous rubber factories in Nigeria, where untreated effluents are still directly discharged into rivers and streams. Researchers at the Rivers State University of Science and Technology in Nigeria suggest the effluent also makes a good agricultural fertiliser. More>> [97.7kB]

Goats attack Malawi seed programmes
Researchers from the Bunda College of Agriculture found many problems with farmer-based seed multiplication programmes. Looking at three villages on the shores of Lake Malawi, they found that individual farmers lacked commitment and desire, refusing in some cases to fence cassava fields off from hungry goats. The research is published in the African Journal of Agricultural Research. More>> [364 kB]

Pawpaw seed effective birth control for fish farms
Powder from pawpaw seeds may prove to be a useful way to control the overbreeding of tilapia in Nigerian fish farms, according to researchers from the Cross River University of Technology in Calabar. Local farmers have complained that uncontrolled reproduction leads to stunting and low nutritional and commercial value. More>> [97.7 kB] 

Compiled by Christina Scott.

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