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  • Sub-Saharan Africa news in brief: 20 May–2 June 2010


Below is a roundup of news from or about Sub-Saharan Africa for the period 20 May–2 June 2010

African professionals in the diaspora should return
Members of Africa's diaspora should return to the continent and help build their economies, according to Babacar N'Diaye, former president of the African Development Bank. Speaking at the 45th annual meeting of the Bank, in Côte d'Ivoire, N'Diaye called for conducive working environments and salaries so that members could apply their skills in their home countries, some of which lack qualified staff. More>>

East and West Africa to benefit from global research programme
East and West Africa are to benefit from a ten-year research programme starting this year aimed at both boosting food security and striking a balance between food production and conservation. The programme on Climate Change, Agriculture and Water Security — headed by the Consultative Group on International and Agricultural Research (CGIAR) and the Earth System Science Partnership (ESSP) — will unite scientists and research institutions from around the globe. More>>

Africa's low fixed-line penetration set to change
Sub-Saharan Africa's fixed-line telecommunication penetration has been very low but this is set to change with the roll-out of fibre optic cables, predicts analyst Frost & Sullivan. Three fibre optic cable operators — Seacom, TEAMs and Eassy, along with other partners from the continent — say they are are set to give "a new lease of life" to fixed-line telecommunications. More>>

Findings shed light on pneumonia vaccination
A Kenyan study has found that vaccinating against respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) —  a common cause of pneumonia and bronchitis in children — could have significant public health benefits. Researchers sampled infants and children admitted with severe pneumonia to a rural hospital and found a high prevalence of RSV. They said non-RSV viruses "make only a minor contribution" to the pneumonia burden. More>>

Men with pregnant wives face major HIV risk
Men whose partners are both HIV-positive and pregnant are at greater risk of contracting HIV, according to a study presented at the International Microbicides Conference in the United States. Reasons for this include biological changes occurring during pregnancy. The study, which assessed more than 3,000 couples, is the first to show that men in relationships with HIV-positive women are more likely to acquire infection when the women are pregnant. More>> [217kB]

Scientists close in on coconut pest through biocontrol
Experts in biological control at the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture and partners are making headway with the natural control of the invasive and destructive coconut pest Aceria guerreronis Keifer, responsible for up to 60 per cent loss in production. In a four-year biocontrol project, the scientists are working on how a predatory mite, Neoseiulus baraki, from Brazil can be used to control the pest. More>>

Tool for assessing child development in rural African settings
A culturally relevant tool for assessing children's development in rural African settings has been developed in Malawi. The Malawi Developmental Assessment Tool (MDAT), say scientists, has proven reliable and sensitive in identifying children with neurodisabilities compared with Western tools which can give misleading results in different cultural settings. More>>

Compiled by Ochieng' Ogodo. Additional reporting by Maina Waruru

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