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  • Sub-Saharan Africa news in brief: 22 October–4 November 2009

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Below is a roundup of news from or about Sub-Saharan Africa for the period 22 October–4 November 2009.

UN to train Tanzanian farmers
The UN Food and Agricultural Organization will invest US$2.8 million to educate Tanzanian farmers in better ways of responding to food shortages and maximising market opportunities. The funding will ensure greater emphasis is given to good practices in both food production and marketing in the country. More>>

Tool to determine dosage regimens for antimalarials
A new tool that helps determine age-based dosing regimens for antimalarial administration — for both children and adolescents — has been unveiled by Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, United Kingdom. To date, there has been no clear way of determining the right dosage based on age, resulting in inaccurate administration of common drugs. More>>

Southern African telescope lacks vital internet connection
The Southern Africa Large Telescope (SALT) is currently unable to email astronomical information to scientists overseas. Telekom — the country's largest telecommunications company —has backed out of a US$1.3 million deal with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research to link the SALT to the country's main fibre-optic cable. Astronomers are concerned the issue could damage the country's scientific reputation. More>>

African universities to get Internet access boost
Canada's International Development Research Centre is working to increase African universities' broadband connection speeds , to boost their scientific and technological capabilities. The project is a collaboration between the UbuntuNet Alliance and the Partnership for Higher Education in Africa. More>>

First survey of neglected tropical diseases in Sudan
A survey to show the effects of different intervention strategies on neglected tropical diseases — including schistosomiasis, soil-transmitted helminth (STH) infection, lymphatic filariasis (LF), and loiasis— has been conducted for the first time in Southern Sudan. The region, which is still nursing the effects of a civil war, conducted the survey in Northern Bahr-el-Ghazal State. More>>

Africa's immunisation goal remains elusive
Africa is failing to meet its ambitious immunisation plans, including nationwide vaccine coverage for at least 90 per cent of its population, reports an article in UK medical journal The Lancet. It says that "many children continue to be unimmunised" and that the continent must improve its standard immunisation services — prioritising unimmunised children. More>> *

Study highlights relationship between AIDS and circumcision
The size of male foreskins could determine whether or not a person is likely to be infected with HIV, says a new study published in AIDS." Mean foreskin surface area was significantly higher among men who acquired HIV," the authors say. The study was conducted by the Rakai Health Sciences programme at John Hopkins University, United States. More>>

Zambia gets funding to reduce child mortality
A project to address basic health care and reduce child mortality in Zambia has received a US$11.2 million boost. The five-year project will focus on training community health workers and developing electronic medical records to monitor standards of care. The program is led by Jeffrey S.A. Stringer — professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, United States, More>>

South African African researcher wins prestigious award
A South African researcher, whose work includes research into HIV and tuberculosis co-infection, has won the prestigious US$98,000 Royal Society Pfizer grant. Dr Linda-Gail Bekker is deputy director of the Desmond Tutu HIV Centre at the Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine, University of Cape Town. More>>

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Compiled by Kimani Chege. Additional reporting by Munyaradzi Makoni.

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