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Below is a round up of news from or about Sub-Saharan Africa for the period 10–23 September 2009.

Clinical research in South Africa waning
A report in The Lancet has outlined the decline in clinical research in South Africa because of reduced funding from the government. The report says this has left researchers to turn to pharmaceutical companies and international research institutions to fund clinical trials. Such organisations often work within short-term frameworks and prioritise profitable areas such as HIV and tuberculosis over other, equally important, diseases, says the report. More>>*

AU recognises women scientists
A group of female scientists has been awarded the first ever African Union Women Scientists Regional Awards, a new initiative recognising the best women scientists in the five regions of Africa. The US$20,000 prizes given this month (9 September) went to researchers working in various scientific fields with an aim of integrating local knowledge with modern scientific advancement. More>>[54kB]

South Africa agrees to US nuclear research deal
South Africa and the United States have signed a cooperation agreement for joint nuclear research. The two countries will collaborate on advanced nuclear energy systems and reactor technology as well as efforts to expand and maintain their nuclear science and engineering infrastructures. More>>

Rwandan research fails to connect parasitic worms and anaemia
A study to determine the burden of parasitic infections on Rwandese population has shown that people infected with more than one species of parasitic worm are more likely than those with one or no infection to be underweight. But the researchers, from the Rwanda Access Project, Imperial College London, and US-based Columbia University, found no link between infection and anaemia or stunting, unlike past research. More>>

Experts review models of circumcision impact on HIV/AIDS
Experts drawn from private research institutes and UN agencies have reviewed the accuracy of different mathematical models of the relationship between HIV/AIDS and male circumcision at the population level in Africa. They say that although the models can lead to conflicting results, circumcision does reduce HIV in men in areas where circumcision would not generally be performed. They conclude the models can be useful decision-making tools. More>>

Grant to tackle malnutrition in Malawi and Tanzania
A four-year, US$673,000 research grant has been awarded to help scientists and plant breeders develop crops that address malnutrition in Malawi and Tanzania. The grant from the McKnight Foundation has been awarded to Compatible Technology International (CTI), the Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) and the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT). More>>

UK and Nigeria agree on bednets programme
A new UK-backed campaign, managed by Malaria Consortium, to rid Nigeria of malaria and distribute over 63 million lifesaving bednets has launched its second phase. A £50 million (around US$82 million) UK aid grant will provide two insecticide-treated bed nets to every Nigerian household by December 2010, reaching more than 30 million homes. More>>

Kenyan nurses to get e-learning
The African Medical Research Foundation (AMREF) is retraining nurses in Kenya through its Virtual Nursing School (AVNS). Kenya is served by just 1,500 doctors, assisted by 16,000 nurses and 700 public health officers. Angela Nguku, AVNS coordinator, says that the initiative will equip nurses with skills to deal with emerging health challenges. The Foundation will use 105 centres equipped with computers across the country. More>>[285kB]

Zambia to invest on an online library
Zambia has announced a plan to invest five billion Zambian kwachas (around US$1.1 million) in the development of an online science and technology library. The library will focus on the collection and housing of rare and important works in various scientific subject areas. More>>

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Compiled by Kimani Chege. Additional reporting by Geoffrey Kamadi.

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