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Below is a round up of news from or about Sub-Saharan Africa for the period 4–17 December 2008.

Guinea worm success
Guinea worm may become the first disease in the history of humanity to be eradicated without a vaccine or treatment, in Burkina Faso, the Ivory Coast, Niger, Nigeria, Sudan and Togo, says the Carter Center. It says the world is on the verge of totally eradicating the disease. More>>

Nigeria and Mali roll out HIV testing
Mali's Supreme National Aids Control Council, led by Malick Sène, has recommended that everyone in the country volunteer for HIV tests. Two million Nigerians have undergone HIV counselling and testing and in Guinea, mining companies are offering tests to employees but say the state should do more. More>>

Angola 'must improve child vaccination monitoring'
Angola urgently needs to institute surveys to detect whether increasing numbers of children are being immunised against diptheria, tetanus and whooping cough, say researchers. Meanwhile, Burkina Faso, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Guinea, Liberia, and Niger all appear to have widening gaps between official and independently verified vaccination accounts. More>>*

Antimalarial suppositories 'save lives'
The rectal application of the inexpensive antimalarial drug artesunate could save the lives of many children with severe malaria — who are often too sick to swallow the oral medication — according to John Gyapong, director of Ghana's Health Research Unit and Tsiri Agbenyega of Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology. More>> *

Blinding eye infection 'hard to eradicate'
Researchers found that the eye infection trachoma lasts longer than expected after examining 256 individuals from two Gambian villages, Jali and Berending, every two weeks over half a year. The disease lasted ''significantly longer'' in young children, suggesting immunity comes with age and demonstrating the need for high treatment coverage. More>>

Lack of rabies knowledge and treatment 'risking lives in Tanzania'
Lack of awareness of, and poor access to, treatment in northwest Tanzania are the main risk factors for dying from rabies, according to a team including Tanzanian veterinary assistants, Matthias Magoto of the successful Health for Serengeti project and Emmanuel Sindoya of the Serengeti District Livestock Office. More>>

South African chemistry professor wins global award
Lesotho-raised researcher Tebello Nyokong, based at South Africa's Rhodes University, is the first scientist in the region to win the L'Oréal-UNESCO award for women in science for research in the physical sciences. Nyokong directs the Nanotechnology Innovation Centre work into sensors, and cancer drugs she developed are currently in research trials. More>>

Arid Mauritania 'getting greener'
Increased rainfall is causing parts of the Mauritanian Sahel to get greener, according to researchers. O. C. A. Ahmedou of the Higher Institute for Technological Teaching in Nouakchott, working with colleagues such as Sudanese researcher Ahmed El-Tayeb Osman from the Arid Land Research Center at Japan's Tottori University, attributes most Mauritanian land degradation to human activity rather than climatic factors. More>>

Key African countries below average in TIMSS study
Tunisia came top of the African countries for science and mathematics achievement at eighth grade, followed by Egypt and Algeria in the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) rankings for 2007. Ghana, Morocco and Botswana were in the last five, while the government of South Africa pulled out. More>>

Large Hadron Collider eyes African physicists
John Ellis of CERN (the European Organisation for Nuclear Research) in Switzerland has made a plea for more joint projects with African scientists. Ellis was speaking about the Large Hadron Collider at the MTN Sciencentre while launching a collaboration with physicists from the iThemba particle accelerator in South Africa. More>>

Compiled by Christina Scott. Additional reporting by Frederick Opoku.

If you would like to suggest a story for this news in brief, please contact the Africa News Editor Christina Scott ([email protected]).

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