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Below is a round up of news from or about Sub-Saharan Africa for the period 8–21 October 2009

A vaccine for East Coast fever
A vaccine against East Coast fever — which kills one cow every 30 seconds — first developed more than 30 years ago will be mass-produced for African livestock farmers. The vaccine will be available in the 11 countries where the disease is entrenched, potentially saving them a total of around US$287,000 a year. More>> [40kB]

Farmers to benefit from agricultural radio broadcasts
Farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa will benefit from agriculture-related radio broadcasts with help from a US$10 million Gates Foundation grant. The 'Farmer Voice Radio' project — which will provide farmers with information such as new farming techniques — is expected to start in Kenya and Malawi before expanding to Ghana, Mali, Tanzania and Uganda. More>>

Kenyan malaria researcher celebrated
A Kenyan researcher has won the 2009 European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership award for outstanding senior African scientist. Alexis Nzila, who received a prize of around US$30,000, heads the molecular parasitology group at the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI)–Wellcome Trust research programme. His work includes developing antimalarials from existing cancer drugs and understanding the mechanisms of drug resistance. More>> [39kB]

Zimbabwe's worsening health system put under spotlight
A report in The Lancet has highlighted the myriad heath challenges facing the Zimbabwean government — including rising HIV/AIDS prevalence and basic hygiene problems — and suggests solutions. These include the establishment of a 100-day action plan, a health services fund and retraining of middle-level health workers who have received less training than healthcare professionals. More>>

Indian Ocean countries take part in tsunami early warning drill
Eighteen countries bordering the Indian Ocean — including Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique and Tanzania — have participated in a drill to test the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System, set up after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami hit the region. The UN, which organised the exercise, will produce an assessment "within days". More>>

African ministers appeal for more education funding
African finance and education ministers have appealed to their developed world counterparts to replenish an education fund that will help keep schoolchildren in classrooms. The ministers, from Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Senegal, and Uganda say the Education for All Fast-Track Initiative faces an immediate funding shortfall of US$ 1.2 billion. They say the initiative has achieved "impressive results" and that donors can be confident that their money will be invested wisely. More>>

Ugandan major telecom puts clients on fibre optic
Uganda Telecoms has announced that it is connecting all of its customers to the country's first fibre optic cable, Seacom. The company, which currently offers its data through satellite links, has also promised to lower data costs. The move follows the arrival of Seacom on the East African coast two months ago in a bid to link the region to the rest of the world. More>>

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Compiled by Kimani Chege.

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