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Below is a round up of news from or about Sub-Saharan Africa for the period 25 January–8 February 2008.

Science funding scandal continues in Nigeria
The executive secretary of Nigeria's Petroleum Technology Development Fund, Alhaji Kabir Mohammed, has testified that former president Olusegun Obasanjo misused funds meant to educate scientists, engineers and artisans in the oil industry. The funds were instead put into Obasanjo's failed campaign for a third term of office. More>>

HIV infections 'damaging Mozambique economy'
The high cost of procuring drugs and the time and expense required to care for people infected with HIV is plunging many Mozambican families further into poverty, threatening all poverty-reduction activities, according to a World Bank report. The authors say a lack of treatment options may encourage educated citizens to join the brain drain. More>>

Nigeria tackles fake pharmaceuticals
Nigeria's National Agency for Food and Drug Administration plans to introduce serialised holographic labels to combat the false registration documents used with fake drugs. More>>

When malaria isn't malaria
A study conducted at the Manhiça Health Research Center in Mozambique found that, although many pregnant women showed symptoms of malaria, fewer than one third had malaria parasitesand were receiving antimalarial drugs unnecessarily. Better diagnostic tools for pregnant women are urgently needed, the researchers say. More>> [223kB]

Dirty money poses health hazard in rural regions
Almost all banknotes in circulation in rural South Africa were contaminated with bacteria or fungi, according to a study. Researchers at the University of Venda in South Africa say this could trigger opportunistic infections in immunocompromised patients, such as those with HIV. Low-denomination money was particularly badly contaminated. More>> [206kB]

Tanzania must do more against toxic waste
UN Human Rights Commission special rapporteur Okechukwu Ibeanu has warned that land, water, plants and livestock are at high risk of contamination from mercury and other dangerous wastes. It follows his visit to small-scale miners in Tanzania who use mercury without proper safety equipment. More>>

African science journalists meet in Qatar
Science reporters from associations in more than a dozen African countries — including Benin, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Ghana — met in Doha, Qatar, to launch the world's first online course in science reporting. The course, organised in association with SciDev.Net, is part of a mentoring programme organised by the World Federation of Science Journalists and the Al-Jazeera television network. More>>

Educational research 'must be available online'
Governments and publishers should make public-funded educational materials freely available on the Internet, according to a campaign group. The Cape Town Declaration, signed last month by a coalition of foundations, teachers and web experts, urges more teachers and students to get involved. More>>

Digital access to public research to be discussed
Cost-effective access to digital data from public-funded research is one of the main focuses of the first African digital curation conference, to be held in Pretoria, South Africa on 12–13 February. Practices in specific science domains, underdeveloped infrastructure and a formal network of data and information will also be discussed at the meeting. More>>

Another particle physics accelerator for southern Africa?
South African nuclear physicists will negotiate with government for a another particle physics accelerator to meet southern African demand for radioactive medicines needed to fight tumours. More>>

Compiled by Christina Scott.

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