Africa: What’s the cure?

Published on 14th June 2005

Africa: What’s the cure?
Africa\'s problems will only be overcome if science and technology are made an integral part of the solution, warned science academies of the G8 group of the world\'s most industrialized countries and the Network of African Science Academies in a statement issued on June 8, 2005. The statement said \"Without embedding science, technology and innovation in development we fear that ambitions for Africa will fail.\" The statement emphasized the need to not only invest in science and technology in Africa, but also to increase the continent\'s ability to solve its own problems by strengthening its higher education sector and helping nations train scientists. \"Isolated investment in science and technology is not enough,\" says the statement, \"capacity development initiatives should be integrated into programmes in specific sectors.\"

TB marches on

According to a study by the World Health Organization (WHO) published on June 8, 2005, the number of new tuberculosis (TB) infections each year is increasing. The study\'s authors say that although efforts to detect and treat TB are making headway - particularly in Asia - the situation in Africa is less promising. But overall, add the authors, the UN target of halving the number of people affected by the disease by 2015 can still be met. \"Undoubtedly many more patients are getting treatment and many more lives are being saved,\" said lead author Christopher Dye, of the WHO\'s Stop TB department, at a press conference on 7 June. \"I am rather optimistic about what we can do [to achieve the UN goals] in Asian countries,\" added Dye. \"I am somewhat less optimistic about what we are seeing in Africa.\" Reducing the number of people who die of the disease, however, will be more difficult. The varying success that different regions have had in treating the disease is key. Africa and Eastern Europe are particularly problematic, because of the region\'s HIV/AIDS epidemic and emergence of TB bacteria that are resistant to drugs.

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