Arab Today, arab today more needed to keep brightest at home
Last Updated : GMT 19:58:22
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today

African scientists

More needed to keep brightest at home

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today More needed to keep brightest at home

Senegal President Macky Sall (L)
Dakar - Arab Today

Is Africa ready to take on the war against malaria, HIV, Ebola and the like? Not yet, said some of the continent's brightest scientific minds at a landmark gathering this week in Senegal.

Researchers at the cutting edge of international vaccine and public health research told AFP at the first gathering of the ambitious "Next Einstein Forum" for Africa that their academic success stories remained exceptional -- though the landscape is changing.

"If I'd remained in Cameroon I'd never have got where I am, so at a relatively early stage I identified what I really wanted to do and I had to leave the country," said Wilfred Ndifon, whose mathematical approach to designing vaccines has brought him international acclaim.

Ndifon's skill with numbers and determination to eradicate disease that afflicted those around him as a child, led him to a scholarship abroad and a PhD from Princeton after he realised he could reach more people through science than as a medical doctor.

His work on a general principle for innoculation is now being used to develop a comprehensive malaria vaccine, but he says young Africans who want to take a similar path would still likely require time abroad to develop their skillset.

"The kind of education I got... a lot of it was informal, with a lot of like-minded people doing curiosity-driven research," he said. Attracting the brightest minds and giving them the space to think would require a sea change in African universities, he added.

Higher education participation in sub-Saharan Africa remains the lowest in the world, meaning the pipeline of scientists and technology professionals remains tiny in terms of the region's needs.

Although private universities are booming, government investment remains well under one percent of GDP across sub-Saharan Africa, compared with rates of around 1.0-3.5 percent in Western Europe and the United States.
Researchers said countries experiencing stronger comparative economic growth such as Rwanda, Nigeria and Ethiopia had a duty to start investing in this area.

Commitments to science would help countries become "capable of solving their own problems," said Mohlopheni Jackson Marakalala, just back from four years of research at Harvard's School of Public Health.

The University of Cape Town lecturer attended the forum before embarking on a major research project into tuberculosis, which still kills 1.5 million people annually.

Marakalala's university experience in South Africa, home to sub-Saharan Africa's most respected institutions, was marked by gaps in funding and technology he feels must be addressed if the continent is to compete on the world stage.

In the west "you start with good money, the right equipment," he said.

In his line of work, Africa does offer some advantages.
"To have access to clinical material (tuberculosis-infected tissues) is a tool that can actually address very complex questions," he said. "It's a dream for scientists in the US or Europe."

But when a crisis strikes, such as the recent Ebola outbreak, disease samples in the early stages had to be shipped outside Africa to be tested, delaying results.

"Africa was caught unprepared," he added.

There are signs of change, however: Rwanda's laptop programme for schoolchildren was a bright spot for budding scientists on the continent, Marakalala said.

Cameroon's Ndifon meanwhile cited the work of the Pasteur Institute in Senegal as a successful African venture already performing at a world-class level for its work on the ground in Ebola-affected countries.

- Systems not gadgets -

Beyond the level of institutions, Africa also faces structural and environmental issues holding back its would-be Nobel laureates.

Travelling within Africa for example is costly, time-consuming, and more likely to require a visa for an African than an outsider.

This is "a huge barrier to accessing information and sharing ideas physically", said Nigeria's Tolu Oni, whose work focuses on why HIV-positive patients in South Africa are also more likely to have diabetes.

Raising Ebola's legacy again, she said more prosaic reforms were required than the mobile apps and tablet-based solutions excitedly put forward by US scientists last year.

"We are so obsessed with gadgets and it's so much sexier to focus on that than health systems, but actually that is what you need," Oni said.

"The components of the health system and the service delivery, the leadership in government, the human resources, the financing and communications -- those are the building blocks."
Source: AFP

Name *

E-mail *

Comment Title*

Comment *

: Characters Left

Mandatory *

Terms of use

Publishing Terms: Not to offend the author, or to persons or sanctities or attacking religions or divine self. And stay away from sectarian and racial incitement and insults.

I agree with the Terms of Use

Security Code*

Arab Today, arab today more needed to keep brightest at home Arab Today, arab today more needed to keep brightest at home

 



Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today Hats, scarves add beauty to women

GMT 19:10 2017 Friday ,17 February

Hats, scarves add beauty to women
Arab Today, arab today Tourist guide reveals methods of tourist attractions

GMT 17:46 2017 Saturday ,18 February

Tourist guide reveals methods of tourist attractions
Arab Today, arab today To release new antiques collection

GMT 20:33 2017 Friday ,17 February

To release new antiques collection
Arab Today, arab today Leader Omar Abdel Rahman dies in US prison

GMT 19:00 2017 Sunday ,19 February

Leader Omar Abdel Rahman dies in US prison
Arab Today, arab today Murder of 2 reporters in Dominican Republic

GMT 22:45 2017 Thursday ,16 February

Murder of 2 reporters in Dominican Republic

GMT 16:50 2017 Sunday ,05 February

Syrian students offered new life in Mexico

GMT 12:45 2017 Wednesday ,01 February

Bin Rashid School of Government launches global platform

GMT 13:20 2017 Tuesday ,31 January

Human forebear a bag-like beast with no anus

GMT 13:07 2017 Friday ,27 January

Scientists create first human-pig embryos

GMT 17:47 2017 Thursday ,26 January

Mogherini grants Bar Elias school 10 thousand Euros
View News in Arabic - Education: التعليم أخبار
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today Kidogo provides childcare for underserved

GMT 20:24 2017 Wednesday ,15 February

Kidogo provides childcare for underserved
Arab Today, arab today Tragic fluctuations of Bakhtiari's life revealed

GMT 06:50 2017 Wednesday ,15 February

Tragic fluctuations of Bakhtiari's life revealed
Arab Today, arab today London to tax old cars

GMT 14:06 2017 Friday ,17 February

London to tax old cars
Arab Today, arab today Pluto's unruly moons

GMT 06:31 2015 Thursday ,04 June

Pluto's unruly moons
Arab Today, arab today Competes Sweden and Germans by S90

GMT 22:36 2017 Thursday ,16 February

Competes Sweden and Germans by S90
Arab Today, arab today Porsche reveals new 2018 Panamera

GMT 17:31 2017 Wednesday ,15 February

Porsche reveals new 2018 Panamera
Arab Today, arab today Actress Nadeen Al Rassi views art as her entity

GMT 07:30 2017 Saturday ,18 February

Actress Nadeen Al Rassi views art as her entity
Arab Today, arab today Teach monkeys to recognize themselves in mirror

GMT 20:41 2017 Wednesday ,15 February

Teach monkeys to recognize themselves in mirror

GMT 07:05 2017 Friday ,17 February

Singer Diana Karzon will issue a new album soon

GMT 06:40 2017 Friday ,10 February

MP calls for removing text from Islamic story

GMT 13:16 2017 Tuesday ,14 February

First fashion model with Down syndrome

GMT 10:26 2017 Tuesday ,14 February

Emergency UN meeting in Harare

GMT 14:04 2017 Tuesday ,14 February

"Lagom" new Swedish concept in interior design

GMT 12:07 2017 Thursday ,16 February

Bite-mimicking malaria vaccine

GMT 09:03 2017 Thursday ,16 February

Tour guide praises women’s beaches

GMT 13:12 2015 Saturday ,09 May

Sheikh Sultan opens Sharjah Centre

GMT 21:42 2017 Sunday ,12 February

Rania al-Ghazali designs candles of bubbles
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
 
 Arab Today Facebook,arab today facebook  Arab Today Twitter,arab today twitter Arab Today Rss,arab today rss  Arab Today Youtube,arab today youtube  Arab Today Youtube,arab today youtube
arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday
arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday
arabstoday
بناية النخيل - رأس النبع _ خلف السفارة الفرنسية _بيروت - لبنان
arabstoday, Arabstoday, Arabstoday