Gayathri Vaidyanathan ::

Nature: Science in Africa – View from the Frontline

Kenyan science is a study in contrasts. Among sub-Saharan nations, it ranks third — behind South Africa and Nigeria — in its output of scientific papers published in international journals, and its publishing outranks that of economic heavyweight Nigeria in fields such as environment, ecology and immunology. It is also a hub of collaborations on the continent (see ‘Country connections’). But Kenya’s research output has grown more slowly than most other sub-Saharan nations. In the recent African Union survey, Kenya scored last in terms of the increase in the numbers of published research papers, normalized for population size.

Most of the scientific work in Kenya is centred in government-owned research institutes that have extensive international collaborations.

By contrast, the universities suffer from lack of infrastructure and money. The government and donors have focused on boosting primary and secondary education, but have neglected universities, say observers […]

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Nature: The Wheat Stalker

Njoro, Kenya (Jun 30, 2011) — David Cheruiyot noticed that his wheat fields were turning the wrong colour. The stems of the plants took on a sickly brown hue, and when he peeled open the heads there was no grain inside. “If you go to inspect it, there is nothing but dust,” he recalls. Ug99, […]

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Nature News: Better biosurveillance could halt disease spread

Germany is still recovering from one of the world’s worst outbreaks of enterohaemorrhagic Escherichia coli, which as of 18 June had sickened more than 3,200 people and caused 39 deaths1. The unusually deadly bacteria moved undetected through the food supply from livestock to agriculture to the dinner table, and the response to the outbreak was branded slow and inefficient by physicians and scientists (see ‘Microbe outbreak panics Europe’).

Now a group of health professionals assembled by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia, has called for biosurveillance efforts in the United States and worldwide to be streamlined to help recognize and respond to threats quickly […]

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Nature News: A last push to eradicate polio

Funding gap persists as agencies and organizations attempt to wipe out the tenacious virus. Some 99% of wild poliovirus has been eradicated, but it clings on in a few places. The last endemic hot spots are the conflict-ridden front lines of Pakistan and Afghanistan, areas of India and Nigeria — and governments and charities are […]

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