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Maize yields are expected to be drastically lower this season than in previous years in drought-hit Sub-Saharan Africa. While the drop will affect the entire region, Kenya is facing the biggest struggle as one of the region's largest importers of the staple food.  This week on Africa Science Focus, maize buyers and sellers tell us that prices are already soaring in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi. Mario Zappacosta from the Food and Agriculture Organization tells reporter Michael Kaloki why economic sanctions on Russia – the world’s largest exporter of agricultural fertilisers – could impact global maize production.   And, new research reveals that higher carbon dioxide levels could boost maize yields – but bring down the crop’s nutritional value. Tebadi Burgess from South Africa’s Rhodes University tells us why more maize isn’t the only solution to food insecurity.This piece was produced by SciDev.Net’s Sub-Saharan Africa English desk.
Basic living costs are rising across Africa and around the world. The 2022 Global Report on Food Crises paints a picture of increasing hunger and malnutrition, with almost 200 million people worldwide in need of urgent assistance. The Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia and Nigeria are among the ten countries with the highest number of people in crisis. This week, Africa Science Focus reporter Ijeoma Ukazu finds out how families in Nigeria are managing to maintain a healthy diet, as the country grapples with wider malnutrition challenges for children and women.This piece was produced by SciDev.Net’s Sub-Saharan Africa English desk.
mRNA vaccine technology has been a game-changer in the management of COVID-19. Now, scientists are looking to take on other infectious diseases that have burdened Sub-Saharan Africa for decades. This week, Africa Science Focus reporter Michael Kaloki finds out how African researchers cracked the code of the COVID-19 mRNA vaccines. And, he hears how the technology could offer a much-needed breakthrough in the fight against HIV, malaria and tuberculosis. This piece was produced by SciDev.Net’s Sub-Saharan Africa English desk.
Half of humanity is at risk of the devastating effects of climate breakdown. This disruption in nature, caused mainly by human actions, threatens the planet’s welfare, particularly in poor and developing countries, many of which are in Africa.In the second episode of Season Three, Africa Science Focus talks to a strawberry farmer in Kenya and the Meteorological Department in Kenya to determine the extent of damage caused by an overheated climate. And why effective adaptation systems must be employed sooner rather than later.Africa Science Focus, with Halima Athumani.
It was December 2019 when the first COVID-19 outbreak was recorded in Wuhan, China. Since then, the world has seen global lockdowns, closed borders and healthcare systems stretched to breaking point. But what’s happening now? Is the pandemic over in Africa, or are we poised for a deadly new phase?In the first episode of Season Three, Africa Science Focus takes you from the streets of Nairobi to the Kenya Medical Association, and into the corridors of the World Health Organization Regional Office for Africa, to find out. Africa Science Focus, with Halima Athumani.
With nine in every ten new jobs in 2030 expected to require digital skills, graduates in Africa — and young women in particular — without information and communications technology training will be left behind. In this episode, we hear from two women working to change that - Unoma Okorafor and Baratang Miya.Okorafor has founded the Working to Advance African Women Foundation, which is equipping girls with the science and technology skills of the future, while Miya has established the training and entrepreneurship organisation GirlHype to introduce girls from disadvantaged and diverse backgrounds to coding, with graduates going on to work with major computer and software companies.Catch up on the full interviews included in today’s show:Hacking Africa’s next tech geniusesGirls who code ‘can change the world’Africa Science Focus, with Harrison Lewis. 
When a monkey joined her in playing the piano, 12-year-old Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka knew she wanted to work with animals. Little did she know that her passion for primates would eventually lead to her to become Uganda’s first wildlife vet. This week, we look at the topic of agriculture and conservation, and hear how Gladys’ love for gorillas grew into a community coffee and conservation project.Whilst Gladys tries to clean up the practices of local communities in rural regions of Uganda, another of our contributors this season, Nzambi Matee, is fervently trying to clean the streets of her capital city Nairobi. Just a few years ago, Nzambi decided to do something about the plastic pollution that she saw all over Kenya. Now, she has designed and built a thriving recycling and brick production facility, and her social enterprise Gjenge Makers has recycled plastic waste weighing more than five elephants.Finally, we look at the role of sustainable home-grown farming, and good nutrition, and speak to Diana Nambatya Nsubuga from the non-profit Living Goods, who tells us how good food can be just as important as having easy access to medical expertise.Catch up on the full interviews included in today’s show:Gorillas, coffee, and communitiesBuilding a future from plastic wasteIntegrating public health, urban farmingAfrica Science Focus, with Harrison Lewis. 
Review: child marriage

Review: child marriage

2022-03-3014:59

When Jane Kubai fled forced marriage at the age of 11, she began working as a maid and found support to go to school. She later took a job as a security guard at a hospital in Kenya — and discovered a passion for surgery. Working day and night, Kubai studied to become a theatre technologist. And she has her eyes fixed firmly on becoming a surgeon.However, Jane is the exception. Eight of the ten countries in the world with the highest rates of child marriage are in Africa. According to the United Nations, 37 per cent of young women in Sub-Saharan Africa are married before they turn 18. This week, we revisit the issue of child marriage, and hear from biostatistician and maternal health researcher Halima Twabi, who tells us why she’s working to keep girls studying, and why powering and supporting women’s passion for science, technology, engineering and maths is so important.Catch up on the full interviews included in today’s show:From security gates to the operating roomScience leaders ‘can tackle child marriage’Africa Science Focus, with Harrison Lewis. 
If you ask any news reporter on the continent what the most important story in Africa is right now, they’ll tell you that it’s climate change.This week, we revisit the COP26 climate summit, we’ll hear how volunteers have planted over 30 million trees across Sub-Saharan Africa, and we’ll discover why bugs are a sustainable source of protein that could help in the fight against climate change.Catch up on the full interviews included in today’s show: Taking on the climate crisisGrowing Africa’s green beltBugs ‘next big thing’ in culinary worldAfrica Science Focus, with Harrison Lewis. 
It’s hard to believe that we’re already coming to the end of season 2 of Africa Science Focus! Over the next few weeks we’ll take you back through some of the most important issues that we dug into this season.Today, we’ll hear again from some of the best science communicators who have come on the show to tell you about their work. We’ll learn about the Cradle of Humankind, where some of the world’s most important human fossils have been found; we’ll hear how Uganda’s long school shutdown may have affected learning; and we’ll find out why Africa needs to develop a better understanding of dementia. Catch up on the full interviews included in today’s show: Meet Bones, SuperScientist explorerUgandan schools reopen, but has learning been lost?‘Witchcraft’ stigma surrounds dementia Africa Science Focus, with Harrison Lewis. 
Nana Aba Appiah Amfo joined a swathe of women at the top of their fields when she became the University of Ghana’s first female Vice-Chancellor in late 2021. Amfo says her strategy now is to incorporate technology and innovation into every aspect of university life, to produce graduates who are both critical thinkers and technologically adept as the world continues on its digital revolution.  A powerhouse in the world of linguistics, Amfo tells Africa Science Focus that dreams can come true when women – and men – support each other. And, she tells us why context is everything when it comes to communication.Africa Science Focus, with Michael Kaloki.  Learn more about Nana Aba Appiah Amfo’s career
Coceka Mfundisi is only the third black female neurosurgeon in South Africa. More than 50 years after the first brain and spinal surgeons were trained, the field remains limited in Africa, and the continent’s unmet need for neurosurgery has been described by scientists as “staggering”.Mfundisi tells Africa Science Focus that patients in Africa often turn to doctors of Western medicine as a last resort — a hierarchy that she says keeps her humble. While Mfundisi says she respects traditional medicine practitioners, she also says that it’s time for Africa to make vital investments in neurosurgery and neuroscience. Africa Science Focus, with Michael Kaloki.  Learn more about Coceka Mfundisi’s career
While around 30 per cent of researchers in Sub-Saharan Africa are women, just 20 per cent of the continent’s coders are female. Baratang Miya is on a mission to change this statistic. Miya established the training and entrepreneurship organisation GirlHype in 2003 to introduce girls from disadvantaged and diverse backgrounds to coding, with graduates going on to work with major computer and software companies. With artificial intelligence expanding into all parts of life, Miya says African girls and women should be driving the global tech solutions that will be used by their communities. Africa Science Focus, with Michael Kaloki. Learn more about Baratang Miya’s career
Just a few years ago, Nzambi Matee decided to do something about the plastic pollution that she saw all over Kenya. Now, she has designed and built a thriving recycling and brick production facility, and her social enterprise Gjenge Makers has recycled plastic waste weighing more than five female elephants.   This week on Africa Science Focus, reporter Michael Kaloki takes a tour of Matee’s workshop – and finds out how she is tackling Kenya’s pollution problem, one brick at a time.  Africa Science Focus, with Halima Athumani.  Learn more about Nzambi Matee’s career
Schools in Uganda have reopened after the world’s longest shutdown. More than 10 million students are now trying to adjust to life back in the classroom. Teachers and researchers will also begin the task of assessing how much learning was lost during lockdown.   Education and science communication guru Connie Nshemereirwe tells Africa Science Focus that it has made an already complex educational situation even more complex. And, we hear how Nshemereirwe’s somewhat unorthodox relationship with science has made her a leading science and policy facilitator in Uganda. Africa Science Focus, with Michael Kaloki.  Learn more about Connie Nshemereirwe’s career
Around 600 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa live without access to electricity. Leading environmentalist Wanjira Mathai says that communities are forced to rely on burning wood and other fuels for heat and for cooking, which damages ecosystems and threatens families’ health. Mathai tells Africa Science Focus why energy access is crucial to both development and conserving the continent’s forests and landscapes. And, she tells us what is at stake at this year’s international climate summit, COP27, in Egypt.  Africa Science Focus, with Halima Athumani.  Learn more about Wanjira Mathai’s career
Managing a wave of an unknown COVID-19 variant is a challenge for even the most experienced doctor. But for one of the youngest doctors in South Africa, the outbreaks of Omicron and Delta were a steep learning curve. Thakgalo Thibela is just 22 years old, and her first years as a medical doctor have been spent on the frontlines of the pandemic at Johannesburg’s public Helen Joseph Hospital. Thibela tells Africa Science Focus what it’s like treating patients during a global health crisis, and what has kept her going through sleepless nights at the hospital.Africa Science Focus, with Halima Athumani. Learn more about Thakgalo Thibela’s career
Fried, crispy and crunchy: entomologist Esther Ngumbi says scientists and chefs are collaborating to find ways to make insects the next big thing in the culinary world. Packed with protein, bugs can be grown in urban areas with limited space, Ngumbi tells Africa Science Focus. She says insect production is ideal in areas that experience drought, while they could also reduce agricultural emissions that contribute to climate change.For more recipes, check out Secrets of African Edible Insect Cookery produced by the Stockholm Environment Institute. Africa Science Focus, with Halima Athumani. Learn more about Esther Ngumbi’s career
Season 2, Episode 16An estimated three million people in Uganda live with vision loss, and more than 80,000 of them are blind. The most common cause of blindness in Uganda — cataracts — can be corrected with straightforward surgery. But with only 45 eye doctors for 46 million people, treatment is out of reach in many of Uganda’s communities. Gladys Atto is the sole ophthalmologist serving 1.2 million people in Uganda’s remote Karamoja region. Atto – who recently won the prestigious Josephine Nambooze Women in Medicine award – tells Africa Science Focus that a new Sightsavers-supported ‘superstructure’ will mean she can begin training new doctors to help with her mission to reverse avoidable blindness.   Africa Science Focus, with Michael Kaloki. Learn more about Gladys Atto’s career
When a monkey joined her in playing the piano when she was 12 years old, Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka knew she wanted to work with animals. Little did she know that her passion for primates would lead to her become Uganda’s first wildlife vet, among a host of other achievements.  Recently named a Champion of the Earth by the United Nations Environment Programme, Kalema-Zikusoka tells Africa Science Focus how her love for gorillas grew into a community coffee and conservation project. This is our final episode for 2021, but we’ll be back with more amazing science stories from your communities in 2022. Africa Science Focus, with Michael Kaloki.  Learn more about Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka’s career
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