Changing Lives: Making Research Real

Ugandan App for Pain-Free Malaria Test

In his 21 years Brian Gitta has had malaria too many times to count. And over the years, because of the numerous times he has had to have his blood drawn to test for the disease, he has developed a fear of needles. It is little wonder then that he and three of his fellow computer science students worked hard to develop a mobile phone app that detects malaria – without the use of needles.

India Goes Bananas Over GM Crops

India’s environmental and food security activists who have so far succeeded in stalling attempts to introduce genetically modified (GM) food crops into this largely farming country now find themselves up against a bill in parliament that could criminalise such opposition.

Genes Cannot Be Patented, U.S. Supreme Court Rules

The nine judges of the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously Thursday that naturally occurring DNA, including component parts of that genetic material, cannot be patented.


Mexicans Develop Drones for Peace

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), better known as drones, have earned a bad reputation due to their controversial use by the United States in its “war on terrorism”, yet they have almost unlimited potential as tools for scientific research.

Universities “Not Living up to Missions” on Global Health Research

A first-time ranking of 54 top research universities in the United States and Canada has found that a miniscule percentage of funding goes to neglected diseases, despite the outsized influence that public universities play in developing medicines for illnesses often ignored by the private sector.

A red ribbon, the global symbol of the fight against AIDS. Credit: Gary van der Merwe CC BY-SA 3.0

Chile in the Vanguard of Monitoring AIDS Therapy

In Chile, not only do all people diagnosed with HIV/AIDS receive treatment, but the country also has advanced mechanisms for monitoring outcomes of the antiretroviral therapy.

‘Cambodia Can’t Afford New Dengue Vaccine’

Public health experts in Cambodia are unenthused by reports of trials for a dengue vaccine conducted in neighbouring Thailand, saying it will be too costly for those who need it most – children in the least developed and developing countries.

‘Misoprostol – Must for Reducing Maternal Mortality’

“I can’t imagine life without misoprostol,” says Dr. Azra Ahsan, a gynaecologist and obstetrician who has, for more than a decade, been using the controversial drug to stop women from bleeding to death after delivery.

Philippines Floods Prompt Climate Action

This year’s floods, one of the worst in Philippine history, destroyed a staggering 57 million dollars worth of crops, pushing  this climate vulnerable country to implement disaster risk reduction measures.

Malnutrition Implicated in Child Killer Epidemic

Health experts are blaming high malnutrition levels for an outbreak of hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) that has killed more than 54 children in impoverished Cambodia since April.

Waste Not, Want Not – Providing for South Africa’s Food Security

As South Africa grapples with reducing its sanitation backlog, scientists seem to have found a way to reduce the build up while simultaneously combatting the country’s food insecurity. The solution? Safely using human waste as fertiliser.

Can Europe Derail the Shale Gas Express?

Following numerous warnings issued by geologists, health scientists and environmental experts throughout the United States, Europe is now well aware of the high ecological and health risks associated with the exploitation of shale gas fields.

Gadam sorghum. Credit:  Isaiah Esipisu/IPS

Sorghum Proving Popular with Kenyan Farmers

Gadam sorghum was introduced to semi-arid regions of eastern Kenya as a way for farmers to improve their food security and earn some income from marginal land. The hardy, high-yielding sorghum variety has not only thrived in harsh conditions, it has won a place in the hearts - and plates - of local farmers.

Fetching water from a Namibian canal: accurate data on water use is lacking across Southern Africa. Credit:  Servaas van den Bosch/IPS

SOUTHERN AFRICA: Assessing the True Value of Water

As water resources in Southern Africa come under pressure from growing population, climate change and increasing industrial and agricultural use, economic accounting for water is among the tools that could aid better management.

This young woman from Makeni dropped out of school when she had her first child at 16. Credit:  Anna Jeffreys/IRIN

Sierra Leone Facing Facts of Teenage Pregnancy

On Apr. 5, the United Nations Children's Fund will launch a report on teenage pregnancy in Sierra Leone. Teenage pregnancies account for 40 percent of maternal deaths in the country, and the report comes as public health authorities recalibrate strategy to address a problem that endangers both mothers and children.

Women get a first look at a Sun Oven in northern Uganda. Credit:  Wambi Michael/IPS

UGANDA: Sun Smiling on Renewable Energy Initiative

Clementine Auma was still living in a displaced person's camp in Gulu district when she acquired the treasure she's gone into the house to fetch. She re-emerges from her home with a white box in her arms: a solar oven.

French economist Esther Duflo Credit: A. D. McKenzie/IPS

Combating Poverty With ‘Poor Economics’

French economist Esther Duflo thinks poverty can be alleviated or even eradicated with the right policies. All it takes is for politicians to "translate research into action," implementing programmes that have been shown to work.

MALAWI: Putting Knowledge Into Practice in Childbirth

Post-partum haemorrhage is the leading cause of maternal mortality worldwide, according to the World Health Organisation. A decade of applying research to midwifery practice in one Malawi district demonstrates that PPH is quite easy to prevent.

KENYA: Sustainable Energy in the Heart of the Slums

Talk about foul foundations: the Katwekera Tosha Bio Centre is built on the stuff that goes into toilets. This community centre in the Nairobi slum of Kibera goes well beyond solving sanitation problems - it is a model for green energy, a meeting place for locals, and turning a profit for its operators.

SOUTH AFRICA: Who Says Research Can’t Be Dramatic?

In the early 1990s, a group of researchers set off for a small rural village in the eastern part of South Africa. Their intention was simple: teach the community how to rehydrate sick babies.

Mucuna pruriens var utilis Credit:  Japan National Institute of Agrobiological Sciences

DR CONGO: Beauty of a Bean Wins Farmers’ Hearts

Smallholder farmers in Bandundu Province are boosting their harvests with the help of the sweetly-named velvet bean.

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