Africa Science Focus

Africa Science Focus

Africa Science Focus offers weekly insight into the impact that science is having on health, technology and agriculture in Africa. Produced by SciDev.Net, the world's leading source of news, views and analysis about science and technology for global development.

Episodes

May 12, 2021 15 min

Episode 41

 This week, we continue with the second episode in our mini-series ‘Energising Africa’, where we investigate progress towards electricity, infrastructure and network access on the continent. 

 Our reporter Halima Athumani has been mining for information about the East African Crude Oil Pipeline. What environmental, social and economic impacts could the world's longest heated crude oil pipeline have in Uganda and Tanzan...

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Episode 40

Clean energy can power sustainable economic growth by improving access to knowledge, boosting health and wellbeing, and improving the lives of women and children, the United Nations says. This week on Africa Science Focus, reporter Michael Baruti asks whether universal access to affordable, reliable and sustainable energy can be achieved in Sub-Saharan Africa by 2030, in the face of disruptions caused by the pandemic. 

 Th...

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Episode 39

 With the confirmation that malaria parasites in Rwanda have developed resistance to artemisinin — a first-line drug used to treat malaria, which kills around 400,000 people a year worldwide — public health teams in Africa are asking what this could mean for the battle against malaria. Elsewhere on the continent, malaria vaccine trials have reported success.  

 This week on Africa Science Focus, reporter Charles Pensulo sp...

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April 21, 2021 15 min
Episode 38

 With millions of tonnes of plastic waste produced each year on the continent, Africa Science Focus investigates how communities are managing this plastic tsunami. 

This week, we speak to a team who set sail across Lake Victoria in a dhow made of recycled plastics and flip flops, and our reporter Michael Kaloki meets with activist James Wakibia, who’s taking his campaign against single-use plastics Africa-wide. Carole Exce...
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Episode 37

 Africa’s prisons are hotbeds of disease and hunger — problems that have been heightened by COVID-19, a lack of resources and poor planning, health and rights advocates tell Africa Science Focus.  

This week, reporter Charles Pensulo speaks to a former inmate of Malawi’s notoriously overcrowded prisons, who tells us what life was like behind the walls. We hear about the public health threat from tuberculosis and HIV from T...

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Episode 36

 Cultural and social norms, and myths about how modern contraceptives affect men’s virility are just some of the reasons why the uptake of contraception remains low in Sub-Saharan Africa, despite increasing demand. 

This week on Africa Science Focus, Effie Chipeta from the Malawi College of Medicine tells us about the growing demand for contraceptives, while Tazirwa Chipeta speaks about the services available from the Fami...

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Episode 35

Music is at the heart of many African cultures. Now, music is taking centre stage in health communication and treatment — particularly in rural communities, where access to television, radio, the internet and electricity is limited. 

This week on Africa Science Focus, we hear how music can be a game-changer when it comes to fighting disease. Edward Kabuye has been drumming up interest in cancer and HIV for years, while Joy...

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March 24, 2021 15 min
Episode 34

Samia Suluhu Hassan has been sworn in as the president of Tanzania, after the death of President John Magufuli was announced on 17 March. While supporters praised his pursuit of development, Magufuli’s approach to the coronavirus pandemic was controversial.  Africa Science Focus reporter Michael Baruti is in Dar es Salaam, the country’s largest city, to find out what Tanzania’s COVID-19 future might look like. We hear fro...
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Episode 33

With new Ebola outbreaks in Guinea and the Democratic Republic of Congo, Africa Science Focus investigates whether the Ebola virus can be sexually transmitted. 

 It is understood that the women who were the first reported patients in both countries were married to survivors of previous Ebola outbreaks. Scientists say this possible transmission link needs careful attention, without further stigmatising survivors, who face o...

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Episode 32

Biotechnology, indigenous knowledge, climate change and banana trees. This week, Africa Science Focus sits down with United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity executive secretary Elizabeth Maruma Mrema to discuss biodiversity and environment on the continent.   

With the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration officially launching in June, local solutions and innovations will play a leading role in driving sustainable d...

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March 3, 2021 15 min

Episode 31

About six million people were affected by floods in 2020, from Rwanda to South Sudan, Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania and beyond. Flooding can lead to disease outbreaks, such as cholera, and damage livelihoods, crops and the environment.

Why have floods become so bad in East Africa, and what can be done to prevent them? 

Africa Science Focus reporter Njenje Chizu speaks to Sally Tembo from the Environmental and Public Health Uni...

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February 24, 2021 15 min

Episode 30

Strong health systems are essential for sustainable development, and young people and women are leading the way in creating local solutions to Africa’s health ills. Ahead of the Africa Health Agenda International Conference, 8-10 March, we hear from health leaders who say that digital innovations will accelerate progress towards universal health coverage, giving more people access to quality healthcare. 

Africa Science Foc...

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Episode 29

Vaccine hesitancy is a global health threat, and health teams in Sub-Saharan Africa are doing everything they can to boost COVID-19 vaccine confidence. 

This is the third episode in a special Africa Science Focus series investigating coronavirus vaccine hesitancy. In previous episodes, we heard how COVID-19 cases and deaths had increased across Sub-Saharan Africa, and how myths and misinformation spread among communities. 

...

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February 10, 2021 15 min

Episode 28

As coronavirus cases rise in Africa and people search for ways to avoid the disease, myths about steaming and herbal cures are quickly spreading. This week on Africa Science Focus, reporter Charles Pensulo speaks to the people who are working to spread the facts, and save lives. 

In last week’s episode, Africa Science Focus asked why coronavirus deaths and cases had rapidly increased in Africa, and we heard how knowledge g...

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February 3, 2021 15 min

Episode 27

Coronavirus deaths and cases have surged in Africa in recent months. As Africa Science Focus takes a closer look at the scale of the outbreak, we ask why numbers have increased so rapidly in the region.

Reporter Jubiel Zulu speaks to people across Zambia and Malawi to find out what they think about efforts to manage coronavirus and vaccinate their communities against COVID-19. We hear from people who say that they do not h...

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January 27, 2021 15 min

Episode 26

Farmers who lost entire crops to desert locusts in 2020 are facing a fresh wave of the invasive pests. Is there an end in sight to East Africa’s worst locust invasion in 70 years? 

This week, Africa Science Focus hears from farmers in Ethiopia who are on the frontlines of the locust resurgence, as millions of people in the region face food shortages and income loss. And, our reporters find out about a surprising solution t...

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January 20, 2021 15 min

Episode 25

This week, Africa Science Focus reports on Zambia’s faulty condoms and latex gloves scandal. Health and civil society organisations say the unfolding crisis could have repercussions for the ongoing battle against HIV, and impact trust in condoms and the health system. Reporter Njenje Chizu speaks to Zambians whose lives have been forever changed by the scandal. 

Is there something you want to know about science in Africa? ...

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January 13, 2021 15 min

Episode 24  

It might be an idea that makes you squirm, but small-scale farmers in Uganda are getting excited about maggots. Researchers say new studies have shown the larvae of the black soldier fly, which can be found across Sub-Saharan Africa, are a protein-packed feast for chickens, pigs and fish.  

This week, Africa Science Focus reporter Joseph Elunya meets farmers who are embracing the bug revolution. 

Is there something you wa...

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Episode 23 

Did your New Year’s resolutions include going for a medical check-up? Across Sub-Saharan Africa, health workers encourage people to think about their wellbeing as the year begins. We hear why this advice is often not followed. And, while the ‘big three’ diseases continue to be a burden in Africa, experts warn that new and emerging health problems are on the horizon. 

This week, Africa Science Focus hears from medical spec...

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December 30, 2020 15 min

Episode 22 

 

This year, amid the global COVID-19 pandemic, a new show emerged on Africa’s fledgling podcast scene. Tasked with uncovering the voices of scientists in the least-developed countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and sharing stories from their communities, Africa Science Focus has become a must-listen podcast for policymakers, development practitioners, academics and the general public.  

Africa Science Focus editor Jackie Opara...

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