MENA Medical Tourism Forecast for 2021

MENA Medical Tourism Forecast for 2021

The medical tourism market in the Middle East and North Africa region is projected to be worth $2.92 billion by 2021, growing by 8.17% annually from 2016 to 2021.

The figures are published in the latest report on the region’s health tourism market by Market Data Forecast, Medgadget reported.

Medical tourism includes people who travel from their country of residence to another country to receive treatment for a disease, a condition, an ailment, or to undergo any cosmetic procedure, and who are seeking lower cost with higher quality, different or other better access to care.

Health tourism is a rapidly developing sector. Considered to be the immediate effect of globalization of healthcare, medical tourism displays strong development potential all around the region. This industry is recognized to have an immense growth potential in numerous economies, as an increasing number of countries are striving to become major exporters of the medical services.

High treatment costs and long waiting times are fueling the growth of the market in developing countries, with many nations stepping up efforts to secure a share of the growing health tourism market.

Factors such as stringent documentation forms, issues related with visa endorsement and limited protection scope are hindering the growth of the market. Developing countries with evolving innovation and technology are fueling the market. Major destinations for medical tourism in the region include South Korea, Barbados, Iran, South Africa and the UAE.

EU steps up assistance to Mali and the Central African Republic as humanitarian needs grow

EU steps up assistance to Mali and the Central African Republic as humanitarian needs grow

With the crises in Mali and the Central African Republic worsening, the EU has released fresh humanitarian funding of €9 million to respond to the most pressing needs.

This brings the EU’s overall humanitarian support to West and Central Africa in 2017 to nearly €254 million since the beginning of the year. The lifesaving aid helps the most vulnerable people in the region who have been affected by forced displacement due to conflict.

“Many people continue to suffer as they are forced from their homes by conflict in Mali and the Central African Republic. The EU is committed to help. Today we are increasing our humanitarian support to help save lives in both countries. Our aid will help provide essential supplies like food and medical care and support humanitarian organisations working in the affected areas,” said Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides.

Of the €9 million package, €5.5 million have been allocated to respond to the emergency needs of people affected by the crisis in the Central African Republic where nearly half the population – 2.4 million people – needs humanitarian assistance, also due to a renewed outbreak of violence in different parts of the country. The regional spill-over of the crisis remains significant as well, with over 480 000 refugees in Cameroon, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Republic of Congo.

€3.5 million will be allocated to help respond to the worsening humanitarian situation in North and Central Mali and the spill-over to neighbouring Burkina Faso and Mauritania. Of this amount, €1.8 million will be allocated to support food assistance, nutrition and health care for conflict-affected people in Mali itself, and to provide rapid response to new displacements. Over 1.5 million people currently rely on humanitarian aid. Another €1.7 million will help respond to existing gaps in food assistance to Malian refugees in neighbouring Mauritania and Burkina Faso, as well as to provide education in emergencies. Mauritania and Burkina Faso currently host over 83 000 refugees from Mali.

Background

Today’s announcement comes in addition to previous 2017 allocations to West and Central Africa.

With the Boko Haram conflict remaining the major trigger responsible for the deterioration of the situation in the Lake Chad area, the EU has so far provided €105 million this year in response to the crisis. 5.1 million people are facing critical food insecurity in the region, with 55,000 people in northeast Nigeria estimated to be experiencing famine-like conditions. In the Sahel as well, the EU has been providing urgent assistance to vulnerable populations in Niger, Chad, Mali and Burkina Faso.

EU humanitarian funding aims to ensure timely and principled provision of basic services – health, water, shelter and nutrition, protection and food assistance – to all vulnerable populations. However, access to affected communities in these regions remains restricted in many areas, hampering the safe distribution of humanitarian assistance.

South Africa grows share of global nuclear medicine market

South Africa grows share of global nuclear medicine market

Following the exit of a Canadian producer of key medical radioisotope molybdenum-99 (Mo-99), South African company NTP Radioisotopes has stepped into the supply gap and increased its global market share.

The global nuclear medicine market, which includes radioisotopes and medical equipment, was valued at over US$11-billion in 2016, and is now projected to reach nearly US$20-billion by 2021.

Nuclear medicine uses tiny amounts of radioactive isotopes (radioisotopes), mostly for medical imaging to view the structure and function of organs, bone, tissue or systems in the human body. Imaging obtained from nuclear medicine often allows disease to be identified at a much earlier stage, while therapeutic applications of medical radioisotopes allow for targeted, non-invasive treatment.

South Africa currently has the largest body of nuclear medicine practitioners and nuclear medicine centres in sub-Saharan Africa, including nuclear medicine departments at 12 tertiary state hospitals.

Globally, demand for nuclear medicine is being driven by increases in the incidence of cancers and cardiovascular disease, and by the growing number of new applications for medical radioisotopes including the study of neurological and psychiatric diseases. Medical radioisotopes are used in a number of branches of medicine including oncology, cardiology, neurology, and endocrinology specifically thyroid conditions. Around 90% of all nuclear medicine procedures performed each year are for diagnosis or evaluation.

Underpinning this market is one key medical radioisotope: molybdenum-99 (Mo-99). The daughter product of Mo-99, technetium-99m (Tc-99m), is used in over 40 million nuclear medicine procedures every year. [See below for more]

There are currently fewer than five sites in the world capable of producing commercial volumes of Mo-99. Pelindaba-based South African company NTP Radioisotopes, a subsidiary of Necsa, is one of these; and currently, with global partnership agreements, supplies between a quarter and a third of the entire global demand of Mo-99. The group’s role has become even more significant with the 2016 exit of the Canadian NRU reactor from production.

NTP has been one of the top three global producers of Mo-99 for some time, and posted group revenues of over R1,2-billion for the 2015/16 financial year – almost R1-billion of which came from the sale of medical radioisotopes and radiopharmaceuticals. The state-owned company expects to exceed this figure for 2016/17. “We have managed to grow our market share for Mo-99 through continued investment in our production, and by working with our partners to cover the supply gap,” explains Precious Hawadi, NTP Group Executive: Finance.

The group has a market footprint covering 50 countries around the world, and is also a significant earner of foreign exchange for South Africa.

NTP Group MD Tina Eboka explains that the group’s success has been built on “excelling in manufacturing, processing and moving an extremely time-sensitive radiochemical to our customers around the world. What NTP does is, it provides the foundational material for a global, multi-billion dollar nuclear medicine industry. And there are only a few companies in the world that can do what we do. Without South Africa’s contribution to nuclear medicine, the whole health system could not function.”

NTP is also one of only a few vertically integrated medical radioisotope manufacturers in the world, and plays an even more unique role in South African manufacturing where it acts as both primary producer and beneficiator of its product.
NTP’s advanced manufacturing capabilities and pioneering technology have even been exported to other countries. South Africa’s proprietary process for the use of low-enriched uranium in the production of Mo-99 has been licensed to the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO), which is also one of NTP’s key partners.

The Molybdenum-99 value chain

Mo-99 is produced through a process of nuclear fission inside a nuclear reactor and has a half-life of 66 hours, meaning it cannot be stockpiled and has to constantly be manufactured in fresh batches.

Mo-99 decays into a ‘daughter’ isotope called technetium-99m (Tc-99m), which is the most common diagnostic medical radioisotope in the world, used in over 40 million nuclear medicine procedures each year. Tc-99m has a half-life of just six hours, making it safe for use, and emits low-energy gamma rays that are ideally suited for imaging using gamma cameras such as those used in SPECT (single-photon emission computed tomography) imaging.

Because of the short half-lives of the radioisotopes, nuclear medicine practitioners use something called a Tc-99m ‘generator’ – this is a medical device that contains a feedstock of Mo-99, from which specific doses of Tc-99m can be eluted as required. The Tc-99m is then labelled with specific pharmaceutical agents (creating a ‘radiopharmaceutical’), that targets specific areas or systems in the body. The labelled Tc-99m is injected into the patient and, as it travels through the body, it gives off a small amount of gamma radiation that can be seen by gamma cameras.

Unlike X-rays, nuclear medicine enables practitioners to observe organs and systems as they function, right down to a molecular level. The same labelling technology also allows nuclear medicine practitioners to treat certain conditions using medical radioisotopes.

NTP Radioisotopes manufactures two other medical radioisotopes, iodine-131 (I-131) and beta-emitter lutetium-177 n.c.a. (Lu-177), which have both diagnostic and therapeutic applications. NTP also produces a number of non-reactor based medical radioisotopes, and pioneered the use of cyclotron-based FDG F-18 in South Africa, which is used for cancer diagnosis.

About NTP Radioisotopes
NTP Radioisotopes SOC Ltd is a subsidiary of the South African Nuclear Energy Corporation (Necsa) and is a leading manufacturer and supplier of radiation-based products and services including essential medical radioisotopes.

This proudly South African corporate citizen is situated at Necsa’s nuclear facility at Pelindaba west of Pretoria, and serves customers in 50 countries around the world. NTP has strategic partners and associates ranking among the world’s leading providers of nuclear technology products, nuclear imaging services, and pharmaceutical producers and suppliers.

Planning underway for combined medical engagement in Angola with Ohio, Serbia

Planning underway for combined medical engagement in Angola with Ohio, Serbia

Representatives of the Serbian and Angolan Armed Forces met with members of the Ohio National Guard in late June to discuss plans for an upcoming Combined Medical Engagement set to take place in Angola later this year. More than 20 planners from all three countries gathered for a week to work through the details for the upcoming event.

The upcoming Combined Medical Engagement will have medical personnel from the three nations provide infectious disease prevention training as well as basic care to four different villages in the area surrounding Caixito, Angola. Local residents will be able to receive preventative medicine as well as see specialists in obstetrics, pediatric care, dermatology and optometry.

The Ohio National Guard has a long-standing relationship with Serbia, having been state partners with the country for more than 10 years as part of the National Guard State Partnership program. Ohio National Guard and Serbian Armed Forces conducted a similar event in Serbia in 2016. Last year’s event, (see “Combined Medical Engagement partners ONG, Serbia, Angola to help citizens in rural Serbia”) which included three observers from the Angolan military, was conducted to lay the groundwork for developing a working relationship with Angola in the future.

South Africa’s radioisotopes company shines globally

South Africa’s radioisotopes company shines globally

South African nuclear company NTP Radioisotopes (NTP), a subsidiary of the State-owned South African Nuclear Energy Corporation (better known as Necsa), has increased its production of, and its share in the global market for, the Molybdenum-99 (Mo-99) radioisotope, the company announced on Thursday. This followed the withdrawal from the market by Canada’s NRU reactor last year.

“We have managed to grow our market share for Mo-99 through continued investment in our production, and by working with our partners to cover the supply gap,” reported NTP group executive finance Precious Hawadi. NTP’s revenues for the 2015/16 financial year came to more than R1.2-billion, of which almost R1-billion came from radioisotopes and radiopharmaceuticals. The global market for nuclear medicine was estimated at more than $11-billion last year and is expected to reach almost $20-billion in 2021.

NTP has also highlighted that its MD, Tina Eboka, was last month re-elected as vice chairperson of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development Nuclear Energy Agency’s (NEA’s) High-Level Group on the Security of Supply of Medical Radioisotopes (HLG-MR). The re-election occurred during the biannual meeting of the group in Paris.

She was first elected to the post in 2016, becoming the first South African to hold it. She was also the first representative of a leading radioisotope producer to be elected to the HLG-MR’s executive. (For example, NTP supplies Mo-99 to 50 countries around the world, as well as meeting all of South Africa’s own requirements and is one of the world’s top three producers, being responsible for between 25% and 33% of global production.)

The same meeting saw US National Nuclear Safety Administration (NNSA) director Jeff Chamberlain elected as the new chairperson of the HLG-MR. He replaced the outgoing chairperson, Rilla Hamilton, also from the NNSA.

“Tina has been the cornerstone of the leadership team and, as my mentor, helped me to do my role successfully,” affirmed Hamilton, while Chamberlain stated that he would “rely on Tina’s input and support to ensure continuity and the successful completion of [his] term.” “The re-election confirms Tina’s phenomenal leadership talents, and is a continued acknowledgement of the NTP Group’s key role in global medical radioisotope production,” said NTP board chairperson Dr Namane Magau.

The HLG-MR was set up by the NEA in 2009 because of a global shortage of Mo-99, a very important medical radioisotope, at that time. Mo-99 decays into Technetium-99m (Tc-99m), which is employed in more than 40-million medical imaging procedures every year. But Mo-99 has a half-life of only 66 hours, while Tc-99m’s half-life is a mere six hours, meaning that neither can be stockpiled.
NTP is based at Necsa’s complex at Pelindaba, west of Pretoria, and uses the SAFARI-1 research reactor there in manufacturing its products.

Mansfield Christian alumnus runs orphanage in Africa

Mansfield Christian alumnus runs orphanage in Africa

When Jon and Ashley Barchus sold everything and moved to Sakete, Benin in West Africa in 2010, they committed to helping run an orphanage for two years.

They had a desire to adopt one child but decided they felt called to go and be parents to all the kids they had met on previous trips to the country, which is just west of Nigeria.

“We went back and forth twice a year, and we really felt like we should do more than show up occasionally,” Ashley said. “They really needed like parent figures and people that were there full time. They were going to school and being fed, but we wanted to give them more than just that.”

But six months into their new life abroad, the director of the orphanage left for another job and the Barchuses found themselves taking over the orphanage, Arbre de Vie, which means “tree of life” in French.

Now, the Barchuses take care of about 22 orphans and manage sponsorships to help other needy children in the area.

With financial support from their church in Beavercreek, they rebuilt the orphanage to make it more habitable. They’ve also started programs to provide baby formula for nearly 50 malnourished babies and provide basic medical care for the orphans and babies, and they run a camp for area children.

Jon, a registered nurse, is the executive director of Arbre de Vie, and Ashley is the director of the orphanage and of social assistance.

They’re also in the process of adopting two of the children from the orphanage, 14-year-old Alice and 2-year-old Codjo.

Adoption is something the Barchuses have always wanted to do.

“We feel like if everybody would adopt that has the ability, a lot more kids would have forever homes,” Jon said.

Originally from Crestline, Jon graduated from Mansfield Christian School in 2000. He and Ashley, who is from Beavercreek, met in college at Mount Vernon Nazarene University.

The Barchuses will share their story during a benefit 6-8 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 6 in the multi-purpose room at Mansfield Christian School. The benefit will help raise money for Tree of Life USA, the couple’s American nonprofit to support Arbre de Vie.

Tree of Life helps cover costs for things like medical emergencies or caring for kids who don’t yet have sponsors.

The benefit will include a silent auction and a live pie and dessert auction. Among the items that have been donated are a whole hog with processing fees also donated, Cleveland Cavaliers tickets and passes for Snow Trails, Mohican Adventures and African Safari Wildlife Park.

Also available will be a traditional African drum and artisan items from Benin, including items sewn by one of the girls the Barchuses have been helping at the orphanage. The teen had run away from home to avoid a forced marriage, and Arbre de Vie helped her learn to read and sew so she could become a seamstress.

Tina Smith of Bucyrus, who organized the benefit, has visited Benin twice to help at the orphanage. Said she hopes the Mansfield event will raise money for Tree of Life, will provide encouragement for the Barchuses and will remind people of the good in the world.

“To me, they are just genuine people who are trying to make a difference in the world, and I admire that,” Smith said. “I admire what they do, and anything I can do to help keep things going, I will do.”

South Africa: Call for More Rural Health Training for Medical Students

South Africa: Call for More Rural Health Training for Medical Students

A leading health figure has called for an increase in rural training for medical students, saying the experience resulted in more doctors choosing to practise in rural areas after their graduation.

“We found that the academic performance of students who trained in decentralised, rural areas was often similar to or better than those not involved in rural training.

“The experience also led to improved practical skills, higher confidence levels and better workforce retention of doctors in rural areas, which is critical considering our resource constraints,” says Stellenbosch University’s Professor Marietjie de Villiers who is also vice chair of the African Forum for Research and Education in Health (AFREhealth).

Her comments come as South Africa prepares to move the country’s health system to a National Health Insurance plan which involves a more primary healthcare-based approach – less curative and more emphasis on prevention of diseases at community level.

Stellenbosch University is the first university on the African continent to have piloted a unique programme which sends final year medical students to train in rural areas – a project which has since also been successfully rolled out by the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

The training of medical students at rural sites is being mooted as a way to address the critical shortage of doctors in rural areas as many opt for the private sector after graduation – or are lost to foreign markets which offer more lucrative opportunities. Many cite poor conditions and the lack of resources as the biggest turnoffs in working in rural areas.

Addressing delegates at a conference in Ghana this week, De Villiers says rural training must ensure key elements are in place to ensure its success and encourage retention of doctors. These include adequate infrastructure in rural areas, proper learning resources – online and on-site, motivated supervisors, strong community partnerships and proper accommodation.

“Medical students need more exposure to a rural context for them to appreciate its value. They cannot do this by spending just one or two weeks. Their placement must be done for at least six months to a year so that they really immerse themselves in community health issues at that level.

“But we must also ensure that they have all the support needed to make it work, otherwise they will not want to return as graduate doctors,” said De Villiers.

South Africa currently has 25 state doctors for every 100 000 citizens, falling short of the average of 60 per 100 000. The country also lags behind India which boasts 70 doctors per 100 000 people and Brazil which has 189 per 100 000.

Latest reports also show that South African graduate doctors continue to lack confidence in state healthcare facilities, while foreign doctors were more willing to work there.

A recent study by Econex showed up to 80% of newly-qualified doctors chose not to work in public health facilities.

HIV vaccine trial for SADC countries

HIV vaccine trial for SADC countries

Johnson and Johnson and its Janssen Pharmaceutical Company is set to embark on an HIV vaccine trial and study in five southern African countries before year end.

In a side-line interview during the International Aids Society (IAS) HIV Science Conference in Paris, France, Dan Barouch, professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, said the study is expected to be held in Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

“The study we intent to do in the five SADC countries will be a phase 2B. This follows our previous trials in the United States, and east Africa,” said Prof Barouch

“In southern Africa, our participants will be at least 100 volunteers from the HIV key population.”

Prof Barouch is also a director of the Centre for Virology and Vaccine Research at Beth Israel Deacons Medical Centre.

During, the recently ended IAS, he presented the results of their Phase 2B study to the audience which were so encouraging that Janssen and its global partners decided to further the study in southern Africa.

The Harvard Medical School professor said the goal of these trials was to develop a global vaccine for HIV that would be effective in all parts of the world.

“The ultimate control of the worldwide HIV pandemic will likely require the development of a safe and effective vaccine. We have been working on this problem for a number of years and our goal is to develop a global vaccine, one that will be effective in all parts of the world,” he said.

“Our current vaccine candidate involves the use of optimised so called ‘mosaic immunogens’ delivered by a common core virus and boosted by pure protein to increase antibiotics responses.”

Initially the study was done in animals in a pre-clinic study before Prof Barouch and his team advanced the study in human beings, which is phase
2A.

Prof Barouch explained: “In pre-clinic study with animals, this vaccine has proved to be 66 percent protection against the acquisition of infections in the animals.

“Together with our partners at Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies as well as other collaborators, we have advanced the study of the vaccine into human trial and phase 2A study called ‘Approach’. In this phase we enrolled 393 volunteers in the United States, Eastern Africa, South Africa and South East Africa.

“Today the vaccine has proved to be safe and has 100 percent of the vaccines managed to developed antibiotics that fight infections. Interestingly, the immune responses that was generated in humans were essential comparable to the immune response to animals study. However, we do not know yet if the vaccine protects humans from all HIV vaccines.”

He said finding a preventative vaccine has proven to be one of the biggest scientific challenges in the 35 years quest to end the HIV pandermic.

A successful preventative vaccine for HIV, he said, would need to provide broad protection against a wide range of viral strains.

However, the Johnson and Johnson’s study has a promising early stage results, suggesting that the vaccines utilising mosaic immunogens should be evaluated further for their potential ability to achieve this historic goal.

UNM professor receives $1.9-million NIH grant to battle against pervasive African parasite

UNM professor receives $1.9-million NIH grant to battle against pervasive African parasite

UNM Distinguished Professor of Biology Eric S. Loker began studying the parasite that causes this disease more than three decades ago and is widely considered one of the world’s foremost experts in this field. Loker was recently awarded a five-year, $1.9-million grant from the National Institutes of Health to continue his work in Africa.

“We’re looking at a particular parasite, Schistosoma mansoni, in and around Lake Victoria, in Kenya,” said Loker. “Lake Victoria is one of the world’s great endemic foci of schistosomiasis. So, we’re looking at why this parasite is so pervasive there and what can be done about it?”

Schistosoma mansoni is a parasitic fluke, or flatworm, that is one of three major species responsible for causing human schistosomiasis. The parasite is dependent on particular species of freshwater snails (Biomphalaria) that serve as vectors. The parasite multiplies extensively in the snail and produces many swimming larvae that leave the host and penetrate the skin of people as they bathe, wash clothes and play in freshwater. Once contracted, schistosomiasis, or snail fever as it’s commonly known, can cause abdominal pain, liver and intestinal damage, stunted mental and physical development and, in severe cases, death. The transmission cycle is completed when parasite eggs passed in human feces enter water, and hatch to release a stage that infects snails.

Currently, the drug Praziquantel is used worldwide as the primary treatment for schistosomiasis. But the parasite is so prevalent, the most at-risk populations are extremely likely to be re-infected over and over again, making it very important for other control methods to be explored.

“Anybody who works in this field has this dream that somehow they can identify a mechanism whereby they could lessen the burden of this infection,” said Loker. “We hope to be able to do that as well.”

A Complex Biotic Environment: Helpful or Harmful?

To find new avenues for control, Loker and his UNM colleagues are working alongside long-standing collaborator Dr. Gerald Mkoji and his team from the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI). With help from this new grant, the team will be working to better understand how and why this parasite is so common in and around Lake Victoria and what, if anything, can be done to leverage the diverse natural setting in which it occurs to the detriment of the parasite.

One aspect they are exploring is the diversity and abundance of the Biomphalaria vector snails in the Lake Victoria region. Unlike many other ‘hotspots’ for schistosomiasis, Lake Victoria is home to three different species of Biomphalaria, each of which has the capacity to develop and spread the parasite. In this case, Loker says the region’s diverse environment supports multiple modes of transmission, which has amplified the impact of the disease. Gaining a better understanding of the biology of each of the snail species, including their differing degrees of susceptibility to infection and vulnerabilities to environmental change, may help researchers determine how to limit their role as vectors.

The second aim of this project is to devise new ways to engage the region’s incredible biodiversity to potentially fight the S. mansoni parasite. Loker and his team have found several other parasites that also depend on these same snails for their development. In some cases, the non-schistosome parasites can compete with and even consume the S. mansoni parasites within the snail, before it’s able to fully develop. The benefit here is that these competitor parasites don’t pose a threat to humans.

“We’re trying to basically domesticate these particular competitor parasites and try to document if there’s any way that we can increase their abundance in places where people might be inclined to go in the water,” said Loker.

If researchers are able to develop a mechanism to accomplish this task without posing other environmental concerns, they may be able to use the environment’s natural diversity to make real gains in the fight to stop the spread of schistosomiasis.

Loker says current control methods for snail vectors are fairly crude and typically involve introducing large quantities of chemicals into freshwater habitats to kill off the snails, something biologists would prefer not to do. It is also prohibitively expensive for large habitats. Also, the chemicals can kill other aquatic wildlife and are not popular with local populations that depend on water from such habitats for drinking and every day survival.

Another approach to be taken by the proposal and a possible solution to this problem is the development of CRISPR/Cas technology for the Biomphalaria snail. The cutting-edge genome editing tool would essentially give researchers the ability to take out a gene in the snail’s DNA – making it no longer able to support the development of the parasite. Without the snail acting as a vector host, the parasite could no longer develop to infect humans.

Recently released research from UNM Professor Coen Adema, which analyzed the genome of a Biomphalaria species, will assist Loker’s project and could give other scientists the ability to develop this CRISPR/Cas technology in the future.

“The beauty of having this new funding is that it gives us the opportunity to keep our eyes open and look for other control opportunities,” said Loker. “In addition to the particular aims that we’re exploring, we’re always on the hunt for something that might be really interesting and useful.”

Loker and his team of graduate students will travel to Kenya later this year to continue their research. He says the NIH grant will give the opportunity to make several trips per year, something he hopes will lead to more progress in the fight against this parasite.

“We are very excited for the future of this research,” he said. “But, this project also gives us the opportunity to train more U.S. and Kenyan graduate students who will be able to continue to tackle this problem in the future.”

Group Stages Health Awareness Walk

Group Stages Health Awareness Walk

The issues plaguing the development of science in Africa took centre stage as Nigeria joined 12 other countries for the first edition of the Africa Science Week held recently. The deliberations at the inaugural edition of the event centred on innovation and health awareness, amongst other issues. As part of activities marking this event, a cancer/hepatitis awareness walk was held in Ikeja, Lagos. The cancer/ hepatitis awareness featured a procession which saw the participants staging a walk to the General Hospital in Ikeja, as well as through the busy Computer Village and Bank Anthony Road, both in Ikeja.

During the walk, the participants engaged in spreading awareness about the need, and how, to prevent the spread of cancer and hepatitis amongst Nigerians.

Speaking on the health awareness initiative, Dr. Samuel Sojinu, Team Lead for the Nigeria leg of the Africa Science Week and also a lecturer with the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, stated that it was necessary to bring attention to the increasing cases of cancer and hepatitis. He advised individuals to go for regular medical check-up and quit habits such as smoking and the intake of hard drugs which may trigger unwanted diseases.

Nigeria’s edition of the Africa Science Week is the first of a 13-country series. Looking to the future, the NEF will expand the reach of its Africa Science Week to 30 countries in 2018 and all 54 by 2020. The Africa Science Week initiative is the result of a partnership between the Next Einstein Forum (NEF) and Robert Bosch Stiftung.

Beyond numbers, the NEF hopes that Africa Science Week will grow to include major activities in schools and universities, and result in concrete collaborations between the research community and private sector. In line with the NEF’s Dakar Declaration, issued at the first biennial NEF Global Gathering, held in Dakar, Senegal in March 2016, Africa Science Week will place public engagement at the heart of advancing Africa’s scientific agenda. The next edition of the NEF Global Gathering will be held in Kigali in March 2018 under the patronage of H.E. Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda. Africa Science Week is funded by Johnson & Johnson Innovation, Google and local sponsors in each country.