South Africa’s Science Minister Urges African Researchers To Become More Involved In Solving Continent’s Health Problems

“South Africa’s science minister, Naledi Pandor, has called for increased efforts by African nations to build both a greater ability to carry out research relevant to their specific health challenges, and the capacity to put such research to use,” SciDev.Net reports. “‘It is essential that African researchers become involved in finding solutions for the problems of Africa,’ Pandor told the opening of Forum 2012, a three-day meeting on health research which opened in Cape Town” on Tuesday, the news service writes, noting that the forum, “held under the title ‘Beyond Aid,’ … identifies research and innovation as ‘key drivers for health, equity and development.'”

“This is particularly important at a time when the aid agenda is changing, with declining aid budgets from traditional donor agencies, and an increasing role being played by emerging economies, such as those belonging to the BRICS group of countries,” which includes Brazil, Russia, India, China, Carel Ijsselmuiden, executive director of COHRED, said at the meeting, according to the news service. “Pandor endorsed those comments, noting that South African scientists are actively engaged in new research in areas ranging from gene therapy to tissue engineering,” the news service writes. “‘But such work will only prove useful if we can develop strategic mechanisms aimed at turning fundamental research findings into innovative treatments,’ she said,” SciDev.Net adds (4/24).