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Studies detail triumphs, troubles of African innovators creating products for local health needs
Date:12/12/2010

lude:

  • A low-cost dipstick technology developed at the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research in Accra, Ghana, for quick, easy, village diagnosis of schistosoma, a parasitic disease that affects more than 50% of people in some areas of Africa.

  • An herbal, anti-malarial medicine, Nibima, from a traditional plant Cryptolepis sanguinolenta, under development at the Centre for Scientific Research into Plant Medicines, Ghana

  • A product called Sunguprot in Kenya from the plant Tylosema Fassoglensis, whose developers claim it can help manage HIV symptoms. Lack of advanced scientific equipment to isolate compounds and funding to carry out clinical trials have affected further development and validation; and

  • An easy-to-use, inexpensive, WHO-approved portable medical-waste incinerator, developed at Makerere University, Uganda, that could solve the problem of hospital waste management in rural areas, especially during mass polio immunization and similar programmes. The incinerator uses no fuel other than the medical waste and achieves temperatures of 800 degrees C.

Meanwhile, at the International Centre for Insect Physiology and Ecology in Kenya, researchers have patented human odors that effectively repel mosquitoes. While there is a need to determine formulations through further research, negotiations are underway with a multinational company.

Among conclusions of the MRC research teams:

  • Despite challenges, components of health innovation exist in Africa and, though limited, diverse activity in health innovation is occurring;

  • The emerging innovation systems are driven by local health concerns, not external interests. Local, regional and global dynamics affect health innovation;

  • Institutions used innovative financing mechanisms and partnerships to their benefit;

  • All countries put strong emphasis on plant medicine as
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Contact: Terry Collins
tc@tca.tc
416-538-8712
McLaughlin-Rotman Centre for Global Health
Source:Eurekalert  

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