The Network of African Science Academies (NASAC) issued a statement (pdf) asking developed countries to establish training programs that would allow African students to stay in Africa or other developing countries in effort to curb the "tide of African talent leaving the continent's universities," CNN reports (Wong, CNN, 6/22).
Ahead of next months' meeting in Italy - which includes G8 leaders plus Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa - NASAC has asked the group for greater investment in Africa's research infrastructure, EurActiv.com reports. According to NASAC, one-third of all African scientists live and work in developed countries, which has crippled development efforts in Africa. Only about 1.4 percent of articles published in international peer-reviewed journals come from Africa, NASAC said (EurActiv.com, 6/18).
CNN Examines London School's Program To Educate Students In Developing Countries
CNN examines the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine's distance learning program, which could be the "key to curbing the flight of the skilled health professionals from the developing world." The school started the program "to allow health professionals to enhance their skills and knowledge at their own pace and in their own country," CNN writes. Currently, 2,500 students are enrolled in the program, which offers Master's degrees and graduate diplomas in infectious diseases, public health and clinical trials.
Andrew Haines, the director of the London School, said, "We don't train people for the brain drain. We train people very much to make a contribution to their own countries."
According to Sharon Huttly, the dean of studies, approximately 40 percent of students in the program are based in Africa. There's also a significant portion from Southeast Asia.
Although Internet access has improved since the program launched in 1998, one of the "biggest challenges is trying to deliver something that is still accessible and suitable to a student who is sitting somewhere that's got very poor Internet access but also is suitable for a student sitting somewhere who's got every gadget and high-speed bandwidth available to them," Huttly said (CNN, 6/22).
Program Helps Developing Country Researchers Publish Work
In related news, SciDev.Net examines SciEdit, which is a "free editing service for developing country researchers who are trying to publish their work." A group of undergraduate and graduate students in Canada, Europe and the U.S. run SciEdit, which aims to "provide detailed editorial feedback in accordance with the standards of journals," including Nature and Science.
SciEdit co-founder Justin Chakma, who is a researcher at the McLaughlin-Rotman Centre for Global Health in Canada, said, although there is a lot of "innovative" research happening in developing countries, "it's not being represented well in international literature, unfortunately." Chakma said English and editorial conventions can be challenging for students who are unfamiliar with the language and procedures.
As a result, Chakma said the group mostly offers help with "grammar, the conventions, the style that you need." He added, "But we also offer, if [the researchers] want, feedback on the science because we have graduate students across a variety of disciplines" (Antony, SciDev.net, 6/22).
This information was reprinted from globalhealth.kff.org with kind permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report, search the archives and sign up for email delivery at globalhealth.kff.org.
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