Tag: 常州桑拿论坛

Improving Africa’s public service

Improving Africa’s public service

first_img16 August 2005Public servants throughout Africa are to get a skills boost when a new pan-African management institute is launched in Johannesburg on Thursday. The institute aims to improve the ability of the continent’s public servants to deal effectively with management problems.Called the African Management Development Institute Network (Amdin), the initiative is to be launched by the Department of Public Service and Administration in partnership with SA Management Development Institute and management development institutes from other African states, under the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (Nepad).According to the Department of Public Services, Amdin will work to build the capacity of the continent’s management development institutes so as to improve public service.The need for Amdin was first discussed at the Nepad Management Development and Public Administration Institutes Conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in 2000.At the conference it was decided to work towards the establishment of an African network of management development institutes that would provide a platform for collective efforts in solving management problems facing governments on the continent.African ministers have expressed their full support of the establishment and operations of Amdin, saying the new body will play a significant role in the development of Africa and its people.Amdin’s executive management committee, to be elected at the launch, will be presented to the conference of the Pan African Ministers of Public Service and Administration scheduled for 30 August.Among those attending the launch will be Public Service Minister Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi, Nepad officials and directors of management development institutes from Botswana, Ethiopia, Egypt, Kenya, Libya, Malawi, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.Source: BuaNewslast_img read more

South Africa’s global ‘brain bank’

South Africa’s global ‘brain bank’

first_img9 January 2008Priceless human capital has left South Africa. The Homecoming Revolution and skills-hungry employers are trying to get it back. Global South Africans, a complementary initiative by the International Marketing Council of SA, is harnessing the capital where it now resides.The Global South Africans (GSA) project is being piloted in the United States. The aim is to build a worldwide network or “brain bank” of a thousand or so of the best and brightest minds in the South African diaspora and connect them to where they can make a difference back home.Membership recruited in the US since April 2007 stands at 120. The recruits might not be coming home just yet, but they are useful where they are. They have knowledge, deep Rolodexes, the respect of their peers, and the capacity to mobilise resources. Important people take their calls. They are willing to put those assets to work for a country to which they still feel strongly attached.An impressive castIt is an impressive cast. Members indude Pieter de Villiers, founder and president of Clickatell, the SMS messaging innovator; Stanley Bergman, chief executive of Fortune 500 firm Henry Scheinand Co, the largest dislributor of health care products in the US; Bain Capital principal John Tudor, who drove Bain’s acquisition of Edgars; Khayapa Molapo, vice-president of Merrill Lynch Global Markets; and Lara Logan, CBS News chief foreign correspondent.There is a strong business and finance orientation to the network, but as Logan’s inclusion suggests, GSA is casting a wider net. We have members from the entertainment industry, but would like more. A significant proportion of South Africans living in the US are in medicine and academia, and this is reflected in GSA’s membership.Professor Daniel Bradlow, for example, directs the international legal studies programme at American University in Washington. He is developing a sophisticated debt instrument that will enable South Africans abroad to invest in job-creating projects in poor communities back home.Dr Michael Levy came to Washington in the mid-1980s from Johannesburg’s Wits Medical School, interned at DC General Hospital – the local equivalent of Chris Hani Baragwanath – and then went on to found one of the best known in vitro fertilisation clinics in the US.Levy has been keen to give something back to South Africa. At one point he offered to arrange donations of used but still top of the line medical equipment to South African hospitals. His offer got lost in the bureaucracy. Now he is interested in doing some pro bono teaching in South Africa – and recruiting colleagues from his substantial database to do the same. Global South Africans will help him to make the right connections.Skills development back homeThe network is expected to make an important contribution to skills development. Members will get the chance to adopt schools, place South African students in US universities, offer internships in their companies, help graduates from disadvantaged backgrounds develop connections in the world of work, and give lectures and seminars when they are in South Africa.The network will play a significant role in promoting South African entrepreneurs and innovators, spread word of what South Africa has to offer, give strategic advice, and help find partners and finance. We see members opening doors for trade missions from the official and private sector.Some might be able to help South African exporters make fuller use of the African Growth and Opportunity Act. Others will promote investment in South Africa.The list of possible contributions is limitless, and it would be rash to dictate in advance what the network should produce. Networks are like brains, whose neurons connect in unexpected ways to produce previously unimagined insights and ideas. What is important is that South Africans know that the resource is out there, waiting to be tapped.A human interfaceWork is still being done on the interface between the network and whoever wants to access it. While the initiative will be web-enabled, it will not be web-dependent like the SA Network of Skills Abroad, a website where South Africans abroad can post their credentials and contact details on an online database. GSA, by contrast, will have human beings acting as intermediaries between the network and its customers.At present those human beings are myself and Lee Gillespie-White, an attorney formerly with Bell, Dewar and Hall. John Battersby, former editor of the Sunday Independent, will start recruiting in the United Kingdom.The diaspora has a major impact on how South Africa is perceived abroad by investors and others. The fact that successful and influential expatriates want to continue being a part of the South African story sets an important example and sends a positive signal.The more expatriates feel part of Team South Africa, the better they will play for Team South Africa.Simon Barber is the IMC’s country manager in the US. This article was first published in the Mail & Gaurdian.last_img read more

South African team develops new rabies antidote

South African team develops new rabies antidote

first_img(from left) CSIR researcher Nomali Zungu; research and development outcomes manager Fanie Marais; CSIR chief researcher Dr Rachel Chikwamba and project manager Dr Ereck Chakauya are fine-tuning their rabies antidote, produced from genetically engineered tobacco plants.(Image: CSIR)MEDIA CONTACTS • Tendani TseduMedia enquiries, CSIR+27 12 841 3417RELATED ARTICLES• Tobacco smuggling up in smoke• Meningitis vaccine for Burkina Faso• Green light for titanium powder pilot• One step closer to HIV vaccine• SA’s stem cell milestone Wilma den HartighResearchers from South Africa’s Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) have developed the world’s first injectable medicine from a tobacco plant – an antidote for rabies which could change the way the deadly viral disease is treated worldwide.The new liquid antidote, RabiVir, is made from the leaves of the Nicotiana benthamiana plant, a cousin of the commercial cigarette tobacco plant Nicotiana tabacum. Through genetic engineering, antibodies known to work against rabies were introduced to the N. benthamiana tobacco variety.The product is a collaborative effort of CSIR scientists, the World Health Organisation (WHO), Kentucky Bioprocessing and MAPP Biopharmaceuticals.Dr Ereck Chakauya, senior scientist and research group leader of the CSIR Biosciences plant expression group, says the liquid antidote is a breakthrough in the treatment of rabies.The product is not only much cheaper to manufacture, but potentially far more effective than current treatments.“This product is a liquid cocktail that attacks the virus more effectively by targeting two different regions on the virus,” he explains, adding that RabiVir reduces the risk of resistance to treatment. “When you expose a virus to drugs, after a while it can become tolerant to it, and the new vaccine reduces this.”Finding better solutions for a dangerous disease Chakauya says the liquid antidote is ideal for treating victims of dog bites, particularly in developing countries. Rabies is a viral disease that is transmitted through the bite of rabid animals, most often dogs.According to WHO statistics about 95% of human rabies deaths occur in Asia and Africa.“Deaths caused by rabies are vastly underestimated, especially since developing countries often have stray dog overpopulation,” he says. “By my approximation there are about nine-million dogs in South Africa, and some researchers say there may be up to 2 000 bites per day.”Many of the victims are children.If victims aren’t treated soon after a bite, before flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache and tiredness start showing, the disease is fatal. Many deaths also go unnoticed because rabies is often mistaken for cerebral malaria.Recently high profile rabies cases have helped to bring the disease into the public eye, but more awareness and better treatment solutions are needed to save lives.Ideal for developing countries RabiVir is an alternative to the antibody component of existing post-exposure treatment.When someone is bitten by a rabid dog, what follows is a lengthy treatment process which first involves taking a cocktail of antibodies, followed by a vaccine.However, the problem lies with the antibody treatment as it is produced from human blood.In developing countries not enough human blood is donated to make the antibodies, and the blood that is available is prioritised for life-saving transfusions.Some countries in Africa and Asia use horse blood to manufacture antibodies, but this can cause allergic reactions.The practice of using human blood-based products is also prohibited by certain religious groups.Chakauya explains that the manufacturing process is very cumbersome, which adds to the cost of the product.“All blood donated first needs a complete viral clearance for HIV and hepatitis B,” he says.Cost effectiveThe tobacco alternative can significantly reduce the cost of the antibody component to just R200 (US$23), and still be profitable to make.Chakauya explains the antibody dosage is determined by a person’s weight, and an average adult male would need about five doses of 2ml each, which would cost about R3 000 ($339).Then, a patient has to receive four injections of the vaccine, and each jab costs about R300 ($34).“Instead of an expensive blood-based antibody, RabiVir could replace this, and treat rabies at the same level or even better,” he explains.Testing All their tests so far have confirmed how well the liquid vaccine works. Locally, the product was tested on animals and found to be successful, and two international tests also confirmed these results.Chakauya says the next phase of the project involves testing the vaccine on humans. “This part of the project will be complex, but it is more risky,” he says.As this is also the first product of its kind worldwide, regulatory procedures are also more complicated.“There are examples of oral medication from plants, but not the injectable kind which makes it an entire new area to regulate,” he explains.If the vaccine is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration and the WHO, it can be used in other countries too. “Many countries still use very old technologies and this is a major new approach.”Other applications for human and animal healthChakauya says the uses for tobacco in medicine doesn’t end with rabies, the technology can also be applied to other areas of human and animal health.He is already working on using tobacco to develop vaccines for important animal diseases such as African horse sickness; pulpy kidney, a bacterial disease affecting young sheep and goats; and blue tongue, a viral disease in cattle.There are also applications for tobacco in the treatment of HIV and diabetes.“This is good technology. It will make a huge difference to healthcare.”last_img read more