science + policy + practice = development vol 00114 may 2019 news drought: call for climate -resilient seeds intensifies merck foundation marks “world hypertension day 2019 merck foundation, the philanthropic arm of merck kgaa germany marked ‘world hypertension day 2019’ by building hypertension care capacity in africa and asia through their nationwide programs. dr. rasha kelej, ceo of merck foundation “merck foundation launched ‘merck hypertension award’ in 2016 in more than 40 african and asian universities in partnership with health ministries, first ladies and academia. the winners are enrolled for one year post graduate diploma in preventive cardiovascular medicine with university of south wales, uk. the aim is to build a platform of hypertension experts in underserved communities”. the cio and cfo: 2 chiefs of digital transformation digital transformation is high on the agenda for cios in africa. according to gartner’s 2019 cio agenda, 30% of cios in africa have placed digital as their number one business priority for 2019. but transforming their companies’ business models is not something that cios can achieve on their own. the impact of digital transformation on every aspect of the business – from back-office processes to the customer experience – means that it’s more important than ever for technology and business strategy to be aligned. agriculture experts from the international maize and wheat improvement center (cimmyt) have called for an inten- sive scale-up of climate-resilient seeds and climate smart innova- tions, including drought-tolerant seeds and soil and water conserva- tion practices in eastern africa. the call comes against rising drought impacts in kenya and oth- er parts of east africa. in kenya, farmers are eager to plant their maize seeds for the next cropping season. however, mid-april is already here, and farmers are still waiting for the long rains, which usually ar- rive by mid- march. the very late onset of rainy season could lead to a poor cropping season and sig- nificantly reduced maize yields in farmers’ fields. to avoid this, stephen mugo, cimmyt africa regional representa- tive, recommends that farmers shift to planting stress-resilient varieties, like early maturing maize varieties that just need 90 to 95 days to ma- ture, instead of over four months for late maturing varieties. seeds of such early maturing varieties are available from seed companies and agrodeal- ers operating in maize growing ar- eas. ‘’if more small farmers in af- rica’s drought-prone regions grow drought-tolerant varieties of maize and other staple crops, the farming communities will be better prepared for prolonged dry spells and inad- equate rainfall,” said mugo. — cont page 3 kaspersky lab picks kigali kaspersky lab has announced plans to open a new office in kigali, rwanda, to support the rapid growth of its business in east africa. this strategic move will provide more room for development as well as closer proximity to new partners in the region, allowing kaspersky lab to continue its expansion into the promising african market. the decision to open a new office was made during eugene kaspersky’s visit to rwanda where he met with h.e paul kagame, president of the republic of rwanda at the transform africa summit. during the visit, they discussed how kaspersky lab could collaborate with the rwandan government and ways to better protect the country from cyberthreats.
2 | asns news may | 2019
may | 2019 asns news | 3 drought: call for the climate-resilient seeds young s. african scientists visit china from page 1 crop diversification and more sustainable soil and water conservation practices are also recommended to improve soil fertility and structure and avoid soil compaction. when the rains finally come, run- off will be less, and soils will have more capacity to retain moisture. “our research shows that conservation agriculture, combined with a package of good agronomic practices, of- fers several benefits that con- tribute to yield increases of up to 38 percent,” mugo said. large-scale adoption of sustainable and climate resilient technologies and practices, farmers should have access to drought-toler- ant seeds, as well as informa- ensure to tion and incentives to shift to climate smart agricultural practices. cimmyt is engaged in many ways to help facilitate this agricultural transfor- mation. the institute works with the african seed sec- tor and national partners to develop and deploy stress resilient maize and wheat varieties through initiatives like stress tolerant maize for africa and the wheat rust resistant seed scaling in ethiopia. because late planting may expose maize crops to stron- ger attacks of pests like the fall armyworm (faw), the research-for-development efforts initiated by the faw ar4d consortium against this invasive pest. a group of seven young south african scientists will soon start spending time at china’s leading technology institutions, conducting research with chinese scientists. the chinese embassy in preto- ria on tuesday hosted a send-off ceremony for the scientists who would spend 6 to 12 months in china. the seven scientists benefit- ed from the south africa-china young scientist exchange pro- gram signed by the two countries in 2017 to give young researchers from both countries an opportunity to share knowledge and develop skills. nokuthula mchunu from the agricultural research council who would be doing her research on the engineering of enzymes for industrial technology at tianjin university of technology said this is a great opportunity. “in science, you don’t grow in a silo, you’re more likely to grow in collaborations. they (chinese scientists) have more capacity and resources. the important thing is the human relation, if we get continuous relationships with the chinese collaborators, it would be great,” she told xinhua. another scientist dr lizelle van dukes said that she was “ex- cited to be exposed to this oppor- tunity to grow” and that she would be keen to collaborate with chi- nese scientists.“china is one of the leading countries in the fourth industrial revolution and we can’t go alone, we want to work with south africa,” said chinese ambassador to south africa lin songtian.
4 | asns news may | 2019 the power of the digital patient for like enter the social topics in care ‘e-patient’, a individuals describing are proactive health and with an estimated 2.77 billion users worldwide, the media phenomenon has taken the world by storm. in south africa, almost half the population uses the internet, including 8 million twitter users and 16 million facebook users. this digital revolution has unlocked the enormous opportunities creation of online communities for large-scale engagement around often complex the management of health conditions. term who their health decisions. according to vanessa carter, a stanford university medicine x e-patient scholar and speaker at the upcoming africa health digital health conference, e-patients are people that use digital resources such as the web, smartphones or other wearables to educate themselves about their condition and navigate the health system to track and manage their health. “in the age of consumerism, many e-patients, in managing their health, exhibit behaviours similar to that of people who research reviews before making online purchases, although the concept of an e-patient goes beyond that” says carter. a study conducted by the office for national statistics in the uk in 2018 found that 59% of women and 50% of men looked for health- related information online. in the us, 56% of people used websites and 46% used mobile phones to manage their health in 2018, according to accenture consulting’s 2018 consumer survey on digital health. while there are no comprehensive statistics available for south africa, carter says the evolution of online resources and engagement has come a long way to empower patients. “digital resources in the 21st-century are going beyond the web and will include wearables and mobile applications that capture health data.” involvement of governments is key to driving the use of digital technology to improve the health of its citizens. electronic medical records, telemedicine and mobile electronic systems have been successfully used to improve health outcomes and empower populations. has south africa, however, e-health tech like nurseconnect is an extension of momconnect for nurses to receive weekly information on aspects such as maternal health, family planning and new-born health struggled previously to migrate traditional district health information systems to an electronic storage system that can be accessed by any health facility or practitioner. this has caused it to be ranked poorly in the global e-health maturity index. government initiatives to digitise healthcare have been evident in applications like momconnect, a cell- phone based app that provides online resources to pregnant women. since its creation, it has gained over 1.7 million users in over 95% of public health facilities to become one of the largest initiatives of its kind globally. nurseconnect is an extension of momconnect for nurses to receive aspects weekly family such as maternal health, planning new-born health. these that while carter innovations are positive, governments could do more to bridge digital gaps and provide quality resources. services in hospitals and clinics as well as websites for hospitals and clinics, both of which are fundamental resources that could empower patients and save time and money in researching online.” she adds that a simple function on a hospital website notifying a patient about includes wi-fi information and says “this on a medicine stockout for example, might save them an expensive trip to the hospital, long queues as well as reduce some of the heavy burden on overcrowded facilities. carter has no doubt that digital technology will be key in ensuring the sustainability of future healthcare provision, and that the e-patient will have a pivotal role to play. “it is going to be a challenge to develop meaningful e-health systems if patients are not equal participants. although e-patients are still evolving, especially in emerging countries like ours, they must not be undervalued as, in the future, they will be fundamental to collecting quality data in partnership with their medical professionals. doctors can’t do this digital health transformation alone,” she adds. exploring the role of the e-patient in a sustainable digital health system, the new digital health conference at africa health will be featuring a session on ‘digital maturity: fulfilling the potential towards care’. take place on 29 may 2019 at the gallagher centre, johannesburg. patient conference will better the
may | 2019 asns news | 5 ticad 7: japan to host vaccination in african the health of millions of african children will prominently fea- ture at the ticad 7 set for yokohama, japan. at the event, held on the eve of gavi’s 20th anniver- sary, japan will host a launch meeting for the vaccine al- liance’s third replenishment to continue its work vacci- nating millions of children in the world’s poorest coun- tries. “japan has been a strong supporter of our mission for many years and we’re de- lighted they have offered to host this milestone event,” said dr seth berkley, ceo of gavi. “the core aim of ticad – to help build a healthy and prosperous af- rica – couldn’t be closer to gavi’s mission. vaccines are a crucial platform for primary health care, which is itself a cornerstone of uni- versal health coverage. they also prevent the diseases that stop children going to school and finding work later in life. vaccines not only build healthy societies, they build healthy economies.” the japanese government has supported gavi since 2011, providing about us$ 130 million in the years since for gavi’s programmes for around the world. it recently announced that it will fund placements talented young professionals at the vaccine alliance as junior professional officers (jpos). a recent memorandum of cooperation between gavi and the japan international cooperation agency (jica) will also strengthen links be- tween the two organisations. “this is a hugely important year for both japan and for global health,” said mr. ma- sahiko kiya, ambassador for ticad and deputy as- sistant minister of the minis- try of foreign affairs of ja- pan. “we will be using both our leadership of ticad as well as the g20 to further our mission to improve the health of millions of people in the world’s poorest coun- tries. the launch of gavi’s investment opportunity is an integral part of this effort. we are immensely proud of the results gavi has achieved with japan’s support and we are committed to help gavi to further its mission go- ing into its next period” the uk will host gavi’s third fundraising conference in 2020, which aims to secure financial pledges to support gavi’s work protecting chil- dren against diseases like pneumonia, diphtheria and measles for the period 2021- 2025. the event in yokoha- ma, japan will be an oppor- tunity to discuss the vision and level of funding neces- sary for what gavi aims to achieve by the middle of the next decade. “the uk greatly values our strong partnership with japan and our shared com- mitment to improving global health and increasing ac- cess to lifesaving vaccines for children, wherever they live,” said uk international development secretary pen- ny mordaunt. “the uk will be hosting the gavi replenishment in 2020 and bringing together international donors to create a healthier, safer and more prosperous world, which is in all of our interests.”since its inception in 2000 gavi has immunised over 700 million children, prevent- ing 10 million deaths. it has achieved this through a unique public-private part- nership model that brings together donor governments, pharmaceutical companies, private sector organisations and implementing country governments, with support from alliance partners such as unicef and who. academy of science, afidep launch evidence project the african institute for policy development (afidep) and the african academy for sciences (aas) friday announced the launch of a two-year programme to promote the systematic use of evidence in policymaking in africa. the evidence leaders in africa (ela) programme will enhance the evidence-gathering and analysis skills of re- searchers from across the continent and empower them to take a leading role in ensuring that the innovations and evidence they produce are relevant to and used in decision making. “beyond this, we want scientists to become engaged with the policy-making processes within african governments and help to champion a culture where evidence use becomes the rule and not the exception,” said dr. eliya zulu, execu- tive director, afidep. credible evidence is used only sporadically and often ig- nored in decision making and policy formulation in devel- oping countries, yet its incorporation is a crucial success factor if these processes are to have an impact on transfor- mational development. according to experts, the biggest barriers to africa’s de- velopment have been caused by the complexities of the pol- icy-making process which tend to be driven by competing interests. also importantly, credible evidence is not always read- ily available. most of it is generated, analysed and shared within the scientific community without effective, consis- tent and systematic processes to move it to policy spaces in accessible formats. the evidence leaders in africa project will implement multiple strategic activities involving aas fellows, grant- ees and affiliates to empower them to play leading roles in the institutionalisation and promotion of a culture of evi- dence use in their countries. new study identifies best farm practices to reduce fall armyworm damage the fall armyworm, an invasive insect-pest native to the americas, has caused significant damage to maize crops in sub-saharan africa since its arrival to the region in 2016. an integrated approach, including improved agronomic practices, is necessary in order to fight against the invasive caterpillar. however, little is known about the most effective agronomic practices that could control fall armyworm under typical african smallholder conditions. in addition, more information is needed on the impact of fall armyworm on maize yield in africa, as previous studies have focused on data trials or farmer questionnaires rather than using data from farmer fields. in a new study published by researchers with the international maize and wheat improvement center (cimmyt), investigators set out to understand the factors influencing fall armyworm damage and to quantify yield losses due to fall armyworm damage. the study examined damage in smallholder maize fields in two districts of eastern zimbabwe. “we estimated the yield losses due to fall armyworm damage at 11.57 percent in the study area. extrapolated to the whole of zimbabwe, this would amount to a loss of 200,000 tons of grain, or a value of more than $32 million using the average glob- al price of maize of $163 per ton in 2018,” said frederic baudron, cropping systems agronomist at cimmyt and main author of the study.
6 | asns news conferences and workshops may | 2019
may | 2019 asns news | 7 cassava: nigerian farmers get advisory services nigerian related farmers can now access extension and advisory services to weed control, best planting practices and other aspects of cassava production on their cell phone free of charge, thanks the african cassava agronomy initiative (acai). to the mobile telephony service is powered by airtel using the 3-2-1 service of viamo. farmers with airtel sim cards who want to access the service and get good advice on cassava production can simply dial 3-2-1 and listen to all the information they need to make the most out of cassava production. dr alfred dixon, international institute of tropical agriculture (ita) director for development & delivery, said the use of mobile phones would give farmers especially women access to the knowledge they need to improve their livelihoods. “the mobile approach will also enable the recommendations contained on the “six steps to cassava weed management and best planting practices to reach the hard-to-reach terrains in nigeria,” cassava farmers receiving advisory services from an expert. he added. the cassava information on weed control and best planting practices on the 3-2-1 service are the combined recommendations from the now merged iita cassava weed management project (cwmp), and the iita african cassava agronomy initiative (acai). the recommendations a from these projects were validated during stakeholders’ meeting involving the national root crops research institute (umudike), and the two premier universities of agriculture in abeokuta and makurdi. state extension agencies from abia, benue, ogun and oyo were also part of the initial message development. there were also development partners such as giz, catholic relief services, and the market development in the niger delta project (made) who gave useful insights into the message development process. dr pieter pypers, acai coordinator said the release of evidence-based messages on the 3-2-1 service provides farmers the tools they need to improve cassava yield and make more profits.harriet blest, country manager of viamo said they were excited to work with iita in the framework of acai to transform cassava in nigeria using the 3-2-1 service of airtel. with a subscriber base of 43.1 million, airtel is one of the top three telecommunication companies in nigeria, according to data reported by nigeria’s leading newspaper, the punch. godwin atser, digital extension & advisory services specialist with iita who coordinated the messages with viamo, said the development was a new dawn for cassava farmers. the innovation hub to host sti workshop the the innovation hub – innovation agency of the gauteng province will host the prestigious 2019 international association of science parks (iasp) africa division workshop on 23rd to 24th may 2019, at the innovation hub, tshwane, south africa. the workshop is part of a series of science and technology parks’ build- up events that are taking place globally by leading to the main iasp conference to be hosted from the 23 – 29 september 2019 in nantes, france. iasp is the worldwide network of science parks and areas of innovation with over 388 members in 77 countries representing numerous sectors from 7 regional divisions including; africa, asia- pacific, europe, latin america, north america, west asia and north africa. the workshop will bring together professionals, leaders, experts from science and technology parks, areas of innovation and technology-based incubators, all collectively referred to as “stps & aois”, academia, check africa science news service https://africasciencenews.com/ the public and private sectors. to be hosted under the theme ‘the role of science and technology parks (stps) and areas of innovation (aois) as enablers for economic development’, the main objective of the workshop will be to challenge practitioners from the continent to consider the economic development capacity of stps and aois in africa. the workshop will be officially opened by the chairperson of the innovation hub board, dr tshilidzi ratshitanga, joined by the director general of iasp, luiz sanz and the president of iasp africa division, mr alan boshwaen. this will be followed by three plenary sessions on the same day and will culminate in a gala dinner that evening. each forum has been curated to engage matters deemed critical to the role of stp’s and aois particularly in africa, namely the policy environment for stp’s; best practice of business incubators; entrepreneurship and economic growth; and the 4th in africa. industrial revolution
8 | asns news may | 2019 african forest forum turns 10 the african forest forum (aff) is commemorating a decade of its work on afri- can forestry in nairobi, kenya. since its establishment, the african forest forum (aff) has provided a bridge between sci- ence-based knowledge and good policies to support sustainable for- est management; effectively work- ing within a science-policy-man- agement framework. “we started this journey on de- cember 06, 2007 when aff was registered as a not-for-profit ngo in nairobi kenya, and with a grant from the swedish international development cooperation agency (sida) in 2008, which helped us, among other things, to set up aff as a platform that could support african forestry stakeholders to discuss and mobilise resources for improved management and use of their forest and tree resources. a second grant from the swiss de- velopment cooperation agency (sdc), has strengthened aff as an institution that is gradually being recognized and respected as anoth- er key actor on the african forestry scene” said prof godwin kowero, executive secretary-ceo at aff. the institution, along with its partners, has worked on several key fronts over the past ten years to cultivate shifts in perceptions, priorities, values, capacities and skills to bear on subsequent impact on forestry and related decisions and practices. the interventions leading to this have included convenings on specific issues, advocacy, partner- ships and collaborative activities, knowledge brokerage, facilitating capacity and skills development, research and development activi- mt kilimanjaro forest ecosystems in tanzania ties. the goal has been to initiate a process through which local commu- nities are seen and treated as critical stakeholders (participants and benefi- ciaries), while strategies for harness- ing the potential of forest and tree re- sources to support livelihoods today, some of which employ these interven- tions, are given as much attention as the sustainable management and wise use of these resources for the benefit of future generations. as awareness has grown on the role of forests and trees in national economic development, livelihoods and environmental stability, aff has steadily gained membership and ca- pacity to work on these and other re- lated issues. viewed in this context, aff is providing a platform that facilitates change in the forestry sector. it is this special character that gives the institution the ability to continually adjust to the ever-changing environ- ment that affects forests and trees and their roles, the people who depend on these resources and actors in forestry business.during the celebration slated for may 22, 201, aff plans to also launch eight training compendiums on various aspects of climate change in forestry, as well as a book titled, “the state of forestry in africa: op- portunities and challenges. the event is organized by aff in collaboration with the kenya forest service (kfs) and the kenya forestry research in- stitute (kefri). africa’s current forest cover of 624 million hectares (23% of land the afri- can forest ecosystems are also character- ized by high biodiversity and species endemism area) represents natural capital that supports rural livelihoods, national economies, and has considerable potential in the global economy. the african forest ecosystems are also characterized by high biodiversity and species endemism. further, the annual value of trade in non-timber forest products is largely unknown since these products are traded in- formally; however, some estimates put it at over usd 500 million. af- rica’s forests contribute 21% of total global carbon stock held in forests. the forests support most rural livelihoods in africa by providing income generating and employment opportunities. there are very varied estimates of such contribution, but in some cases these forests could sup- port up to more than a third of the household incomes. with respect to provision of ecosystem services, the forests are also important in regu- lating supplies of water since many river head waters are found in them. to aff, africa’s forests are under extreme pressure mainly due to agricultural expansion that leads to extensive deforestation, forest and land degradation. these are the primary areas of focus by af- rican forest stakeholders in order to restore the integrity, functionality, as well as resilience of the forests. the african forest forum works with many stakeholders on these and oth- er forestry related issues. according
may | 2019 asns news | 9 our november- december issue is in the process of production. our focus in the issue will be on agriculture. are you; i) a research institute? ii) seed company? iii) an ngo focused on agriculture? iv) in agri-business? you fit. send in a) your content b) your service c) your products book an advert and get one or two pages of unabridged content space. speak to your world, and frame of the issue of your interest rates full page: usd 1000 half page: usd 800 quarter page : usd500 you may also have a one-time sponsorship of a whole newsletter 12 page-usd 3,000 24 page-usd 8, 000 fill the form below and submit before the 5th of any month you wish to sponsor name: organisation: position/title: booking for full page: half page: quarter page: _______________________________________ _______________________________________ _______________________________________ _______________________________________ _______________________________________ _______________________________________ any special instructions i would like my content and advert to be at the centre spread / back page / editorial and commentary page i am paying 50% on december 5. will pay the remaining 50% on december 18 at the delivery of the magazine. sign: ______________________________________ all cheques must be written in favour of ssa (services in scientific work in africa) p. o. box 2141, 00100, nairobi tel: +2540202051330
10 | asns news may | 2019 254mm m m 7 3 3 book this space
may | 2019 asns news | 11 legalizing cannabis use: ethical considerations for africa editorial editorial africa needs a dose of investment in genomics for several months, my friend’s father lay helpless in one of nairobi’s premier hospi- tals. there was no clear diagnosis. at one point, the attending doctor suggested he was suf- fering from psychosomatic pain. in other words, he was simply imagining it. it took a transfer from the hospital and a change in doctors for him to get the right diag- nosis: multiple myeloma, a form of cancer of the plasma cells and one of the most common blood cancers in people of african descent. the disease is more common in some ethnic groups than in others. researchers believe that there’s a lower occurrence of multiple myeloma among people in sub-saharan africa compared with groups in north america, europe and australia. but this may be a flawed conclusion. diagnosis and treatment is pretty inadequate in many african countries, and very little is ac- tually known about the disease’s biology and epidemiology in africans or people of african descent. multiple myeloma is just one example of the african continent’s dearth of genomic data. since the completion of the human genome in april 2003 africa has contributed a dismal 2% to the world’s available genomics data. this means researchers still don’t know enough about how diseases develop and mutate in africans and people of african descent. they also haven’t developed the best drugs for these groups, nor know how best to treat diseases in these groups. governments on the continent, along with phi- lanthropists and global health organisations, must invest significantly in african genomics research. and they must do it urgently. a worthwhile investment several countries, most in the developed world, have embraced genetic and genomic re- search. they run projects that have enrolled tens of thousands of people from whom they will collect, store and analyse genomics data. im- portantly, the participants include a significant number of people with rare diseases and their families. all this work has involved huge gov- ernment investments, running into hundreds of millions of dollars. important steps first, governments must define critical gaps and priority areas that can benefit from genom- ics technologies. then, countries need to develop harmonised standards around bioethics and legal issues; community engagement; the governance of data access and equitable benefit-sharing. this will ensure that participants are well pro- tected and gains from genomics research ben- efit the larger communities from which samples were obtained. lastly and importantly, comprehensive re- search innovation pipelines must be created. these pipelines will ensure that knowledge which is generated by african genomics re- searchers is translated into efficacious and af- fordable products. positive patients who are losing weight, as canna- bis stimulates the appetite. in cancer patients un- dergoing chemotherapy, it can also help manage symptoms like nausea and appetite loss,” he said. chima cautions, however, that there could also be negative impacts on health. “it’s clear that canna- bis affects people in different ways. while some may have no ill effects, some may become para- noid or anxious, which could lead to depression and anxiety.” a recent meta-analysis from 11 studies involv- ing more than 23,000 young people reports that using cannabis before the age of 18 increases the odds of developing depression between the ages of 18 and 32 years by 37% compared to non-cannabis users. the study also found that cannabis users were more likely to have suicidal thoughts and to attempt suicide. in another study, it was revealed that both frequent use and the use of high-potency cannabis were likely to increase psychotic epi- sodes. professor chima believes that in devising this legislation, parliament will have to grapple with many legal and ethical questions, especially those concerning the rights of the individual versus the rights of others. “if an employee arrives at work intoxicated af- ter having taken cannabis at home and gets behind the wheel of heavy machinery, then they may well be infringing the rights of co-workers by putting their safety at risk,” he says. chima points out that in the usa where the use of cannabis is legal in several states, drug testing is often done when ap- plying for employment, especially for federal posi- tions that involve driving, airline industries, hos- pitals and other workplaces where public safety is of the utmost importance. the recent awarding of a license by medicines regulator, sahpra, to a local company to cultivate cannabis for medicinal purposes could pave the way for south africa to be a lead- ing international marketplace for medical grade marijuana. according to a report released by marijuana consultancy, prohibition partners, south africa is ideal for large-scale cannabis production, which could be worth a staggering r27 billion by 2023 if production and distribution is legalised for both recreational and medical use. with estimates that south africa already pro- duces some 2500 tonnes of cannabis annually, much of the necessary knowledge, skill and infra- structure is already in place for scale up of produc- tion. the 2018 con- court stitutional judgement legalis- ing the private use, possession and cul- tivation of canna- bis by adults will have a far-reaching impact on the regu- latory and health landscape of the country and raises several important legal ethical and considerations for policy makers. the judgement has al- ready resulted in medi- cines containing cannabis to be rescheduled from a schedule 7, referring to a ‘controlled substance’, down to schedule 6 so as to allow patients to access medicinal cannabis prod- ucts through a prescrip- tion by a health profes- sional.” jared francis, industrial relations manager at serr synergy and fellow speaker at the africa health confer- ence 2019 adds that the oc- cupational health and safe- ty act in south africa bars an employer from allowing an employee who is under the influence of intoxicat- ing liquor or drugs to remain at the workplace. “the fact that cannabis may be used by an employee at home or in a private setting does not necessarily mean that the employee is permitted to re- port for duty under the influence or with his or her ability to work impaired. the employee is still re- quired to adhere to the employer’s workplace poli- cies and procedures,” francis points out. the africa health event provides a leading platform for discussion and debates on these com- plex legal and ethical questions. industry experts, including jared francis and prof chima will pro- vide insights into the many aspects of regulation that policy makers must consider in order to ensure fairness to all and to uphold the values of the con- stitution of south africa. this session will feature as part of the ethics, human rights and medical law conference at the event which takes place on 30 may 2019 at the gallagher convention centre, johannesburg, south africa. — issued by hwb communications pty ltd professor syl- vester chima, as- sociate professor and head of the programme of bio and research ethics and medical law at university of kwazulu-natal, and speaker at the upcoming africa health conference, says that the landmark ruling will have significant implications for the south african health products regulatory authority (sahpra). “the judgement has already resulted in medi- cines containing cannabis to be rescheduled from a schedule 7, referring to a ‘controlled substance’, down to schedule 6 so as to allow patients to ac- cess medicinal cannabis products through a pre- scription by a health professional.” professor chima adds that there are various medical conditions that cannabis-containing medi- cines have been known to help treat, including chronic pain and seizures. “it is also used by hiv
12 | asns news advertorial may | 2019 healthcare challenges for experts living in africa a frica is one of the top expert destina- tions in the world. in 2017, the expat insider survey revealed several african countries such as kenya, nigeria and south af- rica ranking. one common thing was noted to be of con- cern to those living and working in these loca- tions: they worried about their personal safety and quality of life, including health. while these locations are favoured by ex- pats for their financial rewards and work-life balance, there is a lot of concern over staying healthy while travelling and working in africa, since parts of the continent struggle with the quality of healthcare provided. therefore, it is all the more important that expats take ownership of their health. while progress continues and drive forward, there are some measures expats can implement to ensure they thrive during their time there. water quality remains a concern recent news reports and studies by nonprofit organizations will confirm that there contin- ues to be poor access and poor quality of water across a significant portion of africa today. in 2006, the world health organization estimated that had access to adequate sanitation systems. fast forward to 2018 and approximately 1 billion people across africa do not have access to clean safe water, according to the water proj- ect. the lack of facilities providing drinkable water free from bacteria and germs continues to be a magnanimous problem plaguing the conti- nent and for expats living here, chances are more than likely that they will encounter it at some point thanks to the large scale of the issue. taking steps at home such as the use of water filtration systems or simply boiling water before use can dramatically reduce any bacteria or vi- ruses contained in the water. the use of water also affects the foods eaten since most fruits, vegetables, and fresh produce are washed and prepared using the same water. therefore, when addressing your diet and do- ing your grocery shopping, opt for local markets or established food stores instead of street stalls. in addition, be sure to clean your fresh produce once at home before consuming or cooking with it. some of the most commonly reported con- ditions caused by contaminated water include typhoid and diarrhoea. finally, be sure to keep yourself and your family hydrated especially since africa can be a humid climate. humid, warm climates are known for accelerating dehy- dration and even home conditions including the growth of mould and other https://watermold- fire.net/mold-and-allergies/, particularly aller- gic reactions in children. experts assemble in a meeting in unnamed african country secure international health insurance before traveling newcomers to african countries such as nigeria and zimbabwe are recommended to secure private health insurance before moving due to the unreli- ability and intense pressure placed on the health- care system in these countries. in nigeria, there is estimated to be 1 doctor per 2000 inhabitants and while there is a national health scheme service through national insurance, the public infrastruc- ture remains ill-equipped. securing international health insurance can ensure expats are refunded for out of pocket medical costs should they need to seek private care or head overseas for treatment. meanwhile, public health decisions and guidelines are being enacted upon the continen there continues to be poor access and poor quality of water across a significant portion of africa today. t from the highest ech- elons in spite of this lack of primary data. there are guidelines for national health targets and clinical care that are set based on the experience and data that are not necessarily transferrable, or ideal, for the african context. how then are we expected to thrive if the rule book is written using a blue-print that never quite accounted for our setting in the first place, anyway? make mental health a priority: socialize the stigma around mental health continues, particularly in africa. mental health conditions and maintenance continues to be largely ne- glected and as an expat, living in an unfamiliar country away from your loved ones and com- fort of home can provoke feelings of anxiety, depression or homesickness. not only is the detection and promotion of mental health low in africa but so is its treatment. between 75 per cent and 90 per cent of patients do not access the treatment they need in countries such as south africa, ethiopia, and nigeria. http://info. totalwellnesshealth.com/blog/8-of-the-best- mental-health-and-self-care-apps-you-need-to- download do not require any equipment and can be done in the comfort of your accommo- dation at the end or beginning of each day. in addition, it is important to make the effort to socialize amongst the local climate and create a support network for yourself while living in af- rica. attending local functions or finding ways to overcome local language barriers can help you identify and form lasting friendships and help with any feelings of stress, loneliness or anxiety you may encounter in your stay. the goal to improve healthcare continues to drive forward but it is not yet complete. as more overseas travellers continue to flock to the continent for leisure and work, addressing the healthcare concerns that come with their visit can significantly improve the experience and quality of life they have living in africa.the best way to protect themselves healthwise by employing some effort on their part.
may | 2019 asns news | 13 mothers welcome world’s first malaria vaccine in malawi duce the number of life-threatening infections due to the disease. “people have received the intro- duction of the vaccine very well,” haneefa likaka, senior nursing officer at mitundu community hospital said. “a lot of mothers with 5-months-old babies turned up, which gives us a clue that moth- ers also want to end malaria.” dr michael kayange, deputy director of malaria, ministry of health of malawi said that work with the communities will continue to support malaria prevention, with continued promotion of bed nets to protect families against infec- tion. “we have communication teams on the ground to make sure that women get the correct mes- sages,” dr kayange said. “they should not think that when their children get the malaria vaccine, they are fully protected. they can still pick up malaria if other pre- ventive measures are not being used.” as for tsitsi, she is fully committed to comply with the full malaria vaccination schedule and to make sure other women at her community are informed. “when i will go home, i will talk to friends and to other women in the community about the ma- alinafe tsitsi, a mother of two, arrived at the mi- tundu community hospi- tal, malawi cradling her youngest child close to her chest, she joined a forming line. like many other mothers gathered at the hospital, tsitsi had learned from a com- munity healthcare worker that the world’s first malaria vaccine would be introduced in the country. having experienced the high personal toll taken by malaria, she wanted to make sure her youngest child is protected. “my husband was diagnosed with malaria, but there was no medication available at the hos- pital,” tsitsi said. “i was scared for his life. he is the breadwinner of the family. we had to borrow money to get treatment at a private clinic. when i found out about the malaria vaccine, i wanted my child to have it.” malaria remains a major kill- er worldwide and particularly in sub-saharan africa where more than 250 000 children under five- years-old die every year. they are the most vulnerable group that ac- counts for over 60% of all malaria deaths worldwide. dr mary hamel, lead for ma- laria vaccine implementation pro- gramme at who said that there has been a lot of progress made in controlling malaria in the past 15 years. “there has been a steady de- cline in malaria cases and deaths, mostly from insecticide treated bednets, indoor residual spray- ing and highly effective treatment when children do get sick,” dr hamel said. “but we have come to a point where progress has stalled, and we know this is a time when we desperately need a new tool. we hope that the new malaria vac- cine will be that tool.” rts,s is the first and, to date, the only vaccine to show par- tial protection against malaria in young children. it acts against p. a child under treated bed net to guard against malaria. falciparum, the most deadly ma- laria parasite globally and the most prevalent in africa. among children who received 4 doses in large-scale clinical trials, the vaccine prevent- ed approximately 4 in 10 cases of malaria and 3 in 10 cases of severe malaria over a four-year period. “this vaccine has a somewhat unusual schedule,” dr hamel said. it’s given at 5, 6 and 7 months of age and then at around 2 years of age. a key question is whether the parents will bring their children for these visits. malawi is the first country to pi- lot the vaccine in their routine im- munization programme across 11 districts in the country. it is one of the countries worst af- fected by malaria, with over 4 mil- lion cases and 7000 deaths in 2017. local doctors and nurses hope that the vaccine, along with other ma- laria prevention measures, will re- we will be doing more tests, because we want to take the vaccine as far as we can laria vaccine,” she said. “i will tell them to come vaccinate their children.” the next step in the malaria vaccine implementation pro- gramme is to start piloting the vaccine in kenya and ghana, the two remaining countries selected for malaria vaccine introduction. “the pilots will take four years to complete,” dr hamel said. “if there is a policy for wider use of the vaccine, which could come earlier, we will learn a lot to help other countries implement suc- cessful programmes in the fu- ture.” led by the ministries in health in ghana, kenya and malawi, the rts,s pilot programme is being funded by gavi, the vaccine al- liance; the global fund to fight aids, tuberculosis and malaria, and unitaid. who, path and gsk are providing additional contributions, with gsk donat- ing up to 10 million doses of the vaccine. — who
14 | asns news may | 2019 strengthening health systems to better fight diseases in africa the who reports that 13 million people die from infectious diseases each year. in some countries, one in every two deaths is a result of an infectious disease; while in africa, diseases like hiv/ aids, tb, malaria and hepatitis account for the majority of these deaths. dr izukanji sikazwe, ceo of the cen- tre of infectious disease research in zam- bia (cidrz) and speaker at the upcom- ing africa health ‘infectious diseases’ conference, says that while the 90-90-90 targets are feasible for some african coun- tries, others will struggle to achieve them. “even within countries that are closer to achieving these targets, there is het- erogeneity across populations, especially amongst adolescent girls and young wom- en between 15 to 24 years and men over 29 years who still have gaps across all the three 90s”, she says, demonstrating that fortifying health systems is key to tackling infectious diseases. for many years, the battle against these diseases was mostly fought with vertical, disease-specific programmes and interven- tions. but this way of tackling infectious diseases reflects a narrow approach to pub- lic health and does little to strengthen the health system. the ebola outbreak in west africa which escalated into an epidemic of over 28,000[ii] cases and 11,000[iii] deaths was prompted by weak and under- resourced health systems. this epidemic highlighted the need for robust health sur- veillance and better healthcare delivery, both in the interest of protecting the local population and for global health security. driven by lessons learnt during the ebola outbreak and the battle against the hiv epidemic, public health experts are realising that effectively fighting infec- tious diseases requires more than simply treating patients in health facilities. glob- ally, the fight against infectious diseases is spearheaded by international organisa- tions and programmes such as the global health security agenda (ghsa), the sus- tainable development goals (sdg) and the 90-90-90 target for the eradication of hiv. the 90-90-90 target aims at 90% of people knowing their status, 90% of those who know their status receiving treatment and 90% of those on treatment achieving a suppressed viral load by 2020. it also aims to drastically reduce new infections and achieve zero discrimination.this became evident in south africa’s response to the hiv/aids epidemic where, following an era of hiv/aids denialism, the need to roll out anti-retroviral treatment (art) to the tens of thousands in need of treatment was dire. however, it quickly became clear that the hospital-based model for dispensing antiretroviral treatment would fail to reach most of the patients in need. a system-wide revamp was undertaken to combine aggressive information, educa- tion and awareness campaigns to change behaviours, prevent the spread of the dis- ease, decentralise the programme and shift the task of care from doctors to nurses. by employing nurses in health facilities that are easily accessible to communities, it was possible to reach the patients in need of care. these changes, along with an in- flux of international donor aid, reinforced healthcare infrastructure from the bottom crowded ward at a health facility in africa. up, and today south africa has one of the largest art programmes in the world. “southern africa is now performing at the same level or better than most other global regions against the targets, with east and southern africa reaching levels of 81- 81-79 in 2018[iv]”, says dr sikazwe. dr gloria maimela, director of health programmes at the wits reproductive health and hiv institute and fellow speaker at the africa health conferences, believes that while south africa has made great strides in making art accessible to pa- tients through decentralisation of services, retention in care remains a challenge, most- ly due to weaknesses in the health system. “improving the quality of data is a critical component of health systems strengthen- ing”, she says. dr sikazwe adds that hiv services are increasingly being integrated into other services, with a push away from a siloed system of treating infectious diseases, to one that uses the resources poured into the hiv program over the years to improve outcomes. “increasingly, there are ‘one stop shops’ where maternal child health, sexual and re- productive health and screening for tb and other diseases all occurs within one set- ting,” she says. dr sikazwe explains that in primary health facilities, art programmes are integrated into routine out-patient de- partments and efforts are underway to in- corporate care for chronic diseases like hypertension and diabetes, within hiv ser- vices. he adds that this delivery approach is more in line with community expecta- tions. “improving the quality of data, the recruitment and effective utilization of community health workers and decentral- ising chronic medicine distribution so that medicines are available closer to where pa- tients live and work; are all strategies that support a well-functioning health system”, concludes dr maimela. both dr maimela and dr sikazwe will be speaking at the infectious diseases conference, featured as part of the africa health exhibition & conferences, to be held from the 28 – 30 may at the gallagher public health experts are realising that fighting diseases requires more than ssimply treating patients in health facilities convention centre, johannesburg. exhi- bition director for africa health, ryan sanderson, says that several south african academic institutions at the forefront of ad- dressing these diseases will be showcasing their innovative and cutting-edge strategies at africa health. antrum biotechnology, a success story arising from the research contracts and innovation arm of uct, will present their rapid, bedside diagnostic kit for extrapul- monary tb that has made significant im- provements in patient outcomes. pretoria university’s institute for sustainable ma- laria control will demonstrate their inte- grated approach to fighting malaria though sustainable and environmentally safe ma- laria control technologies. “by bringing together academia, trade and other key leaders from across the health spectrum, we will be paving the way for ef- fective and integrated health systems in af- rica, able to respond to outbreaks and foster global health security”, said sanderson. sdgs: africa makes progress the africa regional science, technology and innovation (sti) forum was one of the pre-events of the fifth session of the africa regional forum on sustain- able development (arfsd 5) that took place tuesday at the palais des congrès de la palmeraie in marrake- ch, morocco.“we need to sharpen our policies for inclusive education that can create real jobs that can drive growth at a much high rate than what we are currently experienc- ing; and we need partnerships with the private sector if we are to go to that next level,” said mr. mmboneni muofhe, deputy director-general, technology innovation at south africa’s department of science and technology. poor seed threat to africa’s food security the poor performance of africa’s seed industry is threatening food security on the continent, warns a new re- port. “the overall picture is one of international and african seed companies falling short in deliv- ering quality seed and new va- rieties to smallholder farmers. this limits the potential to ad- dress food security, nutrition and climate resilience,” revealed the study by amsterdam-based ac- cess to seeds foundation on the performance of 23 major seed companies in 22 west and central african countries. un, au pact on climate change united nations secretary- general antonio guterres said monday that the un and the african union (au) will strengthen cooperation in tackling climate change and securing financ- ing for development. climate change and financing for development are the two battles, in which the au and the un “will work hand in hand in the months to come,” the secretary-general said at a joint press conference presided over by himself and moussa faki mahamat, chairperson of the au commission, held at the un headquarters in new york.
may | 2019 asns news | 15 species extinction rates ‘accelerating’ nature is declining globally at rates unprec- government sources, the report also draws (for the first time ever at this scale) on indigenous and local knowledge, particularly addressing issues relevant to indigenous peoples and local communities. edented in human history — and the rate of species extinctions is accelerating, with grave impacts on people around the world now likely, warns a landmark new report from the intergovern- mental science-policy platform on biodiversity and ecosystem services (ipbes), the summary of which was approved at the 7th session of the ipbes ple- nary, meeting last week (29 april – 4 may) in paris. “the overwhelming evidence of the ipbes glob- al assessment, from a wide range of different fields of knowledge, presents an ominous picture,” said ip- bes chair, sir robert watson. “the health of eco- systems on which we and all other species depend is deteriorating more rapidly than ever. we are eroding the very foundations of our economies, livelihoods, food security, health and quality of life worldwide.” “the report also tells us that it is not too late to make a difference, but only if we start now at every level from local to global,” he said. “through ‘trans- formative change’, nature can still be conserved, restored and used sustainably – this is also key to meeting most other global goals. by transformative change, we mean a fundamental, system-wide reor- ganization across technological, economic and social factors, including paradigms, goals and values.” “the member states of ipbes plenary have now acknowledged that, by its very nature, transforma- tive change can expect opposition from those with interests vested in the status quo, but also that such opposition can be overcome for the broader public good,” watson said. the ipbes global assessment scientists share ideas report on biodiversity and ecosystem services is the most comprehensive ever completed. it is the first in- tergovernmental report of its kind and builds on the landmark millennium ecosystem assessment of 2005, introducing innovative ways of evaluating evidence. compiled by 145 expert authors from 50 countries over the past three years, with inputs from another 310 contributing authors, the report assesses changes over the past five decades, providing a comprehensive picture of the relationship between economic development path- ways and their impacts on nature. it also offers a range of possible scenarios for the coming decades. based on the systematic review of about 15,000 scientific and “biodiversity and nature’s contributions to people are our common heritage and humanity’s most im- portant life-supporting ‘safety net’. but our safety net is stretched almost to breaking point,” said prof. san- dra díaz (argentina), who co-chaired the assessment with prof. josef settele (germany) and prof. eduardo s. brondízio (brazil and usa). “the diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems, as well as many fundamental contributions we derive from nature, are declining fast, although we still have the means to ensure a sustainable future for people and the planet.” the report finds that around 1 million animal and plant species are now threatened with extinction, many within decades, more than ever before in hu- man history.the average abundance of native species in most major land-based habitats has fallen by at least 20%, mostly since 1900. more than 40% of amphibian species, almost 33% of reefforming corals and more than a third of all ma- rine mammals are threatened. the picture is less clear for insect species, but available evidence supports a tentative estimate of 10% being threatened. at least 680 vertebrate species had been driven to extinction since the 16th century and more than 9% of all domesticated breeds of mammals used for food and agriculture had become extinct by 2016, with at least 1,000 more breeds still threatened.
16 | asns news may | 2019 tanzania: cassava industry takes shape cassava starch tanzania cor- such as, “when is the best time to plant? when should i harvest? what fertilizer do i use; how much and when?” poration (cstc) in tanzania has set up a cassava processing business in tanzania but is worry of getting a stable supply of cassava. according to exparts, demand for cassava is increasing as more compa- nies are seeking to process the roots into high-value, starch-rich flour. to assure consistent supply, the af- rican cassava agronomy initiative (acai) and the tanzania agricultural research institute (tari-naliendele) agreed to explore areas of collabora- tion to deploy acai’s latest tools to secure the cassava supply of small- holder farmers across tanzania. mathew de klerk, cstc general manager, said that his company is will- ing to work with a dynamic organiza- tion that has a good track record in ag- riculture. he also thanked and praised the tanzanian government for provid- ing an enabling environment to drive cassava industrialization in tanzania and east africa as a whole. acai project coordinator in tanzania and east africa, veronica n.e. uzokwe said the acai will strive to heighten agronomic research on cassava farm- ing into simple-to-use and practical decision support tools that can help farmers achieve significant crop yield and quality improvements.” working with thousands of famers across tanzania, the acai project has been applying advanced agronomic analyses to answer farmers’ questions among the various decision support tools created by acai, their fertil- izer recommendation tool is designed to maximize productivity based on a given fertilizer input. their scheduled planting guidance offers support to farmers to ensure that harvested roots supplied to starch companies have a high starch content. the economic calculations driving the tools are also of great use to fledgling companies in the cassava food pro- cessing industry, looking to maximize profitability.acai is currently vali- dating the tools with the help of many smallholder farmers, who supported their initial development. to date, development and delivery of the support tools have been carried out by an extensive network of acai part- ner organizations, including minjingu fertilizer, fjs starch company, menno- nite economic development associ- ates (meda), cassava: adding value for africa (c:ava), and farm concern international. uzokwe said, “we wel- come more partners from all levels of the cassava value chain. we believe that cstc will be able to help us reach more farmers through extension agents. training these stakeholders will pro- mote food security, generate incomes, and support people’s livelihoods. this aligns with the goals of iita.” failures in colonoscopy affecting detection of colorectal cancer cannabis significantly improves the symptoms of crohn’s disease orectal cancer (crc) mortality rates. colonoscopy is a widely performed procedure for patients with lower gastrointestinal symptoms, conduct- ed to aid crc detection and explore causes of unexplained changes in bowel habits. an integral element of crc screening programmes, it is fundamental that colonoscopy procedures are of the highest possi- ble quality to maximise early cancer detection and ensure patient comfort and wellbeing. of crohn’s disease and the quality of life of sufferers but, contrary to pre- vious medical thinking, has no effect on gut inflammation. in a randomised, placebo-con- trolled study, researchers from is- rael have shown that cannabis can produce clinical remission in up to 65% of individuals after 8 weeks of treatment, but that this improve- ment does not appear to result from a dampening down of the underlying inflammatory process. in the first study of its kind, can- nabis oil has been shown to sig- nificantly improve the symptoms leading gastroenterologists are calling for widespread improvements in the quality of colonoscopies to help reduce col- honorary doctorate for dg sanginga iita director general nteran- ya sanginga won the degree of doctor of honoris causa from ku leuven. the award will be conferred on the occa- sion of the 20th anniversary of vlir-uos, an organization that supports partnerships between higher education institutions in flanders and the south. prof luc sels, rector of ku leuven, said that the university community “wishes to recognize sanginga for his visionary leadership of iita, which he has turned into a research-for-development organi- zation that enables african scien- tists to partner up with colleagues and institutions from all over the world.”
africa science news covering science with an african eye | may 2019 published by ssa (services in scientific work in africa) p. o. box 2141, 00100, nairobi, kenya tel: +2540202051330 : email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.africasciencenews.org kenya to hit sanitation targets by 2030 the kenyan government said on wednesday managed services while basic sanitation services stood at 5 percent,” guchu added. it expects to achieve its sanitation targets by 2030 in accordance with its vision. met within a given period of time. winnie guchu, chief administrative secretary for water and sanitation, said the ministry is optimistic to achieve the targets alongside the african union (au)’s agenda 2063 and the un’s sustainable development goals (sdgs). “we need a change of attitude from our partners since sanitation currently does not receive financial attention as water,” guchu said at an annual conference for the water service providers association of kenya (waspa). she said the government has developed a plan of action that targets collaboration with the development partners and non-governmental organizations (ngos) to mobilizing human and financial resources to ensure that targets set are “we have started mainstreaming sanitation in the national and county governments with the aim of improving its importance for human dignity, self esteem, gender equality and poverty reduction,” she added. the official revealed that access to sewerage is currently 16 percent in urban areas and 7.3 percent nationally. she said about 5.6 million kenyans, or 12.5 percent of the population, still practice open defecation despite in reducing the percentage. the government efforts so far, only three counties have been declared open defecation free (odf) and 13,328 villages have also been certified as odf. “this sanitation status is unacceptable since in 2017, 20 percent of kenyans were using safely she said that sanitation plays a central role in sustainable development as improved access to water and sanitation can break disease- poverty cycle. guchu said the negative impact of insufficient sanitation services on education and productivity of the population is equally huge. many rural households have to spend many hours per day fetching water from unsecured sources where water quality is suspect. “this burden is left to women and it ends up affecting the girl child education,” the official said. — xinhua africa blue economy forum (abef) 2019 urges african businesses to dive in to the blue economy africa blue economy forum (abef) (www. abef2019.com) comes to tunis on june 25-26; confirmed speakers include government ministers and officials from gabon, ghana, morocco, somaliland, tunisia and seychelles; aims to raise awareness of the economic, social and environmental benefits of the blue economy. african businesses are being challenged to wake up to the economic, social and environmental power of the blue economy. momentum is gathering for companies based in africa’s coastal nations to fully recognise and understand the benefits of backing a blue economy, which covers a wide range of productive sectors that are crucial for the continent’s sustainable development, including fisheries, aquaculture, transport, energy, trade and tourism as well as extractive industries. research indicates that the blue economy has the potential to be a major source of wealth and prosperity for the continent and help advance the african union’s agenda 2063 and the un agenda 2030 for sustainable development. businesses interested in learning how they can be part of the rising tide involved in the blue economy are invited to attend the second africa blue economy forum (abef), which is being held in tunisia on 25-26 june. this year’s abef2019 builds on the inaugural event in london last year which explored what the blue economy was. this year’s forum aims to take it a stage further and explore how business and government can implement actions that will proactively boost the economic, social and environmental welfare of the continent. moon shrinking, causes quakes lunar and the u.s. orbiter observations lunar seismic data showed that the moon was shrinking like a raisin as its interior cooled, thus producing quakes along the fault lines on it. the study was published on journal nature the in monday geoscience. interior. the quakes are within 31 km of faults visible in the lro images, close enough for the team to conclude that the faults likely caused the quakes. “it’s quite likely that the faults are still active today. you don’t often get to see active tectonics anywhere but earth, so it’s very exciting to think these faults may still be producing moonquakes,” said a team of american researchers designed an algorithm to analyze seismic data recorded by nasa’s apollo missions in 1960s and 1970s which provided epicenter locations of 28 quakes on the moon from 1969 to 1977. then they put those data onto imagery of the thrust faults captured by nasa’s lunar reconnaissance orbiter (lro). “it’s quite likely that the faults are still active today. you don’t often get to see active tectonics anywhere but earth, so it’s very exciting to think these faults may still be producing moonquakes,” the quakes’ proximity to the thrust faults showed that at least eight of those quakes tend to be resulted from the movement of crustal plates instead of asteroid impacts or rumblings deep within the moon’s nicholas schmerr, an assistant professor of geology at the university of maryland, in a statement. the researchers also found that six of the eight quakes happened when the moon was at or near the apogee of its orbit, the farthest point from the earth.