Driving African development through science

The African continent needs to enhance linkages between the scientific research, development industry and learning institutions to create a large base of professionals, who will tackle challenges that are hampering the growth of Africa.
In Africa, there is a shortage of professional who can effectively deal with medical problems such as HIV, TB and cardio-vascular diseases.
The African Institute of Biomedical Science and Technology (AIBST) President, Professor Collen Masimirembwa, recently said: “There is a shortage of local professionals to deal with the medical problems facing the country such as non-communicable diseases, HIV, TB and cardio-vascular diseases creating the need for intervention through linkages with schools.
“The challenge we are facing is that there is no promotion of sciences in high schools and downstream, we are ending up not having sufficiently skilled manpower in our hospitals, our medical labs and pharmacies.”
Accordingly, African governments should urge schools to promote science subjects. Merging theory with practice at as early age, as asserted by Voluntary Scientist, Dr Nacima Rabi will be key if the continent is to successfully enhance interest in science subjects and to establish a formidable pool of science professionals.
Governments should support schools by building and equipping libraries and laboratories. They should also urge schools to employ qualified library and science laboratory personnel.
More so, governments in the African continent should come up with packages that attract science teachers and scientists to work within the continent.
Africa is suffering due to brain drain and it is the responsibility not only of African governments but also of business to retain professionals.
Therefore, to stop brain drain and promote science as a serious field in the continent, there is a need for technical co-operation between African governments and experts in the science sector.
Funds are also needed to promote projects and programmes that enhance science as a serious driver of economic transformation. Therefore, it is the duty of policy makers in Africa to secure resources for research, pay scientists and build science libraries and laboratories.
Policy decision makers, development players and think tanks in the science field should establish a careers programme to create more personnel in the medical science field under which students will receive practical training in laboratories to complement theory at classroom level.
To achieve this goal, corporates in Africa should play a crucial role. They should support initiatives that promote the development of science in Africa.
Since schools are drivers of development, governments should urge them to promote science subjects and encourage learners to take science seriously.
 

June 2013
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