Makerere University researchers highlight important African health issues

The launch of BioMed Central’s Open Access Africa publishing initiatives earlier this year has
increased the amount of high quality research by African scientists appearing in
BioMed Central journals. These publications address issues that are important
to African researchers e.g. tropical parasitic diseases are of great relevance
as some of the most significant tropical diseases are endemic to African
countries. Tropical parasitic diseases such as schistomiasis and malaria are a
great burden in parts of Africa and the latest research would be beneficial to
governments and healthcare providers. Researchers from Makerere University , Uganda,
one of BioMed Central’s Foundation
, have highlighted some of the challenges of treating schistomiasis
and malaria in Africa.

As many as 10 million pregnant women in Africa are infected
with the parasitic schistosome worms. 
The disease can be treated with the antimicrobial praziquantel, but the
effects of this drug on the unborn child 
was unknown. However, Tweyongyere et al., from Makerere University have
shown in a BMC Infectious Diseases article that the drug does not have an effect on the immunity of the child even
up to 1 year after birth.

There are many challenges to treating malaria. In a recent article published in Malaria Journal Akweongo et
., also affiliated with Makerere University, assess the feasibility of a new
community case management based programme for the distribution of an artemisin
based therapeutic in five African cities. They found that although the
programme was feasible, there was strong competition with other established healthcare

Other research highlights can be accessed through the Open Access and the Developing World website

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