Your selection in the media library
Page 1 : Results 1 to 5 on 8
One and a half million people per year are poisoned by snake venom in Sub-Saharan Africa. An IRD researcher recently analysed around 100 surveys and medical reports published over the past 40 years. No large-scale study of the situation had hitherto been conducted and public health authorities had underestimated the size of the problem. This means that currently only 10% of victims are treated, owing to a shortage of antivenoms * and lack of awareness among health care practitioners. Yet the clinical complications can be very serious, even fatal. A bite from a cobra or mamba can bring on death by asphyxia –due to respiratory paralysis– within 6h after the incident. Venom injected by the ocellated carpet viper, common in the African savannah, can cause haemorrhages leading to the victim’s death in a few days.
This new study provides authorities with more detailed and reliable figures which should enable them to readjust their health-care services in better tune with needs.
Rice is the world’s most commonly used cereal food, feeding half of humanity. However, rice production will have to double within 20 years from now to meet the needs of a growing population.
Two species are used for cultivation, one Asian and the other African. The Asian species gives much stronger agronomic performances, but the African one is more rustic, more resistant to pathogens, more tolerant to drought and soil salinity.
With the aim of transferring these properties to Asian rice, IRD scientists and their research partners( 1) are seeking to overcome the sterility between the two species( 2). They used genome sequencing to compare the structure of a portion of chromosome, identified as the factor behind the reproductive barrier. These investigations, the first results of which were published recently in the journal PLoS One , have led to the definition of genetic markers allowing more rapid development of fertile lineages of improved Asian rice.
In the coming decades, the West African countries could benefit from a demographic window of opportunity to reduce their poverty. The arrival of 160 million young people on the labour market between 2010 and 2030 could accelerate economic growth. These countries could take advantage of this “demographic dividend”, which the emerging countries have been doing for 40 years. On condition that they lower their fertility rates, are still the highest in the world, with an average of five children per woman. That would enable them to reduce the number of economically non-active people being supported for each active individual..
An IRD researcher asserts this in a review published recently by the Agence française de développement (AFD), concerning a far-reaching survey( 1) conducted in 12 West African countries( 2): family planning and promotion of contraception are some of the main keys to sustainable economic growth. Yet to arrive at such a situation, these countries must assign 3 to 5 times the means currently given over to such a policy. Will they be able to manage this population turning point successfully?
The monsoon sets the pattern of life of 300 million West Africans. The intensity and duration of the rains it brings govern all crop cultivation and water resources – and hence food security. In a period of less than four months, from June to September, it brings the greater part of the rainfall for the whole year. However, it has lost its intensity over the past decades, plunging the Sahel into a succession of famines.
As part of the international programme AMMA1, IRD research scientists and their partners have been making long-term observations on this erratic monsoon system in order to predict the consequences. The observation system AMMA-CATCH (Couplage de l’Atmosphère Tropicale et du Cycle Hydrologique ), launched in 2002 to study the coupling between the tropical atmosphere and the hydrological cycle, has brought to the fore certain characteristics and paradoxes of the water cycle associated with the African monsoon: a significant change in the season cycle and a decrease in the number of substantial rainfall events, but an increase in surface runoff and flooding in a greener Sahel.
Sleeping sickness is a parasitic infection which affects humans and animals alike in Africa. True to its name, it disturbs the sleep cycle: the patient sleeps during the day and stays awake at night. Sensory disturbance, motor coordination anomalies and mental confusion develop. The whole ...