C. ASSAf Policymakers' Booklets

About this Collection

Policymakers' Booklets are summaries of Consensus Study Reports aiming at making scientific information accessible to policymakers and the general public.

Peer-Review Status: Peer-Reviewed

Enquiries: Susan Veldsman


Search Results

Now showing 1 - 2 of 2
  • Item
    Essential facts about Covid-19: the disease, the responses, and an uncertain future. For South African learners, teachers, and the general public
    (Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf), 2021) Bucher, Martin (ed); Mall, Anwar Suleman (ed); Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf)
    The first cases of a new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) were identified toward the end of 2019 in Wuhan, China. Over the following months, this virus spread to everywhere in the world. By now no country has been spared the devastation from the loss of lives from the disease (Covid-19) and the economic and social impacts of responses to mitigate the impact of the virus. Our lives in South Africa have been turned upside down as we try to make the best of this bad situation. The 2020 school year was disrupted with closure and then reopening in a phased approach, as stipulated by the Department of Education. This booklet is a collective effort by academics who are Members of the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) and other invited scholars to help you appreciate some of the basic scientific facts that you need to know in order to understand the present crisis and the various options available to respond to it. We emphasise that the threat of infectious diseases is not an entirely new phenomenon that has sprung onto the stage out of nowhere. Infectious diseases and pandemics have been with us for centuries, in fact much longer. Scientists have warned us for years of the need to prepare for the next pandemic. Progress in medicine in the course of the 20th century has been formidable. Childhood mortality has greatly decreased almost everywhere in the world, thanks mainly, but not only, to the many vaccines that have been developed. Effective drugs now exist for many deadly diseases for which there were once no cures. For many of us, this progress has generated a false sense of security. It has caused us to believe that the likes of the 1918 ‘Spanish flu’ pandemic, which caused some 50 million deaths around the world within a span of a few months, could not be repeated in some form in today’s modern world. The Covid-19 pandemic reminds us that as new cures for old diseases are discovered, new diseases come along for which we are unprepared. And every hundred or so years one of these diseases wreaks havoc on the world and interferes severely with our usual ways of going about our lives. Today’s world has become increasingly interconnected and interdependent, through trade, migrations, and rapid air travel. This globalisation makes it easier for epidemics to spread, somewhat offsetting the power of modern medicine. In this booklet we have endeavoured to provide an historical perspective, and to enrich your knowledge with some of the basics of medicine, viruses, and epidemiology. Beyond the immediate Covid-19 crisis, South Africa faces a number of other major health challenges: highly unequal access to quality healthcare, widespread tuberculosis, HIV infection causing AIDS, a high prevalence of mental illness, and a low life expectancy, compared to what is possible with today’s medicine. It is essential that you, as young people, also learn about the nature of these new challenges, so that you may contribute to finding future solutions.
  • Item
    Legends of South African Science II
    (Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf), 2020) Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf)
    After the overwhelming success of Legends of South African Science, published in 2017 as part of the 20 year celebrations of the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf), this edition of Legends of South African Science II continues with profiling Members who were elected between 1993 – 2000. The 62 Members profiled in this edition represent some of the longest standing ASSAf Members. One of the strengths of a national Academy is the disciplinary diversity of its Membership. Collectively, the narratives of the Members profiled in this edition represent the apex of academic excellence and scholarship. All these Members have used their formal academic training in their specific fields and demonstrated how, through engagement with scholars in other fields, both locally and internationally, contributed to them becoming champions and leaders in advancing knowledge. Every narrative in this edition provides a unique perspective on contributions by accomplished South African scientists and scholars who, using an evidence-based approach have contributed significantly in growing the global knowledge production in their respective fields. Many of these scholars have held senior positions at academic institutions, been part of national and international committees, served at Governmental positions, and worked unstintingly in shaping the agendas of the post-apartheid South Africa. Their stories are fascinating, their contributions to science invaluable, and their service to society diverse and inspiring. It is also touching and inspiring to see how many scientists during this era were supported, inspired and uplifted by the late President Nelson Mandela. They were all committed to building a democratic South Africa, even in the face of many adversities. ASSAf strives in upholding its mandate of using evidence-based science in the service of society.
©The Author/Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf)