B. Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) Events

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This community contains non-peer reviewed slide sets (PDF format) and audio/video recordings (MP4 format) from events and presentations during those events, and in which ASSAf participated or where ASSAf was represented. The content of the collections listed have not been peer-reviewed, but it is believed that it can contribute to the academic discourse, and be used in the advancement of science and discussions/decisions around science.

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Now showing 1 - 10 of 21
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    Catalysing Change: A Global Health Approach in the Wake of Pandemics
    (Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf), German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, Académie Nationale des Sciences et Techniques du Sénégal (ANSTS) and Ethiopian Academy of Sciences (EAS), 2024) Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf); German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina; Académie Nationale des Sciences et Techniques du Sénégal (ANSTS); Ethiopian Academy of Sciences (EAS)
    Over the past four years, the COVID-19 pandemic has drastically disrupted daily life, severely stressed health systems across the globe and exposed stark inequalities in managing global health crises. It has revealed significant shortcomings in disease surveillance and data sharing and highlighted the urgent need to strengthen global health research. The strategy of intensive containment of the COVID-19 pandemic often came at the expense of managing other infectious diseases, such as Tuberculosis and HIV, leading to uneven and nationally focused solutions. The need to develop a more equitable and unified strategy for global health, particularly in preparing for and responding to future pandemics has become apparent. The webinar on “Catalysing Change: A Global Health Approach in the Wake of Pandemics”, brought together experts from national and international health bodies, the political arena, and the pharmaceutical industry to address the pressing issues of global health politics and pandemic prevention. The webinar focused on ensuring equitable access to medications and vaccines, fostering global health research, and improving surveillance and data-sharing mechanisms. It takes on the conference brief “Global Health Approach for Infectious Diseases – A Proposal for the Next Decade”, a joint publication by the national academies of Ethiopia, Germany, Senegal, and South Africa, which resulted from the workshop “Infectious Diseases beyond COVID-19” in Berlin on 23 and 24 May 2023.
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    Addressing the Recent Measles Outbreak in South Africa
    (Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf), 2023) Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf)
    South Africa is grappling with a notable resurgence of measles, a highly contagious viral infection that poses a serious threat to public health. This recent measles outbreak has raised concerns about immunisation coverage, healthcare infrastructure, and the broader impact on community well-being. As a means of contributing to the discussions, ASSAf hosted a webinar on the 23rd of October 2023 to understand the factors contributing to this resurgence, to explore successful strategies employed to contain and manage measles outbreaks and to potentially propose recommendations for immediate response and long-term prevention strategies to curb the measles outbreak and prevent future recurrences.
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    Cholera outbreak: What you need to know about the disease, its spread and a potential action plan to fight the nationwide outbreak
    (Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf), 2023) Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf)
    This webinar was presented on 14 August 2023. Safe, high-quality drinking water is an essential aspect of public health. Despite the fact that water is a necessity of human life, about 20% of the world’s population lacks safe drinking water. In South Africa, approximately 3 million people do not have access to potable water supply and 14 million people are deprived of safe sanitation services. Water quality is an acute problem, especially for developing nations. In these countries, up to 90% of the cities discharge their untreated sewage into rivers and streams. These surface waters in turn may be used for drinking and personal sanitation purposes. The unsanitary water supplies found in many of these densely populated areas foster the spread of gastrointestinal illnesses and serious infectious diseases that contribute greatly to the burden of morbidity and mortality. On 21 May 2023, the health department in Gauteng declared a cholera outbreak in Hammanskraal, an area about 50 kilometres north of its administrative capital Pretoria, in the City of Tshwane. Cholera is defined as an infectious and often fatal bacterial disease of the small intestine, typically contracted from infected water supplies. Vulnerable groups such as children, the elderly, and immunocompromised patients (e.g., those who are undergoing chemotherapy, taking steroids, or afflicted with HIV/AIDS) are at special risk of diseases caused by water contamination. This webinar aimed to: • Inform the public about cholera and the current status of the outbreak. • To discuss the implications of the outbreak on Sustainable Development Goal 6: Access to Water and Sanitation for all. • Outline an action plan to fight the nationwide cholera outbreak.
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    Impact of climate change on food systems: Using transdisciplinary science to drive mitigation and adaptation solutions to protect and promote health
    (Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf), 2022) Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf); InterAcademy Partnership (IAP); Network of African Science Academies (NASAC)
    A recent systems-based approach to tackling climate change and health issues, from the global InterAcademy Partnership and its regional academy networks, examined how science can guide innovation, policy and practice for climate mitigation and adaptation. Among adverse climate change effects are those mediated by multiple impacts on food production and, consequently, on health and livelihoods. Outputs from the global assessment and specifically from Africa will be presented to exemplify the diverse challenges and opportunities to identify and implement solutions, integrated between agriculture and other sectors, at all levels of governance.
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    Health Research and its contribution to South Africa’s democracy
    (Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf), 2022-08) Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf)
    Freedom of speech encompasses freedom of research and is an important component of any democracy. Health research, and communication around this research, have contributed to strengthening South Africa's democracy. Generally, COVID-19 research has been well disseminated and discussed openly, between scientists, civil society and government. To this extent, COVID-19 related health research can be said to have strengthened the functioning of our democracy. However, the pandemic has bought to the forefront important questions about the role of health research in a democracy. This webinar explored: 1) The extent to which the discussion around health research during COVID-19 excluded other research voices from the mainstream. 2) The extent to which health research should be a matter of discussion amongst non-specialists? Should there be limits on information shared/discussions held? 3) In an environment of the free flow of information, does the way in which health research information is shared enhance or undermine our democracy? 4) How does the dissemination of health research information affect the relationships between scientists, government and civil society?
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    Mental Health and the role of traditional healers
    (Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf), 2022) Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf)
    Webinar presented on 8 July 2022 by the Academy of Science of South Africa. The provision of treatment, care and rehabilitation services for people with Mental, Neurological and Substance use (MNS) disorders is a multisectoral responsibility. Traditional healers have a unique role to play, especially in resource-limited settings. It is estimated that there are about 200 000 traditional healers as compared to 975 registered psychiatrists – who mostly practise in urban areas and the private sector. Traditional health practitioners and those linked to faith-based organisations play a significant role in providing services for people with MNS disorders. These are often an entry point into systems of care. These providers, therefore, could play a significant role in identifying people with such disorders, and in some cases, have worked cooperatively with health services in providing for the mental health and spiritual needs of individuals. There is a need to understand the role of traditional health practitioners in mental health care. This webinar seeks to understand the role, knowledge, attitude, and practice of traditional healers in mental health care with the aim to encourage their participation in terms of the treatment, care and rehabilitation of people with MNS disorders.
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    Priorities for child and adolescent mental health research and services in South Africa
    (Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf), 2022) Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf)
    Children and adolescents under the age of 18 years comprise 34% of the population, and child and adolescent Mental, Neurological and Substance Use (MNS) disorders are common and an important cause of disability and distress. Providers at all levels should be competent to screen for and identify common childhood mental disorders, which usually present with developmental delay, emotional and/or behavioural symptoms and/or learning difficulties. Given the burden of disease, the fact that many mental disorders begin in childhood, and that early intervention is most effective in childhood and adolescence, it is essential that effective promotion, prevention, treatment, care and rehabilitation interventions should be provided for children and adolescents. In this webinar, hosted by the Academy of Science of South Africa, leading experts in child and adolescent mental health will presented their priorities for child and adolescent mental health services and research in South Africa.
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    Science, human rights and activism
    (Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf), 2022-03-09) Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf)
    In celebration of Human Rights Day 2022, Prof Abdool Karim chatted to us on what led him to take on activism, his journey with HIV, the juxta positioning of science and politics and how academics should manage policy-related issues. We discussed his impression on the scorecard on human rights issues and the COVID pandemic and the most critical things regarding human rights. In this informal conversation, we got to know more about the man, his journey and his mission.
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    Dual-Use Research of Concern
    (Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf), 2021) Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf)
    Dual-Use Research of Concern (DURC) describes research (typically in the life sciences) that is intended to produce answers to legitimate research questions but may be misapplied with nefarious purposes. DURC is defined by the National Institutes of Health as follows: “DURC is life sciences research that, based on current understanding, can be reasonably anticipated to provide knowledge, information, products, or technologies that could be directly misapplied to pose a significant threat with broad potential consequences to public health and safety, agricultural crops and other plants, animals, the environment, materiel, or national security”. The misuse of research findings, either intentionally or not, is a long-standing concern of science, but governance of the subject has been lagging. In the United States, several policies and legislation governs DURC nationally, and internationally to those that may be receiving research funding or attempting to publish research findings in US-based scientific journals. Currently, there is no policy or legislation in South Africa governing DURC (directly),other than the Acts and Regulations addressing non-proliferation. This webinar is a scientific engagement to share knowledge and experiences with DURC internationally and nationally.
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    Astronomy in Africa
    (Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf), 2021) Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf)
    Astronomy is one of the most challenging of all scientific endeavours, requiring technologies and skills that are usually beyond the reach of what is currently available. As such it is a field that pushes the boundaries of human capacity and moves us into new realms of discovery, technology and thought. In this talk Kevin Govender and Vanessa McBride reflect on Astronomy in Africa and explore how this continent has become a global player, if not leader, in this field, and what this means for how the world sees us. They touch on the exciting science being done in Africa; the incredible infrastructure both current and planned; the vibrant and growing network of African astronomers; and the opportunities presented by events like the General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union (IAU), which is to be held for the first time in Africa in 2024.
©The Author/Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf)