The value of the research emanating from Southern Africa

After the largest gathering of African scholars in the world took place in November (the 63rd Annual Meeting of the African Studies Association attended by about 2000 scholars and professionals), it’s the perfect time to reflect on the richness of research that comes out of Southern Africa. Especially when much of that research addresses two of the UN’s sustainable development goals that are so critical in Africa – good health and wellbeing, and quality education.

Here are just a few examples.

Pioneering work in middle-ear transplants 

Professor Mashudu Tshifularo and his team at the University of Pretoria (UP) Faculty of Health Sciences have pioneered world’s first middle-ear transplant using 3D-printed bones. 

After studying conductive hearing loss for 10 years, Prof. Tshifularo more recently looked to 3D technologies to provide a solution to scan and rebuild damaged areas of the ear that include some of the smallest bones in the human body.

His work may well provide the answer to conductive hearing loss, a middle ear problem caused by congenital birth defects, infection, trauma or metabolic diseases, that up until now was considered to be permanent. By adopting new technology and adapting it to a previously unsolvable problem, Prof. Tshifularo is bringing hope to people across the globe – not just in Africa.

Research proves scaled-up ART use controls TB

Scientists from the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), the KwaZulu-Natal Research Innovation & Sequencing Platform (KRISP) and the Africa Health Research Institute (AHRI) have used data from one of the world’s largest longitudinal population health surveillance systems to investigate tuberculosis (TB) in a high-HIV-prevalence, rural, South African community and to quantify the impact of community-ART-coverage scale-up on recently diagnosed TB cases.

Proving that scaling up antiretroviral therapy coverage will reduce cases of TB, this study provides key information that will guide policymakers on the scale-up of ART in HIV hyperendemic sub-Saharan African communities. This will, ultimately, aid in the control of TB – the world’s most deadly infectious disease. 

Groundbreaking research in teaching and learning

​Dr Valentin Uwizeyimana, the first student from Rwanda in the Graduate School of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at Stellenbosch University, conducted groundbreaking research on using mobile technologies in foreign-language learning.

His research is importance, not only because it promotes the use of devices and applications that are already popular in Africa for English language learning, but also because the learning model he has developed can be applied to different languages and countries around the world.

Dr Uwizeyimana’s research made use of a multitude of apps with the purpose of improving the language learners’ overall proficiency – all without the direct involvement of language teachers. This research will offer a solution to the challenge that learners face when the target language is a foreign language, or a language not really spoken in their communities.

Access to valuable research

For over 3 decades, Sabinet has collected and disseminated quality Southern African information to researchers and scholars across the globe. This has enabled researchers, like these singled out above, to access the information necessary to drive their inspired thinking and to give the world access to their inspired work.

Sabinet African Journals is home to over 500 African electronic journals, from 217 African publishers and includes subject collections on medicine and health, education, business and finance, labour, law, religion, science and technology, and agriculture. Visit www.journals.co.za for more information.