Partnerships in higher education are advancing the fight against maternal deaths in Africa.
Stellenbosch partners with UN to cut deaths
Stellenbosch University has been named an implementing partner of the United Nations Population Fund in its campaign to reduce maternal deaths in Africa.
Stellenbosch’s Africa Centre for HIV and Aids Management will spearhead the university’s contribution to a two-year project in 46 countries on the continent, sourcing and providing research and analysis, management training, capacity development and policy advocacy in support of the fund’s African regional programme.
Centre director Professor Jan du Toit said it was the first time a UN organisation had signed a letter of agreement with an African university.
“Africa has the highest maternal mortality rate in the world — on average, more than 500 per 100 000 live births,” said the programme’s director, Bunmi Makinwa, when the agreement was signed earlier this month. “For the past three years, we have been implementing a focused programme and we are seeing a reduction, but it is still too high.
“In countries like South Sudan, Sierra Leone and Niger, the rate is more than 1 000 per 100 000. We would like it to come down to the figure in Mauritius, which is two, or Cape Verde, which is six. This agreement with Stellenbosch University will help us move in that direction.” — M&G Reporter
Walter Sisulu University teams up with Czechs
Walter Sisulu University and the Czech Republic’s Mendel University have signed a memorandum of understanding in East London, according to which they have agreed to share knowledge and curricula, particularly in the fields of agriculture and development.
“The partnership with Mendel University was pursued owing to their expertise in agriculture and developmental studies,” said Angela Church, spokesperson for the Walter Sisulu University. “The sharing of knowledge, curricula and research will benefit both institutions and, in particular, assist WSU with its work in establishing a faculty of agriculture and rural development.
“WSU’s Centre for Rural Development is processing a proposal to establish the new faculty and Mendel is already well established in this area,” she said.
The universities aim to exchange staff and students to promote study and research, to exchange academic material, such as scientific publications, and to exchange information on curricula. The partnership will include participation in scientific discussions, visits and conferences to assist the development and activities of specialised research areas in both institutions. — Andile Nayika