Biomedical engineers from across Africa are collaborating to build medical devices

Biomedical engineering can save lives. It draws on and integrates knowledge from disciplines like engineering, computer science, biomedical sciences, and public health as well as clinical practice. This knowledge is combined to improve health—often through the design of medical devices for diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation.

Most of Africa’s medical equipment is imported. “Equipment graveyards” become the final resting place for medical devices that aren’t suited to local conditions. This can include dust, heat, humidity and an intermittent supply of electricity. Some machines are discarded because hospital and clinic staff haven’t been trained to operate them or because replacement parts are not available when they’ve broken.

African countries need to start producing and developing their own medical devices. A cadre of suitably skilled biomedical engineers is needed for this sort of innovation to take root. That’s what prompted a number of African universities to establish the African Biomedical Engineering Consortium. We advance education and research in biomedical engineering across the continent.

Skills development

We know that biomedical engineers alone won’t suddenly make Africa a world leader in medical device innovation. Other elements are needed—like well-equipped laboratories that enable experimentation and prototyping. Funding to support the translation and scaling of prototypes is another. Manufacturing infrastructure is important. So are regulations to ensure equipment safety and structures to oversee intellectual property management.

But the consortium’s focus is on producing people to bring innovation to life. Now five years old, it brings together established and emerging biomedical engineering programs at African universities to develop the continent’s capacity for innovation in health technology. The network has grown stronger as more member institutions have introduced degree programds in biomedical engineering.

Now some members of the consortium have turned their attention to a more focused transfer of skills and knowledge across participating universities. This is being done with the aid of funding from the European Commission.

We’ve launched a capacity-building project to support the training of postgraduate students. Six African universities are involved. These are Addis Ababa University; Cairo University; Kenyatta University; Uganda’s Mbarara University of Science and Technology; the University of Cape Town (UCT); and the University of Lagos. Italy’s University of Pisa is also participating.

The first round of applications has just been concluded. Our postgraduates will be drawn from the six participating African universities as well as others on the continent. Each student will receive a full scholarship to cover tuition, travel and living expenses. This will support training for Master’s and PhD candidates at partner institutions outside their home countries over a five-year period.

The initiative particularly focuses on building skills that address African needs by engaging students in projects that arise from local realities. Examples include:

  • Creating prosthetic limbs for landmine victims
  • Using mobile phones, along with custom-built applications, as diagnostic tools in remote areas.
  • Eliminating the need for expensive imaging equipment that’s not always readily available, by developing software that enables 3D visualisation of the anatomy from ubiquitous X-ray images.

We’ll start training the first cohort of students in 2018.

Building the academic base

But training emerging scholars isn’t enough. Africa needs more academics who can navigate the interdisciplinary environment needed to develop technological solutions to health problems.

That’s why the project also supports academics who want to improve their skills. They can travel between African partner universities to develop their research and training capacity. An academic from a new biomedical engineering programme in Uganda, for instance, could work with colleagues at UCT, then share teaching approaches back home. Or a lecturer from Cairo could spend time in Lagos teaching and sharing research methods.

This is also a good way for universities to harmonise their biomedical engineering curricula and benchmark them against those of partner universities. And it’s a way to promote the sharing of scarce resources.

The ConversationThis article is based on a piece which appeared in the South African Journal of Science.

Tania Douglas, Professor & Research Chair – Biomedical Engineering & Innovation, University of Cape Town

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

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Article originally posted by qz.

Alec Baldwin Calls Out Hypocrisy Of Fox News Attacking Harvey Weinstein

Alec Baldwin is frustrated at Fox News.

Specifically, the Donald Trump-impersonating “Saturday Night Live” star is annoyed that Fox News is attacking Harvey Weinstein over sexual harassment allegations after the conservative network covered up harassment within its own ranks by former Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes and former host Bill O’Reilly.

“Fox commentators think the worst should come down on Weinstein and his company,” Baldwin tweeted on Saturday. “Ailes is dead. But O’Reilly’s alive. So…?”

Shortly before that tweet, Baldwin retweeted Think Progress reporter Judd Legum’s message calling out a particular statement by Fox News analyst Gregg Jarrett.

“The Weinstein Company should shut its doors,” Jarrett had said on Fox News.

“Oh, so companies with pervasive sexual harassment issues at the leadership level should shut down?” Legum said in the tweet shared by Baldwin. “Interesting idea.”

Fox News and O’Reilly paid $13 million to five women to try to cover up the sexual harassment allegations made against the former host of “The O’Reilly Factor.” The network fired O’Reilly earlier this year and chose Tucker Carlson to replace him.

In 2006, Carlson said that Democrats made up the idea of sexual harassment: “This is a group that made up the concept of sexual harassment. ‘You look great today.’ ‘Boom, I‘m charging you with a crime.’”

21st Century Fox has had to pay over $50 million to settle harassment claims against the network.

Baldwin, of course, doesn’t have a sterling reputation when it comes to his treatment of women either, although not in the same way. His divorce from Kim Basinger was particularly acrimonious, but Basinger says the two are “cool now.” In 2007, he infamously left a voicemail to his 11-year-old daughter, Ireland, calling her a “rude little pig.” Baldwin has expressed much regret about that voicemail over the last decade, and his daughter now publicly jokes about it with him.

“It’s a scab that never heals, ’cause it’s being picked at all the time by other people,” Baldwin said on “Good Morning America” earlier this year. “My daughter, that’s hurt her in a permanent way.”

As a longtime and prominent member of Hollywood, Baldwin has had interactions with Weinstein in the past.

In 2012, Alec Baldwin reportedly spent a night at the Cannes Film Festival telling multiple people at a party that Weinstein was a “douche bag.” The reported reason for the name-calling at the time was because Weinstein wouldn’t fund a project.

This month, several media outlets have published horrifying reports of sexual harassment allegations waged against Weinstein. The list of women accusing Weinstein of assault and harassment has continued to grow throughout the week.

Transgender Teen Ousted By School Is Crowned Homecoming King

A 17-year-old boy who says he was kicked out of his former Christian high school for being transgender is turning the other cheek ― and adjusting his crown ― after being named homecoming king at his new school.

Stiles Zuschlag was bestowed the social accolade at Noble High School’s homecoming game in North Berwick, Maine, on Friday night, just one month after beginning his senior year at the public school.

“This experience feels like a dream. It’s something I never thought could have happened to me,” he told HuffPost by email on Sunday.

The Cinderella moment followed Zuschlag making national news last week after he was told that he was no longer welcome at Tri-City Christian Academy in Somersworth, New Hampshire ― roughly seven miles southwest of Noble High. It followed him transitioning from female to male in 2015, he told the Seacoast Online at the time.

Zuschlag, who said he had a 3.89 GPA and aspired to be valedictorian, said he went to speak with a school administrator in August about being identified as a male but was instead given an ultimatum. He had to confess his sins, stop taking testosterone treatments and receive Christian counseling or find a new school.

The school administrator, reached for comment by Seacoast Online, declined to speak about Zuschlag’s case citing privacy issues. A request for comment from the school by HuffPost was not immediately returned.

Though the idea of attending a new school “terrified” him, he enrolled at Noble High and made a number of new friends, adding to a few that he already knew.

Administrators at Noble High School, reached by Portland station WCSH-6, said Zuschlag is not their first transgender student.

“We want all students to feel like they belong here at Noble High School,” the school’s director of counseling, Nancy Simard, told the station. “That’s a small thing we can do to help them feel like they’re a part of the community.”

That welcoming feeling apparently wasn’t lost on Zuschlag.

Within the first few weeks of school, Zuschlag said an email began circulating seeking nominees for homecoming king and queen and he decided to pursue it, initially “as a joke.”

“I asked on Snapchat as a joke to put me in and people actually did it. I didn’t really expect them to. I still can’t believe they did that for me,” he said.

His surprise was only magnified when he showed up to the game and won.

“After I won at the homecoming game, I almost started crying. My friends all put me in, people I didn’t even know put me in, everyone voted for me on the final ballot,” he said.

I almost started crying. My friends all put me in, people I didn’t even know put me in, everyone voted for me on the final ballot.”

Today, as painful of an experience as this has been, he sees his removal from the New Hampshire school as a blessing from God ― one that he hopes will raise awareness and inspire others.

“I’ve been degraded so much in the past, I’ve conformed to other people’s beliefs and standards just to make them happy and comfortable. I’ve put myself in situations really hurtful to my mental health just to keep peace,” he told HuffPost.

“God forced me out of that situation, that school, knowing that my mental health was far more important than my education. The only reason I stayed at the school for so long was for my education, for my GPA, and to just learn about God. But I was also dying there mentally and I suffered a lot,” he said. “God took me away from that to help me be a better person, to breathe again, to be happy again. I’m so grateful He did that for me.”

Dove ‘Regrets’ Soap Ad Showing Black Woman Turning Into White Woman

Dove has removed a Facebook ad that sparked outrage over the weekend for showcasing its body wash alongside a black woman who was shown pulling off her brown T-shirt to reveal a white woman wearing an ivory T-shirt.

Screenshots of the ad went viral on social media after makeup artist and model Naomi Leann Blake posted them to her Facebook page on Friday.

As the ad continued, the white woman then took off her shirt and revealed a third woman, shown below.

On Sunday, the Unilever-owned beauty brand posted statements on Twitter and Facebook saying the ad “missed the mark in representing women of color thoughtfully.”

The official response did little to stem the outrage against the brand, which has come under fire in the past for using racially-insensitive advertising despite marketing itself as a beauty company that celebrates diversity.

Critics, including film producer Tariq Nasheed and historian Francois Soyer, were also quick to point out the history of racist soap advertisements used to sell cleansing products.

Many critics also wondered about the diversity of employees working at Dove: