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News from Africa

Regional News from Stanford University - Africa

News Item How Toilets Affect Child Health

Roughly one out of four people worldwide has no access to a toilet. A program underway in 50 countries could provide a solution, by motivating communities to build latrines and stop open defecation. The approach increases access to – and use of – sanitation facilities, according to a study co-authored by a Stanford researcher.

Among the promising results of the effort, the researchers found that the practices improved child growth in the communities.

News Item Rare African genes might reduce risks to pregnant women and their infants

When Hugo Hilton began working at Stanford as a young researcher several years ago, his supervisor set him to work on a minor problem so he could practice some standard lab techniques. His results, however, were anything but standard. His supervisor — senior research scientist Paul Norman — told him to do the work over, convinced the new guy had made a mistake. But Hilton, got the same result the second time, so Norman made him do it over again.

News Item A Natural Solution to Spread of Deadly Disease

A deadly disease may have met its match: a bug-eyed, pint-sized crustacean.

A Stanford-led study in Senegal, West Africa finds that freshwater prawns can serve as an effective natural solution in the battle against schistosomiasis, a potentially deadly parasitic disease that infects about 230 million people. The prawns prey on parasite-infected snails, while providing a source of marketable protein-rich food. Because prawns cannot support schistosomiasis’ complex lifecycle, they do not transmit the disease themselves.