06 Nov 2016


Director's Message

Sub-Saharan Africa averages 1.15 health workers for every 1,000 of its citizens. A severe shortage of nurses and midwives means that over two-thirds of women in Africa have no contact with health personnel following childbirth. Therefore, Africa accounts for more than half of the world's maternal and child deaths.  In general, most African countries, north and south of the Sahara,  have understaffed or inadequately staffed hospitals and clinics,  as almost all these institutions find it difficult to employ enough trained medical staff to cope with the number of people needing care, while many of our doctors and nurses live and practice abroad.

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In This Issue

This year's Nobel Laureate discovered and elucidated mechanisms underlying autophagy, a fundamental process for degrading and recycling cellular components.  

The word autophagy originates from the Greek words auto-, meaning "self", and phagein, meaning "to eat". Thus, autophagy denotes "self-eating". This concept emerged during the 1960's, when researchers first observed that the cell could destroy its own contents by enclosing it in membranes, forming sack-like vesicles that were transported to a recycling compartment, called the lysosome, for degradation. Difficulties in studying the phenomenon meant that little was known until, in a series of brilliant experiments in the early 1990's, Yoshinori Ohsumi used baker's yeast to identify genes essential for autophagy. He then went on to elucidate the underlying mechanisms for autophagy in yeast and showed that similar sophisticated machinery is used in our cells.

Click Here to learn more about “Yoshinori Ohsumi’s discovery”.

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