The recently released report by the UN High Level Panel on Access to Medicines provides several recommendations for making publicly-funded research more widely available, calling for universities and research institutions that receive public funding to prioritise public health objectives over financial returns in their patenting and licensing practices. This, of course, is particularly interesting against the backdrop of South Africa’s legislative mandate to commercialise the output of publicly-financed research and development activities, as stipulated in the country’s legislation.
Scholars shared experiences of the challenges they faced when trying to study the policies of their countries. Scholars from Botswana, for instance, spoke of how difficult it was to access information held by the state and to interview public officials. In Uganda, on the other hand, scholars had no problem accessing the policy, but found that it was poorly, if rarely, executed.
What needs to be done to achieve an enabling policy environment and the necessary technical infrastructure and professional skills in Southern Africa to foster the effective communication and publication of African scholarship? What benefits would accrue from more effective communication of the scholarship in the region? What would the region gain?
Sawtna has announced the publication of its Guidebook for the Strategic Use of New Media for Peaceful Social Change, authored by Dalia Haj-Omar. This is a practical guide promoting the strategic use of social media and other information and communication technologies (ICTs) for advocacy and peaceful change in Sudan and beyond.