Public Health Emergencies: The Role of Science Education and Communication in Africa
Public health emergencies and pandemics continue to impact disproportionately on the African populace, with increasing outbreaks of Emerging Infectious Diseases (EID’s) forecast to be an additional burden to the health care systems across the continent.
The acute vulnerabilities of Africans in this regard, is in no small measure directly attributable to the marginalised state of science communication and the public learning and understanding of science (PLUS) – policy, practice and capacity-building on the continent. In addition, the parlous state of science education on the continent creates an imperative for African scientists, researchers and academics, to engage in advancing societal scientific literacy, and thus, to empower African citizens with the scientific knowledge that will transform the quality of their lives and well-being.
This chapter outlines the challenges of science communication and PLUS in Africa, and the vision, mission and strategies of African Gong: the Pan-African Network for the Popularization of Science & Technology and Science Communication, in concert with African stakeholder partners such as GET, to upscale, mobilise resources for, and deliver a transformed, multi-disciplinary, inclusive and empowering African–centric science communication, engagement and outreach platform for the continent’s citizens.
It further highlights the Science Communication & PLUS Faculty Consensus statement and key outcome document from the 2nd African Conference on EID and Biosecurity, which took place in Lagos, Nigeria, in July 2016. This is the ground-breaking Lagos Declaration and Call to Action on Science Communication and PLUS in Africa, which is the first of its kind on the continent.
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