Medics warned to observe African etiquette

November 14, 1997

MEDICAL researchers studying third world diseases must learn political skills or face possible exclusion from some African countries, a leading British parasitologist has warned.

Hilary Hurd, director of Keele University's Centre for Applied Entomology and Parasitology, said that researchers' ignorance of political structures, culture and customs could jeopardise field study projects. "Africa has a different way of doing things. Life proceeds at a gentler pace and there is an etiquette to be observed. Some scientists have been known to rush in and that approach upsets people and puts obstacles in your way." Dr Hurd and her team are investigating the mosquito parasite that causes cerebral malaria and is estimated to kill 5,000 children every day across the world. Their work, which requires intensive field studies, is aimed at developing a new type of mosquito control programme.

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