Researcher calls for donations of laboratory equipment for Africa

Many campuses on continent lack basic scientific tools

January 19, 2020

A neuroscience research fellow at the University of Sussex is gathering donations of laboratory equipment for his home university in Nigeria.

Mahmoud Maina, who is also outreach director for the higher education charity Trend in Africa (Teaching and Research in Neuroscience for Development) is calling for donations of unwanted but functional science equipment to equip a lap at Yobe State University.

Dr Maina said that most universities in Africa “do not have the basic equipment needed for research. This affects the training of scientists, the type of research questions asked by researchers, and consequently the quality of their research.

“The lack of science equipment also partly contributes to the migration of many highly motivated and well-trained scientists to developed countries where they have the resources to perform better, but many never come back,” he said.

Dr Maina hopes to establish a fully-functioning, solar-powered laboratory for bioscience research, with a wish list ranging from a pH meter to more complex equipment such as a confocal microscope. Donations already received include dissecting microscopes, PCR machines and a qPCR machine.

Raouf Issa, also a research fellow in Sussex Neuroscience and an instructor for Trend in Africa, said that during his teaching he has been shocked by the lack of resources.

“It’s striking to see that many lecturers or researchers have never used a pipette or paraffin in their experiments,” he said.

Dr Issa said that they hoped Yobe State University would act as a hub for researchers from neighbouring institutions, and even further afield, attracting scientists from other states and countries to come to use the equipment for their research.

“I want to help support, train and inspire the next generation of scientists – but they need equipment first,” Dr Maina said.

They hope to ship the items over the next two months, aiming to establish the lab in August 2020.

To donate, contact Dr Maina at mb369@sussex.ac.uk.

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