A lot of water has flowed under the bridge since our last newsletter!
WAVE was invited to attend the latest annual Grand Challenges Meeting in Berlin by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. And what a meeting it was! We were privileged to take part in this forum of the world’s most important scientific leaders, who had gathered to share cutting-edge research and find solutions for ending poverty and disease.
Dr. Angela Eni, a WAVE country team leader from Covenant University in Nigeria, was a spotlight speaker at this meeting. She presented the program’s work to a captivated audience.
Dr. Justin Pita, WAVE’s Executive Director, also had the opportunity to meet with Mr. Bill Gates to explain the impact of our work and how our strategy is strengthened by local leadership.
In late November, all WAVE country team leaders mobilized their respective governments, relevant NGOs, and research centers by organizing national workshops to draft response action plans for the fight against the threat of cassava viral diseases. These plans, endorsed by the Ministers of Agriculture, will be implemented by Emergency Operations Centers in all WAVE countries and beyond.
As you will notice in this second issue of The WAVE, it has been a busy few months since our Cotonou Conference in June, where we pleaded for more action from our African governments. We are happy progress has been made. There’s still a lot to do, but we want to take a moment to share our achievements with you.
We are excited at the prospect of 2019 and look forward to taking on more challenges and reaching new milestones in the fight against cassava viral diseases and food insecurity. We know this cannot be achieved without the united efforts of all stakeholders and our wish for this new year is for more collaboration.
We wish you and your loved ones a happy and exciting New Year!
The West African Virus Epidemiology (WAVE) project was centre stage at the recently concluded Grand Challenges Meeting in Berlin, Germany. This annual meeting hosts some of the world’s greatest minds, who share their work with the rest of the scientific community. Dr. Angela Eni, WAVE-Covenant University team leader, was invited to give a plenary spotlight talk. Key plenary session speakers at the 2018 Grand Challenges Meeting were Bill Gates, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, and Director General of WHO, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, among other notable persons.
Representing the crops research group, Angela gave a talk on the viral disease threats to one of Africa’s most important food crops, cassava. She opened by showing how cassava is particularly suited to meeting dietary needs in Africa, as it is affordable, easy to grow, and can be processed into a variety of foods. She went on to explain that cassava production is currently threatened by cassava mosaic disease (CMD) and other viral diseases, such as cassava brown streak disease (CBSD), noting that CBSD is endemic to East Africa and is spreading westward. She emphasized that a concerted effort was needed to forestall the devastating effects that could ensue. She closed by highlighting some of the achievements of the WAVE project in controlling cassava viral diseases through disease mapping, stakeholder involvement, and farmer education.