Leading Scientists unite in a March for Science in Durban
The University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), the Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA), the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC), Maternal, Adolescent and Child Health (MatCH) Research and the Africa Health Research Institute (AHRI) have joined forces in solidarity to highlight the critical importance of sustained and strategic support by governments and funding agencies to advance and promote scientific research and innovation.
“South Africa and indeed scientists from Durban, KwaZulu-Natal have made remarkable contributions in all spheres of science that has contributed to discoveries and improving and saving lives on the African continent and globally,” explained Professor Quarraisha Abdool Karim, Associate Scientific Director of CAPRISA. “We all benefit in some way or the other in the products of science, innovation and technology, but don’t often stop to reflect on how these come to be in society and what innovation and discovery led to it.”
The march in Durban forms part of an International March for Science aimed to increase public awareness of the importance of science in addressing the many challenges like climate change, food security, opportunistic diseases, life threatening epidemics and the biomedical and basic sciences. “Investing in research and development is about investing in the citizens of our country. Science changes lives, shifts paradigms of thought and promotes innovative economic progress”, says Professor Glenda Gray, President of the SAMRC.
Globally the event is being celebrated on Saturday 22nd April. “The marches that are happening worldwide not only makes a powerful statement regarding the value of scientists and scientific research, but it also provides an opportunity to unite researchers globally in promoting the intrinsic value of evidence based policy making and decision making to improve the lives of all people, says Dr Albert van Jaarsveld, Vice-Chancellor UKZN.
“It is essential that scientific knowledge underpins decisions on government policy,” said Professor Deenan Pillay Director of AHRI, “to lead to the long term well-being of our people.”
The march will begin in front of the Durban City Hall at 10:00 and will proceed to the Gugu Dlamini Park. The scientists will assemble at the Gugu Dlamini Park for about an hour display interactive exhibits from the various scientific disciplines.
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