Africa: Tracking Killers and Healers - a Research and Reporting Collaboration

October 8, 2012

"Over the past several weeks, AllAfrica's crack investigative team has documented scientists acting strangely. At summits, symposia and scholarly consultations – and in exclusive interviews - researchers have abandoned caveats and qualifications to make bold assertions and appeals for action. On three topics – maternal mortality, malaria and hunger – researchers are brandishing their results and taking stands. In each sector, they're saying that this is a magic moment, and they are demanding investments in innovative interventions they say will save lives, reduce poverty and promote economic development. We decided to probe the hidden stories behind this odd behavior. Dr. Stephen Spratt of the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) in the UK, is the lead author of an Action Against Hunger report on under-nutrition. Just before the report's launch at the British Parliament this month, I put it to him that financial analysts normally ring their pronouncements with qualifications and caveats. Why wasn't he? His answer: the data has driven him to become a sort of nutrition evangelist. Malaria experts and specialists on women's health respond similarly."