Expertise to save lives in Africa
7 August 2014
Expertise provided by Cardiff University will be used to help save lives in an African country desperately lacking skilled medical staff, as part of a wide-ranging partnership.
Cardiff will work with the University of Namibia to share knowledge, training and resources.
The project is expected to include everything from training medical staff and improving communications, to strengthening local languages and increasing maths skills among students.
Professor Judith Hall, who is leading the project, said it was an attempt to do "something good at an international development level".
It aims to improve education in Namibia and Wales, and help deliver some of the UN's Millennium Development Goals, specifically reducing child mortality, improving maternal health and combating HIV/Aids and other diseases.
Professor Hall said: "Why do women die in childbirth? Why do children die? Children die from infectious diseases but you can do something about that, you can get a sugar cube for polio and so on.
"The Millennium Development Goal to reduce child mortality is improving but for maternal mortality in Namibia, it's getting worse.
"The fifth Millennium Development Goal, improving maternal health, can be improved by education and infrastructure."
The variety of projects – which broadly cover health, communications and science - particularly appeals to Professor Hall, who says a wide range of Cardiff University expertise will be involved.
Under the science side, there are plans for maths to play a role with Cardiff working with the University of Namibia to produce more graduates with mathematics qualifications.
"You can't have a good water engineer who doesn't do maths," said Professor Hall.
Cardiff University students will also be able to take part with the opportunity of placements in Namibia to benefit both their education and the project.
The University is working towards getting 17% of students to spend at least four weeks abroad during their degree.
Professor Hall has just returned from Namibia where a "memorandum of understanding" was signed between the two universities.
It is a key part of Cardiff University's Phoenix Project, which aims to share learning and development between Cardiff and one or two sub Saharan African universities.
The Phoenix Project is one of Cardiff University's five flagship engagement schemes which focus on social and educational inclusion and health in Cardiff, Wales and beyond.
The University is working hand-in-hand with the communities involved as well as in partnership with local authorities and the Welsh Government.
The others include participating in the development of the Cardiff Capital Region, boosting community journalism and forging closer links between the University and communities to improve, for example, health.