I'm an internationally experienced media professional working in digital, broadcast, print and radio. I have a talent for turning complex and technical information into engaging, people-led stories that attract audiences.
My specialties include news and feature reporting on science and development, health, technology and agriculture.
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COVID-19 disruptions to food supply chains have served to highlight a worrying trend: despite efforts to achieve zero hunger by 2030, hundreds of millions of people worldwide do not have enough nutritious food to eat. And while agriculture is increasingly vulnerable to climate extremes, it continues to be a major contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions, deforestation and biodiversity loss.
By: Laura Owings Trade negotiations are dictating access to COVID-19 vaccines, treatments and diagnostics. But will patent waivers increase access to lifesaving medicines in the global South? Laura Owings reports. Eight months ago, South Africa and India proposed a trade-related waiver for COVID-19 vaccines, treatments and diagnostics.
By: Laura Owings [CAPE TOWN] Tokenism, top-down management and inequality still plague African research collaborations with the developed world. In spite of years of talk about collaborative partnerships, African researchers say that they are all too often consigned to the role of field worker or information gatherer despite being leaders in their science.
CAPE TOWN] COVID-19 has presented South Africa with the gravest crisis in the history of its democracy, according to the country's President Cyril Ramaphosa. As South Africa grapples with an already burdened healthcare system, densely populated cities and a stark socio-economic divide, its disease response is under scrutiny.
CAPE TOWN] Fear, isolation and stigma are impacting the mental health of Africans during the COVID-19 pandemic, scientists say.
A report by the World Health Organization shows that people living with HIV have a 30% greater chance of developing severe or fatal Covid-19 than those who do not. It argues that vaccines should be prioritised for HIV-positive individuals. A report by the World Health Organization shows that pe...
Despite increasing use of mobile technologies in African healthcare, key challenges remain, writes Laura Owings. As a community health worker tasked with tracking infant vaccinations in Kenya, Collince Oluoch was overwhelmed by the burdens of the job. He encountered mothers with no record of their children's vaccinations, caregivers who could not remember clinic visits and colleagues who fudged figures.
CAPE TOWN] African technology hubs are challenging the dominance of traditional universities as sources of knowledge production, and are becoming better suited to a fast-paced knowledge economy, a study says.
As the fourth industrial revolution becomes part of our future, the University of Cape Town's (UCT) Dr Joyce Mwangama is leading the way with the development of Africa's first 5G testbed. Most people are familiar with the connectivity that comes with 4G cellular network service: swift loading times while surfing, quick transfer of photos and videos, and cloud computing.
Africa's young agri-entrepreneurs are invigorating agriculture with innovative initiatives, writes Laura Owings. Standing among rows of blooming purple cabbage, Rodgers Kirwa is on his phone - sending a tweet. It is the first of many in the #AgribusinessTalk254 hashtag series he uses to inspire young people about the potential of agri-business.
By: Laura Owings [CAPETOWN] Despite digital technologies in African agriculture being worth US$2.6 billion and reaching over 33 million registered users, its benefits can only be realised if policymakers and developers put farmers first, a report says.
Global trade and monoculture will lead to crop disease pandemics that jeopardise world food systems, experts warn. A healthy wheat crop in Uganda, just weeks from harvest, turns into a tangle of black stems and shrivelled grains.
GENDER & WOMEN'S HEALTH
Rather than using apps to seek health information, 20 per cent of African women use them to please their partners, writes Laura Owings. [CAPETOWN] As Ruth Nabembezi, a 25-year-old social entrepreneur, was growing up in an orphanage in Uganda, she became increasingly frustrated about the lack of sex education for African women.
The feeling of sipping a cold drink, holding the glass in your hand, and the rush of thirst-quenching pleasure, was a visual image offered by Jilata's Grade 11 biology teacher that began a life-long love of neurons.
CAPE TOWN] The low uptake of female condom use in South Africa is due to the reluctance of healthcare workers to endorse it for preventing unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, a study says. The female condom can gain more prominence when healthcare workers overcome the reluctance to endorse use.
Developing countries that have been pushing for stronger ecosystems protections have been armed with a cache of evidence, released in a series of biodiversity report cards that warn the world teeters at a crossroads. Urgent action is needed to protect food systems and health and mitigate climate change, says the United Nation's latest Global Biodiversity Outlook, published today.
Michel Sidibé, executive director of UNAIDS, the agency overseeing the global response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic, will step down from his post in June 2019, the agency announced yesterday (13 December). The move comes after the release of an independent panel report, which identified systematic bullying, abuse and sexual harassment under his watch.
By: Laura Owings [CAPE TOWN] African science and research programmes may be at risk if the partial government shutdown in the US continues, experts working with US partners say. They are saying that funding uncertainties could have long-term impact on the continent's development.