Stem cell offers a promise to reduce Africa’s disease burden

Participants at the Stem Cell Science and Applications Workshop

Non communicable diseases (NCDs) in Africa are predicted to overtake communicable, maternal and perinatal diseases as the leading cause of death by 2030.

NCDs account for 23 percent of the disease burden on the continent, contributing to a rise in medical costs and impact on human development.

As such, investing time and money on stem cell research to address diseases, which will have a huge economic burden on Africa is essential to ensure economic and social development of the continent.

This is the message of the Stem Cell Sciences and Application Report published today by the African Academy of Sciences and the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study.

The report, published ahead of World Cancer Day on 4 February, was compiled after a workshop on stem cell sciences held in South Africa in 2016.


It details the potential use and current stem cell research being undertaken in Africa together with challenges facing stem cell scientists and solutions for how to overcome them.

Africa faces a challenge of infrastructure and skills gap in stem cell science. By organising the workshop, AAS and STIAS sought to provide training for young researchers to build capacity in the field and to create a platform for scientists to network and share resources.

Stem Science and Applications Report