Microbial and parasitic diseases are a dramatic public health problem in tropical countries. Therefore, strategies for improving the health status of the population in a sustainable and affordable way are of prominent importance for economic development. Synthetic drugs are usually not affordable by a large percentage of the population. Medicinal plants are used locally to combat these diseases and some of them have so far been subject of investigation in different African research groups. However, due to lack of network coordination, instrumental facilities, and specific training, most of the investigations have often been limited to preliminary screening or determination of the chemical composition. This eventually has not lead to the formulation of phytomedicine. Considering the fact that many African countries are planning their economic emergence around 2030 they, hence, will need healthy human resources. Therefore, the improvement of the training of doctoral candidates to become specialized experts and academic lecturers with broad knowledge of ethnobotany, phytochemistry, analysis, as well as the development of drugs for therapy of parasitic and bacterial diseases based on ethnopharmaceutical principles is urgently needed. The Yaoundé–Bielefeld Bilateral Graduate School Natural Products with Antiparasite and Antibacterial Activity (YaBiNaPA) has the mission to overcome this problem by educating MSc and PhD students in an interdisciplinary and translational way and also to create a scientific communication platform between biologists, chemists, pharmacologists, the public, and traditional healers.
Mission and Impact of the Yaoundé - Bielefeld Bilateral Graduate School
The Yaoundé - Bielefeld Bilateral Graduate School Natural Products with Antiparasite and Antibacterial Activity (YaBiNaPA) intends to exert impact in three dimensions:
- Improvement of Graduate Education: The network of scientists involved, together with improved technical resources and access to modern research technology will provide the members of the Graduate School with a broad scope of timely disciplinary and interdisciplinary skills.
- Sustainability and translational research: The combination of the disciplines in relationship to potential application of natural products as isolated compounds or standardized extract preparations for therapeutic applications will confer the idea of translational research to the members of the Graduate School. The necessity of sustainable supply of plant derived natural products or extracts will be especially considered.
- Improvement of quality of life: The joint research effort of the scientists from different disciplines is expected to lead to a progress in the therapy of parasitic or microbial diseases. Microbial infections and especially diseases like malaria and leishmaniasis require treatment affordable by the poorer population.