Malawian animal scientist Dr Mizeck Chagunda has put the country on the map after being elected into the first German Alliance for Global Health Research steering committee.
The German Alliance for Global Health Research seeks to support interdisciplinary, international and cross-sectoral research on global health issues in and outside Germany.
Chagunda, a professor and chairperson of Animal Breeding and Husbandry at the University of Honenheim in Germany, was elected into the 19-member steering committee ahead of the “Kick-off ” General Assembly last month.
Asked immediately after his election what his expertise in animal breeding and genetics had to do with global health, he said his profile would greatly benefit mankind in his new role.
Chagunda said: “Yes, there is a link. Think of the contribution of the changing food system, more specifically livestock genetic improvement, to human health.
“On the other hand, we can look at the contribution of livestock genetic improvement programmes and social set-up to zoonotic disease transmission and control. In fact, a relationship exists between promotion of animal welfare and community mental health welfare.”
In view of the global coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, the meeting was held online with more than 100 of the 300 members attending, according to a statement released
by the alliance.
Reads part of the statement: “The results of the elections were announced during the general assembly. The elections were also conducted online using a very elegant system which involved sending a username and password to each voter by email prior to voting.
“Once a vote was submitted, the link automatically locked out—really good innovation given the rise of the digital world in the face of lockdowns.”
Reacting to the news, Catholic University scholar Loveness Imaan described the development as a boost to the aspirations of Malawi’s budding scientists.
She said: “Yes, that is huge; I mean, for a Malawian to be recognised that high out there speaks volumes of what gems this country can produce in the sciences. As a fellow scientist, I cannot be more proud. He has been my mentor and to countless others here. It can do, therefore, the country a lot of proud if this country can produce more of his calibre.”
Chagunda has 97 science publications to his credit.
His first of the series in 1998 was titled Evaluation of the Artificial Insemination Programme for Small-scale Dairy Farms in Malawi.