The solution to the problems confronting Africa requires effective collaboration of a multi-disciplinary science where all scientific areas are properly integrated.
Dr Gaston Kuzumunu Mazandu, International Development Research Centre (IDRC) Research Chair at the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS), Ghana and South Africa has said.
Dr Mazandu, who was speaking at the opening of the Introduction to Genomics Big Data Sciences (GBDS) workshop at Biriwa in the Central Region, noted that African problems kept compounding because specialists continued to work independently.
The five-day workshop is being organised by AIMS-Ghana in collaboration with the H3AbioNet, a Pan Africa Bioinformatics Network for human, heredity and health in Africa.
It is being attended by 35 participants from nine African countries including Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania, Mali, Cameroon, Gambia, Burkina Faso, DR Congo and Benin.
They are made up of biologists, biochemists, statisticians and mathematicians.
The workshop is focusing on integrating basic statistical concepts relevant to population genetics to build foundational knowledge for ancestry inference and genetics disease mapping.
It would provide an introduction to biostatistics and Genomics big data manipulation, covering the basic concepts in biostatistics, including statistical tests, and concept of genomics data and its applications.
Dr Mazandu said the aim of the workshop was to bring young African scientists who were into research together to share ideas and to collectively find solutions to African problems.
He said “people are working independently and we are not making progress. We are facing the problems because we are not collaborating. I believe if there are collaboration we could make progress in science”.
Dr Mazandu said participants would be taken through Manipulating Data with R Data Visualization with R, Estimating Parameters using R, introduction to Genomics data and statistical Genomics.
Others are Genomics Data Manipulation in R, Principles of Genetic Ancestry Inference and Disease Mapping Genes, Hypothesis Testing Framework, Linear Regression using Genomics Data and Association Tests in Genomics.
Dr. Emile Chimusa, Human Genetics Division, Department of Pathology, University of Cape Town, South Africa, said the workshop sought to train multi-disciplinary African scientists in the area of bioinformatics and genomics to understand how to analyse large scale DNA data and how to design modules to solve the burden of diseases in Africa.
He said Bioinformatics and Genomics were new technologies that could help eradicate diseases in Africa, allow young Africa researchers to become entrepreneurs, hence Governments must show interest and support.
Dr Chimusa said there was the need for African Governments and companies to contribute to the training of Africans in the area of bioinformatics and genomics because it had enormous benefits for the continent.