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Current Awareness 2023: July

Keeping you up to date with news and events in South Africa

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What is current awareness

Current awareness is the term used to describe staying informed by keeping up to date with the latest publications, research and news in your field.

The perspective of current awareness is the present and the forthcoming, as opposed to the retrospective. 

Current awareness ranges from looking for information on specific topics on a regular basis (and this usually involves the assistance of your Personal Librarian to help you set up a search profile matched to your research interests) to embracing a wider, more general, and cross-disciplinary view that brings an element of serendipity into your search for the latest information.

Informally, researchers remain alert in all contexts for useful information and insights that will inform their daily practice, their research, and spark off innovative and creative ideas for new avenues of research.

Website of the month

DKMS Africa is an international nonprofit organisation dedicated to the fight against blood cancer and blood disorders.

It was formed in 1999 to create awareness of the need of donors. It was formed by parents whose children had contracted leukaemia, and in some cases had lost their battle against it.

Their mission is to create awareness about blood stem cell donation and to maintain a global registry of donors who are representative of the world’s diversity and ethnic background. Their goal is to recruit an ethnically diverse registry of donors committed to helping anyone in need of a life-saving transplant.

Database of the month

Unisa Open

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The following sites on Unisa Open contains useful information for Unisa staff.

About the monthly awareness page

The year is marked with many special days, weeks, and months dedicated and devoted to raising awareness about important issues.

This monthly post, compiled by the Information Search Librarians Team, will note special dates and themes, and draw your attention to possibly interesting cross-disciplinary topical references intended to inform and to inspire ideas for research.

Selected noteworthy days in July

Nelson Mandela Month

1-31 July 

In July, South Africa celebrates former President Nelson Mandela's birthday. 18 July has been declared Nelson Mandela International Day, but as South Africans we embrace the chance to  celebrate Nelson Mandela’s life for the whole of July. This gives everyone the opportunity to heed the call to action for people to recognise their individual power to make an imprint and change the world around them.

Find areas where you can volunteer your services on the Nelson Mandela Day website

Nelson Mandela Day Goals 2019-2029:

  • Education and Literacy
  • Food and Nutrition
  • Shelter
  • Sanitation
  • Active Citizenship 


World Population Day

11 Jul

An outgrowth of the day of five billion celebrated on 11 July 1987, World Population Day seeks to focus attention on the urgency and importance of population issues, particularly in the context of overall development plans and programmes, and the need to find solutions for these issues.

To track the world population, visit


Bone Marrow Stem Cell Donation and Leukaemia Awareness Month

15 July - 15 Aug

Leukaemia is a group of bone marrow diseases involving an uncontrolled increase in white blood cells (leukocytes). There is around a 30% chance of a sibling being a bone marrow match, meaning that there is a 70% chance that someone will need a transplant from a non-related donor. Each year, 35 people in every million learn that they have leukaemia of whom five will be children.

As opposed to a few different blood types, there are millions of different types of cell tissue. The success of a patient’s transplant depends on finding a match, otherwise their body will reject it.

DKMS Africa(link is external) was formed in 1999 to create awareness for the need of donors. It was formed by parents whose children had contracted leukaemia, and in some cases had lost their battle against it.


World Hepatitis Day

28 July 

World Hepatitis Day is marked to increase the awareness and understanding of viral hepatitis and the diseases that it causes. It provides an opportunity to focus on specific actions such as:

  • strengthening prevention, screening and control of viral hepatitis and its related diseases
  • increasing hepatitis B vaccine coverage and integration into national immunisation programmes
  • coordinating a global response to hepatitis.

Hepatitis viruses A, B, C, D and E can cause acute and chronic infection and inflammation of the liver leading to cirrhosis and liver cancer. These viruses constitute a major global health risk.

In the media

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Should you wish to read Current Awareness guides of previous years, please visit the archive:








Looking for upcoming conferences?

If you are looking for forthcoming conferences, the following websites are helpful:

Golden oldies

The South African Bone Marrow Registry - role in providing unrelated donors for allogeneic stem cell transplantation : more about... immunology

Ernette D. Du Toit, Terry Schlaphoff and Veronica Borrill Published Online:1 Aug 2012

The South African Bone Marrow Registry (SABMR) was established in 1991 in Cape Town, as a non-profit organisation at the initiative of professors Ernette du Toit and Peter Jacobs, to provide human leukocyte antigen (HLA) matched unrelated donors (MUDs) for South African (SA) patients. Allogeneic bone marrow and now peripheral blood stem cell transplantation has come a long way since the work of E Donall Thomas in Seattle in the early 1950s. These studies showed that by using HLA-matched sibling donors it was possible to cure certain haematological and metabolic diseases. These include acute and chronic myeloid leukaemia, myeloid dysplasia, lymphomas, multiple myeloma, aplastic anaemia, haemoglobinopathies, thalassaemia, Fanconi's anaemia and storage diseases.


Banning private stem cell banks : a human rights analysis

Donrich W. Jordaan, Christopher Woodrow and Michael S. Pepper Published Online:1 Jan 2009

Stem cell banking is a complex and controversial subject. There are currently three private stem cell banks in South Africa. At present, South Africa does not have a public stem cell bank. The de facto legal vacuum in which the private banks have operated thus far will change at some point in the future following the publication, for public comment, of draft regulations relating to human stem cells in the Government Gazette. If promulgated in their present form, the draft regulations would effectively ban private stem cell banking. We argue that such a ban would constitute an unjustifiable violation of at least four constitutionally protected rights, namely, the right to access to health care, the right to bodily integrity, children's rights, and the right to freedom of economic activity. The traditional arguments against private banking that are based on the low recall rate of banked cells, and the diversion of resources away from public banks, may justify the regulation of private banks, but not their prohibition. Specific attention is given to the argument against private banking that is purportedly based on equality. This argument is shown to be based on an incorrect conception of equality, namely that equality justifies 'levelling down', in which unequal access to a certain social good can justifiably be remedied by denying everyone access to this social good. Less restrictive measures are proposed to regulate stem cell banking in South Africa for the public good and in a constitutionally acceptable fashion.


Umbilical cord blood stem cells : interesting history tainted with debate and controversy : review

E. Van der Merwe and M. Urbanm  Published Online:1 Jan 2016

The history of stem cells is interesting and is tainted with debate and controversy as it has been the cause of heated debate between religious groups, scientists, the public and governments. There are two types of stem cell transplants - autologous and allogeneic. An autologous stem cell transplant is one in which the patient receives stem cells from his own blood, whereas an allogeneic transplant is one where the patient receives stem cells from a donor. Umbilical cord blood contains a multiplicity of cell types, including stem cells. Umbilical cord blood can potentially be used for autologous transplantation, allogeneic transplantation of family members or allogeneic transplantation of unrelated individuals to treat a number of diseases such as certain cancers, haematological diseases, genetic immunodeficiency states, to name a few. In some countries public cord blood banks have been established which focus on making tissue available to unrelated individuals (the most cost-effective use). In South Africa, there is no public cord blood bank and private companies provide cord blood banking for possible autologous or in-family use. With the costs involved in private cord blood banking this facility is only available to the privileged few, with the real risk of parents who cannot afford it going out of their way to procure the funds needed. Directed donation of umbilical cord blood should only be considered for families at high risk of certain genetic and haematological diseases that could potentially benefit from stem cell therapy. The storing of cord blood for "biological insurance" in low risk families should be strongly discouraged.Parents who ask for information about umbilical cord blood banking should get unbiased and accurate information regarding the advantages and disadvantages and any conflict of interest should be disclosed. Parents should never compromise themselves financially in order to store cord blood and at no stage should there be deviation from sound medical practice in order to collect cord blood.