Chapter 18

Spanish science for development



You know Forbes magazine, don’t you? So it’s possible that leafing through it you might have read about César Velasco… As a result of my postgraduate projects I’ve become involved in the field of development cooperation and that’s why I’m dazzled by César Velasco, for whom I feel tremendous admiration. He says he’s nothing more than a young doctor with his feet firmly on the ground who just wants to carry on working for everyone’s health.

César Velasco is the Spanish scientist chosen by Forbes magazine as “The most influential scientist under the age of 30 in Europe” for his dedication to fighting Ebola.

01_POSTS_#T26_02This global health expert was working in the African country of Sierra Leone last year in the fight against Ebola and he was part of Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on Immunization that advises the World Health Organization (WHO) on this disease. This group consists of just ten people.

A couple of weeks ago I commented that Spain does science in teams, and César Velasco is an example of this.

César Velasco states the importance of continuing to invest and promote research, especially in social aspects, in global health and in innovation, as we have great scientists who are well trained and extremely talented.

I like the way he says that research is state-of-the-art in Spain, as he’s a clear example of that.

And I can’t talk about development cooperation without mentioning the main managing body for Spanish Cooperation, the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID), which works on fighting poverty and promoting sustainable human development.

Over the 25 years this agency has been operating, it has resulted in many achievements and contributions made by Spanish citizens in favour of international development.

01_POSTS_#T26_03Some of these contributions have included the research progress on malaria done via the Mozambique Research Centre; health and habitability achievements due to actions related to water and sanitation in Latin American countries; institutional promotion and reinforcement of democratic systems; promoting equality of opportunity for men and women, and environmental conservation by promoting rural development and food safety, to name just a few. They’re all aspects in which, I have to say, research is crucial.

Spain has the biggest volunteering rates in the world.

There’s a huge list of ways of being a volunteer. What about you, have you ever been volunteers on development cooperation projects? It’s on my list of things to do, as my training means I can be of great help on a number of development cooperation projects.