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Researchers Want African Gov’ts to Invest More in Grants, Infrastructure

Researchers want governments in Africa to invest more in providing grants and building capacity especially in supporting local investigators to publish.

They also say that like developed economies like UK and America, research studies conducted in Africa should be commercialized and used to impact the population.

During the ongoing 9th Annual National Research Ethics Conference (ANREC) in Kampala, Dr. Paul Ndebele, the Director Medical Research Council of Zimbabwe noted that much of Africa’s research funding is external.

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Inadequate financial capacity in Africa, he said, has resulted into; loopholes in monitoring of research activities, exploitation of weak oversight and cheap specimen in poor countries.

“Africa’s concerns on research include the fact that samples are only moving in one direction – from richer countries to Africa. Local researchers need support to access data but also to do research that is relevant,” Dr. Ndebele said.

On her part, Prof. Philippa Musoke, the Principal Investigator with Makerere University-John Hopkins University (MU-JHU) said: “When you have the money, you can speak loudly. I know Uganda is a resource limited country but we need to prioritize research.”

“We need to put money in supporting local investigators to apply for grants. When we (local investigators) apply for international grants, it’s hard because we are not as known as Smith or Brooke Jackson who have the experience and support structure of the universities,” Prof. Musoke told ChimpReports.

She said that beyond financial support, high quality research requires scaling up university infrastructure like research grant management, support staff and labs where the specimens are tested.

It is for this same reason that South Africa has managed to lead the continent in the area of research and using it to draw in resources.

“Many of the specimen and data that are shipped out is because we don’t have enough people to do the hardcore basic science of genetic analysis, gene mapping and data analysis for bio statitians,” she said.

The introduction of the internet in 1990 and the subsequent ease in communication was among the factors that pushed the growth in research collaborations in Africa.

But Dr. Serwanga from Makerere University says that despite this, publication of local research findings on online journals is still insufficient within the continent.

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