Health scientists play a vital role in the health system. They contribute evidence for disease control and elimination; they participate in the creation of ethical and evidence-based policies, and they enhance national technical capacity. The evidence they produce is utilized to improve health and health equity at all levels of the health system. Furthermore, countries investing in health research foster a conducive environment for opportunities, which attracts and retains health research professionals and creates positive spillovers.
Unfortunately, as many of us know firsthand, research capacity in disease-endemic countries remains one of the biggest unmet challenges. In sub-Saharan Africa for example, health research in most countries has an allocation of less than 0.5% of national health budgets (only Malawi, Uganda and South Africa spend more than 1% of their GDP on R&D). Worldwide, the Council on Health Research for Development estimates that 98% of health R&D expenditures are made in high income countries, and that only 25% of research on neglected diseases is done in developing countries. (WHO. 2004) (COHRED Global Forum for Health Research. 2012 Report)
Please join us to discuss the current and future state of career opportunities for health scientists in countries where malaria, TB, HIV/AIDS, and other tropical diseases are endemic.
Some questions we will be considering during this discussion:
• What are examples of successful collaborations between academic centers that advance research in-country?
• What has or hasn't worked for attracting and sustaining health scientists in endemic countries? Are there some models of success?
• What is the role of the private sector in health research capacity?
• How can we make the case to governments that health research is an investment for national development?
• What is the role of the major funders (US PMI, UN/WHO RBM, GFATM, Gates, etc.) in fostering opportunities for local health research? Should they do more?
Joining us for this panel discussion:
Professor Carel IJsselmuiden, MD, MPH, FFCH(SA) is Director of the Council on Health Research for Development (COHRED) in South Africa. Carel is a public health physician and epidemiologist. He has worked in rural medicine, peri-urban and urban health care and environmental health services, as well as in academic public health education and research ethics training. He has also published in various areas in applied research and public health, and is the founding Director of the University of Pretoria’s School of Health Systems and Public Health.
Corine Karema, MD, MSc Epidemiology is the head of Malaria & Other Parasitic Diseases Division in the Rwanda Biomedical Center, an agency of the Ministry of Health in the Republic of Rwanda. Corine is the vice–chair of the EARN Coordination committee and member of the Global Malaria Control and Elimination technical working group as well as of the Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) for malaria policy and access of TDR/WHO Special Program. She is also a member of the WHO Drug Resistance and Containment Technical Expert Group and an observer of the WHO Malaria Policy Advisory Committee (MPAC). She has been involved in developing malaria control strategies and policies as well as all research studies which have guided most of the evidence-based malaria control interventions in Rwanda. She has designed and led the impact evaluation of malaria control interventions which show important reduction on malaria morbidity and mortality in Rwanda.
Dr. Clive Shiff is an Associate Professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Apart from teaching, he has extensive interest and experience in research on tropical parasitic diseases, particularly schistosomiasis and malaria. He was President of the Rhodesia Scientific Association in 1969 and 1976, and was Deputy Director of the Blair Research Laboratory of the Ministry of Health which was responsible for medical research in the country. He co-authored with the late Stephen Chandiwana a paper on Science-Based Economic Development: the Eureka factor presented to the Harare Meeting of the New York Academy of Science in March 1998. He has been the PI and lead scientist running the Malaria Institute at Macha in southern Zambia since its inception in 2003. Dr. Shiff plans to train local university faculty in outbreak epidemiology so as to increase local expertise in data collection and analysis. He has recently been invited to join the WHO Expert Committee on Integrated Vector Control, and the UNEP Committee on DDT and its use against malaria. Dr. Shiff has under his belt a wealth of experience developing and working under strong and rewarding historical civil service structures in Zambia and Zimbabwe during the federation era and beyond, until he moved to the USA in 1979.
We hope to discuss past and current models of sustainable professional health research systems and collaborations, and how they contribute to national success in overcoming diseases and attaining development goals. We aim to shape advocacy and create opportunities for health professionals and researchers in endemic countries.
So join the conversation and share your thoughts and a quick introduction of your work and research right away!
We look forward to this discussion.