Boosting capacity for health research in Africa
Africa's progress is linked to its capacity to generate, adapt, and use scientific knowledge to meet regional health and development needs. But Africa's institutions of higher learning that are mandated to foster this capacity in fact lack adequate resources to generate and apply knowledge. This raises the need for innovative approaches to enhance research capacity.
The African Doctoral Dissertation Research Fellowship (ADDRF) program, managed by the African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC), seeks to develop the next generation of African health systems academics, researchers, planners, and policymakers. Launched in 2008, the program grants PhD research fellowships of up to US$15,000, and seeks to:
- facilitate more rigorous engagement of doctoral students in research addressing governance, equity, health policy, health systems, or population-related issues in Africa;
- provide Fellows an opportunity for timely completion of their doctoral training; and
- strengthen Fellows’ research skills by providing research methodology and scientific writing training.
Authors Caroline Kabiru, Chima Izugbara, Susan Wambugu, and Alex Ezeh share APHRC's reflections on its experiences implementing the ADDRF program — its successes and challenges. As attention focuses on health research capacity-strengthening in Africa and the need for African-led programs, APHRC's experience in developing and implementing the ADDRF offers invaluable lessons to other institutions undertaking similar initiatives.
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