What roles have African universities played to promote production and use of evidence for decision making in health development on the continent? Dr. Desalegn Woldeyohannes Associate Professor 26th Nov., 2014 Nairobi, Kenya Presentation outline • Introduction • Roles of African Universities in Health Development • Features of health researches in most African Universities • Obstacles to health research in Africa and African Universities • Conclusion • References Introduction • Universities have frequently been regarded as key institutions in the process of: social change and development. • Nations across the globe today depend increasingly on: knowledge, ideas and skills which are produced in universities. …Introduction • A growing number of African countries have realized that without investment in health research, the continent will remain on the sidelines of the global economy and will find it difficult to bring an end to extreme poverty. …Introduction • In Africa, there has been significant progress in terms of health institutions and health policy development in that, Africa contributes to the global health research and development effort and this contribution is growing. However, still there are challenges in utilizing health research findings for evidence based decision making. Roles of African Universities in Health Development • The most expedient role African research institutions and universities have been allocated are: the production of highly skilled labour and health research output to meet perceived health development needs. • Greater capacity in African universities raises the potential availability of: locally relevant data for evidence-based decisions in the health sector. …Roles of African Universities in Health Development • The values of universities in the areas of: rigorous critical thinking, knowledge sharing, and training-should make them strong contributors to the global health equity movement. …Roles of African Universities in Health Development • Generally, the strength, productive capacity and competitiveness of a country health labour force depend on the quality of health research produced by its universities. …Roles of African Universities in Health Development • Countries with a weak university based health research lag behind others in labour force competitiveness. • As the health labour force drives development, such countries lag behind in development. Features of Health Research in most African Universities 1. African countries produce low scientific output in terms of publication. ….Features of health research 2. Most health researches in African universities are conducted purely to: earn academic promotions and have no relevance to the needs of health development. 3. A disconnect exists between theory and practice of science in most nations: education system in Africa and health development needs. ….Features of health research 4. There is no system of match-making: to sharpen and bridge the gap between the research output the university can offer and the needs of the nation/continent. 5. Operational researches haven’t been widely carried out. ….Features of health research 6. Many African counties are not integrated into major research collaboration network in Africa Obstacles to health research in Africa and African Universities • Numerous challenges face research efforts in Africa. These are among others: Reliability and validity of data Influence of Values Illiteracy Secrecy Fund …Obstacles • Moreover, the communication of research outputs to healthcare policy makers is at its infantile stages. • Policy makers access only to outdated or incomplete health research output when making decisions. • And again the capacity of policy makers to use health research findings is not much strengthened. Conclusion • Even though, the need for health research as a tool for health development has long been realized by African nations and yet nothing serious has been done. • The slow pace of pursuit bothering on systematic stagnation of research activities in health sectors in African nations has been: largely responsible for the stunted growth and development of Africa as a third world continent. …conclusion • University-based researchers should able to: monitor global health technology needs, assess their relevance to national/continent needs and assist in developing the national technological capacity for health development. Looking ahead: Need to Strengthen Research capacity Need to Strengthen University Research Capacity Well trained Researchers University policies and strategies Mechanisms to encourage & reward research Dedicated university budget for research Mechanisms of research communication University Research An Enabling Environment for research Capacity for local PhD examination University mechanisms for innovation Culture of inquiry Improved teaching- less didactic Skills for research management Research Leadership skills Access to scientific literature Access to Information Communication Technology References • Nebo, C. (2006). Nigerian Universities and Competitiveness of the National Economy. Keynote address presented at National symposium on Nigerian universities and International competitiveness of the Nigerian economy at Protea Hotel, Enugu 4-9. • World Bank (2008). The little Green data book: Washington DC. • UNESCO (2014) Research and Development: Africa is making progress despite major 12 Challenges, http://www.unesco.org/new/en/mediaservices/single-view. retrieved on 10th March, 2014. …References • Chukwuemeka, E.E.O. (2014) The Role of African Researchers in The Socio-Economic Development of The Continent In: Nkum R.K., Nani G., Atepor, L., Oppong, R.A., Awere E., and Bamfo-Agyei, E. (Eds) Procs 3rd Applied Research Conference in Africa. (ARCA) Conference, 7-9 August 2014, Accra, Ghana. 1-12. • International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications (INASP) (2013). What is the evidence on evidence-informed policy making? Lessons from the International Conference on Evidence-Informed Policy Making, Ile-Ife, Nigeria. …References • Eze, P. (2013). The Contribution of the Local Government in Sustainable development in Enugu State of Nigeria. Journal of Management Research, 4(1), 14-25. • Osuala, E.C. (2000). Introduction to Research Methodology. Onitsha, African FEP Publishers. • Asakitikpi, A.E. (2006). Democratic governance and government policies: Implications for quality health care delivery in Nigeria. NASHER Journal, 5(1), 23-29. Thank you!