The parallel session on partnership and capacity building was chaired by Dr Juliet Nabyonga-Orem (WHO AFRO) and Prof. Catherine Hankins(chair of the EDCTP Scientific Advisory Committee).
Nchangwi Syntia Munung from UCT, Cape Town, using H3 Africa as an example showed how it was unclear why and how diseases were prioritised; there should be shared decision making; there was lack of capacity from national African governments and lack of what the benefits are for each partner. There was however capacity building in post-graduate studies, skills development and infrastructural capacity.
Leandro Abade from The Global Health Network, UK, presented the freely accessible on-line platforms on various global health issues. One of them is the EDCTP Knowledge Hub which focusses on research data management and specifically data sharing.
Emilia Noomahomed from Mozambique presented their experiences with partnering with the University of California. She explained that essential for its success was the involvement of Mozambican participants from its inception. The African partners were driving the research agenda, led the projects, while the American partners provided the technical assistance. This partnership was based on mutual respect, commitment and transparency. The partnership created a Research Support Centre with many activities: development of didactic and research courses; peer mentoring; joint research grant applications writing; training of resident doctors from hospitals; training in bioinformatics; training of PhD and Master’s students; a total of 47 publications were produced. The partnership has benefitted the health systems, had positive impact on the academic level; led to faculty development and scientific growth; improved the working environment and contributed to the retention of health professionals.
A most impressive achievement!
Jean Pierre Musabyimana from Rwanda presented the efforts in building research capacity over the last three years. Ten clinical trial sites were established, three of which are operational. Moreover, a regulatory and research ethics review framework was established. This success was made possible by government involvement and public-private partnerships. It was refreshing to hear that the Rwandan government was prioritising what research needed to be conducted, and were committed to funding small grants to local researchers and clinicians in building the research agenda.