Africa’s neglected area of human resources for health research – the way forward

  • C IJsselmuiden
  • DL Marais
  • F Becerra-Posada
  • H Ghannem


Building the skills for doing, managing and delivering health
research is essential for every country’s development. Yet human
resources for health research (HRHR) are seldom considered in
Africa and elsewhere. Africa’s health research capacity has grown
considerably, with potential to increase this growth. However, a
systemic way of defining, co-ordinating and growing the HRHR
needed to support health systems development is missing.
Reviewing the status of HRHR in Africa, we assert that it consists
of unco-ordinated, small-scale activities, primarily driven from
outside Africa. We present examples of ongoing HRHR capacity
building initiatives in Africa. There is no overarching framework, strategy or body for African countries to optimise research support and capacity in HRHR. A simple model is presented to help countries plan and strategise
for a comprehensive approach to research capacity strengthening.
Everyone engaged with global, regional and national research
for health enterprises must proactively address human resource
planning for health research in Africa. Unless this is made explicit
in global and national agendas, Africa will remain only an interested
spectator in the decisions, prioritisation, funding allocations,
conduct and interpretation, and in the institutional, economic and
social benefits of health research, rather than owning and driving
its own health research agendas.

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 0256-95749
print ISSN: 2078-5135