Pre-conference Workshop: scientific and grant writing
WHO-AFR in Collaboration with AfHEA and the Nigeria Implementation Science Alliance (NISA)
10th March 2019 – Accra Ghana
Background: Health economics and policy play a vital role in healthcare delivery by providing decision makers with the needed information to make decisions on resource allocation. Among other things, this ensures the efficient use and maximisation of health resources. Most notable of the contributions of health economics and policy analysis to healthcare delivery is informing decisions on reimbursement, health financing, developing health insurance benefits and standard treatment guidelines. As it remains a relatively new sub-discipline, there is limited human resource capacity across the world, most especially in the African region, to meet the needs of the different health systems. The role of evidence generation and use in the attainment of universal health coverage cannot be underscored. Of concern within the African Region, is the low contribution to the scientific output by the African Region compared to the global output, currently estimated at only 2%. This is partly explained by the low investment in research by African Governments and the limited capacity in grant writing especially by the young research and early career professionals. There is therefore the need to develop capacity in Africa, as all countries strive to attain universal health coverage amid limited resources. This objective is in line with the mandate of WHO-AFR as well as the African Health Economics and Policy Association (AfHEA), on human resource capacity development in the African region.
Problem Statement: The quality of scientific writing has become a major concern to many and has ignited discussion in several fora on opportunities to improve scientific and grant writing in Africa. For instance, one of the key concerns that have been raised by reviewers of abstracts for AfHEA’s scientific conferences over the years is the poor quality of scientific writing. Most abstracts are often rejected purely on poor scientific writing skill even though most of these abstracts most times attempt to address important knowledge gaps. Similarly, at the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation- African Health Initiative (DDCF-AHI) Phase II workshop meeting organised in Ghana at Senchi in April, 2018, senior research experts bemoaned the quality of scientific writing and the lack of capacity especially among young researchers in Africa and stressed the need to systematically identify opportunities such as the AfHEA scientific conferences platform to address these challenges in the Region. Using the AfHEA conference platform for the scientific writing workshop also consciously provides the opportunity for young researchers to interact with senior research experts and generate renewed ideas and inspiration for them in their career progressions. The expected outcome of this workshop is improved research and scientific writing skills among young African researchers. This in no doubt will contribute to the general succession plan for health economics, financing, systems and policy researchers on the continent and most importantly, encourage young professionals to stay on the continent.
Objective: In line with WHO-AFR and AfHEA’s objective on capacity building for research in Africa, we propose the introduction of a training workshop that would be organised by WHO-AFR in collaboration with AfHEA and NISA as part of the regular AfHEA conference which will take place in Accra, Ghana from 11th-14th March, 2019. The main aim of the workshop is to provide a platform to train African early career researchers (including PhD students) and practitioners on scientific writing for publication and grants.
This serves the objectives of the WHO AFR Research for Health: a Strategy for The African Region, 2016-2025. Specifically addresses 2 of the 5 objectives namely: (1) Creating and sustain resources for health research and (2) Producing and using health research
How do we do it?
WHO-AFR in collaboration with AfHEA propose to organise a pre-conference workshop as part of the 2019 AfHEA scientific conference, which will take place in in Accra Ghana in March, 2019 that coincides with the 10th anniversary of AfHEA. The workshop will be open for all young researchers and early career professionals who have registered for the AfHEA conference especially those who are currently being mentored by senior AfHEA members. It must be pointed out that, AfHEA has taken the lead in the quest to improve the capacity of young researchers/practitioners and has instituted a mentorship programme for individuals who have submitted abstracts and have expressed a desire to be part of this mentorship. We therefore expect these individuals to take advantage of the scientific and grant writing workshop to improve their learning experience. It is important also to emphasise that since the conference is a bilingual one (French and English), the workshop will also be bilingual so that both Francophone and Anglophone country participants will have equal access to fully realize the benefits of the workshop without experiencing any language barriers.
Resource persons with cognate experience in grant writing and scientific publication will be invited to train the participants on scientific writing and grant application. The training will cover topics including (i) developing a good research idea (ii) developing a manuscript (iii) identifying journals for publication (ii) writing a grant proposal (iv) writing budget for grant applications (v) grant opportunities/grant making organizations (vi) exploring collaborations among researchers/practitioners, amongst others. There will also be interactions between young researchers/practitioners with potential mentors on research career development with practical experience sharing.