Experts say that securing longer term funding for clinical trial centres would help boost research capacity in Africa. Photograph: Sunday Alamba/AP

Nurturing health innovation in Africa

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13 ways to boost research

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What needs to happen to reverse the brain drain and secure funding across the continent? The Guardian’s global development professionals panel suggest where to start.


  • We need to look at how we can sustain funding for further research after specific projects end.
  • See the economic advantages: Governments need to recognise more than just the social benefits of investing in R&D.
  • We need to reverse brain drain by identifying small research hubs that are working to expand
  • Bring health innovation to communities: Mobile clinics find people at home, work etc and this has helped improve testing to more than 80% of adults.
  • Create incentives for private investment. Partner with the private sector in the north and the south
  • Invest in mobile technologies
  • Create a skilled workforce, and jobs for them to do
  • Reduce the cost of open-access publishing
  • Make research useful: Researchers should establish positive relationships with policymakers and government and industry.
  • Get a 1% GDP commitment: African governments must be convinced that if they commit to locally relevant research, it will positively help to generate alternative resources and balance the budget.


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