Developing the agenda for European Union collaboration on non-communicable diseases research in Sub-Saharan Africa
McCarthy M., Maher D., Ly A., Ndip A.
Background: Health research is increasing in Africa, but most resources are currently chanelled towards infectious diseases and health system development. While infectious diseases remain a heavy burden for some African countries, non-communicable diseases (NCDs) account for more than half of all deaths globally and WHO predicts 27% increase in NCDs in Africa over the next decade. We present findings of a European-Africa consultation on the research agenda for NCDs.Methods: A workshop was held in Yaoundé, Cameroon, organized by the Network for the Coordination and Advancement of Sub-Saharan Africa-European Union Science and Technology Cooperation (CAAST-Net). Drawing on initial presentations, a small expert group from academic, clinical, public-health and administrative positions considered research needs in Africa for cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes.Results: Research in Africa can draw from different environmental and genetic characteristics to understand the causes of the disease, while economic and social factors are important in developing relevant strategies for prevention and treatment. The suggested research needs include better methods for description and recording, clinical studies, understanding cultural impacts, prevention strategies, and the integrated organisation of care. Specific fields proposed for research are listed.Conclusions: Our paper contributes to transparency in the process of priority-setting for health research in Africa. Although the European Union Seventh Framework Research Programme prioritises biomedical and clinical research, research for Africa should also address broader social and cultural research and intervention research for greatest impact. Research policy leaders in Africa must engage national governments and international agencies as well as service providers and research communities. None can act effectively alone. Bringing together the different stakeholders, and feeding the results through to the European Union research programme is a valuable contribution of CAAST-Net. © 2010 McCarthy et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.