Research capacity for mental health in Africa mapped.
Subject: Psychiatric research (Statistics)
Psychiatric research (Forecasts and trends)
Psychiatric services (Management)
Pub Date: 03/01/2008
Publication: Name: South African Journal of Psychiatry Publisher: South African Medical Association Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2008 South African Medical Association ISSN: 1608-9685
Issue: Date: March, 2008 Source Volume: 14 Source Issue: 1
Topic: Event Code: 680 Labor Distribution by Employer; 010 Forecasts, trends, outlooks; 200 Management dynamics Computer Subject: Market trend/market analysis; Company business management
Product: Product Code: 8000186 Mental Health Care; 9105250 Mental Health Programs NAICS Code: 62142 Outpatient Mental Health and Substance Abuse Centers; 92312 Administration of Public Health Programs
Geographic: Geographic Scope: South Africa Geographic Code: 6SOUT South Africa
Accession Number: 204482531
Full Text: From 1993 to 2004 Africa contributed 1 089 mental health research articles indexed in either Medline or PsycINFO, out of 6 813 articles identified from the world's low- and middle-income countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean. Of the 52 countries in Africa, 21 contributed no articles and 15 countries contributed 5 or fewer articles.

Conversely South Africa was one of the leading contributors, and along with Argentina, Brazil, China and India, the 5 countries together accounted for almost two-thirds of all the articles.

These are among the findings of a new study, 'Research capacity for mental health in low- and middle-income countries: Results of a mapping project', undertaken by the Mental Health Research Mapping Project Group of the WHO and the Global Forum for Health Research.

The aim of the project was to assess the current status of mental health research in the 114 low- and middle-income countries in these regions. In addition 3 598 non-indexed articles were identified from sources other than Medline/PsycINFO (so-called 'grey literature'), of which 534 were from Africa.

The findings indicate notable variations in mental health research production within and across all regions. Nevertheless there was agreement among researchers and other mental health stakeholders, and across the regions, regarding priorities for mental health research in these countries. Epidemiological studies of burden and risk factors, health systems research and social science research were the highest ranked types of needed research. Depression/anxiety, substance use disorders and psychoses were identified as the top 3 priority disorders, while the prioritised population groups were children and adolescents, women and persons exposed to violence/trauma. The most important criteria for prioritising research were burden of disease, social justice and availability of funds.

The study concluded that there is a need to review the management of mental health research so that it meets the national needs of the low- and middle-income countries as well as contributes to the global fund of knowledge. Organisations and governments in these countries should allocate greater funds to research, capacity and infrastructure strengthening. There is also a need for organisations to bridge the gap between policy and research. With half of the countries having made very little progress in mental health research and research infrastructure development, the challenge is to develop strategies for the countries that have made the least progress.

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