Mozambique: More health sciences’ scientific research than other Portuguese-speakers in Africa

FILE - For illustration purposes only. [File photo: MISAU]

Mozambique produces 70% of all research in health sciences in Portuguese-speaking African countries (PALOP), where this activity has increased, with research coinciding with the pathologies that most affect these states, an unprecedented study showed on Monday.

MAPIS – Mapping Health Sciences Research and Funding in Angola, Cabo Verde, Guinea Bissau, Mozambique and Sao Tome and Principe, which was commissioned by the Gulbenkian Foundation and analyses the evolution of international scientific production in health sciences in these countries between 2008 and 2020, collaboration networks and funding sources.

To this end, scientific publications in the area of health sciences in widely recognised international journals published between 2008 and 2020, with the participation of researchers affiliated with institutions in these countries, were identified.

According to the document’s conclusions, there was “a significant increase in health sciences research in these countries, particularly over the last decade,” with the level of publication being “especially significant” in Mozambique.

This evolution is also positive in other countries, although Sao Tome and Principe recorded “very limited” scientific activity.

Angola presented “a scientific activity lower than expected” but with “a constant growth in production and institutionalisation of research over recent years”.

In addition to Mozambique, which accounts for 70% of all research from the PALOP countries, Guinea-Bissau also presents “a relatively high citation impact”.

Mozambique is also referred to as being “increasingly successful in obtaining external funding and leading international research proposals”.

Regarding the topics covered by researchers in the different countries, the study found that “patterns of specialisation reflect the local incidence patterns of various diseases”.

In all PALOP countries, the most prolific areas of research are malaria, HIV, maternal mortality, tuberculosis and measles, diseases that have a higher incidence in these countries compared to the world average.

“In Mozambique, the relevance of diseases such as HIV or malaria is reflected in the topics most covered in local research, while in Angola or Guinea-Bissau, other topics appear, such as those related to parasitosis (in Angola) or measles (in Guinea-Bissau),” the document reads.

In Mozambique and Guinea-Bissau, MAPIS indicates, “research conducted in these areas has more citations than the world average, which is predictably a result of the small group of researchers who often collaborate with renowned international coauthors participating in large research projects.”

“These results, together with the fact that much of the research is carried out in association with hospitals, also seem to reveal that health sciences research is developed in relevant articulation with the health sector, taking into account the concrete health needs of local populations,” continue the authors of the study.

With regard to the collaboration with which health science researchers in the PALOP countries count on, the study states that “although Portugal is an important partner, it is not the most important partner in Mozambique or Guinea Bissau, where the United States and Denmark hold that position, respectively.

Mozambique collaborates more frequently with the United States and Spanish partners, while Angola, Cape Verde and São Tomé and Príncipe with Portuguese counterparts and Guinea-Bissau with Danish counterparts.

There are few collaborations between the PALOP countries, which reveals that linguistic links are “less strong in a dynamic process of internationalisation”.

In this respect, the authors recommend supporting exchange and mentoring programmes between the PALOP.

MAPIS also analysed funding for scientific publications with authors from the PALOP and identified “the intervention of a significant number of funding agencies, with a very considerable increase”, in recent years, of support from the Gates Foundation, along with the US National Institute of Health and the European Commission.

Source: Lusa

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