A report on the research leadership and scientific writing training organized in Yaounde by the Clinical Research Education, Networking and Consultancy (CRENC) and the IeDEA-Cameroon team
Anastase Dzudie1,2,&, Epie Njume1, Roger Ajeh1,2,
Eric Walter Yone-Pefura1,3,4, Bonghaseh Divine1, Adebola
Adedimeji5, Kathryn Anastos5
1Clinical Research Education, Networking and Consultancy, Douala, Cameroon, 2Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Buea, Buea, Cameroon, 3Faculty of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, University of Yaounde 1, Yaounde Cameroon, 4Jamot Hospital, Yaounde, Cameroon, 5Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York, USA
Anastase Dzudie, Clinical Research Education, Networking and Consultancy (CRENC), Po box 3480, Douala, Cameroon
Sub-Saharan Africa has the largest number of individuals leaving with HIV/AIDS. However, much is still unknown as regards HIV/AIDS treatment outcomes in resource-constrained settings. The Cameroon Central Africa International Epidemiologic Databases to Evaluate AIDS-Cameroon (Cameroon CA-IeDEA) collaboration is a unique opportunity to explore long-term outcomes from a large HIV cohort and generate massive data that can show trends, inform HIV care and provide insight on the way forward. Given the lack of research capacity in the country, the need for high impact training that can leverage Cameroon CA-IeDEA has never been more acute.
Scientific productivity and research in Africa for Africa is limited
and unequally distributed across the continent. Capacity strengthening,
developing skills in scientific writing [1, 2]
and leadership training , have been postulated to
mitigate this trend. It is on this premise that the Clinical Research Education,
Networking and Consultancy (CRENC) through Dr. Anastase Dzudie (Principal
investigator (PI) for the Cameroon CA-IeDEA project), organised this two-day
training on Leadership and Scientific Writing under
the auspices of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine through its
tenured Professors Kathryn Anastos and Adebola Adedimeji (PI and associate
PI of the
Central African Region IeDEA project respectively). The International
Epidemiologic Database to Evaluate AIDS (IeDEA) research study is funded
by the United States
National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Institute of
Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The CA-IeDEA study is part of the IeDEA
consortium, involving seven regions: West, East, Central and Southern
Africa; South and North America; and Asia and Pacific. The CA-IeDEA is funded
Albert Einstein College of Medicine, USA. The overall goal of the
IeDEA study is to use secondary clinical, laboratory and epidemiologic data
patients in various regions to answer HIV/AIDS and other related
co-morbidities research questions that cannot be answered with existing
in each country. The IeDEA research consortium makes it possible
to generalize study findings to wider settings and populations, with the
goal of improving
HIV care across countries in the world. The Cameroon IeDEA study
obtained its first ethical clearance from the Cameroon National Ethics Committee
March 2013 under the contract research organisation (CRO) Research
for Development International (R4DI). The implementation of the study was
R4DI to the current CRO-CRENC in 2016.
Conference outlines and outcomes
Participants included the project site teams (IeDEA-CRENC) for the 3 project sites in Cameroon (Bamenda Regional Hospital, Jamot Hospital Yaounde and Limbe Regional Hospital), the central project management team (IeDEA-CRENC), representatives from the host facility- Jamot Hospital, and members of the CRENC. The training opened with a presentation by Dr Dzudie (Cameroon) on the CRENC. His talk featured the CRENC's role in building a research culture from the undergraduate through post-doctoral levels and ensuring growth via reciprocal mentor-mentee relationship. The talk was followed by panel discussions during which Prof Anastos (USA) shared her personal experience as a clinician-researcher. She emphasised that the journey from the research question to eventual publication was not easy or smooth and straightforward, but was fraught with challenges, journal rejection, and that the key was to persevere to reach a set goal. Prof Anastos then gave a brief history of Einstein programs in Central Africa, specifically Rwanda where working mainly with non-governmental organisations, civil society organisations and the government, the Einstein consortium (funded by several grants) improved vulnerable populations' access to HIV diagnosis and treatment. There was also extensive research capacity and infrastructure building including research methods, data management and statistical analysis, publication and grants management. The goal of which was to inform clinical care as regards effectiveness of anti-retroviral therapy (ART), nutritional status and its effect on disease progression and response to therapy, the impact of comorbidities (posttraumatic stress disorder, depression) and sequelae of violence on adherence to and effectiveness of ART, and the prevalence/incidence of cervical dysplasia and human papilloma virus (through the Rwanda/Einstein Consortium in HIV/Human Papilloma Virus malignancies). Prof Anastos also gave a brief overview of the National Institute of Health-funded IeDEA study; the 7 global IeDEA regions, the 4 IeDEA regions in Africa, and the Central African IeDEA run by the Albert Einstein College of medicine. She dwelled on the Central African IeDEA, which involves Burundi, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo and Rwanda. She shared the successes that have been realised in Rwanda and hoped they be replicated in the other Central Africa IeDEA countries, taking into account the peculiarities in the different countries, especially Cameroon. As regards Cameroon, she talked about the history of the Cameroon IeDEA, challenges with the former CRO and appreciated the current CRO for its efforts in ensuring the smooth running of the study thus far. She also shared her personal experiences as a student, her early career as a physician working among vulnerable populations, and then as a clinical researcher. The manner in which she handled her successes and not giving up whenever she failed was a source of inspiration and encouragement to the participants.
The second day of the training began with a recap of the previous
day's activities and this was followed by a lecture on collaborative
leadership by Prof Anastos. The central theme of the presentation was that
leader is one who engages team members to buy into a vision, keeps
them focused, working together in a mission to achieve a common goal. And
that trust and
conflict management were the ingredients to building such a successful
collaborative leadership. This was followed by a lecture on management by
From the beginning of the lecture, it was clear that effective leadership
and management are interwoven and have similar themes. However, understanding
managerial competencies and properly distributing them across the
various levels of management, and effective communication were essential to
a good manager and thus an effective leader. He also elaborated stakeholders'
management and communication as core elements in effective managerial
and leadership competence.
Dr. Dzudie presented on needs assessment for capacity building. He began by pointing
out the fact that research capacity in Africa was rudimentary, at
best mirrored by the very few publications especially when compared to other
Also, the few publications are disproportionately distributed, from
a few number of countries [5
]. Poor research culture
and/or training, absence or inadequate infrastructures, absence of effective
and lack or insufficient funding are the root causes of this low
]. He went further to outline 3 levels;-
individual, organisational and institutional at which action can be taken
to address this
deficit and illustrated the CRENC's model of intervention to address
this gap. Continuous research education and leadership training at the individual
level, solid management structure with clear and concise standard
procedures in all areas at the organisational level and implementing
of a legal framework, partnerships and networking at the institutional level
the three actions levels described.
the lecture was followed by a panel discussion during which participants benefited from the vast experiences of the facilitators and tested their understanding of the various modules of the training. The training officially ended with a resolution by Cameroon CA-IeDEA staff to create a research committee to formulate and answer at least one research question from the IeDEA study by November, ahead of the all African IeDEA meeting in Rwanda.
Research and scientific productivity in sub-Saharan Africa is much lower than would be expected for a region with a high burden of HIV-AIDS, and compared to other regions mainly due to inadequate training, poor leadership and infrastructure, and funding. The CRENC CA-IeDEA team has identified research leadership and scientific writing training as an integral component to leverage research capacity building in general and to enhance quantity and quality research output in Africa, for Africa.
The authors declare no competing interest.
Epie Njume drafted the paper and Anastase Dzudie, Roger Ajeh, Bonghaseh
Divine, Eric Walter Yone-Pefura, Adebola Adedimeji and Kathryn Anastos reviewed
it critically. All the authors have read and agreed to the final manuscript.
We thank the director of the Jamot Hospital for his administrative and logistic support during this training.
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