APHRC Celebrates 20 Years, Forging forth for Better Prospects

African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC) has fronted the essentiality of research in ensuring solutions are achieved to the African Narrative’s problems as cited and researched. APHRC has revealed that Sub-Saharan Africa contributes just 1% of global scientific products, such as patents, research papers, and peer-reviewed articles, with very little change over the last ten years.

APHRC is a research-to-policy institution that delves into evidence-based research for policy action to enhance the health and well-being of African people. Even though Dr. Catherine Kyobutungi, Executive Director, APHRC says that there’s a need for at least 1,000,000 quality research leaders with Ph.D. degrees to help drive economic and social development over the next ten years.

According to Dr. Catherine Investments in Research and Development (R&D) can create millions of jobs, generate new knowledge for decision-making, drive monetization of innovations, and elevate the place of African scientists and institutions in the global marketplace of ideas, and influence.

Dr. Catherine Kyobutungi, Executive Director, APHRC

Despite Africa being a significant source of research, its global contribution is still low. This is because of the low investment in research, which results in Africa’s limited representation in the global knowledge economy. However, this presents an opportunity for Africa to make a significant leap in its social and economic development,” said Dr. Catherine.

APHRC celebrating and commemorating its 20th anniversary is calling for more focus on research for actualization as the research products alone by design cannot change the world but only when applied as part of an evidence-based policy or program intervention.

In emphasizing the potential that research beholds, Prof Ezeh Alex said that research is key for development and it’s a pity that most researchers from Africa go abroad with this expertise while it is vital for Africa itself.

50% of the USA economy is a knowledge-based economy that is proof enough from their growth and development that investing in people is key to growth as people can offer better prospects through innovations,” said Prof Ezeh.

APHRC since its inception focused on bridging policy gaps and challenges affecting the African continent. This is the creation of new knowledge through research and utilization of existing knowledge, APHRC has been at the forefront of promoting the Evidence-Informed-Decision-Making (EIDM) approach across its projects, integrating research evidence with practitioner and beneficiary experiences to drive innovation and adaptation across all levels of decision making.

In Kenya, APHRC has contributed to landmark reports such as the 2013 Publication on the Incidence and Complications of Unsafe Abortion in Kenya, the 2015 National STEPs Survey on Non-Communicable Diseases, the 2022 Kenya – National Adolescent Mental Health Survey, Nairobi City’s first comprehensive Shit Flow Diagram (SFD) in 2017, which helps visualize and understand how fecal waste flows through the city’s infrastructure, among others.

Dr. Catherine cuts the cake with partners and stakeholders

Thereby the urgency of inclusion both from the private sector and the government institutions to further goals attainment from research-based implementations. KEPSA CEO Carole Kariuki reiterated that the private sector is welcoming engagements around the research on health being part of the solution seekers.

The future for Africa, universities and the private sector is bright but we must now actualize these conversations and see to it that action is deployed as African problems are given solutions that will also solve global crises like climate change. Problems are best solved locally as we seek to market the innovations bearing solutions, trade thereby falls in line too in that as we push for free trade, what is the research behind it?” said Carol CEO of KEPSA.

Dr. Catherine cuts the cake with partners and stakeholders

APHRC aims to re-engineer the African research ecosystem by catalyzing the training of Ph. D.s through partnerships with academic institutions and nurturing the next generation of African research leaders. 

Dr. Tom Kariuki of the Science for Africa Foundation, remarks that scientists have to be engaged incessantly to enable conversations to reach the most eligible personnel in the ministries that offer implementation. He also added that financial tech has been successful more which is not as the success of biotech which is barely minimal and few hence more efforts should be put in place.

We can’t divorce climate change from health issues. It is essential that the innovators have patience and longtime vision into the productivity of an idea from an innovator in order to nurture these ideas,” said Prof Tom Kariuki.

Research reveals that Africa’s population will steadily keep on rising and the research sector having 1.3% of women is enabling room for more women to join in the sector. Dr. Fiona Wanjiku of Mawazo, stresses the importance of data and numbers as she calls for additional curating of space in the sector to offer beyond just data.

In conclusion, Dr. Catherine Kyobutungi opined filled with hope of a better future undoubtedly saying that by 2050 more improvements shall have dawned on the institution of APHRC.

We are here to celebrate dreamers and those who fear their dreams but are here today should get this take away, their dreams are valid as one of our own Lupita once said. APHRC is for the dreamers and let’s all work together to build a better future,” said Dr. Kyobutungi.

Leave a reply