Hidden science? A glimpse at some work in Africa

World Psychiatry. 2004 Oct;3(3):178-81.


Even though Africa contributes a disproportionately small quantity to the world scientific information pool, much of what it produces may be unavailable to the scientific community. A number of scientific journals published on the continent but not listed in international indexes often report studies in mental health and related fields. An analysis of some of these publications revealed that, over the period 1999-2003, research issues addressed include substance abuse, neuroscience and neuropsychiatry, health services, and child mental health. Most of the studies are descriptive and based on convenient or clinical samples. Community-based epidemiological studies and those examining the cost-effectiveness of different forms of intervention are rare. Even though the strength of the studies reported varied considerably, they nevertheless suggest that a considerable amount of research activities is taking place on the continent. The number and types of studies reported highlight the poor investment in research in Africa.