Of more than 2,000 articles published between the beginning of the pandemic and in September last year, only 4% were written by African researchers, according to a study published in the British Medical Journal. An absence that risks weakening the response to the pandemic on the continent.
If Africa has historically lagged behind in scientific research due to a lack of resources, the British Medical Journal points out that articles on the development of the virus on the African continent are overwhelmingly written by researchers who have never set foot there.
A situation all the more embarrassing, according to the British journal, because African researchers would really have something to say, especially about the second wave that is currently affecting the continent and affecting almost four million people.
According to the study’s authors, the consequence is that the solutions proposed to curb or stop the pandemic are inappropriate, as they are often formulated on the basis of models that do not take into account the reality on the ground in Africa, which are better known by local researchers than by their foreign counterparts. .
The British Medical Journal emphasizes the importance of the contribution of African researchers to acting as a compass for health policy. Three countries have understood this: South Africa, Egypt and Nigeria, for example, are the origin of two thirds of the publications of African researchers on Covid. But this issue remains largely inadequate, we can hear the British Medical Journal.
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To fill this gap, it is necessary to reform the function of scientific journals and bring them closer to the African academic worlds. This is one of the shoulders defended by Lee Wallis, professor at the University of Cape Town and co-author of this study.
Africa’s place in Covid research: interview with Lee Wallis, study author