Mental health research capacity and infrastructure in Africa are extremely limited, with little funding dedicated, a scarcity of trained mental health research personnel, a dearth of infrastructural support, and few opportunities for training and supervision in mental health research. AFFIRM aims to develop research capacity in Africa for public mental health intervention research. Specific capacity development aims of the Hub include: 1) Creating equitable and sustainable African partnerships, networks and alliances between Hub institutions; 2) Building a critical mass of sustainable local capacity in Hub countries; 3) Strengthening research training and building career pathways for mental health researchers; 4) Improving internal management structures and research environments within Hub partners; 5) Supporting the infrastructure necessary for administrative, governance, and financial functions;and 6) Strengthening leadership at individual, institutional and national levels. AFFlRM's capacity development approach will make use of innovative strategies, including focusing on In country development;employing systems and career-long perspectives;responding to the uniqueness of Hub countries;and promoting dialogue, partnership and sustainability. Research capacity in AFFIRM sites is envisioned as a closely interconnected sequence of steps, to identify and fully prepare colleagues for involvement in mental health research. At each stage, various activities, targeting cadres at a wide-variety of career stages, will be carried out. These will be divided into Hub-funded activities, including fellowships to attend short courses on specific research themes, and visit research countries for shadowing, and activities not funded by the Hub but created through opportunities of bringing Hub together, including introductory teaching sessions and masters-level programmes. Activities will be prioritized according to results from the comprehensive baseline capacity needs assessments, and their alignment with the terms of the FOA. Capacity building within the Hub will also focus on net-working with other awarded regional Hubs.

Public Health Relevance

Developing mental health research capacity in Africa is essential for widening the global knowledge base and enabling the indigenization of local mental health practice to reflect the diverse realities of Africa's health systems and cultures. Mental health research, that is relevant In Africa, is essential for improving the mental health situation, and promoting growth, development and equity. Such research can only be conducted where there is sufficient in-country capacity and infrastructure

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Research Program--Cooperative Agreements (U19)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZMH1)
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University of Cape Town
South Africa
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