. "7 BUILDING CAPACITY FOR AIDS-RELATED RESEARCH." Preventing and Mitigating AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa: Research and Data Priorities for the Social and Behavioral Sciences. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 1996.
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Preventing and Mitigating AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa: Research and Data Priorities for the Social and Behavioral Sciences
transferred adequately, local capacity is not being developed, and many projects are being discontinued shortly after expatriate assistance has been withdrawn (World Bank, 1991; Cohen, 1993; Berg, 1993; Jaycox, 1993).
A further problem is that the few African researchers who are currently available are in such high demand that they are often recruited onto projects without any expectation that they will contribute significantly to the projects' goals. Many funding agencies, national research boards, and sub-Saharan African governments require a local element in every international research project, so that most projects are required to list local collaborators as part of the project personnel. An unintended negative consequence of this policy, however, is that it places very heavy demands on a few African researchers. As a result, in far too many instances, Africans are invited to participate in projects without any intention of actually having them integrally involved in the research. The African is paid some (often paltry) consulting wage, and there is no expectation of any work being done. When reinforced over time and over many projects, such a policy creates the expectation among both parties that African collaborators do not function as equal partners in collaborative research projects, which in turn quickly becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy. Thus, there is an urgent need to change work practices and standards on international collaboration research projects and to reestablish a social contract that links pay to productivity.
With the knowledge that AIDS will continue to plague sub-Saharan Africa for many years into the future, it becomes clear that donor agencies would maximize the return on their investment in AIDS research in sub-Saharan Africa by placing greater emphasis on developing an indigenous research capacity relative to utilizing foreign expertise. An important step has been the establishment of the AIDS International Training Research Program in 1989. This program supports the training of foreign scientists in the United States and their home countries, as well as collaborative research between U.S. and foreign scientists. It is the largest global research training program for HIV/AIDS. Between 1989 and 1993, the program provided instruction in the United States for over 200 African health professionals from 18 sub-Saharan African countries. It also supported 65 in-country training courses in 7 sub-Saharan African countries, although only a small number of those trained were in the behavioral and social sciences. Nevertheless, the program has been quite successful, so that a significant proportion of the papers authored or coauthored by African researchers at international AIDS conferences are likely to have been written by former trainees in this program (United States Department of Health and Human Services, 1994).
Undoubtedly, the major constraints to conducting social and behavioral research in Africa are insufficient money and a lack of capable personnel. However, more could be accomplished with existing funding by eliminating overlap