McGann, M.; Grantham-McGregor, Sally M.; McCaw-Binns, Affette M.
Author Affiliation, Ana.
Health research in the Commonwealth Caribbean
West Indian Medical Journal
Date of Publication
Health research and the dissemination of its findings are important to healthcare development. It is therefore useful to monitor the productivity of scientists and to examine the difficulties which affect their ability to conduct and publish research findings. Aims to examine these factors in six Caribbean countries. Health researchers publishing two or more papers in referred professional journals between 1987 and 1990 were interviewed to determine area of research, number of publications and research constraints. In those four years, 427 first authored articles were published by those interviewed. University of the West Indies researchers in the three campus territories published most of the articles, with little research being done in noncampus territories. Of seven priority areas defined by Caribbean Health Ministers, most researchers were interested in chronic diseases, maternal and child health, followed by nutrition and the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). There was not much research on human resource development and strengthening of health care systems. Major constraints to research were lack of resources including funding, time, staff and equipment. Despite this, only 54% had applied for funding. There were few posts for research at the University of the West Indies. Notwithstanding these constraints, researchers were conducting several projects simultaneously and were involved with more projects than would be expected from the number of publications. Many expressed the need for experienced advice and assistance in writing protocols and analyzing data. At the University of the West Indies it might be helpful to appoint a senior person or group in each department with specific responsibility for promoting research.....