Medical research: a third-world casualty?
Translating the discoveries of clinical research into practice is vital, as the UK’s Academy of Medical Sciences says in a recent report. But what do doctors in developing countries face in trying to keep up with the task?
In this article, Zulfiqar Bhutta, Husein Lalji Dewraj Professor of Paediatrics and Child Health at the Aga Khan University in Karachi, Pakistan, says the challenges are legion. Medical academics in the developing world tend to work far from clinics. They often teach huge classes and bear heavy workloads, and struggle with poor salaries and little access to new findings in biomedicine. The research they conduct is all too often underfunded and irrelevant to national needs.
What can be done? While access to new research in the West needs freeing up, boosting the research capacity of national universities is essential. So, although global programmes promoting international collaborations and funding are urgently needed, sustainable initiatives will have to come from within.
Reference: BMJ 327, 1000 (2003)