Collaboration to strengthen health research in Guinea

TDR, IDDO and the Gamal Abdel Nasser University of Conakry are collaborating to support early-career doctors and scientists in Guinea to build their research skills and ultimately strengthen the country’s health system.

Guinea workshop participants
Workshop participants

About 20 early-career doctors and scientists from across Guinea took part in the August workshop led by Dr Mahamoud Sama Cherif and supported by Professor Mandjou Diakité and Professor Pathé Diallo, of The University of Conakry, and IDDO’s Laura Merson. Participants spent a week strengthening skills in clinical research methods, good clinical practice and data management for clinical studies

Dr Cherif recently completed a 12-month WHO-TDR Career Development Fellowship with IDDO. The workshop was organised with the aim of sharing the knowledge gained during this fellowship with other researchers in Guinea. Dr Cherif used the skills developed during his year to design, implement and lead the training and mentorship programme for his home institute, the Gamal Abdel Nasser University of Conakry.

Dr Cherif said: “Following the deadly Ebola outbreak in Guinea, the Faculty of Medicine of GAN University of Conakry decided to improve clinical research and research training activities. This triggered a need for practical training on the basics of clinical research so that early-career clinicians understand research methodology and can take a critical thinking approach to the scientific literature relevant to their clinical practice."

Building capacity

“The main objective of the training was to build capacity in core research competencies which enable trainees to apply a high standard of research methods to clinical studies. The training focused on the generation of good quality data that can be used to generate reliable evidence for improved treatment of poverty-related diseases, including emerging infections. 

“Over the week, students were introduced to clinical research, from setting the research question, to protocol writing, data management and good clinical practice. They were also introduced to The Global Health Network, TGHN, learning platform, which can be used throughout their career for opportunities in learning and development to enhance professional competence.

“The next step of this capacity strengthening initiative is a mentorship scheme, which will equip participants with the skills to manage data more accurately and effectively, and ultimately help to improve the quality of the trainees’ research and create a closer network of researchers who support each other in their work.”

Positive impact

IDDO Associate Director Laura Merson said: “This workshop was very successful and underlined the importance of research as a part of the foundations of clinical medicine.

“Dr Cherif has taken the skills developed during his fellowship with IDDO and applied them to amplify the impact in Guinea and have a positive ripple effect through the next generation of clinical investigators.

“The workshop is part of wider collaborative work by IDDO and partner organisations to strengthen the integration of research into medical practice so that the health system is continually improving the management of priority diseases in Guinea.”

Organised in partnership with IDDO, TGHN and the University of Oxford. The project’s aim was to build expertise across Guinea by strengthening clinical research skills for medical students and early career scientists involved in research on poverty-related diseases and emerging infections.

Throughout the coming year participants will also take part in a series of one-day courses, online learning via TGHN, and on-going mentorship.

Reporters interview team

On its very first day, the workshop gained some national media attention. As participants gathered for the four-day workshop at The University of Conakry, reporters from  Radio Télévision Guinéenne, Guinea’s national news channel, arrived to interview the team.

Journalists spoke to the workshop’s three lecturers Dr Cherif, Laura Merson and Professor Mandjou Diakite about the work they were doing and the far reaching benefits of the workshop to the wider Guinea population. Watch the full interview below; English transcript available here.