The mission by and large, was to strengthen partnership and collaboration to enhance key capacities of the National Institute of Health and the universities in Public research to ensure prevention, early detection, preparedness, response and recovery to deal with Health risks with the aim to contribute to the reduction of morbidity, mortality, disability and socioeconomic disruptions caused by outbreaks and other public health emergencies in Somalia.
The risk of diseases importation into the Republic of Somalia through cross border, and long standing civil war is evident. Somalia has long porous border with Kenya and is considered to be very high due to the following reasons; long porous border with part of North Eastern Kenya, movements of people to and from Dadaab Refugee camp with frequent influx and is mainly occupied by Somali Refugees, illegal trade, presence of IDPs and refugees coupled with insecurity along the common border.
For all these reasons, NIH, Local and international universities and WHO are in collaboration towards up scaling Diseases surveillance, Research and risk assessment of common infectious disease in the country. This implies that the Republic of Federal Government of Somalia and their Regional states are to scale up preparedness, prevention activities and test operational readiness for the emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases response.
As envisaged in NIH mandates in Promoting models of local universities partnerships and collaboration networks linking research to policy and practice and create contacts with universities and other health entities we had series of both physical and online meetings with various universities at Federal and member states. In this regard therefore we had action oriented plans where we visited various universities and meet both management and technical teams to discuss best ways of working on public health priority research areas in the country
The meetings were impressive, encouraging and successful. The attendance responses by the universities were overwhelming an indication of motivation and interest in health research in the country more so in our local Somali universities. NIH in its efforts to lay the foundation of health research, development of National Ethical Guidelines, Capacity Building in health research and Health Research Priority Setting organised the meetings and glad to report that response by our universities is a step in the right direction. We will continue with these endeavours until we achieve the mission in ensuring Research partnership is strengthened within our academic institutions and beyond.
In summery Issues discussed in the meetings
NIH Research team briefing about NIH, history, the leadership of the institute, priorities, pillars, and research themes;
NIH highlights the main activities of NIH since its establishment (the first NIH Research conference in Garowe, Consultative meetings with universities, the Somali health Action Journal, prioritization meetings held with stakeholders, universities, and recent meetings with WHO EMRO, MOH, and Universities).
Emphasized the Importance of partnerships with universities to reach/enable NIH strategies and establish strong collaborations with all stakeholders; touched based NIH was impressed with Universities presentation at the WHO EMRO, MoH, and University meetings in the recent .
Universities were asked to share their profiles with NIH and suggested that NIH is looking to partner and collaborates with some select universities
Universities appreciation to NIH team visit and interest to collaborate with universities faculties of medicine on health research and other areas of mutual benefit
University teams highlighted about the challenges that universities face like the lack of coordination of research priorities at the national level, policy formulation based on research outputs, and overlap of research topics.
Further discussed the importance of collaboration, having equal opportunities among the universities, close communication, readiness, and commitment regarding partnership to improving the health system of the country
The Research Coordinators of universities appreciated the NIH team effort and briefed them about the research units of the faculties of medicine and health sciences (history of the research unit, main activities, published paper-reviewed journals). It would be appropriate to provide capacity building training for universities to improve the quality of research as we know that the quality of research in Somalia is low.
Establish ethical research guidelines and review boards/ committee for Somalia so that universities can share with us their guidelines they have set up to provide.
University team in the meeting extended their sincere gratitude to NIH team for their noble discussion and recognition to organize important meeting with universities,
At the end of the meetings university teams agreed to move the mission in Health research and partnership to a greater level with NIH
Bridging Research into Action
During the meetings we have been able to discuss the Principles of Practice for Research Partnership as follows
- Relationship between researchers and stakeholders – Trust, credibility, respect, dignity, and transparency
- Recognize diverse expertise Shared decision making and Equity
- Partners co-produce knowledge –
- Shared ownership over the data and actionable knowledge
- Mutual Benefits, Accountability, Agenda Setting
- Capacity Building, long-term implementation of findings
- Meaningful stakeholder engagement – Plan their strategic approach to collaboration.
– Flexible and creative in the collaborative research activities
- Ethical issues of collaborative research activities – Partners address ethical issues related to the collaborative research activities
- Universities to send their Profiles to NIH
- Submit Contact persons, official email and Telephone of respective universities
- NIH to propose the Date and Time for the next meeting to discuss partnership and collaboration
- NIH to organise monthly coordination meeting
- NIH linking universities to SHAJ inclusion
Photos taken during meeting mission with various universities
Meeting with Institute of Medical Research at Simad University
NIH Meeting at SIMAD University Rector
Jazeera University and NIH Teams
Abrar University and NIH Team meeting at Rectors office