Globalization and health 2016 08 2412(1) 50 doi 10.1186/s12992-016-0188-2
Collaboration between Sub-Saharan African researchers is important for the generation and transfer of health technology assessment (HTA) evidence, in order to support priority-setting in health. The objective of this analysis was to evaluate collaboration patterns between countries.
We conducted a rapid evidence assessment that included a random sample of health economic evaluations carried out in 20 countries (Angola, Botswana, Congo, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Uganda). We conducted bibliometric network analysis based on all first authors with a Sub-Saharan African academic affiliation and their co-authored publications ("network-articles"). Then we produced a connection map of collaboration patterns among Sub-Saharan African researchers, reflecting the number of network-articles and the country of affiliation of the main co-authors.
The sample of 119 economic evaluations mostly related to treatments of communicable diseases, in particular HIV/AIDS (42/119, 35.29 %) and malaria (26/119, 21.85 %). The 39 first authors from Sub-Saharan African institutions together co-authored 729 network-articles. The network analysis showed weak collaboration between health economic researchers in Sub-Saharan Africa, with researchers being more likely to collaborate with Europe and North America than with other African countries. South Africa stood out as producing the highest number of health economic evaluations and collaborations.
The development and evaluation of HTA research networks in Sub-Saharan Africa should be supported, with South Africa central to any such efforts. Organizations and institutions from high income countries interested in supporting priority setting in Sub-Saharan Africa should include promoting collaboration as part of their agendas, in order to take advantage of the potential transferability of results and methods of the available health economic analyses in Africa and internationally.