CEBHA+ participation in the Research Networks for Health in Sub-Saharan Africa Midterm Meeting

Accra, Ghana

January 28th – 31st, 2020

CEBHA+ constitutes one of the five Research Networks for Health in Sub-Saharan Africa funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). Whilst CEBHA+ is the only network with a focus on non-communicable diseases, research in the other four networks is centred on communicable and neglected tropical diseases: cysticercosis (CYSTINET-A), filariasis (TAKeOFF), tuberculosis sequelae (TB Sequel) and the epidemiology and management of common infectious agents (ANDEMIA). Along with participants from the four other research networks, CEBHA+ researchers, students and staff participated in a four-day networking meeting and Midterm reflection in Accra in January 2020.

The meeting offered the opportunity to hear updates on ongoing research activities within the five networks and to learn some preliminary results. Common challenges and lessons learned from across the five networks, as identified by an external evaluation of the five research networks, were discussed. The evaluators highlighted the CEBHA+ integrated knowledge translation (IKT) approach as very valuable for the long-term impact of the project, and suggested that other networks could learn from this. Other Midterm meeting sessions included a presentation of the CEBHA+ IKT approach by Dr Olive Kobusingye (Makerere University, Uganda) and Prof Eva Rehfuess (LMU Munich, Germany), panel discussions with policy-makers and representatives from the scientific advisory board, a presentation of a cross-network initiative on digital health and knowledge translation, and a poster presentation by PhD and Master students.

During the workshop phase, CEBHA+ researchers Dr Bey-Marrie Schmidt and Dr Lisa Pfadenhauer led a workshop on knowledge translation which was attended by 30 representatives from the five networks and policymakers. It served as a platform to discuss network-specific knowledge translation approaches and to exchange thoughts on respective barriers and facilitators. This was followed by a hands-on training session on stakeholder analysis as an initial step to developing a formalised stakeholder engagement strategy. The workshop demonstrated that a variety of tailored, both formalised and informal approaches to knowledge translation are undertaken across the research networks and that participants appreciated the opportunity to exchange ideas and strategies on knowledge translation.