AMARI: African Mental Health Research Initiative (360G-Wellcome-107751_D_15_Z)
Mental, neurological and substance use (MNS) disorders are a leading, but neglected, cause of morbidity and mortality in sub-Saharan Africa . MNS disorders account for >25% of all years lived with disability globally, more than cardiac disease or cancer . The treatment gap is vast, only 10% of people with MNS disorders in low-income countries access evidence-based treatments, compared to 33% in high-income countries . Reasons for this include low awareness ofthe burden of MNS disorders and limited evidence to support development, adaptation and implementation of effective and feasible treatments. While pockets of mental health research excellence exist in Africa, MNS research capacity is generally limited, particularly in mental health intervention, service and system research. Mental health research excellence is currently undermined by restricted opportunities for training and mentorship, unclear career pathways, lack of integration in general medical settings, limited multi-disciplinary collaboration and the lack of a critical mass of MNS researchers and leaders. The overall goals of the African Mental Health Research Initiative (AMARI) areto build an African-led network of MNS researchers in Ethiopia, Malawi, South Africa and Zimbabwe, equipped to lead high quality mental health research programmes that meet the needs of their countries, and to establish a sustainable career pipeline for these researchers with the emphasis on integrating MNS research into existing programmes such as HIV/AIDS, maternal and child health. The objectives are to: 1. Select and train MNS research fellows from a range of disciplines at masters (n=25), PhD (n=20) and post-doctoral (n=6) levels in research excellence; 2. Build leadership skills of 26 fellows through adaptation of KCL Career Development Series on Leadership, Management and Mentoring; 3. Design and test an advocacy and systems change strategy for each country, aimed at building sustainable career pathways in MNS academia; 4. Develop a web-based support platform for training, supervision and networking. In year 1 we will undertake preparatory work to inform course development, thedesign of the advocacy and systems change strategy and gather baseline data for each country, for evaluation purposes, conducting qualitative and quantitative interviews with local policymakers and service users to identify needs and priorities through a theory of change map. We willtrain local supervisors, run pre-application workshops for potential applicants and assess existing training materials. . In years 2-5, fellows will begin higher degrees and courses as relevant. Trainingwill be mostly in Africa and using a) joint supervision by local and external supervisors with multidisciplinary expertise, b) taught modules in advanced MNS research methods, writing, and engagement with policy makers, and c) undertaking high priority MNS research. The underlying ethos of AMARI will be to ensure LMIC partner capacity is strengthened progressively towards self-sufficiency to ensure sustainability longer term. AMARI will be led by University of Zimbabwe College of Health Sciences (UZ-CHS). All consortium institutions will provide course facilitators and supervisors, with the Centrefor Global Mental Health (CGMH), University of Cape Town (UCT) and University College London (UCL) providing external supervision, research experts and materials for adaptation.
£49,068 05 May 2015