There is a paucity of scientific evidence originating from the African continent. (1) For evidence emanating from Africa, African researchers have very poor access to these publications. (1) In addition, the context within the African continent and other low- to middle-income countries, are vastly different to that of higher-income countries, and the evidence produced in these settings may not be transferrable to us. (More on this here).
For these reasons it is essential for African researchers to start generating our own evidence that is applicable to our own context. A couple of barriers have been identified to performing research in the African EM setting. (2) These mainly include a lack of funding, training and time. (2) Let’s be fair, the amount of patients that we need to see with limited resources, makes research an unachievable luxury. But research does not have to be complicated. We don’t have to start with the multi-national, multi-centre, prehospital randomised controlled trial. Start with describing what is happening in your specific system, or what resources you have to work with, or what patients you see. There are many examples of these published in AfJEM, Africa’s only EM journal. This kind of data is essential so that we can continue gaining contextual insight and, you cannot solve a problem which you have not yet described or do not understand yet.
In this manner, research might be easier than you think!
I recently did a podcast at #badEMfest18 on this topic in prehospital care, with FOAMmedic.
Bruijns S, Maesela M, Sinha S, Banner M. Poor Access for African Researchers to African Emergency Care Publications: A Cross-sectional Study. West J Emerg Med. 2017;18(6):1018–24. DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.5811%2Fwestjem.2017.8.34930. PMID: 290855321.