Context and Scope of health research in Swaziland
The current legal environment of Swaziland does not provide a framework for research. Therefore, the National Health Research Policy prioritizes health research and its effective coordination in the country. Having appreciated the imperative role research plays in quality health development and the urgent need for enhancing skilled local research capacity, the Ministry, in collaboration with World Health Organization Country Office, has developed a Health Research Policy. The policy provides a basis for promoting multidisciplinary research and this strategic plan is the vehicle through which the policy will be implemented.
Most research activities are done through the concerted efforts and programmatic priorities of MOH partners and stakeholders, often times by international and external parties who directly undertake, sponsor and support significant health services and systems strengthening research, clinical research, public health, primary care and socio-cultural research (the research ‘pillars’). Health Research is an important public investment because it:
- Produces health discoveries that lead to better health products, health-care services and stimulates sector-wide medical breakthroughs;
- Provides evidence for sound health care decisions and policy-making;
- Helps generate information on disease patterns, address health issues leading to a healthier, more productive population;
- Helps address health system issues, improving quality, accessibility and sustainability;
- Provides a source of expertise and leadership for adapting and applying new approaches and interventions;
- Sustains health science and related education for our next generation of health service providers and health researchers;
- Builds strong programs that attract excellent health researchers, faculty and students;
- Provides opportunities for highly skilled jobs in the health sector; and offers the potential for innovative business opportunities and provincial economic growth.
Therefore, the Health Research Department within the Ministry of Health will facilitate, coordinate, guide, monitor and enthuse over health research. Building research capacity, productivity and culture around health research will also be a key component.