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Country Context

Country Context

Swaziland officially the Kingdom of Eswatini is a culturally rich, peaceful and small landlocked country. Swaziland is a landlocked country with an estimated surface area of 17, 364km squared. The population stands at 1, 018,449 (Central Statistics Office (CSO), 2007) with about 78.9% residing in rural areas.

According to Demographic Health Survey (DHS 2007) estimates 26% of the Swazi reproductive population (15 – 49 years) is living with HIV. The Swaziland HIV Incidence Measurement Survey (SHIMS) (2012) also found that 31% of the age group 18 – 49 is living with HIV. In addition, Swaziland has the highest TB prevalence and incidence in world at 850 per 100 000 and 1320 per 100 000, respectively. This high disease burden has attracted external and local partners like bilateral; multilaterals, UN, international NGOs and civil society to intensify research activities in the context of the HIV. Despite the need, enthusiasm and engagement towards health research, the absence of national direction on this, a significant proportion of research has not effectively contributed to the development of appropriate solutions or provided evidence that leads to sound policy formulation.

Research is a systematic investigation and when applied to health, research is central to improving health care. Health research provides new knowledge into individual diseases and health systems structures, effectiveness, efficiencies and can be used to inform policies. While the National Health Strategic Plan provides for the establishment of research activities, but there is a weak national infrastructure and system for health research due to lack of a health research strategic plan.