Young medical researchers from various health institutions in the region are undergoing a two-day training workshop on drafting and submission of medical grant applications.
The forum hosted by Imbuto Foundation in partnership with the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI), aims at addressing the skills gap among health professionals in applying for grants to fund projects vital for public health.
Speaking to The New Times yesterday, Dr. Stephen Rulisa, the Head of Clinical Research at Kigali Teaching Hospital (CHUK) and one of the trainees, said that the exercise is invaluable.
“As medical researchers, we need this kind of training to improve our capacity in the areas of writing medical grants. Grant writing is still a challenge among young medical professionals,” he said.
Opening the event, Dr. Agnes Binagwaho, the Minister of Health observed that physicians and medical researchers rely on grants to fund projects that are important for public health, adding that it is an opportunity for them to learn how to write good proposals for the grants.
“The training is really needed for all the medical researchers because they require financial support when conducting their research,” she emphasised.
Binagwaho called upon them to use the training as a platform to share experiences in the practice of research in Africa and get hands-on capacity building in grant-writing.
The workshop held under the theme “Africa Young and Early Career Grant Writing”, brings together medical researchers from Kenya, Uganda and Zambia and as well as various health institutions in Rwanda.
Radegonde Ndejuru, the Director General of the Imbuto Foundation, observed that there is a lack of hands-on training in grant writing and research ethics among medical researchers.
“Imbuto organised this training to enable the medics acquire the necessary skills and identify opportunities for grant funding because the field of health is one that requires a lot of funding when it comes to research,” she noted.
Dr. Pamela Njuguna, a trainee from Kenya, said that she hopes to attain the basic principles of writing proper grant proposals.
“We are going to use this opportunity to increase our knowledge on how to write competitive grant applications,” added Njuguna, a research physician at Kenya Aids Vaccine Initiative.
According to Matshidiso Masire, the former IAVI Advocacy Director for Africa Region, every grant made available to medical professionals is accompanied by high competition among thousands of fellow researchers, which is why the medics need thorough training in writing grant applications.