Africa Mapping: Current State of Health Research on Poverty-related and Neglected Infectious Diseases in sub-Saharan Africa

black doctor and microscope



The past two decades have seen a substantial increase in the funding of control programmes aimed at poverty-related and neglected infectious diseases (PRNIDs). The volume of global research & development investments in this area has also shown a marked increase.


This study aims to look at the current state of funding for research on PRNIDs across sub-Saharan Africa. The research has been carried out using a combination of desk research, using both peer-reviewed and grey literature and 303 key informant interviews, with civil servants, multilateral organisations, and researchers from 46 sub-Saharan African countries.

The European & Developing Countries Clinical Trial Partnership (EDCTP) supported RAND Europe and Baird’s CMC in conducting this research to inform the scope, remit and strategy of its second programme (EDTCP2), through developing an understanding of the current state of health research funding in sub-Saharan Africa and identification of gaps.

Findings and Recommendations

  • The literature highlights the geographical distribution of health research articles to be heavily skewed towards South Africa and East Africa.
  • Both the literature review and fieldwork indicate a high coverage of HIV/AIDS relative to other PRNIDs, in terms of research conducted and funding allocated, which is covered at a rate of more than double that of malaria. TB is third-most covered, with other neglected infectious diseases trailing.
  • The research also found a lack of funding to be the main barrier to the development of clinical research in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • This was followed by a surprising number of interviewees citing lack of policymaker understanding of the importance of research, as a major barrier, above lack of human resources and lack of infrastructure. (See map below)
Map of Africa showing a barrier to development of clinical research