Participation of African social scientists in malaria control: identifying enabling and constraining factors
Ngalame, Paulyne M
Williams, Holly A
Nyamongo, Isaac K
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Abstract Objective To examine the enabling and constraining factors that influence African social scientists involvement in malaria control. Methods Convenience and snowball sampling was used to identify participants. Data collection was conducted in two phases: a mailed survey was followed by in-depth phone interviews with selected individuals chosen from the survey. Findings Most participants did not necessarily seek malaria as a career path. Having a mentor who provided research and training opportunities, and developing strong technical skills in malaria control and grant or proposal writing facilitated career opportunities in malaria. A paucity of jobs and funding and inadequate technical skills in malaria limited the type and number of opportunities available to social scientists in malaria control. Conclusion Understanding the factors that influence job satisfaction, recruitment and retention in malaria control is necessary for better integration of social scientists into malaria control. However, given the wide array of skills that social scientists have and the variety of deadly diseases competing for attention in Sub Saharan Africa, it might be more cost effective to employ social scientists to work broadly on issues common to communicable diseases in general rather than solely on malaria.