n South African Journal of Higher Education - Health Research in South Africa : are we meeting the needs?

Volume 23, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1011-3487



In the early 1990s, the Commission on Health Research for Development of the World Health Organization estimated that only about 5 per cent of the world's resources for health research were being used to address the health problems of developing countries, where 93 per cent of the world's burden of preventable disease occurred. The term the '10/90 gap' was coined to describe this mismatch (Global Forum for Health Research 2008).

A compliance effort analysis was undertaken, where the funding for health research in South Africa from government funding agencies and the publication of research in conference proceedings and books were compared with the health research needs in terms of six major research categories. It was found that there is a mismatch between health research needs and funding, that not all categories with poor funding had poor delivery and that certain categories were very poorly represented in the health research output. These findings are discussed briefly.

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