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Genomics research in Africa and its impact on global health: insights from African researchers

  • N. S. Munung (a1), B. M. Mayosi (a1) (a2) and J. de Vries (a1)
Abstract

Africa may be heading for an era of genomics medicine. There are also expectations that genomics may play a role in reducing global health inequities. However, the near lack of genomics studies on African populations has led to concerns that genomics may widen, rather than close, the global health inequity gap. To prevent a possible genomics divide, the genomics ‘revolution’ has been extended to Africa. This is motivated, in part, by Africa's rich genetic diversity and high disease burden. What remains unclear, however, are the prospects of using genomics technology for healthcare in Africa. In this qualitative study, we explored the views of 17 genomics researchers in Africa on the prospects and challenges of genomics medicine in Africa. Interviewees were researchers in Africa who were involved in genomics research projects in Africa. Analysis of in-depth interviews suggest that genomics medicine may have an impact on disease surveillance, diagnosis, treatment and prevention. However, Africa's capacity for genomics medicine, current research priorities in genomics and the translation of research findings will be key defining factors impacting on the ability of genomics medicine to improve healthcare in Africa.

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Copyright
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Corresponding author
*Address for correspondence: N. S. Munung, Department of Medicine, University of Cape Town and Groote Schuur Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa. (Email: nchangwisyntia@yahoo.com)
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Global Health, Epidemiology and Genomics
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