Medical Research Training: as one of the Afghan medical students’ goals
Author: Shohra Qaderi
Editors: Akihiko Ozaki, Yudai Kaneda
As a medical student from Afghanistan, I have always tracked the development of medical research in my country. In Afghanistan, medical research had taken only its first steps of progression before the Taliban. Several centers, including private universities and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), were available to provide research training and support the researchers in completing their projects.
In the immediate aftermath of the Taliban’s success in taking over Afghanistan, almost all the NGOs left the country. Universities experienced a robust change in their administrative system, undermining medical research activities. Recently, the Taliban government announced public universities’ re-opening both for males and females. Although the universities have resumed their activities with gender and/or studying shifts segregation in place, most students are willing to attend and continue their education.
Since 2020, Dr. Ozaki and I have been doing multiple studies about the health issues in Afghanistan, including women, children, and vulnerable groups’ health issues, and recently came up with an idea of providing training in medical research for interested students via the internet both online and offline. Thanks to my experience and long-term networking with Afghan medical students in various provinces, I point it out to them to understand and spot health problems and many gaps in medicine through research. However, they cannot conduct research due to low research skills and knowledge.
Accordingly, on February 9, 2022, we set a call in social media to invite medical students for a free discussion in the Google Meet application to grasp their needs and requests on our team.
In this platform, an opportunity has been created for students to talk about their wishes from research and help them in their path. The majority of the students complained of not having any formal education and training in medical research. Some even mentioned that they are not familiar with the importance of research in medicine. They pointed out that there are many health issues and diseases that kill a large number of people, but no data or investigations have been obtained from them. Therefore, most students were pleased and willing to have lectures and classes about medical research adjusted to Afghanistan.
To meet their requests, we are considering organizing a series of regular lectures to teach the basics of public health research and man-to-man research consultation programs. Obviously, the long-term commitment is essential before they gain the required skills and knowledge to carry out meaningful research in the country. However, we make every effort to make this program a life-changing experience for the students and build research capacity in my country.