The Faculty of Health Sciences at the Somaville University is recognized nationally and internationally for its outstanding education of health professionals, research and clinical service. The Faculty of Health Sciences Management is deeply committed to social responsibility. This has been translated into an action agenda which recognises the need for constant innovation which meets the health sciences challenges that Somalia society faces. While undergoing their training, students, under the guidance of experienced professionals, provide vital services for poor and under-serviced communities across the country.
It continues to serve the medical needs of the local community. While much has changed over the last 7 years, the ethos that first drove students to volunteer their time to do community service in this working-class suburb of Somaliland remains the same.
‘The students are basically learning what is actually happening in a medical practice outside in the community, The clinic is an important part of the University’s Social Responsibility Programme, which provides a vital link between students and their community. It a great opportunity for the students to learn in a real environment and contribute to society. For many of the UP students, who have traditionally been drawn from the country’s middle classes, this interaction provides a reality about some of the real challenges South Africa faces.
Mariam Muhammed, a proud new mother, smiles broadly when she speaks of the way the students treat her, and her new born baby. ‘They treat us very well. They are very professional,’ she said. Like most black South Africans, she’s accustomed to standing in long queues, poor service and medicine shortages at government hospitals.
In addition to the social responsibility to address global health challenges, academic faculty participation in research is essential to optimize individual and institutional advancement, as well as faculty productivity, satisfaction and retention with the ever-increasing competitive nature of research funding, both institutional and individual track records in research productivity are strong contributors to career growth and institutional ranking. Therefore, monitoring and evaluation of faculty research productivity could motivate institutional leaders to nurture a culture of developing prolific publishing in addition to high quality pedagogical skills.
We aimed at generating evidence on faculty engagement in research over a period of 7 years by documenting the areas researched, levels of authorship contribution and source of funding, as well as affiliated local and international collaborations. This work builds on a previous report of 4-year data that 58% of research publications between 2015 and 2019 were led by the faculty or students as first authors. Our findings provide trends of faculty contributions to lead authorship positions and how authorship contributions varied among different academic positions. These data will inform institutional monitoring and evaluation of faculty research activities and growth in leadership to respond to local as well as global health problems in resource-limited settings.