|The New Vision Letter's page reaction to sperm count article|
|The New Vision cartoon on the sperm count article|
By Esther Nakkazi
On July 31st we published a news release from a paper published in the African Health sciences journal.
I and a team from the journal as well as Bernard Appiah based at Texas A&M now volunteer to do this for some of the exciting papers published in this journal. It helps that is is open access.
I help further do the dissemination because of my contacts most of whom I got from my work with the World Federation of Science journalists.
And I immediately put it out on my blog this one - it has a few eyeballs, 56 today, compared to my other posts, which make it to over 100+ instantly.
We went into this mode after I met most of these people at a 'building the bridges' 26-28th April, workshop in Kampala that was sponsored by the US National Library of Medicine with partners like Association of Health Care Journalists, Partnerships in Health Information (Phi) and the Alfred Friendly Press Partners.
We are all volunteers in this so we help each other out without really meeting physically. All of us are busy! But what we really aim to achieve is to help Africans appreciate research, so I think the letter and the cartoon ↑- I didn't add the article written by the New Vision yet -but I will- its offline, are just a good start to have this conversation.
We also want African researchers and scientists to be seen not only in 'peer reviewed journals' but also by their own African media. Maybe, that will improve the way Africans view research and ultimately African governments will fund research more. What they put in now is just peanuts. Africans will do research with their own agenda we hope. That will be super. I am just thinking aloud!
So here below I highlight the author and co-author's reaction and some people just called me to express themselves about the article.
I am happy with the controversy generated by this topic. We performed a systematic review of the studies available at our disposal since we did not get any RCT on the subject matter in the African population.
We are aware that our conclusions do not provide a grade A evidence but at least, it provided some epidemiological evidence. It is thus not right for Paul Odongo to dismiss our findings just like that considering the peculiar socio-economic characteristics of the study population.
We are very much aware that it is only a systematic review and meta-analysis with RCT, which give the highest degree of evidence. However, we did not find any RCT but used epidemiological studies to raise the alarm.
This newspaper report is describing some weaknesses of this study. We appreciate it. It will definitely help us to improve the quality of our future articles.
We are patting ourselves on the back as we await more comments and as we think of writing another press release from another paper from the African Health Sciences journal!