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RESEARCH DISSEMINATION CRUCIAL, RESEARCHERS URGE

 A cross section of researchers during a two-day intensive workshop on communications and research that brought together a group of researchers from Southern African Centre for Infectious Disease Surveillance (SACIDS) held at Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) in Morogoro at the weekend. 
A cross section of researchers pose for a group photo during a two-day intensive workshop on communications and research that brought together a group of researchers from Southern African Centre for Infectious Disease Surveillance (SACIDS) held at Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) in Morogoro at the weekend.
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Research dissemination crucial, researchers urge

RESEARCHERS have called for proper dissemination of research findings in order to address the challenge of infectious diseases transmitted from species to species on the African continent and beyond.

The call was made by the Southern African Centre for Infectious Disease Surveillance (SACIDS) Executive Director Mark Rweyemamu at the Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) in Morogoro at the weekend while closing the two-day intensive workshop on communications and research that brought together a group of researchers from SACIDS.

SACIDS is a consortium of 25 institutions across five Southern African countries working on One Health – a principle that integrates human and animal health, as well as the environment, in partnership with eight Northern institutions.

Rweyemamu said researchers produce knowledge and evidence that must be communicated to audiences as diverse as government officials, non-governmental organisations and local communities to ensure that people are protected from diseases. “The two-day training aimed to equip researchers with skills to effectively communicate with one another and their audiences.” He said.

The training participants, professors, postdoctoral researchers, PhD students and research support staff, came from Tanzania, Zambia and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The workshop was jointly delivered by SACIDS and its partner organisation, London International Development Centre, University of London.

Trainees learned about the basic principles of communicating research, understanding audiences, communicating in Plain English, writing for the web, disseminating research via social media and blogs, interacting with policy-makers and with media.

A highlight of the programme was a presentation on how researchers can work with media, followed by practical exercises, delivered by Gabriel Nderumaki, Acting Managing Editor of Tanzania Standard Newspapers (TSN) Ltd. Justin Masumu, a participant from DRC during the training said, “This training helped me understand basic principles of communication, especially Plain English. I wish it could last longer.”

Aaron Mweene Another participant from Zambia added that “Clarity and focus are cardinal in effective communication.” The participants came out of the workshop energised and with new confidence to mainstream communications efforts in their home institutions. They made a commitment to writing shorter sentences, using social media to communicate research, engaging with media more regularly, and simplifying their messages to fit the needs of their audiences.

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