Background: Since its inception in 2009, the Consortium for Advanced Research Training in Africa (CARTA) program has focused on strengthening the capacity of nine African universities and four research centres to produce skilled researchers and scholars able to improve public and population health on the continent. This study describes the alignment between CARTA-supported doctoral topics and publications with the priorities articulated by the African public and population health research agenda. Methods: We reviewed the output from CARTA PhD fellows between 2011 and 2018 to establish the volume and scope of the publications, and the degree to which the research focus coincided with the SDGs, World Bank, and African Development Bank research priority areas. We identified nine key priority areas into which the topics were classified. Results: In total, 140 CARTA fellows published 806 articles in peer-reviewed journals over the 8 years up to 2018. All the publications considered in this paper had authors affiliated with African universities, 90% of the publications had an African university first author and 41% of the papers have CARTA fellows as the first author. The publications are available in over 6300 online versions and have been cited in over 5500 other publications. About 69% of the published papers addressed the nine African public and population health research agenda and SDG priority areas. Infectious diseases topped the list of publications (26.8%), followed by the health system and policy research (17.6%), maternal and child health (14.7%), sexual and reproductive health (14.3%). Conclusions: Investments by CARTA in supporting doctoral studies provides fellows with sufficient training and skills to publish their research in fields of public and population health. The number of publications is understandably uneven across Africa's public and population priority areas. Even while low in number, fellows are publishing in areas such as non-communicable disease, health financing, neglected tropical diseases and environmental health. Violence and injury is perhaps underrepresented. There is need to keep developing research capacity in partner institutions with low research output by training more PhDs in such institutions and by facilitating enabling environments for research.
- African agenda
- Doctoral research
- Peer review publications
- Population and health priorities