Rosemary Musesengwa

I am a postdoctoral researcher with the Global Initiative in Neuropsychiatric GenEthics – NeuroGenE at the Department of Psychiatry, and with the Wellcome Centre for Ethics & Humanities at the Big Data Institute. I will explore ethical challenges of research on Neurogenetics in developing countries and on ethical challenges of digital metal health for adolescents. I will also be working with the African Ethics Working Group – AEWG providing advice on ethical challenges of multi-site genetic studies in African countries. The AEWG builds capacity in both research and training within the ethics of neuropsychiatric genetics and genomics by publishing articles, ethical guidelines and delivering training.

Previously, I was Programme Manager for the African Mental Health Research Initiative (AMARI). I also worked as the Head of the Medical Research Council of Zimbabwe before joining AMARI. My undergraduate studies were in Microbiology & Genetics, but in later years I made the shift to Research Ethics by completing a master’s degree in Public Health majoring in Research Ethics, at the University of Pretoria in 2008, later followed by a PhD in Public Health with the University of KwaZulu Natal in 2017. My thesis focused on the Ethics of Community Engagement in Multicentre Studies.


  • Debate: Promoting capabilities for young people’s agency in the COVID-19 outbreak.

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    The COVID‐19 pandemic is having a pervasive effect on young people's mental health and well‐being, giving rise to feelings of deep uncertainty and lack of control. Inspired by Amartya Sen's capabilities framework, we argue that building capacity and creating opportunities for community and civic engagement during this time will help young people gain agency and well‐being. We highlight two key areas for participatory engagement: coproduction of research, and peer‐led interventions. Providing capabilities for young people's agency not only builds personal resilience, but also strengthens the quality of our research, interventions and overall response to the global health crisis.

  • Developing sustainable capacity-building in mental health research: implementation outcomes of training of trainers in systematic reviewing

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    Less than 1% of biomedical research papers originate in Africa. Locally relevant mental health research, including synthesis of existing evidence, is essential for developing interventions and strengthening health systems, but institutions may lack the capacity to deliver training on systematic reviewing for publication in international journals. This paper describes the development and implementation of a training-of-trainers (ToT) course on systematic reviewing. The ToT prepared junior faculty (‘trainers’) from universities in Ethiopia, Malawi, and Zimbabwe to lead a five-day systematic reviewing workshop. Using an evaluation framework based on implementation science outcomes, the feasibility of the ToT was assessed by tracking the number of workshops the trainers subsequently conducted and the number of trainers and trainees who participated; acceptability was assessed through post-workshop surveys on trainee perspectives; impact was evaluated through trainee scores on a 15-item multiple choice test on systematic reviewing concepts; and sustainability was assessed based on whether the workshop was integrated into university curricula. Twelve trainers (86% of those trained) facilitated a total of seven workshops in their home countries (total 103 trainees). The first workshop run in each country was evaluated, and there was a significant improvement in mean knowledge scores between pre- and post-tests among trainees (MD= 3.07, t= 5.90, 95% CI 2.02–4.11). In two of the three countries, there are efforts to integrate the systematic review workshop into university curricula. The cost of the workshop led by the international trainer was $1480 per participant, whereas the trainer-led workshops cost approximately $240 per participant. Overall, ToT is relatively new to research capacity building, although it has been used widely in clinical settings. Our findings suggest ToT is a promising, low-cost way to develop both technical skills of individuals and the pedagogical capacity of universities, and to promote sustainability of research capacity building programs that often have time-limited grant funding.