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Health Policy. 2010 Mar;94(3):211-20. doi: 10.1016/j.healthpol.2009.09.009. Epub 2009 Oct 28.

Scarcity and inequity of mental health research resources in low-and-middle income countries: a global survey.

Author information

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Universidade Federal de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil. drazzouk@gmail.com



To map mental health research capacity and resources in low-and-middle-income countries (LAMIC) for the years 1993-2003.


Mental health researchers from 114 LAMIC in three continents were identified through their publications in two databases (Medline and PsycInfo) and from local grey literature. A questionnaire was developed and sent to authors to elicit information about researchers' background, available resources and details of up to three recent projects.


4208 researchers from 83 countries were identified through 6340 mental health indexed-publications and 3598 publications from the grey literature. 912 researchers from 52 countries completed the questionnaires. Researchers and publications were concentrated in 10% of the countries. Respondents reported participation in 1847 projects, most of which were devoted to depression and anxiety disorders, substance misuse and psychoses. Epidemiologic studies, social, psychological and clinical research accounted for 80% of all projects. Two-thirds of projects had received external funding, and less than one-third of them were conducted in collaboration with other countries.


Mental health research capacity is scarce and unequally distributed in LAMIC. Global agencies for health research as well as LAMIC with higher concentrations of researchers and scientific output should play a more decisive role in strengthening the capacity of other LAMIC enhancing South-South partnerships and networks.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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