Research continues, despite and in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Nowhere more so than in the area of health care. In January 2021, right in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, Professor Dr. Shafiu Mohammed arrived in Berlin from Nigeria to take up work at the Department of Health Care Management led by Professor Dr. Reinhard Busse. Professor Mohammed was awarded an Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Georg Forster Research Fellowship for experienced researchers from developing and transition countries.
Shafiu Mohammed researches and teaches at the renowned Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria, Nigeria, where he is head of the Department of Clinical Pharmacy and Pharmacy Practice and coordinator of the Health Systems and Policy Research Unit (HSPRU), which combines the expertise of 11 departments working in the area of health care. A proven expert in research into health systems and national healthcare networks, Mohammed holds a doctorate in public health as well as a master’s in international health and a bachelor’s in pharmacy.
“Working with my German colleagues, I want to research performance assessment methods for health systems and examine their suitability for countries with low to middle incomes. I particularly want to focus on Nigeria and other sub-Saharan African nations,” explains Mohammed.
His decision to intensify his research work in Germany is no coincidence. Mohammed also enjoys a long and close association with the Heidelberg Institute of Global Health (HIGH) at the medical faculty of Heidelberg University, where he began researching and teaching as a faculty member in 2007.
His main interest, however, is the development of health systems in his homeland, where he has organized studies with patients, health care stakeholders, and politicians, and as a young man worked as a volunteer in a number of areas, including vaccination and public information campaigns about polio and measles aimed at reducing infant mortality and improving maternal health.
TU Berlin’s interest in developing its ties with Africa is summed up by Wilm Quentin of the Department of Health Care Management, who says “We have already been working in Africa for a number of years and are now looking to develop our cooperations there.” The Department of Healthcare Management recently received funding from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research for two major projects in Ghana led by Quentin. One project focuses on information and communication technologies in African health care, while the other examines the possibilities to introduce a health insurance system for poorer members of society. Following on from this, in April 2021, the Department for Health Care Management acquired a further global center (G-WAC) working with partners such as Charité Berlin and Ghana’s Kwame Nkrumah University. G-WAC examines epidemiology, the development of pandemics, and health systems in Africa and is also led by Wilm Quentin.
As author of numerous journal articles and chapters on a wide range of topics affecting healthcare development, in particular epidemiology, financing for health care and health care policy, Mohammed’s expertise is of great value to TU Berlin. “We want to benefit from Dr. Mohammed’s expertise in health care research and his contacts within African health care to use the methods we have developed to assess the performance of health systems in an African context,” adds Quentin
He also points out that TU Berlin is host to one of the three research centers of the World Health Organization’s European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies and underlines the importance of involving Shafiu Mohammed in work with the WHO to develop an African Observatory on Health Systems and Policies to coordinate international exchange on health policy throughout Africa.