The Mentor–Protégé Program in health research in Cameroon

Elsevier, The Lancet, Volume 393, Issue 10171, 7 February 2019, Pages 12-13.
Authors: 
Pierrette Essama Mekongo, Sylvie Kwedi Nolna, Marceline Djuidje Ngounoue, Judith Torimiro Ndongo, Mireille Ndje Ndje, Celine Nkenfou Nguefeu, Julienne Nguefack, Evelyn Mah, Amani Adjidja, Barbara Atogho Tiedeu, Marielle Paty Ngassa, Veronique Penlap Beng, Rose Gana Fomban Leke.

In Cameroon, leadership positions in health research are generally held by men. To reduce this gender gap, the Higher Institute for Growth in Health Research for Women (HIGHER Women) Consortium was founded in 2015 by Rose Leke to empower Cameroonian women scientists who have a motivation and inspiration for health research.

Among the major challenges faced by women in health research in Cameroon are gender bias, exclusion, lack of funds, unfavourable conditions for goal management, and inadequate use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in a male-driven environment.

The Consortium's Mentor–Protégé Program (MPP) provides protégés with proficient guidance to facilitate career growth. A mentor is a well established female scientist who voluntarily commits her experience and expertise to help develop the careers of emerging female researchers. A protégé is a female researcher with less than 5 years of research experience. The protégé must have a vision for growth and sustainability in her research area but also need guidance to improve her performance.