Building Partnership in Oral Cancer Research in a Developing Country - Processes and Barriers


Background: The rising burden of cancer in the developing world calls for a re-evaluation of the treatmentstrategies employed to improve patient management, early detection and understanding of the disease. There isthus an increasing demand for interdisciplinary research that integrates two or more disciplines of what mayseemed to be highly unrelated and yet very much needed as strategies for success in research. This paper intendsto present the processes and barriers faced in building partnerships in oral cancer research in a developingcountry.
Methods: A case study was undertaken in a developing country (Malaysia) to assess the strengths andweaknesses of the situation leading to the formation of a multidisciplinary research partnership in oral cancer.Following the formalization of the partnership, further evaluation was undertaken to identify measures thatcan assist in sustaining the partnership.
Results: The group identifies its strength as the existence of academia,research-intensive NGOs and good networking of clinicians via the existence of the government’s network ofhealthcare provider system who are the policy makers. The major weaknesses identified are the competinginterest between academia and NGOs to justify their existence due to the lack of funding sources and welltrained human resource.
Conclusions: With the growing partnership, the collaborative group recognizes theneed to develop standard operating procedures (SOPs) and guidelines for the sharing and usage of resources inorder to safeguard the interest of the original partners while also attending to the needs of the new partners.