How we hurt ourselves…


For a few years I have reviewed abstracts for the International AIDS conferences. Nigerians have often met in these conferences. While we remain proud of our increasing contribution to the knowledge base….many …many of the abstracts submitted leave a lot to be desired.

Plagiarism is considered one of the worst offences in academia. This is defined as the use or close imitation of the language and thoughts of another author and the representation of them as one’s own original work

Find below and email I have just received from the conference organisers:

Dear IAS 2009 Abstract Reviewer,

We are writing to inform you that it has been discovered that one of the abstracts that were part of your IAS 2009 reviewing assignment in March was in fact plagiarized. The title of the abstract was the following:

Using information & communication technology (ICT) products to reduce stigmatization of HIV+ female sex-trafficked deportees as a measure of increasing access to antiretroviral treatment (ART) and Care in Edo-State, Nigeria

The conference secretariat is informing all reviewers who scored abstracts that have been found to be plagiarized to ensure that the record and reputation of the original author(s) stands protected. It is particularly critical in the event that you or the other reviewers would have identified a study/research as previously presented elsewhere.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you should have questions or need further information.

…our problems are deep….but together we will continue to hold ourselves to account…

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed people can change the world; indeed it is the only thing that ever has…Margaret Mead

Chikwe Ihekweazu is an epidemiologist and consultant public health physician. He is the Editor of Nigeria Health Watch, and the Managing Partner of EpiAfric (, which provides expertise in public health research and advisory services, health communication and professional development. He previously held leadership roles at the South African National Institute for Communicable Diseases and the UK's Health Protection Agency. Chikwe has undertaken several short term consultancies for the World Health Organisation, mainly in response to major outbreaks. He is a TED Fellow and co-curator of TEDxEuston.

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