At the core of the conclusions reached by the Lancet Commission on the future of health in sub-Saharan Africa published last September is a sense of possibility for what Africans can and must accomplish to level their populations' health with the rest of the world's by 2030. Among the key requirements are the home-bred, tailored solutions that a greater local research capacity and leadership would produce to respond to the challenges ahead. At the first Epicentre Niger Scientific Day held in Niamey on January 25, there were signs that the message is on point and the optimism justified.
Building upon the successes of Countdown to 2015, Countdown to 2030 aims to support the monitoring and measurement of women's, children's, and adolescents' health in the 81 countries that account for 95% of maternal and 90% of all child deaths worldwide. To achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, the rate of decline in prevalence of maternal and child mortality, stillbirths, and stunting among children younger than 5 years of age needs to accelerate considerably compared with progress since 2000.
Healthcare-related research is largely regional. Put simply, this is because disease burdens differ between world regions. Even global burdens, such as ischaemic heart disease and cancer, display distinctive characteristics in certain regions that are not seen in others. Regional differences in infrastructure, resources and human capital further compound the differences seen, as they affect the way in which the local scientific community can interact with the local disease burden. As such, it seems fair to assume that healthcare-related research ought to be regionally distributed.
As governments are developing schemes for universal health coverage (UHC) and progressing towards the sustainable development goals (SDGs), they need relevant and context-sensitive evidence to support different policies and interventions. Decision-makers are increasingly using qualitative evidence to understand various socioeconomic contexts, health systems and communities.
Many will be familiar with the need for "research to policy" or R2P. But that in itself is a shortened form of "research to policy to practice" or R2P2P. Clearly, health policies should be based on the best and most appropriate research. But that is not enough. If sound health policies don't then go into clinical practice, they are just empty words. Effort needs to be devoted to each link in this chain.
Slow internet connection is a big challenge for health workers, researchers, authors and policy makers in LMICs. Equally, if not bigger, is the challenge of cost of the internet access especially if one tries to download materials. Reliability and consistency of connection adds to the list especially when using conferencing tools like Skype, etc. The light at the end of the tunnel is the fact that only a few years ago ( in 1995 only a handful of people had emails in Nigeria) we never thought that we would even be where we are today.
In agonising, crippling pain from lung cancer, Mr S came to the palliative care service in Calicut, Kerala, from an adjoining district a couple of hours away by bus. His body language revealed the depth of the suffering. We put Mr S on morphine, among other things. A couple of hours later, he surveyed himself with disbelief. He had neither hoped nor conceived of the possibility that this kind of relief was possible. Mr S returned the next month. Yet, common tragedy befell patient and caregivers in the form of a stock-out of morphine.
The Global Burden of Disease AMR project is a collaboration between the UK government, the UK health research charity the Wellcome Trust, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the University of Oxford, and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, an independent research centre at the University of Washington, Seattle.
Over the next four years the project will gather and publish data on the spread and effects of antimicrobial resistance around the world.
Sub-Saharan Africa's health challenges are numerous and wide-ranging. Most sub-Saharan countries face a double burden of traditional, persisting health challenges, such as infectious diseases, malnutrition, and child and maternal mortality, and emerging challenges from an increasing prevalence of chronic conditions, mental health disorders, injuries, and health problems related to climate change and environmental degradation.
Public Health (PH) in Europe has become much more vocal about its moral understandings since 1992. The rising awareness that PH issues were inseparable from issues of human rights and social justice almost self-evidently directed the agenda of EUPHA and the European Public Health (EPH)-conferences. Problems of cultural and behavioural change, and environmental issues on a global scale were also added.