Global health: a worldwide network is required

Call to action 13 March 2020
Infectious diseases such as Ebola, coronaviruses and vector-borne diseases are spreading as a result of economic, politicial and social changes, compounded by global climate and ecological disruption. CIRAD recommends building a health network of global scope. The aim is to improve the use, by various stakeholders, of research results and national or international recommendations, as set out in this latest issue of Perspective.
middle- and low-income countries are less well equipped to implement approriate health measures. Photo: Market in Phnom Penh, Cambodia © F. Roger, CIRAD

A broad range of actors are involved in health-related fields: the private, voluntary and public sectors, regional economic communities, etc. Exchanges and collaborations are, however, generally insufficient between researchers, policymakers and other stakeholders, particularly final beneficiaries. Moreover, middle- and low-income countries are less well equipped to implement approriate health measures. In particular, they have problems applying research results and recommendations from national or international organizations. To reverse this trend, CIRAD recommends linking regional health-oriented networks to build an instrument of global scope .

In this respect, the platforms in partnership for research and training (dPs) developed by CIRAD and partners in the health sector are an original solution. They are an example of the types of innovative structures that enable the co-construction of networks, training courses and skills.

CIRAD and its partners have set up four dPs centring on animal health, public veterinary health, wildlife and the environment:

The four platforms are network-oriented, and:

  • are transverse, interdisciplinary and intersectoral (public-private)
  • offer academic and professional training
  • apply the ImpresS (impact of research in the global South) method developed by CIRAD, a participatory approach based on the development of a theory of change
  • use common methods and tools: integrated One Health approaches , for example applied to deal with antibiotic resistance, enhance surveillance systems or identify disease reservoirs
  • work with non-health-oriented dPs, fostering interdisciplinarity, with other scientific networks on certain major diseases, and with international bodies (FAO, OIE, WHO)
  • report information as part of international health monitoring operations within the French epidemiological surveillance platform.

Political and technical authorities could benefit from these exchange processes between platforms that are active in their countries. This would boost strategic functioning and also research programming on a global level, with the possibility of adjusting healthpolicy on a local level.

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Strengthening the global health dialogue: linking research networks in the Global South

With Perspective, CIRAD sets out to suggest new lines of debate and action, backed up by research work, albeit without presenting an official institutional position.

This series of 4-page summaries presents novel ideas or policies on development issues of strategic importance for countries in the South: food security, land tenure, climate change, energy security, forest management, standards, etc .