Posted by: africanpressorganization | 17 November 2008

Mali / Giving Health Research Some TLC (Tender Loving Care)

 


 

Mali / Giving Health Research Some TLC (Tender Loving Care)

BAMAKO, Mali, November 17, 2008/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Some of the most important health research is done in some unlikely places, such as toilets, electricity cables and irrigation ditches.

According to Walter Erdelen of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), improvements in health don’t always come from more nurses or better drugs or new research.

Speaking at the opening session of the Global Ministerial Forum on Research for Health, on this week in Mali, the German-born biologist mentioned little-monitored health improvements that happen far away from the clinics as a result of progress in infrastructure such as”electricity, irrigation and sanitation.”

Erdelen, the natural sciences assistant director-general of UNESCO, called such health impacts ”untapped and unexplored.” Erdelen would know, having worked in Brunei , China , India , Indonesia , Côte d’Ivoire , Malaysia , the Maldive islands , Sri Lanka and Thailand.

About 60 science and health ministers from Asia, the Americas, Europe and Africa are meeting until Thursday in Mali, the third-poorest country on earth, to promote solid evidence-based health research so it is higher on the political and social agenda.

It is the first time that science and health ministers from around the world have met, according to Ok Pannenborg, a senior health advisor for the World Bank, which is supporting health research as a key way to improve economic prospects.

Gill Samuels, the chairperson of one of the organising bodies, the decade-old Global Forum for Health Research, warned people attending the opening ceremony in Bamako on Monday morning against getting sidetracked by intriguing research dead ends, and to keep their eye on the prize: better health for the world’s poorest people.

However, Ms Aissatou Touré, a Senegalese member of the board of the Swiss-based non-profit Council on Health Research for Development(/c/ohred)one of the six organisations which have been preparing for the every-four-years meeting of researchers, activists and politicians,  noted that national needs and priorities were not always in ”alignment” with international pressures.

But Luis Sambo, regional director of the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Africa, praised the hosts, the West African nation of Mali for making ”equitable access to health care a national ambition, supported by a strong grassroots demand for quality care.”

Malian president Amadou Touré, opening the conference, told 1000 delegates that Africa needed ”a culture of research for health.”

”It’s important to underline the need for Africa to be committed in a more determined  process of science and technology,” Touré said.

 

SOURCE : World Health Organization (WHO)


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