Strengthening Health Systems in Africa: Intersections of Culture and Science

Sunday, February 19, 2017: 8:00 AM-9:30 AM
Room 310 (Hynes Convention Center)
Scientific knowledge on the etiology, prevention, and treatment of disease increases at a rapid pace, but the prevention and treatment of disease is frequently delayed in sub-Saharan Africa. Slow implementation of evidence-based interventions occurs for many reasons, including weak health infrastructure and financial constraints. Many sub-Saharan Africa countries lack sufficiently trained health care personal, suffer from “brain drain,” and have limited resources available for health systems research. Further, interventions developed in high-income countries are often not culturally or logistically suitable in sub-Saharan Africa countries. Efficacy assessment in one country does not ensure success in another. Many health system–strengthening interventions focus on targeted technical and disease-specific solutions. These solutions often fail to recognize local, national, and regional expertise and politics. Holistic approaches may be better suited to the increasingly complex health issues faced in sub-Saharan Africa countries, which are experiencing a shifting health landscape with the dual burden of infectious and chronic disease. This symposium presents three different approaches to health system strengthening and will engage the audience in discussing  challenges and opportunities in working with governments and local actors to improve public health by using scientific knowledge.
Gillian H. Ice, Ohio University
Crystal Patil, University of Illinois, Chicago
Sebalda Leshabari, Muhumbili University of Health and Allied Sciences
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