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Community support essential to better malaria testing

Nana Yaa Boadu
Research Awards

In 2010, Ghana adopted World Health Organization guidelines for quickly and inexpensively diagnosing malaria. Yet, says Nana Yaa Boadu, healthcare practitioners still treat feverish patients without testing. Building on her 2011 IDRC Doctoral Research Award, Nana's 2014 Research Award helped her identify why this practice persisted and how to improve compliance.

Working in the field, “I saw firsthand that where socio-political structures are lacking, and economic resources too few to adequately address competing priorities, the resilience of providers, as well as patients and communities, can be critical to strengthening and delivering healthcare,” she says. “The passion of the community to participate in identifying and solving local problems, and the hope in the eyes of health workers struck a deep chord in me that I won’t easily forget.”

“Global health challenges are largely a product of the contexts in which they occur,” says Boadu. “Practical solutions — making training more useful, for example — should therefore go beyond activities like repetitive training exercises and address root causes.”

“IDRC gave me the unique viewpoint of understanding health research and programming from a funder’s perspective,” says Boadu. “As a research consultant, this big picture thinking now guides my approach to planning and delivery for clients.”

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