Despite high mobile phone penetration in Kenya and the proliferation of eHealth programs, healthcare remains largely inaccessible outside major cities. Research funded by IDRC is now feeding into national policies to ensure greater health equity.
Short-term collaborations between Canadian and African researchers has generated compelling results on such pressing issues as maternal and child health, climate change impacts, and alternative energy sources. The Canada Africa Research Exchange Grants (CAREG) program fostered collaborations between researchers in seven African countries and counterparts at universities in Ontario, Québec, and Manitoba. Managed by the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) with financial support from IDRC, CAREG set out to strengthen international partnerships and emerging networks involving African and Canadian academic researchers.
Many cattle carry Cryptosporidium, an organism causing gastrointestinal illness with diarrhea that can be dangerous for both humans and animals. Preventing and managing this disease places a heavy burden on hospitals and veterinarians. IDRC-supported research into health hazards on smallholder dairy farms in a poor urban area in Kenya found that eating vegetables contaminated with animal manure or human waste was more dangerous than handling cattle or drinking milk.
Asian researchers have developed new environmental and community approaches to reduce the number of mosquitoes carrying dengue, the fastest-growing mosquito-borne viral disease. Dengue is a significant economic and social burden in many countries worldwide.
Research in Action
Information and Communication
An innovative IDRC initiative is improving evaluation capacities of researchers studying Information and Communication Technologies for Development (ICTD). Developing Evaluation Capacity in ICTD (DECI) provides researchers from five IDRC-funded projects in Asia ongoing mentorship to learn and apply the Utilization Focused Evaluation (UFE) approach to their projects. DECI demonstrates the value of mentoring as a training approach, where researchers are coached as they make ready to use the approach.
Health systems in countries across Asia struggle to provide access to health services, especially to vulnerable populations. Information and communication technologies like mobile phones are being used to address health challenges. This networked approach to health, or eHealth, can increase access to services and information. But can it fill critical gaps in health service provision?