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.
For more than a decade, IDRC’s Governance for Equity in Health Systems program has supported researchers and health reformers in their efforts to strengthen health systems and find health financing solutions that reflect local needs and priorities in low- and middle-income countries.
Despite recent progress, as a region, sub-Saharan Africa has the highest rates of maternal, infant, and child mortality in the world. From 2009 to 2012, researchers led by Niger’s Laboratoire d'études et de recherches sur les dynamiques sociales et le développement local (LASDEL) analyzed government efforts in Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger to increase access to health care by removing user fees.
In the 1980s, with advice from international organizations, most African countries adopted direct payment for health services as the primary means to finance their health systems. Patients had to pay for health services out-of-pocket, severely hindering access to services for the most vulnerable. New recommendations in the 2000s called for African countries to offer subsidies or abolish payments for certain health services and groups. Until now, the impacts of these reforms in francophone West Africa have not been documented.