About West African Framework Program for Global Health
West African Framework Program for Global Health is a research and training program that is focused on global health problems in West Africa. A high proportion of countries with the poorest health indices in the world are located in West Africa and continuing problems in the subregion pose considerable challenge to efforts to improve the health of people living there. There is therefore need for an integrated systems approach to tacking these global health problems through multidisciplinary and multi-institutional approaches. Establishing linkages and encouraging research through this platform is especially important. It is also crucial to involve young researchers and orientate them towards this approach to health programs and research.
Goals of The Program
- Develop a framework for resolving global health problems through multidisciplinary and multi-institutional research with special reference to West Africa
- Increase interaction and collaboration among biomedical and social science researchers in West Africa
- Develop integrated multidisciplinary programs to promote awareness of global health and associated policy issues
- Enhances the role of bioethics in resolving global health problem
The West African Framework Program for Global Health will focus on global health issues as they affect West African Countries. Though headquartered in Nigeria, this will be a truly regional organization with both Anglophone and Francophone components. Approximately half of all Africans live in West Africa and Nigerians constitute about half of these, it is therefore natural that this program should be headquartered in Nigeria. Nigeria has over 70 private and public universities and more than 50 tertiary medical institutions including research institutes. There is also a growing body of indigenous social and biomedical researchers whose talent can be nurtured to focus on global health problems. Long tradition of cooperation in health care, education and research among countries in West Africa provide ample opportunities for the realization of these objectives through multi-institutional and multi-disciplinary approaches.
In the last few years, many African leaders and observers have been commenting on an African renaissance since President Nelson Mandela first used the term during an African Union meeting in Tunis in 1994. However most of the commentaries have been on political and economic issues, with little attention paid to the health care sector. It is however well known that just as Africa has been dealing with a legacy of years of political and economic mismanagement, the same is true of the health care sector, including health care research. It is therefore important to begin include health care in the ongoing discussions. This is particularly true since research shows that some of the current strategies in use for dealing health care problems are failing partly as a result of a lack of integrated multidisciplinary approach.
This framework program will focus on those areas of health research that have been neglected even in the current wave of increased attention on Africa and its health problems. This includes issues such as cancer, bioethics, environmental health and justice, injury and trauma, nutrition and complex diseases such as obesity, diabetes mellitus, hypertension and stroke, health research policies etc. In this way, we hope to increase awareness of the importance of these other areas as major sources of the health burden of West Africans.
Nigeria led the initiative to form the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS, http://www.ecowas.info/) in 1975. Since then Nigeria has partnered with many countries in the subregion to foster regional peace and development. Travel restrictions have been lifted and regional trade enhanced with the establishment of regional banks and industries. However, even before these political developments which were a reflection of the fact that the colonial maps and state creation in Africa did not take cognizance of the existing and historical links and traditions of the people of the subregion which transcend modern day boundaries, subregional organizations had effectively bridged the divisions and established viable regional organizations like the West African Postgraduate Medical Colleges - http://www.wacs-coac.org/history.htm
The University of Ibadan, Ibadan (http://www.ui.edu.ng/) is Nigeria’s premier university. It has 13 faculties (schools) of Agriculture and Forestry, Arts, Basic Medical Sciences, Clinical Sciences, Dentistry, Education, Law, Pharmacy, Public Health, Science, Social Science, Technology and Veterinary Medicine. Since its establishment in 1948, it has produced more than half of the lecturers in Nigeria’s 70+ other universities. It has an international reputation for strong leadership in research and education. The current leadership of the institution places tremendous emphasis on collaborative multidisciplinary research. The College of Medicine, University of Ibadan is Nigeria’s oldest medical college and consists of the 5 faculties of Basic Medical Sciences, Clinical Sciences, Dentistry, Pharmacy and Public Health. It also has a long history of medical research and training.
The affiliated University College Hospital, Ibadan (UCH) is the largest tertiary health care institution in West Africa. It hosts regional programs of the West African Colleges of Surgeons, Physicians,Pharmacy and Nursing. These colleges are responsible for training and accreditation of all medical and surgical specialists in the sub-region. The colleges have over 3 decades’ history of conducting meetings, courses and examinations in Anglo/Francophone West Africa. With almost 10,000 Fellows and Diplomates, most biomedical researchers in the sub-region are affiliated with these colleges. The UCH also has a School of Nursing that is over 50 years old and admits about 200 students each year into a 3-year professional nursing training program.