Partnering for success: IDRC-supported research showcased at the 2023 Canadian Conference on Global Health
Researchers, funded by IDRC and through funding partnerships, presented eight sessions at the Canadian Conference on Global Health. They shared the progress and results of their research on the urgency of unmet women's and girls’ health needs with the global health community.
The importance IDRC places on a partnership approach was highlighted in sessions and discussions about the value of interdisciplinary research, multidisciplinary teams, gender-transformative research, South-North and South-South collaborations, early engagement with knowledge users, evidence-based research policies and artificial intelligence (AI) to address this priority, and how partnerships can augment the potential for collective benefit.
Two examples of our efforts are profiled below.
The first example is our partnership with CIHR and SSHRC on the Women RISE initiative, which supports gender-transformative research in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) on the interface between women’s health and paid and unpaid work during and post-COVID-19. Women RISE aims to ensure no woman is left behind in the COVID-19 recovery and in future pandemics and epidemics in terms of their lives, livelihoods and health. Teams from Uganda, Kenya, South Africa and Bangladesh, were present at the CCGH, and they emphasized the importance of engaging decision-makers from the outset of their research projects and the value of LMIC-Canada collaboration in carrying out these implementation research projects with women from urban and rural areas, the young and the older, and those in paid and unpaid work.
The second example underscored the importance of partnering across sectors and systems to enable AI solutions to strengthen health systems and to ensure no one is left behind. The IDRC-funded initiative Artificial Intelligence for Global Health (AI4GH) supports cohorts of researchers in the Global South to leverage contextualized responsible AI solutions to improve sexual, reproductive and maternal health for women and girls and support more effective and equitable preparedness and responses to epidemics and pandemics. These cohorts of projects are designed to work collaboratively within regions, and between regions, and bring together researchers, communities, private sector as well as global and national actors to foster responsible AI solutions. Responsible AI solutions — those that are ethical, rights-respective and inclusive — can create efficiencies and accelerate achievement of the health-related Sustainable Development Goals. The need for balanced analysis and experiences — looking both at opportunities and risks — from different low-and middle-income contexts was emphasized by four AI4GH hubs working to improve sexual and reproductive health and rights in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the Middle East and North Africa. The speakers discussed localized solutions that are rigorous and responsible, the importance of networking knowledge and South-South collaboration, transcending sectoral and disciplinary siloes, and meaningfully addressing biases and inequalities experienced by women, girls and other equity-seeking groups.
Our President, Julie Delahanty, moderated the closing plenary, “Unpacking the role of policy and politics in global health,” at the conference. “This year’s conference focus on moving research, policy and practice speaks to the heart of IDRC’s mandate and reflects the importance of global health as a research priority under our Strategy 2030,” she said. “Research is needed to fill neglected knowledge gaps. It is particularly needed around economic analyses and data systems to support a gendered response by low- and middle-income countries to climate change and health challenges.”
IDRC will continue to partner with like-minded funders and key multidisciplinary research actors to meet the health needs of women and girls as well as in other fields of research. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on our efforts.