GRM 2010 GRM 2011

Abstract Details

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Title of Paper:
Healthy Relationships: Africa and GCC interaction on global health and innovation
Paper Proposal Text :
The cultural and economic ties between GCC states and many African nations, including sub-Saharan countries date back several hundred years. In particular, political, economic, social and cultural relationship of Oman with Tanzania (in particular Zanzibar) and other regional states have been studied by scholars of various disciplines to great extent. However, a rigorous understanding of cooperation between GCC and Africa on issues of global health, particularly on HIV, Malaria and other high impact infectious diseases, remains to be fully probed or understood. This paper will focus on three key aspects of GCC-Africa relationship on public health and its impact on socio-economic ties between the two regions.

First, we will examine what has been done to date in this regard. While individual and government level donations from the GCC nations towards creating mid-sized and large hospitals has occurred, the impact of those hospitals in reducing mortality or morbidity for large parts of the society remains unclear. Second, these efforts have focused largely in Arabic speaking North Africa with relatively fewer efforts in sub-Saharan English and French speaking countries. We will examine what efforts have been made and what has been the nature of those efforts along with their impact.

Second, this paper will look at the role of GCC member states in large global consortia to address high impact infectious diseases. Efforts in the US in the form of President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), efforts from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Norway as well as other global efforts such as “The Global Fund” have, in many cases, reversed the trend of many infectious diseases. This paper will examine the role of GCC nations in these global consortia and other globally coordinated efforts by the UN, the World Health Organization and other NGOs. We will also examine why GCC has not been taken up a leadership role in these consortia.

Finally, we will explore the role of higher education institutions in the GCC in studying, analyzing and developing new technologies to meet global health challenges in Africa. The newly established institutions in the GCC (in particular in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE) have made innovation as a cornerstone of their vision and mandate. It remains unclear whether the rapidly emerging trends of innovation and global health, as seen in the US, Canada and Europe, will also influence the innovation focus of these new institutions. There are strong cultural, geo-political and academic reasons for these new institutions to understand emerging challenges in global health in Africa and create new approaches to combat these challenges. This paper will examine the current innovation policy of these institutions and argue why global health needs to be a major focus for the global footprint and impact of these institutions.

Overall, this paper will discuss the current role of GCC countries and institutions within them to address global health challenges in Africa and argue why an increased effort in this area is desperately needed for improved ties between the two regions.