The regional programme ‘University and Hospital Partnerships in Africa’ supports partnerships between German and African university hospitals to jointly develop responses to priority health issues. Where multiple partnerships work on the same issue, they are encouraged to form networks to generate broader solutions for a lasting impact.
A research team at Gabon’s venerable Centre de Recherches Médicales de Lambaréné (CERMEL) were mortified to discover that after six months, only 53% of 201 tuberculosis (TB) patients they had been following had successfully completed their treatment, and only 8% could be considered cured. At Tanzania’s highly specialised Ifakara Health Institute (IHI), a team of Tanzanian and German researchers were struck by a communication gap between remote health facilities and tertiary-level hospitals which left many rural TB patients undiagnosed and untreated. In Madagascar, partners deplored the consequences of inefficient, paper-based data management for surveillance and treatment of TB patients and were frustrated by the lack of funds for daily operation of small treatment centres. Three situations, three complex issues calling for high-level scientific cooperation and operational research – could they be amenable to digital solutions?