This is a capacity building project. Its purpose is to enhance research capacity in disciplines relevant to public health research on non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and their social determinants in southern and eastern Mediterranean countries.
The main means to achieve this purpose is by:
Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are increasing dramatically in many low and middle income countries, including in the partner countries in this project. The main reasons for this are an increase in major risk factors, particularly increasing obesity (as a consequence of changes in nutrition and decreases in physical activity), and high levels of tobacco use.
Globalisation, urbanisation and an ageing population are contributing to this trend. While there are few epidemiological studies of NCD in the region, research on the health policies necessary for managing this growing burden are scarcer still. This project makes a significant contribution to building the research capabilities and regional research networks necessary to address these gaps.
This proposal aims to enhance and, where needed, build research capacity in the region for health, its social and environmental determinants and their complex interactions, in order to inform policy development and implementation. We concentrate on the immense challenge posed to the health systems and economies of the region by the increasing burden of NCDs. We focus on strengthening the disciplinary capacity necessary to explain the social and environmental factors causing the rise in NCDs, and necessary to identify achievable policy outcomes and interventions. We prioritise five disciplines in this action: epidemiology, health economics, environmental health, medical anthropology, and health policy evaluation.
As a capacity-building project, RESCAP-MED primarily involves a set of events and the links these help to cement: at least seven training workshops; two international symposia; and a number of fellowship exchanges.
This consortium brings together eleven partners: ten academic partners and one international organisation (WHO-EMRO). These actions would create new institutional possibilities for the future, and are made more achievable because this proposal develops out of an existing FP7-funded research collaboration (MedCHAMPS, Grant number 223075) in several countries of the region, each of which is a partner in RESCAP-MED. Regional expertise in partner countries in the selected disciplines is often limited to a few key individuals, highlighting the pressing need to create a wider group of research personnel trained in different academic disciplines for the future.