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Multilateral Association for Studying health inequalities and enhancing north-south and south-south COoperaTion

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Better health services in needy countries

Health infrastructure, policies and programmes vary greatly from country to country. An EU initiative set out to reduce gaps in health inequalities between and within different world regions through cooperation and knowledge transfer.

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The world now has unprecedented inequality in terms of access to health services, and this concerns authorities around the globe. To tackle these disparities, the EU-funded MASCOT project fostered better coordination mechanisms between Africa, Europe and South America to identify and carry out suitable and effective country-specific strategies. MASCOT focused on several goals. It aimed to analyse various current national health research systems, and to improve incorporation of research results into policy design. It sought to identify successful strategies that might lead to effective policies, and to propose and share policy recommendations. Project members also endeavoured to enhance the transfer of knowledge between regions and countries. Work began with an assessment of the present health research situation, including maternal and child health (MCH), in 11 countries of the study regions. The project mapped national teams and institutions working in the field. This work identified promising projects and research results, implemented strategies, programmes and policies, and revealed how the disparate research efforts interact and coordinate. The outcome of these investigations comprises reports for each country and region. The project produced strategy briefs for each of the 11 countries that contained effective country-specific strategies for MCH issues. A decision-support tool was set up to provide access to all the MCH data. The online platform will enable stakeholders to identify the status of health inequalities in the three regions. Thanks to MASCOT, countries in need of better health and health services for children, adolescents and mothers will be able to benefit from proven, effective policies implemented elsewhere.


Health, health services, health inequalities, health research, maternal and child health

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