Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Supporting health research for developing countries

An international collaboration has advanced a capacity-building approach to social determinants of health (SDH) research. The move addressed health inequities, differences in health status and health care coverage for different populations.
Supporting health research for developing countries
Focusing on Africa and Latin America, the SDH-NET (Building sustainable research capacity for health and its social determinants in low- and middle-income countries) project has worked to build, link and strengthen SDH research capacities. The 11-member consortium spans Brazil, Colombia and Mexico in Latin America, Kenya, South Africa and Tanzania in Africa, and Germany, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom in Europe.

Partners have expertise in public health research and a strong presence in local and regional networks. This helped to ensure national and regional involvement of policymakers and other stakeholders for alignment with national health policy strategies and maximum project impact.

Researchers developed a conceptual framework of SDH research and a methodological tool that helped map the current state of research on SDH as well as research capacities and to identify gaps in research systems and activities. The exercise also addressed research funding, research governance and research outputs. Results from the national mapping reports were presented in an overall global mapping report, disseminated through various channels and events.

A matrix linking capacity-building needs with activities, responsibilities, target groups and broader objectives was used to develop a strategic framework for capacity-building for SDH research. Following on from this, the project developed courses on SDH research and research methodology and on research management and communication. Two web-based tools were developed to support the roll-out of these courses. A one-day Train the Trainer session was carried out in Johannesburg to see how the developed course materials can be taken up and sustained in partner institutions.

Partners from Brazil, Colombia and Mexico established the Latin American Alliance for Health Equity (ALESA) to stimulate collaboration between Latin American institutions. Joint publications have developed, and project work and findings were presented at national and international conferences.

Project work has enhanced the SDH research system and helped create research landscapes that enable and stimulate relevant, interdisciplinary research. SDH-NET has supported improved capacities in the field, and facilitated links and sustained collaboration between research, policy and practice.

Related information


Life Sciences


Social determinants of health (SDH) research, differences in health status, health care coverage, Africa, Latin America, capacity-building
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