Coming up on the 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, which devastated the city of New Orleans, Louisiana, there is much to be learned from the way communities braced for and bounced back from this natural disaster that can help communities facing similar vulnerabilities abroad.
Today researchers from Tulane University in New Orleans, Stanford University, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), and the Disease Resilience Leadership Academy are working closely with a consortium of universities across Africa led by Makerere University to better understand the factors that make African communities resilient in the face of major challenges such as climate change, security, and diseases like HIV.
What they’ve learned has been summarized in the first State of African Resilience Report published by the Resilience Africa Network, a USAID HESN initiative being led by Makerere University out of Kampala, Uganda, helping to better understand the factors that make a community resilient and inform development policy. Makerere and partners have created a formula for community resilience by identifying pathways to resilience and the innovations needed along this path to create appropriate community-driven solutions and policies to address some of the world’s most arduous problems.
This report offers a framework for designing innovations based on needs and policies defined by the community. Researchers led by Makerere University used new methods to understand resilience in a scientifically sound manner. It was little surprise to us that across all regions results showed that community partners consistently identified health and healthcare as a key factor to community resilience. In fact, this research was also able to identify the types of healthcare innovations that would most likely contribute to community resilience including those that:
- Address quality of care
- Create catalytic networks of health ecosystem players including providers, patients, and financers for better health, and
- Make diagnosis easier
With so many relevant examples of healthcare innovation in East Africa, the SEAD East Africa team will continue to attend and host events intended to bring together both the SEAD network and non-network healthcare innovators for increased peer-to-peer learning and knowledge exchange.