23 Apr 2014

ESRC-DfID funding of £500,000 for global project on regional integration and poverty reduction

The Open University (OU) is leading a two-year project to evaluate the effectiveness of regional governance - in particular in terms of healthcare and access to medicines and health services - in Southern Africa and South America.

The ESRC-funded project involves an investigation using comparative analysis to study existing policies, politics and health systems in the two continents, but especially in Zambia and Swaziland and in Bolivia and Paraquay.

The OU's Professor of Social Policy Nicola Yeates is the lead investigator and will be working with four other institutions, including the United Nations.

Professor Yeates said : "This is the first time a study of this kind will test the pledges and targets set for poverty reduction through healthcare provision made by regional organisations and compare it to what is actually being done on the ground."

“We will be looking at what regional governmental networks in Southern Africa and South America have committed to and compare this with what they are actually doing, and how much they connect with the goals they set themselves. The focus with chiefly be on poverty reduction," she added.

The project will use fieldwork in the four countries, which are among the poorest in the world, to gather evidence of access to medicines and health services. The research, which aims to contribute to the new Sustainable Development Goals for 2015 (replacing the former Millennium Development Goals), will conclude with a major report and international policy conference in November 2015. This is likely to influence and aid future action and planning by the European Union, UNASUR, SADC, NGOs, Governments and policy makers, including the World Health Organisation and the United Nations.

Notes to Editors:
More information on the project can be found here:

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