What is INTREC?
The WHO's Commission on Social Determinants of Health (SDH) argued in 2008 that the dramatic differences in health status that exist between and within countries are intimately linked with degrees of social disadvantage. These differences are unjust and avoidable, and it is the responsibility of governments, researchers, and civil society to work to reduce them. Part of this work requires the production of setting-specific, timely, and relevant evidence on the relationship between social determinants of health and health outcomes, and yet this information is limited, especially in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Thus there is a strong need for the development capacity-building activities to enable such research.
INTREC has been established with this concern in mind and its dual aims include:
Providing SDH-related training for The International Network for the Demographic Evaluation of Populations and Their Health researchers (INDEPTH), thereby allowing the production of evidence on associations between SDH and health outcomes.
Enabling the sharing of this information through facilitating links between researchers and decision makers, and by ensuring that research findings are presented to decision makers in an actionable, policy-relevant manner.
INTREC activities will cover three African (Ghana, South Africa, Tanzania) and four Asian countries (Indonesia, Viet Nam, Bangladesh, India) and will be concentrated in two training centres in Ghana and Indonesia. The centers are to become focal points for research on social determinants of health in LMICs, thus enabling extensive South-South and North-South networks and research cooperation.
INTREC approach to capacity-building is holistic and includes both, providing state-of-the-art region-specific training for young researchers, and educating decision-makers on social determinants of health. The work will be carried by a strong Consortium team of five university-based centres in Sweden, Germany, Netherlands, Indonesia and USA and by one research network of demographic surveillance sites in LMICs with headquarters in Ghana (INDEPTH).
INTREC approach will be evaluated at the end of a 3.5-year period. Based on the results of this evaluation, a conceptual framework on how to build sustainable capacity for research on health and its social determinants that could be applied in other LMICs will be developed.