Second Advisory Board Meeting in Peru

On the 15th of June 2017 the Peruvian team had their second Advisory Board meeting of the year. This meeting included the COHESION team in Peru and Advisory Board members Jeanine Anderson, Peter Busse, Cesar Náquira, Flor Calderon and Luz M. Moyano.

Maria Amalia Pesantes and Maria Kathia Cardenas presented preliminary results related to the qualitative study of “Local perceptions in the community” and to the “Health System Assessment”. Silvana Pérez León presented the process of co-creation the COHESION team will be developing in the following months.

As a result, the Peru Advisory Board suggested:

  • A possible intervention would be training health workers in the diagnostic of neurocysticercosis by secondary methods, for example through interviews, clinical history, or other practices.
  • To consider the different type of religions in the community as important for further interventions.
  • The school would be a suitable place to teach about sanitation. Changing attitudes in people’s lives takes time and starting with the children is a good option to see changes in the future.
  • It is important to know who the community are leaders. Work with a leader of the community that has legitimacy and that is effective in providing messages to the community
  • Some possible interventions could be providing education on the diseases of the project through game platforms for the children.
  • Good interventions for these localities would be related to education in sanitation, because working with children would be a better approach than working with adults.
  • To think the interventions in terms of the prevention of the diseases in addition to the damage of the diseases.
  • It is crucial to provide information of the diseases to the communities during the co-creation process.
  • It is important to try to change habits, to give the opportunity for the community to react in response of some of the information that will be provided by us, that they would like to change.

Finally, several of the members agreed that the co-creation process should be framed carefully, so the interventions proposed by the community would not generate expectations of interventions that are not possible for the COHESION project.

First Meeting of the Peruvian Advisory Board

The first Peru Advisory Board meeting was held on January 25, 2017. It was an important milestone for COHESION’s work in Peru. Advisors of diverse backgrounds and local team members participated in a cooperative session where the advisors repeatedly expressed their interest in contributing to the success of the project.

The members of the Advisory Board in Peru have expertise in preventive medicine, public health, epidemiology, health innovation, health communication, medical anthropology, research methods, non-communicable diseases, parasitology and tropical diseases.

During the meeting this group of experts contributed to the discussion on COHESION’s research components and methods, and provided suggestions for the upcoming activities. Furthermore, the advisors proposed a new meeting once data collection and analysis has been completed, to work together in the design of potential interventions.



The COHESION Project’s first Global Advisory Board Meeting

On the 21st of November 2016 at the Geneva University Hospitals (HUG) in a conference room overlooking the old town of Geneva, a significant event was held for the COHESION Project. This was the first Global Advisory Board Meeting. So why was this important?

First and foremost, it was the first time that the Global Advisory Board of the COHESION Project met. This meeting brought together 11 of the 12 Board members, providing a unique and diverse group of people from UNAIDS, WHO, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the Permanent Missions of Mozambique and Peru, the State of Geneva and the HUG. This group of policy makers, clinicians and researchers all shared a common passion for global health.

COHESION presented its work and got feedback. Dr. Claire Somerville, COHESION Co-Investigator and lead on the Policy Analysis, presented the preliminary results of the Global Policy Analysis.

This meeting was a great opportunity to exchange and learn from the experience of our Advisors. Most importantly, this meeting was a chance for the COHESION Team to be challenged, in what we are doing and how we are doing it.

Our Advisors challenged COHESION with regards to the interventions and how to evaluate them. They argued that the development and evaluation should use both qualitative and quantitative methods and also use an iterative process. They all saw the value of what COHESION was trying to achieve and stressed that we have the potential to make a difference. P. Perel insisted that this impact needed to be measured and reported.

Discussions also focused on the wider determinants of Noncommunicable (NCD) and Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD). P. Godfrey-Fausett recommended that COHESION look beyond health systems and look at “systems for health”. F. Romao and Y. Jackson added that the issue of vulnerability and gender needed to be examined in different ways, for example making services sensitive to men and women. S. Aebischer insisted on the necessity to adopt a non-vertical approach and to develop interventions at the community level as behaviour change is needed to reduce the risk of obtaining an NCD as well as for managing them.

So what are the lessons from our first meeting? COHESION needs to continue to think about the impact of our project and how to continuously measure this. As noted by A. Costello: “NCDs are the great big dark matter of health. They are invisible to most people, but are massive.” Through COHESION, we hope to ensure that NCDs and NTDs and the people who are faced with these health challenges become more visible and empowered to tackle these dark matter. We will strive to do this with the communities and systems we are working with. Together, we believe we can make a difference.

*From left to right

  • Dr. Anthony Costello, Head of the Department of Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health at the WHO
  • Dr. Claire Somerville, CO-PI COHESION, Graduate Institute, Geneva
  • Dr. Sigiriya Aebischer, Senior Resident, Tropical and Humanitarian Medicine Division, Geneva University Hospitals (HUG)
  • Dr. Francelina Romao, Health Counselor, Embassy of Mozambique in Geneva
  • Prof. François Chappuis, Head of the Division of Tropical and Humanitarian Medicine, Geneva University Hospitals (HUG)
  • Dr. David Beran, Principal Investigator COHESION Project, Geneva University
  • Dr. Peter Godfrey-Faussett, Senior Science Adviser, Office of the UNAIDS Science Panel, UNAIDS
  • Ms. Maria Jesus Alonso Lormand, Director of the International Solidarity Service, State of Geneva
  • Dr. Yves Jackson, Senior Consultant, Division of Primary Care, Geneva University Hospitals (HUG)
  • Dr. Pablo Perel, Director of the Centre for Global NCDs at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, Senior Science Advisor at the World Heart Federation
  • Dr. Gilles Eperon, Senior Resident, Tropical and Humanitarian Medicine Unit, Geneva University Hospitals (HUG)
  • Mr. Carlos Briceño, Ministro Consejero, Permanent Mission of Peru to the UN

 Not present: Ms. Lauranne Botti, Research Fairness Initiative (RFI) Manager at the Council on Research for Development (COHRED)