Annual Scientific Meeting of the Global Alliance for Chronic Diseases
In 2016 the ETCP partnered with research units in Canada, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, and Vietnam on a grant awarded through the Global Alliance for Chronic Diseases (GACD).
GACD is an alliance of research funders that pools resources to jointly fund practical research into lifestyle diseases or NCDs (cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, certain cancers, lung diseases and mental health). Across these programs, GACD has 11 working groups focusing on cross-cutting issues such as chronic diseases among indigenous populations, multimorbidity, mental health guideline review, research on humanitarian crises, etc.
The ETCP project falls under the lung disease program, with the money coming from the Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR) and the SA Medical Council. The main focus of the project is testing the impact of plain packaging in South Africa and assessing links between tobacco use, poverty, and illicit trade in South Africa. As part of this project, ETCP is conducting annual surveys in five SA townships focusing on illicit cigarette use.
The GACD annual scientific meeting was held in Bangkok, Thailand, 11-15 November 2019.
Hana Ross from the ETCP and Cuong Nguyen Viet from the Mekong Development Research Institute in Vietnam represented the project. The main focus and the underlying theme of the meeting were implementation science and scaling-up, i.e. studying methods to promote the systematic uptake of research findings and other evidence-based practices into routine practice, and hence to improve the quality and effectiveness of health services.
Most participants were medical doctors assessing randomized control trials and their prospects for a scale up. In that sense, the ETCP project is a bit of an outlier because it studies population-based interventions. However, many participants were interested in the ETCP work and the value economists can add to many ongoing and future GACD projects. For example, Hana Ross was invited to join a group that will organize a workshop on food-based solutions to chronic diseases during the 2020 GACD annual scientific meeting.
The most valuable feature of the meeting was the possibility to network and to talk directly to representatives of various funding agencies.