We just conducted an online-simulation game on the issue of neglected tropical diseases with an interdisciplinary research group from the GLOHRA network. The German Alliance for Global Health Research GLOHRA aims to strengthen global health research in Germany by connecting a community of qualified researchers, funding groundbreaking research projects and scientific events, supporting the next generation of researchers, and enhancing cross-sector collaboration.
In the simulation game, 25 young experts from a variety of research fields such as physiology, bio-medicine, epidemiology, social sciences, etc., took the roles of stakeholders in the fictitious sub-Saharan country Serketia. Collectively, they exchanged insights on local needs, common approaches and eventually agreed on an action plan to fight five prominent diseases in the country: Schistosomiasis, lymphatic filariasis, echinococcosis, yaws and blinding trachoma. Below you can see screenshots from the online implementation.
We used the simulation game to shed light on the interplay of social, technical, medical, psychological, economic, and political factors in the fight against NTDs. Why are some mass drug administration campaigns falling short of their goals? Which local needs and specificities are hindering the effective fight against some of these illnesses? How can global health research agendas adequately address such needs and avoid doing harm? How to de-colonize global health? Moreover, the participants used the simulation game for mutual exchange on global health paradigms and discussed interdisciplinary research agendas.
Photo credit: World Health Organization