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Global Public Health

In 2016, the UK Government announced a £1.5 billion fund to address complex global development challenges and improve quality of life for people living in low and middle income countries (PDF). Called the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF), the fund supports work that tackles the issues highlighted in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, and allocated £26 million over four years to provide opportunities for projects within the arts and humanities research community.

One of the key GCRF Challenge areas is Sustainable Health & Wellbeing, which maps on to UN Sustainable Development Goal 3 (Good Health & Wellbeing), with some projects also having relevance to other Goals (such as Goal 6: Clean Water and Sanitation, for example).

There have been 17 Sustainable Health and Wellbeing projects supported by the AHRC that have benefited a range of ODA recipient countries, including India, Ghana, Uganda, Nepal, Cambodia, Thailand and Bangladesh. This work has addressed issues from improving local healthcare in rural communities, to tackling the cultural and social barriers to healthcare treatment, and using the arts to develop culturally appropriate healthcare education.

View all the GCRF funding opportunities AHRC has funded, past and present.

Case study

Idioms of Distress, Resilience and Wellbeing: Enhancing Understanding about Mental Health in Multilingual Contexts

The Idioms of Distress project worked in Ghana, Gaza, Uganda and Zimbabwe - and with newly arrived refugees in Scotland - looking at native languages and how they express feelings of distress, resilience and wellbeing. Arts and humanities perspectives were applied to translating the idioms with greater sensitivity to the place and context that they originated from, raising awareness of and sensitivity to multilingual and cross-cultural working in health perspectives. The linguistic data generated from this project was also translated into artistic expression to further increase he reach and impact of the study.

Research impacts and achievements:

  • This work benefits care givers and health workers needing to work multilingually with refugees and displaced peoples
  • The project has demonstrated that knowledge of mother tongue idioms of distress can enhance mental wellbeing in contexts of forced displacement and distress, and is especially beneficial where there is mental health stigma with little or no access to support services
  • The project team has contributed to policy discussions wand advisory committees within the European Parliament and the Scottish Refugee Task Force, amongst others.

Associated image copyright: Jean-Marie Hullot on Flickr by CC 2.0.