SPARKS – The health and social protection action research and knowledge sharing network | Social medicine, infectious diseases and migration (SIM)
The Health and Social Protection Action Research & Knowledge Sharing network (SPARKS) is a global network created to facilitate action-oriented research on the public health impact of social protection, with a main focus on low- and middle-income countries.
SPARKS facilitates networking between prominent research institutions, public health practitioners, international organizations and civil society in order to catalyze and coordinate interdisciplinary action, research and knowledge sharing, develop a common priority research agenda, generate evidence and mobilize financial resources.
Initially, the network will have two hubs operating in close collaboration with the Global TB Programme at World Health Organization (WHO): one at the Department of Global Public Health (GPH), Karolinska Institutet and one at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM). Additional hubs will be added, with priority for institutions in low- and middle-income countries. SPARKS will initially focus on tuberculosis (TB), an archetypal disease of poverty and a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in low- and middle-income countries.
WHO’s End TB Strategy has identified social protection as a critical element of the global response to TB, but acknowledges the lack of and operational and impact evidence to inform recommendation and guide countries through this policy development. Building on TB as tracer condition for poverty-related disorders with medium to long-term financial and social consequences, the work will then expand to look at other health conditions.