The extent to which human beings accept and take up biomedical interventions is one of the most decisive factors for their effectiveness and efficiency. Addressing these and other sociocultural factors is key to improving population health in an equitable and ethical way. Nevertheless, the evidence base of most health interventions lacks the contribution of social science research. Typically, global health programs are designed as a set of standardised strategies with limited regard to highly variable contextual factors, including how people at the receiving end interpret and act upon health and illness. Failure to address such issues may even compromise the strategy itself, as is seen in the spread of antibiotic resistance due to inadequate prescription and consumption. When disease elimination is at stake and every individual may have to be reached, socio-anthropological insights become even more vital.
Providing effective and innovative scientific solutions to these and other global health challenges requires moving beyond conventional disciplinary borders. Researchers from various disciplinary backgrounds, therefore, need to look and work beyond their scientific universes, appreciate the synergies between quantitative and qualitative research methods, and combine technological as well as social innovation to optimise disease control and health care.
The aim of the colloquium is to show how the collaboration of the social sciences with other health sciences can improve global health research. The colloquium will feature state-of-the-art social science research in global health, examine its transdisciplinary impact on other health sciences and explore ways towards a more holistic evidence-base for the control and elimination of poverty-related diseases.