As life expectancies rise globally, more people are living with multiple long-term health conditions, a phenomenon increasingly referred to as ‘multimorbidity’. How best to recognise, prevent and manage the diversity of multimorbidity and to support patients and those involved with care remains a major challenge to existing systems. The health systems of many low- and middle-income countries, including in Africa, have taken shape as a composite of ‘vertical’ disease programmes informed by donor priorities and are particularly unprepared to respond to the complexity of multiple, interacting conditions. Currently, concepts, models, and measures of multimorbidity predominantly reflect research in high-income settings that may not directly translate to lower-resource settings.
Recent agenda-setting initiatives have identified key research needs for responding to multimorbidity in a global context, including specifically in Africa. These initiatives suggest that while multimorbidity is still crystallising as a concept and as a field, it exposes fundamental tensions within the organisation of global health knowledge and practice, challenging us to move beyond entrenched divisions between disciplines and sectors and put people rather than diseases at the centre of systems of research, training, and care. With health systems already struggling to meet the needs of the populations they serve amidst ongoing resource constraints, now is a crucial moment to make new connections to open up thinking to inform action on multimorbidity.
This Mini Collection in PLOS Global Public Health brings together original research demonstrating the potentials (or limitations) of a multimorbidity lens for expanding, contesting, or reshaping knowledge and practice in global health, with a focus on Africa. We particularly welcome research seeking to expand beyond disciplinary and disease siloes, reverse north-to-south knowledge flows and challenge entrenched structures that continue to perpetuate single-disease programming. Research topics might include but are not limited to:
- Novel approaches to working with, adapting, or integrating health data and data infrastructures
- Patient, family, and carer perspectives on multimorbidity
- Vectors of multimorbidity in the lived and built environment and implications for primary and secondary prevention
- Aspects of policy, research, training, and/or care systems architecture that enable or inhibit responses to multimorbidity
- Critical discourse analysis of multimorbidity and related concepts
- Findings from trials and evaluations of interventions to improve multimorbidity care
PLOS Global Public Health is an open-access journal that addresses deeply entrenched global inequities in public health and makes impactful research visible and accessible. Sharing these values, this Mini Collection brings together research from across Africa as a step towards decolonising multimorbidity research and the wider field of global health.
Closing date for submissions: 31 December 2023
Mini Collection curators. This Mini Collection is curated by a multidisciplinary group of researchers within the Africa Multimorbidity Alliance*: Edna Bosire (Aga Khan, Wits), Clare Chandler (LSHTM), Mia Crampin (MEIRU, Glasgow, LSHTM), Justin Dixon (BRTI, LSHTM), Rashida Ferrand (BRTI, LSHTM), Celia Gregson (Bristol), Felix Limbani (MLW), Emily Mendenhall (Georgetown), Ben Morton (LSTM), Mosa Moshabela (UKZN), Mandi Tembo (BRTI, LSHTM)
How to submit
Manuscripts should be submitted on the PLOS Global Public Health submission site, available here. Papers will be published continuously upon acceptance and will be published on a separate Mini Collection web page once a critical mass of papers have been published. To assess suitability of planned papers, a draft title and abstract should be sent to the Mini Collection’s curators at: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Please visit the submission guidelines before submitting a manuscript.
* The Africa Multimorbidity Alliance is a platform established to foster collaboration and shared learning among researchers, practitioners and others working on multimorbidity in Africa. For more information, including on how to join our community, see here.
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