Globalization, Accessibility, Innovation and Care (GAIC) Network

The Globalization, Accessibility, Innovation and Care (GAIC) Network studies change in society and its access to health care, from the perspective of global changes in demographics and technology. The aim of the research is to help ensure access to health care in low-income and rural communities and post-conflict areas as well as vulnerable people such as the elderly.

GAIC is cognizant of the fact that data science − analyzing data-sourcing and data-repositories by means of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) − provides new empirical areas for academic understanding. There is a need to enhance understanding of the contribution of technology to developments in the field of access to health care and its embedding in context, culture and governance.

The Ebola Crisis in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea has demonstrated the need for new and structural approaches to the organization of access to health care. It has demonstrated how the 'local' becomes 'global' in terms of challenges, concerns and threats. In the Post Ebola period such structural access needs to be piloted and up scaled to come to meaningful health care coverage. The advance in data diagnostics and international collaboration with communication network providers, be it satellite or mobile, and with data repositories derived from health related devices, from i- and e-Health, and from the internet, can help the development of solutions in the future.

Resilience is a precondition for successful interventions to prevent crises such as Ebola from spiraling. More attention in research is needed to identify how community perspectives inform and enhance meaningful interventions. How do interventions relate to the empowerment of local communities and support women as leaders in families, communities and beyond? How do ICT stimulate the transformation of collective action into 'connective action'?

Spivak asked 'can the Subaltern speak?' The methodological challenge underpinning this question needs to be engaged with rigorous, transdisciplinary analyses of what meaning is reflected in data, what filters are enshrined in the internet and how new networks develop. It also requires meaningful application of the idea of 'agency'; those not heard or seen, do have agency and determine social realities. They cannot and will not be made non-existent. Here science enters the obscure corners of what is known and where there is little if any understanding on crises that may emerge and why. Migrating communities confront societies with the unseen and unknown. They are our compass to direct us to what is excluded from society, from social structures and from care and health care. The availability of ICT at very low costs offers unique opportunities to mobilize these groups and to offer new ways to organize themselves.

A vision on global health care requires an understanding of a healthy global community. Ideas about 'care' are changing as a result of social and political pressure. International exchanges provide engagement with totally new care contexts, leading to reflection and new insights that may translate into new knowledge and policies. As such exchange can contribute to transformation of care, both locally and globally.

ICT-embedded filtering of reality and amplifying of ability is increasingly dominant in what we know, what we regard as desirable and what is defined as solutions. Dominant cultures, embedded in ICTs, frame ideas, problems, and networks and thus define global policy agendas. Yet, policy agendas do change, usually introduced by powerful ideas whose times have come.

GAIC provides a basis for academic research to reflect on the relationships of technologies, innovation, healthy societies and inclusive communities and how these change.