Assessment of China's Contribution in Regional Network for Asian Schistosomiasis: a questionnaire survey
Background: The Regional Network for Asian Schistosomiasis and other Helminth Zoonoses (RNAS+) launched in 1998, has close partnerships with countries endemic for schistosomiasis and other helminthiasis. RNAS+ has provided an ideal regional platform for policy-making, control, and parasitic diseases research experts in Asian countries. China, one of the initiating countries, has provided significant technical and financial support to the regional network. Although Chinese institutions and other
... member countries provided great technical and resource support in RNAS+ development, China, and Chinese scientists or institutions' contributions, have not been evaluated systematically. This study assessed Chinese contributions toward supporting RNAS+ development.Methods: An assessment research framework was planned to evaluate China's contribution to RNAS+ in four aspects, including capacity building, funding support, coordination, and cooperation. An anonymous web-based questionnaire was designed to acquire respondents' basic information, and information on China's contributions, challenges, and recommendations for RNAS+ development. Each participant scored from 0 to 10 to assess China's contribution: "0" no contribution, and "10" 100% contribution. Participants who included their e-mail address in the 2017 - 2019 RNAS+ annual workshops were invited to participate the assessment.Results: Of 71 participants enrolled, 41 responded to the survey, 37 (37/41, 90.24%) of whom were from RNAS+ member countries while the remaining 4 (4/41, 9.76%) were international observers. Most respondents (38/41, 92.68%) are familiar with RNAS+. Respondents reported that China's contributions were mainly to improve capacity building, and provide funding support, coordination responsibility, and joint application of the cooperation program towards RNAS+ development. The average scores of China's contributions in the above four fields were 8.92, 8.64, 8.75, and 8.67, respectively, with an overall assessment score of 8.81 (10 maximum score). The challenge of RNAS+ includes the lack of sustainable funding and skills, and most participants indicated their continual need of China's support.Conclusions This survey showed that China plays an important role in the development of RNAS+. This network-type organization for disease control and research can yet be regarded as a great potential pattern for China to enhance regional cooperation. These findings can be used to promote future cooperation between China and other RNAS+ member countries.