Welcome Global Monitor interviewed 140,000 people from over 140 countries to uncover public attitudes to science and health – and the results have highlighted the central role in healthcare depends on trust.

Africa has the highest confidence in vaccines globally, with around 75% of the population strongly agreeing that vaccines are safe and effective. Despite this, close to one-third of people have no confidence in hospitals and health clinics, and 16 of the 20 countries in which confidence in doctors and nurses is weakest are in Africa. Low trust is observed in scientists as well. A vast majority feel personally excluded from science, and one-in-four people believe that science benefits very few people in their country.

We urgently need to work with communities to rebuild their trust. Science can only thrive and have a positive impact with the support of the societies in which it works – and the advances, new cures and treatments must be equally available to all who can benefit, regardless of their ability to pay.

According to the IMF, around half of the 40 fastest-growing economies are in Africa. Health and well-being underpins and encourages economic growth in every society; if the world’s youngest continent, where 60% of people across the continent are aged 25 or younger, is to have a prosperous, sustainable future, health care must be prioritised, with no-one left behind.

If we want science to have maximum impact and help us all achieve better public health outcomes, we must remember the central role of healthcare depends on trust.