Monitoring equity and research policy

Bamako: An assessment of progress since Mexico 2004
Godlee F: BMJ Group, 20 November 2008

Progress since the last WHO ministerial summit in Mexico in 2004 is not striking, though there is the clinical trials platform, as well as new initiatives for knowledge translation networks like EVIDnet, and other local and regional projects that have achieved fragmented success. The Mexico declaration called for health ministries to dedicate at least 2% of their budgets to research. For most developing countries this remains an aspiration, with most still well below 1%. The problem is that research is a hard thing to sell where resources are tight. Convincing the public that research is not a luxury can be difficult. Hopefully, by the next ministerial summit in 2012, the discussion will no longer be about research for the world’s poorest nations but research by them for themselves. But, sadly, it seems all too possible that four years from now participants will be having exactly the same conversations.

Behind the global numbers: The real costs of research for health
Global Forum for Health Research

The Executive Director of the GFHR says: "One of the important aspects of our work is that we have been tracking global resources for health research. For example, we found that in 2001 the world spent nearly US$106 billion, with 44% of this total coming from the public sector, 48.3% from the private for-profit sector and 7.6% from private not-for-profit organizations like the Gates and Rockefeller foundations." This article sheds further light on the real picture.

Beyond Aid: Research and Innovation as key drivers for Health, Equity and Development
Council on Health Research for Development Group (COHRED): 2012

This report summarises the outcomes of the conference Forum 2012, which was held in April 2012 in Cape Town, South Africa. It identifies that countries need to collect evidence and use it to identify priorities for their people and that external funders should not set agendas. Assessment should be made of where research is needed before embarking on projects, as is constant monitoring and evaluation. Research ethics frameworks need to be improved and integrated into health research systems. Partnerships are seen to be crucial, particularly local partnerships and scientists need mentoring, stable jobs and good salaries, and to know they are valued. People need to be engaged at a young age about research and innovation for development. Investing in research for health requires a long-term view. Promoting equity in health means addressing the social and economic conditions that cause inequality. Research and innovation can help identify and develop solutions to expand the availability of good quality healthcare and people's access to it, thereby reducing disparities in health.

Biomedical research, a tool to address the health issues that affect African populations
Peprah E and Wonkam A: Globalization and Health 9(50): 21 October 2013

In this paper, the authors discuss how research using biomedical technology, especially genomics, has produced data that enhances the understanding and treatment of both communicable and non-communicable diseases in sub-Saharan Africa. The authors further discuss how scientific development can provide opportunities to pursue research areas responsive to the African populations. The authors limit our discussion to biomedical research in the areas of genomics due to its substantial impact on the scientific community in recent years but they also recognize that targeted investments in other scientific disciplines could also foster further development in African countries.

Birth attendants as perinatal verbal autopsy respondents in low- and middle-income countries: A viable alternative?
Engmann C, Garces A, Jehan I, Ditekemena J, Phiri M, Thorsten V et al: Bulletin of the World Health Organisation 90(3): 200-208, March 2012

The authors of this study assessed the feasibility of using birth attendants instead of bereaved mothers as perinatal verbal autopsy respondents in low- and middle-income countries. Verbal autopsy interviews for early neonatal deaths and stillbirths were conducted separately among mothers (reference standard) and birth attendants in 38 communities in four developing countries, including the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia. For early neonatal deaths, concordance between maternal and attendant responses across all questions was 94%. Concordance was at least 95% for more than half the questions on maternal medical history, birth attendance and neonate characteristics. Concordance on any given question was never less than 80%. For stillbirths, concordance across all questions was 93%. Concordance was 95% or greater more than half the time for questions on birth attendance, site of delivery and stillborn characteristics. Overall, the causes of death established through verbal autopsy were similar, regardless of respondent. In conclusion, birth attendants can substitute for bereaved mothers as verbal autopsy respondents.

Birth of the subject: the ethics of monitoring development programmes
George SK: Journal of Global Ethics 4(1):19-36, April 2008

NGO-based and rigorously monitored development programmes are bringing about important and positive socio-economic changes in the developing world. However, there are numerous instances of the employment of aggressive and grueling monitoring techniques which objectify the subject of development, the primary stakeholder, claiming development results as the successful achievement of goals of the donor or implementing organization. It is in this context that one can speak of an ethic of monitoring development programmes. The paper argues that such an ethic can be positively based on principles like empowering people through development work without hurting their sense of self-worth, the principle of trust and partnership and, negatively, never striving to objectify any person or people for the achievement of some objective, even if this objective is in itself honourable and desirable. The paper contends that if development is freeing the subject, the central player, to exercise their capability to live their life to the fullest, then development monitoring and development work in general has to enhance freedom, autonomy and openness.

Bridging research and policy
Critical examination of the current thinking on the research to policy process

Stone, D; Maxwell, S.; Keating, M. Produced by: Bridging Research and Policy: workshop and research project (2001)
This paper reviews some of the existing literature in various disciplines exploring the relationship beteen research and policy, and draws out the implications for both researchers and policy-makers.

Bridging research and policy:
from workshops to an international programme

Young, J.Produced by: Bridging Research and Policy: workshop and research project (2001)
This proposal describes a participatory 4-month process to develop a bridging programme to improve linkages between development research and policy. The process will continue the discussions started at the Global Development Network conference in Tokyo (December 2000), and continued at the workshop on Bridging Research and Policy in Warwick (July 2001), to develop a programme including a number of fundable proposals for specific activities with wide ownership.

Bridging the 'know-do' gap: knowledge translation in health meeting
WHO Knowledge Management and Sharing, WHO Research Policy and Cooperation

Bridging the "know-do" gap poses the greatest opportunity for
strengthening health systems and ultimately achieving equity in global
health. This report comes from a meeting on "Knowledge Translation for
Global Health" convened by the WHO.

Bridging the gap between research and policy

COHRED, Geneva, 2001
This learning brief is based on a paper which reviews the literature assessing how research impacts on policy, and how policy draws on research. The paper provides insight into the various modes of advocacy that researchers can adopt, methods of communication and dissemination they can use, and a number of new lessons about knowledge utilisation.