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New partnership will help Latin American countries strengthen research systems for health

Two specialist organizations join forces to improve health research skills, systems and information.

Geneva – Washington, D.C., 22 October 2009. Latin American countries will get support for efforts to improve health research and share knowledge and experiences through an agreement signed this month by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the Council Health Research for Development (COHRED).

PAHO and COHRED will work together to provide services and support to countries interested in strengthening their systems for health research, an area of vital importance for public health planning, policymaking, and resource mobilization.

The agreement includes technical cooperation for the creation of plans to develop countries' national health research systems, for the synthesis and sharing of experiences and best practices, and for studies and analyses in areas of research where additional evidence is needed to improve public health efforts.

Support and expertise for countries

"PAHO provides technical expertise and the participation of its Member States in improving national health research systems to benefit the people of the Americas," noted Luis Gabriel Cuervo, PAHO's senior advisor on research promotion and development. "COHRED brings to the partnership many years of expertise working with countries, and providing useful tools and hands-on experience with setting policies and priorities, managing performance, and translating research evidence into policy."

The agencies will work in a coordinated way to provide and facilitate support to countries, linking to expertise from the best-placed regional and national organizations.

"This collaboration is a good example of how a strategic partnership between a UN agency and a partner such as COHRED, specialized in technical and policy support, can bring practical benefits to countries and to peoples' health," said Carel IJsselmuiden, COHRED's director. "Together we will help countries improve their research skills, the relevance of their research, and their access to vital information on health and health research - through the Health Research Web platform."

The partnership will help advance the implementation of PAHO's Policy on Research for Health, which was approved by the organization's Member States at the 49th PAHO Directing Council meeting in September 2009. The regional plan aims to strengthen the role and leadership of health and research authorities throughout the Americas.

Health Research Web Latin America

An important element of this collaboration is a continent-wide effort by PAHO and COHRED to develop the Health Research Web interactive platform for users across Latin America. The two organizations will facilitate countries to collect and validate information on their health research activities and streamline data collection and dissemination processes to minimize duplication.

Health Research Web gives countries the ability to share information with the world on their health research activities. It also provides tools for managing health research information on a national or regional basis - in public or private web spaces.

Prior to this agreement COHRED and PAHO have collaborated in various initiatives, most notably the organization of the 1st Latin American Conference on Research and Innovation for Health - which provided inputs to the Bamako Ministerial Forum on Research for Health - and on the development of PAHO's recently-adopted Policy on Research for Health.

For COHRED, this is the latest in a number of strategic regional partnerships that aim to support countries and improve access to health research information across the developing world. A similar partnership in Africa with NEPAD - the New Partnership for Africa's Development - will provide system support to a core group of countries that are intent on strengthening health research based on their national priorities. Other partnerships are under development.


Contact: COHRED Michael Devlin - This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or Francisco Becerra This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
PAHO: Donna Eberwine-Villagrán This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


Notes:

The Pan American Health Organization PAHO is the oldest international public health agency with over 107 years of experience working to improve health and living standards of people in the Americas. It serves as the Regional Office for the Americas of the World Health Organization (WHO) and is a member of the United Nations and Inter-American systems.

For more information about PAHO or PAHO's Policy on Research for Health, visit http://www.paho.org/ResearchPortal

COHRED (See www.cohred.org)

COHRED is an international non-governmental organization that supports countries to strengthen their health research systems. COHRED supports countries to use health research to:

  • Improve health and reduce health inequities
  • Improve health sector performance and accountability
  • Encourage donor alignment and harmonization
  • Link health research with science, technology and innovation
  • Generate economic and social prosperity

Given continuing health inequities, in both the developing and the developed world, COHRED promotes health research that addresses the needs of the disadvantaged. COHRED works with countries to build the skills and systems required for such essential research. We partner with governments, research institutions and local communities, building on expertise from around the world.

About Health Research Web (see www.healthresearchweb.org)

HRWeb is an interactiv web platform and a growing source of information on the structure, organization, financing and prioritizing of research for health in and for low and middle income countries. Its unique contributions to health research are to:

  • Organize global information on research for health from the point of view of low and middle income countries.
  • Capture research system information - enabling countries and institutions to govern and manage health research as an essential aspect of increasing health, equity and development;
  • Make this domain interactive, open to the public - to everyone - not just to research institutions, donors or industry.
  • Create a platform that can be used for internal institutional management or for sharing institutional, national or regional data with the world.

What is national health research system strengthening?

Strengthening of national health research systems covers a number of skills and disciplines that countries can apply to use research to ensure health equity and improve population health. These areas include policy development, priority setting, management of research, research contracting, communication and translation of research and assessment of skills and human resource needs.

 
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