COHRED Colloquium 2013 calls for more investments into research and innovation for health…


Carel Ijsselmuiden, COHRED's Executive Director, speaking about the 20 years of COHRED

Geneva, 28 March 2012 – The Council on Health Research for Development Colloquium for 2013 (COHRED Colloquium 2013) on the theme ‘sustainable investments into research and innovation for health’ was held in Geneva, Switzerland this week.

The Colloquium examined the prospects for new, innovative and practical actions that can be used to support low-and middle-income country (LMIC) efforts to design their own solutions for investing in health. This engagement probed how global collaborations can be used to support regional and national efforts that are aimed at securing long-term funding for research and innovation for health.

Participants at Colloquium 2013 had the opportunity to share experiences on how to set their own priorities for investing in research and innovation for health, build capacities and provide incentives for research. Although governments in LMICs have got the political will to push for reforms that focus on health as a basic right and also on research for health, they often find it difficult to meet the recommended targets for investing in research, innovation and development. Despite this, they remain the major funders of research in their own countries.

It is in this regard that participants called upon countries and donors to push for non-governmental organisations that advocate for research and innovation for health at the national level as this can help to show the value of research to the public thereby securing broader public buy-in and support for research. Donors and researchers were called upon to continue re-aligning their work and goals towards the needs and strategies of the countries.

Whilst supporting and building self-reliance for countries is essential, participants at Colloquium 2013 called for greater cooperation between sectors within countries to drive improved health. It is in this regard that, Martin Sepulveda, the Vice President for Health Industries Research at the IBM Corporation and a COHRED board member reminded participants that the private sector also values healthy people and therefore has a stake in investing in research, innovation and development. “Healthy people have an enormous economic value to an enterprise. They help to attract talent, improve brand value and public support”, he added.

A strong and recurring theme at Colloquium 2013 was the need to always ensure the involvement of communities in setting the priorities for health research.

High on the Colloquium 2013 agenda was the 20th Anniversaries of COHRED and the World Development Report of 1993: Investing in Health. This meeting served as an opportunity for participants to help define the contents of a report, to be published in The Lancet in December 2013, which will inform current and future policies for addressing both infectious and non-communicable global health problems.

With regard to the 20th Anniversary of COHRED, participants called upon COHRED to carry-on its advocacy work on research for health and on strengthening and supporting country efforts that are aimed at research for health. COHRED was called upon to gain more public support for the view that research and innovation for health are indeed drivers of development.

COHRED Colloquium 2013’, which ran from 26 to 27 March 2013, in Geneva, Switzerland, was jointly organised by the COHRED and the Lancet Commission on Investing in Health.

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