Geneva, 26/03/2013 – In a discussion on ‘sustainable investments into research and innovation for health’ speakers at the opening of the third edition of the COHRED Colloquium highlighted the need for innovative and practical actions that can be used to help low-and middle-income countries (LMICs) design their own solutions for investing in health.
‘COHRED Colloquium 2013’, which runs from 26 to 27 March 2013, in Geneva, Switzerland, is jointly organised by the Council on Health Research for Development (COHRED) and the Lancet Commission on Investing in Health.
According to Professor Carel IJsselmuiden, Executive Director of COHRED, participants at the meeting will use their experience to identify what some of the truly valuable investments in research and development have been, and use their imaginations to judge where future investments must go if we are to make the most significant progress against mortality in LMICs.
Gerald Keutsch, Chair of the COHRED Board and a Professor of Medicine at Boston University, started the discussion by highlighting how investment into health research is important not only for LMICs, but also for the global community. He cited the need for promoting diversity and competitiveness in the financing of health care.
In the same vein, Lawrence Summers, co-Chair of the Lancet Commission on Investing in Health and President Emeritus at Harvard University, called upon the participants to think about the new tools and knowledge that can be used to boost investments in health research and ultimately improved access to healthcare.
John Arne-Rottingen, Professor of Health Policy at the Harvard School of Public Health called for improved coordination, information sharing and communication in order to improve delivery. In doing this, he also called upon participants to think critically about exactly what it is that is required in order to “invest in health research”.
Adolfo Martinez-Palomo, Professor of Molecular Pathogenesis at the Center for Advanced Studies in Mexico also called for less bureaucracy and duplication of initiatives. “There are still too many initiatives and some diseases have become fashionable and not others”, said Martinez.
However, Dr. Alioune Dieye of the Institute Pasteur de Dakar reminded participants that emphasis should be on supporting and working through the established country-level systems and structures. “We should give attention to the ability of local governments to deal with issues concerning investments into critical areas such as health and education”, he said.
In relation to the above, Dr. Marie-Paule Kieny, the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Assistant Director General of Innovation, Information, Evidence and Research, said that incentives for countries to collect relevant data on research and development need to be put in place in order to boost the process of coming up with sustainable actions on investing in research for health.
COHRED Colloquium 2013 coincides with the 20th Anniversaries of COHRED and the World Development Report of 1993: Investing in Health. This meeting is an opportunity for participants to help define the contents of a report, to be published in The Lancet on 3rd December 2013, which will inform current and future policies for addressing both infectious and non-communicable global health problems.