Geneva-Johannesburg, May 2006
More funding must go directly to African countries for research on their health priorities, done by African organizations and their researchers! This is the goal of the partnership between NEPAD – the New Partnership for Africa’s Development, and COHRED – the Council on Health Research for Development.
The two organizations are intensifying efforts with African countries to significantly improve their capacity and systems for doing health research over the coming five years. The ultimate goal of this effort is the generation of more African-based health research.
The partnership is framed in a Memorandum of Understanding between the two organizations. It taps COHRED’s experience and practical approaches to health research system building with many developing countries, and directly supports implementation of the NEPAD Health Strategy. This strategy is one component of the NEPAD plan, set by Africa’s Heads of State to advance Africa’s socioeconomic development.
Helping put the NEPAD health strategy into action
NEPAD is not an implementation body. It relies on countries and partnerships to put its strategies into
action. Says NEPAD Health Advisor, Prof. Eric Buch: “COHRED’s past expertise in advocating for Essential National Health Research (ENHR) across Africa and its current programme – supporting countries to build their health research systems – helps NEPAD and Africa achieve their health goals.”
“COHRED is a suitable partner because of its country-level focus and expertise. And for its plans to grow African ownership, capacity and to establish an office in Africa with regional and country partnerships,” explains Buch.
For COHRED, the NEPAD partnership strengthens the case for countries and development partners to invest in research for health in Africa, explains COHRED Director, Prof. Carel IJsselmuiden. “As an initiative of all African heads of state, NEPAD helps bridge the health research-evidence-policy gap.
Allied to the advocacy role of NEPAD, COHRED’s support to countries will help make African health research – in and by Africa – a reality.”
COHRED’s expertise and studies will inform the NEPAD strategies for health and science and technology, supporting its aim of creating African centres of excellence in various scientific disciplines.
NEPAD and COHRED have agreed that:
- They will work together to create one or more African COHRED centres with the expertise to help countries generate effective national health research systems. A first phase is the current joint effort to engage countries to ‘…map Africa’s health research capability inrelation to its own needs and challenges’.
- COHRED will provide input and evidence from its programme to support NEPAD’s aim of developing a science and technology health policy or health research components of the science and technology policy.
- NEPAD’s Health Secretariat may direct questions to COHRED to investigate issues related to health research systems and policy.
- They will work together to encourage African researchers to include indicators in theirnational research that will contribute to monitoring NEPAD’s achievement of its health and health research goals.
- NEPAD’s Health Secretariat will invite COHRED (through its partners in Africa), to providetechnical support in preparation of documents related to health research policy and systems development, to conduct continent-wide analysis, or develop policy briefings to address issues of specific concern.
- COHRED will work with African partners and key northern organisations to enable an African platform for exchange in health research for development.
Overview: The Council on Health Research for Development (COHRED) COHRED programme:
- Building health research systems. Direct support to countries in building and improving their health research systems.
- Responsible Vertical Programming. Providing evidence and advice to encourage global health research initiatives to effectively strengthen national research systems and respect country priorities in their work, in line with the 2005 Paris Declaration on Aid effectiveness.
- Strengthening Research Capacity. Supporting countries in defining and developing key skills to improve the quality of their national research efforts.
- Improving community influence. Working with community-based organizations and experts to develop approaches for communities to influence national health research agendas to suit their priority health research problems as well.
- Improving communication skills. Supporting southern research institutes, policy makers and communities, to optimise the use of research communication to generate health solutions and health equity.