History of COHRED

2013 – COHRED turns 20

2013 marks the 20th Anniversary of COHRED following its 1993 set-up as an international non-governmental organisation with the responsibility of supporting developing country efforts to invest in establishing and strengthening sustainable systems for research for health. This role grew out of the 1990 report by the Commission on Health Research for Development, which highlighted the low funding for health research particularly around the diseases that were most responsible for poor health in low-and-middle-income countries (LMICs). Today, our work has grown to focus on improving research and innovation for health, equity and development by supporting countries to develop strong research and innovation systems as part of their efforts towards better health and development.

2012 – Forum 2012 on ‘Beyond Aid… Research and Innovation as key drivers for Health, Equity and Development’

Forum 2012 was held from 24-26 April 2012 in Cape Town, South Africa. Forum 2012, aimed to move beyond the traditional discussions of health – which generally focus on unequal allocation of resources and attracting more donor aid to solve the health problems of low and middle-income countries (LMICs). The event brought together over 400 change makers from across the world and got them to start think about improving health research capacity and stimulating innovation for enterprise development to help resolve the health problems of LMICs. This will hopefully create a more productive, equitable development growth path than purely relying on aid.

2010 – Merger of COHRED and the Global Forum for Health Research

The merged organization builds upon COHRED’s portfolio of services and tools that support countries to strengthen governance and management of research and innovation for health, equity and socio-economic development, including its Health Research Web platform, and on the Global Forum’s influential international conference on research and innovation for health and its tracking of resource flows in health research. The organization remains based in Geneva with staff in Switzerland, Brazil, Great Britain, Mexico, Tunisia and South Africa.

2008 – Bamako Ministerial Forum

Bamako 2008 Global Ministerial Forum on Research for Health. COHRED was a co-organizer of the meeting, with the Government of Mali, UNESCO, the World Bank, World Health Organization and Global Forum for Health Research.  The same year, the Global Forum for Health Research celebrated 10 years of achievements, having effectively advocated around the “10/90” gap and driven the case for better targeted and prioritized research to address the health needs of poor populations; provided a forum for exchange, learning and innovation to decision-makers in research, funding and policy; and developed high-quality evidence and tools that help guide decisions in research for health.

2007 – Paris Declaration

COHRED’s ‘AHA’ study on alignment and harmonisation was the first to look at Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness from a health research perspective. It calls for better alignment of donor programmes with country needs and among donors.

2005 – Responsible Programming

This concept was coined by COHRED in 2005 and framed in a study in 2007. It encourages global health initiatives to build research capacity strengthening as a part of their vertical activities.

2004 – Mexico Conference

COHRED was a partner in organising the Mexican Ministerial meeting, which put health systems research on the global health agenda.

2000 – Bangkok Conference – International Conference on Health Research for Development

COHRED contribution:

  • Facilitate extensive country consultations to assess national needs for health research.
  • Review health research over the past decade, draw lessons for the future.
  • Agree on a framework for improved international cooperation in health research in support of country health research systems.

1998 – The Global Forum for Health Research established

In the late 1990s, a group of visionary people decided that the world needed a global view in health research. As a result, the Global Forum for Health Research was established as an independent international foundation in Switzerland in 1998.

1993 – COHRED established

International Conference on Health Research for Development, Geneva

COHRED was established to promote Essential National Health Research (ENHR) as a comprehensive strategy for organising and managing national health research.

1992 International Conference on Health Research for Development (Uganda)

  • Assessed progress made with the implementation of the ENHR strategy
  • Identified possible mechanisms for international support for ENHR

1990-1993 – Task Force

Task Force on Health Research for Development

Mandate: to consider how to implement the Commission’s recommendations:

  • Further developed concept of ENHR
  • Defined 7 elements for implementing the ENHR strategy
  • Facilitated the implementation of ENHR in some 15 countries

1990 – Commission Report

Health Research: Essential Link to Equity in Development

The report highlighted the mismatch between burden of disease and investment in health research. It proposed four recommendations:

  • Implementation of Essential National Health Research (ENHR) by all countries
  • Creation of international partnerships in health research
  • Mobilizing increased funding for health research
  • Establish a forum for review and advocacy

The Commission’s Report was launched at the Nobel Conference on Health Research for Development (Karolinska Institute, Sweden, 1990).

1987-1990 – Commission

Commission on Health Research for Development

Mandate: to survey health research worldwide, identify strengths and weaknesses, and propose improvements.