The role of NGOs in global health research for development
Article [Accepted Manuscript]
Is part ofHealth research policy and systems ; vol. 3, no. 1.
BACKGROUND:Global health research is essential for development. A major issue is the inequitable distribution of research efforts and funds directed towards populations suffering the world's greatest health problems. This imbalance is fostering major attempts at redirecting research to the health problems of low and middle income countries. Following the creation of the Coalition for Global Health Research – Canada (CGHRC) in 2001, the Canadian Society for International Health (CSIH) decided to review the role of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in global health research. This paper highlights some of the prevalent thinking and is intended to encourage new thinking on how NGOs can further this role.APPROACH:This paper was prepared by members of the Research Committee of the CSIH, with input from other members of the Society. Persons working in various international NGOs participated in individual interviews or group discussions on their involvement in different types of research activities. Case studies illustrate the roles of NGOs in global health research, their perceived strengths and weaknesses, and the constraints and opportunities to build capacity and develop partnerships for research.HIGHLIGHTS:NGOs are contributing at all stages of the research cycle, fostering the relevance and effectiveness of the research, priority setting, and knowledge translation to action. They have a key role in stewardship (promoting and advocating for relevant global health research), resource mobilization for research, the generation, utilization and management of knowledge, and capacity development. Yet, typically, the involvement of NGOs in research is downstream from knowledge production and it usually takes the form of a partnership with universities or dedicated research agencies.CONCLUSION:There is a need to more effectively include NGOs in all aspects of health research in order to maximize the potential benefits of research. NGOs, moreover, can and should play an instrumental role in coalitions for global health research, such as the CGHRC. With a renewed sense of purpose and a common goal, NGOs and their partners intend to make strong and lasting inroads into reducing the disease burden of the world's most affected populations through effective research action.
Note(s)Affiliation: Hélène Delisle: Département de nutrition, Faculté de médecine, Université de Montréal
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