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Saturday, December 7, 2013
- The World Health Organisation’s (WHO) annual report, released Thursday, emphasizes the importance of medical research in achieving the lofty goal of universal health coverage.
Entitled “Research for Universal Health Coverage,” the World Health report stresses that health care should be accessible for all without breaking the bank. In a statement, WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan explained how “universal coverage is the best way to cement the health gains made during the previous decade. It is a powerful social equalizer and the ultimate expression of fairness.”
WHO member states committed in 2005 to achieving health coverage for all- claiming that this is an expression of the belief that everyone should have access to the health services they need without financial ruin.
The report shows that domestic investment in research throughout BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China), which have notably embraced the idea of universal health coverage, has been growing. It is this very domestic research which will lead to positive gains in the future when connections are strengthened between scientific and political communities.
Lead author Dr. Christopher Dye said in a statement: “we need to accelerate the process of bringing scientists and decision makers together to improve health service coverage.”
‘Research’ is a general term, of which the process is defined in the report as “setting research priorities, building capacity, formulating and adopting standards of practice, and translating the results into policy.”
With the goal of universal health coverage in mind, the report shows that although there have been important increases in research commitments by some countries, growth is uneven globally. And it is “certainly not of a uniformly high standard.”
The report notes that a country’s wealth facilitates, but does not guarantee, national research productivity.
The report also describes how “few countries have objectively assessed the strengths and weaknesses of their national research programmes, and few have evaluated the health, social and economic benefits that research can bring.”
The report concludes that all nations would benefit from taking a more systematic approach to the evaluation of their dedication to medical research.
More positively, the report cites the fact that despite the uneven growth, most countries now have the foundations on which to build better research programmes.