Editorials

Health research in developing countries

BMJ 2009; 339 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.b4846 (Published 20 November 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;339:b4846
  1. Mauricio L Barreto, professor
  1. 1Instituto de Saúde Coletiva, Federal University of Bahia, Rua Basílio da Gama s/n, Canela, 40110-040 Salvador, Bahia, Brazil
  1. mauricio{at}ufba.br

    Latin America has taken initiatives to pave the way forward

    Despite sustained growth in spending on science and technology worldwide, financial resources for research are insufficient in many countries. In 1999, the Global Forum for Health Research (GFHR) analysed expenditure in health research throughout the world. It coined the term “10/90 gap” to summarise the worldwide imbalance in health research resources—the least amount of money is devoted to health problems that affect the most people, who are also the poorest.1 The term has since motivated a permanent international debate on health research, and funding agencies in developed countries and not for profit international organisations (such as the Wellcome Trust2 and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation3) have made huge investments.4 5

    Given the ethically and morally unacceptable social problems in Africa, Latin America, and other parts of the developing world, it is pertinent to question whether money spent on research is justified when more …

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