Intended for healthcare professionals


Setting global health research priorities

BMJ 2003; 326 doi: (Published 05 April 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;326:722

Burden of disease and inherently global health issues should both be considered

  1. Ronald Labonte, director,
  2. Jerry Spiegel, assistant professor
  1. Saskatchewan Population Health and Evaluation Research Unit, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada S7N 5E5
  2. Liu Institute for Global Issues, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada V6T 1Z2

    When the G8 countries met in Canada in 2002 the topics of security, health, and Africa figured prominently. The three issues are related. Africa's human health is reeling from HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases, posing national and regional security risks. The continent's economic health is stagnant or eroding, the result of structural adjustment programmes,1 domestic conflicts, corruption, and deteriorating human health. Recognising the complexities of these entwined relations, the G8 Africa action plan included a commitment to support health research on diseases prevalent in Africa. How well G8 member nations—Canada, the United States, England, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and Russia—abide by this commitment is a matter of time and lobbying efforts. But what form should this new health research investment take? Should it emphasise specific diseases affecting poor people most, as favoured by the Commission on Macroeconomics and Health of the World Health Organization?2 Should it heed the call of biotechnology researchers, who have tabled their list of “top 10” research investments for global health, which range from better …

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