Intended for healthcare professionals


Global research for health

BMJ 2008; 337 doi: (Published 25 November 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;337:a2733
  1. Martin McKee, professor of European public health
  1. 1London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London WC1E 7HT
  1. martin.mckee{at}

    Should tackle health needs and inform policy

    Last week delegations from 59 governments, international agencies, and researchers met in Bamako, Mali, to discuss the state of global health research. It was an opportunity to review progress since their last meeting, four years earlier, in Mexico City, and to set an agenda for the future.1 The meeting in Mexico is widely seen as a turning point, where the importance of research tackling the greatest health needs was emphasised, and where a strategy for meeting these needs was proposed.

    Arguably, in a world with scarce resources efforts should be focused on where they can do most good. To make this happen, those attending the conference in Mexico advocated greater investment in research on health systems and policy, the development of national health research policies, and the incorporation of evidence into health policy.

    The consensus is that some progress has been made since Mexico. Funding for health systems and policy research has increased, and some politicians now accept that evidence based policies are desirable.2 Yet we still have much to do. The births, lives, and …

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