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Bamako 2008

Archive for November 24th, 2008

Nov 24 2008

Bamako wrap-up

Posted by: Greer van Zyl - Editorial Team

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Andrew Kennedy (COHRED), Stephen Matlin (Global Forum for Health Research) and Carel Ijsselmuiden (COHRED)
Andrew Kennedy (COHRED), Stephen Matlin (Global Forum for Health Research) and Carel Ijsselmuiden (COHRED)

Lindiwe Makhubalo and Pakiso Netshidzivhani from South Africa
Lindiwe Makhubalo and Pakiso Netshidzivhani from South Africa

Representing the South East Asian region were Pornpit Silkavute of the Health systems research Institute in Thailand, and Vibha Varshney of the Centre for Science and Environment in India
Representing the South East Asian region were Pornpit Silkavute of the Health systems research Institute in Thailand, and Vibha Varshney of the Centre for Science and Environment in India

L-R: Gill Samuels, chair of the Global Forum for Health Research, Sue Kinn of the UK Department for International Development, and Robert Ridley, director of TDR
L-R: Gill Samuels, chair of the Global Forum for Health Research, Sue Kinn of the UK Department for International Development, and Robert Ridley,director of TDR.

Delegates give their views of the Global Ministerial Forum on Health Research as the meeting winds up in Bamako today:

“I found some of the cut and thrust of the questions helped me focus on what was missing which is about translating research into policy and delivery of healthcare. Lots of fine words have come out. But, as a wild thought, how would it be if each of the 42 ministers were to tell the conference what they intended to do in the next year in terms of applying research to service delivery and filling the gaps where the needs are? That to me would give the conference real bite.” Chris Bateman, News Editor – South African Medical Journal, South Africa

“We had a session on non-communicable diseases on the first day, and the conference was successful in that there were ministers of both health, and science and technology coming together to have ownership of a common cause. This is a unique feature of this meeting. One hopes this type of inter-ministerial dialogue will be widened.” Dr Shanti Mendis, WHO (Geneva)

“What was powerful was that the meeting seemed to pick up on gaps of previous declarations and calls to action and tried to identify where there had been no movement, and try to correct that. I thought that was important because we have been talking about these things for a number of years now, it’s really time to look at where the blockages are and try to move them. Some of the discussions did pick up on those issues, like the greater involvement of communities, civil society and certain aspects of industry.” Dr Lindiwe Makubalo, Ministry of Health, South Africa

“The conference was a special event, but there was too much separation between the ministers and the delegates. I think politicians should be accountable to people. The process of a declaration should be interactive. For the future, the challenge is how to get ministers to listen to audiences that becomes an iterative process in a meeting like this. Otherwise, I think the meeting was great for networking and motivating and infusing energy in the world of research and development.” Carel Ijsselmuiden, Director, COHRED (Geneva)

“The conference was a great success, achieving most of the objectives it set out to do, by looking at the critical areas of health research and trying to organize health research in such a way to benefit society. The meeting has come up with a communiqué which addresses the importance of involving civil society and co-ordinating and prioritizing health research issues and dissemination of information – so, the full participation of civil society. The other highlight is the issue of funding for health research and the importance of allowing countries to set their own priorities, with health research funders coming in to complement rather than to impose.” Edwin Muguti, Ministry of Health, Zimbabwe

“The atmosphere has been great, better than in previous conferences. It’s unfortunate that the ministerial process has been devolved from the body of the conference because some of the sessions which went on would have benefited from the ministerial input, and have the ministers hear the input from the delegates.” Andrew Kennedy, COHRED (Geneva)

“I’m pleased that this conference managed to deal with all the issues on the programme in the time allotted. I am very impressed and surprised at the research taking place in Mali. They have done so much, also with the help of a country like the USA and organizations. There were many panels covering the good results of their research. I’m happy that many African countries were able to participate fully at this meeting, unlike in Mexico where we couldn’t speak because it was in Portuguese and Spanish. Here there were lots of French-speaking countries participating; it was very good!” Dr Moussa Yarou, Ministry of Health, Benin

Some off-the-record comments were also offered by participants:

“The representation appears to be broad and seems to include people from almost all parts of the world. This is a good thing. I only wish that the other Presidents (apart from the Malian President) were also available at this conference. I would have wished that the people gathered here included key decision-makers of health policy in their respective countries.”

“The aspect of the conference that I am concerned about is the ownership of research. I wish those donating for health research would allow the recipient countries to have more power in the decision-making.”

“I have always been concerned about who owns the knowledge that is generated, if there is anything like knowledge ownership. What I mean is that even though we are always meeting to discuss issues like setting the health agenda by developing countries themselves, even these meetings are to a large extent being funded by donors.”

“There have been many declarations from meetings from the last decade or so. It would be interesting to know what proportion of those declarations have been adopted or implemented.”

“Could there have been more representation from the groups we (researchers + communicators about health research) claim to represent? It would have been good to know the views of such groups as well.”

“I think it is a good idea that so many people of diverse backgrounds are gathered in one place to share ideas about how to improve health through research. This in itself is a good start, apart from the fact that the forum offers incredible opportunities for people to network. Even interactions at such informal levels have tremendous capacity – in my opinion – to bring about change in the way people do things in their own countries.”

Some comments were also offered about TropIKA.net:

« Avant ce forum je ne connaissais pas TropIKA. Quand j’ai vu le badge TropIKA porté par des collègues du Mali, ma curiosité a été piquée. Du coup je suis allé leur poser des questions. Ils m’ont donne amples informations et ensuite je suis allé visiter le stand, et puis le site de TropIKA. J’avoue que c’est une bonne chose cette initiative, d’autant plus que lors des meetings on n’a pas la possibilité d’être présent partout à la fois. Mais si, en fin de journée, tu as déjà accès à un résumé complet des sessions, c’est très bien. Je pense que c’est à encourager beaucoup. » Dr Maiga (immunologiste, SEREFO, Bamako, Mali)

“I knew TropIKA.net a while ago. It’s very important for meeting participants but also for people who for some reason were not able to attend. I like their daily report and I can tell that the reports are accurate since I have got to read report on session I attended. Big thanks to the TropIKA. net team. Keep the good job. Thanks.” Dr Francis (Kenya)