This Working Paper on Better Health is one of a series of 10 papers
published alongside DFID's Research Strategy 2008-2013. It
presents the case for DFID-funded research on Better Health - drawing on
the responses given during a global consultation that DFID convened in
2007 about its future research.
The current DFID health strategy underlines the importance of generating
new knowledge to deliver health services more effectively and
efficiently and supporting scientific breakthroughs to provide new
medicines and vaccines for tropical diseases and HIV and AIDS. In
2006-2007 DFID invested around £45 million in health research, over 40%
of the entire central research budget. By 2010 this is set to double,
making DFID one of the largest donors in international health research.
DFID funds research directly, supports multilateral organisations and
international initiatives, and works jointly with the UK Medical
Research Council, the Wellcome Trust and other partners.
Overall, the responses to the consultation process suggest that DFID is
broadly on the right track with its current health research portfolio. A
key message is that DFID should continue to remain focused by
restricting the scope of research to a few carefully selected and well
defined areas and evaluating success in terms of the practical impact of
research on policy and practice in poor countries. Yet major challenges
to meeting the three health MDGs remain, necessitating improvements.
Over the next five years, DFID will therefore target its health research
investments to unlock and accelerate progress towards the health MDGs -
placing a special emphasis on exploiting the linkages between different
health challenges. While maternal and child health, HIV, TB and malaria
and gender will continue remain central to DFID research, the new
strategy will include a new emphasis on non-communicable diseases. This
is in recognition that the burden of ill health is changing rapidly,
with developing countries increasingly facing a double burden of
communicable and non-communicable diseases.
DFID will also prioritise and co-ordinate better with others in
supporting global health innovation, and deepen and apply its knowledge
and expertise about the environments where health technologies and
interventions are delivered, in order to help maximise the uptake of
technology, whether existing or new.
Three interlinked and mutually-reinforcing priority areas have been
identified for refocusing DFID investments in health research to achieve
the MDGs: Operational and implementation research to make interventions
more effective; Health systems; and Global health innovation systems.
Additionally, and as part of a systems approach to health, DFID will
focus on building health research capacity, especially in Africa.
DFID, London, UK, 20 pp.
DFID Research Strategy 2008-2013. Working Paper Series: Better Health