According to NGO research, Global health research is essential for development. A major issue is the inequitable distribution of research efforts and funds directed towards populations suffering the world’s greatest health problems.
This imbalance is fostering major attempts at redirecting research to the health problems of low and middle income countries. Partnerships involving NGOs are increasing in global health research. Such collaborations present opportunities for knowledge translation in global health, yet are also associated with challenges for establishing and sustaining effective and respectful partnerships.
NGOs are contributing at all stages of the research cycle, fostering the relevance and effectiveness of the research, priority setting, and knowledge translation to action. They have a key role in stewardship (promoting and advocating for relevant global health research), resource mobilization for research, the generation, utilization and management of knowledge, and capacity development.
NGO Trans-disciplinary teams and methodologies
- Inequities in health are caused by a number of determinants, including the use of or access to health care facilities. Research which addresses these issues requires an inter-sectoral approach, involving trans-disciplinary teams and methodologies.
- Building trans-disciplinary teams requires commitment from the research community to seek out colleagues from other disciplines, from the funding agencies to appreciate innovative initiatives, from the community at large as partners and contributors, and from the policy arena to develop strategies for inter-sectoral policies and programs which may well have the lead outside ministries of health.
- NGOs have contributed to all different stages of the research cycle namely in advocacy, priority setting, capacity building, resource mobilization, sharing and utilization of research findings, and networking.
- Traditionally, many NGOs which have undertaken activities that address health issues in resource-poor settings are service-oriented NGOs and concentrate their efforts on implementing “action” programs. This type of NGO finds it difficult to identify resources that would allow them to conduct research.
- there are NGOs involved in actually conducting research, for most the focus is usually evaluation. Links with the research community are often weak. Other NGOs undertake innovative field-based experimental research. The effectiveness of these initiatives is often learned by trial and error.
- At all stages in the development of primary health care programs, NGOs can be effective. Recognition by government of the contributions NGOs can make in support of primary health care will ensure maximum benefits of these contributions to the national health program.
- Typically, NGO involvement in research is more downstream of knowledge production and it usually takes the form of a partnership with more traditionally-oriented research organizations such as universities or dedicated research agencies.
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