Working together is vital for innovation, country experiences show

Four experts from different countries with a mix of experiences in implementing innovations in health research shared a common position: research and innovation are important building blocks that need to be harmonized by various sectors. In a forum moderated by Dr. Manuel Dayrit, dean of the Ateneo School of Medicine and Public Health and former Health Secretary of the Philippines, experts agreed that there should be a convergence of actions
to push health research forward to result in innovation.

“All sectors must work together, not just government, academia, civil society, and others,” concluded Dr. Dayrit. “And we have to find out-of-the-box solutions—create a space where all of these things need to happen.”

In Brazil, for example, Dr. Fabio Zicker, senior visiting professor from the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, shared that major problems in health care, technology innovation, and architecture in the national system hampered the course of innovations in the health sector. To address the problem, Brazil took several steps, including fostering cooperation and concerted work of four ministries, government agencies, implementers, and funding agencies, including 64 universities and more than 250 medical schools.

This convergence resulted in several actions that drastically improved Brazil’s health system. Among the solutions implemented were the creation of networks for chronic diseases and health technology assessments, public-private partnership, national research agenda, and support systems

Manuel Dayrit
for health research. Dr. Dayrit observed that Brazil’s solution involved a strong connection between the academia and innovation.

Meanwhile, in South Africa, the drug discovery project for malaria started with only one strategy at the University of Cape Town with only two people at the helm, as shared by Dr. Glaudina Loots, director of health innovation at the South African Department of Science and Technology. Loots noted that after six years, the project expanded to involve five institutions, with 100% funding coming from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), and one identified clinical trial candidate.

With its drug discovery project for TB, the scenario has drastically changed. The project is now multidisciplinary involving a groundbreaking partnership between seven pharmaceutical companies and six research institutions, with 100% funding match still from BMGF. South Africa’s TB drug discovery project is, in fact, one of the largest in the world, giving the country a major global leadership role and the opportunity to develop major collaborations with global partners.


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Africa Hub will be in Manila, Philippines (24-28 August, 2015) next week to participate in a conference session that will explore the approaches, experiences and lessons of low- and middle-income country focused consortia that have sought to build capacity in health policy and systems research.
The session, entitled The network approach to strengthening health systems research capacity: experiences from the global South, will include participants from CHEPSAA, Future Health Systems - Africa Hub, ARCADE and KEYSTONE, which work across various countries in Africa and Asia.
The panel discussion will be structured to resemble a television talk show and will touch on topics such as:

  • The governance structures and processes of the different consortia;
  • Approaches to priority setting for capacity building;
  • The advantages and challenges of working in consortia / large networks;
  • The inclusion of Northern and Southern partners in networks and how this affects resources, power relations and the achievement of mutual benefit;
  • The role of donors in the functioning of capacity building networks; and
  • Achieving the long-term sustainability of these capacity building initiatives.

The session forms part of the Global Forum on Research and Innovation For Health (Forum 2015) conference, which has the theme of People at the Centre of Health Research and Innovation.


About the African Hub
The Africa Hub is one of the projects under the Higher Education for Leadership Training in Health (HEALTH) Alliance. The Africa Hub under the HEALTH Alliance is a network of seven Schools of Public Health in East and Central Africa. These schools are: School of Public Health, Makerere University (Uganda); School of Public Health, Moi University (Kenya); School of Public Health, University of Kinshasa (DRC); Muhumbili University School of Health and Social Sciences (Tanzania); School of Public Health, Jimma University (Ethiopia); National University of Rwanda School of Public Health (Rwanda); and School of Public Health, University of Nairobi (Kenya).
The main objective of the Africa Hub is to build health systems research capacity across the schools of public health in order to contribute towards improving performance of health systems within the region. This would be through building linkages and as well as promoting the exchange of ideas, resources, and experience sharing. Specifically, the Africa Hub aims at:
1. Assessing and building the capac¬ity for health systems re¬search (HSR) in schools of public health (SPHs), with a special focus on institu¬tions in post-conflict and low capacity contexts.
2. Extending networks for com¬munication, collaboration and learning in HSR and cross-country exchange of ideas and research.
3. Improving capacity to com¬municate and promote up¬take of research evidence in policy and decision-making.
The Africa Hub a five-year project, funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) through the Future Health Systems (FHS) Research Consortium. The Future Health System Research Consortium is led by Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, and USA.

About the call
The Africa Hub, Makerere University School of Public Health (MakSPH) wishes to support not only capacity building for graduate students in health systems research, but also how their research findings could be shared with policy makers and other stakeholders within the study areas. To facilitate this, Africa Hub wishes to support three post-graduate students to disseminate findings from their short studies, within districts where the studies were undertaken. Note that only studies answering health systems research questions will be supported.

The support package
Africa Hub support shall cover;
-cost of travel for applicant to the dissemination center
-costs of dissemination meeting, including refreshments, venue, and related costs [applicant must indicate expected numbers of stakeholders to attend]
Once applicant submits a budget, and it is approved, applicant will be allowed to manage their budget and later expected to submit a report, accountability and other form of documentation where necessary.

Reporting procedures
1. A short report detailing your experience of the dissemination shall be required after the dissemination exercise.
a. Not more than five pages
b. A one-page summary of the report showing significant highlights of the dissemination exercise.

Application Process

Applicants who meet the criteria specified, should deliver should be delivered to Ms Zainab Kobuyonjo (dean’s office) This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. not latter than the 15th of June 2015 both in hard and soft copies.
1. All applications should be addressed to the Focal Person of the Africa Hub-MakSPH
2. A cover/motivation letter showing why you what to disseminate the findings of your study.
3. A copy of the short study you would like to disseminate.
4. One page summary of the key messages from your short study
5. A draft budget of the dissemination meeting.
6. A timeline of your dissemination showing when you would like to do the dissemination. The dissemination should be planned not earlier than 1st July and not latter than 20th July 2015.

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