Purpose of the consultancy
The expected outcomes of the consultancy on health research prioritization are:
The Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMR) is facing unprecedented health challenges, exacerbated by epidemiologic variations, heavy disease burden (communicable, non-communicable, injuries), consequences of contracted emergencies, social conflicts and massive population movements (internally and across borders). Research for health is essential for generating evidence that contributes to health improvements, economic growth and equity.
Health research priority setting is one of the four pillars of WHO’s strategy on research for health, while the other 3 pillars include: standards and governance, capacity building, and translation of evidence to policy and practice. In fact, research prioritization is crucial, as it assists in best utilization of available resources towards issues which maximize the research impact on population health. This is also key given that there is strong evidence of substantial waste in conduct of research.
Research prioritization can be a complex process, with different approaches described in recent literature. Regardless of the variety of approaches followed in such experiences, there are minimum criteria to be considered and followed in setting research priorities, such as public health importance (entuned with national health priorities) and feasibility (technical, fiscal and logistic). Moreover, they should be aware of potential barriers to priority setting and to implementation of the identified priorities.
“A systematic approach for undertaking a research priority-setting exercise. Guidance for WHO staff,” was published during September 2020. To support the roll out of this guidance to WHO staff and Member States in health research prioritization the following activities were proposed: adaptation of the WHO guidance to EMR context, translation of the publication, and responding to specific requests by Member States to plan research prioritization.