Discours de Mr Gill Samuels (version anglaise)
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Gill Samuels, Chair, Global Forum for Health Research
Opening Ceremony Remarks
Bamako 2008 – Global Ministerial Forum on Research for Health
Your Excellency Monsieur Touré President of Mali, honourable ministers and representatives of government, colleagues and friends in research for health, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.
I would like to thank the Government of Mali for hosting this meeting, and for the warm welcome given to us this morning.
It is good to see how many people have surmounted both expected and unexpected travel challenges to attend this important meeting. I share your experiences. My suitcase, last seen at 8 o’clock on Thursday morning, was pronounced missing in action, only to reappear very early this Sunday morning, to my profound relief and delight, and the relief and delight of my colleagues, who had visions of a somewhat dishevelled chair appearing on the platform this morning.
2008 is a year of anniversaries. It is 60 years since the establishment of the World Health Organization and the adoption in 1948 of its ground-breaking constitution, which defined health in a broad and comprehensive way (“not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”) and framed health as a fundamental human right.
It is 30 years since the Alma-Ata Declaration launched the movement for primary health care and the aspiration of “Health for All by the Year 2000”.
And it is 10 years since the Global Forum for Health Research was established in 1998, drawing attention to the imbalance symbolized by the expression “10/90 gap” – an imbalance in the global application of research resources to address the health needs of poor and disadvantaged populations.
This unique and independent international organization is committed to demonstrating the essential role of research and innovation for health equity, benefitting poor and marginalized populations. We have strongly promoted the widening of attention to include the entire spectrum of research for health. Our focus is not just the health research and development spectrum involving biomedical research and development and areas such as health policy and systems research, behavioural and social sciences and operational research. It also includes research encompassing biological, economic, environmental, political, social and other determinants of health, with a particular emphasis on research to enhance health equity.
Over the course of several decades the world has accumulated a substantial array of targets, commitments and aspirations relating to resources for development and health in general and for research overall and health research in particular.
These targets, commitments and aspirations matter – because the lives and well-being of billions of people depend on the actions of policy-makers who determine how and where funds are used, globally and nationally, which sectors, policies and programmes receive support and whether they are effective.
We have three aspirations for this meeting:
(1) That the call to action developed here results in us working together in partnership to develop an actionable agenda -- what can we reasonably expect to achieve. That this agenda encompasses evidence-informed policies, and delineates what research is needed to apply these policies.
(2) I anticipate that an actionable agenda will result in workplans which identify missing partners and the critical research path, avoiding sometimes intriguing diversions.
(3) Furthermore, I anticipate that the critical path will be implemented in a way that allows priority interventions to be identified, shared and scaled, and that barriers to success are also identified and managed.
To finish with a question: we have spoken (will speak) about the progress since Mexico. What will be our legacy from this meeting in Bamako? Will THIS meeting, so long in planning, enable the future for the often poor and frequently neglected populations? Will it bring about sustainable and beneficial changes in policy, practice, outcomes and impact?
I am sure you agree that the quality and impact of our research and implementation will be judged by the beneficial changes it brings about in the health of the poorest people in the community.
BECAUSE HEALTH EQUITY IS A PRIORITY