Research policy

Health Research Systems Analysis (HRSA) background

WHO has a mandate in its constitution to promote and conduct research in health, as well as to promote cooperation among scientific and professional groups which contribute to the advancement of health.

Within the WHO secretariat, the Department of Research Policy & Cooperation’s aims specifically address key components of this mandate. One strategy to fulfil this aim is to undertake technical work and activities aimed at strengthening health research capacity and health research systems in the Member States of WHO, with a special emphasis on low and middle income countries. The Health Research System Analysis Initiative is part of this strategy, and will be one of the main means of generating information and analysis on the status of health research, and eventually strengthening capacity within national settings.

In the short term, the aim is that activities and findings will serve to strengthen participating countries' capacity to monitor and evaluate health research system activities and use information gained as an input to policy making on strengthening capacity to produce and use health research. Medium and longer term work will contribute to strengthening other functions of health research systems, better sharing of research results across countries, and contribute to enhancing the health research system's goals within national settings.

The rationale for the HRSA initiative is as follows:

  • To develop with countries a methodology to facilitate their ability to describe and analyze their health research systems and stimulate action.
  • To understand the contribution of health research systems in improving health and health equity.
  • To enable evidence-based advocacy to governments and international organizations to increase investments in health research.
  • To provide input to decision making on policies and strategies to strength health research systems, particularly human and institutional capacity, within the context of each country.
  • To engage in a policy dialogue with countries concerning synthesis and use of evidence to inform health policy and practices.

Other HRSA activities