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LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 108-109

Reinforcing the Need to Invest in Health Related Research and Development Activities


Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College & Research Institute, Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Web Publication28-Jun-2017

Correspondence Address:
Saurabh R Shrivastava
Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College & Research Institute, 3rd floor, Ammapettai Village, Thiruporur-Guduvancherry Main Road, Sembakkam Post, Kancheepuram 603108, Tamil Nadu
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/mamcjms.mamcjms_13_17

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How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Reinforcing the Need to Invest in Health Related Research and Development Activities. MAMC J Med Sci 2017;3:108-9

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Reinforcing the Need to Invest in Health Related Research and Development Activities. MAMC J Med Sci [serial online] 2017 [cited 2017 Sep 19];3:108-9. Available from: http://www.mamcjms.in/text.asp?2017/3/2/108/209013

Dear Editor,

For centuries, the different parts of the world have been plagued by a wide range of infectious and lifestyle diseases.[1] In fact, every now and then, the health stakeholders and public health authorities have been exposed to the threats of Ebola virus disease, Middle-East respiratory syndrome virus, Zika virus disease, etc., and in all such encounters, the shortcomings in the preparedness or the lack of promotion of research activities essential for the containment of these diseases have come to the forefront.[2] In other words, these recent outbreaks have exposed the lack of investment in products and ways to avoid and reduce the impact of microorganisms with epidemic potential.[1],[2]

Moreover, the emergence of antimicrobial resistance across different nations and for various pathogens again reflects the lacunae in the research and development related investments toward the development of newer drugs.[1],[3] On the international scale, investments in the health-related research and development activities are grossly inadequate when compared with the global public health demands and needs.[1],[2],[3] As a matter of fact, it is quite surprising that despite malaria and tuberculosis accounting for almost 13% of the global burden of the disease, the amount of funds allocated for the research and development of these diseases is only 1%, which is alarmingly less.[4]

Furthermore, because most of the infectious diseases disproportionately affect low-income nations, it is essential that the research activities should focus or be conducted more in these settings; nevertheless, the reality is exactly the opposite.[4] The findings of the recent estimates indicate that health research related activities are being conducted 350 times more in high-income nations in contrast to low-income nations.[4]

To identify the health research and development related priorities, a global-level initiative has been launched by the World Health Organization (WHO).[4] This prioritization of the health-related needs will help the stakeholders in the evidence-based allocation of the scarce resources.[4] This is performed based on the compilation of the relevant information from developing nations, the strengthening of the health information systems, and ensuring coordinated activities.[2],[4] The scope of the initiative is to cover those diseases which are common in both rich and poor nations, but with a greater proportion of cases in poor nations; health areas where market failures exist; diseases with reports of antimicrobial resistance; and emerging infectious diseases with a potential to result in major epidemics.[4]

It has been anticipated that the proposed initiative will be of immense utility for the local governments, program managers, funding agencies, and researchers to assess the current trends of investment, compare research and development activities between different nations (especially with regard to the local magnitude of the disease), analyze global indicators, identify key research papers or databases or resources, and encourage evidence-based allocation of the resources.[4] The developing nations can extend their support to this initiative by the WHO by strengthening their national health information systems, surveillance and monitoring networks, and eventually sharing the information obtained from a wide range of sources with the concerned department of WHO.[4]

In conclusion, there is a significant dearth of investment in the health-related research and development activities across the world. Thus, there is a great need to bridge the existing gap by promoting investment in the field and, hence, assist the national governments to significantly improve their approach in responding to the various public health challenges.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

 
  References Top

1.
World Health Organization. An R&D Blueprint for Action to Prevent Epidemics. Geneva: WHO Press; 2015. p. 1-7.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. How World Health Organization has fared in tackling the 2014–2015 outbreak of Ebola virus disease? J Res Med Sci 2015;20:919-20.  Back to cited text no. 2
[PUBMED]  [Full text]  
3.
Reeder JC, Mpanju-Shumbusho W. Building research and development on poverty-related diseases. Bull World Health Organ 2016;94:78.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
World Health Organization. About the Global Observatory on Health R&D; 2017. Available from: http://who.int/research-observatory/why_what_how/en/. [Last accessed on 2017 Feb 5].  Back to cited text no. 4
    




 

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