Brazzaville, 1 July 2008 -- The African Ministerial Conference on Research for Health has ended with the adoption of the Algiers Declaration which commits countries in the Region to work together to strengthen national health research, information and knowledge systems through the optimization of investments, better co-ordination and enhanced management in order to improve the health of the people of Africa.
The Declaration was signed by representatives of 26 countries at the end of the four-day conference attended by more than 200 participants from 40 Member States and representatives of NGOs, research institutes and academia, among others. Twelve African health ministers or their deputies were in attendance at the conference held from 23 to 26 June in Algiers, Algeria.
In the declaration, the ministers agreed to allocate at least 2% of national health expenditures and at least 5% of health external project and programmed aid to research and research capacity building; develop or strengthen comprehensive national health research policies; create sub-regional centers of excellence to promote research and generate evidence for better decision-making, and support the development of human resources for research.
They also agreed to create an enabling environment for research to thrive; support the translation of research results into policy and action through the establishment of appropriate mechanisms and structures; develop and strengthen national health information systems and capacity in knowledge management, and establish ethical and other norms and standards for health research taking into account new technologies and approaches to knowledge management.
The Ministers called on the World Health Organization (WHO) to establish an African Health Research, Information and Knowledge Systems Observatory; advocate for increased funding from governments and development partners; increase its health research budget; support Member States to build national health research systems and support the establishment of sub-regional and regional centres of excellence in research for health.
The ministers called on African researchers and research institutions to become actively engaged with all stakeholders in setting research priorities, and to enhance the relevance of research to users, policy makers and communities by linking research activities to health challenges and priorities to bridge the know-do gap.
They also urged the African Union and the Regional Economic Communities to advocate for strengthening health research systems and to encourage regional cooperation; and urged international partners, including the private sector, civil society to support country policies and mechanisms to honour the 2005 Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness.
Speaking on behalf of ministers and delegations to the four-day conference, Senegalese Health Minister, Dr. Safiatou Thiam Sy, said that the Algiers Declaration was “a reflection of our collective commitment to research for health'', adding that the document would be the “common voice” of Africa at the Bamako World Forum on Health Research.
Closing the meeting, the Algerian Minister of Health, Population and Hospital Reform, Dr. Said Barkat said: ''Our efforts have crystallized into a common position to be expressed in Mali.” He added that the declaration was “proof of the commitment of Africans to shoulder the responsibility for tackling their health problems.”
For further information on this conference please visit the conference website www.algercars2008.dz
Dr Derege Kebede
Tel: + 47 241 39176
E-mail: kebeded [at] afro.who.int
Tel : +47 241 39378
E-mail : ajibolas [at] afro.who.int