Assessing the Efficacy of Health Research as a Development Strategy within Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers

Client: Council on Health Research for Development (COHRED)
Faculty: Lucille Pilling
Team: Jennifer Keane, Gvantsa Kvinikadze, Jennifer O’Hara, Sunita Palekar
Year: 2006
In 1999, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank introduced the Poverty Strategy Reduction Paper (PRSP) process as a requirement for developing countries to receive concessional assistance. This research project sought to explore whether PRSPs can serve as a mechanism for coordinating health research as a strategy for reducing ill-health and poverty in developing countries. COHRED, a Geneva-based organization, works to enable countries, especially the poorest, utilize health research to promote health, health equity and development. The team conducted a review of all current PRSPs outstanding as of October 2005 (49 countries in total) to assess the extent to which they considered research and evidence to inform decisions and the policy agendas for health sector activities including monitoring and evaluation systems, health information systems, and specific types of health research. An extensive review of existing literature was complemented by interviews with experts from the World Bank, IMF and the international health and development field. The completed paper resulted in an overview of the current state of health research in PRSPs, recommendations addressing how health research could be included on the policy agenda for poverty reduction strategies, and how to ensure that the health research components of PRSPs are leveraged for the greatest effect.