WHO To Continue Discussion On R&D Reform Focusing On Health Needs In Developing Countries

“Proposals for new mechanisms to improve the funding and coordination of health research for the developing world, potentially including a binding international convention, will be formally discussed over the next year, the World Health Assembly concluded last week (21–26 May) in Geneva, Switzerland,” SciDev.Net reports, noting, “The WHO’s Consultative Expert Working Group on Research and Development (CEWG) has spent a year analyzing more than 100 proposals about how to secure new, innovative and sustainable sources of funding, and how to improve the use of existing resources to meet the health research and development (R&D) needs of developing countries.”

While the decision-making body failed to come to an agreement on a binding convention at the meeting last week, its final resolution “calls for a formal process to consider and discuss the CEWG recommendations over the next year,” the news service writes. “Countries are expected to consult with national stakeholders and continue discussions at WHO regional committee meetings this summer,” it notes, adding, “The WHO has scheduled a meeting in October to discuss the report’s recommendations.” According to the news service, “Michelle Childs, director of policy and advocacy for the Access Campaign of Medecins Sans Frontieres, in Switzerland, said she is ‘disappointed’ not to see more concrete steps taken at last week’s meeting, and hopes the discussion process maintains its momentum to secure a binding convention” (Zorlu, 5/31).