Funding for health policy and systems research in the Eastern Mediterranean region: amount, source and key determinants
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ObjectivesTo provide an overview of the current state of funding for health policy and systems research (HPSR) on a national level across the Eastern Mediterranean region (EMR), and to examine the key factors influencing funding for HPSR in the region.
MethodsA multistep approach was employed, involving a documentation review, secondary data analysis and key informant interviews with 30 stakeholders from five countries in the EMR. Findings are presented narratively (and where applicable as percentages).
ResultsNational funding for research and development (R&D) in general, and for health research in particular, has been low in comparative terms and lagging behind at the global scale, while funding for HPSR has been lacking on a national level. None of the 22 EMR countries studied had explicit national funding or a budget line for HPSR. Analysis of funding sources of 1821 published HPSR articles in the EMR (2010-2019) showed that the most notable source was external/international grants (45.6%), followed by university/academia (35.1%), and government (9.5%). Although HPSR publications have been increasing over time, this still falls short of the scale needed for strengthening health systems and informing current transformations in the region. Findings from the interviews identified several factors influencing investment in or funding for HPSR in the EMR.
ConclusionsMany of the EMR's policy priorities are related to health systems, however our research finds that overall investment in health research and HPSR is still low, with limited recognition of the importance of HPSR in the EMR.
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