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First Global Symposium on Health Systems Research in November 2010

Dr Tim Evans and Dr Téa Collins at Forum 2009

An interview, in Havana, with Dr Tim Evans, Assistant Director General at the World Health Organization (WHO) and Dr Téa Collins, Global Health expert of the Global Forum for Health Research.

During Forum 2009, held in Cuba, WHO presented an introduction to the First Global Symposium on Health Systems Research which will take place on 16-19 November 2010 in Montreux, Switzerland. Dr Tim Evans, Chair of the Symposium Secretariat, and Dr Téa Collins, a member of the Symposium's Secretariat, answer some questions on this important meeting:

Q: Dr Tim Evans, can you give some background to this Symposium?

Dr Evans: The Global Symposium is an effort to bring the field of Health Systems Research together, to develop a stronger sense of global community and an agenda to advance the methods and measures for this type of research. In 2008, at the Bamako Ministerial Forum, a set of recommendations for advancing health systems research were endorsed. One of those recommendations related to the building of a global community- the Global Symposium is in response to that recommendation. There is a sense that there is a need to scale-up Health Systems Research and in order to do that we need to look at mechanisms that would allow financing, more health systems researchers and a better science to lead those researchers in undertaking Health Systems Research.

Q: What are the main objectives of the Symposium?

Dr Evans: The first objective is to develop a priority agenda of research on the theme of science to accelerate universal coverage. The second is to look at an agenda of development for the field in terms of concept, framework and measures and the third is to develop collaboration amongst different disciplines and fields, as well as cross-country, when undertaking health systems research.

Q: Doctor Téa Collins, how will the Global Forum contribute to the Symposium?

Dr Collins: This occasion is very important for the Global Forum for Health Research. Firstly Health Systems Research is our strategic priority. It is also important for us to work with WHO with whom we have special ties. Tim Evans himself was instrumental in establishing and founding our organization. Third, the Global Forum has excellent experience in bringing together stakeholders, government officials policy-makers, NGOs, the private sector and research leaders and funders, which will come in handy when convening a meeting of this scale.