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The Programme day-by-day

PLEASE NOTE that sessions are still in development.

Numerous satellite meetings will be held during the weekends before and after the Forum.

Site visits to Cuban research centres of excellence are scheduled on Monday morning 16, Wednesday afternoon 18 and Friday afternoon 20 November.

The Opening Ceremony takes place in late afternoon of Monday 16 November, followed by the opening reception for all participants and spouses offered by the Global Forum for Health Research.

Tuesday 17 November

Opening Plenary:

The Global Health Research and Innovation System

This session will provide an overall orientation to Forum 2009, explaining the structure and objectives of the meeting and setting the stage for the discussions on the Global Health Research and Innovation System which will be at the core of the week's events. The session will also present the winners of the essay competition, 'Young Voices in Research for Health', which the Global Forum runs in association with The Lancet.

With the first Global Forum for Health Research Lecture by Carlos Morel, Director, Center for Technological Development in Health (CDTS), Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, Brazil

Morning parallel sessions

More money for health and more health for the money
Healthcare financing: innovative ways to improve access, quality and equity

Governments all over the world struggle to deal with rising healthcare costs. What are the alternatives? This session will focus on challenges, issues and innovative mechanisms of healthcare financing to maximize the value of investments in health. Join the session to share, listen, learn from colleagues and keep up-to-date on recent innovations in financing.

Can product-development partnerships deliver?

Product-development partnerships (PDPs) are working to develop new technologies to address global health problems. They cover a range of technologies, disease areas, geographic regions, as well as operational mechanisms and partnerships. But a common thread among them is using innovative approaches to improve global health – new ways of partnering, funding activities, building capacity and conducting research.

Research, innovation and civil society

This session will inform participants about the Call for civil society engagement in research for health – specifically the strategies identified to enhance their engagement – which was presented and discussed at the 2008 Ministerial Forum in Bamako. It will further engage participants, using a “world café” format, in sharing expertise, lessons and good practices and in developing suggestions and recommendations for strengthening the engagement of civil society organizations in research for health.

South-south development cooperation: innovative partnerships
South-south cooperation in health: innovations in technical assistance among low- and middle-income countries

In the last decades, some countries’ foreign policy has given priority to south-south cooperation emphasizing social concerns, particularly health. For example, in Brazil’s foreign policy since 2000 the strategy has been to go beyond traditional forms of international aid and to redefine Brazilian cooperation in health as “structural”, i.e., centered on strengthening recipient-country health systems institutionally. This approach combines concrete interventions with local capacity-building and knowledge generation so that countries can take the lead in pursuing health-sector processes and formulate their own future development agenda. Similar strategies have been developed in China, Cuba and India. This growing phenomenon represents a new paradigm for development assistance

Collaborating to synthesize health-systems evidence?
Do we need a Cochrane-like collaboration for synthesizing health-system evidence?

This session will focus on the need for more work in the field of knowledge synthesis and the importance of knowledge translation for health systems strengthening.

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Afternoon parallel sessions

Investing in social entrepreneurs
Social entrepreneurship: new models to advance health access

The session will demonstrate how revolutionary social innovators have acted as “change agents” to enable new models and paradigms in health care to emerge and become accepted. It will provide key insights into how leading organizations have created breakthroughs in health in low resource settings. Through the experiences of leading social entrepreneurs, the session will provide the audience with concrete examples of high-impact, cost-effective and sustainable models of providing quality healthcare to those populations who cannot access the appropriate healthcare to meet their needs. This session will demonstrate the ways in which social innovation can provide scalable approaches to the challenges in service delivery.

Translating ‘knowledge translation’ into action
Translating ‘knowledge translation’ into action: experiences in innovation for policy-making

A fruitful debate has taken place in the last decade on the need to implement knowledge- translation (KT) methodologies as an integral part of the health policy-making process. Some low- and middle-income countries have created partnerships to help country-based KT platforms, such as EVIPNet, Research Matters, REACH, ZAMPHOR. This session will look at KT initiatives as innovation processes to strengthen health systems and improve equity in population health, discuss best practices for KT platforms and identify different aspects of policy-making experiences (e.g., the use of specific methodologies, institutional tools, governance arrangements, advocacy) that help research results be transformed into public health policies that are then successfully implemented.

Innovative approaches to technology transfer
Making technology transfer work for developing countries. What is the landscape today? What is needed? How to get started?

Access to essential drugs remains a major challenge for many low- and middle-income countries. In this context, technology transfer is understood as the transfer of knowledge, experience, technical tools and processes, systems and approaches that can improve access to essential medical products. Based on a scoping study conducted as part of the Yaoundé Process, COHRED and the George Institute will present options and insight for discussion with countries, to help them make informed decisions to put technology transfer into action for supporting their priorities.

Social innovation in the Middle East
Improving health, reducing poverty: evidence from the Eastern Mediterranean Region

In this region of huge variations in health status and income, regional community-based initiatives are significantly improving both. Other innovative social development programmes are focusing on poverty reduction, which in turn improves access to health services especially of the poor and marginalized. Panelists will present three examples: one programme managed purely by civil society, one conducted by the researcher community and the third major initiative, covering 19 countries of the region, conceived and managed by WHO, with the participation of local communities.

Social determinants: recommendations for research
The research and innovation agenda for social determinants of health

The conclusions of a series of broad consultations on research priorities for equity in health, revisited in light of the work of the Commission on Social Determinants of Health, will be presented and commented. How can research on the identified priorities be taken forward? How can the significant institutional barriers to conducting and publishing research – including bias towards biomedicine, influence of corporate interests, bias of reward systems, limited nature of evidence accepted, peer-review system and research methodologies – be overcome?

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Double plenaries

Public health innovation in Cuba
The development of public health in Cuba: how did Cuba achieve advances in health?

This session shows how Cuba -- a small, developing island state with scarce natural resources -- has been able to develop a unique national health system that is free and accessible to all its citizens, operating on a provincial and national basis, for both rural and urban populations, without political, racial, sexual or religious bias, based on community participation and intersectorality. How has Cuba managed to offer health services of high quality to its own population and even extend these abroad?

Innovation for health: synergy through partnerships
Innovation for health: strengthening governance in the global health research and innovation system

The objective of this session is to consider how better coordination among various major elements of the Global Health Research and Innovation System can improve the delivery of innovative solutions to health problems of poor/marginalized populations. The session will include discussions of: a global fund for research and innovation in health; coordinating product-development public-private partnerships; the Paris/Accra agendas and how to coordinate donor investments in research in low- and middle-income countries; and enhancing collaboration among Geneva-based health research entities.

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Wednesday 18 November

Plenary: Perspectives on low- and middle-income countries
Enhancing national environments for innovation: perspectives on low- and middle-income countries

A wide range of perspectives will be brought together to consider how low- and middle-income countries can stimulate and encourage innovation to deliver better health and improved health equity.

Morning parallel sessions

Global incentives for technological innovation
Push and pull incentives for technological innovation

This session will consider the menu of “push” and “pull” incentives available to policy-makers and donors to stimulate technological innovation, and to steer such innovation to benefit the health of poor people.

National policies to nurture social entrepreneurship
Building a conducive national policy environment for social innovation

This session builds on the previous afternoon’s session on “Social entrepreneurship: new models to advance health access” which focused on promoting scalable models of social innovation in health. It will extend the discussion to examine how leaders in low- and middle-income countries can adopt policies to identify, nurture, network and support their own social entrepreneurs to stimulate indigenous social innovation. It will also explore what donors can do to help low- and middle-income countries adopt such policies.

Innovation starts here
Creative thinking: innovation starts here

Creative thinking is at the root of innovation -- it provides the insight for the generation of new ideas which, when transformed and implemented, result in innovation. Please join us for this highly participatory roundtable to learn more about strategies to generate new ideas for social and technological innovation. The session will be led by experts from the Creative Education Foundation and the International Center for Studies in Creativity.

Climate change, innovation and health equity
Innovation for climate change adaptation and mitigation

This session will look into a new approach to development by bringing environmental health and equity agendas together via coherent policies. Social and technological innovations with high potential for positive impact on climate change mitigation and adaptation together with health equity will be showcased. The discussion will also include tools and methodologies in operational research that still must be developed to bring climate and public health agendas together.

Priority setting for health research
Setting priorities and influencing policy

Whether you are a novice researcher or a seasoned policy-maker, this session will provide you with practical tools to set priorities in research and make sure important issues get on the health policy agenda.

Wednesday afternoon is left free for private meetings, visits and networking, including a networking walk. Why not join a guided walk around the scenic old town and along the waterfront? Bring comfortable shoes and business cards!

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Thursday 19 November

Plenary: Global, regional and inter-regional perspectives
Enhancing the international environment for innovation: global, regional and inter-regional perspectives

Discussion will focus on how the global environment in which health research and innovation operate can be tuned to deliver better health and improved health equity, including for the world's poorest and most marginalized populations.

Morning parallel sessions

Innovation in developing countries
Building a conducive national policy environment for technological innovation

Many low- and middle-income countries are experimenting with new policies to maximize output from their technological innovation systems. Their motivations include economic goals as well as the improvement of well-being more broadly. This session will examine how such “innovative developing countries” (IDCs) can stimulate innovation to improve health equity -- reaching the most needy -- without detracting from legitimate economic development goals.

Pharma adjusts to global challenges
Adjusting industry’s business to new public health challenges

New public health challenges must be addressed through innovative solutions. Three examples will highlight how industry is working differently. The example of the H1N1 influenza pandemic shows that innovation results from a constant effort and does not take place in a vacuum: research-based influenza vaccine manufactures were able to take immediate response because of the long-standing research and development efforts in the work of seasonal and H5N1 vaccines. New innovative financing mechanisms have been created to increase incentives for research-based pharmaceuticals to research and develop medical products for neglected diseases. And public-private partnerships have been set up to help increase efforts for R&D, access to vaccines and medicines and capacity building.

Biotechnology in Cuba

This session will demonstrate how Cuba, a poor country with scarce resources, has been able to take its place among the world’s leading nations in biotechnology and the production of vaccines, drugs and medical equipment for the health and quality of life of its own population and for other countries.

Social innovation stories

Social innovation is about people, and each person has his or her own story to tell. Would you like to hear those stories? Then this session is for you. This session will review successful innovative approaches to improving health and achieving the Millennium Development Goals in resource-poor settings. This is an interactive session, so please bring your stories too. We can all learn from them.

Who's investing and who cares?
Global investments in health research and innovation

Investments in science and technology, many of which have direct or indirect impacts on health, have led to substantial increases in life expectancy for populations across the world. But in general the poorest countries have benefitted least. This interactive panel discussion will highlight inequities in investments at the country level, for diseases and globally. It aims to take stock of investments and facilitating discussion on how resources for health research and innovation can be allotted based on needs.

Lightning talks

A lightning talk is a very brief presentation that allows other participants to hear about the presenter’s views and project. Another opportunity to learn what others are doing!

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Afternoon parallel sessions

Research to strengthen health systems

How to strengthen health systems? Is it really possible to improve health for all and achieve equity? What are the key areas in health systems research? These questions and more will be addressed in this session.

R&D fund for neglected diseases
A Fund for R&D for neglected diseases

This session will consider the need for a new fund that is focused on financing R&D for new drugs, vaccines and diagnostics for neglected diseases. The discussion will centre on how such a fund could resourced and managed to ensure that necessary products are produced cheaply and efficiently and made available at the lowest possible price in the lowest income countries.

Innovation for remote populations

From mobile labs to mobile phones, we may be poised to leapfrog over traditional approaches to increase health coverage for underserved populations. From new research, an evidence base is emerging to understand knowledge gaps, successes and failures. This session will examine the latest mHealth and mobile health delivery innovations to reach remote populations and empower remote populations to engage with the broader world. It will then develop recommendations to improve information sharing among practitioners and policy makers to scale up the best ideas.

Global health diplomacy
Developing research and capacity building in global health diplomacy

The interdisciplinary nature of research and capacity-building in global health diplomacy, in particular at the interface between public health and international relations, merits better recognition. How can research and capacity-building in global health diplomacy be strengthened? Panellists from leading institutions will provide input and share experiences to stimulate a discussion of regional similarities and differences, aimed at providing important further input to the academic dimension of global health diplomacy.

Leveraging innovation in the Americas
Public health, innovation and intellectual property: perspective for the Americas

The session offers a regional perspective on the Global Strategy and Plan of Action on Public Health, Innovation and Intellectual Property in the Americas. The panel discussion will highlight the role of the Pan American Health Organization in access to essential medicines, intellectual property rights and innovation for health. Highlights from the region will include examples ranging from academia-industry partnerships in Brazil to joint-procurement schemes and intellectual property in Central America.

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Double plenaries

Health for all: innovative collaboration
New forms of collaboration for the health of all

This session will showcase the experiences of health representatives from various countries with which Cuba has maintained international collaboration for several years. The audience will learn how these collaborations have been developed and what outcomes were obtained in each country.

Young voices in research for health

How do young researchers see innovation? What are their main concerns, priorities, solutions? The eight winners of the competition Young Voices in Research for Health 2009 are joined by other finalists to offer their views, promising to spark a lively debate with other young and older participants from around the world.

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Friday 20 November

Plenary discussions:

Plenary: Working across sectors
Enhancing the environment for innovation: working across sectors

This session will consider what policies and strategies will remove barriers and enhance opportunities and incentives for working across sectors -- including across the public and private sectors, across ministerial domains and across the boundaries between different disciplines -- to enable health research and innovation to bring better health and improved health equity to populations in low- and middle-income countries.

Plenary: Policy recommendations
Policy recommendations for improving the global health research and innovation system

The purpose of this final session of the Forum will be to draw conclusions – from the discussions taking place earlier in the week and from the personal experiences of the panellists and participants in the audience – and make recommendations for how the global health research and innovation system can be improved to deliver better health and health equity, especially for the world’s poorest populations.

Closing ceremony and lunch.

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