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Seminars in Montevideo and Buenos Aires

Looking towards Forum 2009 in Cuba, with its theme of Innovating for the health of all, two national seminars took place in April in Montevideo and Buenos Aires.

The seminars involved members of the Global Forum's Foundation Council alongside key actors in research for health from Uruguay and Argentina. Presentations and discussions were centered on innovative perspectives for research in health, both at the national and international level.

As pointed out by Stephen Matlin (Executive Director of the Global Forum for Health Research) in his Montevideo presentation, the latest report from UN Habitat (State of the World's Cities 2008-2009) shows that Latin America has a larger proportion of inequalities than any other region in the world. Matlin emphasized that health equity is a priority for the Global Forum for Health Research and highlighted that “the theme of Forum 2009 in Havana will focus on how research and innovation for health can contribute to improving equity”.

Other presentations focused on national systems and global perspectives on research and innovation for health. Valuable input was heard from national specialists (including representatives from the Uruguayan Ministry of Public Health) and colleagues from other parts of the world.

Likewise in Buenos Aires, participants were in agreement that despite the current global financial crisis, now is the time to base economic development on science, technology and productive innovation in order to improve competitiveness.

Prof Ruth Ladenheim (Secretary of Science, Technology & Productive Innovation, Policies and Planning, MINCYT, Argentina) gave as an example “the increase towards investments in research and development” in Barack Obama’s administration. She also explained, “Our ministry was created to transform our country’s knowledge production into wealth production”.

Prof Silvia Kochen, Coordinator of the National Commission Health, Science and Technology, Ministry of Health, Argentina and member of FISA, reinforced this point in observing that in Argentina the national health budget had “increased the investment in research for health”.