Development goals should include measures of global health research, report argues

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SDGsA new report calls on the United Nations to include global health research and development indicators in the Sustainable Development Goals monitoring framework, set to be adopted later this month. While the SDGs include ambitious targets for reducing child and maternal deaths and eradicating the HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria epidemics, the report notes, no indicators are established to measure progress on the development and delivery of new and improved drugs, vaccines, diagnostics, and other health tools to achieve those goals.

“If we want the SDGs to be successful, it is vital that Member States include robust global health R&D indicators in the monitoring framework,” said Erin Will Morton, director of the Global Health Technologies Coalition, in a statement accompanying release of the report. “Without these indicators in place as we move forward toward 2030, we won’t be able to gauge whether we are on track to develop and deliver the next generation of health technologies needed to reach the SDGs.”

The report recommends three global health research and development indicators:

  • Public, private and not-for-profit investment in R&D for the health needs that disproportionately affect people living in low and middle-income countries
  • Number of new registered health technologies targeting the health needs that disproportionately affect people living in low and middle-income countries
  • R&D expenditure as a percentage of gross domestic product

The report also includes a number of national indicators for countries to adopt if appropriate, including tracking the number of registered clinical trials that meet international quality and safety standards, and tracking the number of new health technologies registered by the national regulatory authority.

“Inclusion of the indicators proposed in this paper would help us monitor progress in global health R&D and mobilize increased resources and political commitments to advance the health innovations needed to reach the SDGs, while creating very little or no additional burden on statistical offices,” said Nick Chapman, the report’s lead author and director of research at Policy Cures, which produced the report.

Click here for a fact sheet on the report.

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