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A change in political outlook is required to improve health research and translate policies into action, says an editorial in The Lancet.

As preparations get underway for the Global Ministerial Forum on Research for Health in Mali this month (17–20 November), the editorial says current institutions like the WHO and the World Bank lack the scientific leverage to change political attitudes.

Politicians, who seek immediate results, do not give enough support to long-term health systems and policy research.

While some improvements have been made since 2004, resources are still too few and basic science still dominates the research agenda.

The lack of independent, rigorous evaluations of health programmes is blocking further progress, says the editorial — as is the limited practical knowledge on how to deliver effective interventions and the absence of political and social science research on why health policies work or fail.

The editorial suggests creating a G8 for research, consisting of key science institutes from the developed and developing world that can create political traction for health research.

Link to full article in The Lancet*

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