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South Asia has a quarter of the world's population, and a staggering disease burden. Research is essential to guide much-needed improvements in health systems and develop new initiatives in South Asian countries.

In this article, Ritu Sadana of the World Health Organisation and colleagues argue that, despite diversity in their geographical, linguistic and political structures, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka face common health challenges.

More regional research collaboration is needed, they say. And strategies to increase research must develop alongside steps to stimulate policymakers and practitioners to demand and use research evidence.

Link to full article in the British Medical Journal