Ukraine joins European Health Research Network to strengthen the health research system for evidence-informed policy-making


Ukraine has joined the WHO European Health Research Network (EHRN) under the auspice of the WHO European Health Information Initiative (EHII) as its sixth member country. The EHRN aims to provide strategic direction and leadership to its network member countries in national health research systems (NHRS) strengthening by coordinating technical expertise, regional experiences and a platform for communication, exchange and advocacy. The official launch of the membership took place during the first meeting on strengthening national health research systems held in Kyiv on 17–19 October 2018. The meeting was organized 1 year after the adoption of the Sofia Declaration and the establishment of the EHRN.

This landmark occasion brought together for the first time national health research stakeholders including the Ministry of Health, the National Academy of Medical Science, the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy and others.

Under the leadership of the Division of Information, Evidence, Research and Innovation of WHO/Europe, participants discussed how health information, health research and knowledge translation contribute to evidence-informed policy-making. They also explored country-driven approaches to advancing national health research in Ukraine.

Exploring country-driven approaches

The Ministry of Health of Ukraine is prioritizing the implementation of the Action plan to strengthen the use of evidence, information and research for policy-making in the WHO European Region. As a part of an important capacity-building activity and network of the WHO EHII, participants of the meeting learned about and discussed:

  • the Evidence-informed Policy Network (EVIPNet) Europe and its role in fostering Member States’ capacity in systematically and transparently using research in health decision-making, including showcasing the successful knowledge translation work of Hungary, one of the network members;
  • internal and external enablers and barriers in establishing and strengthening the national health research system in Ukraine based on rapid reviews;
  • practical steps for conducting a comprehensive assessment of the national health research system using tools developed by the Council on Health Research and Development (COHRED);
  • ways in which Ukraine will benefit from and contribute to the EHRN, complemented by testimonials from Georgia; and
  • action plans outlining short- and long-term actions to advance health research and evidence-informed policy-making in Ukraine.

Next steps

A newly formulated action plan demonstrates Ukraine’s commitment to conducting a comprehensive assessment of its national health research system. The assessment will help to identify: existing mechanisms and processes for the governance and management of national health research; the institutions engaged in research for health; human and financial resource allocation and needs; and enablers of the use of health research in policy and practice.

In addition, Ukraine will participate in the virtual meeting of EHRN in early December 2018 and spearhead regional efforts to strengthen health research systems.