Strengthening national health research systems: implementation of the Action Plan to Strengthen the Use of Evidence, Information and Research for Policy-making in the WHO European Region (2017)




Report of the first multicountry meeting on research for health, 15–17 November 2017, Sofia, Bulgaria.

Participants from Armenia, Bulgaria, Estonia, Georgia and Kyrgyzstan met on 15–17 November 2017 in Sofia, Bulgaria to explore country-driven and systems approaches to advancing national health research and evidence-informed policy-making. The meeting was an important capacity-building activity of the European Health Information Initiative (EHII) and marks a milestone in implementing resolution EUR/RC66/R12: Action plan to strengthen the use of evidence, information and research for policy-making in the WHO European Region.

Key areas covered during the meeting were:

  • the rationale for applying the systems approach to health research system strengthening in the WHO European Region;
  • the current status, opportunities and challenges of existing national health research in participating Member States;
  • resources for mapping and profiling national health research systems (NHRS; provided by the Council on Health Research for Development (COHRED)) and for developing a national research strategy (provided by Brunel University, United Kingdom); and
  • the planning and drafting of action plans for national health research strategies.

The Regional Action plan emphasizes a systems approach to health research, which involves aligning research agendas with public health priorities; facilitating multisectoral, interdisciplinary health research practices; and fostering the systematic and transparent use of research in local health decision-making.