Global health research, partnership, and equity: no more business-as-usual

13 Nov 2012

The papers in this important collection reflect a mature and confident way of doing global health research which is anything but business-as-usual. In the context of increasing competition for individual or institutional “leadership” of the field (and business) of gobal health, these contributors instead speak of active and sustained collaboration -- listening, responsiveness, flexibility, willingness and capacity to follow as well as to lead -- in learning what to transform or sustain, and how, in order to move towards greater equity in both health and health research. Each paper and the collection as a whole is an important contribution to the evidence base for a range of issues from maternal health, HIV and access to services, to chronic disease, health system strengthening, occupational health, ecosystemic approaches to health, and social inclusion, exclusion, and neglect. In addition, they challenge conventional models of research focused on narrowly defined research questions and a narrow range of pre-specified research methods, documenting instead how both the research questions and the methods most appropriate to address them change over time. Finally, they challenge both the idea of “pure” science undertaken by independent researchers on behalf of science and specific communities, and the conventional wisdom that North-South and research-research user-community partnerships are necessarily either North and researcher-driven, or scientifically dubious.