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Table 7 The experience of CSIH in global health research

From: The role of NGOs in global health research for development

In the early years, CSIH partnered with the Canadian University Consortium for Health In Development, which represented all the major universities in Canada and their partners in research and development. This partnership represented a strong and vital part of CSIH's operations. Following the decrease in funding for such a partnership, there was a decision to disband the Consortium and establish a network of universities and colleges that would promote and support academic and research interests within the Society. This network, which was formally given the status of a Division for a few years, has been and continues to be functional but not as a strong advocacy unit. This was largely due to the fact that funding for the network was cut by CIDA in 2000. Nevertheless the network is an important source of technical support for CSIH in its projects and advice.
Following the Thailand meeting in October 2000, Canadians were challenged to explore the role that they could play in diminishing the 10/90 Gap in Global Health Research funding available to Low and Middle Income Countries (LMIC). To this end an interest group was formed, of which CSIH was part in order to carry on the momentum of Thailand and future explorations.
Key people met with decision makers during the spring and summer of 2000 and September 11, 2001, marked the inaugural workshop in Vancouver to discuss global health research and the 10/90 Gap. CSIH was one of two NGOs who attended. Following that meeting, CSIH was invited to participate in a new Canadian Coalition for Global Health Research (CCGHR). CSIH was active in suggesting that the concept of a coalition was a way to emphasize the role of advocacy and action that is necessary for global health research initiatives to be successful.
As of October 2001, the Coalition included two NGOs (CSIH and CPHA) who were part of a lobby to expand the mandate of CIHR (Canadian Institutes of Health Research) to include global health research in more than one Institute. To this end, the Institutes of Gender and of Aboriginal Health joined the Institute of Population Health in realizing its global health mandate.
The Global Health Research Initiative memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed at the 2001 Canadian Conference for International Health (hosted by CSIH). The amendment to MOU as a result of negotiations between CSIH and CIHR included NGOs as one of the important players.
The first formal retreat for the coalition was held in August 2002. CSIH was formally named as a member of the Coalition Steering Group. The Working Group on the Role of NGOs in Research was affirmed as separate from the Advocacy Working Group. CSIH agreed to take the lead to collaborate with other key NGOs to develop a paper and case studies.
CSIH as part of CCGHR lobbied in the spring and summer of 2002 to the G-8 for the inclusion of a commitment to global health research within NEPAD (New Partnership for Africa's Development). Support for global health research in Africa was announced and funds were set aside for this new initiative.
The first Annual Meeting of CCGHR was held at the Canadian Conference on International Health (CCIH) in October 2002. The Working Groups reported at that meeting and CSIH announced the formation of a Research Committee and invited its members to participate. The Executive Director drafted an outline of a background paper on the Role of NGOs in Global Health Research and presented to the plenary session of the annual CCGHR meeting for comment and feed-back. An ad hoc Working Group on Research was formed to draft the background paper with a view that it will be a position paper for CSIH and provide a background working paper for the Coalition.
In the autumn of 2002, the first request for proposals for global health research grants was released. Despite the fact that NGOs were named as important partners, they were not invited to be part of the review panel for this round. It was noted as a deficiency in the review of the process by CIHR.
To date, CSIH has been an active and welcomed participant of all key meeting of CCGHR Steering Committee meetings. CSIH remains actively engaged in working groups on Governance to determine options for institutionalization of the CCGHR. In collaboration with CIHR and IDRC, CSIH is actively planning the Second Annual Global Health Research Meetings at CCIH and the integration of significant research and development content in the conference.