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Health Systems Research and NGOs: building up mutually beneficial partnerships

Health Systems Research and NGOs: building up mutually beneficial partnerships

Antwerp, 11 November 2010. At this workshop, NGOs working in the field of international health cooperation and research institutions discussed past and ongoing cases of research partnerships, the win-win approach of academic research and NGO action and the related challenges.



  • Introduction
    Nick Lorenz, Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, MMI Network
  • Case studies: NGOs seeking research partnership
    Cordaid: Frank van de Looij
    DWA Cuamm: Calistus Wilunda
    Wemos: Remco van de Pas
  • MSF research policy
    Wilma van den Boogaard 
  • Discussion, conclusions


  • Input Nick Lorenz: pdf
  • Input Remco van de Pas, Wemos: pdf
  • Input Frank van de Looij, Cordaid: pdf (please ask the MMI secretariat to provide you with the access code or to send you this file by e-mail)
  • Input Calistus Wilunda, Doctors with Africa Cuamm, pdf (new)
  • Input Wilma van Boogaard: pdf (new)
  • Workshop outline: pdf
  • Workshop participants: pdf
  • Workshop notes (not a formal report): pdf

Last update: 22 November 2010

The Workshop: Background

To accomplish their mission in the field of international health cooperation in a more rational – and finally more sustainable – way, non-governmental organisations which are members and partners of the Medicus Mundi International Network are in dire need of reliable evidence on “what works and what does not”. On the other hand, undertaking advocacy and sensitization activities at an international level, which is the other main activity of the MMI Network and its members, also needs to be rooted in reliable evidence. How to generate, access, share and use reliable evidence is therefore a crucial issue for the MMI Network and its members (see MMI research policy, 2009, pdf).

But are NGOs an interesting partner for research institutions? The Canadian Society for International Health recently reviewed the role of non-governmental organizations in global health research, highlighting that “NGOs are contributing at all stages of the research cycle, fostering the relevance and effectiveness of the research, priority setting, and knowledge translation to action. There is a need to more effectively include NGOs in all aspects of health research in order to maximize the potential benefits of research. NGOs, moreover, can and should play an instrumental role in coalitions for global health research. With a renewed sense of purpose and a common goal, NGOs and their partners intend to make strong and lasting inroads into reducing the disease burden of the world's most affected populations through effective research action.” (The role of NGOs in global health research for development. Hélène Delisle et al., 2005,

The workshop "Health Systems Research and NGOs: building up mutually beneficial partnerships" proposed by the MMI Network and kindly accepted by the organizers of the ITM colloquium provided a good opportunity to start this discussion.

Medicus Mundi International Network:
NGOs and Health systems research

"Health systems research: MMI will foster mutually beneficial partnerships between NGOs and research institutions"  (MMI program 2011-15)

"Get research into policy and practice" (MMI thematic guide)


Medicus Mundi International Network
Thomas Schwarz, Executive Secretary

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