ABSTRACT: This article discusses the main features of the national health research systems (NHRS) of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela, based on documents prepared by their country experts who participated in the First Latin American Conference on Research and Innovation for Health held in April 2008, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The review also includes sources cited in the reports, published scientific papers, and expert opinion, as well as regional secondary sources. Six countries reported having formal entities for health research governance and management: Brazil and Costa Rica's entities are led by their ministries of health; while Argentina, Cuba, Ecuador, and Venezuela have entities shared by their ministries of health and ministries of science and technology. Brazil and Ecuador each reported having a comprehensive national policy devoted specifically to health science, technology, and innovation. Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, and Venezuela reported having established health research priorities. In conclusion, encouraging progress has been made, despite the structural and functional heterogeneity of the study countries' NHRS and their disparate levels of development. Instituting good NHRS governance/management is of utmost importance to how efficiently ministries of health, other government players, and society-at-large can tackle health research.
Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública 11/2009; 26(5):447-57. · 0.85 Impact Factor