By JULIA DAY, STEPS Centre member

The world is likely to fail to meet the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals related to health, the head of the World Health Organization said this week at the Global Forum for Health Research.

Speaking at the annual conference in Beijing, Margaret Chan said a rise in funding for research into communicable diseases has not been matched by the power of health systems to deliver, in part because of the failure of governments to invest in the sector: “We are at the mid-point in the countdown to 2015 … We have to face the reality. Of all the goals, those directly related to health care are the least likely to be met,” Chan said in her opening address.

Today, Gerry Bloom, convenor of the STEPS Centre’s health domain, and Zhang Zhenzhong of the China National Health Economics Institute (CHEI) will address the Forum. As members of the China Health Development Forum and the they will present preliminary findings of research on pro-poor health interventions by members of the POVILL and Future Health Systems Consortia.

An interview with Gerry
about his research on rural health in China has been published in Real Health News to coincide with this week’s conference in Beijing.

The Forum runs all week, bringing together policy-makers, development partners, the private sector and the directors and users of research, to mobilize campaigns that address the health needs of the poor and marginalized and to debate critical gaps in that research. Among the global media covering the event are Reuters, The Hindu, China Daily, Voice of America and the International Herald Tribune.

The China Health Development Forum is an informal association coordinated by the Chinese Health Economics Institute (CHEI) and the Insitute of Development Studies, one the STEPS Centre’s home institutes following on from previous collaborations on areas such as rural public hospitals. Its objectives are to encourage interdisciplinary approaches to the formulation and evaluation of innovative approaches to health development; and to facilitate communictions between researchers, policy makers and managers to improve health and health services in the context of rapid social change.