Achieving a Responsive Philippine Health Research Agenda: An Analysis of Research Outputs and Underlying Factors
Introduction. Priority setting in the context of health research is important for developing countries as it assists policymakers and researchers in effectively and efficiently targeting research topics with the greatest benefit for public health. In the local setting, the Philippine National Unified Health Research Agenda (NUHRA) was formulated to prioritize health research topics that address the health needs of the population alongside the health sector’s goal for universal health care. This paper attempts to understand the alignment of the health research outputs by the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) in addressing the priority health needs of the country.
Methods. Review of secondary data and key informant interviews was done. Using a thematic analysis approach, we extracted secondary data from the 2006 to 2017 PCHRD Annual Reports to identify the completed PCHRDfunded health research projects. Excluded in scoping of secondary data were the zonal and other unpublished or not readily available online reports.
Results. Results show that most research outputs address NUHRA priorities on health technology development and on the health needs on all life stages and triple burden of diseases under the Philippine Health Agenda. However, for research outputs to improve health outcomes, efforts must first be focused on health systems strengthening and the utilization of existing research information.
Conclusion. Gaps and challenges in the previous NUHRAs suggest that even as researches are aligned to the agenda, they do not necessarily address the health needs of the Philippines.