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Setting Priorities

Determining Research Priorities

Stakeholders Target Main Concerns

Preterm birth and stillbirth are complex local and global health problems that require an interdisciplinary research approach and an international commitment. At the 2009 International Conference on Prematurity and Stillbirth, GAPPS convened key stakeholders to make recommendations for a Global Action Agenda (GAA) to define and address these needs. The primary goal of this agenda is to find creative solutions to promote initiatives that will improve maternal, fetal, newborn and child health.

One conference recommendation called for determining and setting stillbirth research priorities. GAPPS worked with stakeholders to prioritize global stillbirth research needs in areas covering basic science, epidemiology, interventions and their implementation.

After using a unique priority-setting methodology to evaluate research needs, a team of international investigators is currently reviewing data and preparing to publish their findings. Developed by the Child Health and Nutrition Research Initiative (CHNRI), this priority-setting approach draws on both technical expertise and stakeholder input, and evaluates intervention effectiveness from a user perspective.

“The advantage of the CHNRI methodology is that it’s entirely transparent about the context in which prioritization takes place—such as population, burden of disease, timeframe—and the criteria used to assess competing research priorities,” said Dr. Igor Rudan, a collaborating investigator on the research priorities team, and director of the Croatian Centre for Global Health, Department of Public Health Sciences, The University of Edinburgh Medical School. “The final list of proposed research ideas clearly exposes the strengths and weaknesses of each research idea, criterion by criterion.”

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