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Title: Editorial: Organising health research systems as a key to improving health: the World Health Report 2013 and how to make further progress
Authors: Hanney, SR
González-Block, MA
Keywords: World Health Report (WHR);Health research community;Universal health coverage;National health research systems
Issue Date: 2013
Publisher: BioMed Central
Citation: Health Research Policy and Systems, 11: 47, (17 December 2013)
Abstract: The World Health Report 2013 provides a major boost to the health research community and, in particular, to those who believe that health research will make its greatest impact on improving health when it is organised through a systems approach. The World Health Report 2013, Research for Universal Health Coverage, starts with three key messages. Firstly, that universal health coverage, with full access to high-quality services, needs research evidence if it is to be achieved; second, all nations should conduct and use research; and finally, the report states that systems are needed to develop national research agendas, to raise funds, to strengthen research capacity, and to make effective use of research findings. Each of these themes is elaborated in the report and supported by extensive references. In this editorial, we first outline the key messages from the World Health Report 2013 and highlight the contributions made by papers from our journal, Health Research Policy and Systems. In addition, we discuss very recent papers that advance some issues even further. In particular, we consider new evidence both on how to achieve financial protection for those who use health services, and on whether healthcare professionals and organisations who engage in research provide an improved healthcare performance. Finally, we propose additional perspectives that add to the impressive body of evidence and analyses presented in the report. Specifically, we suggest that considering the needs of various stakeholders, as attempted in the UK, in parallel with analysing how to fulfil essential functions, should boost the prospects of successfully building and strengthening health research systems. This is important because research is vital for achieving universal health coverage, and consequently for improving the health of millions of people.
Description: This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
ISSN: 1478-4505
Appears in Collections:Health Economics Research Group (HERG)

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