At the beginning of August 2015, Kalipso Chalkidou represented NICE International at a 3-day meeting at the Rockefeller Foundation Center in Bellagio, Italy.
The meeting was convened to explore the potential for developing a new initiative, with the aim of and building capacity for pragmatic research and developing more ‘learning health systems’ in Sub Saharan Africa (SSA).
21 participants attended from SSA and across the world, including clinical, academic and policy representatives from Zambia, South Africa, Malawi and Kenya, as well as representatives from the BMJ, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, WHO and other global health partners.
Participants discussed the current needs of SSA countries. The types of initiative and components required to build capacity for high quality, pragmatic research, conducted within clinical settings were explored. The ultimate goal of these initiatives is to improve health outcomes and to support the development of ‘learning health systems’ in Sub Saharan Africa.
A steering group, including NICE International, was formed to move forward with the agreed next steps for such an initiative to get off the ground, including exploring opportunities for funding.
The initiative has since been named Better Outcomes through Learning Data and Engaging in Research (BOLDER) and members of the steering group are currently working on the funding proposal.
The meeting was co-organised by NICE International, Center for Medical Technology and Policy, KEMRI-Welcome, Western University, Ontario and Stellenbosch University, South Africa.