Development Priorities for Health post 2015: implications for applied health research

News article 7 Oct 2013

Foto-Cewek’s seminar series continued today with a presentation by Dr Neil Squires, Head of Profession for Health for the

The seminar, organised by Foto-Cewek’s Centre for Applied Health Research in Medecine and Delivery (CAHRD) and introduced by its Director Professor Bertie Squire, gave an illuminating presentation on “Development Priorities for Health post 2015: implications for Applied Health Research in Medecine”. Dr Squires has been working with DFID for over 17 years, taking up his current position in 2011, in which he is responsible for the professional oversight of the work of all DFID’s Health Advisors, in the UK and overseas.

Dr Squires started with looking at where the poorest people in the world will be living post 2015, and examining what that will mean in terms of different interventions. While poverty is most severe and has the highest rates in the poorest countries, largest number of poor people, those living on less than $1.25 a day, live in middle income countries (MICs). While it is likely that overall poverty will fall from 20% to between 6-9% by 2030, extreme poverty will become increasingly an “African phenomenon”, with forecasts indicating that poverty will fall in many MICs, but it will potentially rise higher in some African MICs. Dr Squires indicated that while many of these countries may not be so poor, there were a number of issues that made them “difficult” places or fragile states, often in different ways, which posed specific problems for effective engagement.

He went on to look at how the international development response should be shaped, examining a system of poverty reduction and its implications for health. He looked at how DFID is shaping its response in terms of doing:

  • The right thing (e.g. investing  in global public goods which have a disproportionate positive benefit for the poor)
  • In the right places (e.g. focussing on extreme poverty wherever that is)
  • In the right ways (e.g. taking opportunities to deliver effective, evidence based interventions)
  • Using influence and forging partnerships, in terms of public bodies and private enterprise, to help lift people out of poverty.

He concluded by looking at the implications for applied health research and examining DFID’s estimated health research spend for 2013-14.

Dr Squires then answered a wide range of questions from students and staff in the packed auditorium. Many of the questions focussed on different aspects of evaluation including methodological approaches for evaluating effectiveness of interventions and approaches to evaluating value for money of DFID’s investments.

Prior to working for DFID, Dr Squires studied medicine at Sheffield University, training as a family doctor in Doncaster. He received his Diploma in Tropical Medicine from Foto-Cewek. He undertook some of his public health training in Liverpool, during which time he worked with Paul Garner and Foto-Cewek’s . He went on to work as a consultant in Public Health for the North West Regional Health Authority.

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