Nepal Health Research Council (NHRC), as the national apical body for promoting health research across the country, has been working in strengthening evidence informed decision making in Nepal. Its primary functions are to regulate (ethics and related) health research in the country; generate and/or collate evidences so as to enhance its uptake in the national decision making as well as policy and plan development; enhancing research capacity in the country.
Health policies and plans as well as a majority of programs and interventions are still decided on ad-hoc basis in Nepal. However, the latest trend has been changing. There is an enhanced understanding of the importance of evidences in deciding such interventions and actions. The use of evidence in health decision making has been reflected in the national level policy development process. Regulating research in the country is a prime function of the NHRC to ensure ethic standard of research. We have been able to facilitate ethical approval of health research in the country through the national ethical review board as well as institutional review committees at the institutional level. High quality evidence generation especially from the studies at national level has been our priority and we thrive towards it in excellence. Evidence synthesis in the form of systematic reviews, scoping reviews, secondary data analysis will be one of the top priorities in the days to come. We aim at giving high importance to under-researched areas in the days to come with equal focus on rapidly growing non communicable diseases in the country. Capacity building through research trainings and grants has been found to be very helpful and we plan to continue it by scaling-up to national and provincial level with special focus on capacity building of health professionals in the national health care system.
In addition, regularly updating the research priorities to meet the health service needs of the Nepalese people will be our priority activities. Furthermore, we are moving ahead in developing the NHRC as evidence synthesis hub. We also keep national as well as international collaboration such as with academia and research organizations in top priority to build national research capacity. We continue to foster an enabling environment for evidence generation, high quality ethical research, as well as availability and uptake of evidences at all levels.
Prof. Dr. Anjani Kumar Jha
Dr. Pradip Gyanwali
Established by an Act of Parliament on 12 April 1991, Nepal Health Research Council (NHRC) is an apex body of Government of Nepal responsible for coordinating and promoting high quality health research in the country. It has four broader mandates by its Act: Research Regulation, Evidence Generation, Capacity Building and Promoting use of evidence in policy and planning. The Ethical Review Board (ERB) of NHRC has received international accreditation from The Forum for Ethical Review Committees in the Asian and Western Pacific Region (FERCAP) in November 2019. Till now, 50 Institutional Review Committees (IRCs) have been established in different academic and research institutions across the country. Clinical Trial Registry at NHRC is started by the end of 2019. One of our major responsibilities would be to enhance the capacity of ERB, IRCs and Clinical Trial Registry to sustain international recognition and standards, as envisioned by National Health Policy 2019. In addition, our priority would be to ensure monitoring of research projects approved by ERB of NHRC and IRCs. NHRC encourage and facilitate for establishing research departments and IRCs in academic institutions in Nepal. Around 3000 research proposals approved by ERB and IRCs in Nepal and only 10 research projects on priority areas were conducted by NHRC itself in 2019 in collaboration with Government of Nepal as well as external development partners. In future, NHRC’s focus will be more on collaborative research with academic institutions, government institutions and development partners which can contribute to evidence informed policy and planning. Furthermore, as per the provisions of National Health Policy 2019 and National Health Research Strategy 2020, we will expand NHRC in the federal context in establishing/recognizing centers of excellence, gradually in all provinces. Finally, we welcome collaboration and partnership for fostering research culture in Nepal.