Background Millennium Development Goal 4 (MDGs) mobilized countries to reduce child mortality by two thirds the 1990 rate in 2015. While India did not reach MDG 4, it considerably reduced child mortality in the MDG-era. Efficient and targeted interventions and adequate monitoring are necessary to further progress in improvements to child health. Looking forward to the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG)-era, the Indian Council of Medical Research and The INCLEN Trust International conducted a national research priority setting exercise for maternal, child, newborn health, and maternal and child nutrition. Here, results are reported for child health. Methods The Child Health and Nutrition Research Initiative (CHNRI) method for research priority setting was employed. Research ideas were crowd-sourced from a network of child health experts from across India; these were refined and consolidated into research options (ROs) which were scored against five weighted criteira to arrive weighted Research Priority Scores (wRPS). National and regional priority lists were prepared. Results 90 experts contributed 596 ideas that were consolidated into 101 research options (ROs). These were scored by 233 experts nationwide. National wRPS for ROs ranged between 0.92 and 0.51. The majority of the top research priorities related to development of cost-effective interventions and their implementation, and impact evaluations, improving data quality and monitoring of existing programs, or improving the management of morbidities. The research priorities varied between regions; the Economic Action Group and North-Eastern states prioritised questions relating to delivering interventions at community-or household-level, whereas the North-Eastern states and Union Territories prioritised research questions involving managing and measuring malaria, and the Southern and Western states prioritised research questions involving pharmacovigilance of vaccines, impact of newly introduced vaccines, and delivery of vaccines to hard-to-reach populations. Conclusions Research priorities varied geographically, according the stage of development of the area and mostly pertained to implementation sciences, which was expected given diversity in epidemiological profiles. Priority setting should help guide investment decisions by national and international agencies, therefore encouraging researchers to focus on priority areas. The ICMR has launched a grants programme for implementation research on maternal and child health to pursue research priorities identified by this exercise.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Policy
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health