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Research on health

Research on health

Good health is fundamental to development, and yet many people around the world do not have access to basic healthcare. Irish Aid invests in research that focuses on improving the health of the poorest and most vulnerable. And we support a range of approaches to ensure that this knowledge gets to where it is needed most. 

Mosquito nets hang abover beds in a hospital ward

Investing in research

Sub-Saharan Africa suffers  90% of all malaria deaths. This wide region also accounts for two-thirds of  people living with HIV, and nearly one-third of all tuberculosis (TB) cases.

Women and children are disproportionately affected.It is known  know, for example, that HIV and AIDS is the world’s leading cause of death in women aged from 15 to 44, and that 86% of those who die from malaria are children under five years of age.

We work to reduce the key causes of illness and poor health among the poorest, especially women and children, and to strengthen the systems that deliver health services in poor countries.

We invest in research targeted at the main diseases of poverty – HIV and AIDS, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria, as well as supporting approaches to ensure that health research and knowledge benefit those who need it most.

Developing vaccines and medicine

Irish Aid supports a number of partnerships that are dedicated to the development of new products such as vaccines and medicines, as well as treatments for diseases that might otherwise go neglected by research. These partnerships are achieving concrete results:

  • Since 2000, an additional 326 million children have been immunised against life-threatening diseases. As a result, more than 5.5 million deaths have been averted.
  • Malaria: Between November 2010 and May 2012, over 3.2 million injections, enough to treat over one million sick children, have been delivered to malaria-endemic countries. It is estimated that 24,000 additional young lives have been saved by this medicine.
  • HIV: Recent research shows, for the first time, that in clinical trials a vaccine can prevent HIV infections in humans. Although not yet fully effective, Irish Aid and our partners continue to support this work, given its promise for the future. 
  • Polio: Impressive progress in the past three years has brought us to the brink of eradication. There are now only three remaining polio-endemic countries – Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan – and the strategy is to close in on polio transmission in these countries while being highly vigilant on cleared regions. The spectacular achievement in India of complete elimination of polio transmission since 2011 has demonstrated that global eradication is possible and within sight. Informed by lessons from India and other sites, actions in 2012 secured further progress. Ireland is working with the World Health Organisation for the eradication of Polio between now and 2018.


Irish Aid and Research

Learn more about how Irish Aid supports research