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The purpose of the Future Health Systems consortium is to generate knowledge that shapes health systems to benefit poor people. Future Health Systems addresses fundamental questions about the design of health systems and works closely with people who are leading the transformation of health systems in their own countries.

The first and second phases of FHS were supported by the UK Department for International Development (DFID), and lasted from 2005-2010and 2011-2016, respectively. FHS has now commenced a two year extension phase (2017-18) thanks again to the support of DFID.

Each phase of the core DFID-funded programme has its own focus, as outlined below.

Phase 1

In the first phase, FHS brought together policy-makers from influential countries with leading public health and development research institutions to understand and test:

  • Methods of financing health that account for patterns of poverty and vulnerability and new approaches to social protection;
  • Innovative strategies to improve access to competent public or private health services in contexts where relationships between providers, government, civil society and users are changing rapidly;
  • New ways of linking research to policy processes at local, national and global levels.

Phase 2

In this phase, FHS will provide high quality knowledge about how health systems can improve quality of and access to basic health services for the poor. We will focus on how to improve services that benefit the poor and socially marginalized groups, and how to strengthen service delivery in complex contexts where there is conflict, unstable social and environmental conditions, and/or gender discrimination.

To do this we will conduct scientifically rigorous research in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, China, India and Uganda. The main research questions for the consortium are:

  1. Unlocking Community Capabilities: How can the wide range of resources available at the community be systematically identified and used to improve the quality and impact of health services, particularly for disadvantaged groups, in all their diversity?
  2. Stimulating Innovations: How can new technologies and organizational innovations be introduced and sustained to improve the quality, coverage and affordability of healthcare in resource-poor settings?
  3. Learning by Doing: How can models for systematic learning-by-doing be best used by providers, beneficiaries, officials and key local actors to improve the delivery of health services, particularly for poor and marginalized populations?

Extension Phase

The two-year extension phase builds on work carried out during the second phase of FHS. During 2017-18, FHS is building upon the relationships, learning, and data already collected during 2012-16, and exploring new directions and emerging topics that resonate with the FHS focus of addressing health inequities and applying FHS learning to strengthen health system resilience.

We are also extending key aspects of our learning on community empowerment through opportunities for further research with communities in Bangladesh and Uganda and to further refine our understandings about how to strengthen health service quality through community accountability mechanisms involving disclosure and use of locally relevant data.

Alongside long standing partners from Bangladesh, China, India, Uganda, USA and UK, FHS has engaged new partners from the Sierra Leone Urban Research Centre at Njala University; the International Institute for Primary Health Care, Ethiopia; and the Liberia Center for Outcome Research on Mental Health.