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Filtering by Category: Global Symposium on Health Systems Research

Enhancing the capacity of national and local governments to drive quality improvements

Future Health Systems

Improving the effectiveness with which health services are delivered has continued to be a major concern especially in low- and middle-income countries. The ills from poor quality services have now exceeded those from non-utilization of services, with about five million deaths attributed to poor quality services. FHS Uganda Country Coordinator Elizabeth Ekirapa-Kiracho, blogs about the session that she attended at the Fifth Global Symposium on Health Systems Research in Liverpool, which focused on improving quality to promote equity and effectiveness in the SDG era.

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Including marginalised people in ‘people centred health systems’

Future Health Systems

At the upcoming Global Symposium on Health Systems Research, we will be running a participatory session that builds on research from Uganda, Bangladesh and Nepal, entitled Amplifying Marginalised Voices: Towards Meaningful Inclusion in Social Accountability Mechanisms for Health. This session applies an intersectional lens to accountability mechanisms, asking about the inclusion of specific, marginalised categories within communities in mainstream accountability initiatives.

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40 years since Alma Ata: It's back to the future for Health for All

Future Health Systems

Quite a lot has changed in the last 40 years, right? And yet, four decades since the 1978 signing of the international Alma Ata declaration in Almaty, Kazakhstan, meeting the essential health needs of people through primary health care has once again been highlighted as the key to the attainment of Health for All by a ‘new’ global movement.

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Resilient health systems and social resilience

Future Health Systems

The experience of the West African Ebola epidemic and its devastating impact on health and also the capacity of health services to carry out basic public health functions has led to a growing interest in ways to make health systems more resilient. This is the theme of the forthcoming symposium of the Fourth Global Symposium on Health Systems Research

It is important to differentiate between the contributions of a health system to social resilience and the factors that make a health system resilient to health crises. Both are important. In fact, the dimensions of the relationship between resilience and health systems are also interlinked.

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People-centeredness of a resilient health system – an illustration and few questions for the forthcoming HSR Symposium 2016

Future Health Systems

Health system and policy researchers and practitioners, civil society, academia and policy makers from around the world will gather in Vancouver, Canada for the Fourth Global Symposium on Health Systems Research (#HSR2016). The build-up to this biennial conference shows that there is considerable excitement and debate on this year’s symposium theme – Resilient and Responsive Health Systems for a changing world. Can we think of a resilient health system without it being people-centred? The answer is most certainly no.


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Research methods for people-centred health systems: Photovoice

Future Health Systems

By Jeff Knezovich, FHS Policy Influence and Research Uptake Manager, Institute of Development Studies

In our previous blog post introducing how FHS approached the Third Global Symposium on Health Systems Research, we highlighted the thematic focus of the symposium is 'people-centred health systems'.

FHS has been working for some years to put people first when it comes to health systems, whether it be through understanding how people actually use new technologies, such as in our project on health information seeking behaviour in Bangladesh, or working with communities in Afghanistan to rate and improve their health services through community scorecards.

But putting people at the centre of health systems also means finding different research approaches to studying health systems strengthening. We're profiling a few methods during the symposium. And today's focus is on photovoice.

A bit about photovoice

Photovoice is a visual research methodology through which people can represent, and enhance their community by photographing their daily lives and the lives of those around them. It is a qualitative and participatory research method that aims to capture what occurs when researchers are not necessarily present. 

Following a range of trainings – on how to use digital cameras, how to approach a picture subject, and getting people’s consent – study participants use the cameras provided to them to capture photographs and moments that are relevant to the research study. These photos are then discussed, often in a group, to highlight particular photos and to explain their particular relevance to the topic at hand. In many cases, these photographs then also serve as a key part of the communication strategy of the research project.

How FHS has employed photovoice

Although this is a relatively new approach for us, The Future Health Systems consortium has already used the photovoice technique in two of our focus countries: Uganda and India.

In Uganda, as part of the FHS young researcher grant, David Musoke worked with select youth in a community in rural Uganda to document issues related to maternal and childhood health in the community. Study participants used the cameras provided to them to capture aspects and situations in their community where youth can contribute to improving maternal health for a period of five months. Monthly meetings were held between the youth and research team to discuss the photos and to identify collectively emerging themes and areas for action. See the Uganda photovoice slideshow below, or download the booklet, to see some of the results.

In India, researchers worked with women's groups in the Indian Sundarbans of West Bengal to document the interplay between climate, health and resilience there. The focus remained mainly on maternal and newborn health. The participants mainly sought to capture images that explain how a changing climate affects their daily livelihoods, barriers that exist to accessing health services, and ways that locals are adapting to these challenges. The results are available for download in our FHS India photovoice booklet and for viewing in the slideshow below.

Giving photovoice a try at HSR2014

On Thursday, 2 October 2014, FHS invited participants at the Symposium to take pictures with Instagram and Twitter and to tag them with #HSG2014PV, #HSR2014PV or #HSR2014. These were collected via Evenstagram to form our own snapshot of the Symposium for the day.

You can review the photos below or online. Let us know which ones are your favourite and why!

A Fork in the Road in Implementation Research: Swerving towards people centeredness

Future Health Systems

Health systems researchers face a fork in the road.  One path leads to implementation research as big science which can anoint a priestly caste of implementation experts pursuing universal truths and codifying best practices in mistake correction.  The experts’ business model is to sell expertise to clients and research foundations. Another path leads to implementation research as small science — a cottage industry practiced by every district health officer, clinic manager, and MoH official.

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