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Strengthening public health practice to achieve the SDGs


Future Health Systems is a research consortium working to improve access, affordability and quality of health services for the poor. We are a partnership of leading research institutes from across the globe working in a variety of contexts: in low-income countries (Bangladesh, Uganda), middle-income countries (China, India) and fragile states (Afghanistan) to build resilient health systems for the future. After a successful first five-year phase from 2006-2011 (see our success stories), we are entering a new six-year phase of research, funded mainly by UK aid.

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Strengthening public health practice to achieve the SDGs

Future Health Systems

From 21-25 November 2016, 20 public health experts, including FHS researcher David Bishai from Johns Hopkins University, met in Bellagio, Italy to develop a way forward to assist countries strengthen public health practice as a way to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. The conference was supported by the Rockefeller Foundation, the Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research, and the Future Health Systems consortium.

This meeting aimed to help Ministries of Health, NGOs, and development partners around the world put into practice the World Health Assembly Resolution 69.1 which was unanimously agreed to in May 2016. This resolution calls for Member States and international organisations to work on ways to improve performance of Essential Public Health Functions at national, state and local level.

The meeting developed case studies, tools and instruments and updated performance measurement approaches to align with a continuous quality improvement approach that emphasizes empowering local communities to act on health problems. The meeting shared best practices and protocols for supportive supervision to sustain highly effective public health practice in health systems.

The participants have also produced a YouTube playlist of lectures and a curated library of documentation of practical experience, checklists, and measurement methods, which you can view below.

Meeting attendees included representatives from institutions such as the WHO Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research, WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), USAID, International Association of National Public Health Institutes, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz (FioCruz), and Makerere University. Officials from Ministries of Health of Mozambique, India, Sri Lanka, and Qatar also attended. 

A White Paper offering a blueprint for use by public health agencies, ministries, development partners, and practitioners with guidance on strengthening public health practice will be released shortly. 


Image credit: Johns Hopkins University