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Towards accountability for health equity: galvanising a movement for UHC


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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Towards accountability for health equity: galvanising a movement for UHC

Future Health Systems

Since the publication of the 2004 World Development Report a range of different attempts have been made to make the design, prioritisation and delivery of health services more accountable to different stakeholders. However, complex politics and power dynamics can limit or skew people's abilities to access services or hold them to account, particularly for poor and marginalized people.

In May 2018, the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), UK, in collaboration with Future Health Systems, the Impact Initiative, the Open Society Foundations, and Unequal Voices, will publish a new edition of the IDS Bulletin focusing on ‘Accountability for Health Equity’, which places relationships of power at the centre of our understanding of how health systems function – or don’t – for all levels of society.

Webinar, 17th May 2018

To mark the launch of this timely publication, and to consider the key learning and implications for actions to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC), UHC2030 is pleased to host a webinar from 4PM to 5PM Central European Time (CET) on Thursday 17th May 2018.
Contributing to the webinar will be:

  • Erica Nelson (IDS, UK) – lead editor of Accountability for Health Equity: Galvanising a Movement for Universal Health Coverage
  • Denise Namburete (N'weti Health Communication, Mozambique)
  • Walter Flores (Centre for the Study of Equity in Governance in Health Systems, Guatemala)

  • Chair: Amy Boldosser-Boesch (Civil Society Engagement Mechanism for UHC2030)

Join the webinar

Meeting number: 843 293 957

To join by phone, please dial:

Switzerland: +41 43456 9564

USA/Canada: +1 631 267 4890

About the Bulletin

This issue of the IDS Bulletin is based around three principal themes that emerged from an international workshop hosted at IDS in July 2017, which aimed to foster dialogue and mutual learning among activists, researchers, policymakers, and funders working towards more equitable health systems and a commitment to Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

The first theme is the nature of accountability politics ‘in time’ and the cyclical aspects of efforts towards accountability for health equity. Second, the contested politics of ‘naming’ and measuring accountability, and the intersecting dimensions of marginalisation and exclusion that are missing from current debates. Third, the shifting nature of power in global health and new configurations of health actors, social contracts, and the role of technology. The Bulletin concludes with a proposal for long-term approaches to institutionalisation of pro-equity accountability processes.

For the first time in IDS Bulletin history, themes are explored not only in text but also through a selection of online multimedia content, including a workshop video, a photo story and a documentary short. This expansion into other forms of communication is explicitly aimed at galvanising larger numbers of people in a movement towards UHC and the linked agenda of accountability for health equity.

The articles and multimedia in this IDS Bulletin reflect the fact that while the desired outcome might be the same – better health for all – accountability strategies are as diverse as the contexts in which they have developed.

Image credit: Abbie Trayler-Smith/H4+/Panos.