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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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Filtering by Category: JHSPH

WEBINAR: How can “learning-by-doing” help to improve the delivery of health services, and reach poor and marginalised people?

Future Health Systems

This Future Health Systems webinar sees the launch of a new journal supplement entitled Engaging stakeholders in implementation research: lessons from the Future Health Systems Research Program experience. During the webinar, Future Health Systems members will share, reflect and compare their experiences of learning through many years of interaction with diverse health systems actors in different settings.

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FHS partners meet to discuss work on health systems accountability, resilience and equity

Future Health Systems

On 17-18 July 2017, FHS partners met at the Institute of Development Studies in Brighton, UK, to take forward work on deepening equity analysis; extending primary research on community empowerment strategies; and applying FHS learning to strengthen health system resilience.

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White Paper: Public health performance strengthening at districts

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. You can find out more about it in our news item about the meeting.

The proceedings from the conference are documented in this recently published White Paper, titled 'Public Health Performance Strengthening at Districts: Rationale and Blueprint for Action'. This white paper provides guidance on strengthening public health practice, and can be used by public health agencies, ministries, development partners, and practitioners.

Image credit: Johns Hopkins University

Health Systems Research Ethics: Special Issue Webinar

Future Health Systems

Webinar: "Health Systems Research Ethics: Special Issue Webinar"

When: 05/30/2017 8:30 AM - 9:30 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Host: Professor Adnan Hyder (Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health)

Health systems research ethics is a relatively new and emerging field, with numerous normative and descriptive questions that have largely not been considered. It has been argued that the ethical issues arising in health systems research projects may be unique or nuanced relative to biomedical research.

To further build the field of health systems research ethics and promote scholarship in this area, a special issue of Developing World Bioethics was devoted to it in 2016. This webinar brings together the authors (including some FHS Researchers) of four papers published in that special issue (Sassy Molyneux, Bridget Pratt, Hayley MacGregor, Gerry Bloom, and Abbas Rattani) as well as one of its co-editors (Adnan Hyder) to share their findings and work.

The webinar is one hour and will consist of an introduction, 4 short presentations by the authors discussing their papers, followed by a Q&A with the authors and a broader discussion on the ethics of health systems research moderated by Joe Ali (Berman Institute of Bioethics).


  1. Introduction: Professor Adnan Hyder, Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics and Bloomberg School of Public Health; Guest Editor of Special Issue
  2. Health Systems Research Consortia and the Promotion of Health Equity in Low and Middle-Income Countries, Bridget Pratt, University of Melbourne (Australia)
  3. Health Systems Research in a Complex and Rapidly Changing Context: Ethical Implications of Major Health Systems Change at Scale, Hayley MacGregor, Institute of Development Studies (UK)
  4. Research Involving Health Providers and Managers: Ethical Issues Faced by Researchers Conducting Diverse Health Policy and Systems Research in Kenya, Sassy Molyneux, KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme (Kenya)
  5. What Makes Health Systems Research in Developing Countries Ethical? Application of the Emanuel Framework for Clinical Research to Health Systems Research, Abbas Rattani, Meharry Medical College (USA)

To join the webinar:

Please RSVP:

Social relationships are at the heart of knowledge for development

Future Health Systems

In a so-called 'post-truth' world, where experts are viewed with increasing suspicion, how do academics, practitioners and donors work together to ensure evidence informs policies and practices that have a transformative impact on people’s lives and contribute to global efforts to reduce poverty? These issues are discussed by leading social scientists, NGOs, donors and policymakers from around the globe in The Social Realities of Knowledge for Development, an edited collection of articles, launched at a [high profile event convened by Institute of Development Studies, Overseas Development Institute and IIED.

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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

WEBINAR: How can participatory engagement of stakeholders unveil health system complexities?

Future Health Systems

Identifying who various stakeholders are and engaging them in health policy and systems research and implementation is key for better understanding complex health system behavior. This webinar introduces you to a couple of tools and approaches that promote the application of systems thinking through the participatory engagement of stakeholders. In addition, our panelists will reflect on the current landscape of teaching health policy and systems research and the implications for teaching participatory engagement. Our discussion will focus on practical implications of engaging stakeholders in health policy and systems research.


Dr. Elizabeth Ekirapa, Lecturer - Department of Health Policy Planning and Management, Makerere University School of Public Health; Uganda team lead from the Future Health Systems Research Consortium (

Dr. Martin Reynolds, Senior Lecturer in Systems Thinking and the Lead for postgraduate program in Systems Thinking in Practice - Department of Engineering and Innovation, The Open University (

Dr. David Peters, Professor - Department of International Health, Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health; Co-facilitator of the Health Systems Global Technical Working Group on Teaching and Learning Health Policy and Systems Research; Research Director of the Future Health Systems Research Consortium (

Dr. Ligia Paina, Assistant Scientist - Department of International Health, Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health; co-lead of the complexity science and systems thinking cluster; Member of the Future Health Systems Research Consortium (

HSG SHAPES TWG - Systems Thinking and complexity cluster and HSG Teaching and Learning HPSR TWG

How to join:
Twitter Hashtag: #engagingstakeholders

FHS meets to reflect, plan and welcome new partners

Future Health Systems

The Future Health Systems consortium came together 18-22 July for its annual meeting. The Institute for Development Studies (IDS) at the University of Sussex hosted our research partners for a delightful, and eventful, meeting in Brighton, UK. The focus of the meeting was two-fold: to reflect and summarize work to-date on FHS and to make concrete plans for new work. 

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Looking beyond ‘public’ and ‘private’ in health systems

Future Health Systems

Last week three FHS researchers took part in a panel discussion titled “Beyond ‘public’ and ‘private’ in health systems” at the Institute of Development Studies 50th annual conference titled “States, Markets and Society Defining a New Era for Development”.

The panel was chaired by Gerry Bloom of the Institute of Development Studies and included presentations from David Peters of Johns Hopkins University, Lewis Hussain - an Associate Researcher at the Institute of Development Studies working on the FHS programme, and Bruno Meessen of the Institute of Tropical Medicine, Belgium.

The panel explored the changing relationships between government, markets and social organisations in the health systems of low- and middle-income countries. It looked at the realities of the pluralistic systems that have emerged with a wide variety of actors providing health services and drugs in terms of their ownership, level of skill and relationship to the regulatory system. These health markets include a wide spectrum of organisations from transnational corporations to informal drug sellers working outside any regulatory framework. On the demand side, individuals have access to large volumes of information from the mass media and, increasingly, the internet. They have much more choice than in the past, but issues of knowledge asymmetry and the importance of ensuring that services are safe and effective, underline the need for social regulation. Meanwhile, the rapid development of ICTs and low-cost diagnostics is changing the terrain in which the roles of markets, states and civil society are being negotiated.

The presentations focused on strategies for improving the performance of pluralistic health systems in providing access to safe and effective health services and on innovative partnerships that have emerged.

Here you can watch Gerry’s introduction to the session and the three presentations that followed.