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Blog

Filtering by Tag: Ligia Paina

Racing the clock to save mothers and protect newborns in Uganda

Future Health Systems

Stefan Peterson, Chief of Health, UNICEF, highlights the contribution of a maternal and newborn health implementation project in Uganda led by Future Health Systems partner, the Makerere School of Public Health, to improvements in early antenatel care attendance, facility deliveries, newborn care practices, birth preparedness, and awareness of obstetric danger signs.

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Onions, elephants and lenses; reflections on the accountability for health equity workshop

Future Health Systems

By Ligia Paina, FHS Researcher

What happens when you bring 80+ social activists, anthropologists, health systems researchers and policy makers together for a three day workshop and ask them to further the collective understanding of accountability and its role in health equity?

I am going to leave that question for the team from the Institute of Development Studies that hosted the workshop, but here I wanted to share some reflections on what was a fascinating event. 

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Ten things to know about causal loop diagrams (CLDs)

Future Health Systems

As discussed at a methods workshop held in Baltimore in June 2014, systems mapping and conceptualization – a key part of the puzzle of intervening in complex systems – is a process of developing diagrams to illustrate system boundaries and the connections between variables.

CLDs are one type of system map, but they are by no means the only one. What makes CLDs particularly useful is that, in addition to mapping a system structure, they help build understanding of connections between a range of variables.

The increased momentum around complexity and tools such as the CLDs begin to raise issues that question the very core of the paradigms in which we generally operate in public health. That creates demand for understanding what CLDs are and when to develop and use them. It also creates an opportunity to drop some of the communication barriers that exist between disciplines and to push the boundaries of our understanding of complex systems.

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Where have all the taxis gone? Complex Adaptive Systems in Action in Beijing

Future Health Systems

I was cold, and I was wet – having waited for a taxi home for about an hour. And despite my interest in the subject, I somehow took little solace in the fact that getting soaked was the failure of a complex adaptive system. In order to keep Beijing taxi drivers in check, local government made the drivers themselves directly responsible for the costs associated with an accident. That may help keep speeding and reckless driving to a minimum when the skys are blue(ish -- it is Beijing after all), but when it comes to driving in more difficult road conditions, when demand is at its peak, in means that taxi drivers make something of a different economic calculation and stay off the roads. Talk about unintended consequences. But the local transport system was not the only complex adaptive system (CAS) on show here in Beijing. As a PhD student who is currently grappling with understanding Uganda’s complex health workforce dynamics for my dissertation research, I was unsure what to expect to hear about complex adaptive systems (CAS) at the 2nd Global Symposium on HSR. I was fortunate to have participated in the 1st Global Symposium on HSR in Montreux in 2010, which included a handful of discussions on this topic. In Montreux, the discourse was focused on conceptualizing CAS and systems thinking, asking what it they are and why should we apply them in health systems research.

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