Institute of Development Studies (IDS)
IDS is an international centre of excellence in multi-disciplinary analysis, teaching, and practice of development based at the University of Sussex in Brighton, UK. Its areas of expertise include poverty dynamics, social policy analysis, processes for involving stakeholders, strategies for making health services more accountable to their community; and research methods that combine quantitative and qualitative evaluation of performance of health systems. The organisation has experience working on health and social protection in China, Uganda, and other Asian and African countries, innovative strategies to improve provider performance in China and Bangladesh, and developing analytic frameworks to bring together development and public health approaches to understanding health systems.
Who we work with at IDS
- Dr Gerry Bloom (FHS publications, Profile at IDS, Google Scholar profile)
- Jeff Knezovich, FHS Policy Influence and Research Uptake Manager (FHS publications, Profile at IDS, Google Scholar profile)
- Dr Henry Lucas (FHS publications, Profile at IDS)
- Dr Hilary Standing (FHS publications, Profile at IDS)
- Dr Hayley MacGregor (FHS publications, Profile at IDS)
- Dr Linda Waldman (FHS publications, Profile at IDS)
Recent FHS publications involving IDS
Innovation theory has focused on the adoption of new products or services by individuals and their market-driven diffusion to the population at large. However, major health sector innovations typically emerge from negotiations between diverse stakeholders who compete to impose or at least prioritise their preferred version of that innovation. Thus, while many digital health interventions have succeeded in terms of adoption by a substantial number of providers and patients, they have generally failed to gain the level of acceptance required for their integration into national health systems that would promote sustainability and population-wide application. The area of innovation considered here relates to a growing number of success stories that have created considerable enthusiasm among donors, international agencies, and governments for the potential role of ICTs in transforming weak national health information systems in middle and low income countries. This article uses a case study approach to consider the assumptions, institutional as well as technical, underlying this enthusiasm and explores possible ways in which outcomes might be improved.
Bloom G, Berdou E, Standing H, Guo Z and Labrique A (2017) ICTs and the challenge of health system transition in low and middle-income countries, Globalization and Health, 13:56, doi: 10.1186/s12992-017-0276-y
The aim of this paper is to contribute to debates about how governments and other stakeholders can influence the application of ICTs to increase access to safe, effective and affordable treatment of common illnesses, especially by the poor. First, it argues that the health sector is best conceptualized as a ‘knowledge economy’. This supports a broadened view of health service provision that includes formal and informal arrangements for the provision of medical advice and drugs. This is particularly important in countries with a pluralistic health system, with relatively underdeveloped institutional arrangements. It then argues that reframing the health sector as a knowledge economy allows us to circumvent the blind spots associated with donor-driven ICT-interventions and consider more broadly the forces that are driving e-health innovations. It draws on small case studies in Bangladesh and China to illustrate new types of organization and new kinds of relationship between organizations that are emerging. It argues that several factors have impeded the rapid diffusion of ICT innovations at scale including: the limited capacity of innovations to meet health service needs, the time it takes to build new kinds of partnership between public and private actors and participants in the health and communications sectors and the lack of a supportive regulatory environment. It emphasises the need to understand the political economy of the digital health knowledge economy and the new regulatory challenges likely to emerge. It concludes that governments will need to play a more active role to facilitate the diffusion of beneficial ICT innovations at scale and ensure that the overall pattern of health system development meets the needs of the population, including the poor.
There are increasing criticisms of dominant models for scaling up health systems in developing countries and a recognition that approaches are needed that better take into account the complexity of health interventions. Since Reform and Opening in the late 1970s, Chinese government has managed complex, rapid and intersecting reforms across many policy areas. As with reforms in other policy areas, reform of the health system has been through a process of trial and error. There is increasing understanding of the importance of policy experimentation and innovation in many of China’s reforms; this article argues that these processes have been important in rebuilding China’s health system.
This article explores new, under-researched genres of sex education for adolescents in sub-Saharan Africa resulting from access to the internet through mobile phones. It examines the history of developing online health information platforms tailored for youth through the experiences of digital developers and the reflections of users.
Bloom G, Wilkinson A and Buckland Merritt G (2017) Antimicrobial resistance and Universal Health Coverage, In Antimicrobial resistance in the Asia Pacific region: a development agenda (pp. 9-21). Manila, Philippines. World Health Organization Regional Office for the Western Pacific. Licence: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO.
Chapter two highlights priorities for an integrated approach for addressing AMR by strengthening universal health coverage (UHC). It focuses on the use of drugs in outpatient settings. The chapter gives particular consideration to low- and middle-income countries with pluralistic health systems, where government provision and health markets combine and where people seek treatment for a large proportion of common infections in weakly regulated markets.
Recent FHS blogs from IDS
The term ‘BRICS’ was coined to reflect a changing world, in which a number of large, emerging economies were starting to play a greater role in world economic affairs. Terms such as this reflect changing global realities, but also have the potential to shape those realities. The jury is still out on how far China’s ‘Belt and Road Initiative’ (BRI) will reshape the way we see the world. The view of blog post authors Lewsi Husain and Gerry Bloom is that it will have a significant impact in many areas, one of which is advancing cooperation for global health. At a time of retrenchment and reorientation in developed economies’ assistance, how China, existing donors and health agencies learn to work together will have an important impact on global health outcomes and may provide learning on how to collaborate on other, more contentious, issues.
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.
Last week, between 80-90 researchers, practitioners, advocates and policymakers gathered for a three-day workshop organised by the IDS Accountability for Health Equity programme. Entitled Unpicking Power and Politics for Transformative Change: Towards Accountability for Health Equity, the event was hosted in collaboration with Unequal Voices, Future Health Systems, the Open Society Foundations, the Impact Initiative, and Health Systems Global. In this blog, Tom Barker and Karine Gatellier share their reflections from the event.
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.
There are about 7 billion mobile users globally, and no less than 95% of people are covered by at least 2G network. Via smartphones, people have access to over 40,000 health apps. As a result, globally there is much interest in eHealth, especially in addressing various barriers related to access to healthcare. However, from the health equity standpoint, we have to ask, who has access to quality health information through electronic platforms (eHealth)?