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Reforming health systems in Asia - the view from Singapore

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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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Reforming health systems in Asia - the view from Singapore

Future Health Systems

The Health Systems Reform in Asia conference is taking place this year at NUS

The Health Systems Reform in Asia conference is taking place this year at NUS

It's a balmy 30 degrees in Singapore, where a number of members of the Future Health Systems consortium are gearing up for the second Health Systems Reform in Asia conference. The conference was co-organised by Gerry Bloom, an FHS researcher -- and many of the themes and issues that FHS focuses on will be discussed throughout the next few days. We will be livetweeting (follow us on @futurehealthsys or follow the event on #healthsysasia) and blogging throughout.

One of the things we're really excited to see in this conference is that it picks up where the previous conference in Hong Kong left off. As Barun Kanjilal reflected at the time, one of the emerging themes was 'poly-centric governance of health markets' -- or as he put it fighting 'hydras' with 'hydras'. Quite fittingly, this year's conference in Singapore kicks off with an opening plenary on governing 'pluralistic health systems' with Tim Evans from the World Bank. We're excited to see what two years of experience -- especially from Bangladesh -- has added to this strand of thinking.

Another strand of work that FHS has pursued over the years, informal providers, is also getting its moment in the spotlight during this conference. Meenakshi Gautham has convened a special symposium during the conference on the issue, which will feature much FHS work. She recently co-authored a blog on the Lancet Global Health that previews the session, and is well worth the read.

Additionally, we are very pleased to be leading a special symposium on Health, Technology and Society from an FHS-related project, ICTs And The Changing Health Knowledge Economy: How People Find Health Information In Bangladesh. FHS researcher Linda Waldman will be introducing some of the initial findings from how poor people in Bangladesh have been engaging with mobile phones to access health information.

Finally, we'll also be holding a side meeting of the Health Systems Global Private Sector in Health techincal working group. If you're interested in joining, get in touch on psinhealth@gmail.com.