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Research in Gender and Ethics (RinGs): A new cross-RPC partnership to build stronger health systems


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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Research in Gender and Ethics (RinGs): A new cross-RPC partnership to build stronger health systems

Future Health Systems

Gender-sensitive health policy is a feature of international commitments and consensus documents and national-level normative statements and implementation guidance in many countries. However, there are gaps in our knowledge about how gender and ethics interface with health systems. Funded by the UK Department for International Development, this exciting new initiative brings together three health systems focused Research Programme Consortia (RPC): Future Health Systems, ReBUILD and RESYST in a partnership to galvanise gender and ethics analysis in health systems.

Our approach

As the partnership is concerned with ensuring that new approaches get translated into action, we have an interest in embedded approaches; analysis that is relevant and owned by local actors. In addition, an understanding of intersectionality is central to our work. Gender intersects with other axes of inequality, such as age, ethnicity, class, poverty, geography, (dis)ability and sexuality.  Finally, in addressing power relations and social exclusion we also call attention to ethics in health systems research, policy and practice. 

What are our aims?

This partnership seeks to understand, and to encourage, a gendered approach to the study of health systems care-seeking; financing and contracting; governance; and human resources for health by:

  1. Synthesising the current evidence base. This will provide tools, case studies and guidelines on gender, ethics and health systems for researchers and decision makers and set the terms of a future research agenda.
  2.  Stimulating new research. Through small grants aimed explicitly at RPC partners and affiliates.
  3. Encouraging mutual learning and research uptake. A learning platform will support grantees, RPC members and a wider stakeholder group (policy makers, implementers and advocates) to share and support one another in defining, conducting and applying this research. Dialogue will engage with research findings and encourage its use in policy and practice.


Who is involved? Find out more

A small team is steering the direction of the project:

  • Asha George, Future Health Systems/Johns Hopkins School of Public Health
  • Sarah Ssali, ReBUILD/School of Women and Gender Studies, Makerere University
  • Sally Theobald, ReBUILD/Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine
  • Sassy Molyneux, Resyst/KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme
  • Kate Hawkins, Pamoja Communications
  • Rosemary Morgan, Cross RPC /Johns Hopkins School of Public Health

Our email address is

Over time a broader group of RPC researchers will also join the projects, either as the recipients of research funding from our small grants project or as part of our learning platform. Do get in touch if you would like to learn more.