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Strengthening institutional health systems research capacity in Africa


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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Strengthening institutional health systems research capacity in Africa

Future Health Systems

Both policy-makers and academics recognize that several factors contribute to how decisions are made and what policies and practices come to bear. Of those, health systems research (HSR) has been acknowledged as a critical input in the decision making process and ultimately in improving the performance of health systems.

In order to address this gap, seven schools of Public Health and selected health policy institutions across six countries in East and Central Africa embarked on a five-year project to strengthen their capacity to undertake high quality, policy relevant HSR. The project is known as the Africa Hub, and is learning platform supported byof Future Health Systems. Identification of HSR capacity strengths, gaps and needs served as priority for this endeavour.

In many contexts, the existing capacity for HSR has never been systematically documented. To address this, the Africa Hub pulled together a special series of journal articles in HARPS that share the experiences and results of HSR capacity assessments conducted at Jimma University (Ethiopia), Kinshasa University (DR Congo), Makerere University (Uganda), Moi University (Kenya), Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (Tanzania), Nairobi University (Kenya) and National University of Rwanda.

Although several areas for capacity strengthening emerged from the assessments, the articles in this series provide insights into existing capacities and offer proposals for capacity strengthening in a few specific areas. Articles included in the series are: