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News

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 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 across East and Central African schools of public health.

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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 rings.rpc@gmail.com

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.

Health facilities in eastern Uganda already seeing benefits of health management training

Future Health Systems

What is the money given to a specific health facility spent on? What about the trends in antenatal care? In eastern Uganda, health facilities in the districts of Pallisa, Kamuli and Kibuku were struggling to find answers to these questions. They were so overwhelmed with simply delivering the necessary health services that, in many cases, the management systems required to be able to answer such questions were lacking.

To improve this situation, the Maternal and Neonatal Implementation for Equitable Systems (MANIFEST) study run by the Makerere University School of Public Health (MakSPH), which is funded jointly by the UK charity Comic Relief and the UK Government via the Future Health Systems research consortium, launched a management training programme for health workers in these districts.

 The first group of 30, ten from each district graduated in April, and already facilities in these districts have started registering successes from these trainings.

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How should DFID approach health systems strengthening?

Future Health Systems

The UK Parliament's International Development Committee recently launched an enquiry into the approach that the UK Department for International Development (DFID) takes to health systems strengthening.  The steering committee of the Future Health Systems research consortium prepared written evidence for submission to the committee. In our response we highlighted four four critical health systems strengthening areas:  scaling effective interventions, engaging health markets, unlocking community assets for health and building capacity.

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Reforming health systems in Asia - the view from Singapore

Future Health Systems

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.

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Understanding the Bangladesh 'health miracle'

Future Health Systems

Last Thursday, FHS partner icddr,b in collaboration with brac and The Lancet launched a six-part special investigation into the health landscape in Bangladesh. The series explores how a country with low spending on health care, a weak health system, and widespread poverty has managed to make some exceptional health gains over the last two decades -- for example in the survival of infants and children under five years of age, life expectancy, immunisation coverage, and tuberculosis control.

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MakSPH joins hands with Uganda’s Health ministry to hold symposium on teenage pregnancy

Future Health Systems

When the Future Health Systems team at the Makerere University School of Public Health (MakSPH) approached Uganda’s Ministry of Health, with an idea of a symposium as part of the activities to commemorate the safe motherhood month held every year in October, it was not clear what to expect. But bingo, the idea was taken on board, seeing the United Nations Population Fund, the World Health Organisation, and Marie Stopes Uganda become co sponsors with MakSPH for the event now being planned to be held annually.

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First Sundarbans Health Watch asks 'How healthy are the children of the Indian Sundarbans?'

Future Health Systems

On 1 August 2013, researchers, practitioners, policy makers and media represnetatives gathered to gain a better understanding of the key trends in child health in the Sundarbans region of West Bengal, India. In addition to presenting findings from the first Sundarbans Health Watch, various local and international NGOs -- such as Terre des Hommes, Child in Need, CRY, Save the Children and the Riddhi Foundation -- discussed their current activities in the region.

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