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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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BMC Health Services Research publishes supplement on UCC

Future Health Systems

Communities are more than a geographic location; they are a site of struggle and also a dynamic engine of change. Unlocking their capabilities to strengthen health systems requires understanding and adapting to local context, engaging a diversity of actors and working with the productive tensions inherent to collective action.

BMC Health Services Research has recently published a Supplement on Unlocking community capabilities across health systems across low and middle income countries - edited by Asha S. George, Kerry Scott, Eric Sarriot, Barun Kanjilal and David H. Peters. This supplement draws on extensive Future Health Systems research and experience in unlocking community capabilities to strengthen health systems in low- and middle-income countries.

Articles in the suplpement inlcude:

How has FHS contributed to change?

Future Health Systems

Throughout its two phases, FHS has undertaken research and capacity building initiatives with the aim of contributing to improved access, affordability and quality of health services for poor people.

FHS is pleased to announce a new series - Stories of Change - which shares stories that seek to demonstrate FHS’ contribution to informing processes of change at global, national and sub-national level.

You can now read our first six Stories of Change, with more on the way!

Image: Pallisa District Mentor Charles Otukor goes through the action points from a previous mentorship session with midwives at Pallisa Hospital.

WEBINAR: How can participatory engagement of stakeholders unveil health system complexities?

Future Health Systems

Identifying who various stakeholders are and engaging them in health policy and systems research and implementation is key for better understanding complex health system behavior. This webinar introduces you to a couple of tools and approaches that promote the application of systems thinking through the participatory engagement of stakeholders. In addition, our panelists will reflect on the current landscape of teaching health policy and systems research and the implications for teaching participatory engagement. Our discussion will focus on practical implications of engaging stakeholders in health policy and systems research.


Dr. Elizabeth Ekirapa, Lecturer - Department of Health Policy Planning and Management, Makerere University School of Public Health; Uganda team lead from the Future Health Systems Research Consortium (

Dr. Martin Reynolds, Senior Lecturer in Systems Thinking and the Lead for postgraduate program in Systems Thinking in Practice - Department of Engineering and Innovation, The Open University (

Dr. David Peters, Professor - Department of International Health, Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health; Co-facilitator of the Health Systems Global Technical Working Group on Teaching and Learning Health Policy and Systems Research; Research Director of the Future Health Systems Research Consortium (

Dr. Ligia Paina, Assistant Scientist - Department of International Health, Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health; co-lead of the complexity science and systems thinking cluster; Member of the Future Health Systems Research Consortium (

HSG SHAPES TWG - Systems Thinking and complexity cluster and HSG Teaching and Learning HPSR TWG

How to join:
Twitter Hashtag: #engagingstakeholders

Sharing lessons from the MANIFEST study in Uganda

Future Health Systems

The Maternal and Neonatal Implementation for Equitable Systems (MANIFEST) study was a 4-year study (2012-2015) in which FHS partner the Makerere University School of Public Health worked with the districts of Kamuli, Kibuku and Pallisa with the aim of contributing to the reduction of maternal and neonatal deaths through the use of a participatory action research approach.

To share the lessons learnt from this study, MANIFEST recently produced some new issues of their briefing series as well as a documentary, 'The Winds of Change'. The briefing papers include:

The 'Winds of Change' documentary captures the views and lessons as seen in the eyes of the implementers, participants, and the evidence. Watch the full film below:

FHS meets to reflect, plan and welcome new partners

Future Health Systems

The Future Health Systems consortium came together 18-22 July for its annual meeting. The Institute for Development Studies (IDS) at the University of Sussex hosted our research partners for a delightful, and eventful, meeting in Brighton, UK. The focus of the meeting was two-fold: to reflect and summarize work to-date on FHS and to make concrete plans for new work. 

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Looking beyond ‘public’ and ‘private’ in health systems

Future Health Systems

Last week three FHS researchers took part in a panel discussion titled “Beyond ‘public’ and ‘private’ in health systems” at the Institute of Development Studies 50th annual conference titled “States, Markets and Society Defining a New Era for Development”.

The panel was chaired by Gerry Bloom of the Institute of Development Studies and included presentations from David Peters of Johns Hopkins University, Lewis Hussain - an Associate Researcher at the Institute of Development Studies working on the FHS programme, and Bruno Meessen of the Institute of Tropical Medicine, Belgium.

The panel explored the changing relationships between government, markets and social organisations in the health systems of low- and middle-income countries. It looked at the realities of the pluralistic systems that have emerged with a wide variety of actors providing health services and drugs in terms of their ownership, level of skill and relationship to the regulatory system. These health markets include a wide spectrum of organisations from transnational corporations to informal drug sellers working outside any regulatory framework. On the demand side, individuals have access to large volumes of information from the mass media and, increasingly, the internet. They have much more choice than in the past, but issues of knowledge asymmetry and the importance of ensuring that services are safe and effective, underline the need for social regulation. Meanwhile, the rapid development of ICTs and low-cost diagnostics is changing the terrain in which the roles of markets, states and civil society are being negotiated.

The presentations focused on strategies for improving the performance of pluralistic health systems in providing access to safe and effective health services and on innovative partnerships that have emerged.

Here you can watch Gerry’s introduction to the session and the three presentations that followed.

FHS thoughts with the people of Bangladesh

Future Health Systems

Future Health Systems members were deeply shocked and saddened to hear of the terrible events that took place at the Holey Artisan Bakery in the Gulshan district of the Bangladesh captial, Dhaka, on Friday 1 July 2016. Our thoughts are with all those affected, including our partners and friends at The International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr,b).

FHS at the Fourth Global Symposium on Health Systems Research, 14-18 November 2016

Future Health Systems

Future Health Systems members are excited to be contributing to the Fourth Global Symposium on Health Systems Research, which will be held in Vancouver, Canada, from 14 to 18 November.

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