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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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Filtering by Category: IDS

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 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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FHS at the IDS 50th Anniversary Conference, 5-6 July 2016

Future Health Systems

As the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) turns 50 and development moves into a new era, IDS is inviting leading scholars, policymakers and practitioners to participate in a two day conference States, markets and society in a reconfigured world: Defining a new era for development on 5-6 July 2016 to debate the challenges and implications.

Future Health Systems will be hosting a panel session:

Beyond 'Public' and 'Private' in Health Systems
This panel will explore the changing relationships between government, markets and social organisations in the health systems of low- and middle-income countries. It will explore 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. The panel will focus 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.

Chair: Gerry Bloom, IDS

David Peters, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, USA
Lewis Husain, Associate Researcher, IDS
Anu Joshi, IDS
Bruno Meessen, Institute of Tropical Medicine, Belgium

Follow the build-up and join the debate on Twitter using #IDS_50

For more information about the IDS 50th Anniversary conference see http://www.ids.ac.uk/events/states-markets-and-society-ids-50th-conference

Liverpool to Host Fifth Global Symposium on Health Systems Research

Future Health Systems

Health Systems Global (HSG) has chosen Liverpool as the host city for its fifth global symposium on health systems research in 2018. The winning bid was put forward by the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM) in close cooperation with a consortium of UK institutions, including FHS partner the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), among others.

Around 2,000 delegates are expected to attend the five day symposium on October 7, 2018, at the waterfront venue, home to BT Convention Centre, Echo Arena and Exhibition Centre Liverpool.

George Gotsadze, executive director of Health Systems Global, congratulated the team on behalf of the Board of Health Systems Global which is made up of key researchers and experts from across the globe. “Liverpool’s winning bid was exceptionally strong and we are looking forward to working closely with LSTM and partners as we prepare this event over the coming years.”

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FHS Researcher provides evidence at International Development Select Committee on Ebola

Future Health Systems

On 10th November 2015, Annie Wilkinson, IDS Post-Doctoral Researcher and member of the IDS Future Health Systems team gave evidence to the International Development Select Committee inquiry into what DFID and the international community is doing to improve the international response for future disease outbreaks following the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

Annie, who has been working in Sierra Leone since 2009 on Lassa fever and also works on the DFID and Wellcome Trust funded Ebola Anthropology Response Platform, was in the country, including the eastern Kenema district, on a number of occasions during the Ebola outbreak. When asked about the reasons for the delay in the international response to the Ebola outbreak, she said communication was a major challenge. There was “…a big communication gap with Freetown and also between the country and regional offices of Government agencies and NGOs, and headquarters back in Geneva or London”. Part of the reason for this gap was because “…it goes against the interests of nations and sometimes particular people or political parties to admit things are out of control, so there are communication problems and there is also a vested interest in saying that things are fine. We saw a lot of denial of the scale of the problem and that was damaging”.

Another important dimension that impacted on the effectiveness of the Ebola response was the delay in community engagement. Even after the response started in earnest, local concerns were not addressed in a sensitive and flexible way. Annie argued that this was damaging, as it “…prevented meaningful and early engagement of local institutions and organisations, which could have made a more positive effort to the control by helping to develop more locally appropriate control measures”. Annie suggested that future “epidemic responses should be designed to be inclusive, flexible and adaptive from the start”, and that more fundamentally, DFID and other international actors should work in partnership with Sierra Leone and other countries to support sustained long-term efforts to address the underlying causes of such epidemics, including entrenched inequality and the mistrust of institutions.

Read the oral evidence or listen to the discussion in the audio file below.

Antibiotics by rbrwr, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License   by  rbrwr 

Buzzfeed: A new home for research?

Future Health Systems

When the Policy Influence and Research Uptake team for FHS first outlined its strategy, it enumerated a number of key principles that underpinned our work. One of them was 'being there'. 

On the web, this has also meant finding new ways of engaging users with our content. At the beginning of the consortium, that meant building up our social media presence on TwitterFacebook, and GooglePlus -- just to name a few. It also meant adding our referenced work to relevant Wikipedia articles, for example maternal health in Uganda.

But, as the online world continues to change, so must we. One of the more popular websites these days is Buzzfeed. And in the interest of experimentation, we've been repurposing some of our content for that site.

"'Being there':

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FHS and STEPS co-host workshop on complex adaptive systems

Future Health Systems

Health systems are seen as a complex adaptive systems (CAS), with multiple actors and relationships operating in difficult and changing contexts, with many points of intervention, and numerous intended and unintended consequences that can improve or damage people’s health. Although CAS frameworks are increasingly recognized as relevant to understanding health systems, health systems researchers have to date not taken advantage of CAS research methods to inform interventions that will be effective on a large scale and in sustainable ways.

In June 2014, Future Health Systems (FHS) and the STEPS Centre (Social, Technological and Environmental Pathways to Sustainability) co-hosted a workshop exploring CAS approaches to health systems strengthening in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).  FHS and STEPS are particularly concerned with policies, programs, and individual level interventions promote and protect people’s health and wellbeing, particularly vulnerable and disadvantaged populations.

The workshop was designed mainly to build capacity among both consortia on specific methods for working with and understanding CAS.

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