Health policy and systems research (HPSR) has changed considerably over the last 20 years, but its main purpose remains to inform and influence health policies and systems. Whereas goals that underpin health systems have endured – such as a focus on health equity – contexts and priorities change, research methods progress, and health organisations continue to learn and adapt, in part by using HPSR. For HPSR to remain relevant, its practitioners need to re-think how health systems are conceptualised, to keep up with rapid changes in how we diagnose and manage disease and use information, and consider factors affecting people’s health that go well beyond healthcare systems. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) represent a shifting paradigm in human development by seeking convergence across sectors. They also offer an opportunity for HPSR to play a larger role, given its pioneering work on applying systems thinking to health, its focus on health equity, and the strength of its multi-disciplinary approaches that make it a good fit for the SDG era.Read More
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Doctoral level research and training capacity in the social determinants of health at universities and higher education institutions in India, China, Oman and Vietnam: a survey of needs
Ali F, Shet A, Yan W, Al-Maniri A, Atkins and Lucas H (2017) Doctoral level research and training capacity in the social determinants of health at universities and higher education institutions in India, China, Oman and Vietnam: a survey of needs, Health Research Policy and Systems, 15:76, DOI: 10.1186/s12961-017-0225-5
Research capacity is scarce in low- and middle-income country (LMIC) settings. Social determinants of health research (SDH) is an area in which research capacity is lacking, particularly in Asian countries. SDH research can support health decision-makers, inform policy and thereby improve the overall health and wellbeing of the population. In order to continue building this capacity, we need to know to what extent training exists and how challenges could be addressed from the perspective of students and staff. This paper aims to describe the challenges involved in training scholars to undertake research on the SDH in four Asian countries – China, India, Oman and Vietnam.Read More
Receiving an award is an accolade. Awards validate and bring visibility, help attract funding, hasten career advancement, and can consolidate career accomplishments. Yet, in the fields of public health and medicine, few women receive them. Between seven public health and medicine awards from diverse countries, the chances of a woman receiving a prize was nine out of 100 since their inception.Read More
This article draws attention to the limited amount of scholarship on what constitutes fairness and equity in resource allocation to health research by individual funders. It identifies three key decisions of ethical significance about resource allocation that research funders make regularly and calls for prioritizing scholarship on those topics – namely, how health resources should be fairly apportioned amongst public health and health care delivery versus health research, how health research resources should be fairly allocated between health problems experienced domestically versus other health problems typically experienced by disadvantaged populations outside the funder's country, and how domestic and non-domestic health research funding should be further apportioned to different areas, e.g. types of research and recipients.Read More
Designing research funding schemes to promote global health equity: An exploration of current practice in health systems research
Pratt B and Hyder AA (2016) Designing research funding schemes to promote global health equity: An exploration of current practice in health systems research, Developing World Bioethics, DOI: 10.1111/dewb.12136
International research is an essential means of reducing health disparities between and within countries and should do so as a matter of global justice. Research funders from high-income countries have an obligation of justice to support health research in low and middle-income countries (LMICs) that furthers such objectives. This paper investigates how their current funding schemes are designed to incentivise health systems research in LMICs that promotes health equity.Read More
George AS, Mehra V, Scott K, Sriram V (2015) Community Participation in Health Systems Research: A Systematic Review Assessing the State of Research, the Nature of Interventions Involved and the Features of Engagement with Communities. PLoS ONE 10(10): e0141091. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0141091
Community participation is a major principle of people centered health systems, with considerable research highlighting its intrinsic value and strategic importance. Existing reviews largely focus on the effectiveness of community participation with less attention to how community participation is supported in health systems intervention research.
This systematic review explores the extent, nature and quality of community participation in health systems intervention research in low- and middle-income countries.
It concludes that despite positive examples, community participation in health systems interventions was variable, with few being truly community directed. Future research should more thoroughly engage with community participation theory, recognize the power relations inherent in community participation, and be more realistic as to how much communities can participate and cognisant of who decides that.