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Publications

Filtering by Category: IDS

A Practical Guide to Implementation Research on Health Systems

Future Health Systems

Lucas H and Zwarenstein M (2016) A Practical Guide to Implementation Research on Health Systems, Brighton: Institute of Development Studies

This is an open access resource targeted primarily at post-graduate students intending to undertake field research on health systems interventions in resource-poor environments.

The book consists of twelve chapters addressing theory, methodology, analysis, and influencing policy. Each consists of both original text and links to relevant, open access, web-based journal and multi-media materials, including selected case studies. 

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Distance- and blended-learning in global health research: potentials and challenges

Future Health Systems

Lucas H and Kinsman J (2016) Distance- and blended-learning in global health research: potentials and challenges, Global Health Action, 9:1, DOI:10.3402/gha.v9.33429

It has been argued that in every country, ‘social, educational, technological, and economic development fundamentally depends on the advancement of science through research … and [it] benefits from having a … network of actors engaged in promoting and using scientific research’. This applies in particular to life sciences research in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), given that many such countries face the heaviest burdens of disease. However, Langer et al. lamented in 2004, that ‘In the fields of medicine and public health … papers where researchers from developing countries are the sole authors represent a very low proportion of published manuscripts’. The reasons identified for this include: poor access to scientific literature, poor participation in publication-related decision-making processes, and the bias of journals. Much has changed since then, with a dramatic growth in the number of journals addressing public health concerns, many of which are based in LMICs or which include LMIC researchers on their editorial boards. There have been substantial initiatives, most notably Hinari, to provide LMIC researchers with access to the scientific literature. However, though the number of LMIC publications has increased substantially, a recent publication found no LMIC in the top forty countries in terms of publications per capita.

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Health Systems Research in a Complex and Rapidly Changing Context: Ethical Implications of Major Health Systems Change at Scale

Future Health Systems

MacGregor H and Bloom G (2016) Health Systems Research in a Complex and Rapidly Changing Context: Ethical Implications of Major Health Systems Change at Scale, Developing World Bioethics, 16(3): 158–167, doi:10.1111/dewb.12115

This paper discusses health policy and systems research in complex and rapidly changing contexts. It focuses on ethical issues at stake for researchers working with government policy makers to provide evidence to inform major health systems change at scale, particularly when the dynamic nature of the context and ongoing challenges to the health system can result in unpredictable outcomes.

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What does the end of Africa's boom mean for Universal Health Coverage?

Future Health Systems

Achieving universal health coverage by 2030, as stated in UN Global Goal 3, will require substantial increases in health spending and the proportion funded through taxation or social insurance to make health care affordable for all. Not only will institutions need to be established to ensure sustainable arrangements for social finance, it will also be vital to ensure that health financing is resilient to economic and other shocks if Global Goal 3 is to be realised. This presents a major challenge in Africa, where an economic downturn is projected in a number of resource-dependent countries, such as Mozambique and Guinea Bissau and where countries such as Sierra Leone have weakened health systems. The response to these challenges by governments and development partners, will have important effects on how well people, and the health services on which they rely, cope in the short term and longer-term evolution of health coverage.

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Towards the just and sustainable use of antibiotics

Future Health Systems

Buckland Merrett GL, Bloom G, Wilkinson A and MacGregor H (2016) Towards the just and sustainable use of antibiotics, Journal of Pharmaceutical Policy and Practice, 9:31, DOI: 10.1186/s40545-016-0083-5

The emergence and spread of antibiotic resistant pathogens poses a big challenge to policy-makers, who need to oversee the transformation of health systems that evolved to provide easy access to these drugs into ones that encourage appropriate use of antimicrobials, whilst reducing the risk of resistance. This is a particular challenge for low and middle-income countries with pluralistic health systems where antibiotics are available in a number of different markets. This review paper considers access and use of antibiotics in these countries from a complex adaptive system perspective. It highlights the main areas of intervention that could provide the key to addressing the sustainable long term use and availability of antibiotics.

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FHS Key Message Brief 4: Galvanising gender analysis and practice in health systems: Reflections from Research in Gender and Ethics: Building Stronger Health Systems (RinGs)

Future Health Systems

This brief outlines some of the challenges of incorporating gender analysis into existing research programmes, along with ways in which Research in Gender and Ethics (RinGs): Building Stronger Health Systems has responded to them. RinGs is a cross research programme consortium (RPC) bringing together three health systems RPCs – Future Health Systems, ReBUILD, and RESYST – to better understand gendered dynamics in health systems and to galvanise gender analysis in HSR. 

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Addressing antimicrobial resistance in China: policy implementation in a complex context

Future Health Systems

Wang L, Zhang X, Liang X and Bloom G (2016) Addressing antimicrobial resistance in China: policy implementation in a complex context, Globalization and Health, 12:30, DOI: 10.1186/s12992-016-0167-7

The effectiveness of antibiotics in treating bacterial infections is decreasing in China because of the widespread development of resistant organisms. Although China has enacted a number of regulations to address this problem, but the impact is very limited. This paper investigates the implementation of these regulations through the lens of complex adaptive systems (CAS).

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Briefing – Ebola: Myths, Realities and Structural Violence

Future Health Systems

Wilkinson A and Leach M (2015) Briefing – Ebola: Myths, Realities and Structural Violence, African Affairs, Jan 2015, 114 (454): 136-148 doi:10.1093/afraf/adu080

Abstract

Ten months after the first infection, Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organization, described the Ebola epidemic in West Africa as the ‘most severe acute public health emergency in modern times’. The disaster, she said, represents a ‘crisis for international peace and security’ and threatens the ‘very survival of societies and governments in already very poor countries’. As of October 2014, the disease had killed 4,951 and infected 13,567. It has crippled families, health systems, livelihoods, food supplies and economies in its wake. These numbers are likely to be vastly underestimated. How did it get to this? Why has this outbreak been so much larger than previous ones? The scale of the disaster has been attributed to the weak health systems of affected countries, their lack of resources, the mobility of communities and their inexperience in dealing with Ebola. This answer, however, is woefully de-contextualized and de-politicized. This briefing examines responses to the outbreak and offers a different set of explanations, rooted in the history of the region and the political economy of global health and development.

Drug-resistant tuberculosis control in China: progress and challenges

Future Health Systems

Long Q, Qu Y, and Lucas H (2016) Drug-resistant tuberculosis control in China: progress and challenges, Infect Dis Poverty. 2016; 5: 9. doi: 10.1186/s40249-016-0103-3

Abstract

Background: China has the second highest caseload of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) in the world. In 2009, the Chinese government agreed to draw up a plan for MDR-TB prevention and control in the context of a comprehensive health system reform launched in the same year.

Discussion: China is facing high prevalence rates of drug-resistant TB and MDR-TB. MDR-TB disproportionally affects the poor rural population and the highest rates are in less developed regions largely due to interrupted and/or inappropriate TB treatment. Most households with an affected member suffer a heavy financial burden because of a combination of treatment and other related costs. The influential Global Fund programme for MDR-TB control in China provides technical and financial support for MDR-TB diagnosis and treatment. However, this programme has a fixed timeline and cannot provide a long term solution. In 2009, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, in cooperation with the National Health and Family Planning Commission of China, started to develop innovative approaches to TB/MDR-TB management and case-based payment mechanisms for treatment, alongside increased health insurance benefits for patients, in order to contain medical costs and reduce financial barriers to treatment. Although these efforts appear to be in the right direction, they may not be sufficient unless (a) domestic sources are mobilized to raise funding for TB/MDR-TB prevention and control and (b) appropriate incentives are given to both health facilities and their care providers.

Summary: Along with the on-going Chinese health system reform, sustained government financing and social health protection schemes will be critical to ensure universal access to appropriate TB treatment in order to reduce risk of developing MDR-TB and systematic MDR-TB treatment and management.

Disparity in reimbursement for tuberculosis care among different health insurance schemes: evidence from three counties in central China

Future Health Systems

Pan Y, Chen S, Chen M, Zhang P, Long Q, Xiang L, and Lucas H (2016) Disparity in reimbursement for tuberculosis care among different health insurance schemes: evidence from three counties in central China, Infect Dis Poverty. 2016; 5: 7. doi: 10.1186/s40249-016-0102-4

Health inequity is an important issue all around the world. The Chinese basic medical security system comprises three major insurance schemes, namely the Urban Employee Basic Medical Insurance (UEBMI), the Urban Resident Basic Medical Insurance (URBMI), and the New Cooperative Medical Scheme (NCMS). Little research has been conducted to look into the disparity in payments among the health insurance schemes in China. In this study, the authors aimed to evaluate the disparity in reimbursements for tuberculosis (TB) care among the abovementioned health insurance schemes.

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Factors that determine catastrophic expenditure for tuberculosis care: a patient survey in China

Future Health Systems

Zhou C, Long Q, Chen J, Xiang L, Li Q, Tang S, Huang F, Sun Q, and Lucas H (2016) Factors that determine catastrophic expenditure for tuberculosis care: a patient survey in China, Infect Dis Poverty. 2016; 5: 6. doi:  10.1186/s40249-016-0100-6

Tuberculosis (TB) often causes catastrophic economic effects on both the individual suffering the disease and their households. A number of studies have analyzed patient and household expenditure on TB care, but there does not appear to be any that have assessed the incidence, intensity and determinants of catastrophic health expenditure (CHE) relating to TB care in China. That will be the objective of this paper.

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Non-medical financial burden in tuberculosis care: a cross-sectional survey in rural China

Future Health Systems

Li Q, Jiang W, Wang Q, Shen Y, Gao J, Sato KD, Long Q, and Lucas H (2016) Non-medical financial burden in tuberculosis care: a cross-sectional survey in rural China, Infect Dis Poverty. 2016; 5: 5. doi:  10.1186/s40249-016-0101-5

Treatment of tuberculosis (TB) in China is partially covered by national programs and health insurance schemes, though TB patients often face considerable medical expenditures. For some, especially those from poorer households, non-medical costs, such as transport, accommodation, and nutritional supplementation may be a substantial additional burden. In this article the authors aim to evaluate these non-medical costs induced by seeking TB care using data from a large scale cross-sectional survey.

 

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Are free anti-tuberculosis drugs enough? An empirical study from three cities in China

Future Health Systems

Chen S, Zhang H, Pan Y, Long Q, Xiang L, Yao L and Lucas H (2015) Are free anti-tuberculosis drugs enough? An empirical study from three cities in China, Infectious Diseases of Poverty, 4:47, doi:10.1186/s40249-015-0080-y

Tuberculosis (TB) patients in China still face a number of barriers in seeking diagnosis and treatment. There is evidence that the economic burden on TB patients and their households discourages treatment compliance.  Data were collected using a questionnaire survey, key informant interviews and focus group discussions with TB patients to gain an understanding of the economic burden of TB and implications of this burden for treatment compliance.

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Symposium on the Private Sector in Health: Sydney 2013

Future Health Systems

There is a growing appreciation and recognition of the role of the private sector in the development of better health systems and the improvement of healthcare worldwide.

This Health Policy and Planning supplement reflects contributions to a Symposium of the Health Systems Global Private Sector in Health Thematic Working Group during the 9th World Congress on Health Economics, held in Sydney in July 2013. Members of the PSIH TWG that convened the Symposium included FHS members David Bishai (JHBSPH) and Gerry Bloom (IDS), and was generously supported by Rockefeller, Gates, USAID, AusAid (DFAT), and DFID.

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Logics of government innovation and reform management in China

Future Health Systems

Since the beginning of reforms in the late 1970s, China has developed rapidly, transforming itself into a middle-income country, raising hundreds of millions out of poverty and, latterly, developing broad-based social protection systems. The country’s approach to reform has been unorthodox, leading many to talk of a specific Chinese model of development. This paper analyses the role of innovation (chuangxin) and experimentation in the Chinese government repertoire and their contribution to management of change during the rapid, complex and interconnected reforms that China is undergoing. 

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Sexual and reproductive health and rights and mHealth in policy and practice in South Africa

Future Health Systems

Waldman, L. and Stevens, M. (2015) Sexual and reproductive health and rights and mHealth in policy and practice in South Africa, Reproductive Health Matters, Vol 23, Issue 45, PP 93 - 102, doi:10.1016/j.rhm.2015.06.009

Information and Communications Technology (ICT) offers enormous opportunity and innovation to improve public health and health systems.This paper explores the intersections between mHealth and sexual and reproductive health and rights in both policy and practice. It is a qualitative study, informed by policy review and key informant interviews. Three case studies provide evidence of what is happening on the ground in relation to ICTs and reproductive health and rights.

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Understanding Health Information Seeking from an Actor-Centric Perspective

Future Health Systems

This paper presents a conceptual approach for discussing health information seeking among poor households in Africa and Asia. This approach is part of a larger research endeavor aimed at understanding how health systems are adapting; with possibilities and constraints emerging. These health systems can be found in a context of the changing relationships between states, markets and civil society in low and middle income countries. The paper starts from an understanding of the health sector as a “health knowledge economy”, organized to provide people with access to knowledge and advice. The use of the term “health knowledge economy” draws attention to the ways the health sector is part of a broader knowledge economy changing the way individuals and households obtain and use specialist information. The paper integrates an actor centric approach with the theory of planned behavior. It seeks to identify the actors engaged in the health knowledge economy as a precursor to longer term studies on the uptake of innovations integrating health services with mobile phones, commonly designated as mHealth, contributing to an understanding of the potential vulnerabilities of poor people, and highlighting possible dangers if providers of health information and advice are strongly influenced by interest groups.

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Addressing Resistance To Antibiotics In Pluralistic Health Systems

Future Health Systems

There is growing international concern about the threat to public health of the emergence and spread of bacteria resistant to existing antibiotics. An effective response must invest in both the development of new drugs and measures to slow the emergence of resistance. This paper addresses the former. It focuses on low and middle-income countries with pluralistic health systems, where people obtain much of their antibiotics in unorganised markets. 

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Advancing the application of systems thinking in health: managing rural China health system development in complex and dynamic contexts

Future Health Systems

This paper explores the evolution of schemes for rural finance in China as a case study of the long and complex process of health system development. It argues that the evolution of these schemes has been the outcome of the response of a large number of agents to a rapidly changing context and of efforts by the government to influence this adaptation process and achieve public health goals.

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