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Blog

Validation workshop on SLURC’s scoping study on urban health in Sierra Leone

Future Health Systems

On 29th November 2017, Sierra Leone Urban Research Centre (SLURC) held a one day workshop to highlight some of the challenges, threats and drivers of health risks in urban Sierra Leone. The workshop  brought together stakeholders drawn from central government ministries and agencies, the Freetown City Council, health NGOs, CBOs and community federations to discuss pertinent issues from the on-going scoping study report and to identifying what needs to be prioritized for SLURC’s Future Health Systems (FHS) research agenda on urban health. 

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Community scorecards: addressing the maternal and newborn service related needs of the marginalized?

Future Health Systems

Caroline Namugwere (not real name) is a 27 year old disabled woman and resident of Kibuku District in Eastern Uganda. Her pregnancy experience was laden with challenges right from attending antenatal clinic appointments to delivery. Inquiry into the plight of the marginalised is part of what the Community Score Cards study of Makerere University School of Public Health in partnership with the Future Health Systems Research Consortium intends to explore over the coming months in Kibuku District in Eastern Uganda. Specific to the case of Caroline and other marginalised groups, the following research question is being pursued: To what extent does a community scorecard process incorporate and address the maternal and newborn service related needs of marginalized populations?

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Naming the moment

Future Health Systems

We had three days. That was it. We had three days: to gather, to share ideas and experiences, to make new connections, to strengthen existing ones, and to wrestle with the conceptual beast that is “accountability.” The aim? To bring sharp minds, creative problem-solvers and pragmatic innovators together under one roof so that we might get a few steps closer to our common goal of greater health equity. Did it work? Yes. With caveats. You can be the judge.

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How will China’s Belt and Road shape global health cooperation?

Future Health Systems

The term ‘BRICS’ was coined to reflect a changing world, in which a number of large, emerging economies were starting to play a greater role in world economic affairs. Terms such as this reflect changing global realities, but also have the potential to shape those realities. The jury is still out on how far China’s ‘Belt and Road Initiative’ (BRI) will reshape the way we see the world. The view of blog post authors Lewsi Husain and Gerry Bloom is that it will have a significant impact in many areas, one of which is advancing cooperation for global health. At a time of retrenchment and reorientation in developed economies’ assistance, how China, existing donors and health agencies learn to work together will have an important impact on global health outcomes and may provide learning on how to collaborate on other, more contentious, issues.

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Racing the clock to save mothers and protect newborns in Uganda

Future Health Systems

Stefan Peterson, Chief of Health, UNICEF, highlights the contribution of a maternal and newborn health implementation project in Uganda led by Future Health Systems partner, the Makerere School of Public Health, to improvements in early antenatel care attendance, facility deliveries, newborn care practices, birth preparedness, and awareness of obstetric danger signs.

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Onions, elephants and lenses; reflections on the accountability for health equity workshop

Future Health Systems

By Ligia Paina, FHS Researcher

What happens when you bring 80+ social activists, anthropologists, health systems researchers and policy makers together for a three day workshop and ask them to further the collective understanding of accountability and its role in health equity?

I am going to leave that question for the team from the Institute of Development Studies that hosted the workshop, but here I wanted to share some reflections on what was a fascinating event. 

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Transforming accountabilities for health

Future Health Systems

Last week, between 80-90 researchers, practitioners, advocates and policymakers gathered for a three-day workshop organised by the IDS Accountability for Health Equity programme. Entitled Unpicking Power and Politics for Transformative Change: Towards Accountability for Health Equity, the event was hosted in collaboration with Unequal Voices, Future Health Systems, the Open Society Foundations, the Impact Initiative, and Health Systems Global. In this blog, Tom Barker and Karine Gatellier share their reflections from the event.

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G20 leaders need to prioritize public health to keep pandemics at bay

Future Health Systems

In 1895, poet Joseph Malins described an ill-starred town shadowed by a cliff. Citizens would regularly tumble off the cliff, so the town mercifully pays for a public ambulance. The poet berates the town for not building a fence at the rim of the cliff. As the G20 come together this July in Hamburg, they should take heed and learn the lessons from this fenceless town. Addressing global health security challenges like pandemics and resistance to antibiotics requires not just an ambulance, but a fence too. 

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Cultivating a positive performance review culture: lessons from the maternal and newborn study in Eastern Uganda

Future Health Systems

Makerere University School of Public Health recently concluded a four-year intervention aimed at sustainably improving maternal and neonatal health outcomes, implemented in the Eastern Ugandan districts of Kamuli, Pallisa and Kibuku. The intervention - the Maternal and Neonatal Implementation for Equitable Systems Study or MANIFEST - employed a participatory action research approach that has been lauded for increasing sustainability chances. This blog post examines lessons learned from the performance review meetings which were part of the approach.

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Pathways to scaling up interventions: Reflections from Delivering for Success at Scale

Future Health Systems

“Scaling up” is considered as a pertinent and scientific pathway recognized by academia and policy makers to reduce inequalities, to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and for universal health coverage. To build upon and learn from the longstanding partnership between Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC), International Centre for Diarrheal Disease Research, Bangladesh (ICDDR,B), and the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), a two day conference was held on 7 -8 February in Dhaka, Bangladesh to  share diverse perspectives, pathways and learnings from contextual settings to achieve successful scaling up of interventions and collaborations. The conference, in addition to throwing light on the pathways of scaling up of programs through our learnings, also acted as a potential accelerator for collaboration. This blog post shares five critical reflections from the conference mentioned below. 
 

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Delivering Innovations through Public Private Partnerships - a need for introspection

Future Health Systems

In India, there is a growing interest in partnership driven innovative service delivery models for providing health services to the poor. Consequently, the state and central governments in India have initiated 226 innovative programs of which 43 are through public private partnerships (PPPs). In spite of this interest in PPPs, very few programs have been scaled up to reach a wider population.On one hand, PPPs are lauded as an innovative model for service delivery and multiplicative scale-up that includes multiple actors. On the other hand, it is argued that factors such as inadequate funding, changing political context and PPP modalities like tendering and contracts limit the resources available for development and scale-up of innovations. But the fundamental question is – how can partnerships based on the premise of collaborative functioning that leverages each other’s strengths foster innovative solutions for local problems and drive them to scale?

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Ensuring sustainability through working with local resources: lessons from a maternal and newborn study in Eastern Uganda

Future Health Systems

How sustainable is your intervention? If someone wanted to replicate it, how easy would it be? What happens when the study ends? Will the communities be able to continue with this initiative after the implementers have gone? Ayub Kakaire, FHS PIRU Officer for Uganda, blogs about what working on the Maternal and Neonatal Implementation for Equitable Systems (MANIFEST) study has taught him about how to ensure an intervention is sustainable. 

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Resilient health systems and social resilience

Future Health Systems

The experience of the West African Ebola epidemic and its devastating impact on health and also the capacity of health services to carry out basic public health functions has led to a growing interest in ways to make health systems more resilient. This is the theme of the forthcoming symposium of the Fourth Global Symposium on Health Systems Research

It is important to differentiate between the contributions of a health system to social resilience and the factors that make a health system resilient to health crises. Both are important. In fact, the dimensions of the relationship between resilience and health systems are also interlinked.

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People-centeredness of a resilient health system – an illustration and few questions for the forthcoming HSR Symposium 2016

Future Health Systems

Health system and policy researchers and practitioners, civil society, academia and policy makers from around the world will gather in Vancouver, Canada for the Fourth Global Symposium on Health Systems Research (#HSR2016). The build-up to this biennial conference shows that there is considerable excitement and debate on this year’s symposium theme – Resilient and Responsive Health Systems for a changing world. Can we think of a resilient health system without it being people-centred? The answer is most certainly no.

 

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Dimensions of equitable eHealth: how can we take it to the next level?

Future Health Systems

There are about 7 billion mobile users globally, and no less than 95% of people are covered by at least 2G network. Via smartphones, people have access to over 40,000 health apps. As a result, globally there is much interest in eHealth, especially in addressing various barriers related to access to healthcare. However, from the health equity standpoint, we have to ask, who has access to quality health information through electronic platforms (eHealth)?

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Investing in ​​health is not​ cheap, but it is not a luxury either

Future Health Systems

While Ebola, Zika and yellow fever may seem like distant threats to most people living in the developed world, the lessons from these global crises should resonate across health services in all countries.

At the G7 meeting in Ise-Shima, Japan, and the world health assembly in Geneva this week, world leaders and health policymakers have a prime opportunity to take action. They need to lead the way in shaping health systems that can cope with both public health emergencies and the longer-term challenges of ensuring access to affordable health services for all.

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Needs of the poorest must be central to tackling antibiotic resistance

Future Health Systems

Launched this week is a major report on tackling the growing resistance to antibiotics by the UK Government and the Wellcome Trust. The authors of this blog post fully support its call for the G20 and the UN to take the lead in building a global coalition for action to address this urgent issue, and urge world leaders to consider the unmet needs of the poorest as central to a solution. 

As the World Health Assembly and the G7 Summit meet next week, their recommendations must recognise that very large numbers of people still do not have access to antibiotic treatment when they have an infection. Action on antibiotic resistance should not undermine the continuing need to ensure everyone has access to the medicines they require to live full and healthy lives - a goal which has not yet been consistently reached outside of richer countries. 

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Communitization of Health: Reflections from IIHMR – FHS on climate health research to policy at the SOCHARA meet, Bangalore

Future Health Systems

In April 2016, FHS IIHMR presented their research on ‘Climate, Society and Health - Research to policy’ at a workshop in Bangalore, India examining complexities, at both the macro and micro level, of ensuring that climate health research informs polity. The workshop - which was attended by academics, post graduate students and civil society members with thematic expertise in agriculture, climate, food security and child rights - was being conducted to mark the silver jubilee celebrations of SOCHARA - an NGO committed to a community health approach to addressing public health problems.

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Battling uncertainties or a certain doom?: Field notes from Ghoramara, Indian Sundarbans

Future Health Systems

We set out to leave for Ghoramara - one of the islands of the Sagar block of the Indian Sundarbans in the southern part of West Bengal - as a part of the IIHMR University – FHS study on climatic uncertainties and child health. As I sat in the bottom deck of the ferry travelling the hour long journey from Kakdwip to Ghoramara, I began to read the documents shared by the Panchayat on the island. The island, home to a population of 5000 people, is surrounded by rivers from all corners. It has no primary health facility but a sub-centre and ten anganwadi centres. It is popularly called the sinking island because the rising sea levels due to global warming and climatic events had leached a major portion of the island in the last few decades. A report by Centre for Science and Environment stated that over 25 years, Ghoramara’s land mass has been eaten away by the advancing sea – from 9 sq km to just about 4.7 sq km. I wondered what it meant for people living all their lives in a village and watching it gradually leach out.  

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