Unlocking community capabilities
The unlocking community capabilities theme systematically examines how communities can be active participants in the planning, delivery, monitoring and evaluation of their health system, by identifying and mobilising individual and collective capabilities in different social, political, and institutional environments.
Defining community capabilities
Communities are groups of people having common interests, resources, beliefs, needs, occupations or other social conditions that characterise the identity of members and affect their cohesiveness. FHS focuses on communities that live in a particular geographic area, but also examines other social characteristics of communities. The term ‘community capability’ encompasses key concepts of empowerment, mobilisation, social capital and capacity building.
- Developing reproducible ways of measuring community capabilities to understand the social relations and resources within and across communities, including the status, social relations and entitlements of disadvantaged populations.
- Developing reproducible ways of changing community capabilities as a process and outcome of health systems interventions by improving linkages, strengthening monitoring, securing resources, improving resilience, and changing social norms.
- Having robust measures of change in community capabilities and developing research methodologies to understand pathways for change in community capabilities and how they relate to changes in health systems.
Defining an appropriate model of health systems ethics relevant to long-term engagements with communities, especially in low-resource settings.
Recent FHS publications on 'unlocking community capabilities'
Ghosh U, Sen B, and Bose S (2019) Photo voice as a participatory approach to influence climate related health policy in the Sundarbans, The Lancet Planetary Health, Volume 3, Special Issue, S22, DOI: 10.1016/S2542-5196(19)30165-2
The IPCC Fifth Assessment Report highlights community-based strategies to drive effective and ecologically sustainable local adaptation strategies. A climate change hot spot, Sundarbans, India, needs collective action between communities and for local level health and non-health decision makers to find sustainable solutions to combat the impacts of climate change on child health.
Alonge O, Sonkarlay S, Gwaikolo W, Fahim C, Cooper JL and Peters DH (2019) Understanding the role of community resilience in addressing the Ebola virus disease epidemic in Liberia: a qualitative study (community resilience in Liberia), Global Health Action, 12:1, DOI: 10.1080/16549716.2019.1662682
There is an increasing recognition that community resilience plays a significant role in addressing health shocks like the Ebola virus disease (EVD) epidemic. However, the factors that constitute community resilience, and how these operate dynamically with other health system factors are less understood. This paper seeks to understand key factors that constitute community resilience and their role in responding to the EVD outbreak in Liberia.
Between June 2017 and December 2018, Makerere University School of Public Health (MakSPH), in collaboration with Future Health Systems, implemented a Community Scorecard project focusing on maternal and newborn health service delivery and utilization in six sub-counties in Kibuku district in Eastern Uganda. This short film highlights some successes from this pilot.
Between 2017 and 2018, the Makerere University School of Public Health (MakSPH), in collaboration with the Future Health Systems Research Consortium, implemented a CSC project focusing on maternal and newborn health service delivery and utilization in six sub-counties in Kibuku District, in Eastern Uganda. The implementation was led by stakeholders in the district and comprised of sub county chiefs, Local council chair persons, Health Unit Management Committee chairpersons, Village health team members, community development officers, sub county level councilors and volunteers. This short film is based on the challenges of implementing the project and also explains how these challenges were handled.
FHS partner Makerere University School of Public Health undertook a Community Score Cards study, which contributed to research on how leaders can work with the community and health workers to improve maternal and newborn health in Kibuku District. The use of the Community Score Card tool – a two-way and ongoing participatory tool for assessment, planning, monitoring and evaluation - aims to improve the performance of facilities and accountability by the different stakeholders who are responsible for improving the performance of facilities. This film provides an overview of how to undertake a maternal and newborn community scorecard.
Community clinics (CCs) were established by the Government of Bangladesh with an aim to extend primary health services to the grassroots population in rural areas. Currently there are 13,500 CCs throughout the country and each covers 6,000 population under its jurisdiction and are meant to provide maternal, child health, family planning and other primary health care services. However, challenges still remain in ensuring accountability, quality and equity in healthcare service at the local level. Voice and accountability mechanism are almost non-existent. There are gaps in logistics, quality assurance procedures and the facilities suffer from high staff absenteeism, unskilled staff and inefficient use of supplies. Stakeholders are not fully aware of clinics' purposes and there is weak communication and lack of involvement of local government institutions.
At the time of the 2014–2015 Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak, Liberia was still recovering from years of civil war and unrest. The country’s infrastructure was very poor, especially in rural regions, where people could not easily travel because of the lack of adequate roads. Liberia’s health system was also weakened by the civil war, leaving health facilities struggling to respond to the EVD outbreak effectively.
Community clinics, a flagship programme of the Government of Bangladesh, are health facilities set up to deliver primary health care, family planning and nutrition services to rural people at the grassroots level. Currently there are 13,500 community clinics (CC) in Bangladesh, aimed to cover every 6000 rural population. Despite the widespread establishment of the community clinics, challenges such as shortage of supply, provider absenteeism, lack of properly defined roles and responsibilities of human resources, poor behaviour towards patients, weak accountability and governance, and absence of active participation from community in healthcare delivery restrict efficient use of these facilities and available resources.
To complement the monitoring mechanism of community clinics, the Future Health Systems (FHS) Bangladesh team at icddr,b aimed to implement a community scorecard (CSC) to ensure community participation and provider accountability in the local health system. This FHS Research Brief presents the learnings from the three cycles of community scorecard implementation in the intervention community clinics.
This issue brief describes the factors that facilitate the CSC implementation process, based on the lessons learnt from a CSC project on maternal and newborn health service delivery and utilization in six sub-counties of Kibuku district in Uganda. District and sub-county stakeholders led the implementation of the CSC, with support from Makerere University School of Public Health (MakSPH). Four rounds of scoring were undertaken between November 2017 and September 2018.