What must be done?
Capacity building for health systems
research in low & middle income
countries
Sara Bennett PhD
Johns H...
“just build capacity”
Tessa Tan Torres
A rising tide of political will
Health Systems
Health Systems
Research
HSR Capacity
Mind the Gap
The situation in LMICs
• Population – 5.5 billion
• 250-300 health systems
research organizations
in LMICs
• ...
“AfHEA has around 210
individuals registered… I would
say about 110 of these would
describe themselves as health
economist...
Basis for argument
• Systematic review of capacity development
initiatives for HSR, including papers
– Reported implementa...
CATALYZING POLITICAL WILL
1. Understanding of HSR
• Contextually specific nature of findings
– Limits to the transferability or generalizability of
...
2. Building links and the advocacy base
Health service
providers
Senior policy
makers
Health development
partners
Leaders ...
3. HSR capacity development – worthy
but dull?
Traditional approach
• Targetted largely at
university researchers
• Didact...
4. Evidence on effectiveness of CD
initiatives
HICs LMICs
Total # articles 49 24
% articles with
assessment
47% 37.5%
No. ...
WHAT MUST BE DONE
External Funding
“are dependent on a large part of their financing
and therefore survival on external donors. The
agenda o...
1. Remove funding obstacles
• 2% of national health spending for health
research – a real commitment?
• Problems with exte...
1. Remove funding obstacles
• Compacts between national governments and
researcher funders that:-
– Consolidate external f...
2. Build the field
• Health systems research housed in institutes
dominated by biomedical research paradigms
• Lack of app...
2. Build the field
• Through collaborative efforts that build
consensus in the HSR community
– Develop open access text bo...
3. Support capacity development
initiatives
• Nationally designed, led and owned
• Work across environmental, organization...
www.futurehealthsystems.org
http://www.who.int/alliance-hpsr/en
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What must be done? Capacity building for health systems research in low & middle income countries

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This presentation was given in plenary by Sara Bennett of the Future Health Systems Consortium at the Global Symposium on Health Systems Research, November 2010.

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  • Colleen flood
  • Reflect on composition of conference
  • Problems: no baseline data, no comparison groups……
  • Wellcome Trust African Capacity Development Initiative 30 million pounds, African-led partnership based, multi-faceted in nature
    UK and canadian initiatives that seek to build research sensitivity amont service providers and strengtthen networks between service providers and
  • What must be done? Capacity building for health systems research in low & middle income countries

    1. 1. What must be done? Capacity building for health systems research in low & middle income countries Sara Bennett PhD Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
    2. 2. “just build capacity” Tessa Tan Torres
    3. 3. A rising tide of political will Health Systems Health Systems Research HSR Capacity
    4. 4. Mind the Gap The situation in LMICs • Population – 5.5 billion • 250-300 health systems research organizations in LMICs • 6-7,500 health systems researchers • 40-50 institutions offering masters degree training health systems or policy Source: Bennett et al 2010 The situation in US • Population – 310 million • 709 research organizations that housed PIs for HSR projects • 13,000 health services researchers • 4,500 Masters students graduating in HSR each year Source: Pittman & Holve 2009
    5. 5. “AfHEA has around 210 individuals registered… I would say about 110 of these would describe themselves as health economists or health financing specialists” “Health systems research is done by either outside researchers or Sierra Leoneans with an MD, MPH with very limited or mostly no health systems training. I have an MSc Epidemiology and with that I am already a very "rare species".” Chris Atim Heidi Jalloh Vos
    6. 6. Basis for argument • Systematic review of capacity development initiatives for HSR, including papers – Reported implementation of a project or initiative – HIC or LMIC – Whether or not evaluated • Inputs from background paper authors • Deliberations at satellite session
    7. 7. CATALYZING POLITICAL WILL
    8. 8. 1. Understanding of HSR • Contextually specific nature of findings – Limits to the transferability or generalizability of conclusions across contexts • Complex adaptive systems – Need for continuous learning – tipping points or unexpected consequences • Importance of application of findings – Close connections between policy and decision makers, and researchers
    9. 9. 2. Building links and the advocacy base Health service providers Senior policy makers Health development partners Leaders of our research institutions
    10. 10. 3. HSR capacity development – worthy but dull? Traditional approach • Targetted largely at university researchers • Didactic/academic • Short course heavy • One size fits all What we should be doing • Enable learning across networks of actors • Adapt approaches to different audiences • Mix formal training with practice opportunities • Innovative strategies: mentoring, fellowships • Employ open-access distance learning
    11. 11. 4. Evidence on effectiveness of CD initiatives HICs LMICs Total # articles 49 24 % articles with assessment 47% 37.5% No. articles with independent evaluation 2 2 # articles with costs 10 7
    12. 12. WHAT MUST BE DONE
    13. 13. External Funding “are dependent on a large part of their financing and therefore survival on external donors. The agenda of these donors therefore drives them…..It creates an unfortunate cycle where the sector sees less and less their immediate relevance as they do not appear to be providing solutions to the sector’s problems.” Irene Agyepong
    14. 14. 1. Remove funding obstacles • 2% of national health spending for health research – a real commitment? • Problems with external funding:- – Lack of coordination and collaboration – Limited funding for capacity development – Competitive grant award disadvantages lower capacity institutions – Researchers are not linked to policy makers and research may not reflect priorities – Lack of local ownership
    15. 15. 1. Remove funding obstacles • Compacts between national governments and researcher funders that:- – Consolidate external funding resources – Increase internal funding resources – Develop & support national HSR funding organizations – Move towards longer term, flexible funding for research
    16. 16. 2. Build the field • Health systems research housed in institutes dominated by biomedical research paradigms • Lack of appreciation for social science methods at the core of health systems research • Need to assemble and systematize our core research methods
    17. 17. 2. Build the field • Through collaborative efforts that build consensus in the HSR community – Develop open access text books, methodological readers, course curricula – Develop journals, particularly regional journals that can publish HSR
    18. 18. 3. Support capacity development initiatives • Nationally designed, led and owned • Work across environmental, organizational and individual levels with multiple partners • Use creative mixes of interventions – Mentoring – Salary top-ups and incentive schemes to retain senior health systems researchers in-country – Partnership programs to build linkages between stakeholders in-country as well as across countries
    19. 19. www.futurehealthsystems.org http://www.who.int/alliance-hpsr/en

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