Partners’ HPSR report – 2021

Perspectives from global HPSR entities

Global-level entities are making strong contributions to HPSR, in addition to the many actors working to strengthen HPSR within countries. Two global entities, in particular, are contributing to innovations in HPSR knowledge generation and capacity strengthening, working closely with in-country partners: Health Systems Global and Results for Development’s Health Systems Strengthening Accelerator.

Health Systems Global

Health Systems Global (HSG) is a global membership society that connects diverse stakeholders, all of whom are dedicated to HPSR and to knowledge, innovation and action. With more than 2000 members across over 125 countries, HSG aims to buil the field of HPSR and cultivate its collective capacity to strengthen and develop health systems that improve and protect health and well-being around the world.

Founded in 2012 in response to the need for greater HPSR to accelerate universal health coverage (UHC) worldwide, HSG has emerged as an international society that brings these stakeholders together to advance this agenda and, more broadly, to promote health systems research and knowledge translation.

Ten multidisciplinary Thematic Working Groups (TWGs) and five regional networks – in Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Eastern Mediterranean, Europe, and Latin America and Caribbean – provide platforms for member interaction, exchange of experiences and consideration of innovative solutions around particular issues in health systems research. This is achieved through members events, webinars and blogs.

HSG has designed and delivered six highly successful global symposia that convene the full spectrum of players involved in HPSR and practice to: share new evidence; strengthen the scientific rigour of health systems research through concepts, frameworks, measures and methodologies; and facilitate greater research collaboration and learning communities across disciplines, sectors, initiatives and countries. Participants are able to explore ideas, cultivate critical and creative thinking, strengthen capacities and shape the future of health systems for improved health, equity and wellbeing.

As an important focal area, HSG supports the development of individual, organizational and network-level capacities. HSG collaborates with partners and engages its members to share experiences of organizational development to support training in the field. Initiatives include the provision of learning tools and resources to support the teaching and training of HPSR, evidence use for practitioners and researchers, outreach for greater funding, and priority setting and support to strengthen the capacities of practitioners and researchers.

As a global membership organization, HSG advocacy campaigns are shaped by HSG members. Members have highlighted the value and importance of HPSR in the pursuit of UHC and have demanded more action to tackle the structural barriers and power imbalances that face women, in particular, in this field. As a global society with a diverse membership, HSG has a strong capacity and capability to shape and advance the health agenda for the future.

Results for Development’s Health Systems Strengthening Accelerator

Results for Development’s (R4D) mission is to work with change agents around the globe to create self-sustaining systems that support healthy, educated people. To fulfil this mission, R4D’s Health Systems Strengthening Accelerator (the Accelerator) partners with countries to address pressing health challenges in sustainable ways that contribute to high-performing health systems. The Accelerator’s approaches help countries apply a whole-of-systems lens to immediate challenges, connect local innovation and global knowledge, strengthen local ownership and processes, and build the institutional architecture needed to ensure lasting change. Critically, that architecture must include robust HPSR institutions that generate high-quality evidence, expert analysis, innovative solutions, and effective research and policy uptake.

The Accelerator undertakes partnerships with government agencies and their partners to define localized learning agendas to improve the design and delivery of health programmes. For example, through co-creation approaches, the Accelerator has been able to support the development of a community health learning agenda to operationalize the National Health Research Strategy in Guinea, and research-informed training for district-level primary care provider networks in Ghana.

Similarly, the Accelerator is working at regional levels to strengthen the HPSR ecosystem. Recent landscaping analysis by the Accelerator identified multiple health system learning and training platforms operating in Asia and a burgeoning landscape of domestic HPSR institutions. This HPSR ecosystem is characterized by institutions that have varying models and maturity levels, limited collaboration and engagement among different institutions, and few systematic opportunities for institutions to benefit from regional and global learning and training platforms. In response, the Accelerator facilitated a virtual co-creation series among HPSR institution leaders, learning and training platform managers, policy-makers, and funders to gain a deeper understanding of the evidence-to-policy capacity gaps further, enhance connections among HPSR actors, identify a common vision for a stronger HPSR ecosystem, and generate actionable ideas to align the needs of HPSR institutions and other health system actors with capacity strengthening efforts. The co-creation series has been facilitated by the Accelerator and the Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research, with support from the USAID Asia Bureau.

The Accelerator also experiments with innovative monitoring, evaluation and learning methodologies such as outcome harvesting, to understand how and why health systems and policies change over time. The Accelerator is currently applying this approach to systems improvement efforts in Togo, Guinea, Liberia, and the HPSR ecosystem in Asia. 

The Accelerator’s contributions to HPSR are nearly always the product of co-creation with various stakeholders. It has advanced methods to facilitate such co-creation in diverse settings: in-person and via virtual connections, among peer organizations eager to learn from one another, and – importantly – among actors who have a common stake in an outcome but divergent or competing perspectives. This approach is rooted in R4D’s broader support towards systems change, which embraces the nexus among diverse stakeholders as critical to advance systems research, policy, and implementation, privileging leadership from local and regional institutions.

Credits and disclaimers

Partners’ health policy and systems research report, 2021


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