DAI Global Health Speaks at Health Systems Research Symposium

October 18, 2018

Last week, several members of the DAI Global Health team were panelists, hosted skills-building sessions, presented posters, and co-hosted a reception with affiliate IntraHealth International at the 5th Global Symposium on Health Systems Research in Liverpool, United Kingdom.

Organised biennially by Health Systems Global, the conference celebrates a global community of researchers, policy-makers and practitioners dedicated to strengthening health systems. Co-sponsored by U.K. Department for International Development (DFID), the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the World Health Organisation (WHO), and the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine amongst others, this year’s theme was “Advancing health systems for all in the era of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)” with an emphasis on multi-sectoral action and engaging the private sector in moving towards universal health coverage and recognizing the role community health systems.

This year marked the 40th anniversary of the Alma Ata declaration of ‘Health for All’ in 1978 and the 70th anniversary of the UK’s National Health System. Despite improvements in global health outcomes since the implementation of the SDGs, there remain extraordinary challenges in achieving the health equity and social inclusion necessary to achieve universal health care, such as demographic and disease transitions, conflicts and the mass migration of people, pluralistic health systems and markets, and climate change.

DAI’s Jeffrey Mecaskey presented on “Universal Health Coverage, International Health Regulations and the Private Sector: Stewardship and Synergizing Non-State Actors” as part of a Public Health England-hosted panel with representation from DFID, the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control, University College London, and WHO. Debunking the argument that global health security is a distraction from universal health coverage, the panel explored the opportunities to maximise synergy between health systems strengthening and global health security.

DAI’s Andrew McKenzie chaired the panel, hosted by the Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research, “Primary health care systems that advance the sustainable development goals: Key lessons from 20 country primary health care case studies in low- and middle-income countries.” Panelists, including Mecaskey, discussed findings from 20 case studies focusing on complex adaptive systems behavior and the importance of this in introducing changes and in managing health systems. Key messages included: a recommendation to go beyond training and capacity building to build institutional capacity focusing on the norms and rules that govern decision-making and building them into contracting and accreditation; the importance of factoring in strategies and incentives to ensure the integration of community involvement in primary health care; and the need to expand beyond the silos of the health system to improve the whole system, understanding the way in which parts interact and affect each other.

poster.jpgAndrew McKenzie with his poster, ‘Community-led advocacy and innovation to strengthen pharmaceutical policy and distribution systems for better drug delivery to people with chronic illnesses in South Africa.’

DAI’s Fatima Adamu, National Programme Manager for the Women for Health programme, funded by DFID, and Campbell Katito, Health Systems Adviser for the DFID-funded South Sudan Health Pooled Fund, presented case studies in a ReBUILD Research Consortium Programme-hosted panel highlighting insights and recommendations for better evidence use for longer-term systems strengthening in conflict-affected settings and humanitarian crises.

fatima.jpgFatima Adamu presents a Northern Nigeria case study on the panel, “Leaving No One Behind.”

Adamu discussed the use of implementation research evidence in advocacy with the Nigerian Federal Government to raise the visibility of the central role of human resources for health. This led to a new government drive to work with communities to produce their own health workers and fund educational access courses to support rural women to access professional health training. Katito highlighted the importance of using evidence in longer-term decision-making around workforce salary and distribution in protracted crises settings like South Sudan. Read more in this briefing paper.

DAI Global Health hosted a One Health simulation to build skills in multisectoral coordination for preparedness and response to public health threats. Facilitated by DAI’s Mecaskey, Susan Scribner, Miniratu Soyoola, Paula Quigley, and Danielle Boulton, the session provided an opportunity for participation and learning on evidence related to advancing One Health and sustainable multisectoral coordination.

Quigley and Eva Rahman supported the facilitation of an IntraHealth-hosted skills-building session, “How to Translate Health Systems Research into Powerful Advocacy Messages, Op-Eds, and Thought Leadership.”

DAI’s reception “Future-Ready Health Systems,” co-hosted with IntraHealth, was a networking evening attended by a range of clients, partners, and health care professionals.

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