Communities at the heart of UHC (4) Engaging communities in improving their own health

28 February, 2019

Relevant to this discussion is a new paper in the Ethiopian Medical Journal, by TDR director John Reeder and colleague. Below are the citation, introduction and conclusion. (I'm not sure why it was published in this particular journal, as the paper refers to work across Africa, Papua New Guinea and beyond.)

CITATION: Beatrice Halpaap, John C. Reeder. Ethiop Med J, 2019, Vol. 57, No. 1

Perspectives. Social innovation: engaging communities in improving their own health

Beatrice Halpaap, John C. Reeder

Ethiopian Medical Journal 2019


One billion people around the world still lack access to basic healthcare services, despite the development of novel technologies (1). Providing quality health care and getting medicines, vaccines and diagnostics to those who need them most is a great challenge. Most health systems in low- and middle-income countries fail to reach all of their populations, in particular the most marginalized and those in greatest need remain neglected.


TDR’s vision in supporting social innovation is to see a growing number of research institutions playing a leader-ship role in promoting and advancing community-engaged social innovations. Partnerships will be established in-creasingly with governments and key stakeholders in countries to create system change and integrate the social innovation approach into the national health agendas.

Attaining universal health coverage cannot rely only on the formal health sector. Community engaged- innovation will be vital in attaining this ambitious goal. We must work to open up the opportunities for social innovation and to equip innovators with the skills necessary for success. Countries must lead the culture shift needed for this new paradigm of action, ensuring that no one is left behind.

Best wishes, Neil

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