AHPSR: Local evidence is essential for stronger health systems

18 December, 2019

Text from AHPSR and comment from me below. Read online here: https://www.who.int/alliance-hpsr/news/2019/local-evidence-stronger-heal...

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On 8 November 2019, the leadership team from the Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research (AHPSR) met with the Director-General and senior management of the World Health Organization to discuss the critical role that the Alliance plays in strengthening health systems around the globe. At the meeting, the Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, underscored that strong health systems are the foundation for achieving universal health coverage (UHC).

Prof David Peters, Chair of the Alliance Board, noted that HPSR is transdisciplinary research by its nature, which makes it well positioned to provide the needed evidence for achievement of UHC and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). He emphasized that HPSR goes beyond the six health systems building blocks; it is applicable and relevant to bigger and other health issues – like the environment and challenges posed by the climate crisis, urban planning and road safety – and the interplay between policy and practice. The Alliance has been a leader in promoting systems approaches and in focusing on equity.

The WHO’s Chief Scientist, Dr Soumya Swaminathan, appreciated the Alliance’s contributions to the WHO’s new Science Division. Established as part of the ongoing transformation process, the Science Division has a cross-cutting mandate to support research across the departments and divisions at WHO. The Alliance has been collaborating with different departments of the WHO, not just at headquarters level – where it has projects and partnerships with the health financing and health governance units, and also health ethics and rehabilitation – but across regions and with several country offices.

In addition to its work across the organization, the Director-General encouraged the Alliance to be ambitious, emphasizing its country-level, demand-driven work. Ensuring that Member States are identifying and working toward their own priorities is of utmost importance to the Organization, and projects like the Country-led Implementation Research for Universal Health Coverage, which the Alliance has been coordinating in Nepal, Ethiopia and India, are good examples of this.

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Comment (Neil PW): HIFA has a strong record of hosting thematic discussions on evidence-informed policy and implementation research, supported by TDR and presented at international conferences. How can HIFA continue to support such multidisciplinary exchange? Is anyone aware of other global health policy discussion forums with whom we could collaborate?

The title of the piece is 'Local evidence is essential for stronger health systems'. It would be interesting to hear more, not only about how to generate such evidence, but also how to use it most effectively together with global evidence (and evidence from other comparable countries).

Best wishes, Neil

Coordinator, HIFA Project on Evidence-Informed Policy and Practice

http://www.hifa.org/projects/evidence-informed-policy-and-practice

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HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (Healthcare Information For All - www.hifa.org ), a global community with more than 19,000 members in 177 countries, interacting on six global forums in four languages. Twitter: @hifa_org FB: facebook.com/HIFAdotORG neil@hifa.org