Maternity ward at Princess Christian Maternal Hospital

A window of opportunity for reform in post-conflict settings? The case of Human Resources for Health policies in Sierra Leone

We’ve been busy, working with others, on a Special Issue of Conflict and Health. More papers will be coming soon, so watch this space. In this article Maria Paola Bertone, Mohamed Samai, Joseph Edem-Hotah and Sophie Witter examined features of the post-conflict policy-making environment in Sierra Leone. The study looked at the development of policies on human resources for health (HRH) over the decade after the conflict (2002–2012).

What did they find?

At first policy making was characterized by political uncertainty, incremental policies and stop-gap measures. However, the context substantially changed in 2009. The launch of the Free Health Care Initiative was an instrumental event and catalyst for health system, and human resource policy, reform. However, after the launch of the initiative, the pace of decision-making again slowed down. The key drivers of human resources policy in Sierra Leone were: (i) the political situation, at first uncertain and later on more defined; (ii) the availability of funding and the stances of agencies providing such funds; (iii) the sense of need for radical change – which is perhaps the only element related to the post-conflict setting. It also emerges that a ‘windows of opportunity’ for reform did not open in the immediate post-conflict, but rather 8 years later when the Free Health Care Initiative was announced, thus making it difficult to link it directly to the features of the post-conflict policy-making environment.

What next?

We suggest that you read the whole paper, which is open access and free to download. You can find it on the Conflict and Health website.

The image in this blog is of the maternity ward at Princess Christian Maternal Hospital. The copyright belongs to Amnesty International.

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