“Windows of opportunity” for health systems post-conflict: Quick update from Cape Town

By Tim Martineau, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine

I am a member of the Global Health Workforce Alliance’s Technical Working Group on Fragile States, and on Monday morning in the Global Symposium session on ‘Re-energizing the human resources for health (HRH) agenda for a post-2015 world: Priorities for HRH research’ we discussed “windows of opportunity” in the post-conflict period.

It was a topic that re-emerged in a meeting of the Thematic Working Group (TWG) on Health Systems in Fragile and Conflict Affected States. Sophie Witter’s presentation was of her paper, “A window of opportunity for reform in post-conflict settings? The case of Human Resources for Health policies in Sierra Leone,” from the special issue of Conflict and Health organised by the TWG.  In the case of HRH policy in Sierra Leone, Sophie reported that the window of opportunity did not open in the immediate post-conflict period, but rather eight years later when the Free Health Care Initiative was announced.  Panel member Anne Cavanan, Director of Health Policy and Practice, International Medical Corps, commented on the poverty of health systems research in fragile and conflict affected contexts and welcomed the contribution by Sophie and colleagues.  She added that we should also be trying to help ministries of health to document processes from the immediate post-conflict period and to become learning organisations.

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