Webinar on research agenda and priorities for health systems in fragile and conflict-affected states

With talk of ‘wake up calls’ and ‘windows of opportunity’ the Ebola outbreak in West Africa has prompted attention to health systems in conflict-affected and fragile states. This focus is welcomed. But how can research support strengthened systems which suit the needs and desires of citizens from a range of countries that have been touched by conflict? How should we prioritise our support? Where do we need to build an evidence base?

On Wednesday 27th May, 2-4pm an open webinar is being held by the Thematic Working Group on Health Systems in Fragile and Conflict-Affected States, to help with the process of defining a research agenda. This webinar is an opportunity to hear more about the methodology that they are using, their preliminary findings, and to add your voice to the process to help strengthen their work. Inputs from a range of stakeholders from academia, civil society, policy, the health workforce and beyond, are encouraged. Please do circulate this invitation to people in your networks.

Click here for full details and to register for the webinar

Can health workers and health systems development contribute to state-building?

Human resources for health are self-evidently critical to running a health service and system. But in a new paper, ReBUILD researchers Sophie Witter, Alvaro Alonso-Garbayo and Tim Martineau together with their co-authors, have explored a broader issue of the contribution which health staff might play in relation to the wider state-building processes.

Through a literature review covering many key disciplines and three case studies from Afghanistan, Burundi and Timor-Leste, they look for evidence to support, refute or adapt some possible linkages. Whilst they find that empirical evidence for most of the linkages is not strong (not surprising, given the complexity of the relationships), they argue that some of the posited relationships are plausible, including between development of health cadres and a strengthened public administration. They also find very different discourses in donor-generated literature compared to external academic studies, which tend to be more sceptical.

They conclude that whilst the concept of state-building itself is highly contested, it remains the case that state-building does occur over time, driven by a combination of internal and external forces and that understanding the role played in it by the health system and health staff, particularly after conflicts and in fragile settings, is an area worth further investigation.

You can access the paper: State-building and human resources for health in fragile and conflict-affected states: exploring the linkages here