Dear colleagues,

It’s not often that we advertise explicitly some of our own outputs in a “special” IHP newsletter, but for this occasion we’re happy to make an exception.

Most of you probably already know the ITM series ‘Studies in Health Services Organisation and Policy, until now a series of monographs published by the Department of Public Health. Editors are Guy Kegels, Vincent De Brouwere and Bart Criel. This series will from now on also include a series of working papers.  The new ‘Working Paper Series of the Studies in Health Services Organisation and Policy aims to present innovative work in the domain of policy, management and organisation of health services and systems in low- and middle-income countries. It provides a platform to publish and disseminate empirical research and conceptual work that is not constrained by journal formats. All papers are peer reviewed by experts.

The first two working papers have just been published online. You can download them  here.

  • Working Paper 1: How can Disease Control Programmes Contribute to Health Systems Strengthening in Sub-Saharan Africa? (by Wim Van Damme, Marjan Pirard, Yibeltal Assefa, Josefien Van Olmen) PDF 1,1 MB

Recently, there is a broad consensus in the global health community on the need for health systems strengthening (HSS) to make further progress towards the MDGs in sub-Saharan Africa.  However, there is still divergence on how HSS should be framed, what HSS practically entails, and how it should be done. The authors of this working paper set out to clarify HSS for managers of Disease Control Programs (DCPs). They propose a health systems framework with 10 basic elements to look at national health systems, including DCPs. They focus in particular on service delivery, which is nowadays mostly pluralistic with blurred boundaries between public and private entities.

The authors introduce the “Anna Karenina principle” to help the reader understand how each national health system is more or less dysfunctional in its own particular way. An action oriented national health systems assessment will have to bring together different perspectives, including from DCP managers. Actors in the health system will have to develop a common vision on a balanced health system, on priority HSS interventions and strategies, and embrace a three-pronged time perspective for HSS. Van Damme et al. see five possible strategic options for DCP managers regarding HSS.

Global health dynamics have created a window of opportunity towards HSS, which could be seized by DCP managers at the country level, starting from their country-specific reality, with guidance from the principles outlined in this Working Paper.

  • Working Paper 2: Global Health: What it has been so far, what it should be, and what it could become  (by Gorik Ooms, with Rachel Hammonds, Kristof Decoster & Wim Van Damme) PDF 2MB

Using international political economy to explore what global health has been so far, using international human rights law to explore what global health should be and using global health diplomacy to explore what global health could become,  this paper argues for a global social contract that would clarify mutual responsibilities beyond borders.

We hope you will enjoy reading these two working papers!

The IHP editorial team

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