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BLOG: Health Systems in Fragile States at HSR2014


Egbert Sondorp,  KIT Health advisor, is in Cape Town, South Africa at the Health Systems Research 2014 conference. He shares his personal account & expectations of the conference in this blog and his ambitous schedule for the next few days.

“On the first  day of the Health Systems Research Symposium in Cape Town I needed to do some urgent shopping since a lady at the airport last night. She thought my red suitcase was her red suitcase! But I am glad I managed to attend today’s key event, which was a meeting between the Board of the Global Health Society and its Thematic Working Groups  (TWG), for the first time. The Society is the organiser of the Symposium, but now has nine TWGs that cover different sub-areas.

I am involved in leading the TWG on Health Systems in Fragile and Conflict Affected States, my expertise area. KIT was therefore mentioned as one of the key public health institutes providing leadership to the TWGs. Quite a few KIT staff have signed up for membership of one or more TWGs, in particular including the one on Community Health Workers.

At the reception afterwards a lot of advocates on how we should better use the social media. Am I to be convinced?

On Tuesday 30 September the TWG on Health Systems in Fragile States will meet for the first time, with some presentations on articles we have been promoting. I will give a presentation on preliminary results of a consensus building study into health system research needs in fragile states.

On Wednesday, 1 October, we will run a special lunchtime session, together with USAID on Ebola and health systems. As the Ebola epidemic devastates West Africa, we can see how countries are facing serious health system challenges.  After the epidemic is brought under control, however, countries will still face massive rebuilding of their Ebola-damaged health systems and creating more robust capacity.  In this session, co-hosted by the Fragile and Conflict Affected States Thematic Working Group and USAID, we will focus on the need to create a global research agenda on strengthening coverage, access, financial protection and responsiveness, plus resiliency, in vulnerable health systems.

Last but not least: on Thursday, 2 October, the TWG will run its ‘business’ meeting to meet its members, discuss the governance of the group and develop plans for the future.”