Mapping of health systems research institutes in Eastern and Southern Africa



The purpose of this project was to provide Sida with a comprehensive mapping and description of research institutions that work on health systems, health economics or health financing research.


The mapping identified 64 institutions in Eastern and Southern Africa with HSR and SHSR capacity. Nineteen were located in South Africa while none were found in Madagascar, South Sudan, Seychelles and Lesotho. The majority is based at universities (n = 39) while the others (n=20) are an organization in itself. Twenty-nine institutions responded to our survey and based on the assessment criteria these were categorized as strong (n = 7), moderate (n = 15) and weak (n=7) institutions in terms of HSR capacity. The institutions differed in terms of HSR and SRHR expertise, scientific output and staff capacity. More than half (n = 17) of the 29 surveyed institutions seemed to receive institutional funding while funding through research projects was also an important source of income for the majority (n=26). About half (n = 14) the institutions was involved in regional networks and all had links with international universities. Quite some strong institutions were identified among those that did not respond to the survey. These institutions had a strong track record on HSR and SHRH as was indicated by their list of publications, staff profile and involvement in various regional and international projects and networks.

Lessons learned

  • Overall there is a large number of health systems institutions and networks in Eastern and Southern Africa.
  • Some countries have very weak or no capacity at all. There could be an interest/responsibility for Sida to focus particularly on those settings.
  • The response rate to our survey was relatively low, while the questions related to potential donor support by Sida.


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