The ReBUILD Consortium was formed in 2011 and is a Research Programme Consortium funded by the UK Department for International Development. Partners in the UK, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Cambodia and Zimbabwe have come together to explore different approaches to health system development in countries that have been affected by political and social conflict. Decisions made in the early post-conflict period can set the long-term direction of development for the health system. Yet health systems research has tended to neglect these contexts, because it may be more difficult to carry out studies in unstable environments and relevant capacity is often weak.
Supporting health and development goals
In post-conflict states effective health systems contribute to peace building by: supporting the legitimacy of government, strengthening the population‘s stake in peace and brsaidging communities. All of the Millennium Development Goals, but particularly those related to maternal and child health and communicable disease, are negatively affected by ineffective health systems. Our work contributes to the existing evidence base on health system strengthening in post conflict settings – providing learning which may be useful for other settings beyond our partner countries.
A time of opportunity
During times of conflict emergency assistance provided by humanitarian organisations which often constitute the main source of care. Non Governmental Organisations can introduce innovations which may be taken up by government once the conflict is over. As donor financing becomes available in the post conflict period there is the opportunity to forge new ways of working and to ensure that investments in the health system benefit the poorest households and are gender sensitive. But recovery from conflict is not a linear process and there are often setbacks.
Research into policy and practice
Ensuring that the knowledge that we generate is useful to decision makers and practitioners is crucial to our work. We are actively working with a wide array of stakeholders from government, academia, donor organisations, professional bodies and civil society to ensure that we ask the right questions and that our research contributes to real change that makes a significant impact.