Research for stronger health systems during and after crisis

ReBUILD panel accepted at the 2012 Health Systems Symposium

Tuesday, 01 May 2012

The ReBUILD project goes from strength to strength as we successfully pass our Inception phase and have a panel accepted at the 2012 Health Systems Symposium, due to take place in November at Beijing.

Decades of social and political upheaval or conflict can leave a country’s health system poorly equipped to meet the needs of society.

Health worker attraction, retention, distribution and performance are arguably the most critical factors affecting the performance of a health system. In post conflict settings, where health systems and health worker livelihoods have been disrupted, the challenges facing the establishment of the right incentive environment are particularly great. The contextual dynamics around them are especially important to understand and incorporate sensitively into policy.

No study to date has focused on how decisions made, or not made, in the post conflict period can affect the longer term patterns of attraction, retention, distribution and performance of health workers, and thus ultimately the performance of the sector.

The ReBUILD consortium (a 6 year, £6 million research partnership funded by the UK Department for International Development) is working in Cambodia, Sierra Leone, Uganda and Zimbabwe will focus on this.

Tim Martineau of LSTM’s International Health Group leads the project alongside Barbara McPake of Queen Margaret University’s International Health and Development Institute.

In countries affected by conflict health systems often break down, with emergency assistance often the main source of care.

As recovery begins so should the process of rebuilding health systems. However, in practice not enough is known about how effective different approaches are. The ReBUILD Consortium was created to address this challenge.

“Health system research has tended to ignore post-conflict settings because it is often difficult to carry out research in unstable environments but it is important to know the effectiveness of different approaches.”

Formed in February 2011, ReBUILD is leading the way in research development in Cambodia, Sierra Leone, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

The purpose of this partnership is to generate robust, good quality evidence that addresses the challenges that policy makers are facing.

The consortium’s work will ensure that policy-makers, decision-makers and practitioners have accurate and up-to-date information upon which to act; playing a vital role in delivering real change that significantly impacts quality of life for those in most need.

ReBUILD recently celebrated the completion of their inception year, the first big milestone in the project and is moving from strength to strength with successful ethical approval for a number of their projects.

Each country research team is now making the necessary preparations to begin their fieldwork. To read more about the panel click here.