Research for stronger health systems during and after crisis

Researching health system developments during the economic and political crisis in Zimbabwe

Sunday, 01 Sep 2013

By Wilson Mashange, ReBUILD Researcher for the Zimbabwe team

Working as a public healthcare worker has provided me with experience in medical laboratory technology, biomedical, social sciences and health systems research. For the past decade, I have provided diagnostic and technical support to various projects and in the process have coordinated and supervised several national and multinational studies. Embarking on a Masters in Public Health (MPH) feels like the appropriate next step in my career.

The reputation of the University of Liverpool and its ability to offer online degrees has motivated me to study at the university. The flexibility of studying online also allows me to study and enhance my skills as I continue to work on the ReBUILD project, without taking study leave.

The programme that I am about to begin has a dissertation. I will focus on developments in the health system in Zimbabwe during the years of economic and political crisis. This is with a view to understanding the dynamics of policy formulation and implementation in the health sector during the crisis years and post crisis period. My research will complement the existing research of ReBUILD, a health systems research programme that focuses on health financing and human resources in countries recovering from conflict or political crisis.

The courses that my MPH offers include: Health promotion, Epidemiology and statistics for public health research, Management of health systems, Regression and evidence based methods for epidemiology and/or Health and society. From these modules, I will gain knowledge on health systems management, health promotion, and disease prevention as well as practicing and promoting health at a global level.

A course like qualitative methods for public health research will further enhance my research and analytical skills to better carry out important tasks in ReBUILD. Overall, my research skills and technical capacity will be enhanced and empowered, resulting in better data management, research writing skills and logistical skills in the management of the health system.

ReBUILD seeks to contribute towards state building in post conflict contexts via improved access of the poor to effective healthcare and reduced health costs burdens. In Zimbabwe, the research is slightly different as we will look at the health system during the years of political and economic crisis.

Once I have completed my MPH, I will be generating dialogue with stakeholders, making presentations at academic conferences and other research fora and building the reputation of ReBUILD research. I want to see momentum generated on issues of fragile states and health systems development in national and international policy, planning and academic discourse. I hope to see that the results of my research support health service development in other countries that may face similar conflicts or political crisis.