Research for stronger health systems during and after crisis

Gender and the RinGs programme

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Gender has been a core cross-cutting theme throughout ReBUILD’s work, initially focusing on two areas, but now expanded into the dedicated RinGs initiative.

Supporting gender analysis

Gender analysis has been supported throughout ReBUILD’s research. This support takes place through collaboration and discussion with the project leads and partners, and through discussions during ReBUILD partner meetings where we discuss gender equity considerations in all ReBUILD projects. This has included example models to help analyse interplay of gender and generation in household responses in ReBUILD’s work on health financing, and how gender and power shape contracting relationships in our research into contracting. As well as this core ReBUILD research, all ReBUILD’s affiliate research partners were specifically required to document how their proposed research would address gender issues both in its focus and in the research process.

Building Back Better

In collaboration with the Gender Working Group of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) Global Health and Security Programme, led by Associate Professor Valerie Percival at Carleton University, Canada, we have undertaken research to explore the opportunities and challenges for building gender responsive health systems in post conflict contexts (ReBUILD project 6). A paper from this analysis 'Health Systems and gender in post conflict contexts: Building back better' has been published in the special issue of Conflict and Health ‘Filling the Void: health systems in fragile and conflict-affected states’. ReBUILD’s lead researcher in our gender work, Dr. Sally Theobald, was an invited panelist in a recent web debate, hosted by The Guardian, on how to make health systems work in poor countries and highlighted the importance of gender analysis in health systems research in fragile and conflict-affected states.

The outputs from this collaborative work has now been developed into 'Building Back Better' - a set of resources on gender in post-conflict health systems. The e-resource outlines the particular problems and challenges of addressing gender in these contexts, and the way that different actors can start being part of the solution. Two policy briefs address how health sector reform after conflict can support gender equity, and how humanitarian responses to health can adequately take gender into account. Four additional briefs present country case studies from Timor Leste, Sierra Leone, Mozambique and northern Uganda.

The RinGs Initiative 

This embedded gender theme in ReBUILD’s work has now developed much further into the RinGs initiative - Research in Gender and Ethics: Building stronger health systems. This has brought together three health systems-focused Research Programme Consortia (RPC) into the cross-RPC RinGs Partnership on Gender, Ethics and Health Systems, funded by DFID. The there RPCs - ReBUILD, Future Health Systems and RESYST - now work as a partnership to galvanise gender and ethics analysis in health systems research and strengthening. To achieve this, RinGs focuses on three main areas: synthesising research on gender, ethics and health systems; coordinating research projects through a small grants programme; and supporting a learning platform to encourage mutual learning and the use of evidence. Within ReBUILD, Sally Theobald, Sarah Ssali and Kate Hawkins are all active members of RinGs. ReBUILD colleagues Richard Mwangi, Sreytouch Vong and Stephen Buzuzi have all won small research grants funded through the RinGS project for further research on gender and health systems in post conflict and fragile settings. You can read their blog posts about what inspired them to conduct research in this field on the RinGS website.



GenDis - demographic and distributional impacts of conflicts and implications for health systems - is part of phase 2 of ReBUILD; aims to understand the implications of conflict-related demographic change for health financing and social protection policies. 

The study is reanalysing new and existing quantitative data sets from Cambodia, Sierra Leone and Uganda, aiming to identify changes in household structures that respond to demographic change, and associations with poverty, access to health care and health expenditures. More on GenDis here and on the other ReBUILD phase 2 projects here.