Research for stronger health systems during and after crisis

ReBUILD for Resilience at HSR2020

HSR2020 logo featuring the Dubai cityscape

Please check times and dates on the Health Systems Research 2020 website. Times listed below are in Gulf Standard Time (UTC +4).

If you're interested in other HSR2020 sessions related to fragile and conflict-affected settings check out this list [opens a Google doc] put together by the Thematic Working Group on Fragile and Conflict-Affected States.

If you missed a session the slides will be posted beneath shortly afterwards.


Fostering learning health systems in low and middle-income countries - Wednesday 13th January 2021 - 5-6:15pm GST

Learning is fundamental to health systems strengthening and the achievement of health goals. This participatory session will engage policymakers, civil society advocates, researchers and funders in structured conversation on experiences of learning health systems (LHS) in LMICs, and shape a shared understanding of how to foster this critical health system function. The session seeks to advance thinking on LHS based on experiential and academic knowledge and to move towards a shared understanding of how to conceptualise and foster LHS in diverse LMIC settings.


  • To share insights gained from reviews of literature and experiences on LHS

  • To elicit diverse actors’ (policymaker, civil society, researcher, funder) experiences and lessons on LHS (successes, failures, lessons on supportive factors and overcoming challenges)

  • To engage the audience in a reflective and creative dialogue on LHS

  • To reach a collective understanding of how to foster this critical but neglected health system function in LMICs

Professor Sophie Witter of ReBUILD for Resilience and Queen Margaret University will be speaking at this sessions. She will make a pace-setting presentation, drawing on her papers which were commissioned by the Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research, in which she reviewed existing frameworks for and approaches to conceptualising learning health systems and examined experiences of systems learning in LMIC health systems to draw out enablers and characteristics of learning health systems.


Building capacity for research on migration and health: a call to action - Wednesday 13th January 2021 - 7-9pm GST

This panel session will explore strengthening research on migration and health globally, specifically:

  • discuss priority research topics in the field of migration and health and define an agenda for action,

  • identify models of and avenues for building the relevant capacities in LMICs;

  • and discuss how to engage more effectively in LMICs and between disciplines.

It is being jointly organised by Lancet Migration together with the WHO hosted special programmes for Human Reproduction (HRP), and Infectious Diseases of Poverty (TDR) in collaboration with the Alliance for Health Policy and Systems research.

During this session, Professor Fouad Fouad, of American University Beirut and ReBUILD for Resilience will bring perspectives on rethinking health systems frameworks to integrate human mobility - as research on migration and health advocate and from his personal circumstance as a forced migrant.


Past sessions

Managing global health research collaborations - Sunday 8th November, 6-9pm GST

Missed or want to revisit the session? Joanna Raven's presentation with notes is available here [pdf].

Skill-building session - several participants including Dr Joanna Raven (senior lecturer, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine).

Managing research collaborations requires navigating complex challenges, including aligning diverse interests and maintaining essential relationships. This session will provide a forum for participants to share experiences and resources. Participants will build skills in developing strategies to resolve managerial challenges and to negotiate the multiple dimensions of collaboration management.

Dr Raven will be sharing her experience of working in challenging, post-conflict contexts with programmes including ReBUILD.

This session is intended for health systems and policy researchers, practitioners, decision-makers and funders. It is open o participants with no to extensive experience with collaborations and from all contexts.


Health system responses to COVID-19: how can we meet the needs of refugees and internally displaced people? - Monday 9th November, 4:05-5:20pm GST

This interactive panel discusses recent evidence on public health responses in Mali, Palestine, Lebanon and Colombia to address needs of internally displaced people and refugees impacted by COVID-19. Policy solutions and lessons learned for service delivery will be highlighted, contributing to a re-imagining of more just and equitable health systems.

Dr Fouad M Fouad, (Associate Professor of Public Health Practice, American University of Beirut, Lebanon) will chair the session. He is co-director of the Refugees Health Program at the Global Health Institute at the American University of Beirut (AUB) and sits on the R2HC Funding Committee.

Dr Karin Diaconu (Research Fellow, Institute for Global Health and Development, Queen Margaret University, UK) will present learning on how health service delivery in crowded refugee settlements in Gaza and Lebanon has been sustained since the COVID-19 outbreak.


Resilience and Recovery: exploring health system strengthening during and beyond crisis - Tuesday 10th November, 6:45-8pm GST

Dr Justine Namakula (Research Fellow/ Health Systems Researcher at Makerere University School Of Public Health, Uganda) is the first of four presenters to speak on the symposium sub-theme: conflict and fragility.

Her presentation is entitled 'Mapping relationships for supporting health service delivery during recovery from conflict - lessons from formal private for-profit health providers, Northern Uganda' and focuses on work conducted while part of the ReBUILD consortium. The research sought to provide evidence to inform decision making on the re-organisation of health service delivery during recovery from conflict. The study aimed to identify organisations related to the formal private for-profit health providers (FPFPs) and to highlight key relational objectives for supporting service delivery in the post conflict period.


Using participatory group model building methods for mapping, modelling and re-designing systems for health - Wednesday 25th November, 1-3pm GST

Dr Karin Diaconu of ReBUILD for Resilience and Queen Margaret University will speak in this session, focusing on methods that were pioneered during ReBUILD's resilience work. Alongside Professor Alistair Ager, also of QMU, Dr Diaconu will offer an overview and introduction to group model build approaches, including reflections on how these methods can be used in conjunction with other social science or ethnographic research methods, including qualitative interviews.

The session as a whole looks at securing improved and equitable population health care. This requires careful appraisal and mapping of available systems for health, and the identification of suitable areas and pathways for intervention. A systems for health framing acknowledges the complex and interconnected individual, community and (formal and informal) health system capacities needed to sustain population health, and challenges decision-makers, program managers, community members and researchers to consider multiple perspectives when appraising and designing health related programs, interventions or initiatives.


Supporting and strengthening the role of community health workers in health system development - Wednesday 25th November, 1-3pm GST

Missed or want to revisit the session? The YouTube video is here

In this session, the role of community health workers (CHWs) in fragile and conflict-affected settings will be discussed. Attention will be paid to CHWs’ interface role; the contribution of CHWs to improving communities’ access to health services; and identifying how CHWs can be supported in fragile and conflict-affected settings.

Dr Haja Wurie of the ReBUILD for Resilience consortium will present 'Bridging the gap before, during and after crisis in fragile settings – the role of CHWs in Sierra Leone'. CHWs create a vital link between communities and health systems, particularly in fragile settings. This presentation will cover how CHWs were strategically placed to provide services to vulnerable groups before, during and after a shock to the health system in Sierra Leone. During the Ebola outbreak, in a climate of mistrust, CHWs were a trusted source for health education and social mobilisation. They had the potential to maintain service delivery at the primary level, within their scope of work. In the post-crisis and rebuilding phase, CHWs play vital roles in rebuilding of the health system, including crisis responsive systems. The session builds on work undertaken during the ReBUILD project.

Amuda Baba (of Institut Panafricain de Santé Communautaire et Medecine Tropicale and who was involved in ReBUILD) will present on the role of CHWs in the situations of extreme fragility in Democratic Republic of Congo, with a focus on their role in maternal and newborn health and prevention and mitigation of gender-based violence.


Doing Political Economy Analysis for health systems: challenges and approaches to ensure relevance and policy uptake - Wednesday 9 December, 7-9pm GST

While political economy analysis (PEA) is an essential tool for HSPR, there are challenges in ‘doing PEA’. This two-hour skills-building session aims at equipping participants with the skills needed to understand and critically reflect how to address them. Approaches and strategies will be discussed, based on case studies and participatory exercises.

Dr Maria Bertone of ReBUILD for Resilience and Queen Margaret University will introduce the session. She has been developing a body of work around the political economy of health systems reforms for some time, including during the ReBUILD programme, and has focused in particular on health financing and performance-based financing.


Further information on ReBUILD for Resilience




Research associates