The political economy of crisis-affected settings: what does it mean for investments in health systems?
Policy-making in health systems is shaped by wider social, political and economic processes.1 A range of actors – individuals and organisations – influence those processes and in doing so determine how policies are introduced and implemented. Crisis-affected settings experience dramatic changes in the policy-making context which may create a ‘window of opportunity’ for policy reform.2 Political economy research approaches provide insights in this regard by examining the interplay of actors and interests, and their effects on socioeconomic policies and outcomes.3 This brief reviews key elements in the response to crises from a political economy perspective, evidence on the opportunities and challenges presented by crises, and lessons in how to best utilise those opportunities to promote investment in health systems.
This brief is one of a series of ReBUILD papers addresses key questions on health systems strengthening in settings affected by conflict or crisis. The purpose of these briefing papers is to bring together current knowledge and research in order to inform decision-makers, implementers, researchers and other stakeholders in this area.
The questions addressed in the series were identified through a study of priority research needs carried out by the Thematic Working Group on Health Systems in Fragile and Conflict Affected States. ReBUILD researchers have drawn on both the programme’s own research and on wider published literature to address eight of the questions through this series of briefing papers.