Research for stronger health systems during and after crisis

Health systems research in fragile and conflict affected states: a qualitative study of associated challenges

Tim Martineau, Aniek Woodward, Kate Sheahan and Egbert Sondorp

Health Research Policy and Systems 2017 15:44   DOI: 10.1186/s12961-017-0204-x

Following on from the recent paper on a research agenda-setting exercise for health systems research in fragile and conflict-affected states (FCAS), the Thematic Working Group on Health Systems in fragile and conflict-affected states has published a follow-up paper on the challenges to doing health systems research in these settings.

An understanding of the particular challenges of conducting health systems research in FCAS is essential to tackling them, and thereby supporting the high quality research needed to inform the policies and programmes that will improve access to health services and, ultimately, health outcomes in these complex and challenging settings.

Having previously reported on the research agenda which came from the original study, this follow-up paper reports on the research challenges identified. It concludes that those familiar with HSR in FCAS face many challenges in gaining support for and in conducting and applying high-quality research, and that there is a need for:

  • More sustainable support, including commitment to and long-term funding of HSR in FCAS
  • Investment in capacity building within FCAS to meet the challenges related to implementation of research in these complex environments
  • Relationship and trust building among stakeholders involved in HSR, particularly between local and international researchers and between researchers and participants
  • Innovative and flexible approaches to research design and implementation in these insecure and rapidly changing contexts.

You can access the full paper here.