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Center for Health Policy and Systems Development [CHP-SD]

The center exists to provide innovative, practical and evidence-informed advice and influence that advance three broad goals: 1) strengthen policy analysis, 2) fostering the monitoring of policy implementation and 3) boosting the health systems in Uganda and Africa by securing a more effective scholarship and professionalism for system-wide health governance and performance.

Defining the scope and terrain of the center

For the purpose and function of this center, the following definitions will be used – not to limit actions of the center but to communicate the scope of its functions:

Public decision-making: Decision and their process aimed at affecting the general public as opposed to private decision making that affect limited scope of actors. Public decisions making has a public good ethos and beneficence to society as cardinal value.

Health policy: Health policy refers to decisions, plans, and actions that are undertaken to achieve specific health care goals within a society. An explicit health policy can achieve several things: it defines a vision for the future which in turn helps to establish targets and points of reference for the short and medium term. It outlines priorities and the expected roles of different groups/organizations; and it builds consensus and informs relationships among people, organizations and institutions WHO (YYYY)

Health Systems: A “system” can be understood as an arrangement of parts and their interconnections that come together for a purpose (von Bertalanffy 1968). What sets apart a health system is that its purpose is concerned with people’s health. A health system has many parts. Because they are open to influence from outside, health systems are known as open systems. Larger systems involve various smaller systems coming together (e.g. clinics, hospitals, districts, vertical projects) to achieve coherence at community or national level. WHO provides six building blocks but community participation, and infrastructure and be added in developing systems.

System Development: development of systems is viewed as changes or dynamics in the interconnections of the different parts and institutions that play vital roles. Health systems have adaptive properties i.e. they have the freedom to respond to different stimuli in different and unpredictable ways and are interconnected with the actions of other parts of a system. In its work, the center will employ Plsek’s (2001) theory of Complex Adaptive Systems in the analyses of health systems development.

System performance: This about the attainment of the desired outcomes from health system. Commonly this cover expectations of universal coverage – where entire population that need health services, receive them without undue financial hardship. This also entails a selection of essential health services based on needs, institutional and financial capabilities of the state and non-state sectors and the social economic development status.

Multidisciplinary knowledge and research: The center will establish training programs ranging from short-courses to PhD, Post-PhD and Internships. The study and practice of developing health policies, systems and implementation arrangements span several domain of science. For this center, interdisciplinary sciences drawing upon public health, health economics, organizational sociology, political science will be embraced. Political economy and its illumination of contextual variables in institutions, political, environment, and the economic systems will be applied. The center will serve as a convergence of research methodologies – where the most appropriate methods to the study questions are applied along with suitable conceptual and practice frameworks.

Forum for stakeholder engagement: The center will provide both physical and virtual space for stakeholders to engage and debate health concerns with the goal of establishing common visions and goals for health systems developments, policy solutions and effective implementation arrangements.

Demonstration/pilot sites: Many decisions can note be made without a localized experimentation of the policy feasibility or impacts. The center will undertake to demonstrate the feasibility and impacts of policy decisions by using system-thinking frameworks and by taking into account the contextual realities of action, actors and institutions.

Health system observatory: Continuously monitor, describe and analyze health systems changes and their effects on the performance of public health programs and communities. This is done by utilizing experience from across districts to illuminate policy and implementation issues and drawing lessons from selected countries to support evidence-based decisions. The center will also draw from the strengths of partner organizations and networks to provide evidence-based advice to decision-makers and system level practitioners.

Rigorous impact evaluation studies are analyses that measure the net change in outcomes for a particular group of people that can be attributed to a specific program using the best methodology available, feasible and appropriate to the evaluation question that is being investigated and to the specific context.

Social and economic development programs are interventions whose primary purpose is to improve a population’s quality of life, whether they are financed by public agencies, NGOs or private institutions. This includes programs aimed at improving health, education, employment, incomes, access to credit, infrastructure, and reducing poverty, among others.

Low- and middle-income countries are categories for which CHPSD will adopt the definitions of the World Bank’s country classification system.

Member Institutions are eligible organizations that fulfill the obligations of membership.
Member Institutions can be ministries or public agencies (bilateral, multilateral), private non-profit philanthropic foundations, or other private non-profit organizations whose core mission is to finance or implement social and economic programs in low- and middle-income countries and that are committed to the mission of CHPSD.

Associate Member Institutions are eligible organizations whose core business is to conduct impact evaluations, such as universities, research institutions and consulting firms.

CHPSD Partners are organizations such as professional associations, formal networks and advocacy groups which are not eligible to participate as Members or Associate Members but which share in and support CHPSD’s mission.

Research Clusters:

1. Health Economics, Financing and Insurance
2. Health Policy and Implementation science
3. Knowledge Translation and Community Engagement
4. Health systems analysis and service innovations

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