By Kate Hawkins, 20 February 2014
At REACHOUT we are very excited about the upcoming Global Symposium on Health Systems Research which will be held in Cape Town later in the year. The organisers explain,
“The theme of the symposium is the science and practice of people-centred health systems, chosen to enable participants to address current and critical concerns of relevance across countries in all parts of the world. Researchers, policy-makers, funders, implementers and other stakeholders, from all regions and all socio-economic levels, will work together on the challenge of how to make health systems more responsive to the needs of individuals, families and communities.”
This resonates well with our overall aims as a project and we hope there will be many discussions on the challenges to health care delivery at the community level. We will be attending as members of the new Thematic Working Group on Community Health Workers and we have just heard that we have had a panel session excepted. The panel will take place on Wednesday 1 October, 14.30 – 16.00 in Room 2.41-2.43.
Close-to-community providers are highly valued in some healthcare systems and community health workers are increasingly being promoted as a way of achieving universal health coverage. But challenges related to supervision (workload), referral, and community engagement and stakeholder coordination hinder the efficiency, equity and scale-up of these programmes. Drawing on learning from our research this session will use a World Café participatory format to explore the challenges being faced in Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Indonesia, and Mozambique. Engaging donors, policy makers, academics and practitioners in the dialogue will generate learning on how these challenges can be overcome and share experiences across different contexts.
A brief introductory plenary will outline the key lessons learnt from an international literature review on close-to-community providers and health service provision and key findings from a qualitative context analysis on community based health systems in 4 African (Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi and Mozambique) and 2 Asian (Bangladesh and Indonesia) countries. This will capture the voices, perspectives and priorities of close to community health providers (which have not really been at the forefront of dialogue to date). An interactive café session will enable in-depth parallel discussions on three key cross cutting health systems challenges and opportunities for community based health systems: 1. Supporting close-to-community provider friendly supervision; 2. Strengthening appropriate referral and; 3. Coordination with a range of stakeholders, including the community. The concluding session (in plenary) will include reporting from each of the café groups and discuss opportunities to continue dialogue through other means (e.g. website, webinars).
This interactive session responds to the need for further experience sharing and networking (across contexts and between different stakeholders) to build capacity on key health systems challenges in community based health systems and ways to overcome them.
Watch this space
The organisers haven’t yet announced the date or the venue of the session but as soon as they do we will let you know. If you are attending the Symposium please do consider coming along and meeting the REACHOUT team. You can always get in touch in advance if you want to know more.