South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC)
Building a healthy nation through research and innovation

Media Release

6 October 2014

Successful Global Symposium on Health Systems Research hosted in Cape Town

The Third Global Symposium on Health Systems Research, which opened its doors to researchers, policy makers and academics on Tuesday, 30 September 2014 drew to a successful end in Cape Town on Friday, 3 October 2014. The Symposium brought together key participants in the Health Systems Research field in an effort to address current and critical concerns across countries in all parts of the world.

Health Systems Research Unit Director at the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) Professor Cathy Matthews believes that health systems research is particularly relevant in South Africa today because of the major health systems reforms that are underway, including the implementation of a National Health Insurance and the re-engineering of primary health care. “Health system research can guide the implementation of and investment in these reforms.  An important area in which health systems research can make a difference is in understanding and overcoming the barriers to the implementation of known-effective interventions,” she says.

Chief Specialist Scientist Dr Tanya Doherty was a panelist in an organized session co-hosted by the Health Systems Research Unit, UWC and UNICEF, discussing the results of an SAMRC led external evaluation of the integrated health systems strengthening programme providing community-based treatment of childhood diseases (malaria, pneumonia and diarrhoea) which together kill the most children in Africa).

The aim of the programme, which was conducted in Ethiopia, Ghana, Mozambique, Malawi, Mali and Niger was to increase the coverage of a package of high impact and low cost child and maternal interventions delivered at community level..  “There are many lessons from this evaluation that can inform the development of the national community health worker programme in South Africa and the session sparked a lot of interesting discussion and debate around the sustainability of community-based delivery platforms” said Dr Doherty

“We are excited that the Global Symposium for Health Systems Research took place,” says Professor Mathews. “Health systems research is essential to guide policy makers and leaders at all levels about what changes need to be made to health systems in order to maximise the impact they have on health, well-being and equity.

Note to the Editor:
For more information on the Global Health Symposium contact the SAMRC Health Systems research Unit

Karen Daniels                     
Senior Scientist / Media Facilitation
South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) Health Systems Research Unit      
Tel: +27 21 938 0301/ 0454
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Last updated:
29 February, 2016
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