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


Health Services to Systems Research


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Unit Director: Prof Helen Schneider

The Unit was established in 2015 at the University of the Western Cape’s School of Public Health. It is located within the emerging field of health policy and systems research, defined by the World Health Organization as research that ‘seeks to understand and improve how societies organize themselves in achieving collective health goals, and how different actors interact in the policy and implementation processes to contribute to policy outcomes’. The research of the unit focuses on the mechanisms and processes through which health interventions become integrated into routine institutional environment (“real world settings”); and achieve sustainable coverage and impacts at scale.

Its objectives are to:

  • evaluate implementation of major service delivery reform initiatives in SA’s health system
  • investigate strategies for sustainable implementation of priority health programmes
  • evaluate initiatives to strengthen the availability and performance of human resources for health
  • undertake comparative analyses of mechanisms and conditions of health sector change
  • build capacity for HPSR and conceptual and methodological base.

Themes of work in its first five-year term include:

  • Primary Health Care and community based system “re-engineering”
  • Strategies for strengthening health system leadership and management
  • Comparative health system analyses between South Africa and India
  • Methods for evaluating “whole systems” change over time

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Last updated:
29 February, 2016
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