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Warning: Politics with a small ā€˜pā€™ can seriously harm your MDGs
Commentary by Kent Buse, ODI [external link] ›

News release
External link: ODI website ›

 

Health policy change workshop


Developing the international research agenda on the processes and stakeholder politics of health policy change


The context
The internationally agreed health development goals have gained widespread acceptance, but the processes of health policy change necessary to achieve these goals are complex, have received little research attention and continue to face significant obstacles in practice. The process of reform tends to be poorly understood by technical health specialists, aid donors and other members of the global health community. The political dimensions of reform, questions of power, interests and perceptions, are rarely addressed in the literature. Yet studies suggest that the process of health reform is highly political, and a failure to identify/understand and address political barriers and opportunities has undermined pro-reformers ability to implement pro-poor, evidenced-informed reforms.

Over the past 15 years a small body of literature has begun to emerge. This research has been reviewed with respect to its major findings; but no structured attempt has yet been made to compare research designs, methods and the practical aspects of undertaking this type of sensitive and difficult research.

The workshop
International policy process analysts, health reform specialists and a select number of donor representatives shared their knowledge and experiences at a workshop held in London on 21-22 May 2007.

Outputs
A technical briefing paper summarising contributions made by the workshop attendees is being prepared. Other outputs will include a review paper on the methodological approaches used in health policy analysis, the knowledge gaps, and implications for a future research agenda; and a special theme issue of Health Policy and Planning.

More information will be posted as it becomes available.

Workshop organizers
Kent Buse, Overseas Development Institute, London
Clare Dickinson, HLSP Institute, London
Lucy Gilson, University of Witswatersrand, South Africa & LSHTM
Susan F Murray, Kings College, London

Sponsors
The workshop received funding from the British Academy and DFID, as well as support from ODI, HLSP and LSHTM.


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