In sub-Saharan Africa health improvement remains a major development challenge. A growing evidence base demonstrates that health systems must be strengthened to secure progress in addressing mortality and tackling disease burdens. Yet there is a dearth of African research to support such action. African Ministers of Health and international agencies have, therefore, called for accelerated development of relevant research. At present, relatively few African scientists work in the field of health policy and systems (HPS) research and few African universities offer relevant training programmes. And although such research derives its utility largely from its ability to inform decision-making, interactions between the research and policy communities are generally weak and policy makers are often unaware of, or uninterested, in relevant research. The development of sustained African HPS research capacity, thus, requires the consolidation and strengthening of relevant research and educational programmes, as well as the development of stronger engagement between the policy and research communities.
CHEPSAA will address both of these issues. Its goal is to extend sustainable African capacity to produce and use high quality HPS research. It builds on and expands the work of an existing HPS capacity development partnership among seven African universities, drawing in the support of four European universities with particular expertise in this field. During its lifetime it will: review capacity development needs amongst the African organizations and their national networks; strengthen African skills and organisational capacity to support HPS research and training; extend existing training programmes provided by the African participants; and support the development of excellent academic teaching and research networks both to sustain national and regional demand for HPS training and research, and to facilitate the use of research in policy making.
The South African arm of this study consists of the School of Public health and Family Medicine at the University of Cape Town, the School of Public Health at the University of the Western cape, and the Centre for Health Policy at the University of the Witwatersrand. African collaborators include the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania; the School of Public Health at the University of Ghana, Ghana; the Tropical Institute of Community Health at the Great Lakes University of Kisumu, Kenya; and the College of Medicine at the University of Nigeria Enugu, Nigeria. European collaborators are the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, UK; the Nuffield Centre for International Health and Development at the University of Leeds, UK; the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, and the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute at the University of Basel, Switzerland.
This is central to the CHEPSAA project and includes development of staff and training capacity in each African organisation through staff and organisational development, and course development including modules on Masters courses, Masters courses and a scope of Doctoral-level programmes. Further supporting health policy and systems research capacity development is an emphasis on developing organisational and country networking strategies through attendance of policy-makers on short courses, networking with other organisations, policy seminars and policy/researcher staff exchanges. The project will also strengthen regional links, with cross-cutting themes of project management and knowledge management to achieve the goal of sustainable African capacity to produce and use high quality health policy and systems research.
Mirzoev T, Le G, Green A, Orgill M, Komba A, Esena RK, Nyapada L, Uzochukwu B, Amde WK, Nxumalo N, Gilson L. (2013) Assessment of capacity for Health Policy and Systems Research and Analysis in seven African universities: results from the CHEPSAA project. Health Policy Plan, doi:10.1093/heapol/czt065.
Lê, G., Mirzoev, T., Orgill, M., Erasmus, E., Lehmann, U., Okeyo, S., Goudge, J., Maluka, S., Uzochukwu, B., Aikins, M., De Savigny, D., Tomson, G. and Gilson, L. (2014). A new methodology for assessing health policy and systems research and analysis capacity in African universities. Health Research Policy and Systems, 12(59).
Lê, G., Mirzoev, T., Erasmus, E., Okeyo, S., Esena, R. & Uzochukwu, B. (2014). How to do Capacity Assessments for Health Policy and Systems Research in University Settings: A Handbook. Leeds, Consortium for Health Policy and Systems Analysis in Africa.
Orgill, M. Nxumalo, N. et al. (2013). Health policy and systems research: Needs, challenges and opportunities in South Africa - a university perspective. In Padarath, A. & English, R. (Eds.) South African Health Review 2012/13. Health Systems Trust.
Nxumalo, N. (2015). Emerging Leaders in Health Policy and Systems Research & Analysis in Africa: Developing the practices of HPSR+A leadership. An overview of the CHEPSAA Emerging Leaders Programme. Johannesburg: Consortium for Health Policy and Systems Analysis in Africa.
Erasmus, E. (2014). Emerging Leaders Programme: Early Successes. Newsletter outlining some of the successes of the Emerging Leaders Programme. Cape Town: Consortium for Health Policy and Systems Analysis in Africa.
Visit http://www.hpsa-africa.org/index.php/resources/chepsaa-outputs2 to access the CHEPSAA course materials and resources.