The India Health Systems Collaborative (IHSC), a growing network of health systems researchers in India and beyond, successfully concluded yet another policy consultation last month, in continuation of its ongoing efforts to bridge the gap between health systems research and policy reform. IHSC is an integrated ecosystem of researchers that works in close collaboration with decision-makers. ACCESS Health International serves as its techno-managerial secretariat.

The panel discussion titled “Strengthening Health Systems through Research: Focus on Primary Care” took place on May 24 and was a culmination of a special issue on “Health Systems Strengthening” in the Journal of Health Management (SAGE Publications), published recently by the IHSC and ACCESS Health International. Based on three select research studies on primary care from the special issue, a panel discussion was organized to serve the dual purpose of dissemination of the research done and to forge an engaging discussion in the presence of a policymaker.

IHSC, so far, has conducted 11 research studies, published a special issue on health systems strengthening, produced 11 policy briefs, trained 35 professionals on Health Systems Assessment in collaboration with Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health and built the capacity of 14 young researchers through the Mentor-Mentee Program and developed 14 policy briefs under the program.

This special issue on “Health Systems Strengthening” focuses on generating policy-relevant evidence to support health systems strengthening and contains 12 original research articles, two opinion pieces and one editor’s note. These research articles include topics encompassing the six health systems building blocks proposed by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The special issue is an output of the collaborative efforts over the past year and a half, of various stakeholders, including policymakers at the national and state levels, academicians and researchers, development partners, public health practitioners working with the governments, NGOs, CSR Foundations, industry bodies and associations, consulting firms, the IHSC and ACCESS Health International. 

The event was conducted through a hybrid model (in person and virtual) and was attended by distinguished guests and eminent personalities from the field of public health. More than 100 participants (40 in person and 60 plus online) witnessed the enriching discussion that ensued.

Eminent experts from public health graced the occasion. The keynote address was delivered by Maj Gen (Prof) Atul Kotwal, Executive Director of the National Health Systems Resource Centre (NHSRC). The other speakers included Dr K Madan Gopal, Senior Consultant, NITI Aayog, Prof A Venkat Raman (Honorary Director, IHSC), Dr Santhosh Mathew, Country Lead for Social and Public Finance Policy at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in India, and Dr Krishna Reddy Nallamalla, ACCESS Health Regional Director for South Asia.

The consultation on primary care was moderated by Prof. VR Muraleedharan (Honorary Director at IHSC and Professor at Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (IIT-M)), with Prof Indrani Gupta (Head of Department, Institute of Economic Growth), Dr Dorothy Lall (Professor, CMC Vellore) and Prof Usha Manjunath (Director, Institute of Management Research (IIHMR) Bengaluru) as the panelists. Founded in late 2018, with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, IHSC was built to respond to policy questions critical to India’s health system and foster a well-connected community of health system researchers. If you are interested in becoming a members, kindly submit your details through this form and we will get back to you.

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