Health Systems Research for Reproductive Health and Health Care Reforms in the Eastern and Southern African Region
BACKGROUNDMorbidity and mortality are still high among mothers and children in the Eastern and Southern African Region. Although considerable efforts have been made to establish Family Planning (FP) services, in most places these do not function satisfactorily. One major reason for the inadequacy of reproductive health care services has been identified in the lack of valid information, on which planning and decision making could be based. This lack of information - in turn - is the result of weaknesses in the area of applied or "Health Systems" research. The same refers to 'Health Care Reforms' an issue most governments in the Region are confronted with.
OBJECTIVESThe programme has the overall objective to strengthen health systems research in the Eastern and Southern African Region, - within the different countries themselves as well as at an inter-country level. Through this regional approach it will contribute to the strengthening of communication and collaboration among neighbouring countries ("South-South co-operation"). Special emphasis is laid on practical, decentralised research, which can be directly translated into action.
STRUCTUREThe programme is located in Zimbabwe (at the "Blair Research Institute"), but is a regional venture. Activities are carried out in 13 SADC countries: Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe and additionally Kenya, Madagascar and Uganda. Partners in the programme are the Planning and FP-Departments of the respective Ministries of Health, which - in turn - maintain close relationships to Universities and other Research Institutions. There is also close co-operation with WHO Sub-Region III in Harare and Commonwealth Regional Health Community Secretariat, Arusha as regional co-ordinating bodies.
The programme is sponsored by GTZ (German Development Co-operation). GTZ contributions include: funding of small-scale research studies, research methodology training, inter-country networking and secondment of a co-ordinator, secretary and a research assistant.
ACTIVITIESThe Health Systems Research Programme started in February 1989. GTZ assistance is expected to continue up to the end of 2001. Project activities refer to the three main components: