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Canadian initiative leading the way for equitable health systems and improved maternal, child health

April 27, 2016

For more than a decade, IDRC has supported a large number of researchers, research networks, and global institutions in their efforts to build stronger, more equitable health systems. Equipped with strong evidence, IDRC grantees are leading the way in informing policy and changing practices to improve the health of communities in developing countries.

New global community for health systems knowledge and policy

The field of health systems research has grown into a vibrant community. IDRC grantees are actively involved in Health Systems Global, a newinternational agency that gathers researchers, policymakers, and practitioners working to build equitable health systems. This year, they are focusing on the science and practice of people-centred health systems during the Third Global Symposium on Health Systems Research to be held in Cape Town, South Africa, September 30-October 3. 2014.

Innovating for maternal and child health in Africa

Reflecting Canada's sustained commitment to improving maternal and child health, IDRC in partnership with Global Affairs Canada and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research launched a new $36 million research program on innovations to improve the health of mothers and children. Teams of Canadian and African researchers working with policymakers will investigate practical solutions to health system challenges. This is an initiative of the Global Health Research Initiative (GHRI). 

Learn more about the GHRI initiative, and on IDRC projects for maternal health

Results of the Africa Health Systems Initiative

Ten African-led research teams have explored innovative ways to strengthen health systems in sub-Saharan Africa. Collaborating with Canadian researchers, the team's research is informing two key areas to strengthen health systems: the recruitment and retention of health workers; and the role of health information systems. This GHRI initiative is supported by Global Affairs Canada.

Read more on the results of the Africa Health Systems Initiative in the following journal supplements:

Learn more about the Africa Health Systems Initiative – Support to African Research Partnerships 

Advancing the application of systems thinking in health

Systems thinking can help make sense of the inherent complexity of health systems. It offers valuable concepts and tools to understand the interconnections within health systems. There has, however, been a lack of practical guidance on how systems thinking can be applied in health. A special series supported by IDRC contributes to filling this knowledge gap.

Read this series of articles to learn more about actual applications and experiences relating to systems thinking in health, particularly in low- and middle-income countries.