Health

Individuals, communities and societies face a number of health challenges associated with rapid and accelerating social, economic, demographic and ecological change. These have been manifested in major outbreaks of infectious diseases, a growing problem of chronic, non-communicable disease and the continued existence of large numbers of people living in poverty and vulnerable to a wide variety of potential shocks. There is the growing realisation that the world's population is interconnected and health challenges are faced by rich and poor countries alike.

A home care worker from the Mulanje Mission Hospital, Malawi, crushes antibiotics before applying them to the tumour on Patrick Mandeule's leg. Credit
Kieran Dodds / Panos

IDS research and knowledge activities to address these challenges on health revolve around resilience, accountability, urbanisation and digital innovation for health system transformation.

1. Resilience

The speed of economic, social, technological and ecological change is likely to accelerate in the future. This will make the contribution of the health sector to social resilience increasingly important. The Ebola epidemic in West Africa and Zika in Latin America have demonstrated the importance of an effective and resilient health system in protecting people against catastrophic health shocks. The transmission of infections from animals to humans and the growing challenge of resistance to antibiotics demonstrate the need to take into account the wider social and ecological challenges in designing intervention strategies to build resilient health systems.

2. Accountability

Health inequities - that is, unfair and avoidable difference in health associated with poverty, gender inequalities and other factors that marginalise large numbers of people. Innovative approaches are needed that recognise changing roles of states, private actors and community and social organisations, and the interaction between local, national and global levels. If existing weaknesses in governance and accountability arrangements are not tackled, the effort to achieve Universal Health Coverage as part of the fairer world envisaged in the UN's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is unlikely to be achieved.

3. Urban

With more than half of humanity now living in urban areas, and with the urban population in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, two of the world's poorest regions, set to double in the next two decade, there is an urgent need for strategies that enable people to live safely in these rapidly growing cities. These include the provision of decent hygiene and sanitation, context-appropriate forms of disease containment, measures to ensure access to safe, effective and affordable medical care and the recognition of the peri-urban poor as legitimate citizens.

4. Digital innovation

Information and Communication technologies (ICTs) are going to have a major impact on health and health systems in the near future. To ensure that everyone (including the very poor) benefits from this new technology, it is vital that those designing new applications, people responsible for health systems and social researchers come together to explore the opportunities and potential challenges, especially for low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).

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Photo of Alex Shankland, IDS Research Fellow More details

Photo of IDS researcher Amber Huff More details

Photo of Annie Wilkinson More details

Aparna John, DPhil Candidate, Health and Nutrition Cluster, Institute of Development Studies More details

Photo of Becky Mitchell More details

Photo of Cathérine Müller, Vulnerability and Poverty Reduction research team More details

Photo of Catherine Holley,  Information Officer for the Human Development Resource Centre (HDRC) in IDS Knowledge Services. More details

Photo of Gerry Bloom, Research Fellow of the Knowledge Technology and Society team More details

Photo of Hayley MacGregor More details

Photo of Henry Lucas from Knowledge Technology and Society Team More details

More details

Photo of Inka Barnett More details

Photo of Jackie Shaw, Research Fellow in the Participation research cluster More details

Photo of Jerker Edstrom More details

Leah Murphy is the Health and Education Convenor with the Knowledge Services More details

Photo of Leah Plati, Administrator, Vulnerability and Poverty Reduction Team More details

Photo of Linda Waldman, KNOTS Research Fellow More details

Photo of Melissa Leach, IDS Director More details

Photo of Nick Nisbett, IDS Research Fellow in the Vulnerability and Poverty Reduction team More details

Photo of Pauline Oosterhoff, Research Fellow, Participation Power and Social Change More details

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AllAfrica and IDS development reporting initiative

IDS and AllAfrica have teamed up to produce and distribute compelling multi-media content on critical issues for Africa’s future, as part of a development reporting initiative. More details

Assessing the Impact of Conflict and the Effects of WFP Humanitarian Interventions on Moderate Acute Malnutrition and Other Developmental Outcomes in Mali

This project is a multidisciplinary research partnership involving IFPRI, PCD, IDS and WFP which builds on a unique pre-crises baseline conducted in early 2012 to provide rigorous evidence for policymakers on the effects of humanitarian interventions by WFP on child malnutrition in in Mali. More details

Bridging the Gap Evaluation

This is a mid-term evaluation of the Bridging the Gaps Programme a global program operating in 16 countries across all the main key populations at-risk for HIV. More details

Changing health and welfare in China and the UK

The project looks at the changing role of state and non-government actors in providing social services in China’s rapidly evolving welfare regime, and aims to promote mutual learning between officials and researchers in China and the UK. Despite historical, social and institutional differences, there is a degree of similarity in strategies emerging. More details

Childhood Vaccination in West Africa

Vaccines for children are currently high on international policy, aid and funding agendas, as a major promised means to meet the Millennium Development Goals. Yet major challenges have emerged in ensuring effective coverage and dealing with public anxieties. More details

Childhood Vaccination: Science and Public Engagement

Vaccines for children are currently high on international policy, aid and funding agendas, as a major promised means to meet the Millennium Development Goals. Yet major challenges have emerged in ensuring effective coverage and dealing with public anxieties. More details

China Health Development Forum

The China Health Development Forum is an informal association coordinated by the Chinese Health Economics Institute (CHEI) and IDS. More details

Dynamic Drivers of Disease in Africa Consortium

A STEPS-led consortium of researchers aiming to advance understanding of the connections between disease and environment in Africa, focusing on animal-to-human disease transmission.. More details

Ebola: Lessons for development

IDS researchers argue that there is an urgent need to look beyond the immediate, on-the-ground concerns of disease control and containment to consider the bigger and broader questions about international development. More details

Ensuring Health Care for the Rural Poor: alternative approaches in China and Vietnam

A comparative study of rural health care services undertaken in collaboration with partners in Vietnam and China. More details

Final External Review of the Cross-Cutting Disability Research Programme

This independent external review aimed to determine the extent to which the three year Cross-Cutting Disability Research Programme (CCDRP) in Nepal, India, Zambia, Uganda, and Kenya, has met its expected impact, outcome and outputs. More details

Future Health Systems Research Programme Consortium

Future Health Systems is a research consortium working to improve access, affordability and quality of health services for the poor. More details

Health Systems Global Communications

IDS is working with Health Systems Global (HSG) to develop communications, share messages and engage with its members and the global community. More details

HEART (Health and Education Advice and Resource Team)

HEART is a consortium of leading organisations in international development, health, nutrition and education. IDS works together with these organisations to support the use of evidence and expert advice in policymaking. More details

Human Development Innovation Fund

The Human Development Innovation Fund (HDIF) identifies and supports innovations that have the potential to create social impact in education, health and WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) across Tanzania. More details

Independent Evaluation of the Reduction of Maternal and Neonatal Mortality in Kenya Programme

An evaluation of a programme in Kenya to avert maternal and neonatal deaths through nationwide life saving skills training for health professionals, and integrated health system strengthening in selected counties. More details

Interactions Eldis Website

Interactions is an IDS-hosted interactive online resource on Empowering Women and Girls, featuring real-time research and analysis. The website features up-to-the minute research findings and policy analysis on gender-based violence, urban health and unpaid care work from IDS and partners More details

Livestock, Livelihoods and Health

Livestock, Livelihoods and Health is an interdisciplinary research programme exploring diseases that can be transmitted from wild or domesticated animals to people (known as zoonoses). More details

Myanmar Pig Partnership

The Myanmar Pig Partnership is focusing on the risks of zoonotic disease emergence associated with the rapid growth and intensification of livestock production in Myanmar in recent years. More details

Non-communicable diseases and development: Future Pathways

This project examines the impact of the rise of non-communicable diseases in low- and middle-income countries. More details

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IDS publications on international development research

Integrative Modelling for One Health: Pattern, Process and Participation

Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B (2017)
IDS publications on international development research

Giving Voice to Clients of Post-Rape Services: Building and Piloting a Feedback Mechanism in Tshwane

This practice paper reflects on the development of an appropriate and confidential feedback mechanism for users of post-rape services at Thuthuzela Care Centres / Rape Crisis Centres in Tshwane, South Africa. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Social Accountabilty Initatives in Health and Nutrition: Lessons from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh

South Asia is home to nearly a quarter of the world’s population and is a region of dynamic economic growth, yet it performs relatively poorly on health and nutrition indicators. As a potential route towards addressing this poor performance, a range of accountability initiatives has been implemented to improve service delivery in the health and nutrition sectors. More details

ER221_FrontCover

The Contribution of Digital Technologies to Service Delivery: An Evidence Review

IDS Evidence Report 221 (2017)

The explosion in digital connectivity, globalisation and the rapid growth in digital technologies over the last two decades has revolutionised the way that businesses perform and compete globally. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Disparity in Reimbursement for Tuberculosis Care Among Different Health Insurance Schemes: Evidence from Three Counties in Central China

Infectious Diseases of Poverty 5 (2017)

Health inequity is an important issue all around the world. The Chinese basic medical security system comprises three major insurance schemes, namely the Urban Employee Basic Medical Insurance (UEBMI), the Urban Resident Basic Medical Insurance (URBMI), and the New Cooperative Medical Scheme (NCMS). Little research has been conducted to look into the disparity in payments among the health insurance schemes in China. More details

This is the front cover to IDS Rapid Response Briefing 16, 'What Does the End of Africa's Boom Mean for Universal Health Coveage?'

What Does the End of Africa's Boom Mean for Universal Health Coverage?

IDS Rapid Response Briefing 16 (2017)

Achieving universal health coverage by 2030, as stated in UN Global Goal 3, will require substantial increases in health spending and the proportion funded through taxation or social insurance to make health care affordable for all. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Impact Evaluation of the DFID Programme to Accelerate Improved Nutrition for the Extreme Poor in Bangladesh: Policy Brief

MQSUN Briefing 5 (2017)

A shorter 4-page MQSUN Policy Brief providing an overview of the key findings and recommendations from the impact evaluation. More details

IDS publications on international development research

North-South Collaboration and Capacity Development in Global Health Research in Low- and Middle-Income Countries - The ARCADE Projects

Global Health Action 9.1 (2017)

In this article, we discuss two capacity-building projects, the African/Asian Regional Capacity Development (ARCADE) in Health Systems and Services Research (HSSR) and Research on Social Determinants of Health (RSDH), implemented from 2011 to 2015. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Health Systems Research in a Complex and Rapidly Changing Context: Ethical Implications of Major Health Systems Change at Scale

Developing World Bioethics 16.3 (2016)

This paper discusses health policy and systems research in complex and rapidly changing contexts. It focuses on ethical issues at stake for researchers working with government policy makers to provide evidence to inform major health systems change at scale, particularly when the dynamic nature of the context and ongoing challenges to the health system can result in unpredictable outcomes. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Identifying Community Healthcare Supports for the Elderly and the Factors Affecting their Aging Care Model Preference: Evidence From Three Districts of Beijing

BMC Health Services Research 16 (2016)

The Chinese tradition of filial piety, which prioritized family-based care for the elderly, is transitioning and elders can no longer necessarily rely on their children. The purpose of this study was to identify community support for the elderly, and analyze the factors that affect which model of old-age care elderly people dwelling in communities prefer. More details

IDS publications on international development research

How is Perceived Community Cohesion and Membership in Community Groups Associated with Children’s Dietary Adequacy in Disadvantaged Communities? A Case of the Indian Sundarbans

BMC Health Services Research 16 (2016)

Membership in community groups and a sense of community cohesion may facilitate collective action in mobilizing resources towards better health outcomes. This paper explores the relationship of these factors, along with individual level socio-economic variables, to dietary adequacy among children below 6 years of age, a proximate determinant of child malnutrition. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Synergies, Strengths and Challenges: Findings on Community Capability from a Systematic Health Systems Research Literature Review

BMC Health Services Research 16 (2016)

Community capability is the combined influence of a community’s social systems and collective resources that can address community problems and broaden community opportunities. We frame it as consisting of three domains that together support community empowerment: what communities have; how communities act; and for whom communities act. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Unlocking Community Capabilities Across Health Systems in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: Lessons Learned from Research and Reflective Practice

BMC Health Services Research 16 (2016)

The right and responsibility of communities to participate in health service delivery was enshrined in the 1978 Alma Ata declaration and continues to feature centrally in health systems debates today. Communities are a vital part of people-centred health systems and their engagement is critical to realizing the diverse health targets prioritised by the Sustainable Development Goals and the commitments made to Universal Health Coverage. More details

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What should the priorities be for the new WHO Director-General?

23 May 2017
By Melissa Leach, Annie Wilkinson, Ian Scoones, Hayley MacGregor

Prohibition, Indian-style

29 Mar 2017
By Pauline Oosterhoff, Rituu B. Nanda

One Health: are we doing it wrong?

18 Jan 2017
By Sophie Valeix

The social life in infectious diseases

07 Dec 2016
By Nathan Oxley

Tough Shit: What's the link between diarrhoea and bonded labour?

02 Dec 2016
By Danny Burns, Pauline Oosterhoff, Rituu B. Nanda
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