Having an effective health system is essential to pro-poor development but it is a complex challenge. IDS research starts from the experience and innovations emerging within developing countries themselves rather than seeking to export models from the OECD countries.

Five key areas of research and policy

IDS research, information services and policy advisory activities on health and rapid change are organised around five key areas of research and policy concern:

1. The challenge of pluralistic health systems

In many developing countries, health services are delivered by a range of service providers and actors. In these settings, how can institutional arrangements for ensuring quality and affordability be developed and how can people access safe and reliable health-related goods and services? What are the implications for strategies for financing health services?

2. The changing nature of regulation and the role of government

How has the spread of markets and integration into the global economy affected the role of government in the health sector? What kinds of regulatory partnerships are emerging, who are the power brokers and what are the implications for policy processes? How can health services be made accountable to the people who use them.

3. Health in the knowledge economy

The rapid spread of the mass media, mobile telephone networks and  the internet is creating new ways for people to get access to medical information and advice without visiting a doctor. How can these developments benefit poor people? What new regulatory challenges do they pose?

4. Rights, entitlements and equity

In contexts of rapid social, economic and ecological change, new patterns of inequality and exclusion are emerging. How can government commitments to 'universal access' be translated into effective rights to safe and effective health services? How can societies meet the rising expectations of people who are benefiting from economic development, while ensuring that the rights and needs of 'hard to reach' people are addressed?

5. The changing pattern of disease

The world is facing a rapid increase in a number of chronic non-communicable diseases. What aspects of development are contributing to this rapid increase? What can be done to help households cope when a family member becomes seriously ill or disabled? How can health systems change to enable very large numbers of people to manage a chronic, progressive disease?

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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

Jean Pierre Tranchant is a Research Fellow with the Vulnerability and Poverty Reduction Team 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 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

ARCADE HSSR: African Regional Capacity Development for Health Systems and Services Research

A Consortium led by Karolinska Institutet strengthening research training capacity at Sub Saharan African universities for health systems and services development. Focusing on doctoral and post doctoral training, institutional strengthening for education and research management. More details

ARCADE RSDH: Asian Regional Capacity Development for Research on Social Determinants of Health

A Consotiurm lead by Karolinska Institutet developing new research training capacity for low and middle-income countries (LMICs) in Asia, to promote research on social determinants of health. 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

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

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

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

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

Partnering for Better Food

This project aims to identify and support scalable public-private innovative partnerships in developing countries that bridge the gaps between agriculture and nutrition programmes to improve nutrition for the poor and undernourished. More details

Potential of Mining PPPs to Strengthen Health Systems and Extend Health Services to Underserved Populations

This project has been designed to examine the scope for mining industry public-private partnerships (PPP) to strengthen health systems and extend health services to underserved populations More details

Protecting the rural poor against the economic consequences of major illness

Major illness in the family has become an important cause of household impoverishment in China and the ex-command economies of Southeast Asia, as these countries have managed the transition to a market economy. More details

Social, Technological and Environmental Pathways to Sustainability (STEPS) Centre

The STEPS Centre is an interdisciplinary global research and policy engagement hub, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council. It aims to develop a new approach to understanding, action and communication on sustainability and development. More details

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