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Using Global Health Initiatives to Strengthen Health Systems: A Civil Society Perspective

Global Public Health, Vol. 6, No. 7, pp. 687-702, October 2011

Northeastern University School of Law Research Paper No. 73-2012

Posted: 5 Jan 2012  

Jennifer Cohn

University of Pennsylvania - Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases

Asia Russell

Health GAP

Brook K. Baker

Northeastern University - School of Law

Alice Kayongo

Uganda Community-Based Association for Child Welfare

Esther Wanjiku

GROOTS Kenya

Paul Davis

Health GAP

Date Written: October 1, 2011

Abstract

Research into the effects of global health initiatives (GHIs) on health systems has largely left out the viewpoints and contributions of civil society. This study details civil society's perspective regarding the effects of two GHIs, the US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM), on country health systems and the added value of civil society interacting with GHIs to strengthen health systems.

The study employed qualitative data collection methods using semi-structured interviews administered during focus groups and key informant interviews. A range of health system stakeholders were interviewed in Kenya, Malawi, Uganda and Zambia. Data were coded and analysed for themes and sub-themes.

In total, 2910 civil society participants provided information individually or in focus groups. Respondents reported that GHIs have contributed to dramatic health benefits within and outside of a disease-specific focus, including health systems strengthening efforts. However, opportunities for synergy between GHIs and health systems have been missed, and GHIs have not worked sufficiently to close capacity gaps of grassroots civil society organisations. Despite some governance innovations, civil society's opportunities to participate meaningfully in GHI priority setting efforts are limited. Recommendations are included on how to best use GHIs to strengthen health systems by partnering with civil society.

Suggested Citation

Cohn, Jennifer and Russell, Asia and Baker, Brook K. and Kayongo, Alice and Wanjiku, Esther and Davis, Paul, Using Global Health Initiatives to Strengthen Health Systems: A Civil Society Perspective (October 1, 2011). Global Public Health, Vol. 6, No. 7, pp. 687-702, October 2011; Northeastern University School of Law Research Paper No. 73-2012. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1980126

Jennifer Cohn (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania - Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases ( email )

3400 Spruce Street
3rd Floor Silverstein, Suite D
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

Asia Russell

Health GAP ( email )

429 W. 127th St., 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10027
United States

Brook K. Baker

Northeastern University - School of Law ( email )

416 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115
United States

Alice Kayongo

Uganda Community-Based Association for Child Welfare ( email )

PO Box 7449
Kampala
Uganda

Esther Wanjiku

GROOTS Kenya

PO Box 10320-00100
Nairobi
Kenya

Paul Davis

Health GAP ( email )

429 W. 127th St., 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10027
United States

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