Towards building responsive health systems

Associate Professor Sumit Kane, is leading a global team in the development of an exciting program of research to bring to attention the importance of health systems paying attention to being responsive to the needs and expectations of the many communities they serve. As health services become widely available and accessible in low- and middle-income country health systems, our attention needs to turn to making these service more responsive. Similar concerns apply to high-income country health systems too.

Dr Kane, together with colleagues from LSHTM, and University of Leeds, UK; Hanoi University Of Public Health; Vietnam; and Ghana Health Service, is implementing the 4 year RESPONSE study to develop and test approaches for ‘improving health systems responsiveness to neglected health needs of vulnerable populations’ in Ghana and Vietnam.

As part of this program of research two PhD projects are examining the subject from different perspective in different contexts.

Kimberly Lakin is conducting a qualitative, focused ethnographic study, using an intersectional and translocational framework, to explore Indian migrant women’s expectations and experiences of maternity care in Melbourne. Her aim is two-fold: to generate insights that will help improve the health system’s responsiveness to the needs and expectations of all Australians, and, to develop approaches to better study health system responsiveness.

Shazra Abbas is using a novel practice theory informed analytical perspective, her research reveals how a range of health system gaps across policy and practice, constrain improvements in patient outcomes. Shazra’s research provides an illustration of and demonstrates how critical it is for low- and middle-income country health systems to begin explicitly pay attention to being responsive to the needs and expectations of the many communities they serve.

The RESPONSE Study team recently released the study protocol and baseline data collection is expected to begin in the 4th quarter of 2021. The RESPONSE project is funded by the Health Systems Research Initiative and will be completed in September 2023.

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Associate Professor Sumit Kane,