Responsive health systems

Project Details

This program of work is centered around ‘Responsiveness’ - one of three key goals of all country health systems.

Responsiveness is defined as “the outcome that can be achieved when institutions and institutional relationships are designed in such a way that they are cognisant of and respond appropriately to the universally legitimate expectations of individuals (WHO 2000)”.

This program of work involves critical explorations of the concept of ‘health systems responsiveness’ broadly, and inquiries into each of the eight proposed elements of responsiveness broadly, and inquiries into each of the eight proposed elements of responsiveness (Dignity, Autonomy, Confidentiality, Attention, Access to Networks, Quality Of Amenities, Choice of Provider, Trust), in different parts of the world.

Graphic showing conceptual framework for Responsive Health Systems



    The RESPONSE study seeks to identify mechanisms and approaches to improving the health systems responsiveness to neglected health needs of vulnerable groups in Ghana and Vietnam. The study is funded by the UKRI Joint Health Systems Research Initiative and is implemented with collaborators from the Hanoi University of Public Health, Ghana Health Service, Mental Health Authority Ghana, University of Ghana, University of Leeds, and the London School Of Hygiene And Tropical Medicine.

    Fieldwork has begun, and study protocols have been published. 
    Visit the RESPONSE Project page .

  • Childbearing Indian Migrant Women’s Expectations and Experiences of Care: Implications for Health System Responsiveness

    This study explores recent Indian migrant women’s expectations and experiences of maternity care in Melbourne. The study aims to generate insights that will help improve the health system’s responsiveness to the needs and expectations of all Australians, particularly recent migrants, and, to develop approaches to better study health systems responsiveness.

    The study is being implemented in collaboration with The Royal Women’s Hospital in Melbourne; Ms Kimberly Lakin is the doctoral researcher on this project

    Visit the Migrant Women’s Maternity Care  Expectations and Experiences of Care Project page .

  • What shapes the health outcomes of drug-resistant tuberculosis (DR-TB) patients in Pakistan?

    Despite projections of dramatic increases in the older adult population in low-and-middle-income countries (LMICs) in the coming decades, there has been little focus on addressing the challenges and pressures that this demographic shift will place on health systems. This project aims to contribute to generating actionable insights to help improve LMIC health systems’ responsiveness to the unique needs and expectations of the elderly.

    Dr  Shazra Abbas is the doctoral researcher on this project

  • Trust Relations in Health Systems: A case study of the Indian health system.

    The study entails a sociological analysis of trust relations within the health system, with a view to understand the nature and salience of these relations; it seeks to identify opportunities and entry points to rebuild trust and improve the responsiveness of the Indian health system. As part of the project, two papers, and a book chapter have been published. The study is being implemented in collaboration with the State Health Systems Resource Centre, Pune, India, the Gokhale Institute of Politics & Economics, Pune, India, and the School Of Sociology, Social Policy, and Social Research, University Of Kent, UK.


    Calnan M, Kane S. Trust and the regulation of health systems: Insights from India. In: Professional Health Regulation in the Public Interest: International Perspectives. Editors: Chamberlain JM, Saks M, Dent M. The Policy Press, University of Bristol. 2018.

    Kane S, Calnan M. Erosion of Trust in the Medical Profession in India: Time for doctors to act. Int J Health Policy Manag. 2016 Nov 2; 6(1):5-8.

    Kane S, Radkar A, Calnan M. Trust and trust relations from the providers’ perspective: the case of the healthcare system in India. Indian J Med Ethics. 2015 Jul-Sep;12(3): 157-68.

Research Opportunities

Prospective PhD and Masters by Research students who are interested in the subject broadly, or in specific elements of responsivness, should contact Associate Professor Sumit Kane via email at to explore opportunities.


Associate Professor Sumit Kane

Kimberly Lakin

Dr Shazra Abbas

Research Group

Social & Cultural Dimensions of Health Systems

School Research Themes

Prevention and management of non-communicable diseases (including cancer), and promotion of mental health, Disparities, disadvantage and effective health care, Data science, health metrics and disease modeling

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact the research group leader.

Department / Centre

Nossal Institute for Global Health

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