With the growing push for universal health coverage worldwide, health policy and systems research or HPSR has been the focus of intense global interest in recent years. HPSR not only enhances program design and implementation, but also understanding of how to target investments and remove bottlenecks.
In response to the interest, the First Global Symposium on Health Systems Research was held in Montreux, Switzerland in 2010, and a second symposium was held in Beijing, China, in 2012.
With two successful symposia completed, and the informal HPSR community eager for more, the Executive Committee of the Beijing Symposium established a working group to create a society fully dedicated to the field of health systems research. Thus, Health Systems Global (HSG) was born: a professional society of health policy and systems researchers, advocates, implementers, and policymakers.
A new HFG project brief, “Building the Organizational Capacity of Health Systems Global: From Start-Up to Performance,” chronicles the progress, lessons learned, and achievements of the organization from 2013 to 2016.
The aim of HSG is to consolidate research methods, build capacity in HPSR through networks and communities of practice, promote uptake of research findings in policy and decision-making, and advocate for HPSR and health systems strengthening in general.
At its inception, HSG found itself with a large mandate, limited resources, and nascent organizational structures. With a mandate closely aligned with the goals of USAID’s Office of Health Systems, HSG found an effective partner in USAID’s Health Finance and Governance (HFG) project.
HSG is still a young organization, but its start-up has been promising. The story of HSG is one that other professional societies and organizations can certainly draw lessons from. One of the biggest reasons for HSG’s success to date has been an appreciation of the need to develop the organization itself and not just work towards the mission. USAID’s investment in organizational capacity-building has been instrumental.Download the brief