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Pursuing health systems strengthening through disease-specific programme grants: experiences in Tanzania and Sierra Leone

Hemingway, Charlotte, Jalloh Mohamed, Bella, Silumbe, Richard, Wurie, Haja, Mtumbuka, Esther, Nhiga, Samuel, Lusasi, Abdallah and Pulford, Justin ORCID: (2021) 'Pursuing health systems strengthening through disease-specific programme grants: experiences in Tanzania and Sierra Leone'. BMJ Global Health, Vol 6, Issue 10, e006615.

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Disease-specific ‘vertical’ programmes and health system strengthening (HSS) ‘horizontal’ programmes are not mutually exclusive; programmes may be implemented with the dual objectives of achieving both disease-specific and broader HSS outcomes. However, there remains an ongoing need for research into how dual objective programmes are operationalised for optimum results.

A qualitative study encompassing four grantee programmes from two partner countries, Tanzania and Sierra Leone, in the Comic Relief and GlaxoSmithKline ‘Fighting Malaria, Improving Health’ partnership. Purposive sampling maximised variation in terms of geographical location, programme aims and activities, grantee type and operational sector. Data were collected via semi-structured interviews. Data analysis was informed by a general inductive approach.

51 interviews were conducted across the four grantees. Grantee organisations structured and operated their respective projects in a manner generally supportive of HSS objectives. This was revealed through commonalities identified across the four grantee organisations in terms of their respective approach to achieving their HSS objectives, and experienced tensions in pursuit of these objectives. Commonalities included: (1) using short-term funding for long-term initiatives; (2) benefits of being embedded in the local health system; (3) donor flexibility to enable grantee responsiveness; (4) the need for modest expectations; and (5) the importance of micro-innovation.

Health systems strengthening may be pursued through disease-specific programme grants; however, the respective practice of both the funder and grantee organisation appears to be a key influence on whether HSS will be realised as well as the overall extent of HSS possible.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: W General Medicine. Health Professions > W 74 Medical economics. Health care costs
WA Public Health > Health Problems of Special Population Groups > WA 395 Health in developing countries
WA Public Health > Health Administration and Organization > WA 540 National and state health administration
Faculty: Department: Clinical Sciences & International Health > International Public Health Department
Digital Object Identifer (DOI):
Depositing User: Rachel Dominguez
Date Deposited: 07 Oct 2021 09:12
Last Modified: 07 Oct 2021 09:12


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