Governance and participation in health

EQUINET Regional meeting on health centre committees as a vehicle for social participation June 2017

Community Working Group on Health in partnership with Training and Research Support Centre, University of Cape Town  School of Public Health, and the Lusaka District Health Management Team under the auspices of EQUINET held a regional review meeting on Health Centre Committees as a vehicle for social participation in health systems in East and Southern Africa on 20-22 June in Harare. The meeting was held as part of a programme to exchange experiences and information on the laws, roles, capacities, training and monitoring systems that are being applied to HCCs in the ESA region. The meeting discussed experiences with laws, policies, guidelines and constitutions on HCCs; shared experiences in using photo voice to enhance the role of HCCs; discussed current training materials and programmes for HCCs in the region and the strengthening of internal capacities of institutions working with HCCs through information exchange and skills inputs. The report is available on the EQUINET website.

Research on Global Health Diplomacy in east and southern Africa

In 2012-2015 EQUINET carried out a three year policy research programme to implement case study research on global health diplomacy in east and southern Africa (ESA). Working with government officials in health and diplomacy, with technical institutions, civil society and other stakeholders in ESA countries, the programme examined the role of health diplomacy in addressing selected challenges to health and equitable health systems and use the learning and evidence to inform African policy actors and stakeholders. The work fed into the Strategic Initiative of Global Health Diplomacy co-ordinated by the East Central and Southern Africa Health Community and the wor4k of the Africa Group in Geneva. The resesrch papers and policy briefs can be found in the bibliography of EQUINET publications on this website and in a special issue of the Journal for Health Diplomacy on Africa. Regional review meetings were held for the work at its incweption and in 2015. In 2016 EQUINET worked with ECSA HC to further advance dissemination and discussion of the work with support from IDRC Canada, including to provide a workshop on GHD for ESA senior officials and diplomats in preparation for the 2016 world Health Assembly. The report is on the EQUINET website. In April 2017, EQUINET with ECSA HC held a workshop at the ECSA HC Best Practices Forum on GHD, inckuding to review and make recommendations for follow up on the proposals for regional standards on health in the extractice sector.


A new portal page on the EQUINET website on resources for Participatory Action Research 

In the evaluation of the Reader on PAR in Health Systems Research (online on this site) one of the proposals made by many respondents was to have a website to share a range of PAR materials, and information on networks, trainers etc online. People indicated and we also noted that there are many existing resources on PAR but that we need to make it easier for people to find what is out there based on specific needs that they have. In response to this EQUINET through TARSC has set up a Participatory Action Research Portal. The new portal has a homepage and a series of ‘subpages’ for Training, resources - providing links to online training courses, whole training guides and reports of training activities; Methods, tools and ethics - providing links to online specific papers on PAR methods, to specific examples of tools, and to discussions/ guidelines on ethical issues; PAR work – providing links to stories, case studies, briefs, videos, text or photojournalism stories of PAR work, including facilitator reflections; Organisations and networks -  providing the name, snippet of information, country and link to organisations and networks involved PAR;   Publications - providing published journal papers and reports on PAR through links to the urls or on the EQUINET database and  Other resources - providing ad hoc information that doesn’t fit anywhere else.  


EQUINET through TARSC supported community level health activists in eight countries with skills to use photography to bring out and display images of health equity issues from a community lens under the theme “KEEPING AN EYE ON EQUITY: Community visions of equity in health” . We used this process to strengthen capacities at community level in selected areas to use photo media to raise awareness and communicate voice on health issues. Images of health from a community lens have been displayed at the EQUINET conference in September 2009 and at the Global Health Research Forum in November 2009 with photogaphers were present to explain their work and actions to advancing health. If you are interested in this work or have experience to share, we'd love to hear from you! Please contact us at admin [at] with KEEPING AN EYE ON EQUITY in the subject line.

Review of health literacy in Zambia and Uganda April 2013

EQUINET held a regional meeting in Harare in April to review programmes on health literacy in Zambia and Uganda. Lusaka District Health Management Team, Ministry of Health Zambia and TARSC finalised in 2012 a Zambia Health Literacy manual with Cordaid support and Ministry has begun training health literacy facilitators in the provinces. In Uganda five civil society organisations (HEPS, CEHURD, AGHA, UNHCO and NAFOPHANU) have worked with TARSC to develop a Uganda Health Literacy manual and district level activities are now being implemented. The regional review meeting was held to review and share learning from the work to date.

Learning network on participatory action research set up after the Global Symposium on Health Systems Research

Institutions in EQUINET and partners from India, Guatemala and Canada hosted two sessions on participatory action research (PAR) at the Global Symposium on Health Systems Research in November 2010. Following this, a learning network was set up that covers all global regions to facilitate exchange and dialogue on this work. Delegates suggested that a learning network provide a communication channel through a mailing list, a website portal to access resources for PAR, and opportunities for face to face meeting and exchange of learning. The pra4equity mailing list has been widened to include all those interested in PAR in and beyond the region, and information sent on the symposium discussions. For further information on the symposium sessions, or if you would like to be included in the pra4equity mailing list please contact admin [at] (admin [at] ).

Learning network on health rights shares best practice around the right to health and community participation

The Learning Network for Health & Human Rights (South Africa) through University of Cape Town and HEPS-Uganda co-convened a regional meeting in Kampala Uganda on 8th October 2010 within the Regional Network for Equity in Heath in East and Southern Africa (EQUINET). The primary intention of the meeting was to enable the regional sharing of best practice around the right to health and community participation, as well as to explore the development of a toolkit / training manual on the Right to Health for Civil Society groups in the region. The report of the meeting is on the website. Please direct queries and interest in the learning network to admin [at] (admin [at] )


EQUINET through TARSC and Ifakara Health Institute is carrying out work on participatory mechanisms and approaches to people centred health systems. The work builds skills and gathers evidence together with country teams in nine countries in the region on how to strengthen participatory people centred health systems, and build community voice in planning and implementing health services. Reports of the past training meetings and follow up work are found on the website and will be reported at a pre-conference regional meeting on 22 September 2009.

EQUINET has noted that equity related work needs to define and build a more active role for important stakeholders in health, and to incorporate the power and ability people (and social groups) have to make choices over health inputs and their capacity to use these choices towards health. To do this requires a clearer analysis of the social dimensions of health and their role in health equity. This means exploring the role of social networking and exclusion, of the forms and levels of participation and of how systems distribute power and authority over the resources needed for health. EQUINET is through TARSC also building a programme of work to build capacities and media for direct community voice and knowledge such as through community writing, drama and other media.

On other areas of the site you can also view information on training,meetings and grants related to this area of EQUINET's work. You can also search publications produced by EQUINET and our annotated bibliography for documents related to this theme.