Latest Equinet Updates

A new portal page being developed on the EQUINET website on resources for Participatory Action Research
TARSC and pra4equity network: To be launched September 2017

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 is setting up in July/ August a PAR portal page called the “Participatory Action Research Portal”. The new portal will have a homepage and a series of ‘subpages’ for Training, resources - which will provide links to online training courses, whole training guides and reports of training activities; Methods, tools and ethics - which will provide links to online specific papers on PAR methods, to specific examples of tools, and to discussions/ guidelines on ethical issues; PAR work – which will provide links to stories, case studies, briefs, videos, text or photojournalism stories of PAR work, including facilitator reflections; Organisations and networks - which will provide the name, snippet of information, country and link to organisations and networks involved PAR; Publications - which will provide published journal papers and reports on PAR through links to the urls or on the EQUINET database and Other resources - which will provide ad hoc information that doesn’t fit anywhere else. The page is being worked on in July and August and will be launched in September 2017. A call has been made for institutions working with PAR to provide information on resources they would like the portal to make links to.

Country participatory action research facilitators as participants in a programme to develop online PAR
Call for applicants: Call closes July 7 2017

In 2017 EQUINET (through TARSC working with Maldaba a web design company) is developing a web platform for participatory action research (PAR) that would allow us to connect across countries on areas of local community level work and action on areas of health, health determinants and health systems that have wider regional and global relevance or relate to global policies being applied across our countries. In doing this we are building a new tool that will allow us to share, discuss, analyse and design actions across countries in the same way we have done so using PAR at local level, that we can use in future for many purposes. TARSC has opened a call for people with experience of PAR working in east and southern Africa who may be interested in being involved in this process. We will be taking forward the web platform for PAR between July 2017 and December 2019 working with eight sites and health workers and community members in a primary care facility in the site. We will be exploring how disease programme or funding targets such as for performance based financing are affecting health workers professionals roles and team work; health workers relationships with communities and the ability to deliver comprehensive primary health care. We invite people to apply to join the programme as country PAR facilitators. To participate in this programme we invite people who work in an organisation/ programme in a country in an east and southern African country; have had some exposure to PAR approaches; have access to internet; have ongoing work or interaction with at least one primary care centre and with the health workers and community members in it, such as through health centre committees, health literacy or other programmes; have primary care level services that are implementing some form of target driven funding or service delivery, such as in performance based financing or specific disease programmes, and are available for the activities, in the time frames and for the duration noted in the process above. If you are interested please email EQUINET at admin@equinetafrica.org by July 7th 2017 with your name, organisation, country and email address for communication, and: (1) list of any prior training received on PAR, with the course, institution providing the course and year; (2) A list of any PAR work you have implemented, with a line for each on what it was about and the year; (3) Confirmation that you have direct access to internet and what it costs you for a one hour session (if provided institutionally through your organisation please indicate this). (4) The name, location and urban/ rural location of a primary care centre that you regularly interact with, including with the health workers and community members, and whether the health workers and / or community members at this centre have access to the internet (not essential but useful). (5) The form of target driven funding or service delivery being implemented at the primary care service, (ie. performance based financing or specific disease programmes specify for what) and (6) Confirmation that you are available for the activities, in the time frames and for the duration noted in the process above. We will provide feedback to applicants who provide the full information above by last week of July.

EQUINET Regional review meeting on health centre committees as a vehicle for social participation June 2017
CWGH, TARSC, UCT and LDHMT: June 20-22, Harare

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 will be made available on the EQUINET website.

Global Health Diplomacy and regional health standards in the extractive sector, Session Report, 10 April 2017
ECSA Health Community; EQUINET: Arusha, Tanzania, 2017

This 2017 session within the Regional ECSA HC Best Practices Forum was convened by ECSA HC and EQUINET in line with HMC Resolution – ECSAHMC50/R2 and with proposals from the 2016 Regional meeting on GHD. The objectives of the meeting were to a. To share information on progress in the ECSA HC GHD programme and issues for policy dialogue and follow up work b. To present and discuss evidence supporting and proposals for harmonised regional standards on health in the extractive sector c. To review and discuss positions on selected agenda items in the 2017 World Health Assembly (WHA) agenda The meeting recommendations were further summarised and reviewed in the Best Practices Forum and then in the Directors Joint Consultative conference, where the outcome of what was formally recommended is separately reported by ECSA HC. Delegates were provided with specific background materials through distributed publications. The report is organised by theme, with the presentation and group discussions on each area shown together.

Using Policy dialogue to Strengthen Health Centre Committees as a Vehicle for Social Participation in Health System in East and Southern Africa. Report of Policy dialogue workshop
Zambia Ministry of Health; Lusaka District Health Office; TALC, CWGH

In a regional EQUINET programme led by Community Working Group on Health (CWGH) on health centre committees as a vehicle for social participation in health system in east and southern Africa, Lusaka DHO is building capacities and learning for the district and the wider country programme on policy and legal guidelines to support the effective interaction of communities in health centre committees (HCCs) that can be shared regionally. A workshop was held on 7th January 2016 in Lusaka to support and inform the objectives for the Zambia work, viz: 1.To compile and exchange information on the current laws and legal guidelines on the role and functioning of HCCs. 2.To develop through regional dialogue a model HCC guideline to be tabled and reviewed regionally. 3.To analyse and document how current laws compare to this guideline. 4.To advocate for strengthening of law and guidelines in regional and national policy forum.

10th ECSA Best Practices Forum and 26th Directors Joint Consultative Committee Meeting
ECSA HC: 10 to 12 April 2017, Arusha, Tanzania

The East, Central and Southern Africa Health Community (ECSA-HC) will host the
10th Best Practices Forum and 26th Directors Joint Consultative Committee from 10 to 12 April 2017 in Arusha, Tanzania. The theme is Promoting Multi-Sectoral Collaboration for Health through Sustainable Development Goals. The Conference will address its Theme through the following sub-themes:
1. Good Governance and Leadership Practices in the Health sector
2. Mitigating the Impact of emerging and re-emerging diseases.
3. Multi-Sectoral responses to Non-communicable Diseases.
4. Accountability for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescent Health post-2015
The scientific papers and best practices will form the basis for the recommendations that will be presented to the Health Ministers for further deliberation and adoption as resolutions. Further information is available on the website. EQUINET has a formal association with ECSA HC and will be represented at the meeting. EQUINET will host a joint session at the Best Practices Forum on Global Health Diplomacy including inputs on health standards in the extractive industries and on the forthcoming World Health Assembly agenda.

EQUINET Policy brief 42: Harmonising regional standards for extractive industry responsibilities for health in east and southern Africa
Loewenson R; Hinricher J; Papamichail A: TARSC, EQUINET, Harare

This brief aims to inform policy dialogue on the protection of health in extractive industries (EIs) in the mining sector in east and southern Africa (ESA). It outlines on pages 5-7 a proposal for a ‘Regional guidance on minimum standards for the duties and responsibilities of parties in the extractive sector for health and social protection’. EIs play a key economic role, but also bring health, environmental and social risks. International codes and guidance exist on the duties of corporate actors to control these risks and contribute to health. ESA country laws provide for some health protection in EIs, but all have gaps in legal provisions. In line with the intentions of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and other regional economic communities, standards and laws for the sector should be harmonised and brought in line with international standards. The proposal for regional guidance draws clauses from current laws in ESA countries, suggesting the feasibility of their wider application across the region.

Fair publication of qualitative research in health systems: a call by health policy and systems researchers
SHaPeS thematic working group of Health Systems Global, EQUINET, and Emerging Voices for Global Health, Daniels K; Loewenson R et al.: International Journal for Equity in Health 2016 15:98 doi:10.1186/s12939-016-0368-y

An open letter from Trisha Greenhalgh et al. to the editors of the British Medical Journal (BMJ) triggered wide debate by health policy and systems researchers globally on the inadequate recognition of the value of qualitative research and the resulting deficit in publishing papers reporting on qualitative research. One key dimension of equity in health is that researchers are able to disseminate their findings and that they are taken into account in a fair and just manner, so that they can inform health policy and programmes. While the 170 researcher cosignatories to this paper work on different aspects of health systems, all feel that more serious recognition of the value of qualitative research is required, including to disseminate evidence and contribute voice to advance equity in health. The researchers are particularly disenchanted by a general experience of the limited and often inadequate publication of qualitative research in the major health and medical journals, and the resultant loss of important insights for those working in, or concerned with, health services and systems, including around clinical decision-making. The article reports on the value of qualitative research to health systems and the ways it should be given greater profile in research publications.

10th ECSA Best Practices Forum and 26th Directors Joint Consultative Committee Meeting
ECSA HC: 10 to 12 April 2017, Arusha, Tanzania; Submission of Abstracts deadline: March 17, 2017

The East, Central and Southern Africa Health Community (ECSA-HC) will host the
10th Best Practices Forum and 26th Directors Joint Consultative Committee from 10 to 12 April 2017 in Arusha, Tanzania. The theme is Promoting Multi-Sectoral Collaboration for Health through Sustainable Development Goals. The Conference will address its Theme through the following sub-themes:
1. Good Governance and Leadership Practices in the Health sector
2. Mitigating the Impact of emerging and re-emerging diseases.
3. Multi-Sectoral responses to Non-communicable Diseases.
4. Accountability for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescent Health post-2015
The ECSA-HC is inviting abstracts of best practices and scientific papers that are relevant to the conference sub themes. The scientific papers and best practices should consist of case studies and evidence based programme experiences that are innovative, unique or have added value and new thinking in health. The abstracts and scientific papers will form the basis for the recommendations that will be presented to the Health Ministers for further deliberation and adoption as resolutions. Further information is available on the website. EQUINET has a formal association with ECSA HC and will be represented at the meeting.

Skills building on methods and tools for learning from action in participatory action research: Building action learning within affected actors and communities
Loewenson R; Flores W; Amaya A; London L; Koffa Kun K: Report of the workshop at the Global Symposium for Health Systems Research, November 2016

This three hour participatory skills session discussed methods/ tools to build learning from action as a key element of participatory action research (PAR) and briefly the implications for what this means for an understanding of ‘resilience’ in health systems. It was held as a satellite session at the 2016 Global Symposium on Health Systems Research. The session drew on approaches and experience from Africa, Latin America and participants globally to discuss the methods/tools, their application and their integration in health systems. It integrated input from two rounds of moderated discussion on these questions held on the pra4equity list prior to the Global Symposium. The EQUINET,TARSC, AHPSR, WHO, IDRC Methods Reader on PAR was also distributed. The session was attended by 62 delegates from all regions of the world.

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