Alliance inaugurates the first health policy and systems institute in Africa
On 8 November 2017, the Alliance inaugurated the first health policy and systems institute in Africa: the African Institute for Health Policy and Health Systems, at Ebonyi State University, in Abakaliki, Nigeria. The institute’s primary mandate of work is in the field of health policy and systems research.
The inception of the Institute can be traced back to 2008, when Professor Jesse Uneke, Director and Founder of the Institute for Health Policy and Health Systems, attended the Global Development Conference in Brisbane, Australia, which included a workshop session titled ‘Interdisciplinary Research for Development.’ The workshop reflected on the key implications for using an interdisciplinary approach for research. Putting theory into practice, just three months later Professor Uneke established an interdisciplinary Health Policy and Systems Research team at Ebonyi State University.
“Grants along with the technical support received from the Alliance, enabled the team to develop adequate research skills and capacity in HPSR as well as for evidence-informed policy-making in Nigeria,” said Professor Uneke. The team went on to and continues to work extensively with national, state, and local government policy-makers on evidence-to-policy processes.
At the inauguration, Executive Director of the Alliance Dr Abdul Ghaffar said that “through research, teaching, networking, fellowships, and academic exchange programmes among others, the targets of the World Health Organization aimed at offering better health for the people of the world can be achieved.”
To further strengthen the capacity of policy-makers, in 2012 Professor Uneke’s research team developed a three-month Executive Certificate Course on Health Policy. Professor Francis Idike, Vice-Chancellor of Ebonyi State University, reported “Over 120 stakeholders in the health sector including researchers, policy-makers, non-governmental organization officials, and health practitioners have been trained in the three-month executive certificate course since 2012.”
The establishment of the Institute is a demonstration of the University’s Governing Council, Management, and Senate’s resolve to position the University as an international citadel of excellence in research and learning.
“We have permanently institutionalized health policy and health systems research in this part of the world,” said Uneke.