Systems Thinking for Health Systems Strengthening

Health Policy and Planning Supplement on Systems Thinking

A special issue in Health Policy and Planning with a focus on systems thinking was published on 27 September 2012 entitled: “Systems thinking for health systems strengthening in LMICs: Seizing the opportunity.”

The Supplement production was sponsored by the Alliance and gathers studies funded by various funders, including, but not limited to, the Alliance.

While there remains a substantial research agenda to inform and encourage wider applications of systems thinking in LMICs, the findings presented in this special issue not only provide evidence of the added value of systems thinking in strengthening health systems, but also illustrate the range of relevant approaches and strategies that need to be explored or adapted.

The Supplement was launched at the Second Global Symposium on Health Systems Research in Beijing, on 1 November 2012. The launch was an opportunity to present the findings and key messages discussed in the Supplement, with the overall objective to share experiences and to provoke debate on how we can incorporate the complex nature of health systems in designing, implementing and evaluating health systems strengthening interventions.

The session consisted of a brief introduction by the Chair of the session and Co-editor of the supplement (Taghreed Adam) who introduced the topic and the main research questions addressed by the papers included in the Supplement. This was followed by three presentations by three of the Supplement lead authors describing their approach, findings and lessons learnt: Dr Irene Agyepong (Specialist Public Health, University of Ghana School of Public Health, Chair of the Alliance STAC and Chair of the newly created Health Systems Global), Professor David Peters (Director of the Health Systems Program at the John Hopkins University) and Dr Chad Swanson (Emergency Physician and lecturer of International Health and Health Systems at Brigham Young University). The supplement includes the following papers:

Free access to the full content of the supplement is available from the Journal's web site.