Health Systems in Fragile and Conflict Affected States

This thematic working group draws upon the breadth of experience of key actors in health in fragile and conflict affected states and promotes research, policy and advocacy actions to contribute to the development and implementation of responsive and context-specific health systems.


Healthcare in fragile and conflict-affected states (FCAS) remains a real challenge, with poor performance on many health-related goals. But little evidence exists on appropriate approaches for health systems strengthening in such settings. The Thematic Working Group (TWG) on Health Systems in Fragile and Conflict Affected States, part of Health Systems Global, brings together researchers, policy-makers, fundersand implementers to work towards better health systems in FCAS.

The group has been growing steadily and we now have over 400 members on our LinkedIn site. Connecting us all up is already a major achievement. We have recruited 8 people who have demonstrated a strong interest in the work of the TWG to act as an expert advisory group for the steering committee and TWG - Lara Ho, Ann Canavan, Fadi El-Jardali, Jason Nickerson, Khalifa Emulsharaf, Olga Bornemisza, Aniek Woodward, Steve Commins and Nigel Pearson.

Objectives of the TWG

  1. Create or identify new knowledge through multi-disciplinary research on strengthening health systems in fragile and conflict affected states.

  2. Foster research on the application of new knowledge in real world settings, i.e. implementation science.

  3. Disseminate current and new knowledge.

  4. Support knowledge translation through the engagement of relevant policy makers.

  5. Further develop the TWG and associated network.

  6. Contribute to the multidisciplinary health system research capacity of organisations and individuals located in FCAS.

Key outputs of the TWG

  • The TWG is an active forum on all aspects of health systems in FCAS, drawing on the experience of a broad range of stakeholders to promote research and action for resilient, responsive, context specific health systems.

  • We have supported a special issue of Conflict and Health: “Filling the void: Health systems in fragile and conflict affected states", with highly accessed papers. We have done a survey on research priorities on health systems in FCAS, and are developing aconcept paper to provide some clarity for governments, donors and others working in these settings.

  • We are active in sharing this and other knowledge on health systems in FCAS, including through webinars and Tweet chats, and at workshops and conferences, including the biennial Global Symposium on Health Systems Research.

  • Always seeking to expand our network, our recent call for proposals to host meetings to promote dialogue on health systems in FCAS has supported events in Iraq, Liberia and Zimbabwe.

  • With a new expert advisory panel in place, the group is ready to further develop its activities.


Future plans

  • Finalise and disseminate the findings of the research needs exercise.

  • Publish the reports from the small research engagement grants

  • Identify sources of funding to support researchers based in FCAS to carry out health systems research

  • Publish the editorial for the special issue of Conflict and Health and continue to promote the papers using social media

  • Plan activities for the Fourth Health Systems Symposium in Vancouver in November 2016

Contact person

Jan Randles - Secretary to the Thematic Working Group


We are grateful to the Wellcome Trust for financial support for a number of our activities.

Group facilitators

  • Suzanne Fustukian

    Steering Committee Member
  • Tim Martineau

    Steering Committee Member
  • Egbert Sondorp

    Steering Committee Member
  • Goran Zangana

    Steering Committee Member
  • Jan Randles

    Secretary to Thematic Working Group

Fragile and Conflict Affected States TWG at HSR 2016

What are the members of the Health Systems in Fragile and Conflict Affected States TWG up to at the Fourth Global Symposium on Health Systems Research? Find out on the FCAS TWG at the Symposium webpage!

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With talk of ‘wake up calls’ and ‘windows of opportunity’ the Ebola outbreak in West Africa has prompted attention to health systems in conflict-affected and fragile states. But how can research support strengthened systems which suit the needs and desires of citizens from a range of countries that have been touched by conflict? How should we prioritise our support? Where do we need to build an evidence base?

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Publications and Resources

Get involved

The easiest way to engage with the TWG is to join the LinkedIn group. Alternatively, you can contact We are looking for individuals who are willing to devote some time to contribute to the work to be done in the steering committee, the advisory group or one of subcommittee.

Join our group