As 2018 is just a few days old, it feels like a good time to reflect on what Health Systems Global as a society has achieved over the last year. 2017 was a busy year – we’ve had many exciting activities, and we’ve made significant progress on our strategic plan and in planning for HSR2018. Here are some highlights of our achievements during 2017 and some high-level plans for 2018.
Building the community
At the end of 2016 and the beginning of 2017, most of our 10 Thematic Working Groups (TWGs) held elections, and as a result, there has been a “changing of the guards”. Meet the TWG leaders and find out what the TWGs are up to.
Our TWGs played an active role in disseminating knowledge and building the skills of our members and followers through webinars and blog-posts. Over the course of the year, the society held 12 webinars, sent out 12 monthly newsletters and published 59 blog posts and news announcements on the HSG website. Our three most read blog posts* in 2017 were:
- Law regulation and policy: How do they impact Universal Health Coverage?
- Universal Health Coverage in crisis-affected contexts: The rhetoric and the reality
- The Syrian health workforce in crisis: Challenges and opportunities
Why not have a read, or look back through our vast collection of news and commentary on the HSG website?
Our webinars were well received, with 2,786 individuals registering and 828 participating from 52 countries (members and non-members alike) in our 12 webinars held in 2017. In addition, there were 871 downloads of the webinar recordings. See our complete list of webinars.
From April to June, BioMed Central (BMC) and HSG collaborated to deliver a series of five webinars to help open up the peer review and publication processes. If you missed it, you can find out more and watch the webinar recordings.
Advocating for the field and promoting our Society
HSG worked closely with the Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research to advocate for the field of HPSR. In May, we launched a film highlighting the crucial roles that the generation and use of health policy and systems research (HPSR) plays. Watch the film…
In addition, HSG had a presence at key events and conferences in 2017, including: the Global Evidence Summit in South Africa in September; the European Public Health Conference in Sweden, the Human Resources for Health Forum in Ireland and the Middle East and North Africa Health Policy Forum in Egypt, all in November; and, most recently, the Universal Health Coverage Forum in Japan in December. During the latter, HSG’s social media campaign for governments to support HPSR reached over 188,600 people.
HSG has contributed articles to a number of media outlets during 2017. Pieces were featured on and picked up by the likes of Devex, The Conversation, The Lancet Global Health, and the UK’s Financial Times.
As a result of societal and communications actions, HSG is attracting and engaging more followers. Subscribers to our monthly newsletter increased by 18% and reached 3,600 individuals. Our main HSG website attracted 55,000 visitors that is 15,000 more compared to 2016. TWG LinkedIn groups have grown between 14% – 50% during 2017. The main HSG LinkedIn group now counts 2,960 members or 14% more compared to the start of the year. Our Twitter followers increased by 32% up to 10,300 compared to 7,800 at the beginning of the year. Please carry on your activities through our social and web media in 2018 that seem to be benefitting so many individuals.
Connecting and growing HSG membership
We have listened to our members, and in response to requests expressed in the HSG membership survey, we launched an HSG membership directory in June, enabling HSG Members to make connections with each other.
Also during 2017 our membership increased from around 1500 to 1800 at the end of 2017 – a 20% increase. Diversity and inclusivity are core HSG values that we treasure as a society:
- 47% of members are from Academia, 19% from Government, 9% from Development agencies, 7% from civil society, and 7% from the private sector.
- 41% of members come from high-income countries, 37% belong to low or middle-income countries, and 22% are from upper-middle nations.
- Our membership spans 122 countries well spread across the sub-continents: East Asia & Pacific, North America and Sub-Saharan Africa contribute 20% each, 14% and 13% are from Europe & Central Asia and Latin America & Caribbean respectively, South Asia houses 8% of our members and the Middle East – 4%.
- HSG is also a gender sensitive society and close to 55% of members are female, and on the HSG Board only six out of 13-member board are male.
In November, HSG and Health Policy and Planning were delighted to launch a special supplement – Resilient and Responsive Health Systems for a Changing World – which reflects the richness of discussions at HSR2016: the Fourth Global Symposium on Health Systems Research.
And of course, due to the hard work of all of the organizing committees, significant progress has been made this year in the organization of the Fifth Global Symposium on Health Systems Research, which takes place 8-12 October in Liverpool. Some of the key achievements include: the identification of the theme with input from HSG members and stakeholders; the launch of the HSR2018 website; the opening of the call for abstracts and satellite sessions; our call for HSG Media Fellowship – results to be shared early next year; and a number of regional activities, including several meetings in Latin America and an Africa region webinar, all held to support HSR2018 abstract submissions.
Stay Tuned: What to Expect in 2018
We have a lot of exciting plans for 2018:
- HSG launched a call in 2017 for proposals to host HSR2020 and HSR2022 – the announcement is coming soon.
- HSG will be holding Board elections in 2018 to replace outgoing board members and recruit additional members so the Board size will reach its maximum – 15 individuals. We expect seven seats on the Board to be open for election. Please watch for the announcement and encourage colleagues to stand for a seat and be active during the voting process
- With AHPSR we will be launching the call for Societal Awards for 2018 to recognize and reward high standards of professional performance and contributions of individuals or organizations to the field of HPSR and health systems strengthening. Please think of potential candidates you may want to nominate.
- If you are a TWG member, please work closely with your TWG leads to plan and organize a session during our Fifth Global Symposium in Liverpool.
- Please submit your abstract for organized session before 15th January, and your individual abstract before 5th March 2018.
- Look out for HSR2018 registration, which opens in April 2018.
HSG’s Board Chair – Kabir Sheikh, who worked for the Public Health Foundation India (PHFI) in New Delhi will be moving to Geneva to take up a position with the Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research (AHPSR) from January 2018. At the request of Dr. Sheikh, and recusing him, the Board’s Governance Sub-Committee convened the HSG Board on potential implications that this move may have for HSG. The Board has taken measures to manage the administrative and managerial issues that could arise as a result of this dual affiliation. It was agreed that Dr. Sheikh will continue as Board Chair until the end of his term – October 2018 but that the Vice-chair, Dr. Asha George, and other board members will take on additional responsibilities as needed to manage any potential conflicting interests and situations that may arise. HSG will also continue to collaborate with the AHPSR within the framework of our existing memorandum of understanding. We wish Dr. Sheikh success in his new role and will continue to rely on his guidance as the Board Chair.
We’d like to thank all of our members, our Board and our partners for an incredibly productive 2017 full of exciting activities and outputs. Let’s take this energy into 2018 and make it an even better year!
On Behalf of HSG Secretariat
* Calculated by average monthly visits to the blog posts. Calls, news and announcements were excluded.