caption Credit: 'Ibtisam, (left) instructs a class in midwifery at the Health Service Institute' in Republic of Yemen by Dana Smillie / World Bank (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Health Systems in Fragile and Conflict-Affected Settings

The Health Systems in Fragile and Conflict-Affected Settings Thematic Working Group (TWG-FCAS) draws upon the breadth of experience of key actors in health in fragile and conflict-affected settings and promotes research, policy and advocacy actions to contribute to the development and implementation of responsive and context-specific health systems.

Healthcare in fragile settings remains a challenge, with poor performance on many health-related goals. But little evidence exists on appropriate approaches for health systems strengthening in such settings. The TWG FCAS is an active group of more than 2,000 members that aims to connect and engage researchers, policymakers, donors, practitioners, health managers and providers, educators, civil society, private sector, and beneficiaries to advance the field of HSPR in FCAS.

Objectives

  • connect and network with a broad range of actors on issues related to health systems in FCAS
  • share knowledge, information and resources on these issues and promote research uptake
  • promote advocacy for health systems and health systems research in FCAS,
  • ensure capacity strengthening and skills-knowledge brokering.

Coordination

The group is managed by a Steering Committee, and supported by an expert advisory group – Ann Canavan, Harry Coleman, Stephen Commins, Andre Griekspoor, Amina Jama, Sumit Mazumdar, Nigel Pearson and Irene Torres.

Members are welcome to contribute to the TWG with ideas or supporting specific activities and tasks. Contact the Steering Committee at twgfcas@gmail.com.

Activities

Members exchange knowledge and information and develop networks through the TWG FCAS’ LinkedIn and Google Groups. Regular communication is maintained via those groups with members’ posts and exchange as well as a bimonthly Newsletter and an annual “business meeting” open to all members. Face-to-face meetings are planned, often around the HSR Symposia.

For each biennia, three guiding themes are selected around which the main activities of the TWG FCAS focus. For 2023-2024, themes are (i) the concept of “fragility” revisited (ii) Healthcare and health systems response for refugees and migrants, (iii) Health System Strengthening (HSS) in FCAS: principles and experiences. To accompany the themes, a series of activities are envisaged, including blogs, online webinars, and publications. The TWG FCAS also organize the webinar series “Talking Points” on topical issues and debates on health systems in fragile settings. These activities aim to be members’ led and members are encouraged to actively contribute their ideas and support.

Past activities of the TWG FCAS include:

Newsletter

Newsletter

Access the December 2023 Newsletter - latest news, events, resources and opportunities from the TWG-FCAS

Read more

Facilitators

Egbert Sondorp

Egbert Sondorp

Chair, Steering Committee member

Maria Bertone

Maria Bertone

Vice-Chair, Steering Committee member

Barbara Profeta

Barbara Profeta

Steering Committee member

Sharon Low

Sharon Low

Steering Committee member

Ali Ardalan

Ali Ardalan

Steering Committee member

Egbert Sondorp

Egbert Sondorp

Chair, Steering Committee member

Egbert is Public Health Specialist, with expertise in health systems. He has 30 years of experience in international health, as field practitioner, manager and academic. A specific area of interest is health in FCAS. Most recently he worked with KIT in the Netherlands. Prior positions included Senior Lecturer at LSHTM and Medical Director with MSF (Holland).

Maria Bertone

Maria Bertone

Vice-Chair, Steering Committee member

Maria has 15 years of experience working on health systems in Africa, with a focus on FCAS. She is lecturer at QMU, Edinburgh, teaching and researching on multiple projects. Previously, Maria worked as ODI Fellow in Burundi, technical advisor on health financing in numerous African countries, and researcher at ITM in Antwerp. Maria holds a PhD from LSHTM.

Barbara Profeta

Barbara Profeta

Steering Committee member

Barbara is Senior Regional health advisor at SDC and has over twenty years of humanitarian and development aid experience in a dozen countries on four continents, with a major focus on FCAS. She holds a PhD from LSHTM and is a Honorary Associate at IDS (Sussex).

Sharon Low

Sharon Low

Steering Committee member

Sharon has 15+ years' experience in transitional management and complex operations in challenging environments. She has managed M&E and HIS systems and works with traditional and spatial-temporal data, experimenting with remote sensing and social media.

Ali Ardalan

Ali Ardalan

Steering Committee member

Ali is a public health professional with about two decades of experience in health emergency management in various managerial, policymaking, and academic capacities. Currently, he is Regional Adviser and Head of Health Systems in Emergencies Lab at WHO EMRO, working on HDPNx, health systems recovery, and health of refugees and migrants. Dr. Ardalan was a Professor at Tehran University of Medical Sciences and a Visiting Scientist at Harvard School of Public Health.

Collection of Resources and linked Key Issue Guides

Collection of Resources and linked Key Issue Guides

This collection has been collated as part of the Eldis platform, to help those working in these challenging settings to better access relevant published literature and other resources, including relevant organizations, in support of their work. It will be kept as up-to-date as possible and we welcome suggestions for additional relevant resources and other material, including organizations/projects. If you have suggestions for such additional material, please email twgfcascollection@gmail.com with details for consideration by the TWG-FCAS.

Find out more

Publications and resources

Community health workers (CHWs) have been shown to play a major role within health systems, especially in fragile and conflict-affected settings (FCAS). This webinar explores: 1. Improved integration between CHW programs and the wider health systems. 2. The flexibility of roles of CHWs in changing contexts. 3. CHW programs in conflict-related contexts need to work in contested political contexts. 4. FCAS may present particular challenges for the mental health of both the population and those providing support, including CHWs.

There is increasing interest amongst donors in investing in the health sectors of fragile and conflict-affected states, although there is limited research evidence and research funding to support this. Agreeing priority areas is therefore critical. This paper describes an 18-month process to develop a consultative research agenda and questions for health systems research, providing reflections on the process as well as its output.

Led by the Thematic Working Group on Health Systems in Fragile and Conflict-Affected States (TWG-FCAS), the primary aim of this study was to develop a research agenda on health systems reseacrh (HSR) in FCAS. The secondary aim was to identify the challenges associated with conducting HSR in these contexts. This paper presents these challenges.

This document outlines the Strategic Plan for 2018-2020 that guides the Thematic Working Group on Health Systems in Fragile and Conflict Affected Settings (TWG-FCAS).

This report outlines the proceedings and discussions at a session on building health systems resilience in fragile states emerging from conflict or other forms of severe disruption which was organized by the Thematic Working Group on Health Systems in Fragile and Conflict-Affected States (TWG-FCAS) at the Fourth Global Symposium on Health Systems Research.

This report is about the Research Communication and Uptake forum, which took place at the Holiday Inn in Harare on 14 September 2015.

The minutes of the business meeting of the Thematic Working Group on Fragile and Conflict-Affected States (FCAS-TWG), which took place during the Forth Global Symposium on Health Systems Research in Vancouver on 16 November 2016.