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Showcasing social science approaches to health systems and policy research

The mosaic of multi-disciplinary inferences in health policy and systems research. © A.S. George, J. Campbell, A. Ghaffar, and HPSR HRH reader collaborators.Edited by Stephanie M. Topp, Kerry Scott, Karen Daniels, and Ana Lorena Ruano
International Journal for Equity in Health

This special collection represents a critical response to the frequent silencing of qualitative, social science research approaches in mainstream public health journals, particularly in those that inform the field of health policy and systems research (HPSR), and the study of equity in health.

Presented by SHAPES, the thematic working group of Health Systems Global focused on social science approaches to research and engagement in health policy and systems, this collection showcases how qualitative and theory-driven approaches can contribute to better promoting equity in health within the field of HPSR.

This initial collection of six research papers and two commentaries cut across a range of social science approaches describing, and to differing extents deconstructing, the ways in which health systems interact with and exacerbate broader social and structural inequities. Two important threads that run through this collection include the ways in which global health policies are absorbed into, and impact on, national and subnational health systems; and the way different resources and mechanisms can be mobilized as a form of redress to various systemic inequities. The papers in this collection showcase just some of the ways in which social science methods generate important new knowledge that is both sensitive to context and which service as a means for 'un-silencing' voices on the margins.

Health Systems Global​​​​​​​Publication charges for select articles in this collection were funded by ​​​​​​​Health Systems Global. Articles have undergone the journal's standard peer-review process overseen by the Guest Editors, who declare no competing interests. 

View all collections published in International Journal for Equity in Health

Editorial
Showcasing the contribution of social sciences to health policy and systems research

This Special Issue represents a critical response to the frequent silencing of qualitative social science research approaches in mainstream public health journals, particularly in those that inform the field o...

Stephanie M. Topp, Kerry Scott, Ana Lorena Ruano and Karen Daniels

International Journal for Equity in Health 2018 17:145
Published on: 24 September 2018

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Commentary
What have the social sciences ever done for equity in health policy and health systems?

The social sciences can be defined as the scientific study of human society and social relationships.

Trisha Greenhalgh

International Journal for Equity in Health 2018 17:124
Published on: 24 September 2018

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Commentary
Are we entering a new era for qualitative research? Using qualitative evidence to support guidance and guideline development by the World Health Organization

Qualitative approaches are one of several methodologies utilised within the social sciences. New developments within qualitative methods are widening the opportunities for using qualitative evidence to inform ...

Simon Lewin and Claire Glenton

International Journal for Equity in Health 2018 17:126
Published on: 24 September 2018

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Research
The unintended consequences of combining equity measures with performance-based financing in Burkina Faso

User fees and poor quality of care contribute to low use of healthcare services in Burkina Faso. The government implemented an innovative intervention that combines equity measures with performance-based finan...

Anne-Marie Turcotte-Tremblay, Manuela De Allegri, Idriss Ali Gali-Gali and Valéry Ridde

International Journal for Equity in Health 2018 17:109
Published on: 24 September 2018
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Research
Socialization, legitimation and the transfer of biomedical knowledge to low- and middle-income countries: analyzing the case of emergency medicine in India

Medical specialization is a key feature of biomedicine, and is a growing, but weakly understood aspect of health systems in many low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), including India. Emergency medicine is...

Veena Sriram, Asha George, Rama Baru and Sara Bennett

International Journal for Equity in Health 2018 17:142
Published on: 24 September 2018

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Research
Gendered norms of responsibility: reflections on accountability politics in maternal health care in Malawi

This paper aims to provide insights into the role of traditional authorities in two maternal health programmes in Northern Malawi. Among strategies to improve maternal health, these authorities issue by-laws: ...

Elsbet Lodenstein, Kyra Pedersen, Kondwani Botha, Jacqueline E. W. Broerse and Marjolein Dieleman

International Journal for Equity in Health 2018 17:131
Published on: 24 September 2018

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Research
Examining intersectional inequalities in access to health (enabling) resources in disadvantaged communities in Scotland: advancing the participatory paradigm

Multiple structural, contextual and individual factors determine social disadvantage and affect health experience. There is limited understanding, however, of how this complex system works to shape access to h...

Anuj Kapilashrami and Sara Marsden

International Journal for Equity in Health 2018 17:83
Published on: 24 September 2018

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Research
Beyond the template: the needs of tribal women and their experiences with maternity services in Odisha, India

Over the past 15 years, several efforts have been made by the Government of India to improve maternal health, primarily through providing cash incentives to increase institutional child birth and strengthen se...

Sana Q. Contractor, Abhijit Das, Jashodhara Dasgupta and Sara Van Belle

International Journal for Equity in Health 2018 17:134
Published on: 24 September 2018

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Research
The health system accountability impact of prison health committees in Zambia

From 2013, the Zambian Corrections Service (ZCS) worked with partners to strengthen prison health systems and services. One component of that work led to the establishment of facility-based Prison Health Committe...

Stephanie M. Topp, Anjali Sharma, Chisela Chileshe, George Magwende, German Henostroza and Clement N. Moonga

International Journal for Equity in Health 2018 17:74
Published on: 24 September 2018

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