Skip to main content

Call for papers - Advancing epidemic preparedness of health systems

Guest Editors:
Yibeltal Assefa Alemu: University of Queensland, Australia
Carl Abelardo T. Antonio​​​​​: University of the Philippines, Philippines
Julie ​​​Balen: Canterbury Christ Church University, United Kingdom
Megan Schmidt-Sane: Institute of Development Studies, United Kingdom

Submission Status: Open   |   Submission Deadline: 1 April 2024


BMC Health Services Research is calling for submissions to a Collection of articles on Advancing epidemic preparedness of health systems.

Along with recent public health emergencies and other disease outbreaks, the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed large and critical gaps at the level of health systems in terms of epidemic preparedness and their dramatic impact on access, delivery and quality of health care nationally and globally. This demonstrated how essential it is to prioritize actions to increase the capacity of institutions, health systems and emergency response agencies to detect, report and respond to epidemics.

Given the medium- and long-term impact of infectious diseases and epidemics on global health and health systems, research efforts in this area will enhance and fully sustain progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly to ‘ensure healthy lives and promoting well-being at all ages’.

Meet the Guest Editors

Back to top

Yibeltal Assefa Alemu​​​​​: University of Queensland, Australia

Dr Yibeltal Assefa Alemu is a Senior Lecturer in Health Systems at the School of Public Health, the University of Queensland. His research focuses on global health systems, universal health coverage and global health security. Prior to joining the University of Queensland in 2016, he gained health systems and disease control program relevant experiences over various duties. He led the design, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of several health system issues and disease control programs. He had a significant contribution to the development of implementation and treatment guidelines as well as monitoring and evaluation frameworks for disease control programs at National and Global levels. 

Carl Abelardo T. Antonio​​​​​: University of the Philippines, Philippines

Dr Carl Abelardo T. Antonio is Associate Professor of Health Administration in the University of the Philippines Manila. His research interest is in the delivery of health services and the management of local health systems in the Philippine setting, specifically focusing on the assessment of programs, projects, and services related to infectious diseases and mental health conditions. Concurrently, Dr Antonio is Chair of the Public Health Ethics Committee of the Philippine Department of Health and member of the Mental Health Research Advisory Group of the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development. 

Julie Balen: Canterbury Christ Church University, United Kingdom

Dr Julie Balen is Professor of Health Systems and Global Change at Canterbury Christ Church University, UK. She is also a Visiting Professor at Manmohan Memorial Institute of Health Sciences, Nepal, and an Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the Medical Research Council Unit, The Gambia, at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Julie is a research leader in the interdisciplinary field of Global Health, with over 20 years of experience. Her work spans across multiple disciplines and areas, including health systems, disease control, disasters and emergencies, and reproductive health. Julie works closely with multiple academic and non-academic partners in selected settings across Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, in particular China, Nepal, Ghana and The Gambia, aiming to transform health systems, especially among under-served populations. Julie has extensive experience in teaching and supervision and a passion for professional development and capacity building. 

Megan Schmidt-Sane: Institute of Development Studies, United Kingdom

Dr Megan Schmidt-Sane is a medical anthropologist with interdisciplinary training and experience in global health. She is a Research Fellow with the Health and Nutrition cluster at the Institute of Development Studies in Brighton, United Kingdom. Her focus is on political economy of health and infectious diseases, primarily those with epidemic/pandemic potential, with ethnographic experience in India, Uganda, Nigeria, and the United Kingdom. She is primarily interested in urban sites, particularly urban informal settlements and how conditions of precarity and uncertainty intersect with vulnerability to illness and disease. She uses participatory and policy-engaged approaches in her research, including through her work as part of the Social Science in Humanitarian Action Platform (SSHAP) which works to improve the use of social science approaches and data to inform humanitarian action and epidemic response.

About the collection

BMC Health Services Research is calling for submissions to a Collection of articles on Advancing epidemic preparedness of health systems.

The term epidemic preparedness encompasses all the activities that are undertaken from the national to the local health facility levels to be ready and respond effectively to disease outbreaks.

Along with recent public health emergencies and other disease outbreaks, the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed large and critical gaps at the level of health systems in terms of epidemic preparedness and their dramatic impact on access, delivery and quality of health care nationally and globally. This demonstrated how essential it is to prioritize actions to increase the capacity of institutions, health systems and emergency response agencies to detect, report and respond to epidemics.

A broad field of health services research captures and applies recent lessons on managing epidemics, maintaining essential health services, and recovering from any potential outbreak and aims to design, implement, and evaluate timely, integrated, and adequate health system-wide responses.

Given the medium- and long-term impact of infectious diseases and epidemics on global health and health systems, research efforts in this area will enhance and fully sustain progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly to ‘ensure healthy lives and promoting well-being at all ages’.

Thus, this collection seeks to present research aiming to advance epidemic preparedness at the health systems level. We, therefore, welcome submissions that cover all aspects of this collection topic. Some of the general topics that authors could find relevant for this special issue can cover, but are not limited to:

  • Interventions at the health system level to prepare communities and healthcare workers, respond to and recover from outbreaks
  • Positive experiences with implementation of new health services and healthcare strategies to cope with the disease outbreaks
  • Epidemic/ Community control programs


Image credit: © Mohammed Elshamy / abaca / dpa

  1. The vast region of northern Queensland (NQ) in Australia experiences poorer health outcomes and a disproportionate burden of communicable diseases compared with urban populations in Australia. This study exami...

    Authors: Alexandra Edelman, Tammy Allen, Susan Devine, Paul F. Horwood, Emma S. McBryde, Julie Mudd, Jeffrey Warner and Stephanie M Topp
    Citation: BMC Health Services Research 2024 24:104
  2. Rapid diagnostic testing may support improved treatment of COVID patients. Understanding COVID testing and care pathways is important for assessing the impact and cost-effectiveness of testing in the real worl...

    Authors: Gabrielle Bonnet, John Bimba, Chancy Chavula, Harunavamwe N. Chifamba, Titus Divala, Andres G. Lescano, Mohammed Majam, Danjuma Mbo, Auliya A. Suwantika, Marco A. Tovar, Pragya Yadav, Elisabeth L. Corbett, Anna Vassall and Mark Jit
    Citation: BMC Health Services Research 2023 23:1288

Submission Guidelines

Back to top

This Collection welcomes submission of original Research Articles. Should you wish to submit a different article type, please read our submission guidelines to confirm that type is accepted by the journal. Articles for this Collection should be submitted via our submission system, Snapp. During the submission process you will be asked whether you are submitting to a Collection, please select "Advancing epidemic preparedness of health systems" from the dropdown menu.

Articles will undergo the journal’s standard peer-review process and are subject to all of the journal’s standard policies. Articles will be added to the Collection as they are published.

The Editors have no competing interests with the submissions which they handle through the peer review process. The peer review of any submissions for which the Editors have competing interests is handled by another Editorial Board Member who has no competing interests.