Health systems research: developing partnerships to understand and improve health

Health systems research: developing partnerships to understand and improve health

Organised by: MRC/Wits-Agincourt Research Unit, University of the Witwatersrand and Centre for Global Development, University of Aberdeen on 14 November 2016

The Verbal Autopsy and Participatory Action Research (VAPAR) project has developed a method to connect health authorities, communities and researchers to jointly undertake research of mutual benefit.

This work has been progressed with support from the DFID/MRC/ESRC/Wellcome Trust Health Systems Research Initiative by the MRC/Wits Rural Public Health and Health Transitions Research Unit (Agincourt) of Wits University, the Mpumalanga Provincial Department of Health, and the Universities of Aberdeen in Scotland and Umeå in Sweden.

In VAPAR, researchers, communities and health systems stakeholders worked to generate evidence on disease profiles, levels and causes of death, health systems and social determinants, and priorities for action. With a focus on health systems stakeholders, the outputs are being disseminated to investigate relevance, and to reflect on the method as a means of sustainable and self-administered evaluation and planning.

Download full event details including biographies and session summaries (pdf)


Programme

Keynote Address: Contributions of the MRC/Wits-Agincourt Unit and the INDEPTH Network

Professor Kathleen KahnProfessor Kathleen Kahn, Senior Scientist: MRC/Wits Rural Public Health and Health Transitions Research (Agincourt), Professor: Health and Population Division, School of Public Health, University of the Witwatersrand.

This presentation will focus on the history and development of the MRC/Wits Agincourt Research Unit and its contributions to International Health Research through the INDEPTH Network. Important results and health planning implications from the research conducted in the Unit will be presented. The position of the VAPAR project within the structure of the Unit will be described.

Presentation: Contributions of the MRC/Wits-Agincourt Unit and the INDEPTH Network (pdf)

Kathy co-founded the MRC/Wits Rural Public Health and Health Transitions Research Unit (Agincourt) and uses her experience in public health research to enhance child and adolescent health and development, understand of burden of disease, provide post graduate training, build sustainable health research partnerships across the world, and contribute to public health prioritisation for planning and delivering appropriate interventions.


Stakeholder Engagement Office: how we work together to produce and use data

Ms Rhian TwineMs Rhian Twine, Head of Stakeholder Engagement Office MRC/Wits Rural Public Health and Health Transitions Research (Agincourt) School of Public Health, University of the Witwatersrand.

This presentation will describe the public participation methods and plans in the MRC/Wits-Agincourt Unit, and will include input from the MCWYHN Directorate with whom the Stakeholder Engagement Office, together with VAPAR and PRICELESS have been engaging for the past 3 years.

Presentation: Public engagement –towards a research-smart community (pdf)

Rhian has been working in public health in rural areas of South Africa for 27 years and focusses on public engagement in longitudinal health research.


Verbal Autopsy and Participatory Action Research (VAPAR) project

Dr Lucia D'AmbruosoDr Lucia D’Ambruoso, Deputy Director, Centre for Global Development, and Lecturer in Global Health University of Aberdeen

This presentation will report on the development of a people-centred health systems research method called VAPAR. VAPAR is a method to combine VA data describing mortality in large groups of people in terms of medical causes and social and systems circumstances.

These data are then combined with local knowledge gained from Participatory Action Research (PAR), a process in which communities organise evidence for action. The method is embedded in the health system at different levels throughout to ensure practical relevance.

Presentation: Verbal Autopsy and Participatory Action Research (VAPAR) project (pdf)

Lucia is a social scientist working in Global Health for over 15 years. She is interested in health inequalities and the role of research to foster empowerment, inclusion and partnerships.


Venue: Hotel the Winkler, White River, MP, South Africa

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