Will you be at the 3rd Global Symposium on Health Systems Research in Cape Town? The CoPs will. We want your input, ideas, and collaboration at our CoP satellite session in Cape Town on September 29.
It’s hard to believe it has already been two years since the Beijing Health Systems Research (HSR) Symposium, where we had our first opportunity to introduce the Communities of Practice (CoPs) supported by Harmonization for Health in Africa (HHA) to the Global Health Community. At the time we presented a panel with some preliminary data on the first 18 months of their experience, as well as a conceptual framework for evaluating CoPs. Since then, membership in these CoPs – Performance-based financing, Financial access to health services, Service Delivery, Health Systems Planning and Budgeting, among others – has grown dramatically, and today some 3,000+ experts from 65+ countries with diverse profiles are contributing to exchanging knowledge and experiences continuously across the continent, and equally as importantly, across niches of knowledge.
Maymouna Ba, Allison Kelley, Joel Arthur
Kiendrebeogo, and Justin Tine at the CoP stand
at the March 2014 AfHEA conference in Nairobi
Since Beijing, we have held multiple workshops with more than 600 participants, published original research and policy briefs, advancing knowledge around key issues such as fee exemption policies, health financing, information technology and innovation, and rethinking the health district in Africa. More than 50 original blogposts have been published on what has become the most well-read blog on Health Financing in Africa. We have also seized every opportunity to better communicate and raise visibility about how CoPs work and what they can contribute.
Moreover, we are actively and openly learning and exchanging about the CoP model; linking up facilitators and applying the monitoring and evaluation framework to begin to better understand and document the CoP “phenomenon.” Collectively, we have learned a lot.
CoPs have officially arrived on the global health landscape, it would seem.
This year’s 3rd HSR Symposium will be in Cape Town, South Africa, and, being on the continent, offers a great opportunity to bring the HHA CoPs together. The HSR Symposium is always a “grande messe”, drawing many researchers and other health systems experts. This year, the theme is“People-centered health Systems” and organizers made the “experience of learning communities and knowledge translation platforms engaged in strengthening health systems” one of four priority dimensions of the theme (although unfortunately they did not accept any abstracts submitted on the HHA CoPs to our knowledge…).
With UNICEF’s support, the HHA CoPs are organizing a satellite session on Monday September 29 (10.00-14.00). We invite all CoP members attending the Symposium to this session, but also encourage anyone who wants to know more about CoPs and feels ready to challenge traditional models of development assistance to join us.
The aim of this interactive session is to provide a forum for exchange and networking for CoPs, their members, those wishing to explore collaboration, and those seeking to learn more about them. Using a highly participatory approach and concrete examples, we will explore lessons from the CoP experience from a variety of perspectives: as facilitators, researchers, promoters, and members/stakeholders. We want your input, ideas, and collaboration! This is also your chance to hear about the results of the 12-country Muskoka-Cordaid-CoP collaborative study on health financing fragmentation, as well as our plans for an exciting new webinar series, among other things.
This is your chance to contribute to building a strategic vision for the future for your CoPs.
Boosting visibility and recruiting new members (especially young researchers and African experts!) are also objectives for the CoPs at the Symposium. We will have a CoP stand in the marketplace that will serve as a central meeting place, and we are counting on you to come and get involved.
Please join us, and also help us spread the word about the CoP satellite session. If you plan to attend, we would appreciate it if you could send an email to Isidore Sieleunou at firstname.lastname@example.org (drop-ins also welcome).