A Series of Briefs on Health Systems and Policy Analysis

Health systems are complex; thus, many research approaches are used understand and assess them. Three new Countdown to 2030 briefs aim to support researchers and policy makers,  to understand the value of and approaches available using health policy and systems research in women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health. These briefs address three topics– exploring lenses and levels of health systems, health policy analysis, and contextual factors.

The briefs were developed by one of Countdown to 2030’s six data & analysis centers, the health policy and systems data & analysis center, led by researchers from the University of the Western Cape in South Africa. Each brief includes an overview of the approach or topic including what it is, why to consider it, how to do it, and examples from the literature to further understand it.

Beyond health systems building blocks explores the different lenses, or understandings, of health systems and levels of analysis. It provides a quick look into each lens – service delivery, social, and systems – and how to use each to look into the complexities of health systems. It also summaries the three levels of analysis: micro (individual), meso (institutional), and macro (policy and political environment). The brief includes examples from the literature of applying the different lenses and levels using health policy and systems research for assessing women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health.

Health policy analysis  is the systematic study of all factors, people, processes that impact on the way a policy is developed, formulated and implemented. This brief gives guidance on how to identify what to study and how to study it using health policy analysis, including different study designs and frameworks available. The brief also provides a repository of resources, tools and literature on to health policy analysis.

The context brief explains how and why to research the contextual factors that surround health policy and systems for women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health. It explains four key points to consider – research question(s), available data, changes over time, and the time and effort needed for various analyses. Like the other briefs, it references other resources, tools and literature that are available.

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