Paper: Conceptual framework for systemic capacity strengthening for health policy and systems research

Capacity strengthening in global health has often been understood as a responsibility of those based in high-income countries (HICs) as part of their partnership arrangements with those based in LMICs. For example, encouraged by funders, principal investigators of international projects who are based in HICs may assume responsibility for capacity strengthening of LMIC-based collaborators, with both sides under-recognising assets in LMICs and overestimating assets in HICs. While this trend is gradually changing, such an approach highlights the need for a new approach to capacity strengthening for health policy and systems research (HPSR) among all partners irrespective of their location.

The framework was developed drawing on available literature and was peer-reviewed by the Board and Thematic Working Groups of Health Systems Global. While the framework focuses on HPSR, it may provide a useful heuristic for systemic approaches to capacity strengthening more generally; facilitate its mainstreaming within organisations and networks and help maintain a focused approach to, and structure repositories of resources on, capacity strengthening.