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Cutting edge health systems research to influence policy and practice for improved health outcomes

DSCF6848.JPGHST’s research contributes to informing and transforming public health policy and practice. Within the ambit of priority health programmes, we adopt a systems approach to cover a wide range of focus areas including leadership and governance, financing, service delivery, human resources and health information.

Recognising the need to understand the quality of care and the state of infrastructure at healthcare facilities ahead of National Health Insurance, the National Healthcare Facilities Baseline Audit was commissioned to assess improvements required to comply with the National Core Standards. The Audit focused on the six ministerial priority areas for improving patient-centred care and recommended the future planning investments for strengthening the national health system. The report continues to inform quality improvement initiatives at implementation level in the health facilities.

Shortfalls identified in our health system are being addressed under the Primary Health Care Reengineering Programme, a pivotal initiative that seeks to accelerate implementation of programmes and services through systematic building and strengthening of provincial, district and sub-district management teams’ capacity to implement the PHC re-engineering strategy.

The National Health Research Database (NHRD) is an electronic system established to track and monitor all health research being conducted and ethical approvals granted in health facilities across South Africa. The web based database was funded by the NDoH and developed to facilitate efficient research administration and an easy application process for researchers.

The report entitled Documenting Good Practices in the Public Health Sector of South Africa: From policy to practice presented insights into the range of initiatives taking place within the South African public health sector, and facilitates understanding about good practice identification and knowledge-sharing for improved management and service delivery.

As part of a World Health Organization multi-country initiative to propel universal health coverage, HST co-authored the paper Monitoring and Evaluating Progress towards Universal Health Coverage in South Africa which was published in PLOS Medicine.

HST was commissioned to revise the Draft Policy Framework and Strategy for Disability and Rehabilitation Services Disability Strategy and Framework for providing access to services for the disabled at all levels of the South African health system.

The Injury Morbidity Surveillance in Khayelitsha and Nyanga has focused on establishing a risk profile for non-fatal injuries at district-level hospitals and community health centres.