Health Systems Research Symposium, October 2018, Liverpool (4)

21 October, 2018

Reflections from HSR 2018 and a comment from me below. Full text here:


The Long and Winding Road: Partnerships, Self-Reliance, and the Path Forward

By Brittany Iskarpatyoti, MPH, MEASURE Evaluation

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND — It’s a wrap! The Global Health Systems Research (HSR) Symposium 2018 has officially ended. Posters have been taken down, booths have been packed up, delegates have flown back home—and now the real work happens.

But what is the path forward? In the final plenary session, the new Health Services Global Chair, Asha George, underlined the need to recommit to ensuring health for all, and to bring this spirit forward into current debates and action on the Sustainable Development Goals. (You can read the full statement here). Her thesis had a fundamental point: “We see silos and parallel conversations dividing the terrain into sectors, disciplinary perspectives, and groups—between North and South, practitioners and researchers, technical versus relational approaches. . . . We must nurture our brokers and bridge builders.”...

Conferences are always buzzing with possibilities and new connections. The desire to work together always seems strongest in these contexts; but this is not a sprint. This is a marathon down a long and winding road.


Comment (Neil PW): We also need better global health communications to bridge the 360-day (or 720-day) gap in-between major conferences like HSR (which I and many others were unable to attend in person due to cost). Global health discussion forums such as HIFA are currently run on a shoe-string (thanks to our large volunteer base) but could be 10X more effective with modest additional support. Better communication in-between major international conferences not only bridges the gap, but taps a huge collective resource of experience and expertise - and allows much greater inclusion and engagement to address complex global health challenges (such as improving the availability and use of reliable healthcare information).

Best wishes, Neil

Let's build a future where people are no longer dying for lack of healthcare information - Join HIFA:

HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (Healthcare Information For All - ), a global community with more than 18,000 members in 177 countries, interacting on five global forums in three languages. He also currently chairs the Dgroups Foundation (, which supports 800 communities of practice on international development, health and social justice. Twitter: @hifa_org FB: