SUPPORT-SYSTEMS (38) Reflections on the first week of our discussion (3)

19 May, 2022

Dear Goran

Thank you for sharing insights from your case study [ ]. I completely agree that a research question focused on civil society's role in promoting inclusiveness and accountability in health policymaking must also look to informal, temporary and more "loosely organized" groups whose activity may fluctuate over time and increase in intensity in response to sudden events, e.g. emergent health threats or a political decision.

Regarding your point on civil society organisations specialized in other non-health specific areas turning their attention to health, this reminded me of case study work I did in the United States on the increasing efforts of health care organizations to identify social needs of the populations served by their clinical sites. Among the key findings was that many community-based organizations, who previously had not considered health as part of their mandate, were now deeply involved in the health care & public health space, to fill gaps not covered by the government or the health care organizations themselves.

Finally, the formal definition of "civil society" - at least the one use - is not tied to "civil society" being represented through organizations. However, I can see how it might be natural to focus on the activities of more established (or "fixed") organizations and thereby risk underrepresenting the amount of activity produced by civil society to inform health policymaking. We will take this into account when finalizing our review protocol.

Best wishes


HIFA profile: Unni Gopinathan is a Senior Scientist aat Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Norway. Unni is joint coordinator of the HIFA working group on SUPPORT-SYSTEMS: How can decision-making processes for health systems strengthening and universal health coverage be made more inclusive, responsive and accountable?

Email: Unni.Gopinathan AT