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Role of Health Systems Research Collaborative in Resilient Health Systems

Rakesh Sarwal

Effective decision-making requires policymakers to look at the health system as an entity greater than the sum of its parts (Sterman, 2006). Given the interdependent nature of the elements of the health system, effective collaboration is key to its optimal performance.

The recent flagship report of the Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research (Sheikh et al., 2021) highlights the need for building ‘learning’ health systems. The inadequate attention to the generation and utilisation of evidence in low- and middle-income economies has negatively affected their health systems, and COVID-19 pandemic has made these fault lines quite visible. Low investments in health systems research, historically, is one of the testimonies that it has never been a priority; the plodding results and benefits have probably compounded the problem.

But for informed decision-making, it is essential to have good quality evidence. Even more crucial is to have the capacity to generate good quality-evidence, an area where India needs to progress a lot. There is a need to identify and systematically strengthen the capacity of the researchers.

There is a paucity of active involvement of policymakers at all stages of research in India, right from identifying priority needs to utilising evidence for decision-making. A regular dialogue between researchers and policymakers is a rarity.

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