18 November 2016

AMDD at HSR2016

From November 14-18, 2016, AMDD staff participated in Health Systems Global’s Fourth Global Symposium on Health Systems Research (HSR2016) in Vancouver, Canada.  The conference, which focused on creating resilient, responsive, and innovative health systems to address health needs in a changing world, provided a unique opportunity for AMDD staff to share their research on health systems strengthening, accountability, and human resources for health and to learn from like-minded colleagues.

At the conference, AMDD’s Shanon McNab discussed the organization’s work with Medical Licentiate Practitioner cadres in Zambia in the “Task-shifting to improve care delivery” session. A colleague from Community Health Promotion Kenya (CHPK) was also present to share AMDD and CHPK’s findings on clinical officers’ roles in improving comprehensive emergency obstetric care in Kenya.

In a session titled “Power in health service provision: articulating and mediating women’s reproductive rights and justice,” Marta Schaaf presented a literature review on the issue of informal payments in maternal health care.

Schaaf represented AMDD in two satellite sessions at the conference. The first, a clinic on human resources for health (HRH) governance, explored best practices in HRH governance and lessons learned from different global contexts.  The second was convened by the Community of Practitioners on Accountability and Social Action in Health.  The session concerned equitable and productive research partnerships between academics in the global North and practitioners/activists in the global South.

AMDD Director Lynn Freedman also participated in a special satellite session hosted by IDEAS on measurement, learning, and evaluation for maternal and newborn health. The panel addressed topics including scale up and the role of data in maternal health projects.

On the last day of the conference, AMDD hosted a participatory brainstorming session on community health workers (CHWs) and accountability in maternal, newborn and child health. The session facilitated a conversation among approximately 35 attendees about how CHWs might advance health system accountability to marginalized communities.

Visit the HSR2016 website for additional information. 

09 November 2016

Social Accountability vs. Government Monitoring

A blog post co-authored by AMDD and SAHAYOG addresses the advantages and disadvantages of social accountability and government monitoring strategies for reducing corruption in maternal health service provision based on experience with the My Health, My Voice program in Uttar Pradesh, India. The post, published by the Global Partnership for Social Accountability (GPSA) Knowledge Platform, can be found here.

29 September 2016


In March 2016, the United Nations Secretary-General announced the appointment of a Commission on Health Employment and Economic Growth (the Commission). The Commission’s purpose was to propose intersectoral actions to guide and stimulate the creation of health and social sector jobs to advance inclusive economic growth. An expert group was convened to guide and inform the Commission’s work. This group was chaired by Richard Horton, Editor-in-Chief of The Lancet, and consisted of experts from the disciplines of economics, education, health, human rights, and labour. The group released its final report in September 2016. It proposes a five-year action plan with three key components: (1) transforming and expanding the health and public health workforce, (2) achieving person and community centered universal health coverage by increasing employment, and (3) reforming aid and accountability for health system strengthening with a focus on skilled workers.

AMDD and the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) contributed to this report by providing insight on the challenge of personnel posting and transfer (P&T) in the health sector. P&T encompasses initial health worker deployment and subsequent transfers; “irrational P&T” refers to health personnel deployment and transfer that is inconsistent with population health and needs. In many countries, irrational P&T undercuts health system efficiency, health worker morale, and governmental efforts to improve access to and quality of health services.

Despite its impact on health systems, P&T has rarely been addressed in national or global fora before now. For that reason, it is important that the working group highlighted P&T as a challenge to achieving health goals. This discussion can be found on page 46 of the final report. The group concluded that given its links to retention and equitable distribution of health workers, public administration reform, and corruption, P&T should be included in discussions of health employment and economic growth.

AMDD and PHFI also had the opportunity to submit a policy brief on P&T to the Commission. The brief is available on the Commission’s website.

For more on AMDD's work on P&T, click here.

15 September 2016

Lancet Maternal Health Series

Ten years after its Maternal Survival Series was released, The Lancet has published a new Series on Maternal Health that focuses on the need for high quality maternity care globally. The Series discusses the epidemiology of maternal health, along with successes and failures in the field, and sets out key targets for progressing toward the sustainable development goals by 2030.

In addition to the six main papers, the Series features commentary by maternal health experts, including AMDD Director Lynn Freedman. In her comment, Professor Freedman calls attention to a “dangerous disconnect between the way the global health community has framed problems, proposed strategies, and pushed solutions, and the lived experience of people and providers,” and describes options for overcoming these “implementation and aspiration gaps.” Read the comment here.

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