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Press release

QMU has leading role in £6m international research programme

Reshaping health systems in fragile economies could help world’s poorest


Edinburgh, 10 January 2011; An internationally renowned health economist at Queen Margaret University (QMU) in Edinburgh is to have a leading role in a £6 million international research programme into rebuilding health systems in countries recovering from conflict. Professor Barbara McPake, director of the Institute for International Health and Development (IIHD) at QMU, will co-direct research for the programme which will draw on a global range of expertise from affiliated institutions.

The UK government funded programme aims to provide valuable new knowledge from countries that have recovered from conflict situations, such as Sierra Leone and Cambodia, which will help in developing new health systems in countries in the immediate aftermath of political and social conflict.

QMU will directly receive £1 million of the £6 million grant as part of a consortium comprising Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine; Makerere University, Uganda; College of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences, Sierra Leone; Biomedical Research and Training Institute, Zimbabwe and the Cambodia Development Resource Institute.

Commenting on the research funding award Professor McPake said;

“We are delighted to have received this funding from DFID. It will be a privilege to work with such a skilled team of professionals from all over the world. There are particular opportunities in post-conflict fragile states for reshaping health systems to give poor people better access to services and reduce the burden of health related expenditure and associated impoverishment. This is important research that could contribute to global security and peace building, by strengthening the population‘s stake in peace, and bridging communities.”

Professor Petra Wend, QMU Principal, said; “As an institution our focus is on work that is relevant to the communities we serve. This award reflects that ethos, our international standing and our interdisciplinary vision.”

The research programme will focus on health financing, human resources and their interaction. It aims to build knowledge about the implications for the poorest households of alternative ways of re-establishing financial support for the public system including new aid institutions, new budgeting strategies and targeted funding for priority programmes. In human resources it will focus on management innovations, opportunities for reallocating roles among health professionals in a rebuilding health system and the prospects for both to contribute to improved access to effective services for those most easily excluded.


For further information information contact:

Maggie Wright on 0131 226 3622 or 07801 710360

Chris Kiggell, Department for International Development, 020 7023 0504


Notes to Editors


About QMU

From its very inception, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, has focused on providing relevant education and research, addressing real-life issues to enhance the social and economic well-being of all

the communities we serve. We have expertise in health; media; communication; performing arts; social sciences; and business, management and enterprise. As a small university, we aim to offer a community environment to our students in which they can fulfil their potential and where they need never feel lost in the crowd. A commitment to social, ecological and economic sustainability underpins all our work.

About IIHD

The Institute for International Health and Development is an Institute of Queen Margaret University focused on post-graduate education, research and technical assistance to development agencies and governments. Its focus is on the social determinants of health in globally and locally marginalised populations. It was established in 1983 as the Centre for International Health Studies and gained Institute status within the University in 2005. Its Director is Professor Barbara McPake.

About DFID

The Department for International Development (DFID): leading the UK government’s fight against world poverty.

Since its creation, DFID has helped more than 250 million people lift themselves from poverty and helped 40 million more children to go to primary school. But there is still much to do.

1.4 billion people still live on less than $1.25 a day. Problems faced by poor countries affect all of us. Britain’s fastest growing export markets are in poor countries. Weak government and social exclusion can cause conflict, threatening peace and security around the world. All countries of the world face dangerous climate change together.

DFID works with national and international partners to eliminate global poverty and its causes, as part of the UN Millennium Development Goals. DFID also responds to overseas emergencies.




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