Health Systems Cluster

IGHD promotes research that embodies critical thinking and principles of social justice, in order to address the health and development of vulnerable and marginalised populations globally. IGHD’s Health Systems Cluster conducts health systems research with a focus on health inequality, social determinants of health and progress towards Universal Health Coverage (UHC). 

Many of the Health Systems Cluster’s projects are carried out in fragile and shock-affected settings, looking at fragility and its linkage to the resilience of health systems. Additionally, we are also exploring the interlinkages between mobility and migration, in relation to health systems serving displaced populations. Our work has focused on health financing, human resources for health, community-health system connections, gender and equity, and management of chronic illness, including tuberculosis, non-communicable diseases and mental health.

The Health Systems Cluster’s research builds on strong partnerships at the regional level in the Middle East and Caucasus, South-East Asia, West and Southern Africa and Latin America. We have an interdisciplinary team with expertise in health economics, policy analysis and political economy, health systems modelling, behaviour change, sociology and anthropology, and often work in collaboration with IGHD's Psychological Wellbeing, Integration and Protection (PIP) Cluster.

Our team is engaged with the UK’s National Institute of Health Research (NIHR), in particular through the Research Unit on Health in Situations of Fragility (RUHF), and with the UK’s Department for International Development (DfID) through the Rebuild for Resilience (R4R) project. Other recent and ongoing work has been funded by the World Health Organisation (WHO), Medical Research Council (MRC), Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the National Institutes for Health (NIH).

Our team is heavily engaged with the UK Department for International Development-funded ReBUILD consortium. ReBUILD’s work is focused in Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe, Uganda and Cambodia.


Other recent and ongoing health systems work has been funded by:

-the World Health Organisation (WHO)

-the Medical Research Council (MRC)

-the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)

-the National Institutes of Health (NIH)


These have addressed issues ranging from human resources for health in Africa, to analysis of systems resilience in the Middle-East and strategies supporting poverty alleviation in Asia.

Doctoral students contribute to the work of the Institute significantly in this thematic area, with recent and ongoing research in Ghana, India, China and Peru.

The 6th Global Symposium on Health Systems Research or #HSR2020 is the foremost conference on health systems and policy research and practice.

IGHD is very proud to be presenting on several areas during the virtual symposium and will share resources on the HSR web page as they become available.


HSR2020 will be split across the following three phases:

Phase 1 8th-12th November
Phase 2 25th November 2020 - Mid March 2021
Phase 3 End of March 2021

Sophie Witter

Health Systems Cluster Lead
Tel: 0131 474 0000