The World Health Organization has launched the first global strategy on health policy and systems research (HPSR) at the Second Global Symposium on Health Systems Research. This document represents a unique milestone in the evolution of health policy and systems research and has three broad aims.
First, it seeks to unify the worlds of research and decision-making and connect the various disciplines of research that generate knowledge to inform and strengthen health systems. Second, the strategy contributes to a broader understanding of this field by clarifying the scope and role of HPSR. It provides insight into the dynamic processes through which HPSR evidence is generated and used in decision-making. Finally, it is hoped that this strategy will serve as an agent for change and calls for a more prominent role for HPSR at a time when the health systems mandate is evolving towards broader goals of universal health coverage and equity.
This strategy on health policy and systems research is intended to augment and amplify WHO’s previous affirmations on the importance of health research, by explaining how this evolving field is sensitive and responsive to the needs of those who are responsible for the planning and performance of national health systems – decision-makers, health practitioners, citizens and civil society. By doing so, it does not move away from the field of health research – it aims to move the field ahead.