Building capacity for priority-setting

Colleagues and I have just published a new article in the journal, Global Health Action.

It is titled Strengthening expertise for health technology assessment and priority-setting in Africa.

As the article explains, “The focus on priority-setting is in response to the urgent need to ensure scarce resources are used effectively in support of Universal Health Coverage, and the scant literature discussing how technical economic evaluations should be integrated into highly political and complex priority-setting processes. Researchers’ roles in developing capacity in these areas are highlighted because few African governments have technology assessment units that can take responsibility for driving formal priority-setting processes.”

Legislation on the for-profit private health sector in East and Southern Africa

Here is some information on my latest policy brief, as well as the report on which it is based:


EQUINET Policy Brief 35: Legislation on the for-profit private health sector in East and Southern Africa

Doherty J (2013) with UCT HEU, TARSC. Wemos Foundation,  Policy brief 35, EQUINET, Harare



While the private sector contributes new resources to the health system, international evidence shows that if left unregulated it may distort the quantity, distribution and quality of health services, and lead to anti-competitive behaviour. As the for-profit private sector is expanding in east and southern African (ESA) countries, governments need to strengthen their regulation of the sector to align it to national health system objectives. This policy brief examines how existing laws in the region address the quantity, quality, distribution and price of private health care services, based on evidence made available from desk review and in-country experts. It proposes areas for strengthening the regulation of individual health care practitioners, private facilities and health insurers.  A more detailed discussion paper (#87) on the laws and information in the brief is available at

Research on the for-profit health sector in Africa

I would like to get into contact with researchers, policy-makers and legal experts working on appropriate policies and legislation governing the for-profit private health sector in Africa.

Or perhas you do work on other low- or middle-income countries that might be relevant to the African situation?

On the ‘About Jane Doherty’ tab above you will find my e-mail address if you want to let me know about the work you are doing or have research or reports to share.

On the ‘Private health sector’ tab you will find my own work on the private sector (with links to the electronic versions where available). Of particular interest might be:

  • FORTHCOMING: A situation analysis of private sector legislation in East and Southern Africa which is still in an early draft form
  • FORTHCOMING: Doherty J, McIntyre D. (2013)  Addressing the failings of public health systems:  should the private sector be an instrument of choice?  In: Surender R, Walker R.  (2013)  Social policy in a developing world.  Cheltenham, UK:  Edward Elgar
  • Doherty J.  2011. Expansion of the private for-profit health sector in East and Southern Africa. EQUINET with HEU, UCT and TARSC Policy Brief 26. Harare: EQUINET.
  • Doherty J.  2011.  Expansion of the private health sector in East and Southern Africa.  EQUINET Discussion Paper 87.  EQUINET:  Harare.
  • A report summarising research on the for-profit private health sector in South Africa from the 1980s to 2003:  Doherty J, Steinberg M.  2003.  Priority health care information needs for reform:  what role for BHF?  Johannesburg:  Board of Healthcare Funders.

Building capacity for health policy research

My latest article on building capacity for health policy research is below:

Bennett S, Corluka A, Doherty J, Tangcharoensathien V. 2012. Approaches to developing the capacity of health policy analysis institutes: a comparative case study. Health Research Policy and Systems; 10(7): 1-9.

How policy research units influence policy

I recently contributed to an article appearing in the journal Health Policy and Planning.  Entitled Influencing policy change:  the experience of health think tanks in low- and middle-income countries, it includes findings from a case study of the Health Economics Unit in Cape Town.

The link can be found on my page Policy research which can be accessed via the tab above or from the ‘My Pages’ list on the right of this page.

Research in support of policy: an interesting case study for teaching

The link below is for a 30-minute BBC podcast that would make an excellent teaching case study.  It’s called Unsure about Sure Start and examines the 10-year history of this early childhood development intervention in the UK. 

Fascinating issues are raised around the problems of implementing equity-oriented programmes that have diverse impacts, whether these are useful when underlying structural problems remain, how policy champions struggle to promote change when researchers cannot generate evidence quickly enough or in useful formats, and issues of study design when implementing large-scale, multi-impact interventions. 

The journalist does a really good job of tracing the history of the intervention and attempts to evaluate it.  She raises all the pertinent issues and her conclusion is very challenging:  all good stuff to get students debating!

Research in support of policy change and health systems transformation

See the link below for a free copy of my latest article on research in support of policy change and health systems transformation: 

Rispel LC, Doherty J.  2011.  Research in support of health systems transformation in South Africa:  The experience of the Centre for Health Policy.  Journal of Public Health Policy32(S1):  S10-S29.

Health sector reform in South Africa: perspectives from the Centre for Health Policy

The Centre for Health Policy, where I used to work, has just edited a special supplement of the Journal of Public Health Policy (Volume 32, Supplement 1, 2011).  The articles may be downloaded for free from the journal’s website.

The titles of the original articles and commentaries are as follows:

  • Strengthening health systems for equity and social justice in South Africa: The 24th anniversary of the Centre for Health Policy
  • Research in support of health systems transformation in South Africa: The experience of the Centre for Health Policy 
  • Population health in South Africa: Dynamics over the past two decades 
  • Environment and health in South Africa: Gains, losses, and opportunities 
  • Linking public health training and health systems development in sub-Saharan Africa: Opportunities for improvement and collaboration 
  • Exploring antiretroviral treatment adherence in an urban setting in South Africa 
  • Occupational lung disease in the South African mining industry: Research and policy implementation 
  • Analyzing the implementation of the rural allowance in hospitals in North West Province, South Africa 
  • Exploring task-shifting practices in antiretroviral treatment facilities in the Free State Province, South Africa 
  • Inequities in access to health care in South Africa 
  • Utilization of traditional healers in South Africa and costs to patients: Findings from a national household survey You become afraid to tell them that you are gay: Health service utilization by men who have sex with men in South African cities
  • Exploring perceptions of HIV risk and health service access among Zimbabwean migrant women in Johannesburg: A gap in health policy in South Africa?
  • Social solidarity and civil servants’ willingness for financial cross-subsidization in South Africa: Implications for health financing reform 
  • Reflections on health-care reforms in South Africa 

The impact of an evaluation of financing policy on South African policy-makers

I have just uploaded a conference paper that examines the impact that an evaluation of health financing policy in South Africa had on policy-makers:  GRIP_The experience of the SAZA project.

My other work on getting research into practice is listed on the relevant page of this site.