Health systems in developing countries are often characterised by lack of human and financial resources, perverse incentive structures, inefficient utilisation of resources, poorly developed health insurance markets, bad health information systems etc. Currently, the international donor community is scaling up on their efforts to combat poverty related diseases (e.g., WHO's 3 by 5 initiative (to deliver antiretroviral therapy to 3 million people by 2005), the Global Fund Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM) and the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI)). Without a strong focus on the strengthening of national health systems, such efforts are likely to be unsustainable. And since the evidence-base on how this can be done is remarkably weak, further research is strongly needed (WHO (2004), Bulletin of World Health Organisation (2004)).


The landmark Bellagio Child Survival Study (2003) estimated that two thirds of the10.8 million child deaths annually in the developing world can be prevented by simple and cost-effective interventions. However, the gap between our knowledge of what could be done and what is done in practice to improve health conditions is strikingly wide. Malfunctioning health systems is a key explanation (WHO, 2004).


Main focus:

1. Health service delivery - with a focus on mobilisation of human resources

2. Policies and implementation at a national level - providing inputs to and

understanding health policy formation processes

3. Health and development - viewing the health sector in a larger development



Senior researcher Dr. Ottar M├Žstad (Head of Programme)

Senior researcher Hilde Selbervik

Senior researcher Magnus Hatlebakk