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).


Research projects related to the Health Systems Cluster

NIHR Research Unit for Health in Situations of Fragility

ReBUILD for Resilience (R4R)

Health system and community responses to COVID-19 among Palestine refugees: UNWRA

The Political Economy of Universal Health Coverage reforms: perspectives from Francophone Africa

Verbal Autopsy with Participation Action Research (VAPAR)

REDRESS: Reducing the Burden of Stigmatising Skin Diseases

Co-Voices web application

Addressing Gaps in Men's Health Literacy and Health Seeking in Mozambique

Addressing the need for locally-relevant evidence in public health decision-making (LEAD)

Whole systems care for post-stroke management in China

Infection control for drug-resistant TB in decentralised care: Umoya ohmule

Optimising health systems implementation of decentralised care for patients with drug-resistant TB

Develop interventions to reduce barriers to treatment adherence in TB patients: IMPACT

Designing and evaluating provider results-based financing for TB care in Georgia (RBF4TB)

Ethnography of Health Facilities

A Household Yeast Biosensor for Cholera


Cluster Members

Professor Alastair Ager

Professor Sophie Witter

Dr Karina Kielmann

Dr Karin Diaconu

Dr Maria Paola Bertone

Jennifer Falconer

Dr Stella Arakelyan

Dr Kanykey Jailobaeva

Dr Georgina Pearson

Dr Lizzie Caperon

Giulia Loffreda

Gimmene Zwama

Kitty Flynn

Mairi Redman

Dr Guangyang Zou


Honorary Staff and Doctoral Students:

Annie Willets focuses on comparing uptake of different rapid technologies for diagnostic testing at primary care level for TB, malaria, HIV in Kenya.

Evans Danso is looking at the impact of the Global Fund tuberculosis grant for Ghana on TB treatment outcomes and the implications of the withdrawal of this funding in 2015.

Esther Azasi is examining Ghana's CHPS (Community-Based Health Planning and Services) effectiveness in the Northern region, using a fragility lens.

Tarek Alkhali

Abdulai Jawo Bah

Ibhrahim Bou Orm

Ayesha Idriss

Zeina Jamal

Ifeyinwa Victor Uadiale


Professor Alastair Ager - Director

Kitty Flynn - Centre Contact
Tel: 0131 474 0000