How we're doing

1. A project involved in an ongoing strategy
  • The UNISSAHEL program complements the I3S project, which aims to reduce the difficulties of access to health care in the four countries.

  • It responds to an ongoing need for support in the implementation of new strategies to move towards universal health coverage in the countries, and to a need for research on health policies and systems in Africa.

  • The program embraces a holistic approach of universal health coverage. It focuses on different themes from a systemic perspective: national financing strategies, the implementation and impact of these different financing schemes, initiatives to support free health care on the health of individuals, the functioning of health facilities, and the functioning of the health system as a whole.

  • The micro to macro levels are closely interwoven in this program led by a team of researchers from multiple scientific disciplines and sectors. Interdisciplinarity is built throughout the program, from upstream reflection on national and international issues in order to formulate research proposals, in the development of protocols, and during the data collection and analysis phases.

2. Holistic, interdisciplinary, and comparative research
3. Involvement of political decision-makers and health professionals
  • One of the novelties of this program is to involve political decision-makers and health professionals in the entire research process with an aim at knowledge transfer. They were involved upstream in preliminary reflections to define the research questions that seemed important to them, and during a preliminary technical workshop where their contribution made it possible to adjust the research questions and methods to what was feasible and desirable.

  • The different studies conducted in the three countries aim to provide answers to problems, identified as a need for scientific knowledge, but also to respond to needs identified by decision-makers. Most of the work falls within the field of intervention research, in other words, understanding and analyzing interventions and policies implemented by these same political decision-makers and health professionals. 

  • The answers brought by the UNISSAHEL program will be useful to international and national decision-makers as well as to the actors implementing the interventions. Knowing the challenges that the use of research poses, the aim is to deploy specific activities to strengthen the potential for use of its results by policy makers and health professionals. Representatives of the latter are members of the steering committee in each country. Like the researchers, they are invited to annual workshops and training sessions, particularly on knowledge transfer. They are also involved in amending the various policy briefs that the researchers will produce for them based on their work.

4. The usefulness of the knowledge produced