Governance and participation in health

Research on Global Health Diplomacy in east and southern Africa

In 2012 EQUINET is initiating a three year policy research programme to implement case study research on global health diplomacy in east and southern Africa (ESA). Working with government officials in health and diplomacy, with technical institutions, civil society and other stakeholders in ESA countries, we are examining the role of health diplomacy in addressing selected challenges to health and equitable health systems and use the learning and evidence to inform African policy actors and stakeholders. We will feed into regional processes, including the Strategic Initiative of Global Health Diplomacy co-ordinated by the East Central and Southern Africa Health Community. The programme has issued an open call, reviewed protocols with an advisory group and provided grants for investigations in three case study areas that were defined as priorities in global health diplomacy (GHD) by senior officials and Ministers in 2011 for the region, to identify the manner in which African interests around equitable health systems are being advanced through GHD, and the lessons learned for effective GHD. A review meeting on the case study design was held in Johannesburg, South Africa in June 2012.


Launch of the Initiative on Supporting Strategic Leadership in Global Health Diplomacy in East, Central and Southern Africa

The Initiative on Supporting Strategic Leadership in Global Health Diplomacy in East, Central and Southern Africa was launched in Harare at the Regional Health Ministers Conference of the ECSA Health Community. The initiative includes
* Policy Dialogue, Leadership Support & Coordination led by ECSA Health Community
* Capacity building led by Kenya, Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation, University of Nairobi and the South Africa Department of International Relations and Cooperation
* Strategic Information and Research led by EQUINET through SEATINI and TARSC
The report of the launch workshop is available on the website


EQUINET through TARSC supported community level health activists in eight countries with skills to use photography to bring out and display images of health equity issues from a community lens under the theme “KEEPING AN EYE ON EQUITY: Community visions of equity in health” . We used this process to strengthen capacities at community level in selected areas to use photo media to raise awareness and communicate voice on health issues. Images of health from a community lens have been displayed at the EQUINET conference in September 2009 and at the Global Health Research Forum in November 2009 with photogaphers were present to explain their work and actions to advancing health. If you are interested in this work or have experience to share, we'd love to hear from you! Please contact us at admin [at] with KEEPING AN EYE ON EQUITY in the subject line.


Delegates from all regions globally participated in and shared experiences in an International Workshop on ‘Participatory action research in people centred health systems’ being held on 4th October Fountains Hotel, Cape Town, 4 October 2014 hosted by TARSC and pra4equity network in the Regional Network for Equity in Health in east and southern Africa (EQUINET) and Asociación Latinoamericana de Medicina Social (ALAMES), following the Global Symposium on Health Systems Research (30th Sept–3rd October). The report of the meeting is on the website.

Review of health literacy in Zambia and Uganda April 2013

EQUINET held a regional meeting in Harare in April to review programmes on health literacy in Zambia and Uganda. Lusaka District Health Management Team, Ministry of Health Zambia and TARSC finalised in 2012 a Zambia Health Literacy manual with Cordaid support and Ministry has begun training health literacy facilitators in the provinces. In Uganda five civil society organisations (HEPS, CEHURD, AGHA, UNHCO and NAFOPHANU) have worked with TARSC to develop a Uganda Health Literacy manual and district level activities are now being implemented. The regional review meeting was held to review and share learning from the work to date.

Regional Meeting On Health Centre Committees, 30 January - 1 February 2014, Harare, Zimbabwe

Health Centre committees (HCCs) (known by a range of names) are mechanisms that exist at community and primary care level for co-determination by communities and health workers on their health systems and on PHC. In January 2014 EQUINET through TARSC and with CWGH is holding a regional meeting on the role of health centre committees in primary health care. The regional workshop includes organisations doing work on training and strengthening HCCs in east and southern African countries. It aims to exchange and document information on the laws, capacities, training materials used, and monitoring systems used in HCCs, and to develop a shared monitoring framework for assessing how HCCs are functioning. Sponsorship for the workshop is now closed but EQUINET invites self funded delegates who may wish to attend to contact admin [at] with HEALTH CENTRE COMMITTEES MEETING in the subject line.

Learning network on participatory action research set up after the Global Symposium on Health Systems Research

Institutions in EQUINET and partners from India, Guatemala and Canada hosted two sessions on participatory action research (PAR) at the Global Symposium on Health Systems Research in November 2010. Following this, a learning network was set up that covers all global regions to facilitate exchange and dialogue on this work. Delegates suggested that a learning network provide a communication channel through a mailing list, a website portal to access resources for PAR, and opportunities for face to face meeting and exchange of learning. The pra4equity mailing list has been widened to include all those interested in PAR in and beyond the region, and information sent on the symposium discussions. For further information on the symposium sessions, or if you would like to be included in the pra4equity mailing list please contact admin [at] (admin [at] ).

Learning network on health rights shares best practice around the right to health and community participation

The Learning Network for Health & Human Rights (South Africa) through University of Cape Town and HEPS-Uganda co-convened a regional meeting in Kampala Uganda on 8th October 2010 within the Regional Network for Equity in Heath in East and Southern Africa (EQUINET). The primary intention of the meeting was to enable the regional sharing of best practice around the right to health and community participation, as well as to explore the development of a toolkit / training manual on the Right to Health for Civil Society groups in the region. The report of the meeting is on the website. Please direct queries and interest in the learning network to admin [at] (admin [at] )

Regional Consultation on Health Committees – Vehicles for realising the right to health and strengthening health systems, Cape Town 27-28 September 2014

The Learning Network for Health and Human Rights, in conjunction with the Network on Equity in Health in East and Southern Africa (EQUINET) held a 2-day regional consultation on the role of Health Committees in Equitable, People-centred Health Systems in the Southern and East African region as a satellite meeting linked to the 3rd Global Symposium on Health Systems Research. The report of the meeting is now on the website.


EQUINET through TARSC and Ifakara Health Institute is carrying out work on participatory mechanisms and approaches to people centred health systems. The work builds skills and gathers evidence together with country teams in nine countries in the region on how to strengthen participatory people centred health systems, and build community voice in planning and implementing health services. Reports of the past training meetings and follow up work are found on the website and will be reported at a pre-conference regional meeting on 22 September 2009.

EQUINET has noted that equity related work needs to define and build a more active role for important stakeholders in health, and to incorporate the power and ability people (and social groups) have to make choices over health inputs and their capacity to use these choices towards health. To do this requires a clearer analysis of the social dimensions of health and their role in health equity. This means exploring the role of social networking and exclusion, of the forms and levels of participation and of how systems distribute power and authority over the resources needed for health. EQUINET is through TARSC also building a programme of work to build capacities and media for direct community voice and knowledge such as through community writing, drama and other media.

On other areas of the site you can also view information on training, meetings and grants related to this area of EQUINET's work.

You can also search publications produced by EQUINET and our annotated bibliography for documents related to this theme.