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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University October 31, 2005 | Vol. 35 No. 9
Bloomberg School Receives $6.7 Million Contract to Investigate Health of Poor in Developing Countries

By Kenna Lowe
School of Public Health

The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has been awarded a $6.7 million contract to investigate the health of poor residents living in developing countries by the Department for International Development, a British government agency that manages aid to poor countries and works to rid the world of extreme poverty.

David Peters, an associate professor in the Bloomberg School's Department of International Health who is an expert in improving health system performance in low-income countries, will lead an international consortium of researchers known as Future Health Systems: Making Health Systems Work for the Poor. Over the next five years, the group plans to examine health systems in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, China, India, Nigeria and Uganda and then work with stakeholders in each country to design health programs that address each country's needs.

"We hope to bring policy-makers from influential countries together with leading public health and development research institutions. Together, we want to find out which options in financing of health care will reduce the risk of poverty and which strategies will improve access to health services. We want to link researchers and policy-makers at local, national and global levels. If we can create those relationships, the poor, worldwide, will be better off. We hope to identify ways in which health systems research can influence policy and programs to promote the interests of the poor," Peters said.

In many developing countries, he said, there is a disconnect between formal rules for health systems and the realities on the ground. The poor are faced with multiple barriers, from obtaining health care in the first place to finding and affording prescription drugs.

"Ultimately, this consortium's goal is to disseminate our findings to influence policy and programs in partner countries and beyond, so that health systems are made more effective, efficient and equitable to meet the needs of the poor. It is our hope that future health systems will be pro-poor and deliver services in a high-quality, affordable and accountable manner," Peters said.

The consortium will have multidisciplinary international and national advisory panels to provide technical oversight. Institutional partners will include the Institute of Development Studies in the United Kingdom; the Centre for Health and Population Research at the International Center for Diarrheal Disease Research in Dhaka, Bangladesh; the Chinese Health Economics Institute in Beijing; the Indian Institute of Health Management Research in Jaipur, India; the Institute of Public Health at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda; and the University of Ibadan College of Medicine, Public Health faculty in Ibadan, Nigeria.

Additional Bloomberg School faculty involved in the program are Gilbert Burnham, William Brieger, Hugh Waters, Adnan Hyder and David Bishai.


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