Health Systems in History project
The Health Systems in History project is a Wellcome Trust Investigator Award based at the Centre for History in Public Health of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM). The principal investigator of the project is Prof. Martin Gorsky. The project aims at providing an intellectual and policy history of ‘health systems’ thinking based on a holistic conception of the organisational structures within which medicine is financed, provided and regulated in modern states. It depicts these as an interlinked set of relationships, which, once identified and measured, may be modified in the ongoing quest for greater efficiency, effectiveness and equity. But how did this idea arise? What work has it done? And how can we apply it historically?
Contribution of IFRA
In October 2017, Martin Gorsky and John Manton of the LSHTM were hosted by IFRA-Nigeria in Ibadan. The visit added new archival and investigative strands to the Health Systems in History project, enabling them to deepen their understanding of critical phases in health planning and health systems strengthening as historical phenomena.
The Director of IFRA-Nigeria, Dr. Elodie Apard, together with her academic and administrative colleagues, welcomed the team and provided logistical and scholarly support for visits to the Nigerian National Archives, the Kenneth O. Dike Library at University of Ibadan (named after the prominent historian of the Ibadan School and former Vice-Chancellor of the University), and the Library of University College Hospital.
IFRA-Nigeria will also provide ongoing support to the Nigeria component of the Health Systems in History programme, enabling the project to build a community of interested scholars and research assistants, to develop research on the history of health systems and planning in late colonial and Independent Nigeria. John Manton and Martin Gorsky had the opportunity to connect with Dr Rasheed Olaniyi, a key member of the project Advisory Committee, and visiting the famed University of Ibadan History Department, where Prof Gorsky gave a well received introduction to the broader programme as part of the IFRA Distinguished Personality Lecture Series, in conjunction with the History Department, speaking on the topic: “From ‘Planning’ to Systems Analysis’: Health Services and Development at the World Health Organisation, 1952-1975”.
Plans are afoot for follow up visits to consolidate fruitful work in Ibadan; IFRA Nigeria and the LSHTM are both interested in following up with key responsible parties to the story of postcolonial health planning, and we look forward to keeping you posted!