About us

CHESAI is a collaborative of health policy and systems researchers based in the Western Cape, South Africa

The CHESAI collaboration was previously supported by a grant from the International Development Research Centre, Canada (between 2012 – 2016).   This first phase of CHESAI’s work has been well documented: you can read about our own reflections on the process and contributions of the collaboration, and the findings of an external, end of project evaluation report.

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Since then, and following the end of the grant period, the collaboration has continued as a partnership with the Health Policy and Systems Division, School of Public Health and Family Medicine at the University of Cape Town and the School of Public Health, University of the Western Cape as the main partners.

Health Policy and Systems Research (HPSR) is an emerging field of international importance, bringing social science perspectives to bear on important issues of policy and practice for health system development.  CHESAI  works to provide systematic opportunities and environments for deepening the health policy and systems research knowledge base, particularly for understanding and impacting on complex health systems, by:

  • thinking creatively
  • talking across disciplinary boundaries and the practitioner-researcher interface
  • synthesizing various forms of knowledge
  • facilitating analytical engagement across existing collaborative projects
  • developing post-graduate teaching activities and materials

CHESAI is enabling HPSR collaboration and capacity through:

Creating space for reflection and information exchange: through activities such as retreats, seminars and journal clubs, bringing groups of researchers and health system practitioners together to share experience and learn from each other, and in so doing develop a Cape Town HPSR community of practice.

The two main institutional partners are also collaborators on a number of health policy and systems research projects, formal HPSR teaching programmes and support a cohort of HPSR PhD students.

CHESAI also provides support to the HPSR (special interest group) of the Public Health Association of South Africa and has close working relationships with many other African and Southern HPSR networks.

CHESAI has strong links to Health Systems Global: the first international membership organisation fully dedicated to promoting health systems research and knowledge translation.  In 2014, CHESAI members played a key role as part of the South African Local Organizing Consortium in arranging the Third Global Symposium on Health Systems Research number.   Prof Asha George was Chairperson the HSG Board 2018-2020, Prof Lucy Gilson is currently a member of the Board, and Jill Olivier is one of the coordinators of the Social Science Approaches for Research and Engagement in Health Policy and Systemsone (SHAPES) Thematic Working Group.

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