About us

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

The main partners are the School of Public Health and Family Medicine at the University of Cape Town and the School of Public Health at the University of the Western Cape — currently supported by a grant from the International Development Research Centre, Canada.

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 building 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, developing a Cape Town HPS community of practice
  • Postdoctoral awards for emerging researchers: one to two year post‐doctoral scholarships for African scholars, to consolidate HPS skills and understanding and develop African networks 
  • Professional sabbaticals for ‘practitioner scholars’: short‐term sabbaticals for South African health system practitioners, to provide space for reflection and engagement
  • Southern Researcher residencies: short‐term residencies in Cape Town for experienced HPS researchers working in other low and middle income country settings, to allow us to learn from each others’ experience and develop longer-term organizational collaborations

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