We’re thrilled to announce that ThinkWell’s Strategic Purchasing for Primary Health Care (SP4PHC) team will be participating in the Seventh Global Symposium on Health Systems Research (HSR2022) from October 31 to November 4, 2022. SP4PHC will be leading several oral presentations, as well as satellite and poster sessions. This conference will provide a forum for experts to discuss strategies and practices that will help combat global health challenges, and ThinkWell’s team will offer unique insights from health systems practices in several countries around the world.

At HSR2022, ThinkWell is slated to lead sessions that explore a variety of health financing and purchasing challenges in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) and how we are supporting countries to address them to help them reach their goal of universal health coverage. The staff will also play a large role in the wider conference activities that feature discussion of timely health systems and policy issues, provide a marketplace to showcase the latest relevant research, and give a platform to connect with fellow practitioners and researchers in-person for the first time since before the pandemic.

Our team will be involved in several satellite sessions, including hosting one called “What keeps us from separating ends and means in health system reform?” in partnership with Results for Development (R4D), the Strategic Purchasing Africa Resource Center (SPARC), the World Health Organization (WHO), and KEMRI Wellcome Trust Programme. Our Indonesia team will also be participating in a two-day satellite session led by the Technical Working Group on Private Sector in Health (PSIH).

Gelo Apostol will be leading an oral presentation sharing his team in Philippines’ work on untangling of the complex web of funding flows for FP. Anooj Pattnaik and Pura Angela Co will be leading a panel debate on how telemedicine can be better integrated into LMIC health systems since its prominence during COVID. Other SP4PHC team members will be sharing posters at HSR2022, including the Kenya team’s analysis of the performance of health programs like the Linda Mama Free Maternity Program and thorny PFM issues in Kenya’s decentralized health system and the Philippines team’s capturing how the government adjusted its health financing during COVID. Find more detail on these in the table below.

Click here to find out how you can attend HSR2022. We hope to see you next week!

Presentation Title Lead Author Abstract ID
How can governments use data to manage human resources for health more efficiently? Evidence from Kenya. Felix Murira 1582
Evaluating the Performance of Linda Mama Free Maternity Program and the Health Financing & Purchasing Landscape in Kakamega County Geredine Kandie 1495
Implementation of the Linda Mama free maternity program in Kenya: findings from Isiolo County Janet Keru 1664
Philippines local health systems and the Mandanas-Garcia ruling Rafael Deo F. Estanislao 1733
Policy gaps in managing solid and hazardous waste during the COVID-19 pandemic: Perspectives from the Philippines Gelo Apostol 1753
Primary Health Care in the Time of COVID-19 in the Provinces of Antique and Guimaras, Western Visayas, Philippines Lena Alvior 1746
Examining the application of public finance management (PFM) in the health sector within the context of devolution in Kenya Boniface Mbuthia 1341


Session Title Info Lead Author/Participants Abstract ID
Mapping the complex and multiple financing roles and expenditure flows for Family Planning (FP) in the Philippines: A nationwide study from 2018-2019 11/3/2022

Oral presentation


Level 3, Room J



Gelo Apostol 1752
Primary care in an increasingly virtual world: Integrating telemedicine into LMIC health 11/3/2022

Organized session


Level 3, Room N


Lead Author: Anooj Pattnaik


1. Dr. Regis Hitimana. Deputy Director General in Charge of Benefits, Rwanda Social Security Board (RSSB)

2. Pura Angela Co, Country Director, ThinkWell Philippines

3. Alfonsius Pratama Timboel, Chief Product Officer, Halodoc in Indonesia

4. Lisa Ramon, Strategy, Planning and Management for Primary Health Care PST, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

5. Radha Karnad, Chief Medical Officer, HealthXAfrica

What keeps us from separating ends and means in health system reform? 10/31/2022


Level 3, Room LM


Agnes Munyua, R4D

Cheryl Cashin, R4D

Edwine Barasa, KEMRI Wellcome Trust

Gemini Mtei, Abt Associates

Grace Kabaniha, WHO

Hélène Barroy, WHO

Joe Kutzin, WHO

Nathaniel Otoo, R4D

Nirmala Ravishankar, ThinkWell

Octavio Gomez-Dantés, National Institute of Public Health

Rozita Halina Tun Hussein, Malaysia MOH

Scott Greer, University of Michigan

Susan Sparkes, WHO

Wangari Ng’ang’a, R4D


Along with R4D, SPARC, World Health Organization, and the KEMRI Wellcome Trust Programme, ThinkWell will be hosting a two-day hybrid satellite session. One session will be held on October 31st from 8 am-4 pm (GMT –5), while another will take place on November 1st from 8 am-4 pm (GMT-5). Objectives of reform are often conflated with the instruments for achieving them. By placing the focus on instruments (i.e., the means), policies can move forward that are actually misaligned, or even work against, the objectives (i.e., ends) reforms seek to achieve. The first session will deep-dive into what “ends-driven” means in practice and how it will be done through specific examples. 

In the second session, we will deep dive into contributory social health insurance (SHI) as a means-driven reform, and how policies can be designed better to focus on the “end” of universal health coverage (UHC). We will share the latest research on contributory SHI in Africa, explore what is driving this policy direction, and what we know about whether, and how, UHC objectives can be met based on the evidence and experience from low- and middle-income countries in Latin America, Asia and Africa. This session will provide a peer-to-peer learning and exchange of ideas, providing advice and lessons for countries considering setting up contributory SHI systems from countries with established SHI and how these SHI systems can be improved to meet country objectives for UHC.  

Speakers at this event will include: 

  • Cheryl Cashin, Managing Director, Results for Development 
  • Joe Kutzin, Head of the Health Financing Unit, World Health Organization 
  • Nirmala Ravishankar, Senior Fellow, ThinkWell 
  • Edwine Barasa, Director, Nairobi Programme,, KEMRI Wellcome Trust Programme 
  • Susan Sparkes, Health Financing Specialist, World Health Organization 
  • Agnes Gatome-Munyua, Associate Director, Results for Development 

 Please register here.

“There is no universal health without sexual and reproductive health” 

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Population Fund are launching a Sexual and Reproductive Health and Universal Health Coverage Learning by Sharing Portal (SRH-UHC-LSP). The SRH-UHC LSP, launching on July 19, is a global resource that will feature national-level stories with a focus on sexual and reproductive health (SRH) and its role in universal health coverage. 

The portal will feature, a “Bottleneck analysis for the last-mile distribution of contraceptives in Zambia,” a  story by Joy Walubita. Joy is ThinkWell’s Health and Governance Team Lead in Zambia and has worked for over 20 years to strengthen the Ministry of Health’s systems and rectify risks concerning financial and procurement management systems.  

Increasing domestic funding for SRH is essential to achieving universal health coverage. Joy’s contribution to the LSP advocates for access to quality and comprehensive SRH in universal health care.  

The LSP and WHO’s Handbook on Sexual and Reproductive Health-UHC Integration—released earlier this month—are among the tools WHO and partners will use to incorporate SRH into national health plans, budgets, and programming. 

Mark your calendars for July 19 to read Joy’s contribution to the LSP launch and learn more about the portal here 

Cervical cancer is one of the most preventable types of cancer. Despite this fact, the lack of access to resources can make it deadly. 90% of deaths attributed to cervical cancer are a result of inaccessibility to necessary resources, treatment, and screening 

Francophone Africa is one of many areas that struggles with this issue and women’s cancers in general. Currently, the necessary resources for women’s cancers screening and management are slim. Even when services are available, they are not accessible or affordable to those that require them. 

In an attempt to close this funding gap, the Union for International Cancer Control has partnered with ThinkWell to consider and research how an integration approach can work to improve women’s cancers control efforts. 

Integration is an approach that involves assessing the already-existing health programs and considering where and how women’s cancers care can be incorporated into them. To achieve this, Marie-Jeanne Offosse, the Country Director of ThinkWell Burkina Faso, presented a guide to integration during a women’s cancers workshop for UICC.

To begin, it is important to review the financing ecosystem of the community. To do this, we must consider how cancer care is currently funded, and what the barriers to that care are for those who need it. In Francophone Africa, these barriers include limited services and delivery points, little comprehensive care, and a lack of necessary staff and equipment. 

To improve the outcome of women’s cancers care, we can implement an integration approach that promotes partnership with existing programs. To do this properly, we must understand what country-specific issues need to be addressed in order to achieve integration. From there, we can harness local opportunities by assessing current women’s health programs and determining which ones would be able to absorb women’s cancers care as a priority. To decide which program, or programs, are best suited for integration, we can use a grading system that evaluates their existing priorities and goals, financial sustainability, and potential for partnership. 

Finally, we must settle on the most appropriate integration approach. Considering all the above information, we can articulate our approach through targeting, timing, and telling. For example, we can determine who our stakeholders for policy recommendations are. This might include ministers, executives, and civil society leaders. Then, we pay attention to timing: when are the best windows for planning and budgeting to best implement this integration approach? From there, we must pinpoint our key messages and the value integration offers to both our goals and our audience’s objectives. 

By implementing an integration approach through these methods, we can work toward making women’s cancers care more available, accessible, and affordable for those who need it. This will ultimately allow for less women’s  cancer cases leading to death. Providing access to screening will permit women and medical professionals to become aware of the cancer as soon as possible, and by having better access to treatment, they should be able to recover. With these goals in mind as this approach is implemented, women in Francophone Africa will have the resources they need to battle this preventable cancer. 

Immunization campaigns are a vital delivery strategy to improve coverage and decrease morbidity and mortality from vaccine-preventable diseases. Campaigns are used frequently to administer a variety of lifesaving vaccines such as measles, cholera, yellow fever, and Covid-19. Immunization campaigns require significant resources over a short period of time. Inadequate funding can decrease a campaign’s effectiveness, and a low-impact campaign may be a considerable waste of resources. 

It is crucial that the costs of different immunization campaigns are accurately estimated to inform planning, budgeting, and resource mobilization. Although various guidance documents cover the costing of health interventions and routine immunization programs specifically, none discuss the specifics of costing immunization campaigns.  

The How to Cost an Immunization Campaign guide released as part of the ICAN project in 2021 offers methodological advice for field researchers, country practitioners, and academics worldwide on costing an immunization campaign. Learnings from campaign costing studies in India, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone were used to inform the guidance. This guide complements the literature on costing studies with specific methodological considerations for immunization campaigns, clear instructions fitting potential scenarios, and concrete examples. It is intended to improve the standardization of campaign costing processes and reporting, enhance the availability and comparability of evidence, and improve its use by country and global stakeholders.  

The guide is also accompanied by practical tips for costing studies, information on the differences between routine immunization and campaign costing, FAQs on campaign costing, data collection tools at facility, district, state, and national levels plus user manual, and practical examples on how to annualize capital costs and calculate unit costs in Excel, and run a calibration exercise in R. 

You can find out more about ThinkWell’s work on campaign costing here. 

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