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Vital Capacity Building

By Rajeev Sadanandan Jan 10, 2024

The vital capacity-building initiatives undertaken by HSTP showcased its commitment to enhancing the skills and capabilities of professionals who work in public health.

Towards the end of the year, HSTP organised an orientation and training programme for young development professionals working with the organisation, ‘Professional Assistance for Development Action’ (PRADAN). The objective of the programme was to empower young development professionals with a comprehensive understanding of India's health systems and enhance the participants’ ability to collaborate with health department officials to improve public access to services. 12 participants working in rural tribal regions of six states - Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, and West Bengal attended the training facilitated by the HSTP team. The training focussed on developing an overall understanding of the structure and operations of India’s health systems at the central, and state, with an emphasis on the district, and block levels. The participants acquired insights into health services provided at various levels of healthcare facilities, along with a comprehensive grasp of key government health programmes, policies, and schemes. The discussions centred around the challenges confronting people’s access to health services and how to overcome those. The programme was enriched by learning from real-life examples of facilitators’ own experiences as community health practitioners. Hands-on exercises on analysing a health system and facilitating care-seeking offered the participants an opportunity to put learning into practice. Going forward, the participants will translate the learning from the programme to field practice in the respective geographies where they work. To support their continued engagement on health issues and with the health department, HSTP will organise need-based online sessions.

The India HPSR Fellowship program, launched in 2021, has seen significant success, with the third cohort inaugurated in 2023. This cohort comprises participants from diverse states and disciplines. Through the mentoring process, the fellows undergo five comprehensive modules covering topics like Introduction to Health Systems, Health Policy & Policy Process, Introduction to HPSR, Framing HPSR Questions, Transitioning from Research Question to Research Design, and drafting a Health Policy and Systems Research Proposal. They are also guided to develop an HPSR proposal showcasing the integration of foundational concepts, core values, and critical thinking. However, the biggest takeaway for the fellows has always been a change from gap-finding to looking at health challenges from a holistic perspective. As with other cohorts, we have observed this cohort start applying HPSR methods to their regular course of work. A direct impact is seen when they go on to win accolades for their work in different forums, publishing books, and especially when they start rethinking their process of conducting research.

Our journalism fellow, from the inaugural cohort of the Health Journalism Fellowship, was also awarded this year, thus recognising the impactful reporting done by journalists on vulnerable community issues related to health systems.


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