Strengthening equitable health systems in West Africa: The regional project on governance research for equity in health systems

Namoudou Keita, Benjamin Uzochukwu, Odette Ky-Zerbo, Issiaka Sombié, Virgil Lokossou, Ermel Johnson, Chinyere Okeke, Sue Godt

Abstract

The West African Health Organization (WAHO) supported an innovative regional initiative that contributes to building effective decision making, community and researcher partnerships to strengthen equitable health systems and influence local programmes and policies. Four projects were funded in Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso and Senegal, supported by a Regional Advisory Committee of experts and local Steering Committees. Based on a framework drawn from WAHO objectives, we reviewed documents, conducted 56 project stakeholder interviews and undertook thematic analysis. A diverse range of stakeholders perceived that the projects were in line with national priorities, were well managed and were equitably implemented. The projects generated evidence that could increase access to and improve quality maternal health services. Sustainable partnerships were formed and stakeholder and research team capacity were strengthened. Our study provides insight into project implementation in West Africa, bearing in mind context-specific issues. (Afr J Reprod Health 2022; 26[5]: 81-89).

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