Putting the politics into international public health

20 January 2016 14:00 - 16:00 GMT+00
Public event
Streamed live online

Contributing Chair:

Tim Kelsall - ODI


Olivia Tulloch – ODI

Lilian Otiso - LVCT Health, Kenya

Miriam Taegtmeyer - Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine

Vicki Doyle - Capacity Development International


There has been a surge of interest from donors and the international development community in the concept of adaptive development and what it may look like in different sectors, including health.  Adaptive types of programming from the health sector are relatively advanced. As we work towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), experiences in health can provide useful lessons for other areas of development.  The international health community may not use the label ‘adaptive development’, but many are already conducting adaptive work. 

This event brings together experts from the international health and international development communities to present and discuss work on adaptive programming in the health sector, and in particular the tried and tested approach of ‘quality improvement’.

What is quality improvement?

  • Quality improvement (QI) is problem-driven, iterative and flexible. The methodology and principles can be used to identify, test and implement changes in any context or part of a health system.
  • QI is being used successfully, but there is still limited experience and evidence of how to apply its values and philosophy beyond the project level and embed it within national structures and systems.
  • Systems thinking and analysis of the political economy environment may help embed complex interventions like quality improvement and sustain their achievements.

The debate will aim to stimulate debate in the following areas:

1. Is quality improvement politically savvy enough to really be considered adaptive development?

2. Working politically – an uncomfortable position for health professionals?

3. How can adaptive programming – such as QI – be embedded in national health systems?

4. QI is often instigated by donor projects, does locally-led adaptive programming really exist in the health sector?