Our aim

The Consortium for Research on Equitable Health Systems (CREHS) ran until January 2011 with the aim to generate knowledge about how to strengthen health system policies and interventions in ways that preferentially benefit the poorest.

In many low and middle income countries, health systems - which comprise the organisations, institutions and resources needed to deliver healthcare, are failing to address the needs of all people. Those who are socially marginalised face particular constraints in accessing health services and many are not protected against the catastrophic costs of care. Weak health systems can therefore exacerbate ill-health, inequalities and poverty, undermining progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

CREHS addressed three prerequisites which must be fulfilled if health systems are to improve equity and contribute to poverty reduction. These are:

  •   better protection of the poorest from the financial risks associated with illness;
  •   health care delivery systems that are responsive to the poorest;
  •   an overall policy context and process which favours policies that benefit the poorest.


Our approach

The consortium hoped to achieve this aim by:

  •   working in partnership to develop research;
  •   strengthening the capacity of partners to undertake relevant research and of policymakers to; use research effectively;
  •   communicating findings in a timely, accessible and appropriate manner so as to influence local and   global policy development.


Working in partnership

CREHS was a partnership of eight organisations based in Kenya, India, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Thailand and the United Kingdom. Many of these organisations have developed close relationships with national policymakers and practitioners providing direct pathways of influence.

By working in collaboration we were able to bring together the ideas, experiences and expertise of individuals from a range of backgrounds including economics, public health, anthropology and epidemiology.


Capacity development

An important objective of CREHS was to strengthen the capacity of partners at the individual and organisational levels. In particular, we supported researchers to identify research needs, define questions, undertake research and communicate findings effectively.

The consortium also worked to strengthen the capacity of policymakers and others to draw on research when designing or implementing policies. The provision of medium-term financial and technical support to our partner organisations enabled them to educate and train the future generation of researchers and evidence-aware policymakers and managers.



We have devoted significant efforts towards effectively communicating with our stakeholders throughout the research process. Through this we have ensured that research is relevant to local contexts and responsive to changing circumstances.

We used a variety of approaches to ensure that our findings were communicated effectively. These include the dissemination of print publications (journal articles, briefing notes, posters); face to face interaction with users of research; and innovative approaches such as contributing to television drama series.



CREHS was funded by the Department for International Development (DFID), UK



CREHS was directed by Kara Hanson and managed by Nicola Lord, based at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK.

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