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Thinking and Working Politically on Health Systems Resilience

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Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the resilience of health systems has been severely tested in nearly every country of the world. A variety of contextual political, social, and cultural factors have affected their ability to prepare for, respond to, cope with, recover from and adapt to the crisis, while continuing to provide basic services in equitable ways. This reflection note summarises the main points arising from a webinar held by the TWP CoP on this topic in February 2022, which discussed the experiences from Cameroon, Nepal and South Africa. It defines health systems resilience, analyses how resilient the health systems have been in the three countries, analyses the political economy and governance factors that explain the variation in resilience between the countries, and suggests policy implications that emerge from this comparative country experience. The paper concludes that governance and political economy factors are critical in shaping the resilience of health systems and need more attention in research and policy making.

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