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Rethinking Resilient Healthcare Systems in Contexts of Conflict in Uganda

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From individuals to communities, what does resilience mean when applied to healthcare systems? Understanding the resilience of healthcare systems during war requires us to go beyond common understandings of resilience as bouncing back and or thriving, to exploring how healthcare systems adapt to hardship and adversity. This paper goes beyond the common narrative of the destructive impact of conflict on healthcare systems, to document the creative initiatives healthcare managers in northern Uganda undertook to ensure the survival of healthcare services for war affected populations. Conducted in northern Uganda, this research uses qualitative methods, including key informant interviews with 14 health providers and managers, to establish the initiatives developed to enhance access to care during and after the war, and life histories of 47 (26 women and 21 men) heads of the poorest households aged 45 years and above, from Gulu district to explore uptake and impact of initiatives through time. Data was analysed thematically using ATLAS TI and different perspectives were triangulated against each other through different time periods. It concludes by observing that consultative processes between different health providers and communities are key if the unique health care needs of war affected populations are to be met.

This talk is part of the Cambridge-Africa Programme series.

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