During a press briefing on COVID-19 the 8th of April 2020, Dr Bruce Aylward, Special Adviser to WHO’s Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, highlighted the need for countries to understand that the virus can overwhelm even the most robust health systems, resulting in the need to entirely reconfigure health sectors in response (read more here)

The ongoing establishment of The Global Health Network's 'COVID-19 Working Groups' aims to address the discussion and gather consensus on the emerging COVID-19 research gaps across low-resource settings. This working group is set up to work around ways to strengthen health systems. 

Over 250 researchers from across the globe working or wanting to work in health systems have come together in this group to discuss ideas, form collaborations, access funding as well as share outputs and resources that others can use. There is so much experience that can be applied here - let's use that to help this immediate need to supporting research everywhere there are cases, now!

Current work

On the 16th of June, The Global Healh Netwok supported the first virtual team meeting for the 'Health Systems Research Open Working Group'. The meeting was organised in respose to questions raised in the COVID-19 workshops which highlighted the need for greated discussion regaring the impact on health systems. 

Following this first meeting, team leaders met on the 2nd of July and agreed that the best plan of action would be to identify 2 or 3 key topics for the WG to focus on and write protocols for. Using the themes identified in the report from the first meeting, a survey was disseminated asking the members of the Group to assert their areas of particular experience and interest. From this survey, which had 70 responses. A report of these responses can be found here. The team identified 4 immediate priorities for the WG to work on. 

On the 16th July 2020, The Global Healh Netwok supported the second virtual team meeting for the 'Health Systems Research Open Working Group' (a report can be found here). Main outcomes of this meeting:

1. Research priorities are agreeable to the members with some additions aspects 

2. WG were split into 3 sub-groups, each focusing on one research priority area. 

Three draft protocols were developed by the sub-groups leaders.These were shared with the whole team and posted on this page (at the bottom) for the rest of the members to comment. Team members have download, read and comment on them by the 5th of August. The coordinating team have considered these comments to finalise the protocols. Final version of the protocols have been shared with TGHN coordination team on the 17th of August and have now been sent for external reviewers to give input and comments.

Meanwhile team coordinators have now started to think about the operational side, as well as developing the data collection tools. A call was booked for Thursday 3rd of September (minutes here). Team leaders are now discussing and writing:

  • Data collection tools (Structured questionnaires) 
  • Study SOPs (including data management, community engagement, infection control etc) 
  • Study Budgets
  • Ethics review process (consent forms, translations, IRB applications etc)

Latest minutes discussing Study materials:

Discussion Forum

A discussion forum is available here for members of this
Working Group to communicate.
Join the discussion and get involved!

Health Systems Resources

As part of the COVID-19 Research Implementation Hub,
on this page you will find links to key resources and tools to enable health policy and systems reserach (HPSR) studies during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Working Documents

Here you are able to find all the working documents from the different WGs for you to comment on;

Become a part of this Working Group


If you are interesting please register here and we will be in touch!

We look forward to hearing back from you and hope we can work together to support a strong and equitable global research response during this Pandemic