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. 

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 virutial 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. 

Over 70 people registered to be members of this WG and around 30 attended the first team meeting from 24 different countries, shown below:

Following this first meeting, suggested starting points to work on were:

  1. Write a commentary pieces using a framework discussed by this WG.
  2. Use this WG as an opportunity to work/study data together and escape the situation of several poorly resourced, similar, weak studies being done with little amount of data. 

Areas of interest from the members of this group are

  • General impact on health systems on this pandemic and what are the research question rising
  • Specific questions
  • Evaluating the impact of COVID-19 on vaccine programmes mental health, Heath seeking behaviour, other IDs, etc

After a meeting with the team leaders on the 02/07/2020 it was 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 and a report of which can be found here, the following topics were identified as the immediate priorities for the WG to work on:

  • Health worker capacities, attitudes and practices in the context of COVID-19
  • COVID-19 impact on Health seeking behaviours for essential health services (including non-communicable diseases)
  • COVID-19 impact on malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS interventions.
  • COVID-19 impact on Maternal and Child Health (RMNCH) health services, including vaccinations

It was also decided that the next call with all members of the WG will take place on 16 July 2020, 13:00 - 14:00. Please get in touch at admin@theglobalhealthnetwork.org if you are a member of the group and have not yet received an invite to this call.

Discussion Forum

A discussion forum is available here for members of this Working Group to communicate.


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


How to become part of this WG?

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