Developing local capacity to support health system reforms

Video: senior health consultant Alexandra Murray-Zmijewski discusses how OPM’s health team helps LMIC governments raise local health capacity

Capacity building is an important element in health for successfully tackling social health inequalities by improving the capacity of health actors and institutions at national, regional, and local levels. Capacity building looks at “development of sustainable skills, organisational structures, resources, and commitment to health improvement in health and other sectors, to prolong and multiply health gains”.

Capacity building has become an integral part of health strategies worldwide, helping governments prevent, prepare for, respond to, and recover from health emergencies. There are different ways to approaching capacity building in low- and middle-income countries, however, the success of all hinges on adapting these approaches to local contexts.

Our health team recognises the importance of doing dedicated capacity development, which brings together the needs of policymakers in low- and middle-income countries, and combines those with research and lessons learnt from countries elsewhere, to develop a careful plan of action, adapted to the local context. This approach implies that developing local capacity is as equally valued as the research outputs, and thus should be considered as carefully as research design.

To help support in-country capacity development, OPM launched a financing fellowship in Nigeria. The programme aimed to train selected fellows, 14 in the first intake, from federal and state health institutions to enable them to become results-based financing technical assistants.

In the following video, watch Alexandra Murray-Zmijewski present different types of capacity building, and highlight problems that most often constrain capacity development in low- and middle-income countries.

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Photo: Stephanie Braconnier /