Phase 2 – 9th December, 15.00-17.00 GMT
Dr Maria Bertone, Ms Giulia Loffreda, Mr Ibrahim Bou-Orm

Details

While political economy analysis (PEA) is an essential tool for HSPR, there are challenges in ‘doing PEA’. This two-hour session aims at equipping participants with skills needed to understand and critically reflect how to address them. Approaches and strategies will be discussed, based on case studies and participatory exercises.

Learning objectives

The session will aim to provide skills to be able to:

  • Understand the importance of political economy analysis (PEA) to investigate health system reforms, while appreciating the challenges related to carrying out PEA
  • Critically reflect about one’s own views, values and positionality and how they influence PEA studies
  • Explore and engage with practical strategies and approaches to ensure the relevance and policy uptake of PEA findings

Target audience

Our target audience is mainly researchers at any stage of their career. We do not ask for previous knowledge on PEA, but an interest and perhaps some experience in conducting policy analysis work would be useful. While primarily targeting researchers, we welcome policy-makers, representatives of civil society and those involved in advocacy as they could benefit from developing skills in relation to how to interpret and engage with PEA.

Session description

Political economy analysis (PEA) is increasingly identified as an essential tool in the field of health policy and system research to shed light on the barriers and facilitators of health system reforms. However, ‘doing’ PEA is not simple in practice and there are important methodological challenges to it, both in relation to the research process, as well as with reference to ensuring its analytic relevance for policy and constructive engagement with policy-makers. Drawing on the experience of the facilitators in doing PEA in a variety of contexts, this two-hour session aims at equipping participants with skills needed to understand the challenges of PEA and critically reflect how to address them. A number of approaches and strategies will be discussed in detail, based on case studies and participatory exercise.

The session will start with a 20-minute introduction on PEA (what is it? why it is important for HPSR? what are the key features of PEA?) and on the practical challenges in doing PEA. This will be followed by two main activities of 40 minutes each. During these activities, the audience will be divided in smaller groups if necessary.

The focus of the first activity will be on how to deal with researchers’ positionality. The format will be participatory and interactive, inviting participants to share on their own experiences. A group exercise will be carried out to map researchers’ own values, concepts, beliefs and ideas/ideologies as well as their position relative to the topic being studied, and how these might influence PEA. The exercise will allow building specific competences to reflect on positionality issue in their own PEA work and provide practical tips on how to adapt research design, data collection and analysis methods to address these challenges.

The second activity will focus on how to make PEA relevant for policy-making and how to engage constructively and effectively with stakeholders in order to ensure the uptake of PEA findings. Facilitators will share examples from their work and encourage critical reflection. Skill learning will focus on techniques and approaches that facilitators have experience with, which include, stakeholder mapping and stakeholder management, prospective policy analysis and ‘PEA capacity building’ for policy-makers. Through case studies, practical examples and group discussion, the facilitators will explain how these approaches can be used to create and sustain constructive engagement with stakeholders.

The session will conclude with a 20-minute Q&A and wrap-up.

Session contributors

Facilitators for this skill-building session have been selected for the relevance of their work on PEA and to represent a range of regional backgrounds, as well as different personal perspectives on the challenges of PEA.

Dr Maria Bertone (Italy/UK) has been developing a body of work around the political economy of health systems reforms, in particular on health financing and performance-based financing. Maria will introduce the session.

Dr Ibrahim Bou Orm (Lebanon/UK) and Ms Giulia Loffreda (Italy/UK) will be facilitating the first activity on the positionality of researchers, building on their own work and experience. Ibrahim is currently carrying out a political economy of NCDs in Lebanon, and will reflect on the challenges of applying this method as an ‘insider’ to the political environment. Giulia has been involved in studying interventions, with a PEA and complex system perspective, to address the challenges that hamper global progress to tackle NCDs.

Dr Eelco Jacobs (Netherlands) and Dr Kefilath Bello (Benin) will facilitate the second activity on building constructive engagement with stakeholders. Kefi is involved in an international collaboration working to build institutional capacity for PEA in Benin and in the West African region, while Eelco has been working on PEA at national and decentralised levels in South Sudan, Tajikistan and Afghanistan.

Dr Jean-Paul Dossou (Benin) will wrap up the skill building session and facilitate the final Q&A. Jean-Paul is involved in a collaborative study on policy analysis and PEA for UHC in Benin, and has extensive experience in engaging, and working with policy-makers at national level.

Summary of the Planned Session

While political economy analysis (PEA) is an essential tool for HSPR, there are challenges in ‘doing PEA’. This two-hour session aims at equipping participants with skills needed to understand and critically reflect how to address them. Approaches and strategies will be discussed, based on case studies and participatory exercises.

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