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HSR Pre-Congress in Canada: A Latin American and Caribbean perspective


Ottawa . October 16, 2019

The Canadian Society for International Health (CSIH) and Health Systems Global (HSG), with support from the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), seek to improve the participation of Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) researchers in global health knowledge exchange by offering a Canadian pre-congress.

This one-day pre-congress will take place on October 16th, 2019 in Ottawa at the Delta Hotel. It is a pre-event to the 25th Canadian Conference on Global Health (CCGH) taking place October 17-19, 2019 and the Sixth Global Symposium on Health Systems Research (HSR) taking place in Dubai, October 2020.

CSIH and HSG invite all researchers working on issues in the Latin American and Caribbean region to submit before 11:59 PM on August 12, 2019. Abstracts may be submitted in English, French or Spanish.

The call for abstracts is now closed. Decisions will be released in early September.


With the ultimate goal of bringing together researchers and policymakers of Latin America and the Caribbean working on issues related to health systems in the region, and enhanced representation of LAC researchers on the global health stage the objectives of this pre-conference are: 

Theme: Re-imagining health systems for better health and social justice

Ten years on from the first Global Symposium on Health Systems Research, health systems around the world are still far from achieving the Sustainable Development Goal to “Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages”. They remain predominantly sick care systems - disconnected from the broader upstream forces influencing health. A fundamental paradigm shift is needed if health systems are to be equipped to address complex and interconnected health and development challenges.

Sub-theme 1: Engaging political forces
Power and politics affect all actors and dimensions of health systems, influencing policy prioritization, resource distribution, accessibility and affordability of care, quality of services, gender equality and other forms of marginalization, as well as research institutions themselves. Corruption further increases inequality, impoverishes populations, and slows progress towards achieving Universal Health Coverage, particularly among the most vulnerable people. Faced with the spread of polarizing ideologies, tighter borders, growing health disparities, and unregulated commercial interests, analyzing and addressing power, politics and corruption in health systems is critical to tackling the underlying causes of health inequities. We must create the conditions to promote accountability and enable stronger social voice to challenge existing power relations and address corruption. In addition, health system stewardship must be strengthened through timely collation of information, building strategic multi-sectoral partnerships, and deploying evidence to inform decisions and actions.

Sub-theme 2: Engaging social, economic and environmental forces
Leaving no one behind requires that health systems engage with the social, economic and environmental forces that shape who has the resources to be healthy, including access to health services and the quality of these services. While the need to act on these broader forces is increasingly recognized as essential to reduce health disparities and promote health equity across the population, the challenges associated with migration, state fragility, conflict, urbanization and climate change remain largely overlooked by the health system community. 

Sub-theme 3: Engaging technological, data and social innovations
The rapid emergence of new technology, artificial intelligence and big data brings new opportunities and challenges to combat the growing burden of complex chronic disease and health inequity. Despite the profound changes taking place, healthcare delivery models have changed little in the last 50 years. Leveraging innovations can enable health systems to make rapid progress in expanding access to quality and affordable care by redefining how people, systems and information interact. Innovations may be technological, data-driven or social, encompassing new products, services, models or markets – ultimately seeking to identify new and more effective ways of solving problems that are scalable.

Priority themes
Special joint interests of IDRC and the CCGH will also be considered. These include: Accountability, women’s and youth political groups, the political economy of social and environmental forces influencing global health, climate change, environmental sustainability and food systems, healthy/unhealthy diets and the prevention of NCDs, urbanization and population mobility. 

Travel grants:

Partial travel grants of up to 1,500 CAD will be provided for up to 4 researchers from LAC countries selected to present. The travel grants include free registration to the CCGH, October 17-19.

CSIH and HSG will provide certificates to presenters.