: Call for papers


Can TB be cured? Yes. Can we eradicate polio? Definitely. So why are these diseases still out there, causing suffering and hastening death? Why do proven, effective interventions stop short of achieving their potential? Because weak health systems – the combination of actors, institutions, policies and resources that are directed towards improving population health – prevent well-intentioned policies translating into health gains. The problem is, there is little useful evidence to help policy makers decide how to make their health systems stronger – or even to gauge what stronger really means.


Strengthening Health Systems is a new international peer-reviewed open-access journal that aims to tackle the knowledge gap in health and development by systematically capturing, in the scientific record, the totality of health systems experience and evidence, regardless of whether the authors are academics, policy makers, donors or implementers. 

Current understanding of the complex systems that govern health is so poor that we are unable to meaningfully measure, monitor, or manipulate them. And without robust tailored tools like medicine’s Randomised Controlled Trial to facilitate systematic investigation and evidence-gathering, health and development is akin to what medicine was 50 years ago: an art based on expert opinion, rather than a science based on evidence. 

Strengthening Health Systems aims to address this science deficit and forge links between policy makers, academics and implementers by publishing not only the best academic research but also crucial experiential knowledge. Field-derived experience provides real-world insights into the contextual factors that are so often missing from the scientific record but which have profound influence on programme success, system performance and health outcomes.


Strengthening Health Systems invites submissions that: 

  • Promote greater understanding of health systems in all contexts 
  • Highlight interventions that work and those that do not 
  • Identify lessons that future policy makers and programme designers can learn from, and 
  • Highlight knowledge gaps that will refine the health system research agenda. 

With no page fees nor subscription costs, SHS is committed to ensuring wide dissemination and maximal usage of published works.


Please contact the Editor, Hannah Kikaya (hannah.kikaya@hmpg.co.za), with your enquiries and submissions.



This Call for Papers is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents are the responsibility of Strengthening Health Systems and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.

Southern African Journal of Public Health | © 2014 Health & Medical Publishing Group 

This journal is protected by a Creative Commons Attribution - NonCommercial Works License (CC BY-NC 4.0)