The Health Policy Research Group (HPRG) with its base at the College of Medicine, University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus (UNEC) was established in 2002. It is covered by the legal incorporation of the College of Medicine of the University of Nigeria, Enugu-campus.
It is a multidisciplinary team comprising Health economists, Public Health Physicians, Clinical Pharmacologists, Social Scientists, Paediatricians and Gynaecologists. HPRG has the highest concentration of trained health economists in Nigeria. The research group has established proven capacity in health systems, policy and economics and social research in a broad range of health system issues and public health.
HPRG also has skills for undertaking large-scale community-based studies, especially implementation surveys and operations research. Capacity development activities through both formal and informal training activities are institutionalized in HPRG. The Department of Community Medicine in UNEC, whose some key staff are members of HPRG has an established MPH program and HPRG through the Department of Health Administration and Management is currently running a post-graduate programme in Health Economics, Management and Policy. HPRG regularly holds capacity development workshops in health economics, management and policy for policy makers and programme managers in most South-Eastern States of Nigeria.
The HPRG is a member of the following consortia: Consortium for Research on Equitable Health Systems (CREHS) based in London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Responsive and Resilient Health Systems (RESYST) based in London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Consortium for Health Policy and Systems Analysis in Africa (CHEPSAA) based in University of Cape Town South Africa and Evaluation in Health (EVAL-HEALTH) based in Innovatics Spain. Its membership of these consortia is in recognition of the work the group has done in the area of equity in health systems. The group has also had important influence on the National Health System management and policy. For example, some of its members have been involved in developing national health policy and health financing policy of the Federal Government of Nigeria.
Thus HPRG has research and training skills in broad health programme monitoring and evaluation, health economics, especially economic evaluation, health financing, health sector reform as well as demand and supply analysis (markets for health and healthcare). In addition, HPRG has strengths in scaling-up health intervention issues, human resources for health, health systems and policy research. The senior members of HPRG form the core staff of the post-graduate programme (PGD, MSc and PhD) in Health Economics, Management and Policy of the Department of Health Administration and Management, College of Medicine, University of Nigeria.
Some HPRG activities, both collectively and individually include:
- Involvement in review of HAF proposals for State Ministry of Health (SMOH) for Anambra state government
- Monitoring of implementation of HAF projects for NACA in southeast and south-south Nigeria
- Staff of HPRG have undertaken numerous studies on socio-economics and epidemiology of HIV/AIDS including 1) assessing the benefit incidence analysis of expenditures on ART and Malaria programmes; 2) investigating the level of catastrophic spending by consumers due to ART and malaria; 3) Socio-economics of adherence to ARVs; 4) Perceptions and attitude to HIV by the general population
- International capacity building workshops and conferences on HIV and malaria such as the Multilateral initiative on Malaria in Africa conference in Yaoundé Cameroun in 2005, the Harvard AIDS Initiative conference on “Economic analysis of HIV/AIDS” in Boston, USA in 2006. International Health economics Association conference, Copenhagen Denmark in 2007, inaugural conference of the African health economics association Accra, Ghana in 2009
- Capacity development of policy makers, especially those in SMOH on health economics, health policy and management as well as in research methods as part of activities of the DFID-funded RPC known as the Consortium for Research on Equitable Health Systems (CREHS).
- Lead consultants in the development of costed Medium-term sector strategies (MTSS) and annual operational plans (AOP) for all the Departments, Agencies and parastatals in the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH)
- HPRG staff has been helping the FMOH to develop its MTSS since 2006. Development of MTSS and AOP also involves helping the HIV/AIDS division in the FMOH to develop and cost both their medium-term and annual operational plans
- Health System Governance assessment of the Nigerian Health system for the World Health Organization African Regional Office (AFRO).
- Staffs of HPRG are actively involved in the sustainability of community-based interventions such as community-directed treatment with ivermectin in Africa and have reviewed the malaria control programme in Sudan and the malaria eradication programme in Oman.
- HPRG has very strong research capability, including operational research and has a long list of publications in the health sector.
- HPRG understands the Nigerian health policy environment; the health system and has established a good track record of working with policy makers and civil society especially in Anambra and Enugu states of Nigeria
- HPRG has undertaken numerous research projects in close collaboration with policy makers at all levels of government in Nigeria
- HPRG has worked on scaling up malaria control strategies in Nigeria in partnership with Malaria Consortium and ACT Consortium.
- HPRG was the Project Implementation Facilitators (PIF) for the Anambra Malaria Control Booster project.
- HPRG is also partnering with PATHS 2 in strengthening the health systems in Nigeria
- HPRG is involved in CHEPSAA which is a coordinated action project, supported by the WHO Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research. The aim is to consolidate relevant research and educational programmes and develop a stronger engagement between the research and policy communities by strengthening involved African universities’ capacity to support Health policy and Systems Research (HPSR)
- HPRG is involved in EUFP7-funded Eval-Health research project which is designing and testing Monitoring and Evaluation tolls for European Union-funded Research and Development and Sector Budget Support projects
- Currently, HPRG is on a study on anti-corruption evidence in the health sector of Nigeria. They are in partnership with SOAS, London on this project, and sponsored by UK Department for International Development [DFID]