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Innovative Spending in Global Health


Julius Mugwagwa, The Open University


Funding is gratefully acknowledged from ESRC Future Research Leaders. All content on this page is the sole responsibility of the project investigators.

Grant period: 1 January 2013 - 31 Dec 2015


This project focuses on two countries in Africa (South Africa and Zimbabwe), building on the researcher and the OU DPP/INNOGEN’s past, current and on-going links with the study countries. The research targets two global health funders, the Gates Foundation and the Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria, looking specifically at how decisions on what health innovations to fund are arrived at in the quest for solutions to HIV/AIDS and malaria in the study countries.

Data is being gathered using an innovative multi-method approach encompassing use of questionnaires, cognitive mapping, semi-structured interviews, document reviews, participation in discussion fora and observation of decision-making processes in the countries and organisations. In addition to relevant staff from the Gates Foundation (such as those from the Global Health Programme and Operations teams); the Global Fund (in particular regional and national grant portfolio managers); and the WHO (regional and country office representatives); the study engages national government officials in charge of health, finance, science, technology and innovation.

The research process and findings will impact not only the study countries and the funding agencies, but will cut across a wide terrain of international academic, policy and practice communities with an interest in global health issues, in particular how decisions on health spending can be more imaginative and impactful in this era of financial stress.



Mugwagwa, Julius T (2015). Innovative spending in health: what should money be spent on to make global health innovations more effective in developing countries? BMJ Open, 5(Suppl. 1), article no. 057.

Mugwagwa, Julius; Edwards, Daniel and de Haan, Sylvia (2015). Assessing the implementation and influence of policies that support research and innovation systems for health: the cases of Mozambique, Senegal, and Tanzania. Health Research Policy and Systems , 13(21)

Mugwagwa J T and Chinyadza JK (2015 under review). Private sector participation in health care in Zimbabwe: what’s the value added? IKD Working Paper

Mugwagwa J T (2015, forthcoming). Identifying and analysing evidence of innovative health spending in South Africa and Zimbabwe. Being finalised for submission to the Journal of Public Health Policy

Mugwagwa J T (2015 forthcoming). Where to spend money for greatest impact in health: who decides and how? Being finalised for submission to Health Promotion International

Mugwagwa J T (2016 forthcoming). Innovative spending in health: unpacking the global evidence. Seminar on April 6th, to be followed by submission to the WHO Bulletin

Policy Briefs and Blogposts

Mugwagwa, J (2015). Many better ways to spend Africa’s health dollars, opinion piece in Business Day Live (South Africa), 19 February.

Mugwagwa, J. (2015). Race is on to find affordable health, opinion piece in The Scotsman, 22 January

Mugwagwa, J (2015). Producing medicines in Africa will only work if they can be distributed properly, The Conversation, 5 January.

Mugwagwa, J (2014). The poor and their health needs: hard-to-reach, still? DPP Blog, September

Mugwagwa, J (2014). Local pharma in Africa: going nowhere, slowly? DPP Blog, January

Mugwagwa J (2013). Innovative spending in health: evidence from South Africa and Zimbabwe, Innogen Institute Policy Brief, October.

Mugwagwa, J (2013). Punching above their weight in pursuit of good health. DPP Blog, August

Mugwagwa, J (2013). Mission Possible. DPP Blog, March

Events and Conference Presentations

Mugwagwa, J T (2015). Innovative Spending: what should money be spent on to make global health innovations more effective in developing countries? Development Studies Association Conference, 7 - 8 Sept, University of Bath, United Kingdom

Mugwagwa, J T (2014). Innovative spending in health: a case study of Zimbabwe, South Africa and United Kingdom, plenary presentation at the Association of Healthcare Funders of Zimbabwe (AHFoZ) 2014 Conference, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, 2 - 4 September

Mugwagwa, J T (2014). Refracting global health innovations into local contexts: who decides and how? Presentation in an Innovation, Knowledge and Development (IKD) Workshop on Innovating for Local Health: Addressing Local Needs in a Globalised Context, held at The Open University, 25 April

Papaioannou, T and Mugwagwa, J T (2014). Inclusive innovation for development: the case of health in low and middle income countries. Paper presented at the Bristol International Development Conference, University of Bristol, 8 March

Mugwagwa, J T (2013). Innovative spending in health: a mission possible? Seminar presentation, OU International Development Seminar Series, 18 September

Mugwagwa, J T (2013). Innovative Spending: What should money be spent on to make health innovations more effective, Institute for Technological Innovation, University of Pretoria, 19 July

Mugwagwa, J T (2013). Deciding and delivering: the role of policy and decision-making systems in health system strengthening, Final ESRC Genomics Network Conference, London, 30 April.

Contact us

To find out more about our work, or to discuss a potential project, please contact:

International Development Research Office
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
The Open University
Walton Hall
Milton Keynes
United Kingdom

T: +44 (0)1908 858502