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INGO Engagement in the Global Health Security Agenda (completed)

The aim of this project is to examine how international non-governmental organisations (INGOs) involved in the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) understand and undertake their roles in strengthening health systems within this mandate, and the outcome this holds for INGOs’ operational effectiveness.

About the project

The 2014-15 Ebola epidemic in West Africa highlighted the limitations of the International Health Regulations (IHR) and global health governance. The lack of core capacity to respond to the crisis in key states has reinvigorated debates not only on global health security, but also on the role of health aid in establishing in-country capacity to respond to outbreak events. International attention has turned to strengthening health systems capacities to meet the requirements of the IHR in low- and middle-income countries, and through such initiatives as the GHSA, NGOs have been given a key role in this process.

NGOs have played an increasingly central role in the delivery of health aid in recent decades, yet have remained largely absent in pandemic preparedness debates (Ottersen et al. 2016). This project examines how INGOs have adapted to this new environment by focusing on how INGOs understand and undertake their roles in strengthening health systems within the context of the GHSA, and with what outcomes for their operational effectiveness.


  1. to determine how INGOs interpret their roles in health systems strengthening within the mandate of the GHSA
  2. to examine how INGOs implement the GHSA through their capacity building activities on the ground
  3. to examine the outcomes of these activities for INGOs’ operational effectiveness


The project uses qualitative research methodologies and is based on the triangulation of academic material, public documents and interviews. Documentary analysis and elite semi-structured interviews will be used to determine how INGOs interpret their roles within the GHSA mandate, and frame analysis will be used to analyse the data collected. INGO implementation of the GHSA will be studied by means of a case study in Liberia. Data will be collected through a combination of focused observation and elite semi-structured interviews, and triangulated with relevant primary and secondary literature. Thematic analysis will be used to interpret the data collected.


  • European Union Seventh Framework Programme (FP7-PEOPLE-2013-COFUND), grant agreement no. 609020 – Scientia Fellows.

Start - finish

2016 - 2018

Published Feb. 8, 2017 1:10 PM - Last modified Feb. 8, 2021 11:51 AM