Employing the Policy Capacity Framework for health system strengthening

Fabiana da Cunha Saddi, Stephen Peckham, Gerald Bloom, Nick Turnbull, Vera Schattan, Jean-Louis Denis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Policy Capacity Framework offers relevant analytical ideas that can be mobilized for health system strengthening. However, the employment of this framework in the health field constitutes a relevant interdisciplinary gap in knowledge. This themed issue explores the relationships between the Policy Capacity Framework and Health System Strengthening, in a multi-dimensional and interdisciplinary way, in high income and low-middle income countries. This introduction unpacks the dynamic interrelationships between policy capacity and health system strengthening, bringing together common and distinct elements from both fields, and summarising possible relationships between them. The analysis shows that both fields together can increase our knowledge on health policies and systems challenging themes and reforms. This challenge could be followed by exploring the convergences between them, as far as concepts/themes (types of capacities and other themes) and levels of analysis are concerned. Though in varied ways, papers in this issue (based on European countries, China, Canada, New Zealand, India, Australia and Brazil) advance the use of the Policy Capacity Framework for health policy or system strengthening. They give two main interdisciplinary contributions: Critical capacities can be incorporated in the Policy Capacity Framework for the analysis of system strengthening - capacity to adapt, contexts of a mixed and complex systems, dynamic view of policy capacity, policy capacity as relational power. Policy capacity is contextually interpreted (relative to the problem frame) and dynamic and adaptive (processual and relational), in relation to the properties of a health system, particularly with regard to existing and developing mixed and complex systems.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1–13
JournalPolicy and Society
Issue number1
Early online date25 Jan 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2023


  • policy capacity
  • health system strengthening
  • policy analysis
  • Public health
  • Public policy
  • Public administration


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