A framework on the emergence and effectiveness of global health networks

Jeremy Shiffman, Kathryn Quissell, Hans Peter Schmitz, David L. Pelletier, Stephanie L. Smith, David Berlan, Uwe Gneiting, David Van Slyke, Ines Mergel, Mariela Rodriguez, Gill Walt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Scopus citations


Since 1990 mortality and morbidity decline has been more extensive for some conditions prevalent in low- and middle-income countries than for others. One reason may be differences in the effectiveness of global health networks, which have proliferated in recent years. Some may be more capable than others in attracting attention to a condition, in generating funding, in developing interventions and in convincing national governments to adopt policies. This article introduces a supplement on the emergence and effectiveness of global health networks. The supplement examines networks concerned with six global health problems: tuberculosis (TB), pneumonia, tobacco use, alcohol harm, maternal mortality and newborn deaths. This article presents a conceptual framework delineating factors that may shape why networks crystallize more easily surrounding some issues than others, and once formed, why some are better able than others to shape policy and public health outcomes. All supplement papers draw on this framework. The framework consists of 10 factors in three categories: (1) features of the networks and actors that comprise them, including leadership, governance arrangements, network composition and framing strategies; (2) conditions in the global policy environment, including potential allies and opponents, funding availability and global expectations concerning which issues should be prioritized; (3) and characteristics of the issue, including severity, tractability and affected groups. The article also explains the design of the project, which is grounded in comparison of networks surrounding three matched issues: TB and pneumonia, tobacco use and alcohol harm, and maternal and newborn survival. Despite similar burden and issue characteristics, there has been considerably greater policy traction for the first in each pair. The supplement articles aim to explain the role of networks in shaping these differences, and collectively represent the first comparative effort to understand the emergence and effectiveness of global health networks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)i3-i16
JournalHealth Policy and Planning
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016


  • Networks
  • alcohol harm
  • global health policy
  • health policy analysis
  • maternal mortality
  • neonatal mortality
  • pneumonia
  • tobacco control
  • tuberculosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy


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