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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Some Reflections on the Changing Role of Progressive Policy Groups in South Africa: Experiences from the Centre for Health Policy
Author:Price, Max
Periodical:Transformation: Critical Perspectives on Southern Africa
Geographic term:South Africa
health policy
Development and Technology
Health and Nutrition
Politics and Government
External link:http://digital.lib.msu.edu/projects/africanjournals/html/itemdetail.cfm?recordID=610
Abstract:This paper analyses the changing role and relations of a policy research unit in South Africa, the Centre for Health Policy (CHP) at the University of the Witwatersrand, from 1987, when the Centre was established, to mid-1995. During the apartheid era the role of the researchers was clearly defined. Their role changed during the transition period, 1990-1994, and, notably, after 1994, after the first, general elections. Paradoxically, in their new postapartheid roles and relations, progressive policy groups may be more constrained than they were in the apartheid period. Unexpected difficulties have arisen, involving the relationship with funding sources and control of the research agenda, the new government's preference for hastily developed consultancies rather than in-depth research, the shift away from participatory research processes, the issue of secrecy of information, and competition from private consultants. The author offers the following strategies for possible solutions to these tensions: the option to become a government planning unit in the ministry of health rather than an independent academic unit; the development of a two-tier modus operandi; the establishment of links with the new provincial health planning teams and local authorities; and campaigning for a clear standard of academic freedom. Notes.