Making smarter decisions faster: systems engineering to improve the global public health response to HIV

Publication Date:

13 Jun 2019


Wagner AD, Crocker J, Liu S, Cherutich P, Gimbel S, Fernandes Q, et al. (2019). Making smarter decisions faster: systems engineering to improve the global public health response to HIV. Curr HIV/AIDS Rep. 16(4), 279-91. doi: 10.1007/s11904-019-00449-2



This review offers an operational definition of systems engineering (SE) as applied to public health, reviews applications of SE in the field of HIV, and identifies opportunities and challenges of broader application of SE in global health.

SE involves the deliberate sequencing of three steps: diagnosing a problem, evaluating options using modeling or optimization, and providing actionable recommendations. SE includes diverse tools (from process improvement to mathematical modeling) applied to decisions at various levels (from local staffing decisions to planning national-level roll-out of new interventions). Contextual factors are crucial to effective decision-making, but there are gaps in understanding global decision-making processes. Integrating SE into pre-service training and translating SE tools to be more accessible could increase utilization of SE approaches in global health. SE is a promising, but under-recognized approach to improve public health response to HIV globally.

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Our mission is to promote policies and support programs that strengthen government primary health care and foster social, economic, and health equity for all. Our vision is a just world that promotes health and well-being, including universal access to quality health care.

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Health Alliance International began in 1987 as a US-based international solidarity organization committed to supporting the public sector provision of health care for all.  Over 35 years, HAI conducted programs in 17 countries, with flagship programs in Mozambique, Côte d'Ivoire, and Timor-Leste.

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