Doing Health Policy Analysis: The Enduring Relevance of Simple Models; Comment on “Modelling the Health Policy Process: One Size Fits All or Horses for Courses”

Document Type : Commentary


1 Health Policy and Systems Division, School of Public Health, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa

2 Department of Global Health and Development, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK


The analysis of health policy processes in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) emerged as a research area in the early 1990s. In their recent editorial Powell and Mannion argue that such research can be deepened by applying public policy theory. In response, we raise three questions to consider: are public policy models fit for purpose in today’s world in LMICs (and what other theory can be used)? Is using theory the most important factor in deepening such research? Why do we, as researchers, do this work? Ultimately, we argue that the value of simple models, such as those already used in health policy analysis, lies in their enduring relevance and widespread use. They are supporting the development of the shared understandings that can, in turn, provide the basis for collective action addressing inequities in health and well-being.


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  • Receive Date: 01 August 2023
  • Revise Date: 16 November 2023
  • Accept Date: 19 November 2023
  • First Publish Date: 20 November 2023