Supporting early career women in LMICs in health through mentoring Health Equity: Access to quality services and caring for underserved Populations

By: Nanuka Jalaghonia (Health Systems Global), Sandra Mounier-Jack (Health Policy and Planning) and Ami Bhavsar (Health Policy and Planning)


This supplement, a collaboration between Health Systems Global, the Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research and Health Policy and Planning, is the result of mentorship programme to support early-career women conducting Health Policy and Systems Research in Low- and Middle- Income Countries. The program guided 13 mentor-mentee pairs from 16 different countries through an almost two-year-long journey in preparing a high-quality manuscript for a peer-reviewed journal. It encompassed various stages, starting from the initial submission of abstracts and onboarding, followed by eight months of dedicated mentor-mentee engagement. This led to the submission of their papers for journal review, navigating through the peer review phase, experiencing acceptance, and in some cases, rejection. In the midpoint of the program mentors and mentees had an opportunity to meet in person to refine their papers, exchange feedback and gain valuable insights and suggestions from journal colleagues regarding submission.  

 The papers in this supplement span a wide range of equity-oriented topics and explore access to quality services and care for underserved populations.

This issue presents examples of constraints on mental health and maternal and childcare, and highlights a lack of accountability. These highlight how policies alone fall short without specific actions to meet population needs. Other research reveals that service delivery lacks a patient-centric approach and insufficiently addresses population requirements, and how individuals with lower education or limited resources face barriers to access.

Two papers analyse the COVID-19 pandemic’s burden on minority groups and high-risk populations. One explores mental health services, uncovering a disparity between policy documents and practical application. The other examines the government’s response to the healthcare and dietary needs of indigenous communities, revealing the absence of a justice-oriented approach in response planning and execution.

Countries (of correspondence authors) represented include Peru, Nigeria, Malawi, Kenya, Georgia, India.

We invite you to engage with the findings:


  1. Health equity: access to quality services and caring for underserved populations

Supplement Articles

  1. Paper promises: Peruvian frontline health workers’ perspectives on mental health policies during COVID-19
  2. ‘We stay silent and keep it in our hearts’: a qualitative study of failure of complaints mechanisms in Malawi’s health system
  3. Policy and practices shaping the delivery of health services to pregnant adolescents in informal urban settlements in Kenya
  4. Justice implications of health and food security policies for Indigenous peoples facing COVID-19: a qualitative study and policy analysis in Peru
  5. Do Indian women know about and use the emergency contraceptive pill? An analysis of nationally representative data from 2005–06 and 2019–21
  6. The nature, drivers and equity consequences of informal payments for maternal and child health care in primary health centres in Enugu, Nigeria
  7. Making progress in early-career publishing: evolutions of the women’s publication mentorship programme