The PHGRN’s research is organised under five thematic pillars, which reflect the various intersections between health policy and governance and the SDG agenda. The five thematic pillars are:

Health security

The Health Security theme focuses research on Pacific health security, biosecurity and human security. Research here incorporates the management of disasters and infectious disease epidemics, the interactions between climate change and health, as well as water, food and psychological securities. Gendered impact on health is an important dimension of the health security theme. The health security pillar takes a strengths-based approach by reviewing existing community-based initiatives, with the aim to improve and scale-up successful approaches.

Health Systems and Universal Health Coverage

The Health Systems and Universal Health Coverage theme provides research on the global, regional and national policy contexts that arbitrate investment in health systems and universal health coverage. Research will concentrate on the ramifications of this broader environment on Pacific health governance, and the manner in which drivers such as human rights, the market and mobility interplay to determine access and provision of health services. At the local level, the network investigates the impact of social factors such as attitudes, norms and gender in relation to accessing healthcare, and how they differ across the region and between communities in the Pacific.

Climate Change and Health

The Climate Change and Health theme investigates the needs, capacities and barriers for local community climate change resilience and adaptation. In addition, research focuses on improving communication and feedback between policy-makers and communities, in order to translate global and national policies to implement effective and supported climate change adaptation programs in local communities. Research needs to create clear linkages between climate change and health in the Pacific, in order to mobilise local action and garner support from the international community.

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene

The Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) theme considers policy and regulation, water and wastewater infrastructure, staff training for infrastructure management, and urbanisation. Research will evaluate models for building sustainable water systems, increase institutional capacity for surveillance of water quality and water-borne diseases, and ensure clean drinking water in health facilities and schools.

Non-Communicable Diseases

The Non-Communicable Diseases theme seeks to understand the links between NCDs in the Pacific and the regional and global determinants of behavioural risk factors contributing to the NCD burden, such as tobacco smoking, alcohol abuse, poor diet and physical inactivity. The NCD pillar also considers the capacity of health systems to manage these conditions. Research is supporting translating screening to long-term management, identifying cost-effective interventions for the Pacific context, supporting campaigns for promoting health literacy, and exploring opportunities to implement trade or tax policies. Mental illnesses are an under-recognised disease burden which are addressed specifically under the NCD pillar.