Our Work

Delivering excellence in social development consultancy and research


Why we work on health rights

Health rights are a critical and expanding area of work for SDDirect. We believe that people everywhere should be empowered to secure and exercise their right to health. This includes access to timely, affordable and high quality care which is essential for people to realise their economic, social and cultural potential.

Our approach

Our approach to health rights is shaped by our distinctive social inclusion and gender equality perspective. We recognise that gender inequality, systemic exclusion and different identities shape the social determinants of health.  This means that we carefully consider the conditions in which people live and work and a wider set of factors which shape the conditions of daily life, including economic policies, development agendas and social norms. We also look at the availability, accessibility, acceptability and quality of health care.

Our work is values-driven, evidence-based and participatory. We aim to ‘bridge the gap’ between demand and supply-side factors in order to build effective health systems, to enable equitable and quality care services, and to facilitate more informed decision-making through wider access to comprehensive health information.

On the demand side, we analyse barriers to uptake of health information and services. We also explore the social determinants of health, including the dynamics of gender and power and the interplay of social and cultural norms. We work to strengthen citizen voice, community demand and accountability in the health sector so that citizens feel empowered to shape their own development and health outcomes.

On the supply side, we strive for improved patient and population health outcomes, particularly among the most marginalised groups, through support to leadership efforts by government and service providers that tackle barriers to services and advance improvements in accountability.

Our work is anchored in some key principles:


We engage with communities, civil society organisations, service providers, policymakers and donors through multi-stakeholder dialogue, collaboration and joint problem-solving across sectors such as sexual and reproductive health rights, maternal and child health and child nutrition. A key component of this engagement is a ‘systems change’ analysis which links social determinants of health and integration with other pertinent issues such as violence against women and girls.

Examples of our current and previous work in health rights:

  • Evaluation of the International HIV/AIDS Alliance Strategy: HIV, Health and Human Rights - Sustaining Community Action, 2014-2015
  • Global treatment review of women’s access to HIV treatment (2014-15), UN Women, 2014
  • Strengthening evidence-based reporting, accountability and results frameworks, International HIV/AIDS Alliance, 2013 & 2014
  • Gender assessment for World Vision Afghanistan Maternal and Under 5 Nutrition and Child Health Project (MUNCH), 2013
  • Assessment of the value of IPPF counselling services for sexual and reproductive health, 2013
  • DFID South Africa Reproductive, Maternal and Child Health (RMCH) Programme, 2012-2015
  • Independent Programme Review (mid-term) of the Programme Partnership Arrangement (PPA) between IPPF and DFID, 2012
  • DFID Violence Against Women & Girls (VAWG) Helpdesk, desk research on VAWG and nutrition; family planning; HIV and VAWG and HIV in the DRC, 2012-ongoing
  • DFID Pakistan Maternal and Newborn Health Research and Advocacy Fund, 2008-2014