Health – a human right and a requirement for development

Health is a human right, but one that is still not guaranteed for more than a billion people. The health inequalities that persist today hinder social, economic and sustainable development. That is why the SDC works to improve the health situation of people in low and middle income countries. To do so, it deploys Swiss expertise wherever possible to build and develop good-quality and effective health systems.

The SDC's focus

Switzerland views essential healthcare as a key requirement for economic and social development. It also considers the inequities in the provision of essential healthcare to be an unacceptable violation of fundamental human rights. That is why the SDC focuses its efforts to improve health on the needs of the poorest people.

Improving the health of the world's poorest has a direct link to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which applies to all countries. In goal 3 of the agenda, the international community, including Switzerland, has promised to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all.  The health sector has a key role to play here. In order to reduce social inequalities and foster sustainable development, access to a well-functioning health system is essential. That is why in the area of health the SDC focuses on good governance, strengthening the role and ownership of communities and health service users, and developing effective structures:

  • strengthening health systems with the aim of providing essential healthcare for all
  • controlling communicable and non-communicable diseases
  • improving sexual and reproductive health and rights as well as mother and child health
  • mainstreaming the fight against HIV/AIDS in non-health related sectors

Context

Healthcare is the responsibility of both governments and the communities affected. Strengthening good governance helps significantly in ensuring that the available resources are used efficiently and for the health needs of the people.

Switzerland has a great deal of expertise in the health sector. This know-how already plays a key role for many of its partner countries which are building and developing their health systems today. Through its strategic partnerships with Swiss NGOs, research institutes and the private sector, the SDC uses this knowledge to provide targeted expertise, products and services for its partner countries. It promotes innovative approaches tailored to the local context and sustainable practices that lead to improvements in health in its partner countries.

Nonetheless, major progress in this one area should not detract from other existing challenges that remain. Although absolute poverty is decreasing, the health gap between the rich and the poor is growing. For almost one billion people, the world's poorest of the poor, access to clean water, sanitation, enough food, a balanced diet and healthcare is still not a reality.

Documents

Current projects

Object 1 – 12 of 260

Democratic Republic of the Congo: supporting the fight against Ebola

a group of health workers listen to the trainer's instructions, assisted by two individuals wearing protective clothing.

01.08.2018 - 30.04.2019

The unpredictable nature of epidemics and the humanitarian situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo pose a challenge. The Democratic Republic of the Congo is experiencing the tenth Ebola outbreak in the country's history. The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and Medair have mounted a rapid and flexible response to stop the virus from spreading in North Kivu province.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Democratic Republic Congo
Health
Primary health care
Basic nutrition
Reproductive health & rights

01.08.2018 - 30.04.2019


CHF 1'359'156



Bosnia and Herzegovina: Improving nursing care for better health services

A nurse sitting in a treatment room.

01.12.2017 - 30.11.2021

In Bosnia and Herzegovina nurses make up the largest group of healthcare professionals. However, the potential offered by their proximity to local communities is underexploited. They are often responsible for administrative tasks rather than patient care and, with limited career prospects, many nurses are attracted by better working conditions in Western Europe. This is regrettable because nurses and the care they provide can be a gateway to better health services for people living in rural areas and marginalised communities.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Health
Education
Health systems strengthening
Primary health care
Education facilities and training

01.12.2017 - 30.11.2021


CHF 5'125'000



Effective management and prevention of Non-Communicable Diseases

: A woman doctor examining a woman patient.

01.01.2017 - 31.12.2021

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), non-communicable diseases are the biggest cause of death worldwide. On an international average 60% of deaths are linked to NCDs.  This rate is often much higher in low-to-middle-income countries.  This is the case in Kyrgyzstan where cardiovascular diseases, cancer and diabetes account for 80% of deaths

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Kyrgyzstan
Health
Primary health care
Health systems strengthening

01.01.2017 - 31.12.2021


CHF 4'810'000



Lebanon: education and care in a neighbourhood shared by Lebanese, Syrians and Palestinians

Inside a classroom where a woman teacher is sitting in front of a group of children showing them a book.

01.08.2016 - 31.07.2020

The inhabitants of Hay el Gharbé in southern Beirut live in a very precarious situation. Since 2012, a number of Syrian refugees have joined their neighbourhood. The SDC supports the Lebanese NGO Tahaddi, which has made a real difference in people’s lives here – such as with its education centre, helping a large number of children to (re)discover schooling and escape their daily hardships. 

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Lebanon
Education
Health
Primary education
Primary health care
Medical services

01.08.2016 - 31.07.2020


CHF 980'000



Switzerland donates ambulances to Syria's suffering population

Switzerland is financing twelve new ambulances to improve the situation of people suffering from the consequences of the war in Syria. © FDFA

20.02.2016 - 31.12.2018

The SDC has delivered twelve new ambulances to the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC). A Swiss delegation accompanied the delivery in the Syrian capital Damascus. The ambulances are urgently needed in Syria because the country's health system has too few ambulances to cope with the enormous number of victims caused by the war, including attacks against hospitals.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Syria
Health
Humanitarian Assistance & DRR
Health systems strengthening
Primary health care
Material relief assistance

20.02.2016 - 31.12.2018


CHF 900'000



Healthy people and animals in Ethiopia thanks to an interdisciplinary project: Jigjiga University One Health Initiative

African farmer ploughing a field with an ox.

01.01.2015 - 31.12.2020

Nomadic pastoralist communities, which constitute one tenth of Ethiopia’s population, have little access to health services. In the Jigjiga University One Health Initiative, the SDC is helping to establish local healthcare services by supporting an interdisciplinary centre of excellence at Jigjiga University in eastern Ethiopia.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Ethiopia
Health
Health systems strengthening
Primary health care

01.01.2015 - 31.12.2020


CHF 2'100'000



Health Care Waste Management in Kyrgyz Hospitals

Zulfia Djumaeva is using a needle cutter to destroy a used syringe. © SDC

01.04.2014 - 31.03.2017

Infectious hospital waste can be a serious threat for patients as well as for medical staff. Therefore, well-organised and safe management of all types of waste are indispensable for a safe environment in health institutions. With an innovative low-cost and thus sustainable approach, the Health Care Waste Management programme in Kyrgyz hospitals is a great success.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Kyrgyzstan
Health
Primary health care
Health systems strengthening
Infectious desease

01.04.2014 - 31.03.2017


CHF 3'060'000



A community-based mental healthcare system

01.03.2014 - 28.02.2018

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, much of the population is still suffering the consequences of the war which ravaged the Balkans in the 1990s. Since 2010, Switzerland has been helping the country to modernise its mental healthcare system to give patients access to high quality services in their communities.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Health
Mental health & well-being
Primary health care
Health systems strengthening

01.03.2014 - 28.02.2018


CHF 5'665'000



Increasing the Quality of Health Services for All

15.10.2013 - 30.04.2020


Albania has the lowest public health spending in the region. Many patients bypass primary health care and overcrowd hospitals, especially in larger cities. In addition, non-communicable diseases are increasing at an alarming rate. Therefore health promotion, prevention of diseases and improved primary health care services are a top priority for the country.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Albania
Health
Health systems strengthening
Medical services
Primary health care

15.10.2013 - 30.04.2020


CHF 10'000'000



Regeneration of neglected villages in south-east Myanmar

A nurse receives patients at the entrance to a health centre.

01.09.2013 - 14.08.2017

In Myanmar, the villages close to the Thai border have seen more than six decades of conflict. Geographically isolated, and in some cases under the control of armed indigenous ethnic groups, these villages are beyond the reach of central government authority. Their inhabitants must do with infrastructures that are in a perilous state. Working alongside the affected communities and other partners, the SDC is committed to restoring basic services, with the particular involvement of the young people in the region.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Myanmar
Conflict & fragility
Education
Health
Conflict prevention
Education facilities and training
Primary education
Primary health care

01.09.2013 - 14.08.2017


CHF 5'091'000



Enhancing Primary Health Care Services in Tajikistan

Three women in white coats use posters to present information on breastfeeding to a group of women.

01.04.2013 - 31.03.2017

This public health project in Tajikistan aims to improve access to healthcare for rural communities by promoting primary healthcare and family medicine. Specifically, it is building and renovating health centres, training medical and administrative staff, and setting up groups of villagers to promote health in their communities.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Tajikistan
Health
Primary health care
Health systems strengthening

01.04.2013 - 31.03.2017


CHF 4'800'000



Healthcare in the Great Lakes region: taking healthcare to the people

A baby being weighed in a consultation room.

01.02.2013 - 31.12.2018

Despite the political and humanitarian crisis Burundi is experiencing, the SDC remains committed to providing help directly to the people. In the health sector it aims to strengthen treatment capacity in health centres and district hospitals so that these can provide accessible, good-quality care. The SDC programme covers both Burundi and Rwanda.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
The Great Lakes Region
Health
Health systems strengthening
Primary health care
Reproductive health & rights

01.02.2013 - 31.12.2018


CHF 9'970'000


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