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

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Swiss Malaria Group

01.01.2024 - 31.12.2025

Founded in 2007 as an informal network, the Swiss Malaria Group (SMG) has undergone organisational development leading to a formalized multi-stakeholder group with a strategic focus on raising awareness about malaria and the comparative advantage of Switzerland to defeat the disease. Organised as an association, with an Executive Secretariat hosted by Medicus Mundi Switzerland, the 15 organisations help accelerating malaria elimination, through innovative control measures, knowledge and financial flows.


Intégration de la santé mentale dans les soins de santé primaire au Burundi

01.01.2024 - 31.12.2031

L’intégration de la santé mentale dans les services de santé primaire du Burundi vise à renforcer le système de prise en charge des personnes atteintes de maladies mentales post traumatiques. La Suisse est un partenaire important du Burundi qui a un intérêt à contribuer à mettre fin au cycle de violences qui trouvent leur origine en partie dans des traumatismes vécus mais non traités. Le programme appuie les institutions nationales concernées, le système de formation spécialisée et vise l’amélioration du cadre législatif en santé mentale.



Programme d’appui au système de santé du Sud Kivu (PASS Sud-Kivu)

01.05.2021 - 31.12.2023

Cette phase de consolidation des acquis est la dernière du Programme d’Appui au Système de Santé au Sud Kivu. L’appui systémique délocalisé promu par la Suisse vise à renforcer durablement le système de santé dans son ensemble, afin de le rendre plus efficient, résilient et équitable. Grâce à une meilleure gouvernance du système et au renforcement de la qualité des services, l’état de santé de près de 3 millions de personnes sera amélioré.


Jigjiga One Health Initiative Phase 2 (JOHI2)

01.04.2021 - 31.03.2026

The Jijiga One Health Initiative aims to develop a trans-disciplinary centre of excellence on pastoralist health within the Jijiga University (Somali Region, Ethiopia). Community-based one-health research and pilot interventions, including contribution to COVID-19 prevention and response, as well as targeted policy influencing will contribute to improved health among pastoralist communities and reduce pressure for their displacement/migration, which is in the interest of Switzerland.  


Innovations for efficient quality health systems

01.11.2020 - 31.12.2026

Despite enormous progress in access to healthcare in low and middle-income countries, nearly 9 million people still die every year in these countries because of poor quality of care. SDC supports the establishment of a global design lab for the development of innovative tools to enhance quality measurements that form the base for cost-effective investments into quality improvements. The lab will benefit from Swiss research knowhow.


The Global Vaccine Alliance Gavi

01.10.2020 - 31.12.2025

People in low and lower- middle-income countries are particularly vulnerable to the COVID-19 pandemic as they often rely on fragile health systems to fight it. Because of the pandemic, routine immunization campaigns have been stopped or massively scaled-down, which in turn will severely impact the health of millions in these countries. Switzerland supports the Geneva-based Vaccine Alliance Gavi to provide equitable access to vaccines, including a future COVID-19 vaccine.


WFP/UNHAS common services for Southeast Asia during COVID-19

12.06.2020 - 31.12.2020

Contribution by two funding entities (Humanitarian Aid and South Cooperation) to support WFP/UNHAS in Southeast  Asia in the framework of the COVID-19 Global Humanitarian Response Plan in terms of passenger services, light cargo and MEDEVAC. With passenger planes and air ambulances (air base: Subang/Kuala Lumpur) the freedom of movement of humanitarian and development workers as well as other supporters to the Global Humanitarian Response Plan who got into “land-locked” situations where no commercial capacity is available or possible to use is enhanced by WFP/UNHAS’ air or sea transport services. 


Global co-operative movement for health

01.06.2020 - 31.12.2026

Many low- and middle-income countries strive to extend access to essential health services to the entire population. The private co-operative movement has potential to complement government efforts by providing efficient low-cost services for rural populations and informal sector workers. Following the principle of subsidiarity, SDC help the movements’ efforts establish a global platform for capacity strengthening of co-operatives.


Women and Girls First

01.05.2020 - 31.12.2022

SDC up-scales the “Women and Girls First” program of its priority partner UN Population Fund in southern Shan, where no other donor is present. The program strengthens government, civil society and ethnic health providers’ systems to be responsive to the needs of young people related to sexual reproductive health and rights. It improves access to comprehensive gender-based violence, mental health and psychosocial support services, and enhances social cohesion.


Voluntary Core Contribution to the World Health Organisation (WHO)

01.01.2020 - 31.12.2022

The World Health Organisation (WHO) is the leading and coordinating agency on health-related issues within the United Nations system. Switzerland supports its mandate to ensure the highest attainable level of health and well-being for all (SDG3). WHO’s normative function is its key strategic comparative advantage in global health governance. Its rights-based approach to health is also critical for advancing health equity. Switzerland’s programs are leveraged by the policy dialogue jointly carried out with WHO.


ESTHER Switzerland (Ensemble pour une Solidarité Thérapeutique Hospitalière En Réseau)

01.12.2019 - 30.11.2024

ESTHER Switzerland provides a mechanism for systematic mobilisation and use of Swiss healthcare expertise to strengthen human resource capacities for health and consequently the quality of service delivery in low and middle-income countries. ESTHER promotes institutional partnerships between Swiss hospitals or research entities with institutions of the same kind in partner countries so as to address priority needs in terms of service delivery.

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