Strengthening health systems – Health coverage for all

Children under five and women living in remote regions benefit from better access to medical treatment thanks to Switzerland's efforts in the realm of family medicine. © SDC

Good governance and the efficient management of resources are key factors in a well-functioning health sector. The SDC promotes the strengthening of health care systems in developing and transition countries. Switzerland strives to promote universal health coverage through its activities both to establish social protection mechanisms and to advocate for access to quality health care for the most vulnerable. 

SDC focus

Financing health

The SDC's support for health sector reforms in its partner countries is based on a thorough analysis of the prevailing political, economic and social contexts. Its aim: to guarantee access to quality health services for the poorest.

A combination of research and action enables the SDC to encourage the development of innovative financing and payment mechanisms for health services. Its interventions are always aligned with national policies and priorities, and implemented in direct cooperation with its governmental, non-governmental and private partners in the health sector. This approach seeks to develop a form of social protection capable of preventing the most vulnerable members of society from plunging into poverty as a result of their expenditure on health-related problems. SDC projects focus on the public sector and providing support to public-private partnerships. 

Governance and participation

The SDC promotes efforts to establish better governance in the health sector and supports both governmental and non-governmental actors in this objective as they strive to develop a culture of accountability, wage war on corruption and achieve transparency in the allocation and utilisation of resources.

At the community level, the SDC supports health promotion initiatives which involve marginalised and disadvantaged population groups. All users are encouraged to participate in the management and follow-up of health services as this helps reduce access barriers to care and leads to better health outcomes. This process of social empowerment enables users to know and assert their rights, and allows health care professionals to better respond to the needs of the population by offering quality care.

Determinants of health

The health of individuals and communities depends on a multitude of economic, social, cultural and environmental factors. SDC projects give priority to cooperation and coordination between different sectors (water, agriculture, education, etc.) in order to influence the various factors that constitute "determinants of health". Its activities also aim to encourage behavioural change and ensure that the poorest of the poor can exercise their right to health.

The SDC cooperates with other federal departments and offices such as the Human Security Division (HSD) and the FDFA's Sectoral Foreign Policies Division, the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) and the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).

Context

Faced with growing populations in the low-income countries and the ageing of the global population, establishing efficient and equitable health systems is a priority. However, health care systems in a large number of countries suffer from a lack of investment and poor management of the available resources, with services relying too heavily on external funding. As a result, infrastructure, technologies and equipment are lacking, and there is an acute shortage of qualified health workers. Furthermore, the absence of social protection mechanisms forces patients to cover a large part of the costs themselves, thereby exacerbating the inequalities in access to care. At the end of the day, the economic consequences of a poor health care system are hindering development in the countries concerned.

In its position on health for the post-2015 agenda, Switzerland aspires to maximise health for all in all life stages. The long-term objective is to achieve universal health coverage and take coordinated action on the social, economic, cultural and environmental determinants of health. After all, the conditions in which people are born, raised and work have an impact on their state of health. Adopting an approach to health that involves other sectors such as water, sanitation, education and food security is therefore absolutely essential to overcoming inequalities.

Documents

Swiss Contributions to Human Resources for Health Development in Low- and Middle-Income Countries
Complete Study
[en] (PDF, Number of pages 102, 934.0 kB, English)

Swiss Contributions to Human Resources for Health Development in Low- and Middle-Income Countries
Summary
[en] (PDF, Number of pages 6, 3.3 MB, English)

Fiche de synthese sur les études
[fr] (PDF, 111.2 kB, French)

Recherche qualitative sur le personnel de santé étranger en Suisse et sur son recrutement
[de] (PDF, 635.5 kB, German)

[fr] (PDF, 652.5 kB, French)

Ausländisches Gesundheitspersonal in der Schweiz
[de] (PDF, 685.5 kB, German)

Building Bridges across Time and Space – Experience and Success of a Telemedicine Pilot Project
Asia Brief - May 2013
[en] (PDF, Number of pages 4, 413.9 kB, English)

WHO Global Strategy and Plan of Action on Public Health, Innovation and Intellectual Property:
the Contribution of Switzerland
[en] (PDF, 1.1 MB)

Un seul monde 1/2013
Disponible seulement en Suisse
No. 1/2013: Afrique du Nord / Honduras / Éthiopie / Somalie / Télémédecine en Mongolie / Programmes culturels Asie centrale / Eau / Partenariat public-privé
[fr] (PDF, Number of pages 36, 6.0 MB, French)

Human Resources for Health Development in Low- and Middle- Income Countries
Health Brief
[en] (PDF, Number of pages 4, 274.3 kB, English)

Health despite poverty: a SDC-Sponsored project changes people's perspective
Central Asia Project Briefing
[en] (PDF, Number of pages 4, 898.0 kB)

Healthcare for remote regions: an SDC project in Kyrgyzstan sets the standard
Central Asia Project Briefing
[en] (PDF, Number of pages 4, 809.4 kB)

Article on family doctors in Bosnia and Herzegovina, published in issue no. 3/2009 of Un seul monde
[de] (PDF, Page 1, 54.7 kB, German)

Lessons learned from evaluations on community participation and civil society involvement in health
EvalBrief – October 2012
[en] (PDF, 291.8 kB, English)

Current projects

Object 1 – 12 of 34

Policy Dialogue for better Health Governance in Ukraine

A woman is at the doctor's.

01.12.2015 - 30.11.2019

This project aims to strengthen the Ukrainian health ministry's authority and expertise in order to best manage the reforms underway in this sector. In particular, priorities will be defined more clearly and public policy which meets the specific health needs of the population will be drawn up and implemented.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Ukraine
Health

Health system strengthening
Health system strengthening
HEALTH
HEALTH
Health policy and administrative management
Health policy and administrative management

01.12.2015 - 30.11.2019


CHF 1'850'000



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 - 30.09.2020

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 system strengthening
Primary health care
HEALTH
HEALTH
Health policy and administrative management
Basic health care

01.01.2015 - 30.09.2020


CHF 2'100'000



Improving access to good-quality healthcare services in Kosovo

A nurse giving a prescription to a patient in a primary healthcare centre.

01.11.2013 - 31.12.2019

The standard of healthcare provision in Kosovo is inadequate and does not meet the needs of the general population. Vulnerable groups are particularly affected, with a number of economic and social barriers limiting their access to care. That is why the SDC is working to improve the quality and inclusivity of the primary healthcare system in Kosovo.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Kosovo
Health
Health system strengthening
HEALTH
Health policy and administrative management

01.11.2013 - 31.12.2019


CHF 7'190'000



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 system strengthening
Non-communicable diseases, incl. Mental health
Primary health care
Non-communicable diseases, incl. Mental health
Primary health care
HEALTH
HEALTH
HEALTH
Health policy and administrative management
Medical services
Basic health care
Medical services
Basic health care

15.10.2013 - 30.04.2020


CHF 10'000'000



Swiss Malaria Group

01.01.2020 - 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.


Safeguard Young People (SYP) – Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR)

01.02.2017 - 31.12.2019

The UNFPA Safeguard Young People programme (SYP) will contribute to the reduction of HIV infections and improved sexual and reproductive health and rights status of young women and men aged 10 to 24 in eight Southern African countries: Zambia, Swaziland, Malawi, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Lesotho. UNFPA will scale up SRHR/HIV prevention models and youth friendly health services (YFHS) in order to equip young people with knowledge, skills and values to protect themselves and capacitate member states to improve the legislative environment to address young people’s health issues.


Health System Strengthening Support Program 2017-2019

01.01.2017 - 31.12.2019

With its contribution to the health common fund (PROSAUDE) Switzerland supports the Government of Mozambique, in particular local governments, to accelerate equitable access to primary health services for women, children and people living in rural areas. As chair of the health common fund, Switzerland will advocate increased domestic funding and decentralization in order to foster sustainable and equitable health financing.



RDC, Alliance Globale du Vaccin (GAVI): Approvisionnement en médicaments

02.12.2016 - 31.12.2020

La contribution ciblée à GAVI présentée dans cette proposition de crédit est la mise en pratique de la stratégie de coopération : elle vise non seulement l’appui stratégique et vital du circuit des médicaments et vaccins en RDC, en particulier au Sud-Kivu, mais convole aussi l’agenda du programme global Santé, du travail diplomatique de la représentation Suisse à Kinshasa et du programme de la coopération Sud.


Support Reforms and Good Governance in the Health System in Ukraine

01.12.2016 - 30.11.2020

SDC supports the ongoing health reform aiming at tackling the root causes of the poor health status of Ukrainian population. This project leverages and strengthens the impact of a World Bank loan which intends to improve the quality and efficiency of health care services in selected regions.


Promotion des mutuelles de santé au Tchad

01.07.2016 - 30.06.2019

Au Tchad moins de 25% de la population a accès à des services de santé de base insuffisants et de faible qualité. Afin de faciliter l’accès financier des populations aux soins, la DDC soutient le développement d’un réseau de mutuelles de santé au sud du pays. Quelques 150.000 personnes auront accès à des services de santé de qualité et les bases d’une mise à l’échelle nationale des mutuelles seront établies. La DDC contribuera ainsi à la réalisation de la Couverture Sanitaire Universelle (CSU) au Tchad.


Open source Health Insurance Management Information System (openHIMIS)

01.06.2016 - 31.12.2022

Many middle- and low-income countries strive to set up or expand national, district- or community- based health insurance schemes. For effective business processes bigger schemes require appropriate health insurance information management systems. Yet, countries have insufficient capacities to set up and manage such systems. The initiative aims to develop an open source, hence affordable and cost-effective ICT-based system with no restrictions on its use, change or distribution.

Object 1 – 12 of 34