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 (PDF, Number of pages 102, 934.0 kB, English)

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

Qualitative research on foreign health personnel in Switzerland and their recruitment (PDF, 635.5 kB, German)

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

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

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


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

Article on family doctors in Bosnia and Herzegovina (PDF, Page 1, 54.7 kB, German)


Lessons learned from evaluations on community participation and civil society involvement in health (PDF, 291.8 kB, English)

Current projects

Object 73 – 84 of 973

Contribution to the UN-REDD Pro-gramme (single phase)

15.12.2020 - 31.12.2025

Forests are a central solution to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, their sustainable management is an imperative for the planet but also for millions of vulnerable people. The UN-REDD Programme is a key player in accelerating the implementation of appropriate policies and actions in tropical low and lower-middle income countries to reduce deforestation and restore forests. The contribution will allow for a strong Swiss engagement jointly with the Federal Office of the Environment, and for the capitalization of existing work of the four SDC domains on forest ecosystems and related livelihoods.


Redevabilité, sécurité et prévention de l’extrémisme violent pour les citoyennes et citoyens tunisiens RESPECT

01.12.2020 - 30.11.2026

L’intervention renforce la gouvernance du secteur de sécurité tunisien et les capacités institutionnelles de prévention de l’extrémisme violent. Elle contribue ainsi à une meilleure protection des citoyennes et des citoyens tunisiens à travers une assistance vers une gestion de la sécurité redevable et efficace, et à travers un soutien à la définition et à la mise en œuvre de politiques publiques limitant le phénomène de l’extrémisme violent.

 


Strengthening the Anti-Corruption Committee of Armenia

01.12.2020 - 30.11.2022

In partnership with the OSCE, Switzerland supports the Armenian Government in establishing a new Anti-Corruption Committee (ACC). This specialized body will be key in investigating and combatting corruption crimes. Through capacity-building activities and policy support, the ACC will be in a position to contribute to curb corruption, strengthen the Anti-Corruption system and the rule-of-law in the context of the Government’s Anti-Corruption Strategy 2019.


Covid-19 Rural Poor Stimulus Facility (single phase)

01.12.2020 - 31.12.2022

Established by The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the Rural Poor Stimulus Facility (RPSF) addresses immediate impacts of the Covid 19 pandemic on rural people, prevents the erosion of results from past and ongoing operations, and puts in place building blocks to support post crisis recovery and long term resilience. As an IFAD member state, Switzerland joins international efforts with this time-bound response to prevent the health crisis from turning into a food crisis.


Hands4health Hand hygiene, water quality and sanitation in primary health care facilities and schools not connected to a functional water supply system

01.12.2020 - 31.12.2024

Current technologies and approaches to improve water, sanitation and hygiene are fragmented. Hands4health focuses on the development, testing, evaluation and scaling up of new water efficient hand washing technologies as well as on a holistic approach to hand hygiene, water quality and sanitation. To leave no one behind, the project works in primary health care facilities and schools not connected to a functional water supply system in in four target countries and beyond. 


Kulturförderung Süd/Ost

01.12.2020 - 31.12.2024

Die DEZA fördert den Zugang von Kulturschaffenden aus Asien, Afrika, Lateinamerika und Osteuropa zum Schweizer Kulturmarkt und internationalen beruflichen Netzwerken. Sie leistet einen finanziellen Beitrag an das Büro für Kulturkooperation „artlink“ für die Dokumentation, Information sowie die Vermitt-lung von Engagements von Künstler*innen aus dem Süden und Osten in der Schweiz. Zudem können Kulturveranstalter beim SüdKulturFonds Gesuche für Auftritte aus dem Süden und Osten einreichen. 


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.


Working for Health (W4H)

01.11.2020 - 31.10.2025

More health workers with the right skills are needed to achieve the SDGs, particularly in low income countries. Switzerland contributes to a joint WHO, ILO and OECD program providing catalytic support to governments, social partners and other key stakeholders to develop, finance and implement national health workforce strategies and investment plans. This will improve the supply and employment of health workers, maximise their performance, create decent jobs and accelerate progress towards UHC.   


Upgrading Karm Abu Salem Crossing - Gaza

01.10.2020 - 31.12.2022

Switzerland will support improving the export/import conditions of goods to and from the Gaza Strip.

The project, implemented by UNOPS, will upgrade the poor infrastructure at the Palestinian side of

the only functioning commercial crossing between Gaza and Israel. The existing infrastructure con-

ditions are causing around 10% of damages to the transiting commodities thus incurring substantial

economic losses that are affecting the living conditions of two million people in the Gaza Strip


Supporting Small-scale Dairy Production

01.10.2020 - 30.09.2024

This contribution aims at improving economic empowerment and resilience of women dairy producers in Abkhazia and Samegrelo. The protracted conflict in Abkhazia impedes socio-economic development, leading to high poverty and vulnerability to external shocks, as COVID-19. Women are particularly vulnerable, as they are also victims of gender-based discrimination and domestic violence. Farmer Field Schools will empower women by enhancing their technical and leadership skills.


International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI), SDC Membership 2021-2024

01.10.2020 - 31.12.2023

International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) is a global initiative to improve transparency of development and humanitarian resources addressing poverty and crises. The IATI statistical data standard delivers information for donor and recipient countries to improve coordination, accountability and effectiveness of international cooperation to achieve the SDGs efficiently.

As a member of IATI, SDC will contribute to increase outreach of data to partner countries. 


Sustainable and Innovative Rural Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (SIRWASH)

01.10.2020 - 31.12.2024

The Sustainable and Innovative Rural Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (SIRWASH) initiative improves enabling policy, innovation and knowledge environments and fosters the required capacities to provide sustainable quality water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services to rural communities – in particular poor households and vulnerable people – in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Haiti and Peru. It builds on Switzerland’s over 20 years of experience in strengthening rural WASH systems in Peru and Colombia.

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