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, 102 Pages, 934.0 kB, English)

Swiss Contributions to Human Resources for Health Development in Low- and Middle-Income Countries, summary (PDF, 6 Pages, 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, 4 Pages, 274.3 kB, English)

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


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

Article on family doctors in Bosnia and Herzegovina (PDF, 1 Page, 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 925 – 936 of 1025

Police Capacity Development on Election Security through the UNDP Election Support Program

01.04.2013 - 30.09.2013

On 11th May 2013, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) will, for the first time in history, administer a transition from one full term democratic elected government to another. The probability of electoral violence threatens this opportunity. The police are the most important player in smooth conduct of election security. Yet, the majority of the police force has limited knowledge of electoral security protocol. With a contribution to the UNDP Election Support Program the capacity of police in election security will be enhanced.


Institutional Governance and Greater Financial Inclusion in microfinance

01.02.2013 - 30.09.2022

Financial services can be delivered in the long term only with sound, healthy financial institutions. Inappropriate Corporate Governance (CG) of microfinance institutions (MFIs) including Savings and Credit Unions / Cooperatives (Cooperatives) is the main cause for bankruptcy of the MFIs or over-indebtedness of their clients. Based on the experience of a SDC project in Central America on CG reforms and based on similar other relevant experiences and methodologies, FOMIN and SDC will promote CG reforms in Latin America and the Caribbean.


Plannes Project: Promotion de la coopération transfrontalière locale

01.01.2013 - 30.06.2022

Jusqu’ici, l’UEMOA[1] a abordé l’intégration régionale par le haut, à travers les Etats. Les collectivités territoriales ne sont directement éligibles ni à ses allocations budgétaires[2], ni à ses programmes sectoriels. Le Conseil des Collectivités Territoriales (CCT) veut changer cette situation en initiant le PCTL qui donne aux élus locaux les ressources pour réaliser des projets transfrontaliers améliorant l’accès des populations aux services publics de base.  Il replace la décentralisation au cœur de l’intégration régionale et du développement socioéconomique.

[1] Union Economique et Monétaire Ouest-Africaine créée en 1994 et regroupant huit pays d’Afrique de l’Ouest.

[2] De 1996 à 2006, l’UEMOA a alloué aux pays CHF 270'000'000 au titre de compensations financières liées à l’intégration. Ces ressources sont destinées exclusivement aux Gouvernements.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
West Africa
Governance
Other
Rule of Law - Democracy - Human rights
Decentralisation
Sector not specified
Public sector policy

01.01.2013 - 30.06.2022


CHF  8’187’500



Energising Development - Support to the Energising Development (EnDev) Initiative

01.11.2012 - 31.12.2023

Providing sustainable access to modern and climate friendly energy services to households, health centres, schools, and small enterprises impacts the lives of the beneficiaries in many ways: improved cooking reduces the burden on women and girls of fire-wood collection and their exposure to indoor air pollution; access to improved lighting reduces health hazards and allows children to study; energy availability improves access to information and communication and extends the range of productive activities; and energy access improves the conditions and quality of services such as education and health; all while reducing CO2 emissions.


Swiss Programme for Research on Global Issues for Development - Research Module on Employment

01.09.2012 - 31.12.2023

SDC and the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) are offering a new long-term funding scheme for development-relevant research on global issues (www.r4d.ch). The main focus lies on the generation of new insights and solutions as well as on the application of research results into policy and practice through partnership projects between researchers from Switzerland and from developing countries. The overall r4d.ch program consists of five thematic modules and a module for thematically open research. The second module focuses on employment in the context of sustainable development.


Swiss Programme for Research on Global Issues for Development - Research Module on Social Conflicts and Fragility

01.03.2012 - 31.12.2023

SDC and the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) are offering a new long-term funding scheme for development-relevant research on global issues (www.r4d.ch). The main focus lies on the generation of new insights and solutions as well as on the application of research results into policy and practice through partnership projects between researchers from Switzerland and from developing countries. The overall r4d.ch program consists of five thematic modules and a module for thematically open research. The first thematic module focuses on the causes and solutions to social conflicts in the context of weak public institutions.





Swiss Bluetec Bridge: Swiss start-ups benefit disadvantaged populations

01.04.2011 - 31.05.2024

The challenges involving water are creating opportunities for cutting-edgetechnological innovation. The SDC's Swiss Bluetec Bridge initiative supports these innovations to improve access to water for the poorest populations. The first start-up to benefit from a loan is the start-up company “Swiss Fresh Water” which has developed a low-cost system fordesalinating salty or brackish water.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Global
Water
Drinking water and basic sanitation (WASH) (til 2016)
Water sanitation

01.04.2011 - 31.05.2024


CHF  2’050’000




Support to St. Francis Hospital in Ifakara

01.10.2010 - 31.12.2022

SDC plans to support health services and management improvement, and address the role of the hospital as a place for practical training and clinical research. The project would focus primarily on improving health care and look for synergies between St. Francis Hospital, the Ifakara Health Institute and the Tanzanian Training Centre for International Health, and the Swiss institutions that support them (SDC, Novartis Foundation, SwissTPH and Solidarmed). During the entry proposal period, SDC and partners will have an opportunity to explore which organisational option would best serve these objectives. Refurbishment of the pediatric ward will also be undertaken and equipment provided.

Object 925 – 936 of 1025