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

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Global Quality and Standards Programme (GQSP)

01.11.2017 - 30.11.2022

The Global Quality and Standards Programme (GQSP) implemented with UNIDO addresses challenges faced by exporters from developing countries, in particular small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) to meet and prove conformity with market entry requirements/standards, technical regulations and market requirements.


Sustaining Competitive and Responsible Enterprises SCORE, Phase III

01.10.2017 - 31.12.2021

SCORE is one of SECO's flagship programmes to foster more & better jobs in small and medium enterprises (SME) in partner countries. SCORE provides on-the-job training for workers and managers to improve productivity and working conditions in SMEs and help them to participate in global supply chains. SCORE is a joint programme with Norway and ILO.


Kyrgyzstan: Energy Efficiency in Public Buildings

01.10.2017 - 31.12.2023

Given the high energy intensity of Kyrgyzstan (with buildings being the main energy consumer), SECO will support the Government?s Action Plan to reduce energy consumption by demonstrating energy efficiency benefits in public buildings in the health and education sectors. The project will also help to build local expertise on energy efficiency.


Urban Transformation Program

01.08.2017 - 31.12.2022

Urban transformation has become one of the top priorities of Colombian cities for tackling their growing urban challenges. The SECO supported Urban Transformation Program aims at (re-)vitalizing the public space through innovative urban infrastructures in selected Colombian Cities in order to promote their economic development.



World Bank City Resilience Program

01.07.2017 - 31.12.2021

The City Resilience Program is a project preparation facility, which aims to enhance capacity and consolidate city engagement on urban resilience.It will support the establishment of comprehensive engagements in selected cities as well as the foundation of strategic partnerships in order to unlock new sources of capital for building up resilience.


Water Supply and Wastewater of the municipality of Delnice

30.05.2017 - 31.12.2023

Delnice is located in the region of Gorski Kotar, where Switzerland and Croatia implement three water supply and wastewater projects. The uncontrolled discharge of untreated sanitary wastewater risks to pollute drinking water sources and catchment areas of the Danube and the Adriatic Sea. Moreover, the existing drinking water systems are in need of maintenance. A feasibility study, also financed through the Swiss contribution to Croatia, detects deficiencies and defines needs for action.


Water Supply and Wastewater of the municipality of Fužine

30.05.2017 - 31.12.2023

Fužine is located in the region of Gorski Kotar, where Switzerland and Croatia intend to implement three water supply and wastewater projects. The uncontrolled discharge of untreated sanitary wastewater risks to pollute drinking water sources and catchment areas of the Danube and the Adriatic Sea. Moreover, the existing drinking water systems are in need of maintenance. A feasibility study, also financed through the Swiss contribution to Croatia, detects deficiencies and defines needs for action.


Water Supply and Wastewater of the municipality of Brod Moravice

30.05.2017 - 31.12.2023

Brod Moravice is located in the region of Gorski Kotar, where Switzerland and Croatia intend to implement three water supply and wastewater projects. The uncontrolled discharge of untreated sanitary wastewater risks to pollute drinking water sources and catchment areas of the Danube and the Adriatic Sea. Moreover, the existing drinking water systems are in need of maintenance. A feasibility study, also financed through the Swiss contribution to Croatia, detects deficiencies and defines needs for action.


Umbrella Facility for Trade and Development

01.04.2017 - 31.12.2022

The Umbrella Facility (UF) for Trade, a Multi-Donor Trust Fund for Trade and Development, supports analytical trade work across the World Bank Group (WBG). It is implemented by IBRD/IFC, one of the biggest institutional supporter of analytical work and capacity development on trade within the WBG.


SECO Start-up Fund - Administration 2017-24

01.01.2017 - 31.12.2024

The SECO Start-up Fund is a debt vehicle that provides loans to Swiss-based individuals or small enterprises for the purpose of launching a business in Swiss partner countries. The SECO Start-up Fund is fully owned by the Swiss Confederation and consitutes an instrument of the Swiss Economic Cooperation and Development programme.


Multi-Country Investment Climate Program

01.01.2017 - 31.12.2024

The Multi-Country Investment Climate Program (MCICP) supports investment climate reform advisory in a total of 20 SECO partner countries. It is implemented by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a globally recognized leader in this field.

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