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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Waste Water Treatment Plant in Thala and Feriana

01.03.2012 - 31.12.2021

This project aims at implementing wastewater infrastructure in the cities of Thala (15'000 inhabitants) and Fériana (27'000 inhabitants) in the Governorate of Kasserine, Tunisia. The infrastructure includes the financing of the treatment plants, the extension of the wastewater networks and pumping stations for both cities.


Europe and Central Asia : PPP Transaction Advisory Program

01.06.2011 - 31.12.2022

The ECA Program, managed by the International Finance Corporation IFC, is providing infrastructure transaction advisory and capacity building services to the public sector authorities to promote Public-Private Partnerships in Southeastern Europe and Central Asia.


Pamir Private Power Project II

01.03.2011 - 31.12.2021

In July 2011 the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs SECO approved the financing of a Phase II project comprising a more targeted lifeline subsidy scheme benefitting the poor (2012 - 2014) and the early completion of the ongoing metering programme (pre-requisite for the efficient and equitable operation of such a subsidy scheme).


Scaling-up Renewable Energy Program in Low Income Countries (SREP)

01.01.2010 - 31.12.2028

The Scaling-Up Renewable Energy in Low Income Countries Program (SREP) of the Climate Investment Funds is empowering countries to transform their economies by demonstrating the viability of renewable energy to increase energy access and economic opportunities. SREP financing is channeled through five multilateral development banks (MDBs).


Dam Safety Monitoring and Rockfall protection, Phase III

01.01.2010 - 31.12.2023

The overall objective of the Contribution is to assist the competent Albanian Institutions and the Albanian Power Corporation KESH in raising the safety of the dams at Drin and Mat River Cascades to European standards.


North Tajik Water Rehabilitation

01.01.2010 - 31.12.2021

Based on a request of the Tajik Government, SECO and EBRD started to develop a programmatic and integrated approach to replicate the successful Khujand Water Supply Projects in secondary cities throughout the country, including the North.


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The project aims at supporting financial stability in Peru by strengthening the country's financial regulatory and supervisory framework, promoting efficient consumer protection practices and supporting the implementation of a national anti-money laundering - combating the financing of terrorism strategy. It further aspires to encourage financial inclusion by creating a favorable legal framework conducive to the development of new financial products and increasing financial literacy of existing and potential customers. The direct beneficiaries of this program are Superintendencia de Bancos y Seguros (SBS) and regulated stakeholders, including financial intermediaries, private pension managers and insurance companies. The indirect beneficiaries are the public in general an final services consumers in particular.

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