Health – a human right and a requirement for development

Health is a human right, but one that is still not guaranteed for more than a billion people. The health inequalities that persist today hinder social, economic and sustainable development. That is why the SDC works to improve the health situation of people in low and middle income countries. To do so, it deploys Swiss expertise wherever possible to build and develop good-quality and effective health systems.

The SDC's focus

Switzerland views essential healthcare as a key requirement for economic and social development. It also considers the inequities in the provision of essential healthcare to be an unacceptable violation of fundamental human rights. That is why the SDC focuses its efforts to improve health on the needs of the poorest people.

Improving the health of the world's poorest has a direct link to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which applies to all countries. In goal 3 of the agenda, the international community, including Switzerland, has promised to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all.  The health sector has a key role to play here. In order to reduce social inequalities and foster sustainable development, access to a well-functioning health system is essential. That is why in the area of health the SDC focuses on good governance, strengthening the role and ownership of communities and health service users, and developing effective structures:

  • strengthening health systems with the aim of providing essential healthcare for all
  • controlling communicable and non-communicable diseases
  • improving sexual and reproductive health and rights as well as mother and child health
  • mainstreaming the fight against HIV/AIDS in non-health related sectors

Context

Healthcare is the responsibility of both governments and the communities affected. Strengthening good governance helps significantly in ensuring that the available resources are used efficiently and for the health needs of the people.

Switzerland has a great deal of expertise in the health sector. This know-how already plays a key role for many of its partner countries which are building and developing their health systems today. Through its strategic partnerships with Swiss NGOs, research institutes and the private sector, the SDC uses this knowledge to provide targeted expertise, products and services for its partner countries. It promotes innovative approaches tailored to the local context and sustainable practices that lead to improvements in health in its partner countries.

Nonetheless, major progress in this one area should not detract from other existing challenges that remain. Although absolute poverty is decreasing, the health gap between the rich and the poor is growing. For almost one billion people, the world's poorest of the poor, access to clean water, sanitation, enough food, a balanced diet and healthcare is still not a reality.

Documents

Current projects

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Contribution to Medicus Mundi Switzerland (MMS) Network

01.01.2024 - 31.12.2027

Medicus Mundi Switzerland is a Network of 49 Swiss non-governmental organisations, foundations and scientific institutions involved in health advocacy at global level and health programmes in lowand middle-income countries. Taking a multisectoral approach and fostering open dialogue with relevant actors, decision-makers and the broader public, the Network facilitates the exchange of knowledge and experience and contributes to finding solutions to global health challenges.


Humanitarian assistance to people affected by the protracted crisis in Venezuela

01.09.2023 - 31.12.2024

Despite a moderate recovery in some economic indicators during 2022, the Venezuelan economy continues to contract during 2023. Meanwhile, there is no improvement in the structural causes of the humanitarian crisis. As a result, the needs of the most vulnerable are still high. Therefore, Caritas aims to facilitate access on health, nutrition, food security and livelihoods, for vulnerable families in eight states according to the Guidance Note for Venezuela 2022-2024. 


Myanmar: Primary Health Care

01.05.2023 - 30.04.2026

The military coup in Myanmar has interrupted the progress towards Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and provoked a quasi-collapse of the public health system. Through the Primary Health Care project, Switzerland supports conflict-affected communities in Karen State by providing essential lifesaving healthcare and quality basic maternal and child health services through strengthening the ethnic health system and the community-based service provision.


Women and Girls First

01.05.2023 - 30.04.2026

In Myanmar, the pandemic and military coup have increased the risks for gender-based violence (GBV) and deep-rooted gender inequality. Through the Women and Girls First programme, Switzerland supports women, girls and young people to realise their sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) and fulfil their potential. It does so by strengthening community-based and ethnic systems to be more responsive to needs related to GBV, SRHR and mental health.


Health for All (HAP)

01.04.2023 - 31.03.2027

The health sector in Albania is undergoing structural reforms. New models of service that integrate health and social care are approved and being implemented currently in small scale. Under the lead of the Ministry of Health and Social Protection, the project will facilitate the upscale of the new home care service at primary health care. The aim is to transform primary care to the specific needs of the poor and vulnerable population like the elderly, people with disabilities and mental health disorders. 


Swiss Water and Sanitation Consortium (SWSC)

01.03.2023 - 31.12.2027

The Swiss Water and Sanitation Consortium includes 10 non-governmental organizations and contributes to improving the livelihoods of the most vulnerable communities in least developed countries in West and East Africa and Asia by increasing drinking water, sanitation and hygiene coverage in schools and health care facilities. It also contributes to triggering innovation and knowledge sharing between the Swiss NGOs as well as strengthening the Swiss profile in advocacy and policy.


2023 Annual Allocation to WFP Country Strategic Plans - Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Nigeria

01.01.2023 - 31.12.2023

Against historic levels of food security due to conflicts, climate change and COVID-19, Switzerland supports annually in 28 SDC priority countries operations of the World Food Programme (WFP) to provide humanitarian and development assistance. It funds indistinctively Country Strategic Plans, incorporating all WFP programmes or projects, based on affected population needs and potential synergies with other local partners, especially national governments and civil society.


Program Contribution for Fondation Terre des hommes 2023-2024

01.01.2023 - 31.12.2024

The program of the Terre des hommes Foundation (TdhF) aims to sustainably reduce child mortality and morbidity and to secure access to health, sanitation and clean water for mothers and children (0-18 years) in severe poverty. Children in contexts of migration, conflict and disasters, and child victims of violence are better protected. International standards in child-friendly justice are promoted. Humanitarian interventions in fragile contexts, combined with poverty reduction and sustainable development are promoted through innovative work with children and youths.


Contribution to UNRWA's Programme Budget 2023-2024

01.01.2023 - 31.12.2024

UNRWA is one of Switzerland’s key multilateral partners in the Middle East, due to its important contributions towards stability and peace in the region and its role in providing services and humanitarian assistance to people in need. Under its Programme Budget, UNRWA ensures universal access to quality primary health care and to basic education to 5.8 million registered Palestine refugees. It also provides targeted relief and social services to vulnerable refugees.


Multi-Methods Data Collection Mandate to Monitor the Swiss Cooperation Programme Zimbabwe Zambia 2023-2026

01.01.2023 - 31.12.2026

The purpose of this mandate is to support data collection for the monitoring and evaluation of Swiss supported projects in Zambia and Zimbabwe. The annual data collection and analysis will capture the perceptions of SDC project target groups around supported interventions in health service delivery, social protection, youth employment, agriculture, and good governance. This will help to see the trend or change of the different indicators of the Cooperation Programme.


Core Voluntary Contribution to the World Health Organisation (WHO)

01.01.2023 - 31.12.2024

WHO is the leading and coordinating agency on health within the United Nations system. Switzerland supports its mandate to ensure the highest attainable level of health and weII-being for all (SDG3). WHO’s normative function is its key strategic comparative advantage in global health governance. Its rights-based approach to health is also critical for advancing health equity. The policy dialogue jointly carried out with WHO supports leveraging health activities in Swiss cooperation priority countries.


Strengthening Nursing in Bosnia and Herzegovina

01.12.2022 - 30.11.2026

The health system of BiH is expensive and providing poor quality services, partly due to underutilised potential of nurses. With the support of the project, the health authorities will reform the profession of nurses by aligning nursing practice to quality standards, improving their capacities, expanding their tasks and stimulating homebased care and health education. This will enhance the coverage, quality and cost-effectiveness of health services thereby improving the health status of men and women in BiH. 

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