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.


Core Contribution Swiss Malaria Group (SMG)

01.01.2024 - 31.12.2027

The Swiss Malaria Group (SMG) is a Swiss-based public, private academic and civil society leadership network that works towards a malaria-free world. SMG member organisations coordinate their efforts to engage technical expertise, opinion-makers and the general public to provide Swiss leadership against malaria, strengthen research and innovation by Swiss actors, and fight malaria in low- and middle-income countries.


VEN:Tierra Viva - Aten. Int. com. indig

15.10.2023 - 31.12.2024

In line with the 2023 Humanitarian Response Plan for Venezuela, Fundación Tierra Viva will provide humanitarian assistance in the sectors of health, nutrition and livelihoods to indigenous communities in the state of Bolivar and Delta Amacuro, with the aim of addressing the emergency nutritional situation of children, pregnant and lactating mothers and adults. As well as the recovery and strengthening of agricultural practices. 


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. 


Strengthening Civil Society in Myanmar – Paung Ku

01.07.2023 - 30.06.2027

In Myanmar, civic space has considerably shrunk since the military coup. In the absence of a legitimate government, networks of independent civil society organisations (CSOs) are essential actors for basic service provision and promotion of democratic values and human rights. Showing commitment to localisation, Switzerland will enable local CSOs to further support vulnerable communities and to protect the foundations of a pluralistic and inclusive society.  


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 - 31.12.2026

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.


Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Tanzania

01.02.2023 - 28.02.2028

Tanzania is investing heavily in reforming sustainable health financing and leveraging integrated digital solutions to advance Universal Health Coverage and ensure that all Tanzanians have access to any quality health services they need, when and where they need, without financial hardship. Together with other development partners, Switzerland uses this momentum to support the government in establishing a Universal Health Insurance and the Center for Digital Health.


BiH: Healthy Communities in BiH

01.02.2023 - 31.10.2027

The high prevalence of smoking, unhealthy diets, physical inactivity and alcohol missuse leads to 90% of deaths in Bosnia and Herzegovina and a loss in quality of life caused by preventable non-communicable diseases. This overburdens the health system which is mostly providing expensive curative services. The project will support the health authorities in reforming the health system to focus more on health promotion and disease prevention and ensuring citizens improve health literacy and adopt a healthier lifestyle.


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.

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