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 85 – 96 of 1035

Support to Safe Spaces for Women, Youth and Children in Gaza Strip

01.01.2022 - 31.12.2024

Switzerland promotes social cohesion and civic peace through creating safe spaces for women, youth, and persons with disabilities in the Gaza Strip. By fostering local capacities and promoting community-led initiatives Safe Spaces strengthens the resilience of vulnerable groups. This second phase puts a stronger accent on skills and economic empowerment for youth in line with the Cooperation Programme 2021-24. By advocating for inclusive societies it contributes to mitigate the spread of extremism and radicalization.


OHCHR - Promotion and Protection of Human Rights in the oPt

01.01.2022 - 31.12.2024

This support to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in the oPt aims to contribute to promoting and protecting human rights in the oPt and enhancing prospects for Palestinians to live in dignity, prosperity and peace with the State of Israel. 


Gulf of Mottama Project

01.01.2022 - 31.12.2024

The unique mudflat ecosystem of the Gulf of Mottama is one of the most important mudflat ecosystems in the world. Communities relying on it as a source of livelihood and the impact of climate change threaten its biological integrity. Building on Switzerland’s specific expertise in Southeast Myanmar, the project aims to conserve the wetland’s unique biodiversity, strengthen climate change adaptation and provide vulnerable communities with sustainable livelihoods and markets.


International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). Core contribution 2022 - 2024

01.01.2022 - 31.12.2024

CGIAR’ is a global research for development partnership for a food secure future in the fields of agriculture, nutrition, environment and their adaptation to climate change and the enhancement of ecosystem resilience. With its new strategy, governance and research portfolio, the CGIAR has a singular role in providing international and global public goods through high-quality agricultural research, partnership, and leadership in the areas of poverty and hunger reduction.  Switzerland is a founding member of the CGIAR and many Swiss scientific institutions are involved in common research programs. 


Formation continue en Genre et Developpement en Afrique francophone

01.01.2022 - 31.12.2026

Le Projet contribue par des cours de formation continue de l’Institut des Hautes Etudes Internationales et du Développement (IHEID) a une meilleure expertise et intégration de la problématique de l’inégalités des sexes dans les politiques et programmes de développement dans les pays francophones d'Afrique (Ouest et Grands Lacs) ainsi qu’un meilleur ancrage dans les institutions locales. Le projet est aligné avec l’engagement de la Suisse pour l’égalité entre les sexes.


Contribution to the UNESCO Global Education Monitoring Report (GEMR) and the UNESCO International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP)

01.01.2022 - 31.12.2025

The Global Education Monitoring Report and the International Institute for Educational Planning contribute to ensure equitable, inclusive quality education for all (SDG 4) by producing rigorous evidence, data and recommendations on education and by strengthening education systems’ policies, planning and management. Their work is critical for SDC’s global and bilateral policy dialogue and Switzerland’s added value on systems strengthening and evidence based policy and practice.


International Land Coalition (ILC) Core contribution

01.01.2022 - 31.12.2024

Equitable land rights are key to sustainable and resilient food systems. ILC is a global network of organisations working on people centred land governance in over 80 countries. ILC aims at securing land rights for people, who live on and from the land. SDC supports ILC since it contributes to many Swiss core interests such as peaceful and democratic societies, and addresses growing inequalities in food systems– particularly gender inequality.


Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV)

01.01.2022 - 31.12.2024

Treating malaria requires developing different medicines suitable for people in lower-income countries. The Geneva-based Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV) drives the discovery, development and implementation of new antimalarial medicines. Working with pharmaceutical, academic and affected country partners, including Swiss companies and research, MMV contributes to equitable access to affordable and quality medicines for vulnerable groups at risk of malaria, in particular children and pregnant women. 


Core Contribution to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) 2022 - 2024

01.01.2022 - 31.12.2024

The International Union for Conservation of Nature is the leading global organization for knowledge on the status of nature and the measures required to safeguard it. It is a worldwide union of State and non-State members. The objective for SDC is to contribute to the implementation of the programme of the Union for reversing biodiversity loss and climate resilience, with focus on people, land, climate, water and oceans. Switzerland is State member of the Union and hosts the seat of the organization in Gland.


Decentralization and Municipal Support (DEMOS III)

01.01.2022 - 31.12.2025

DEMOS III will consolidate achievements of decentralised governance in the areas of policy framework and municipal performance. A grant mechanism rewarding municipalities for their good governance practices will be institutionalised with the aim to offer better quality services to citizens. The Association of Kosovo Municipalities (AKM) will strengthen its advocacy role and citizens will be engaged in the oversight. Funds will be pooled by Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, the EU and the Government of Kosovo.  


Improving National Animal Identificationand Traceability Systems (NAITS)

01.01.2022 - 31.12.2025

In Georgia, the livestock sector is dominated by small-scale subsistence farms, using common grazing and increasing the spread of diseases, which reduce productivity and farmers’ incomes. Switzerland has been supporting the authorities to introduce a digital system of animal identification and registration to improve health control since 2016. The system is operational, but further support is needed to ensure that it is effectively used and contributes to increasing competitiveness and farmers’ incomes.


ASPBAE - Contribution to Asia South Pacific association for Basic and Adult Education

01.01.2022 - 31.12.2023

Switzerland’s support of civil society organizations rests on the key role these play for reaching the Education goal (SDG4) of the Agenda 2030. The Asia South Pacific association for Basic and Adult Education is an influential civil society network engaged in the promotion of inclusive, equitable quality education and lifelong learning for the most marginalized in the Asia region as well as at global level. The Swiss contribution to ASPBAE strengthens the civil society at regional and global level and enriches Switzerland’s policy dialogue on education in the Asia Pacific region and globally.  

Object 85 – 96 of 1035