Swiss Programme for Research on Global Issues for Development (Theme 5: Public Health)

Weak health systems have a number of commonalities: Insufficient and erratic funding, inefficient management, poor governance and lack of social accountability. How can health systems be strengthened and sustainable financing mechanisms be created for the benefits of poor people in developing countries? The thematic module public health of the SDC’s and SNSF’s joint r4d Programme (Swiss Programme for Research on Global Issues for Development) will promote research on the service provision systems and financing mechanisms in the public health sector.

Country/region Topic Period Budget

Health systems strengthening
Primary health care
Infectious desease
01.06.2014 - 31.12.2023
CHF  11’780’000

The right of every human being to the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental human rights. In the past decade substantial progress has been made in improving the health status of many population groups and increasing the performance of health systems in low- and middle-income countries. Yet, hundreds of millions of people worldwide have still limited or no access to quality essential health services. In order to improve the health situation in developing countries a comprehensive approach is required, which incorporates the underlying determinants of health, is people-centered and equity-focused.


The overall goal is to achieve research results that lead to improved and equitable access to health services for the poor and vulnerable groups in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

Target groups

• Research community in Switzerland and developing countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

• Relevant stakeholders, which act to cause, facilitate, or prevent change in the public health sector at global, regional, and national level.

• Beneficiaries: Societies in developing countries; poor, marginalized, vulnerable population groups.


Medium-term outcomes

• Research-based socio-economic, political, and technological solutions and innovations are developed for enhancing inclusive social health protection.

• National and international stakeholders are involved in and informed about the nature of the problems, trade-offs and options for strengthening health systems in a more systemic and comprehensive manner, and make use of the provided evidence and tools.

• Scientific competencies of Swiss and partner researchers in dealing with public health systems, financing mechanisms and service provision in an integrative and interdisciplinary manner are increased.



Results from previous phases:  

In the r4d Programme, four thematic research modules (social conflicts, employment, ecosystems and food security), as well as the first out of three thematically open calls, were successfully launched in 2012 and 2013.

For the first open call and the thematic modules social conflicts and employment, the research projects to be funded have been selected in a two-step evaluation process. The main evaluation criteria are scientific quality and development relevance.


Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Credit area Development cooperation
Project partners Contract partner
Swiss Academic and Research Institution
  • Swiss National Science Foundation

Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    11’780’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    9’863’722
Project phases Phase 5 01.06.2014 - 31.12.2023   (Current phase) Phase 4 15.05.2013 - 31.12.2023   (Current phase) Phase 3 15.05.2013 - 31.12.2023   (Current phase) Phase 2 01.09.2012 - 31.12.2023   (Current phase) Phase 1 01.03.2012 - 31.12.2023   (Current phase)