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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“Mental Health for Universal Health Coverage” (MH4UHC)

01.11.2019 - 31.10.2024

In low resource settings, less than 20% of people with mental disorders have access to mental health services. Building on best practices and experience from Swiss supported programs at country level, the Special Initiative for Mental Health aims to increase access to care for people with mental disorders in low- and middle-income countries. Priority areas are advocacy for investments in mental health, evidence-based policy formulation, and integration of mental health services at primary healthcare level.


WHO’s Expanded Special Project for Elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases (ESPEN)

01.08.2019 - 31.07.2024

The Expanded Special Project for Elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases strives to eliminate the five most prevalent neglected tropical diseases in Africa, by providing preventive treatment against e.g. river blindness for free to 600 million people. This continental initiative is carried out by a public-private partnership including pharmaceutical companies. The Swiss contribution makes it possible to accelerate the elimination of the diseases by expanding to more countries and people.


Budget Support to the health SWAp in the Kyrgyz Republic

01.05.2019 - 30.04.2022

Health sector reform is a priority of the Kyrgyz Government. Considerable improvements of the health status of the population were achieved in the last years. Yet, additional efforts have to be done to improve cost-effectiveness of the health system. The Kyrgyz Government approved its Health Strategy 2030, in view to strengthen primary health care, improve the quality of services and promote public health. The project will support the implementation of the Health Strategy by providing funding and technical assistance to the Government. 


Health for All Programme (HAP)

01.04.2019 - 31.03.2023

The Government of Albania is undertaking a reform to increase the quality and efficiency of public health services to respond to the increasing burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs). The project will support the elaboration of a primary health care strategy, health workforce management and quality improvement measures of service delivery for a better management of NCDs at primary health care. The aim is a higher satisfaction of users and a better health status of people covered.


OVCI - Improving nutritional condition of most vulnerable groups in Juba

01.03.2019 - 30.04.2021

Malnutrition among children and other vulnerable groups remains worse as a result of the prevailing food insecurity situation in South Sudan. According to the 2019 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) for South Sudan, some 1.8 million people – the majority of which are children under five years - face malnutrition. Through this project, Volunteers Organization for International Co-operation (OVCI) intends to address malnutrition of vulnerable children, pregnant and lactating mothers and other destitute persons in Juba County by improving their dietary intake.


One Health Units for Humans, Environment, Animals and Livelihoods (HEAL)

01.03.2019 - 31.10.2024

Transmission of diseases between humans and animals are frequent in pastoralist societies of

Somalia, Ethiopia and Northern Kenya and related to environmental conditions. The HEAL project

promotes sustainable rangeland management and access to integrated human/livestock health

services. Thereby, it contributes to improved health, to reduced vulnerability among pastoralist

communities and to prevention of their displacement/migration, which is in the interest of Switzerland.


Fondation Kantha Bopha – Dr med. Beat Richner

01.01.2019 - 31.12.2021

25 years of Dr Richner’s tireless efforts resulted in millions of children receiving free quality medical care at Kantha Bopha Hospitals. Despite his retirement early 2017, the five hospitals are operating smoothly with the management model he set up and the commitment of the Royal Government of Cambodia to maintain it. SDC’s financial support remains crucial until a sustainable Cambodian financing is found.


Primary Health Care (PHC)

01.01.2019 - 31.12.2022

The Primary Health Care project uses a convergent approach to improve the health status of vulnerable people in four conflict-affected townships in Kayin State. It contributes to peace, and brings together the Ministry of Health and Sports and Ethnic Health Organizations. Basic health services are strengthened through better coordination, training, supervision and supplies. Communities are empowered to achieve better health and feedback mechanisms are introduced. 


Access to Health Fund (ACCESS)

01.01.2019 - 31.12.2023

The Access to Health Fund (previously 3MDG), is strongly committed to deliver health services in conflict-affected areas to populations beyond the reach of government. By supporting State and Ethnic Health Organizations, the fund contributes to trust, fosters coordination, and mitigates causes of conflict. The Swiss contribution represents a continuation of support to Myanmar's health actors towards achieving universal health coverage.


Strengthen accountability for women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health

01.12.2018 - 31.12.2021

The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health (PMNCH) ensures that efforts of the many stakeholders involved in maternal, newborn, child health as well as sexual and reproductive health and rights, are well coordinated at global and national level. SDC supports PMNCH’s accountability work so as to contribute to more effective and efficient use of resources in this priority public health area, including of the funding provided by Switzerland.


Quality Evidence for Health System Transformation (QuEST) Network

01.12.2018 - 31.12.2024

In low and middle-income countries 5 million people die each year from treatable conditions despite seeking health care. This means that providing access to health services is not sufficient, but improving quality across the health system is needed. Together with Harvard University, regional research networks and Swiss academia, SDC supports the establishment of a global movement for innovative research to inform policy and cost-effective investments and to improve quality of health systems.


Air Pollution Impact on Health

air polluted suburban area in UB

01.10.2018 - 31.12.2022

This project aims at reducing the risks of air pollution to maternal and child health in urban Mongolia targeting the most polluted areas of Ulaanbaatar and one province centre. This sector governance project establishes evidence linking air pollution and its health impact, pilots and improves risk reduction measures for children and pregnant women, and both will inform policy making. Swiss know-how will be applied, i.e. through involvement of the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute.

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