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 Confidence Building Measures Program in Transnistria – Promoting Confidence in the Health Sector

01.03.2016 - 31.12.2021

Population living in Transnistria has limited access to quality maternal and child health care. The vaccination coverage rate is declining and the number of premature and underweight newborns is increasing. The project aims to approximate maternal and child health care in Transnistria to international standards, as well as to improve the access to and quality of maternal and child health services at secondary and primary level. A special focus is put on nutrition and immunization. The project offers good opportunities for building trust across borders through common trainings of professionals and concerted efforts on immunization.


Performance-based Health Basket Fund

01.11.2015 - 31.12.2021

With its contribution to the health basket fund Switzerland supports the Government of Tanzania, in particular local governments, to accelerate equitable access to health services by women, children and isolated rural populations. Switzerland, as chair of the health development partners group, will lever the Fund resources through policy dialogue to create an innovative financing modality to ensure the utilization of all Tanzanians of quality health services.


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

01.06.2014 - 31.12.2023

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.


Support to St. Francis Hospital in Ifakara

01.10.2010 - 31.12.2021

SDC plans to support health services and management improvement, and address the role of the hospital as a place for practical training and clinical research. The project would focus primarily on improving health care and look for synergies between St. Francis Hospital, the Ifakara Health Institute and the Tanzanian Training Centre for International Health, and the Swiss institutions that support them (SDC, Novartis Foundation, SwissTPH and Solidarmed). During the entry proposal period, SDC and partners will have an opportunity to explore which organisational option would best serve these objectives. Refurbishment of the pediatric ward will also be undertaken and equipment provided.

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