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Importance of Health Systems Strengthening in Achieving UHC

By Dr Sudha Chandrasekhar Apr 30, 2024

The theme for the 51st Annual National Conference of Indian Association of Preventive and Social Medicine – IAPSMCON 2024 organised by the Department of Community Medicine, Kasturba Medical College, Mangalore, Karnataka, was “Transformations for achieving SDGs: Innovate, Integrate, Implement.”
Speaking on “Health System Strengthening for Universal Health Coverage (UHC)- Need of the Hour” on February 9, 2024, Dr Sudha Chandrashekhar (Advisor, HSTP) shared key insights on how Health System Strengthening (HSS) impacts achieving UHC:

Role of HSS in UHC: Health Systems Strengthening (HSS) is vital for achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC). It involves purposeful efforts to enhance the performance of healthcare systems, aligning with the objectives of national health policies. HSS ensures quality, equity, efficiency, accountability, resilience, and sustainability in healthcare delivery.

Challenges to Government:

Disease-oriented funding with limited coordination among partners and poor alignment with national health strategies and plans

Neglecting long-term sustainable investments in health systems

Rigidities in the production and allocation of professional roles and vested interests in the management of health services.

Achieving UHC necessitates guidance for a cohesive approach to strengthen health systems, tailored to individual country contexts, thereby addressing these challenges.

Approach to Health Systems Strengthening: There is no one-size-fits-all approach to health systems strengthening. The following principles guide action in prioritising and implementing HSS:

Leaving no one behind: a commitment to equity, non-discrimination, and a human rights-based approach

Transparency and accountability for results

Evidence-based national health strategies and leadership

Making health systems everybody’s business with the engagement of citizens, communities, civil society, and the private sector

International cooperation is based on mutual learning across countries and development effectiveness principles.

Way Forward:

Improving global coordination of HSS efforts, aligning with related initiatives

Strengthening multi-stakeholder policy dialogue and coordination of HSS efforts within countries

Prioritizing impact at the country level through the development of tools and approaches to enhance coordination

Facilitating coordinated technical assistance to support health system strengthening efforts

Leveraging UHC2030 initiatives, including knowledge exchange and learning, for enhanced coordination

HSTP’s focus on overcoming the challenges and adopting the right approach to health systems strengthening to achieve UHC and contribute to the SDGs is aligned to these objectives.


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