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Bold Delivers: Research on Health Systems Strengthening

Abt Associates


December 7, 2016

Abt’s International Health Division (IHD) has conducted evaluations, literature reviews, and other research studies on health systems strengthening (HSS) in low- and middle-income countries. These studies cover the main health systems building blocks, such as health financing, service delivery, health information systems (HIS), human resources for health, and health governance. In addition, Abt’s research highlights the impact of HSS on health outcomes and universal health coverage (UHC).

This brief synthesizes IHD’s research findings in the area of HSS since 2012. HSS is a broadly-used term for an integral, but often loosely defined, concept in global health. A wide array of health activities could conceivably fit under the HSS scope, but this synthesis focuses on “strengthening” activities rather than “supporting” activities. “Support” is short-term, donor-driven, and focused on procuring health inputs. “Strengthening” is distinguished as more comprehensive, long-term changes to policies and regulations, organizational structures, and relationships across the health system to improve the system’s performance (Chee et al. 2013).

Read the other research syntheses:
Bold Delivers: Research on Infectious Diseases
Bold Delivers: Research on Family Planning & Reproductive Health
Bold Delivers: Research on Maternal, Newborn and Child Health

Sub-Saharan Africa