A strong, resilient health system is the key to achieving sustainable improvements in health and health care in any country. A health system is made up of many layers of institutions and individuals that, together, contribute to the availability, quality and affordability of preventative, curative and palliative health services.
Since 2006, IMA World Health has built and supported integrated, holistic and sustainable health systems that increase access to quality health care in fragile countries. IMA supports health systems at the national, subnational (i.e. district) and community levels, providing tailored assistance and capacity strengthening that boosts engagement, capability and investment at all levels of a country’s health system.
Our approach encompasses the World Health Organization’s building blocks of health systems strengthening (HSS):
1. Improved health service delivery
We address the human, financial, social and physical capital needs of a health system to improve its service delivery and universal access at scale with an emphasis on women and youth.
2. Health workforce development
We strengthen the capacities of a country’s health workforce through trainings, mentoring, and the provision of equipment and other resources.
3. Information systems
We help governments and health facilities utilize human resources and reporting software to manage their health workforce more effectively as well as make data-driven decisions to improve their health service delivery.
4. Access to essential medicines
We strengthen national medicine distribution systems, establishing a pull system that gives each health facility a line of credit to purchase low cost, high quality medicine based on their patient intake. The funds from the sales of medicine replenish the credit line and go towards building a facility’s financial reserves for future medicine procurement. This pull system also reduces medicine stock outs, ensuring availability to those who need the medicine.
5. Health system financing
We work at all three levels in a health system – government, providers, and recipients – to ensure people have access to essential services and are protected from financial hardship. We do this by creating efficiencies in use of resources, promoting transparencies and accountabilities from all stakeholders, and ensuring access to essential services while striving towards affordable and accessible health coverage for all.
6. Leadership and governance
We support health facility leadership in strengthening their management capacities and utilizing the information systems they need to be effective. In addition to leadership training programs, we promote the use of community scorecards to help leadership understand the experiences of both health providers and users in their facilities, monitor whether their facility’s services are improving, and engage the community and health providers in joint decision-making and planning.