Wednesday, December 19, 2012

USAID's New Health Office

USAID’s newly established Office of Health Systems will be the hub for technical experts to strengthen health systems worldwide. This will enable USAID to work on country ownership and sustainability to broaden access to critical health services for the world’s most vulnerable populations.

According to USAID, developing economies are growing and they will continue to spend more on health. Without thoughtful organization of the system, there will be an explosion of unregulated private services paid for out-of-pocket that could lead to inefficiencies and added health bills.

As a result, USAID feels that it is important to work on health systems and universal health coverage now. To do this, countries will need technical assistance to help create and sustain an efficient and equitable health system. The agency thinks that the key to success is not adding more capital from donors but to increase local capacity to reorganize and manage growing domestic resources.

The new Office of Health Systems will enable the agency to examine and communicate successes, gaps, and plot a course for an end game where everyone has access to appropriate health services at a cost they can afford.

The USAID’s “Applying Science to Strengthen and Improve Systems” (ASSIST) project is a new five year project funded by the Bureau of Global Health to operate within the Office of Health Systems. The goal is to build the capacity of host country systems to improve the effectiveness, efficiency, client-centeredness, safety, accessibility, and equity of the services provided.

The project will enable the team of scientists to improve the delivery of healthcare, test changes to determine whether they yield desired results, and share valuable workable data on improvements.

The scientists will study ways to improve outcomes in child health, maternal, and newborn care, study nutrition, family planning, reproductive health, research HIVAIDS, tuberculosis, non-communicable diseases, improve solutions for chronic care, develop the needed health workforce, and provide for the essentials for community-based healthcare.

The USAID ASSIST country programs will be designed with host-country leadership to ensure context appropriateness and local ownership and will be aligned with global initiatives.

For more information, go to  and for information on the ASSIST program, go to