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Focus Areas

Health Systems Strengthening

Building Resilient, Responsive and Sustainable Health Systems

Health systems strengthening has been at the heart of RTI’s mission for 60 years. A dynamic blend of innovation, research, and project implementation enables us to foster supportive policies and systems that improve access to, and demand for, quality health services. 

We apply our health systems strengthening expertise across our work in infectious diseases, noncommunicable diseases, and reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health, working hand in hand with governments in low- and middle-income countries to ensure they have the policies, systems and health workforce in place to deliver accessible, cost-effective and equitable health services to their citizens.

We implement programs in partnership with a variety of stakeholders across the public and private sectors to enhance health service delivery and build country ownership by strengthening health governance and financing, improving the strategic use of data, building capacity across the entire health system to provide access to quality services, and increasing demand for these services at the community level. Gender equity and social inclusion are at the heart of our programming, and we continuously improve upon and adapt our interventions by applying context-specific research and learnings so that people can get the care they need.

Responding to the COVID-19 Pandemic

COVID-19 has put a strain on health systems around the world, threatening progress and putting lives at risk. Leveraging our multidisciplinary expertise in infectious disease prevention and control, noncommunicable diseases, health systems strengthening, and more, we are working closely with local governments and stakeholders to safely adapt our health programs, support emergency response, and provide data and analysis to governments and policymakers that lays the foundation for stronger health systems equipped to weather future shocks.

Our Impact

We believe that healthcare is most effective when tailored to people’s unique needs. We bridge different levels of the health system, from community to tertiary care health facilities, fostering partnerships and coordination between health managers, government leaders, and the private sector to strengthen referral systems along the continuum of care. We collaborate with governments at all levels to work towards universal health coverage (UHC) by supporting local-led solutions that improve integrated service delivery and lead to efficient and effective care that is equitable and reaches the most underserved populations. We help local partners understand the pivots necessary for the integration and scale up of reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health and infectious disease programming into national health systems to ensure long-term sustainability for service delivery.

We lead multi-sectoral projects that strengthen government responsiveness and accountability for health programming by improving collaboration between national and local governments, civil society, and the private sector and invigorating bottom-up planning, budgeting, and monitoring. We work closely with country counterparts to roll out universal health coverage, advocate for policy reform, and support health sector decentralization. We use political economy analysis to inform our project implementation, which allows us to better understand and respond to local power dynamics and the political, social, and cultural forces that influence health outcomes.

We have strengthened health information systems in more than 50 countries, including harmonizing data collection tools for improved efficiency and increasing data quality. We develop innovative technologies and tools that help governments and policymakers access robust and reliable data to make informed decisions that improve the health of their citizens. We do this by increasing the capacity of ministries of health to implement nationally-owned monitoring and evaluation systems and to collect, analyze, and use data for evidence-based decision-making, building on currently available data collection platforms and approaches and using proven mobile and web-based digital information and communication technology such as District Health Information Software (DHIS2), Open Data Kit (ODK), and Coconut Surveillance.

We assess the health financing landscape to identify trends, gaps, and opportunities to improve the equity, efficiency, and quality of health service delivery and to address financial barriers to health services. Our experts work alongside governments to design and strengthen insurance payment systems as well as enhance public financial management in the health sector. We have decades of experience in developing and applying analytical tools and modeling expertise to measure and improve the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of healthcare.

We help countries to build strong health workforces that have the resources and capacity to deliver quality care, focusing at all levels of the workforce depending on local needs. We support task shifting to ensure the efficient delegation of tasks among health workers, help decentralized governments budget for the workforce they need, and train community health workers in disease prevention, treatment, and control. For example, through the USAID ENVISION project, we trained more than 1 million government officials, health workers, teachers, and community drug distributors on skills needed to effectively carry out mass treatment campaigns for neglected tropical diseases – this work continues under the USAID Act to End NTDs | East program. Through the USAID StopPalu+ project in Guinea, we train community health workers in malaria case management so they can diagnose, treat, and refer severe malaria cases to health facilities.

Our experienced team of global supply chain, logistics, and procurement experts purchase and deliver health commodities, from diagnostics to drugs to equipment. We are currently supporting the distribution of personal protective equipment in the Philippines to respond to COVID-19. Since 2012, we have supported 16 countries in ordering and coordinating the distribution of medicines used to treat neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). Through the USAID ENVISION project, we supported the distribution of $16.2 billion worth of donated medicines from major pharmaceutical companies and procured medicines for 12 countries and diagnostics for 11 countries. We work to ensure supply chain efficiency and promote long-term sustainability, and are piloting an innovative technology platform to support Nigeria in tracking and accounting for NTD medicines at the local and national level.