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ACF manual on health system strengthening

A recently produced manual by Action Contre la Faim (ACF) proposes a step by step approach to health system assessment and programming undertaken at district level. This reflects the development in thinking within ACF, whereby universal coverage of severe acute malnutrition (SAM) treatment can only be achieved by ensuring availability and access to treatment at all levels of the health system (including the community level). There is therefore a need to review existing implementation approaches to be increasingly horizontal/process oriented instead of vertical/model oriented. In many countries, SAM treatment programmes now fall under the responsibility and leadership of the Ministry of Health and its sub-national authorities. 

The aim of the health system assessment is to get a snapshot of the health system and to understand its strengths and weaknesses (diagnosis), in order to determine the priority actions required for the development of a health system strengthening strategy (programming phase).

 In 2014, Burkina Faso, Tchad, Senegal, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Niger, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia missions piloted the method. Two ACF regional trainings took place in 2014 (one in Asia and two in Africa). Based on these experiences and feedback from ACF field teams and partners, the manual and tool box have been updated to make it more user-friendly and better adapted to the field reality. Version 2 remains a pilot; a research project to look at the effectiveness and impact of the method will be developed mid-2015.

Feedback on experiences is welcome, please send to: Yara Sfeir, ACF, email: ysfeir@actioncontrelafaim.org

ACF International Network. Health system strengthening. From diagnosis to programming - a step by step approach. Jan 2015. Access the manual at: http://www.actioncontrelafaim.org/en/content/health-system-strengthening-expert-1

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ACF manual on health system strengthening. Field Exchange 49, March 2015. p56. www.ennonline.net/fex/49/acfmanual

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