Health Systems Strengthening

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“When we strengthen health systems in far regions of the world, we reduce the risk of future pandemics that can threaten our people and our economy.”

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—President Joseph R. Biden

What is Health Systems Strengthening?

A health system consists of all people, institutions, resources, and activities whose primary purpose is to promote, restore, and maintain health. Health systems strengthening (HSS) includes the strategies, responses, and activities that are designed to sustainably improve the performance of a country’s health system. Strong health systems can flexibly adjust resources and priorities to address emerging health needs while maintaining essential services - everything from routine checkups, prenatal care, and immunizations, to referrals for more specialized or urgent medical needs. When health systems are strong, they are resilient under pressure and lead to greater health security.  


Health Systems Strengthening Learning

USAID's HSS Learning Agenda aims to improve HSS approaches by generating, synthesizing, and sharing evidence related to specific research questions. This evidence is used for the design and management of USAID’s HSS programs. As part of our Learning Agenda, USAID organizes a HSS Learning Series to convene people working in health from around the world to exchange evidence and lessons learned.


USAID's HSS Case Competition enables us to better understand and share the work our programs and partners are accomplishing and its impact on health systems and health outcomes. Using real-life examples, the Case Competition allows us to learn what does and does not work when implementing and scaling up health system programs and approaches.


Priority Areas


icon for Economics and Market Development

Health Finance & Governance

HIV Prevention, Care, & Treatment

Pharmaceutical & Supply Chain Systems

icon for Inclusive Development

Primary Health Care & Community Health Systems



Resilience & Sustainability


icon for Innovation, Technology, and Research

Strategic Communications, Analytics, Learning & Evidence






Featured Stories of Impact



Where We Work


USAID works with countries around the world to support their health systems strengthening efforts.

** We are working on updating our Where We Work map. Please check back soon.**


Resources and Publications

USAID Vision for Health System Strengthening 2030 - Executive Summary cover image

USAID Vision for Health System Strengthening 2030 - Executive Summary

USAID’s ten-year vision is rooted in health system strengthening (HSS) approaches that are based on whole-of-society engagement, locally-driven solutions, and social and behavior change.

Health Systems Strengthening Practice Spotlight cover

About the Health Systems Strengthening Practice Spotlight Series

The Health Systems Strengthening (HSS) Practice Spotlight series is an initiative of USAID's Office of Health Systems. Practice Spotlight briefs discuss specific health systems strengthening approaches and how they were successfully applied in USAID-supported or other HSS program settings.

Health Systems Strengthening Learning Agenda cover image

Health Systems Strengthening Learning Agenda

Through the Health System Strengthening (HSS) Learning Agenda, the Bureau for Global Health, led by the Office of Health Systems (OHS), aims to improve health system strengthening programming by updating or generating, synthesizing, and disseminating evidence related to key HSS learning questions.

Social and Behavior Change and Health Systems Strengthening

Social and Behavior Change and Health Systems Strengthening

Social and behavior change (SBC) programming is an approach that applies systematic insights about why people behave the way they do, and how behaviors change, to effect positive outcomes for and by specific groups of people.

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