Building an Evidence Base

A health staff member checks an HIV patient's documents authorizing the collection of medicine from Kim Son Outpatient Clinic. Photo credit: Linh Pham/Communication for Development Ltd.
A health staff member checks an HIV patient's documents authorizing the collection of medicine from Kim Son Outpatient Clinic.
Photo credit: Linh Pham/Communication for Development Ltd.

Data and information empower people to advocate for their health needs and expectations, and enable informed choices for policy development, planning and managing health system functions and resources. USAID is a technical leader, champion and partner in building countries’ capacity to use information to monitor, evaluate and research evidence regarding investments and policy decisions for the health system.

Health accounting, which USAID has supported for over 20 years, is an important example of the Agency’s work to build an evidence base related to health systems. Tracking the sources and spending of health financing in a country permits countries to monitor and analyze their spending over time. With health accounts, policymakers can learn from past expenditures, improve resource allocation, inform health sector planning and improve governance and accountability of the health system.

Health accounts provide data that government and civil society use to advocate for investments in health and to support decisions in health programming. Policymakers can better plan activities that will achieve health sector goals, such as increasing financial protection and equitable access to high-quality health services.

The Agency works to institutionalize health accounting in partner countries, promoting country ownership in health sector decision-making. Countries that maintain health accounts have greater capacity for evidence-based policy-making through:

  • increased coordination between the national and sub-national levels
  • promotion of institutional capacity building
  • strengthened public sector governance
  • improved transparency and accountability
  • enhanced opportunity to support national and international health agendas, monitor aid flows and direct resources to areas where they are most needed.

Resources:

  • Five Point Call to Action [PDF, 201KB] - Proposes priority actions and specific targets for health measurement and accountability for the post-2015 sustainable development era.
  • Impact of Health Systems Strengthening on Health [PDF, 746KB] report - Synthesizes available knowledge of the impact health systems strengthening activities have on system performance and health outcomes.
  • Health Systems Strengthening Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Guide - Uses step-by-step instructions to plan, implement monitoring and evaluation processes, methods/techniques to generate evidence on HSS interventions.
  • Health Systems Benchmarking Tool - facilitates comparison of low- and middle-income countries on health system functions, outcomes and impact indicators as well as benchmarks countries using specified standards. Its clustering function creates groups of countries that have similar socio-economic and demographic characteristics.
  • MEASURE Evaluation - Contributes to better health for people living in low-income countries by assisting governments and health institutions to generate and use information to change what doesn’t work and to scale up what does.

Last updated: June 02, 2019

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