Health Systems Strengthening Interventions – EQUIST Expert Review Panel

Health systems provide the basic inputs for the delivery of health services, yet there is very little evidence that allows public health professionals to link investments in health systems to expected mortality outcomes. As a result, policymakers, health planners, and donors sometimes find it challenging to demonstrate the importance of investing in HSS activities.

With support from USAID, and in collaboration with UNICEF and the World Bank, the Health Finance and Governance (HFG) project convened a three-day Expert Review Panel this week in Baltimore to reach consensus on effect sizes that can be included in modeling tools such as The EQUitable Impact Sensitive Tool (EQUIST).

img_1612During the meeting, experts from USAID, the World Bank, the World Health Organization as well as several universities and organizations discussed the impact of health systems strengthening (HSS) strategies on coverage outcomes, such as service utilization and adoption of healthy behaviors. Policymakers in lower- and middle-income countries need this critical information to make more informed decisions about investing their scarce resources in ways that will improve coverage of services and, ultimately, health outcomes.

The meeting’s results will be relevant to a number of audiences worldwide and informative for health systems modeling tools, including EQUIST which was developed by UNICEF. This work further builds on HFG’s efforts to document evidence of the impact of HSS investments.

This week’s speakers included: Dr. Ariel Pablos-Mendez (Assistant Administrator, USAID Bureau for Global Health), Scott Stewart (Senior Health Economist, Office of Health Systems, USAID Bureau for Global Health), Dr. Agnes Soucat (Director, Department of Health Systems Governance and Financing, WHO), Dr. Mickey Chopra (Lead Service Delivery Specialist, World Bank), Dr. David Hipgrave (Chief Health Officer, UNICEF), Dr. David Peters (Department of International Health, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health), Dr. Bill Winfrey (Vice President, Avenir Health), and Dr. Bob Fryatt (Director, Health Finance and Governance Project, Abt Associates).

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