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Trop Med Int Health. 2010 Feb;15(2):208-15. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-3156.2009.02441.x. Epub 2009 Dec 9.

Linking programmes and systems: lessons from the GAVI Health Systems Strengthening window.

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  • 1Department of Country Focus, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland.



To analyse the first four rounds of country applications to the GAVI Alliance Health Systems Strengthening (GAVI-HSS) funding window; to provide valuable insight into how countries prioritize, articulate and propose solutions for health system constraints through the GAVI-HSS application process and to examine the extent to which this process embodies alignment and harmonization, Principles of the Paris Declaration.


The study applied multiple criteria to analyse 48 funding applications from 40 countries, submitted in the first four rounds, focusing on the country analysis of health systems constraints, coordination mechanisms, alignment with national and sector planning processes, inclusiveness of the planning processes and stakeholder engagement.


The applications showed diversity in the health systems constraints identified and the activities proposed. Requirements of GAVI for sector oversight and coordination, and the management of the application process through the Ministry of Health's Planning Department, resulted in strong alignment with government policy and planning processes and good levels of stakeholder inclusion and local technical support (TS).


Health Systems Strengthening initiatives for global health partnerships (GHPs) can provide a link between the programmatic and the systemic, influencing policy alignment and harmonization of processes. The applications strengthened in-country coordination and planning, with countries using existing health sector assessments to identify system constraints, and to propose. Analyses also produced evidence of broad stakeholder inclusiveness, a good degree of proposal alignment with national health plans and policy documents, and engagement of a largely domestic TS network. While the effectiveness of the proposed interventions cannot be determined from this data, the findings provide support for the GAVI-HSS initiative as implementation continues and evaluation begins.

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