Health system strengthening is a core business area for Malaria Consortium, and we use malaria as an entry point for broader health system effectiveness and efficiency, through enhanced surveillance, outbreak response, referral, reporting, and capacity and market development.
Our health system strengthening activities occur at all levels – from the national level to remote communities – and include strengthening routine health information systems, providing guidance and strategic inputs for monitoring and evaluation, training health workers, supporting supply chain efficiency, creating and enabling effective referral systems, introducing new technologies and improving surveillance to enable better use of data. We also understand the need for reliable data in order to help timely decision making at all levels of the health system.
We work with ministries of health in a wide range of activities to improve the quality of clinical processes. This can include performance management and quality improvement of health personnel, through the development of tools and guidelines to support clinical decision making by health workers, or through the introduction of improved data and commodity management systems. We are also using clinical mentoring to strengthen the skills base of health personnel.
Part of our health system strengthening efforts include seeking ways to get the private and public sectors to work together to improve health outcomes. We believe that the private sector has a critical role to play
in distributing and promoting use of malaria rapid diagnostic tests, increasing uptake of injectable artesunate for severe malaria, producing long lasting insecticidal nets, and stimulating the creation of a stable market for the drugs needed for seasonal malaria chemoprevention. Because of the private sector’s high degree of visibility and its everyday interaction with affected populations, it is ideally placed to provide health services and products where public sector provision is limited.
One of our major areas of focus is to explore ways of using mobile technology to improve health outcomes – a concept known as ‘mHealth.’ In recent years, mobile phones have proven to be an effective tool in healthcare, allowing users, particularly community based health workers, to access and transmit data from remote locations, to stay in touch with their supervisors, to inform of supply stock-outs, and to use applications that guide them through the diagnosis and referral process. They have also been instrumental in tracking cases of malaria, especially in Asia where the spread of drug resistance is an increasing concern for governments and ministries of health.
Health system effectiveness and efficiency
We have a core team dedicated to driving forward our activities and research in support of health system effectiveness and efficiency. By this we mean the functionality of a given health system to deliver the best known protocol for that specific context at the right time, delivered in a way that maximises the use of available resources (including knowledge, skills, financing, medical products and energy).