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Regional health initiatives

World Bank Group: ‘Advance UHC’ trust fund

Established in 2015,Advance UHC is a multi-donor trust fund instigated by DFAT and managed by the World Bank. It supports 13 countries across the Indo-Pacific to work towards Universal Health Coverage (UHC) through strengthened health financing and health service delivery systems. This includes Indonesia, Vietnam, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Cambodia, Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Kiribati, Tonga, Samoa and Timor Leste.

Advance UHC generates and uses strong health financing analytics and knowledge-based technical assistance to drive policy dialogue, health sector reform and knowledge-sharing between countries. It also uses DFAT grant funds for co-financing to leverage and influence the design of sizeable health sector loans and grants from other agencies, including the International Development Association (IDA), Gavi, Global Fund and the Global Financing Facility.

As an increasing number of countries in the region make political commitments to UHC, DFAT's funding through Advance UHC is well positioned to support them with the practicalities of this ambition. Advance UHC is also contributing to the aid effectiveness agenda by improving donor coordination and practices.

The work of Advance UHC remains highly relevant in the COVID-19 context, encompassing both the coverage of essential health services, including critical public health and preventive services, and financial protection of the most vulnerable in need of health services. DFAT is engaging closely with the World Bank regarding optimising the complementarity of the work of Advance UHC and the COVID-19 response in the region. The World Bank has used Advance UHC funding to produce ongoing analyses of the likely impact of COVID-19 on health financing across the region.

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Transformative Agenda for Women, Youth and Adolescents in the Pacific

$30 million (2018-2022)

Australia has committed $30 million through the UNFPA for a four year partnership to improve access to quality sexual and reproductive health in six priority countries in the Pacific: Fiji, Kiribati, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu. Sexual and reproductive health services includes services that enable family planning and keep women healthy through childbirth. These services are vital to helping women and girls to remain in education longer and enables them to participate equally in the economy and society. It also helps contribute to more sustainable and inclusive social and economic development.

The partnership will support partner governments to transform lives by ensuring more women and young people in the Pacific have improved information, and quality services, with a focus on increased access to family planning information and services. The program will also support improved policy development and regulatory frameworks by working with relevant ministries and assisting with to obtain, analyse and disseminate data to support public policy. The Transformative Agenda will be complemented through Australia’s $10 million global contribution for UNFPA Supplies, which is helping to ensure essential reproductive and maternal health commodities are available in health service delivery points across Pacific countries.

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Health Security Initiative for the Indo-Pacific region

$300 million (2017 -2022)

Established in 2017, the Australian Government's Health Security Initiative for the Indo-Pacific region, contributes to the avoidance and containment of infectious disease threats with the potential to cause social and economic harms on a national, regional or global scale. Australia's 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper emphasises the active and ambitious part that Australia will play in responding to regional and global challenges, as we have demonstrated through our significant efforts to support our region’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Prominent among these is the challenge of building our region's resilience to health security challenges.

The Indo-Pacific has been a source region for several emerging infectious diseases this century. It is also a site of growing antimicrobial drug resistance with respect to high-burden diseases including tuberculosis and malaria. Australia is well placed to help countries deal with these problems at source. We have world-class domestic systems for disease surveillance and control in human and animal health and a strong track record of cooperation with the countries of the Indo-Pacific on social and economic development, including primary health care and livestock management.

The initiative aims to inform evidence-based planning, help prevent avoidable epidemics, strengthen early detection capacity, and support rapid, effective national and international outbreak responses. It does this by accelerating research on new drugs and diagnostics, expanding partnerships at the national, regional and global level to strengthen human and animal health systems, and deepening people-to-people linkages that build national and regional health security capacity. Funding for the initiative is drawn from Australia's international development assistance program and activities are eligible to be classified as Official Development Assistance.

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Specialist Health Service

$9.6 million (2015-22)

Established in 2015, the goal of the Specialist Health Service (SHS) is to improve the performance of Australia's international development activities in the health sector, through contributions to health policy, strategic planning and health programming.

The SHS enables all areas of the department, in Canberra and at Post, to quickly source health technical assistance. This service is provided by Abt Associates Pty Ltd.

The SHS assists DFAT to move beyond the traditional health and aid concepts, with innovative thinking and advice on maximising the results of investments, building sustainable health institutions and engaging private health actors.

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* The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) is committed to high standards of transparency and accountability in the management of the Australian aid program through publishing information on our website, including policies, plans, results, evaluations and research. Our practice is to publish documents after the partner government and any other partners directly involved in the delivery of the initiative have been consulted. Not all material published on this site is created by the Australian aid program and therefore not all documents reflect our views. In limited circumstances some information may be withheld for reasons including privacy and commercial sensitivity.


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