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Strengthening Pacific health systems: Evaluating ten years of Australia’s support

Good health is essential to sustained economic and social development and poverty reduction. Well-functioning health systems enable countries to provide the essential health services people need. Pacific island health ministers are committed to strengthening primary health care and preventive services, so they achieve the Healthy Islands vision and universal health coverage of essential services by 2030.

This evaluation assesses Australia’s support for strengthening health systems in Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu. The evaluation looks at 15 major country health programs implemented between 2008-09 and 2017-18 to review how these programs have contributed to strengthening health systems, which ways DFAT’s ways of working have helped or hindered progress and how DFAT can enhance the contribution of its health programs in Pacific island countries going forward.

Over the evaluation period, coverage of essential health services in the seven countries gradually increased, and Australia contributed to making Pacific island health systems stronger. This included in areas such as workforce, health information systems, distribution of pharmaceuticals and health sector planning, budgeting and financial management. Australia also contributed to health services reform.

While health systems in these countries strengthened during the evaluation period, there is room for improvement to enhance the relevance, impact and sustainability of DFAT's health investments. The evaluation findings support lifting partnerships in health to a new level and recommends changes in how DFAT works with Pacific countries in health in five strategic areas.


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