Latest Events


SP4PHC at the 6th Global Symposium on Health Systems Research

SP4PHC actively participated at the Sixth Global Symposium on Health System Research (HSR2020):

  • Our teams presented six posters in November 2020 on a range of SP4PHC topics from our countries. A take-away blog with the posters can be viewed here.
  • Several of our team members and learning partner colleagues led the HSR2020 session “Strengthening Capacity for Strategic Purchasing” on January 13, 2021. You can watch the recording.
  • We chaired and moderated the HSR2020 session “Adjusting purchasing arrangements to support the COVID-19 response: A global overview and country insights” on March 10, 2021. You can watch the recording.
  • We participated in the HSR2020 session “Public financial management challenges and innovations: Learning from the COVID-19 health response” on March 31, 2021. You can watch the recording.

Promoting Data-Based Decision Making in Burkina Faso 

At the request of the Ministry of Health, ThinkWell conducted a rapid analysis of the effectiveness of Gratuité’s control and validation mechanisms between 2016 and 2020. Results of this rapid analysis were presented by the Ministry of Health at a Presidential Forum on 9th October 2020 to review the achievements of the Gratuité program to date.

Presenting at the National Conference on Reproductive Health – Annual Scientific Forum of the Indonesian Public Health Association

In collaboration with the Vice President’s Office, ThinkWell analyzed how essential services (family planning, maternal and child health, and nutrition) were impacted by COVID-19. The study focuses on the impact the pandemic had on upstream processes such as budget revisions and disbursement, as well as downstream processes such as provider behavior and routine access challenges. Our team presented study findings at the Annual Scientific Forum of the Indonesian Public Health Association on 24-26 November 2020. You can read a recap of the presentation and access our presentations here.

Latest Learning Products

Our teams across the five countries continuously contribute to global learning on the Covid-19 pandemic and strategic purchasing. Please find the latest SP4PHC learning products, including reports, briefs, and blogs below. For a full list of published products related to the coronavirus, visit our Covid-19 page.

Reproductive Health Voucher Schemes in Uganda: How They Worked and Lessons for the Future

Uganda has more than a decade of experience working with voucher schemes to improve reproductive and child health services. With the Government of Uganda actively engaged in moving forward with strategic purchasing reforms, ThinkWell and the Ugandan Ministry of Health partnered to document the experiences and lessons learned from the most recent large-scale voucher projects that include the Second Uganda Reproductive Health Voucher Project and the Uganda Voucher Plus Activity. The team’s poster from the 6th Global Symposium on Health Systems Research can be viewed here. The findings of this effort are summarized in this report published in February 2021.

Ensuring Equitable Population Coverage: Immediate Eligibility to PhilHealth Benefits

Over the years, PhilHealth introduced several programs to expand population coverage, especially for vulnerable groups. However, there are still gaps in access to and utilization of health services among the poor. The UHC Law enacted in 2019 aims to ensure that all Filipinos are guaranteed equitable access to quality and affordable health care service without suffering from financial hardship. This brief published in March 2021 describes how PhilHealth population coverage improved over time and how the UHC Law aims to sustain and further increase these gains.

Analysis of Demand and Costs of Family Planning, October-December 2020 (Analyse des demandes et des coûts de planification familiale, octobre à décembre 2020)

ThinkWell completed an analysis of FP claims from the national roll-out of free FP services through to the end of 2020. The data show continued increase in free FP claims nationwide, with nearly 90% of health districts claiming for free services by the end of 2020. The costs of free FP services have also continued to increase, with a spike in costs in October 2020 associated with the National FP week. This factsheet published in March 2021 is the second in a series of quarterly updates to summarize key findings of the national roll-out of free FP services, showing method mix, geographical distribution, and costs.

Bridging the Digital Divide: Early Reflections in Scaling Up Telemedicine in the Philippines During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The Covid pandemic has highlighted how telemedicine can play a vital role in reducing barriers to accessing health care. In the Philippines, telemedicine has been on the rise for the past decade, and in 2020, the government tested policies to boost telemedicine solutions. We reflect on the early lessons from these efforts in our latest blog post published in February 2021 on Health Systems Collaborative.

family planning burkina faso

Rolling Out Free Family Planning in Burkina Faso is Improving Choice, But Who Will Pay?

In July 2020, Burkina Faso’s Ministry of Health moved to improve access to family planning (FP) by extending ‘Gratuité’ – a user fee exemption scheme for women and children – to make FP services free of charge in all public facilities. ThinkWell has been supporting MoH to undertake routine analysis of free FP data. You can learn about our findings in a new blog here. This post originally appeared on Sexual and Reproductive Health Matters here in January 2021.

SP4PHC’s January – March 2021 Newsletter

Around this time last year, national governments were busy mobilizing resources to respond to a rapidly spreading COVID-19 pandemic. Now, attention is largely trained on securing and delivering sufficient vaccines. SP4PHC has been exploring and documenting how resources for these efforts flow down to front-line providers. The five project countries—Burkina Faso, Indonesia, Kenya, the Philippines, and Uganda—offer contrasts in the purchasing arrangements they use to pay for COVID-19 services as well as lessons about common challenges.

The Philippines leveraged its national health insurance agency, PhilHealth, early and extensively. The agency designed a benefit package for COVID-19 services and then started paying public and private providers to deliver those services. Indonesia also used the Social Insurance Administrator for Health (BPJS-K), which operates the country’s national insurance scheme (JKN), but in a more modest way. The Indonesian Ministry of Health (MoH) set the terms for benefits and tariffs, BPJS-K processed claims, and the MoH made payments to public and private providers. Kenya opted not to use its National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) as part of its COVID-19 response. While the NHIF initially started reimbursing public facilities for COVID services accessed by its members, the Kenyan MoH and NHIF discontinued this coverage for all members except public sector health workers and government employees, citing concerns about escalating costs. In Kenya, Uganda, and Burkina Faso, ministries of health have channeled COVID-19 funds primarily to public providers. In all five countries, the pandemic highlighted the importance of adapting public financial management rules and processes that dictate fund flows to sub-national and local governments and then on to frontline health providers.

To receive updates like this about the work our country teams are leading as part of the SP4PHC project, please sign up for the quarterly newsletter by clicking here.

SP4PHC aims to improve how governments purchase primary health care services, with a focus on family planning and maternal, newborn, and child health. SP4PHC is supported by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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