Thinkwell HSR2020

Strengthening Capacity for Strategic Purchasing

15 April 2021

On January 13, 2021, staff from ThinkWell’s Strategic Purchasing for Primary Health Care (SP4PHC) project participated in HSR2020 session, “Strengthening Capacity for Strategic Purchasing.” The session’s purpose was to share the latest research and best practices in strategic purchasing. At its core, strategic purchasing is about improving how ministries of health and government health insurance agencies use information about population health needs and provider performance to make decisions about benefit packages, contracted providers, and payment methods.

The session featured the latest research and best practices from a range of low- and middle-income countries actively undertaking purchasing reforms. Session participants discussed specific purchasing challenges in different health systems and findings from policy and management reforms introduced to address these challenges.

The session objectives were:

  • Foster conceptual clarity on strategic purchasing by ensuring participants can articulate a common definition and framework for strategic purchasing.
  • Expose participants to topics in strategic purchasing where there are novel research and new information in the field, with country illustrations.
  • Identify progress towards strategic purchasing and understand the drivers of progress based on a mapping of purchasing arrangements.
  • Generate excitement for further research on strategic purchasing and co-develop a research agenda with participants


  • Inke Mathauer (World Health Organization)
  • Cheryl Cashin (Results for Development)
  • Nkechi Olarere (Strategic Purchasing Africa Resource Center/SPARC)
  • Elizabeth Kiracho (School of Public Health, College of Health Sciences, Makerere University)
  • Obinna Onwujekwe (Health Policy Research Group, University of Nigeria, Nsukka)
  • Nirmala Ravishankar (ThinkWell)
  • S Pierre Yameogo (Ministry of Health, Burkina Faso)
  • Prastuti Soewondo (ThinkWell, Indonesia)
  • Ellen Van de Poel (Global Financing Facility, Health Financing Lead, World Bank)