SCIH Update

Spring 2014

Spring Symposium Explores whether “Value for Money” is Best Approach for Weak Health Systems

The SCIH Spring Symposium covered “Linking Governance,” “Strengthening Health Commodity Supply Chains”, and “Measuring Results” in VfM.

Around 140 people joined fifteen public health specialists from around the world for provocative panel discussions critiquing Value for Money (VfM) this past April 9th in Basel.  Many donors are increasingly adopting a VfM model for contracting, or its other guises such as PBF (Performance-Based Financing) and RBF (Results-Based Financing) in the way they invest their health spending and then measure and reward the results.  The symposium raised interesting questions covering topics of good governance, improved supply chains, and systematic M&E of health programs.  The day’s speakers included public health specialists, doctors, procurement and supply management experts, health economists, finance specialists, epidemiologists, and M&E specialists among others from Switzerland, Germany, The Netherlands, the US and India representing WHO, SDC, The Global Fund, GIZ, UNITAID, i+solutions, CORDAID, PSI, CGD, and Swiss TPH. Symposium host Odile Pham-Tan spoke of balancing the four “E’s” – economy, efficiency, effectiveness, as well as equity, or fair distribution of benefits.  Keynote speaker David Evans started off the day reminding that value, and hence VfM, while critical to address inefficiencies in health systems, means different things to different people, is inherently a political, not just technical, question and requires full involvement of civil society in decision-making.  SDC’s Jacques Mader gave an illustrative overview of VfM going back to 1999.  Each speaker gave individual lessons, pros and cons, and case study examples of where VfM has worked and where improvements are warranted.  Overall, one conclusion was that evidence and information for designing the best VfM approach for health programs is needed.  For program and presentations, visit the SCIH Spring Symposium 2014 website.

Swiss TPH in Ukraine, Health Care at Revolution Times

Head of SCIH’s Ukraine Implementation Office being interviewed for Ukrainian TV news broadcast (above). View from SCIH office – barricades to control access to Maidan area (below).

Close to the centre of the current revolution, at ‘Maidan Square’, our SCIH colleagues keep operating against many odds and challenges.  For more than 14 years, Swiss TPH has had a presence in Ukraine. The focus has been on Maternal and Child Health Care (MCH), implementing projects for the SDC.   In 2004 we experienced the both the flourishing and the withering of the first post-Soviet popular upheaval, the ‘Orange Revolution’.  Discontent with politics has now led to a second uprising that has its centre again at the emblematic ‘Maidan Square’ in the centre of Kiev – a five minute walk from the SCIH office.   Taking into account that Ukraine had a population decline of seven million inhabitants in the past 20 years, demographics linked with this MCH project has moved high up on the political agenda.  In January, the Ministry of Health looked for alliances with our project in a press conference. Linked to this, our colleague Natalia Riabtseva, head of the SCIH office was invited by a TV channel to talk about the Swiss engagement in Ukraine.

Tajikistan Medical Education Project Study Tour at Swiss TPH

Signing of MoU between Tajikistan and Swiss representatives committing to work together in family medicine delivery.

As part of the Medical Education Project funded by SDC, high level decision makers from Tajikistan participated in a study tour in Switzerland (30 April until 4 May 2014). These included representatives from the Ministry of Finance, the Presidential Office, the Ministry of Health, and the Tajik State Medical University. To help improve family medicine in Tajikistan, the study tour presented the Swiss health system with special attention to family medicine and the roles and responsibilities of different actors involved in delivering family medicine in Switzerland. Special emphasis was given to the important decisions and steps Switzerland has taken in supporting family medicine development focusing on health service organization, human resources, and financing. Among institutions visited were the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health, a health insurance company, a group practice of family doctors, and other institutes and associations involved in strengthening family medicine in Switzerland. A highlight was the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Tajik Republican clinical training centre of family medicine and Hausärzte Schweiz (association of family doctors in Switzerland) that expresses the continued commitment for further collaborations.

Upcoming Event: Swiss TPH 70th Year Jubilee Open House and Family Day, Saturday, June 14

A day of festivities and displays on the history, current research, and health programs in countries around the world will be on display this June 14 on the grounds of Swiss TPH.  As most people in the Basel area associate Swiss TPH with its travel medicine clinic there will be so much more to learn about the extent of what Swiss TPH does to improve health around the world.  Please check our website for details and directions on visiting the grand old villa on Socinstrasse 57.

Recent Event: Community Integrated Care and Social Services Conference, Bucharest, Feb 21-22, 2014

Several SCIH staff attended a conference in Romania organised by the Swiss Intermediate Body (SIB) Thematic Fund (TF) “Health” featuring SDC-funded projects in community care in Eastern Europe and Central Asia as well as projects from France, Switzerland and Germany. The conference was the starting point for a training program for Romanian local authorities to develop and manage health and social projects in selected Romanian communities with the aim to develop models for further dissemination. The conference was featured in the International Foundation of Integrated Care website.  A conference publication can be found in the International Journal of Integrated Care (IJIC). The conference featured presentations of national and international lecturers (France, Germany, UK, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Switzerland) who presented relevant experiences in providing community integrated medical and social services.  A second part of the conference was dedicated to organizing focus groups with the representatives of the pre-selected communities, for identifying training needs.

Recent Event: eHealth Strategy Planning Workshop in Ukraine

Workshop participants included Ukrainian and Swiss experts in information technologies, representatives of the regional health administration, World Bank, and Mother and Child Health Programme partner institutions in Volyn

In the frame of the Ukraine-Swiss Mother and Child Health Programme (financed by the Swiss Development Cooperation, SDC), the SCIH took up the challenge of facilitating the development of a coherent strategy to efficiently using Information and Communication Technologies for improving health services. An 'eHealth Strategy Planning' workshop was organised and conducted in the western Region of Volyn. After a long-term commitment by the Programme to improve perinatal services in the Volyn region, the future development of the eHealth activities in the region is being underpinned by the establishment of a comprehensive 5-year eHealth Strategy adapted to the needs analysed and the resources locally available. Representatives of the regional health administration, local health institutions, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and the World Bank took part and became stakeholders and actors in a policy planning process which led to the definitions of the main eHealth priorities and plans for the next five years.

Recent Event: Swiss TPH hosted WHO-UNICEF Workgroup meeting on Immunization Monitoring

The Work Group meeting, which also featured a public discussion of the statistical challenges of immunization data, included David Brown (UNICEF, New York), Xavier Bosch-Capblanch (Swiss TPH, Basel), Marta Gacic-Dobo (WHO, Geneva), Rousslan Karimov (UNICEF, New York), and Tony Burton (WHO, Geneva)

SCIH / Swiss TPH hosted a meeting on "WHO and UNICEF working group on monitoring immunization coverage: development session" last fall. The meeting aimed at (1) studying the feasibility of incorporating the approached used as SCIH to analyse vaccination data from almost 300 household surveys; and (2) designing measures of uncertainty attached to the countries’ vaccination coverage estimates.  At the SCI /Swiss TPH, Xavier Bosch-Capblanch has produced a series of code in Stata to automatically harmonise the names and values of variables in different surveys. This is an essential in step to allow the batch processing of surveys of different type in order to compute vaccination and other indicators, and solves a long standing problem faced by those re-analysing survey data. In a second step, we have conducted several analyses including multiple cohorts of children and provided results disaggregated by source of vaccination statutes, sex and validity of vaccinations.   Several options are now being considered to widen the access and use of the harmonisation code by WHO and UNICEF as well as to further collaborate with WHO in providing surveys detailed estimates.

Newly Awarded

To follow or participate in the GMAP2 process visit the website,

Swiss TPH and Deloitte Consulting were selected by the Roll Back Malaria Partnership to prepare the Second Generation Global Malaria Action Plan 2016-2025.  The GMAP2 will build upon the current Global Malaria Action Plan (2008-2015).  The GMAP2 will be a practical, multisectoral, action-oriented document designed to accelerate the fight against malaria at global, regional and country levels. It will guide the implementation and financing of malaria reduction and elimination activities on the part of the various Roll Back Malaria Partnership constituencies – which include governments, bilateral & multilateral agencies, foundations, research & academia, the private sector and civil society. For more information or to follow this process, please go to 


KfW and the West African Health Organization (WAHO/OOAS) have contracted Swiss TPH for phase 3 as monitoring agent to assist WAHO/OOAS in implementing the “regional program for reproductive health, family planning and HIV prevention in the ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) region” over the next four years.  Specific areas of assistance include review and monitoring of in-country activities and budgetary execution (Ghana, Burkina Faso, Benin, Niger and Guinea Bissau), tender elaboration and analysis for reproductive health goods. The Swiss TPH project leader is Cyril Nogier.


SCIH was awarded a new Local Fund Agent mandate in Guinea Conakry, and re-awarded Palestine and Myanmar after a very competitive process. Our Finance, Monitoring and Evaluation, and Procurement and Supply Management experts will continue to help the Global Fund in its fiduciary arrangements, and evaluate, assess, and verifying program implementation, transparency, accountability and effectiveness of Global Fund PBF grants and programs.


SDC Chad selected Swiss TPH – jointly with the Centre de Support en Santé Internationale (CSSI), a local NGO and long-term Swiss TPH partner - for a four-year project to support to the development of district health services in Yao and Danamadji in Chad among other activities in the area of Maternal and Child Health. During an initial period (May to August 2014) activities will be further detailed and agreed on with local partners. This is be followed by project implementation from September 2014 onwards.  The overall project budget is CHF 12 million. The Swiss TPH project leader is Cyril Nogier.


SDC awarded the “Health Facility Autonomy Project” in Kyrgyzstan to a consortium of GFA medical group (lead), VEK consulting and the Swiss TPH. The project has a duration of 10 years and overall budget in the amount of CHF 9 mio. From the side of the Swiss TPH Patrick Hanlon will act as lead person and in addition, Sabine Kiefer, Kaspar Wyss and Dr. Arnoldas Jurgutis (external consultant from Lithuania) will be involved.


Swiss TPH has been contracted by GIZ to support an “Insurance Management Information System” (IMIS”) for the national health insurance scheme for the Nepal MoHP. The Swiss TPH together with its partner organisations Micro Insurance Academy (MIA), Bonn, and MEH Consultants, Kathmandu, will assist the Nepalese government in transferring and adapting the IMIS system developed in Tanzania within the SDC-funded HPSS project for the “CHF Iliyoboreshwa”, the reformed Community Health Funds. The project will be led by Manfred Stoermer and begins with a two-weeksmission for assessing structures and processes of the new health insurance scheme in Nepal in May.


A study on “Inclusion of the Poor and Vulnerable into the New Health Financing Strategy of Tanzania.

This study has been conducted by Manfred Stoermer, Flora Kessy and Teresa Widmer lead by SCIH’s Health Economics and Financing Group. The study has been commissioned by the Interministerial Steering Committee (ISC) for the preparation of the new health financing strategy and has been funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the German Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ). It investigates the methods used in Tanzania for identifying the poor, and proposes options for including the poor into health insurance systems through subsidizing their membership in Community Health Funds. The approaches suggested are being tested and further developed in the framework of the SDC funded “Health Promotion and system Strengthening” (HPSS) Project implemented by the Swiss TPH in Dodoma Region, Tanzania. For further details please consult our website


Inventory of projects on non-communicable diseases (NCDs) prevention.
An inventory of projects on non-communicable diseases (NCDs) prevention, commissioned by the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health (BAG) has been completed by Sarah Rajkumar and Kaspar Wyss with inputs from Nicole Probst and Carlos Quinto.  The study identifies and characterizes over 700 projects in Switzerland.

Swiss TPH eHealth Toolbox Updated
SCIH’s Health Technology and Telemedicine Unit (HTTU) continuously monitors global eHealth trends and innovations. In this context, the Swiss TPH eHealth toolbox has been updated with the inclusion of three new open-source mHealth applications: FrontlineSMS (SMS exchange software), RapidSMS (framework for SMS-based applications) and Sana (mobile telemedicine platform). This toolbox serves as an information resource for those interested in exploring the potential of information and communication technologies in health.  You can check out online the eHealth Toolbox which is managed by HTTU.

Joining the SCIH

Helen Prytherch PhD, MPH has returned to SCIH as of this January. She has over fifteen years work experience in International Health and has worked as a technical advisor in Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America, mainly for GIZ.

Daniel Cobos Muñoz joined the SCIH in March 2014, as Project Officer for Health Systems Support, having worked the past twelve years in health systems of low and middle-income countries such as Equatorial Guinea, Angola, and Paraguay.  Daniel is a Medical Doctor with a specialization in Family and Community Medicine who recently finished a Master’s Degree in International Public Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
Alexandre Vanobberghen joins the SCIH team as a project associate in the Health Technology and Telemedicine Unit.

Valérie Busson has returned to SCIH as an Administrative Assistant following maternity leave.

Sunil Seth has started as Finance expert based in Yangon covering Myanmar and Lao PDR, and Indrajit Hazarika has started as Project Leader/M&E expert in Lao PDR in the framework of the Global Fund Local Fund Agent mandate.

Jacques Gruloos, Project Leader/M&E expert and Mariama Diallo, Project Officer/Finance expert have both started working in Guinea Conakry in the framework of the LFA mandate.