Spring Symposium 2014

Is ‘Value for Money’ the best Approach for Improving Weak Health Systems?

April 9, 2014, Basel, Switzerland



Swiss TPH invites you to join global public health specialists for a provocative discussion: How does good governance, improved supply chains or systematic monitoring and evaluation, encourage investments and create sustainable health systems? Invited speakers from the field of international health finance will discuss these issues in a day-long symposium in Basel on April 9 2014. Please register now. Seats are limited.
The aid community systematically refers to the “Value for Money” (VfM) concept in relation to health programmes. The concept has varying meanings among individuals and agencies. It spans from benchmarking the costs of certain products, to focusing exclusively on high level health impact indicators. But the application of VfM as a universal standard in very different contexts can be counterproductive. It may force missed opportunities or devalue the need for long-term capacity development. Considering the situation of countries with weak health systems we raise the question, if VfM really is the mantra leading to the most prudent allocation of investments?
Significant investments, limited results?
For decades donors have made significant investments to improve weak health systems with limited results, some critics say. How can donors ensure that their investments bring real improvement into sustainable health systems? What are the real key success factors? What lessons can be learned from past failures? Should donors in weak countries act as catalysts for smaller scale initiatives? Should they support the up-scale of successful pilot experiments? Or should they invest larger sums of money to radically change the landscape and context from the bottom-up?


Global trend for financial assessments of international health programs?
Donors increasingly mandate service providers to assess the programmatic and financial results reported by the implementing agencies. Is this a global trend? Does this better assure that the reports are of good quality and the money is wisely spent? Does it help to better focus technical assistance where it is needed? Are decision makers flexible enough to quickly adapt to improve efficiency of investments? Or is this a way to address taxpayers concerns that aid budgets are efficiently invested?
The symposium will raise these questions, cover topics of good governance, improved supply chains, systematic monitoring and evaluation of health programs. Finally, it will discuss if more frequent financial reviews can encourage investments and bring sustainable results.