Programme management for health

Effective and efficient programme management aims to deliver health services that are safe, accessible, high quality, people-centred, and integrated to ensure universal health coverage.

Resilient and sustainable systems for health focus on the need to support countries in moving towards universal health coverage, through improving the efficiency and effectiveness of their health service delivery systems.

UNDP’s support to health programmes

UNDP works with governments and partners to support the implementation and management of health programmes in countries facing development challenges and emergencies, including strengthening national health-related policy and programmes.

The HIV, Health and Development (HHD) Strategy 2016-2021: Connecting the Dots, outlines its unique contribution to the global health response through its interconnected work to reduce inequalities and social exclusion that drive HIV and poor health, promote effective and inclusive governance for health, and build resilient and sustainable systems for health.

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A key channel for this work is its support to national governments for the implementation of health programmes. This includes disease prevention and treatment programmes that target some of the most hard-to-reach populations, as well as activities to strengthen institutions that deliver essential health services in challenging and high-risk country contexts.

The HHD Strategy Action Area 3 is concerned with building resilient and sustainable systems for health. A key priority for 2016-2021 is 3.1 Implementation support and capacity development for large-scale health programmes.

UNDP’s service offerings in this Action Area include policy and programme support on:

  • supporting implementation and management of large-scale health programmes in countries facing development challenges and complex emergencies
  • developing capacities of national entities in these setting to sustainably manage domestic and international health financing and to deliver health programmes
  • strengthening national health-related policy and programming in challenging operating environments in specific areas of UNDP expertise, including human rights, gender equality, key populations, sustainable financing and procurement of medicines and other health products

Framework for effective programme management

1Assess the best models for service delivery based on national plans and stakeholder dialogue
2Ensure that enough health workers are trained and motivated to meet countries' needs
3Collect and analyse relevant reliable data to inform decision making
4Guarantee essential medicines and other health technologies are safe, effective and affordable
5Budget and monitor expenditure
6Manage and support other implementing partners
7Relate programme achievements back to national health strategies and plans to ensure the optimal use of available country resources
Stakeholder    involvement

UNDP's offer

UNDP, working closely with ministries of health and WHO, supports the development of strong programme management through the entire life cycle of the programme to ensure:

  • relevant design of programmes based on gap analysis and needs assessment
  • that appropriate country policies are followeda
  • national ownership that is inclusive of all stakeholders in all stages of the process
  • that appropriate management and governance structures exista
  • that information is gathered and analysed to inform decision-making
  • that programmes are designed to be rigorous in delivering quality results against a plan, but sufficiently flexible for continued renewal of focus and adaptation to change
  • at national level support the development of national health strategiesa
  • at global level direct and coordinate international health within the United Nations Systema

Programme management in line with human rights principles

Effective and efficient programme management should ensure that programme planning and implementation respect the underlying principles of equality and non-discrimination, in order to contribute to universal health coverage. Activities should be implemented in such a way that all those in need of information and services can access them irrespective of age, gender, social status and sexual orientation.

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UNDP supports integration of the five UNDP programming principles tailored to the country context:

  • human rights-based approach
  • gender equality
  • environmental sustainability
  • results-based management
  • capacity development

Through its support for the management and implementation of Global Fund programmes in challenging country contexts, UNDP strives to ensure that healthcare reaches all those who need it.

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UNDP’s partnership with the Global Fund focuses on three interlinked objectives:

  • supporting implementation of health programmes in all areas, by serving as interim Principal Recipient (PR) in countries facing challenging operating environments
  • developing the capacity of national entities to take over the management of Global Fund projects as soon as circumstances permit, or to improve the national entities’ performance while they are already serving as PRs
  • strengthening policy and programme quality of the Global Fund-related work, both at country and global levels, in line with UNDP’s role as a co-sponsor of the core mandates of UNAIDS and UNDP in governance and capacity development

UNDP has developed a web-based UNDP-Global Fund and Health Implementation Guidance Manual aimed at providing updated guidance on key aspects of Global Fund programme management and providing links to both UNDP and Global Fund tools and resources.

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Key resources