Health systems encompass the institutions, organizations, and resources (physical, financial, and human) assembled to deliver healthcare services that meet population needs. In many low- and middle-income countries, health systems are faced with a huge burden of disease, and decision-makers have to make difficult choices to expand public health within the constraints of limited resources and competing health priorities.

COVID-19 revealed stark health inequalities between and within countries and focused the attention of decision-makers on the need to take strategic action to bridge the existing gaps and improve access to healthcare among marginalized groups.

Access to essential medicines and other healthcare commodities is fundamentally important for the effective functioning of health systems as clarified by the World Health Organization (WHO) Health Systems Framework.  Unfortunately, procurement and supply chain management (PSCM) systems for healthcare in many low- and middle-income countries are particularly weak vulnerable and under-resourced leading to poor health outcomes.

Considering the priority given to public health outcomes in the attainment of the United Nations Sustainability Development Goals (UNSDG), a functioning health system is fundamentally important for any country to make progress. Unfortunately, no single organization can marshal all the resources required for a full-functioning health system, making the case for multi-stakeholder partnerships to make progress. WHO published a compelling technical report clarifying that strengthening health systems was everyone’s business, where all stakeholders need to collaborate towards a common goal.

A few of the modalities through which corporates could support health systems are highlighted below:

  • Strategic sharing of best practices and operational management principles
  • Technology adoption and deployment
  • Leveraging corporate distribution systems to reach the last-mile
  • Bridging resource gaps through strategic community health initiatives

Read the full article about corporate philanthropy by Tom Achoki at Alliance Magazine.