Research on essential health benefits in east and southern Africa

The essential health benefit (EHB) (sometimes termed core health services/ package) is a policy intervention used in the public sector to define and cost a platform of health services, to align disease specific programmes and take proven interventions to national scale. Seven east and southern African (ESA) countries -ie Swaziland, Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia, Uganda, Kenya and Zimbabwe - have introduced or updated EHBs in the 2000s. In 2016-7 EQUINEt is implementing through Ifakara Health Institute in co-operation with Training and Research Support Centre and selected countries a research programme to understand the role, facilitators and barriers to nation-wide application of the EHB in the resourcing, organisation and accountability on integrated services. The research will be implemented in four ESA countries and aims to draw cross country learning with policy actors for input to national planning and regional policy dialogue through the ECSA Health Community on the motivations for and methods used in developing and costing EHBs, and the manner in which EHBs have been disseminated and used for pooling and allocating resources and commodities;  for integration of programmes; co-ordination of providers; and for monitoring and accountability on services. Please email the secretariat for further information.