Implementing health system strengthening projects at USAID: Findings from five cases using an integrated framework

Adam D. Koon, Abigail Conrad, Joseph F. Naimoli, Sweta Saxena, Catherine Connor, Daniela C. Rodriguez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Evidence on the implementation of health systems strengthening (HSS) interventions is scarce. Donors need this information to prioritise investments and lobby for continued financial support. To develop a deeper understanding of the implementation dynamics of robust HSS interventions, we retrospectively compared five USAID-supported projects in the Dominican Republic, Ethiopia, Kazakhstan, Rwanda, and Zambia. A document review and key informant interviews (n = 44) were conducted, coded, and analysed in each of the five cases using an integrated implementation framework. The framework was organised by four phases of implementation. For the pre-condition phase, data-driven HSS interventions were nested in a range of political contexts and with differing levels of financial support. In pre-implementation, cases relied on diverse teams that created a data-informed, inclusive, and transparent project ethos for implementation. Implementation was located at multiple tiers of the health system, used interventions as catalysts for government initiatives, supported governance/accountability initiatives, and responded nimbly to contextual changes in the implementation climate. There was less evidence of maintenance and evolution but all cases were designed with an eye towards sustainability. This research yields important insights about the dynamics of HSS, identifying ways donors can better support countries to achieve universal health coverage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1829-1846
Number of pages18
JournalGlobal public health
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2 2019


  • Implementation research
  • development
  • health systems strengthening

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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