17 June 2020

A list of useful resources and technical documents developed by WHO and other partners in the context of health systems and COVID-19.

Technical resources for health systems and COVID-19

Here is a list of technical resources developed by WHO in collaboration with many partners on the issue of health systems and COVID19. While in no way exhaustive, the list include the most relevant technical documents recently developed by the WHO, many of them produced in collaboration with other partners.

We particularly want to highlight the recently completed WHO guidance put out under Pillar 9 of the SPRP on Maintaining Essential Health Services and Systems.  It covers key programmatic actions as well as detailed clinical adjustments to be made service area by service area and represents weeks of work by over 25 departments and over 220 technical staff here in HQ and across all WHO regions.  The guidance is here. We also want to highlight the various documents prepared jointly with UHC2030 over the past four months, involving different agencies and the UHC2030 civil society engagement mechanism, with a focus on strengthening health systems for health security.

Horizontal cross-cutting health system implications 

UHC2030 discussion paper with key messages linking health system needs (delivery, financing, governance) to the COVID19 responses.

Frontline health workers – linkage to Pillar 6 on Infection Prevention and Control

Clinical care 

This links both Pillar 7 on Case Management and Pillar 9 on Essential Health Services and Systems

Supply chain 

This links to Pillar 7 on Case Management and especially Pillar 9 (Operational support and logistics). 


Health financing 

The purposes driving this area are to: (a) increase resource adequacy to access COVID-19 products, fund Common Goods for Health at country and global level and strengthen core public health functions; and (b) facilitate the inclusion and prioritization of preparedness and maintenance of essential health services in public finance allocations. Key elements of the Health-Finance budget dialogue are to support needed actions in Public Financial Management, such as budget formulation and execution, ensuring funds reach frontline service providers who in turn have the authority to manage and the responsibility to account, and to remove financial barriers to access essential services, including COVID-19 vaccines and diagnostics.  In relation to this, WHO, the World Bank the IMF and others have already produced relevant guidance and analysis, including for example:


Essential Health Services


Harmonized suite of health service capacity assessment modules in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic 

Under development, below documents have already been published:


Community Engagement

Guidance on how governments can more effectively engage with population, communities, and civil society for health policy-making at country level in the COVID19 era.

Risk communication and community engagement (RCCE) guidance


Private sector engagement and COVID-19

This means supporting governments to adopt a whole of government, whole of society approach to the COVID-19 response, mobilizing all available resources to keep health systems functioning, and focusing on efforts to work with the private sector to help meet the double surge in demand for COVID treatment and other essential health services. 




Integrated Health Systems Performance monitoring 

Data, analytical and monitoring needs are outlined in the EHSS guidance.  A mapping exercise of data collection efforts is ongoing to maximise alignment across the partners and avoid duplication and burden on countries.


Rapid national pulse surveys on impact of COVID on essential health services

There are several existing rapid pulse surveys developed to assess impact of COVID on essential health services.  There is room for much further alignment/convergence across these different survey tools. 

  • Rapid assessment on impact on essential health services (25 health services), including data for SPRP KPI 9.3; WHO, May-June 2020 (to be published)
  • NCD rapid assessment of service delivery for NCDs during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Immunization pulse poll, Covid-19 2020. WHO, UNICEF, Sabin’s Boost community, GAVI
  • Rapid situation tracking for COVID-19 socioeconomic impacts (UNICEF survey to regional and country offices)
  • Covid-19 MNCH/FP/RH situation rapid country survey, April 2002
  • Global Fund COVID-19 Country Monitoring Tool,  Survey to inform and trigger GF business continuity planning processes.


Suite of service capacity and community needs assessment tools 

There are a number of rapid service capacity and community assessment tools that are under development, leveraging/adapting existing guidance and tools for the current context as a quick win.

  • Rapid hospital readiness checklist, WHO, June 2020. (forthcoming), adapted from Hospital preparedness for epidemics. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2014 
  • Case management for COVID-19. WHO, June 2020 (forthcoming), adapted from WHO service availability and readiness assessment, 2015 ,
  • Biomedical equipment for COVID-10 case management June 2020 (forthcoming)
  • Infection prevention and control response capacity for COVID-19 (forthcoming) – adapted from IPC assessment framework at the facility level, 2019. 
  • Continuity of essential services WHO, June 2020 (forthcoming).  Tailored for monitoring of EHS (ref EHSS guidance), and draws from and adapts existing tools (e.g SARA, HERAMs)
  • Community needs and demand (WHO, UNICEF, GAVI, TGF in progress) Tailored for monitoring community needs and demand. Other resources include PREMISE and UNICEF U-Report to survey community needs.


Analysis and dashboards

Lots of existing dashboards and analytical guidance at both national and global level can be tailored quickly to meet the demands of the current context.  This section will be updated with more content soon.


Forecasting tools

Photo: WHO / Tom Pietrasik

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