Joint Assessment of National Health Strategies, or JANS, is a shared approach to assessing the strengths and weaknesses of a national health strategy or plan. Countries are using JANS for three main purposes:
- To enhance the quality and relevance of the national health strategy.
Using the JANS tool during strategy development can help guide the process and content, see what else is needed, and review drafts as they emerge.
- To increase confidence in the strategy and help inform decisions about funding, ensuring that funding is closely aligned to the national health strategy.
Using the JANS to assess a final or near final strategy can help potential funders decide how much confidence they have in the strategy and how to support it.
- To reduce transaction costs at country level and cut down multiple assessments and review processes by different agencies.
Using the JANS can make developing the strategy and taking decisions about funding more efficient.
The JANS approach includes a set of principles for how to do the JANS, the tool itself and guidelines. The country carrying out the JANS should decide how best to apply these principles and use the tool to suit the country context and stage of plan development.
An IHP+ inter-agency working group developed the JANS tool and guidelines in 2009. These have been updated periodically based on experience, with the latest version in 2013.
Agreed principles for conducting a JANS are that it should:
- Be driven and led by the country
- Build on existing in-country processes and experiences
- Have a strong independent element
- Be inclusive, involving civil society and other stakeholders in the health sector.
The JANS tool examines the soundness and feasibility of a strategy in five areas:
- Situation analysis and programming: clarity and relevance of priorities and strategies selected based on a sound situation analysis
- Process: soundness and inclusiveness of development and endorsement processes for the national strategy
- Costs and budgetary framework for the strategy: soundness and feasibility of the financial framework
- Implementation and management: soundness of arrangements and systems for implementing and managing the programmes contained in the national strategy
- Monitoring, evaluation and review: soundness of review and evaluation mechanisms and how their results are used.
The JANS approach is being used in an increasing number of countries. In addition to individual country reports and lessons learned, an overview of experiences, review of JANS user needs, quality assurance checklist and a paper on how to conduct a JANS are available.
Health Security Assessment
Following the Ebola epidemic the issue of health security has become very important globally and at country level. During a JANS, the health sector’s role in promoting health security is one aspect for consideration (for example, Attribute 3).
Since the JANS Tool and Guidelines were last updated, work under the Global Health Security Agenda partnership has resulted in elaborate guidelines for conducting a country assessment of health security capabilities including identifying gaps, opportunities and challenges: GHSA Country Assessment Tool
JANS updated guidelines August 2013 (1.2 MB)
JANS tool and FAQ (240 kB)
The JANS process enhanced partners' confidence and provided an inclusive, structured and comprehensive framework for engagement in health strategy development. More development partners, including the US and GAVI, are aligning their plans with our strategy.