Many low and lower-middle income countries have established a process of Joint Annual Reviews (JAR) (or exercises with a similar title) in the health sector. The JAR provides a common basis for understanding health sector issues and priorities. JAR findings and recommendations can be followed up through action plans and policy dialogue. JARs are usually used in the context of a medium-term health strategic plan and monitor progress against the annual plan. Beyond this core monitoring role, they often select specific topics which require analysis to identify how to improve performance.

This document JARS - why and how to organise them? can help stakeholders in countries that are considering establishing JARs for the first time to decide how best to do so, based on the specifics of the local context.

It also aims to provide ideas for countries that are considering revising their joint review process, because of changes in their context or in response to a feeling that the process needs to change (for example if it has become too cumbersome and needs streamlining). The paper is organized around seven main questions: 


  1. What is meant by a JAR?
  2. How does a JAR differ from a mid-term review, a final review and situation analysis? 
  3. What are the options for JAR objectives? 
  4. What are the options for the JAR process? 
  5. Getting started: what are the main steps in planning for a JAR? 
  6. How are findings of the JAR used/followed up? 
  7. What are the trade-offs and challenges to address in planning JARs?