About ACS

Launched in 2017, ACS is a five-year, USAID-funded project that supports countries to advance toward universal health coverage in sub-Saharan Africa.
One man and two women sitting next to each other smiling.

Why Universal Health Coverage?

There is unprecedented political will in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) towards universal health coverage (UHC). An increasing number of countries in the region are committed to working towards this goal. Some countries have established health financing strategies or implementation plans supported by numerous partners, projects, and initiatives. High-quality technical tools and resources for countries pursuing policies to advance UHC are increasingly widely available. Support is also high for UHC at the global level. Trainings and international conferences gather experts and cross-sectorial representatives from countries working toward UHC.

Despite these, most countries pursuing UHC in SSA face obstacles to moving forward. Effective coverage- especially of the hardest to reach populations- remains low. Financial resources can be fragmented (including donor resources), possibly inequitable (including user fees or out-of-pocket payments), and/or insufficient or inefficiently allocated. The ability to provide a high-quality package of services is often limited by poor purchasing arrangements. Much has been documented about macro-level challenges at the country level (low domestic resource mobilization, health care services of inadequate quality or availability, etc.). Less attention has been paid to operational challenges encountered implementing policies and strategies to advance UHC.

graphic that reads “UHC for me is… Accessibility of quality health services to all including the vulnerable.”

The goal of ACS

ACS aims to advance UHC in SSA by working with countries to identify challenges to implementation of health financing policies that support UHC. ACS supports multi-stakeholder processes and collective solutions, including developing targeted learning agendas, communications opportunities, advocacy and accountability activities that drive UHC progress. ACS sees a key role for regional institutions and organizations by leveraging their expertise, proximity for support, deep understanding of country contexts, unique convening power, position and potential to advocate and spur accountability to UHC commitments. ACS aims to bolster capacity at the country and regional level towards building linkages between countries and regional institutions to apply knowledge and evidence-based solutions for advancing UHC.

The African Collaborative for Health Financing Solutions team. Men and women smiling looking at the camera.
Picture of the ACS team in Cape Town 2020 during the team’s annual Pause and Learn meeting.

The ACS approach

ACS supports countries by:

  1. Identifying operational challenges around health financing policies.
  2. Bringing essential people to the table, then facilitating evidence-based collaboration and processes to design, test, and adapt solutions to tackle those challenges.
  3. Creating communication pathways to strengthen and support learning, advocacy and accountability.