Sector Wide Approach to Strengthening Health (SWASTH)
Government of Bihar Initiative Supported by DFID,UK
The Sector Wide Approach to Strengthening Health (SWASTH) is an initiative of the Government of Bihar (GoB). The goal of the programme is to improve the health and nutritional status of the people of Bihar, particularly the underserved groups. SWASTH’s mission is “increased use of quality essential health, nutrition, water and sanitation services especially by poorest people and excluded groups”, achieved through the following outputs:
- Increase scale and functionality of nutrition, health and water and sanitation services
- Community level Initiatives undertaken to manage, demand and monitor services
- System strengthened for improving efficiency and effectiveness
- Partnership with non-government sector enhanced to deliver essential nutrition, health and water and sanitation services
- Quality and use of monitoring and evaluation systems improved.
DFID provides Financial Assistance (FA) to the GoB for the SWASTH programme. Further DFID-funded Technical Assistance (TA) to the programme is being provided since 2008, by a consortium which includes CARE, IPE Global and Options Consultancy Services through the Bihar Technical Assistance and Support Team (BTAST).
Although SWASTH is envisaged as a health sector support programme, during its inception stages it was felt that a genuine health sector-wide programme for Bihar must necessarily include the three key Departments – Department of Health (DoH), the Social Welfare Department (SWD) and the Public Health and Engineering Department (PHED). This is based on the belief that nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), are central to tackling the health status of the population of the State.
BTAST has provided management and technical support to DoH, SWD and PHED. In addition, the State Health Society, Bihar (SHS,B), State Institute for Health and Family Welfare (SHIFW), Bihar Medical Supplies and Infrastructure Corporation Limited (BMSICL), Bihar Water and Sanitation Mission (BSWSM), Directorate of Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS), Women Development Corporation (WDC), and other key stakeholders have also been supported by BTAST.
The SWASTH programme is implemented across all 38 districts of Bihar, and there is an additional focus through BTAST in nine priority districts that are highly underserved. These include Araria, Sheohar, Madhubani, Kishanganj, Purnia, Banka, Madhepura, Jamui, Supaul.