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Innovation & Approach

Health Systems Strengthening

Pathfinder envisions strong, inclusive, resilient health systems that ensure and integrate coverage, access, and use of quality, person-centered sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) services into universal health coverage.

Building strong, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable health systems   

Pathfinder works through lasting, trusted local partnerships, supporting nationally led and coordinated investments and gender-transformative strategies to measurably and sustainably improve health-system performance so that all people can access quality, equitable, affordable sexual and reproductive health services. In an unprecedented global context of overlapping crises—the COVID-19 pandemic, persistent epidemics, conflict- and climate-related emergencies, forced migration, and economic stress, the need for responsive, resilient health systems has never been greater, and building functional synergy among health systems strengthening, primary health care, universal health coverage, and global health security efforts has never been more important.

For decades, Pathfinder has been a global leader in SRHR, partnering with governments and other national actors in more than 70 countries to strengthen access to and use of quality, equitable, integrated, gender-responsive SRHR information and services. By working within, rather than parallel to, health systems, our programs ensure that local and national partners can support and sustain positive social norms, essential health system functions, and continuous quality improvement in service delivery that lasts well beyond our direct engagement.

Advancing Outcomes for People, Communities, and Health Systems

Recognizing the complex, multisectoral, dynamic nature of health systems in today’s global context, Pathfinder expands on the six World Health Organization-defined health system building blocks, prioritizing four areas for advancement across the levels of the health system (community, facility, district, and tertiary):

  1. Rights, agency, and choice among individuals and communities;
  2. Universal access to diverse, responsive points of care for a minimum package of quality essential health services;
  3. Health system resilience and readiness to withstand shocks and stressors throughout a cycle of preparation, adaptation, and recovery;
  4. An enabling environment in which these individual-, community-, facility-, and system-level ideals can be achieved.


Continued evolution and advancement of progress beyond project funding requires meaningful early and ongoing collaboration, use of incentives, and other mechanisms to perpetuate deep commitment across the partner spectrum. Pathfinder designs evidence-based strategies and activities that pragmatically address essential cross-cutting dimensions of sustainability: equity, quality, motivation, evidence-based planning, adaptive management, resource optimization, and resilience-building.

Pathfinder’s Fiduciary Agency Model

Pathfinder partners with host governments and ministries of health in creating efficient, sustainable, and impactful health programs. We use a proven approach that transitions from Pathfinder serving as fiduciary agent for the government to a government’s autonomous management of donor funds and activities.

Countries using this approach
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