New $200 Million Global Initiative to Improve Health Systems Strengthening

WASHINGTON, DC — Results for Development (R4D) today announced that the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has selected the organization to lead a new five-year global initiative: The Health Systems Strengthening Accelerator (HSS Accelerator). This global platform will connect locally-driven health system reforms and innovations with global knowledge, enhance local institutions devoted to ongoing system strengthening, and accelerate countries’ journeys to self-reliant health systems. The program was co-created by USAID, R4D, the Health Strategy and Delivery Foundation (HSDF), based in Abuja, Nigeria, ICF and several other partners.

“R4D’s mission is to work with change agents around the globe to create self-sustaining systems that support healthy, educated people, and that’s exactly what the HSS Accelerator aims to do,” said Gina Lagomarsino, R4D’s president and chief executive officer. “We’re so excited and greatly appreciate USAID’s major investment in co-creating and dedicating up to $200 million for this important initiative. We also gratefully acknowledge support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in developing the concept and planning for additional investment in it.”

With an emphasis on local ownership and direction for health system change from the start, the Accelerator will support up to 20 self-selected innovator countries to improve the way they strengthen their own health systems. Inspired by technology accelerators that support groups of innovators working on similar approaches, participating countries will address vexing health system challenges, such as poor quality of service delivery, financing approaches that leave key populations without access, or lack of integration of private sector providers with the rest of the health system. They will design and implement their own local approaches adapted from global evidence and lessons learned, with emphasis on the complex root causes of health systems problems, as well as the motivations and political dynamics that surround them. Over five years, participating countries will share their results and experiences to accelerate both their own progress and global know-how.

The Accelerator aims to improve how health system strengthening is done by:

  • Moving toward coaching of regional or local institutions and leaders to drive change, and away from over-reliance on technical assistance from outsiders
  • Designing health system change more iteratively, with greater learning-by-doing, peer-to-peer action learning, and adaptation sparking innovative approaches
  • Translating global knowledge and experience on health systems strengthening — already effectively aggregated by several global and regional hubs — more effectively into day-to-day decision-making by health system change agents
  • Synthesizing and sharing local learning about what works (and what doesn’t) with the global health community — for a particular health system problem and for how to build the kinds of local institutions and capacities needed to continually improve systems.

Many in the global health community have similar ambitions. R4D, HSDF and ICF look forward to joining and complementing other efforts. The initiative will form partnerships with additional organizations to supplement the skills, resources and human power of the current partners. Additional partners could include academic and technical support institutions, institutions with relevant world-class technical expertise, and global knowledge aggregators. The initiative will assist local and regional organizations to strengthen their own technical and administrative capacities to sustain health system improvement over the long term. The consortium will also seek guidance from leaders of past health system reform efforts.

“We are excited to partner and coordinate our efforts with additional global, regional, and country-based organizations,” said Dr. Marty Makinen, R4D’s executive vice president for health and interim executive director of the HSS Accelerator. “Partnerships will be essential to build coaching networks, leverage existing knowledge aggregators, scale-up innovative approaches, and strengthen health systems institutions locally and globally.”

Dr. Kelechi Ohiri, CEO of HSDF, said, “HSDF is proud and excited to partner with R4D and ICF in this landmark project and is looking forward to transforming health care delivery models while building resilient, strong health systems across Africa.”

ICF, a global consultancy and digital services provider, has supported USAID’s global health initiatives for over 30 years. “We’re excited for the opportunity to join this initiative,” said Leo Ryan, senior vice president at ICF. “ICF partners with ministries of health, civil society groups and local organizations to achieve lasting change, strengthen local ownership and deliver improved health outcomes. This program provides an important opportunity to accelerate progress through health system innovation.”

More information about the HSS Accelerator, including calls for expressions of interest in partnerships and specific activities, will be forthcoming in late 2018. Please visit for more information.

HSS Accelerator Contacts:
Interim Executive Director: Dr. Marty Makinen,
Technical Director: Dr. Nathan Blanchet,
Operations Director: Ms. Kristi Maasjo,


The U.S. Agency for International Development administers the U.S. foreign assistance program providing economic and humanitarian assistance in more than 80 countries worldwide. For more information, visit:

About Results for Development
Results for Development (R4D) is a leading non-profit global development partner. We collaborate with change agents around the world — government officials, civil society leaders and social innovators — to create strong systems that support healthy, educated people. We help our partners move from knowing their goal to knowing how to reach it. We combine global expertise in health, education and nutrition with analytic rigor, practical support for decision-making and implementation and access to peer problem-solving networks. Together with our partners, we build self-sustaining systems that serve everyone and deliver lasting results. Then we share what we learn so others can achieve results for development, too. For more information, visit our website at:

About Health Strategy and Delivery Foundation
Health Strategy and Delivery Foundation (HSDF) is a non-profit firm established to support key stakeholders in both the Public and Private Sector, in making evidence-informed decisions and ensure effective execution of their strategies. Our approach involves providing thought partnership, strong analytical support and deploying innovative tools to generate measurable and sustainable results. HSDF takes on complex and fundamental system challenges in the health and social sectors in Africa. We leverage our contextual knowledge of the continent, deep sector expertise, strong analytics and vast networks to solve our clients’ issues. We work closely with our clients at all levels ensuring they are empowered to sustain the impact and continue to excel beyond the duration of our active engagement. For more information, visit our website at: