[In this article on USAID’s Medium Blog, Jennifer Jackson, Senior Communications Officer for the Office of Health Systems in the Bureau for Global Health, writes about how USAID program’s, including the Accelerator, are helping countries respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, while also keeping an eye on the future.]

Countries worldwide are facing the dual challenge of responding to a pandemic with already strained resources, while trying to maintain essential services like vaccinations, routine exams, and testing and treatment for infectious diseases like HIV and tuberculosis.

Health systems are also experiencing shortages of workers due to illness and redeployment to respond to COVID-19, supply chain disruptions, stockouts of essential supplies, increased fees, longer wait times, and disruptions. Added to all of that are the economic impacts from the pandemic, which are expected to decrease health budgets and limit health services — putting access to health care at risk for millions of people.

USAID’s programs are designed to address these impacts, while keeping an eye on the future. We help countries build more resilient and self-reliant health systems that can adapt when needed without risking interruption of essential and routine health services.

Our programs target multiple aspects of health systems, including building the capacity of public and private sector health providers to respond adequately when health emergencies arise so the burden of responding doesn’t fall solely on the government. We train workers and adapt health provider operations so that disruptions to essential services — like COVID-19 or any other disaster — are minimized. We also engage civil society organizations and community and faith leaders to encourage safe and healthy behaviors.

To read the full article, click here.