Degree Name

MA in Sustainable Development

First Advisor

Jennifer Whately


The research paper started with emphasizing the importance of health security as an issue of global concern under the UNDP theory of human security. The research then proceeded with a focus on the approaches to health systems strengthening and a reflection on lessons learned from the Ebola virus outbreak to answer the question: How do we approach health systems strengthening (HSS) to achieve sustainable impact? Scholarly articles, and literature from other authoritative sources on health systems strengthening, like the World Health Organization (WHO) and the US Agency for International Development (USAID), were reviewed to determine a clear definition of HSS, and understand past approaches that succeeded and challenges that ensued in the pursuit of HSS. The literature review also highlighted and sought to clarify the perceived ambiguity that have blurred the distinction between health systems strengthening and health systems support. The research sought to understand the successes and challenges of donor-led HSS programs, by reviewing and analyzing USAID’s approach to HSS programs in five Central Asian countries. Maternal mortality data from the World Bank Group (WBG) was analyzed and used as benchmarks for assessing the Central Asian countries’s rate of change in health indicators. With a streamlined definition of HSS and reference to successes and pitfalls of the practice, the research proceeded to analyze findings from lessons learned from the Ebola outbreak that overwhelmed fragile health systems in West Africa. These findings shed light on the advent of the Ebola virus, and the subsequent international response and related challenges and catalyst. Recommendations for sustainable approaches to health systems strengthening were proposed after analyzing the literature reviews, and lessons learned from the Ebola virus outbreak. The paper was concluded with a reflection on Sustainable Development.


Growth and Development | Health Services Administration | International Public Health | Medicine and Health Sciences | Public Health