The threat of a new pandemic remains a key global risk. The Australian Government invested around $194 million between 2006 and 2015 through the aid program to help countries in Asia and the Pacific combat emerging infectious diseases (EIDs), such as avian influenza. Investments were guided by two strategies that aimed to strengthen human and animal health systems for EID prevention and response through technical assistance and capacity building. The main areas of focus were disease surveillance systems, health workforce epidemiological capacity, laboratories, and leadership and governance.
The Office of Development Effectiveness (ODE) commissioned the evaluation to identify lessons from this past assistance to inform decision making about future DFAT investments and policy engagement on regional health security. The evaluation drew on the World Health Organization’s framework of the health system building blocks to structure data collection and analysis. Applying this health systems lens, the evaluation examines the implementation characteristics and effectiveness of Australia’s work to strengthen the human and animal health systems involved in the EID response. In so doing, the evaluation is an important contribution to the evidence base on strengthening health systems to prevent, detect and respond to EID threats in Asia and the Pacific.