The OneHealth Tool is a new software tool designed to strengthen health system analysis and costing and to develop financing scenarios at the country level. The primary purpose of the tool is to assess health investment needs in low- and middle-income countries, for a time horizon of 3-10 years into the future.
Most costing tools take a disease-specific approach. The OneHealth Tool is the first tool to present the detailed components of disease control and prevention programmes in a uniform format and link them with a view to strengthening the overall capacity of national health systems. For the first time, planners have a single framework for planning, costing, impact analysis, budgeting and financing of strategies for all major diseases and health system components.
The tool is designed for use by experts involved in national health planning, including government health planners, UN agencies, NGOs, donors, researchers and consultants. The tool is modular in format and can easily be adapted to the country context.
The development of the tool was overseen by the InterAgency Working Group on Costing (IAWG-Costing) and the software and related materials were developed by the Futures Institute. The IAWG-Costing was comprised of members from UNFPA, UNICEF, UNDP, UNAIDS, UNWOMEN, WHO and the World Bank. The IAWG-Costing met regularly to discuss updates to the tool. The meetings included the participation of country health planners and other users of the OneHealth Tool, to ensure that feedback from application on the ground was taken into account. Meetings included participants sharing experiences from Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, Sri Lanka and South Africa.
The OneHealth Tool has been introduced in numerous workshops involving the InterAgency Working Group on Costing and the Futures Institute, including Francophone Africa, Anglophone Africa, Asia, Caribbean, Arab States, UN headquarters and some donors. Users have been trained to develop scenarios involving bottleneck analysis, estimating health impacts, comparing costs and budgets, in 4-5 day workshops. Reactions have been very positive with users pleased with the applicability to strategic planning, ease of use, and clarity of methodology.
The OneHealth Tool has been applied in more than 25 countries to date, most of which in sub-Saharan Africa. While most applications look at resource needs for the entire health sector across programmes and system components, the tool is being used in some countries to look at disease or programme-specific resource requirements. The time required to develop an application for a strategic plan depends on the availability of data, subject-matter experts and coordination among critical actors.
The first official version of the OneHealth Tool was released in May 2012. Updates are regularly posted on the Futures Institute OneHealth Tool website. In 2014, the tool will see further development of an NCD (non-communicable diseases) costing and impact module, along with overall improvements to the user-friendliness of the tool and accompanying training materials.