Many stakeholders need to be involved in developing a national health strategy, not just professional health planners. Different partners need to have confidence that a plan is robust and will meet health goals. 

Everyone who signs up to IHP+, whether a national government, development agency or civil society organization, is committed to support a single national health strategy or plan. The way a strategy or plan is developed influences how sound, relevant and achievable it is.

Joint Assessment of National Health Strategies, or JANS, is a shared approach to assess the strengths and weaknesses of a national health strategy or plan. Joint assessment is not a new idea. The reasons for renewed interest in the approach include the increased number of international health actors in recent years and efforts to get more partners to support a single national health strategy or plan. 

Countries are using the approach for three main purposes:   

  1. To improve the quality of the health strategy or plan
  2. To increase confidence in the strategy or plan and help inform decisions about funding from different donors and domestic sources
  3. To reduce transaction costs for governments dealing with multiple partners with separate assessments.

The way a JANS is conducted is important for the credibility of its findings:

There are four key principles:

  • A JANS should be country demand driven and country led    
  • A JANS should build on existing country processes  
  • A JANS should have a strong independent element that includes people who were not involved in developing the health plan
  • A JANS should be inclusive: involving civil society and other stakeholders in the health sector.

The output is an analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the plan, not a pass or fail grading.

An IHP+ inter-agency working group developed a JANS tool. There are also guidelines for those conducting JANS, updated in 2013.  

There is increasing country JANS experience and IHP+ guidance on how to conduct a JANS is based on this experience. In early 2012, a meeting on JANS was held in Hammamet, Tunisia: Consultation on Lessons Learned and Future Directions. A review of JANS user needs was also undertaken.

Health Security assessment

Following the Ebola epidemic the issue of health security has become very important globally and at country level. During a JANS, the health sector’s role in promoting health security is one aspect for consideration (for example, Attribute 3). 

Since the JANS Tool and Guidelines were last updated, work under the Global Health Security Agenda partnership has resulted in elaborate guidelines for conducting a country assessment of health security capabilities including identifying gaps, opportunities and challenges: GHSA Country Assessment Tool 

JANS reports from countries:

Mozambique Ethiopia Ghana Kenya   Nepal Rwanda Sudan Togo Uganda Vietnam

Lessons learnt from JANS in countries:

Ethiopia Ghana Kyrgyzstan   Nepal   Uganda Vietnam   Sudan

World Health Organizaton Country planning cycle database

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