Health sector recovery in post-conflict settings presents an opportunity for reform: analysis of policy processes can provide useful lessons. The case of southern Sudan is assessed through interviews, a literature review, and by drawing on the experience of former technical advisers to the Ministry of Health. In the immediate post-conflict phase, the health system in southern Sudan was characterised by fragmentation, low coverage of health services, dismal health outcomes and limited government capacity. Health policy was extensively shaped by the interplay of context, actors and processes: the World Bank and the World Health Organization became the primary drivers of policy change. Lessons learned from the southern Sudan case include the need for: sustained investment in assessment and planning of recovery activities; building of procurement capacity early in the recovery process; support for funding instruments that can disburse resources rapidly; and streamlining the governance structures and procedures adopted by health recovery financing mechanisms and adapting them to the local context.
© 2010 The Author(s). Journal compilation © Overseas Development Institute, 2010.