Health sector fragmentation: three examples from Sierra Leone

Global Health. 2019 Jan 22;15(1):8. doi: 10.1186/s12992-018-0447-5.


Background: Fragmentation across governance structures, funding, and external actor engagement in Sierra Leone continues to challenge the efficiency and coherence of health sector activities and impedes sustained health system strengthening. Three examples are discussed to highlight the extent, causes, and impacts of health sector fragmentation in Sierra Leone: the community health worker programme, national medical supply chain, and service level agreements.

Results: In these examples we discuss factors contributing to fragmentation, the impact on efficiency of systems and sustainability of interventions, and persistent barriers to achieving sustainable improvements in health system performance. Prolonged external dependence and a proliferation of partner and donor involvement tending towards vertical programming and funding have contributed to this fragmentation.

Conclusion: Alignment of policy and planning initiatives, investment in proactive (to reduce need for reactive) policy and plan development, strengthened partnerships, and strengthened governance and accountability mechanisms offer opportunities for greater health sector integration.

Keywords: External development assistance; Health sector fragmentation; Health system strengthening; Sierra Leone.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Health Care Sector / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Sierra Leone