Western Regional Hospital, Pokhara
Nepal Health Sector Support Programme

Building a resilient health system

Everyone in Nepal, no matter who they are or where they live, should have access to quality, affordable healthcare.

The Nepal Health Sector Support Programme (NHSSP) is an initiative of the Nepal Ministry of Health, funded by UKAid from the UK government.

NHSSP supports the aims of the National Health Sector Strategy (NHSS) and is focussed on enhancing the capacity of the Ministry of Health and Department of Urban Development and Building Construction to build a resilient health system and deliver quality health services. Our experienced advisors are embedded within the Ministry of Health and are working closely with government counterparts to enhance capacity of the government to deliver the NHSS.

As Nepal goes through the process of decentralising its system of government, our work is focussed on supporting establishment of efficient health structures and systems in the new federal system. Our team provides responsive and flexible technical support to the Ministry of Health, helping to set up systems, structure and resources needed to ensure ongoing delivery of essential health care under the new federal structure.

Our work focuses on five areas:

  1. health policy and planning
  2. public procurement and financial management
  3. service delivery
  4. evidence and accountability
  5. health infrastructure

Our experts have over 20 years of hands on experience delivering direct services to communities across Nepal. Using this knowledge, we are improving quality of care as well as access to and use of services, so that no one is left behind.

We are working to ensure evidence-based policy and planning at national level leads to the priority of health at local level. By packaging national and international evidence, combined with local insights, we are making sure the Ministry of Health can make effective and informed decisions. This includes ensuring a smooth transition to federalisation and harnessing the private sector to improve access to quality health services.

We are also improving the efficiency of essential systems and processes. Procurement practices will be improved through the use of a specification bank, electronic or e-procurement, standard operating guidelines and framework agreements.  We are enhancing the capacity of the Ministry of Health to deliver sustainable public financial management through the development and implementation of the financial management improvement plan.

Ensuring infrastructure can withstand natural disasters such as earthquakes is critical in a country like Nepal. We are building capacity within the Ministry of Health to ensure health facility construction is more resilient to future earthquakes.  We are also overseeing the retrofitting of two major hospitals in Bhaktapur and Pokhara. 

NHSSP is implemented by a Nepali-led team which brings together technical expertise from Options, HERD International, and Oxford Policy Management.

Project achievements

  • We supported the Ministry of Health to finalise the structures for the devolved function of health  within the new federalised government system
  • We supported the development of the new National Health Policy which provides the overarching policy objectives of the Ministry of Health
  • We helped to finalise the health section of the draft National Strategy and Action Plan for Gender Based Violence, as well as support the draft of a ten-year National Policy and Action Plan for Disability
  • We completed the functional design of Western Regional Hospital, Pokhara and Bhaktapur Hospital, with rehabilitation and reconstruction planned to start in 2018

Our experts

  • Alison Dembo Rath
    Alison Dembo Rath leads Options’ health systems work, with a particular focus on South Asia. She has over 20 years’ experience in design, management, monitoring and evaluation of health systems development programmes at policy and implementation levels. Building on her early career in nursing in the UK, Alison has particular expertise in delivering quality maternal and newborn health care services. Alison has experience of working across Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, managing UKAid-funded maternal health and health sector programmes in India and Nepal.
  • Dr Maureen Dar Iang
    Dr Maureen Dar Iang has over 20 years experience in the planning and delivery of maternal and newborn, reproductive and child health programmes. She has played a key role in strengthening district health systems in Nepal, building capacity of service providers, and supporting national policy discussions on safe motherhood and family planning. She is coordinating our support to recovery of essential health care services in earthquake affected districts.
  • Sarah Fox
    Sarah Fox is a health economist with over ten years’ experience in health systems strengthening and health financing across more than 20 low and middle income countries. Sarah’s expertise includes support to health financing reforms, strategic planning and policy development, social franchising, results-based financing, costing and expenditure tracking. Much of Sarah’s work has been in the context of sexual and reproductive health and family planning programmes. Sarah has worked for Ministries of Health, both directly as an embedded technical assistant in Sierra Leone, and as a consultant in countries including Cameroun, Kenya, Liberia, Republic of Congo, South Africa, South Sudan and Tanzania.

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