Background and introduction

Universal Health Coverage (UHC) is a popular global health policy agenda and particularly in East
and Southern Africa, the health ambition is not yet aligned to the UHC target. In 2015, Member
States of the United Nations adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its
accompanying Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with the third goal of the agenda focusing
on health – good health and well-being. Most countries in this region have weak public health
systems and receive considerable external support. The African Union countries are signatories
of the Abuja Declaration and committed to having 15 percent of the annual budgets covering
health financing. In 2019, at a high-level UN meeting on UHC, further commitments were made
on increasing the health workforce, public spending on health, resource mobilisation and
improving access and financial risk protection. Urgent action is required to improve access to the
national minimum healthcare packages of countries – that is a basic package of essential
healthcare services; shielding healthcare service consumers from catastrophic health spending;
and ensuring equity in access to healthcare services. There still exists gaps in HIV, TB and malaria
prevention, treatment, and care. In the regions, many countries still contend with high levels of
child and maternal mortality, malnutrition, and most health systems are not able to deal
effectively with epidemics and the growing burden of chronic diseases, such as diabetes. Many
countries in the region are far from attaining UHC – the principle that everyone receives needs
health services without financial hardship. Additionally, the three SRHR bundles of services
(modern contraception; pregnancy, delivery and post-delivery care including fistula; and
HIV/STI/RTI are part of UHC benefit packages, which are not fully covered under UHC financing
and financial risk protection mechanisms in most countries.
The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Report (2023) noted a decrease in progress
towards achievements in HIV, TB, malaria, an increase in the population with out-of-pocket
expenditure on health of more than 10 percent of income; persistence in low health worker to
patient ratios in Sub-Saharan Africa and doubling of official development assistant (ODA) for basic
health from all donors since 2015 implying increased dependence on external support. The report
further emphasises on insufficient progress on reducing maternal mortality and on expanding
universal health coverage and an overall negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing
crises. This has immensely impeded progress towards Goal 3 with childhood vaccinations
experiencing the largest decline in three decades, and tuberculosis and malaria deaths increasing
compared with pre-pandemic levels.
ARASA’s recent engagement with the SADC PF revealed that besides the budget gaps, there are
various challenges including policies and legal frameworks that need to be looked at and aligned.
It was noted that there is need to invest in continuous capacity building, gender responsive laws
and repealing of restrictive laws.
Organisational profile
Established in 2003, the AIDS and Rights Alliance for Southern Africa (ARASA) is a regional
partnership of over 100 non-governmental organisations working together to promote a human
rights-based response to HIV and TB in 18 countries in Southern and East Africa through capacity
strengthening and advocacy. The Regional Office of ARASA is in Windhoek, Namibia.
ARASA’s experience in this sector spans over 20 years. In this period ARASA has proved itself to
be a strategic influencer and a health and human rights expert. It, therefore, looks to utilise this
comparative advantage, to strengthen its BAI work using lessons gained through the “My Body is
Not a Democracy” programme and enhance its intervention on the issues through the “Every
Body Counts: Building a resilient CSO movement in East and Southern Africa (ESA) region”
Programme (BAI 2.0).

  1. Description of the Project
    The “Every Body Counts: Building a resilient CSO movement in the ESA region” Programme (BAI
    2.0) is a multi-pronged, integrated, human rights-centred approach to addressing the SRHR
    challenges on the sub-continent. It emphasises the role that should be played by civil society
    organisations (CSOs) in addressing challenges faced by adolescent girls, young women and key
    and marginalised vulnerable populations in their diversities, in attaining their rights. The
    programme will build on the “My Body is Not a Democracy” initiative implemented by ARASA
    from 1 August 2019 to 28 March 2023. The BAI 2.0 programme draws from these lessons learnt
    to carefully sequence activities to contribute towards the establishment of a resilient regional
    movement with a shared understanding and amplified voice. The programme is being
    implemented in Zimbabwe, Malawi, Botswana, Uganda, Namibia, Mozambique, Democratic
    Republic of Congo, Zambia, Seychelles, and Kenya.
    This, it proposes to do through strengthening (using evidence-based training and information
    sharing) and harnessing CSOs’ collective voices in the region. ARASA has deliberately sought, with
    the proposed intervention, to align its work to regional priorities as these are articulated in the
    various standards and principles adopted on the continent. It has drawn inspiration from
    instruments such as the Maputo Plan of Action 2016 – 2030 (MPoA) and anchored its multipronged approach on the framework adopted as part of the Transforming our world: the 2030
    Agenda for Sustainable Development. The BAI 2.0 Programme will continue to prioritise ARASA’s
    traditional themes of SRHR in Universal Health Coverage (UHC), HIV prevention, Sexual
    Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression (SOGIEE), and access to safe abortion. Given this
    background, ARASA seeks the services of a consultant to perform a baseline evaluation of the
    sexual reproductive health rights situation and context in East and Southern Africa (ESA) region.
    Other frameworks guiding the purpose of the scan include the United Nations Declaration (2021)
    on HIV and AIDS: Ending inequalities and getting on track to end AIDS by 2030; the Sustainable
    Development Goal commitments and the Abuja Declaration of AU countries.
  2. Purpose of the regional scan on barriers to Universal Health Coverage
    As a part of this project, a consultant is expected to conduct a UHC regional scan in the ESA
    region, focussing on Botswana, Namibia, Malawi, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Democratic
    Republic of Congo, Seychelles, Zambia, and Uganda. The purpose of the regional scan is to assess
    the regional UHC context based on the sub-regional commitments pertaining to HIV, TB, Malaria,
    polio, and other relevant conditions. This will include a review of current UHC strategic
    documents and programmes pertaining, but not limited to: UHC health benefit packages; costing
    of the UHC benefit packages; financing instruments for UHC; financial risk protection mechanisms
    for UHC benefit package; delivery mechanisms for the UHC benefit package; and pathways to
    establish ways of progressively expanding the UHC benefit package to include comprehensive
    SRHR services. In this respect, the regional scan will assess the progress and barriers towards
    UHC, determine the health financing mechanisms in published literature and ascertain potential
    learnings and successful strategies for countries in the region.
  3. Methodology
    The regional scan methodology will be developed by the consultant and presented for approval
    to ARASA. The methodology should use a combination of quantitative and qualitative research
    methods and a desk review.
    4.Scope of Work
    The consultant will be required to undertake the following specific tasks:
  • Undertake a review of current and proposed UHC key commitments, policies, roadmaps
    and programmes pertaining, but not limited to: UHC health benefit packages; costing of
    the UHC benefit package; financing instruments for UHC; financial risk protection
    mechanisms for UHC benefit package; delivery mechanisms for the UHC benefit package;
    and pathways for progressively expanding the UHC benefit package to include
    comprehensive SRHR services.
  • Review barriers to Universal Health Coverage particularly pertaining to HIV, TB, malaria
    and SRH access.
  • Conduct a desk review of secondary data available on the UHC context in the ESA region.
  • Collect and analyse available secondary data related to Universal Health Coverage.
  • Design data collection tools and methodology for the collection of quantitative and
    qualitative data for the regional scan, considering the outcomes of the project.
  • Conduct primary data collection in targeted project locations.
  • Analyse and interpret data to develop a comprehensive regional scan report.
  • Develop monitoring tools to measure results and objectives.
  • Share key findings and insights with relevant staff and stakeholders through
  • Capture significant change stories of partners and community members in targeted
  1. Deliverables
    The consultant is expected to produce:
    ▪ A draft inception report which responds to the scope of work with a clear detailed
    methodology, data collection instruments, and detailed work plan.
    ▪ A comprehensive draft regional scan report including a clear set of actionable
    ▪ A final regional scan report incorporating feedback from ARASA and key stakeholders.
  2. Timeframe
    The consultant will be required to undertake the exercise within a period of 30 days upon signing
    of the contract. The tentative schedule of deliverables are as follows:
    Activity Date
    Submission of an inception report 9 October 2023
    Sampling and field work 11 October 2023
    Submission of draft report 03 November 2023
    Validation meeting 6 November 2023
    Final report and dissemination 10 November 2023
  3. Required Skills and Experiences:
    The consultant should have the following skills and experience:
  • Master’s degree in relevant field of public health, health financing, economics
  • Experience in similar studies such as review and/or formulation of health policies, costed
    health strategies and health financing strategies.
  • A minimum of 10 years’ experience in relevant area
  • Excellent analytical and writing skills.
  • Knowledge of regional/country/ local context will be an asset.
  • Proven experience and excellent networking and partnership skills with agencies,
    government and CSOs.
  • Excellent communication skills, both verbal and written and strong presentation skills.
  • Excellent spoken and written English (all deliverables to be in English). Working
    knowledge of other languages in the ESA region will be an asset.
  • Capacity to work independently and use own equipment.
  1. How to apply
    Please send a proposal that includess detailed methodology, daily rate, as well as a Curriculum
    Vitae (of no more the 3 pages which shows experience with similar work) and a cover letter
    to You are welcome to attach or link to relevant work done.
    Proposals should include an overview of all expenses.
    Kindly put “Regional scan on barriers to Universal Health Coverage in East and Southern Africa
    Every Body Counts: Building a resilient CSO movement in the East and Southern Africa (ESA)
    region Programme (BAI 2.0)” in the email subject line.
    The closing date for the submission of expressions of interest is 2 October 2023