Health Systems Strengthening

Guidance and Sample Behavior Profiles

Guidance and Sample Behavior Profiles

Using Health Systems Strengthening (HSS) Sample Behavior Profiles

It has long been recognized that behavior change requires a whole-system approach. For example, communication activities alone will not usually change health behavior. Instead, HSS elements, such as appropriate and timely disbursement of health funds, management of these funds, commodity assurance, and provider competencies, all come to bear on the behaviors to be changed.

Ensuring that all the elements needed to enable change are in place at the same time with the same audiences is essential. To achieve this type of holistic system around behaviors, countries and activities must understand all of the elements needed to enable this change. Creating a Behavior Profile encourages acquisition of this understanding. The Think | BIG Behavior Profile helps programs see this holistic system as it relates to individual behaviors or a set of behaviors.

While Priority Behaviors are usually presented from the client perspective (e.g. “caregivers seek care for the signs and symptoms of pneumonia for their children under 5”), for systems strengthening purposes it often helps to present Priority Behaviors from the perspective of the system’s primary actors (e.g. National Health Insurance Authority [NHIA], district health management teams, health care providers, managers, and others).  For this reason, we have provided sample Behavior Profiles from a systems perspective, e.g. “NHIA disburses timely funds to regional health offices”. In addition to the ways mentioned in the overview, these sample Behavior Profiles can help you:

  1. Show how you might word a system-focused Priority Behavior and develop accompanying steps and profile details.
  2. Demonstrate the pathways to change from behavior to strategies, emphasizing the importance of behavior-led (not intervention-driven) programming.
  3. Hold discussions with stakeholders on how an activity might be refined based on the identified pathways to change.
  4. Engage with stakeholders on how activities might be aligned around behaviors and the pathways to change.

How to Use Behavior Profiles and Behavior Summaries provides more detailed guidance.

Prioritizing and analyzing health system behaviors can be a highly effective way of diagnosing and addressing persistent health care delivery issues. To build your own Behavior Profiles, select the online or offline tool under Analyze. 

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