Main fields of expertise
ETC Crystal's traditional niche is in the development of health systems that are supportive to the delivery of good quality health care, and in ensuring a good connection between policy and practice.
Our second niche is in developing a suitable response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic by approaching it as a development issue, rather than a health issue, that cuts across all sectors and all layers of society.
Main areas of expertise
ETC Crystal's main areas of expertise are:
Health Sector Policy and Performance Assessment
ETC Crystal has conducted analyses and participated in reviews of progress in Sector-Wide Approaches to health development (SWAp) and in the implementation of national health strategies in several countries (Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania). This work involves policy analyses, assessing the routine cycles of planning and budgeting, institutional assessments of health organisations and ministries, with a view to advising governments and donor agencies on the best way forward. We have experience in assessing and supporting donor coordination, harmonisation of budget cycles, instituting common management arrangements and administrative procedures. In Zambia this was achieved through the elaboration of a memorandum of understanding between the Government and its development partners.
Health Systems Development
Several ETC Crystal consultants have prior experience as advisors to district/provincial level health managers or as managers of health institutions themselves. This hands-on experience has equipped them with skills to advise on suitable (national) support systems that suit the requirements of district health managers and the needs of local populations. Such support systems may relate to the routine planning and budgeting cycle, financing mechanisms and resource management. We facilitate participatory stakeholder analyses, elaborate modalities for public/private collaboration and partnerships and propose mechanisms for capacity building in support of health systems that are responsive to local needs. In Malawi, for example, ETC Crystal provided technical assistance for the design and rollout of a comprehensive Health Management Information System. The system promotes 'data collection for local decision making' and it is now operational nationwide.
Programme Development and Appraisal
We provide assistance to institutions and organisations that wish to reorient their current health programmes or develop new programmes. We do this through a process of interactive policy formulation, with special attention for stakeholder involvement and local ownership, by facilitating stakeholder analyses and SWOT analyses, and by bringing in lessons learned elsewhere and dimensions of national and international health policy.
Health Resource Management
Human resources and pharmaceutical commodities are essential to the provision of health services. The availability of essential drugs, universal access and rational drug use are among the main challenges of any country that adheres to the principles of equitable and high quality health care. ETC Crystal consultants have gained hands-on experience in setting up and managing drug revolving funds at health facility and district level, and in strengthening procurement, storage and distribution systems at national and regional/provincial levels. We cooperate with other firms and individual who have specific expertise in management of the supply chain and logistics.
The impact of HIV/AIDS goes far beyond the health sector. The scope of the pandemic implies that an adequate response to curb the spread of HIV and to provide appropriate care for those who are already infected requires the active involvement of affected individuals, households and organisations themselves. ETC Crystal helps institutions and development organisations - not just those engaged in health - to analyse the implications of HIV/AIDS for their own work and for development programming more in general ('external mainstreaming'). In addition we offer expertise to review and adapt workplace policies in view of HIV/AIDS ('internal mainstreaming').