The Intersection of Knowledge Management and Health Systems Strengthening: Implications from the Malawi Knowledge for Health Demonstration Project


People working within a health system—whether they are health care providers, program managers, policy makers, or others—rely on specific knowledge to inform their decision making, improve the quality of services, and reduce duplication of effort across programs and activities. Knowledge management—connecting the right people to the right data, information, and knowledge at the right time—is increasingly being considered as an effective approach to help strengthen health systems.

The Malawi Knowledge for Health (K4Health) Demonstration Project (2010-2011) was a knowledge management intervention designed to improve the quality of health service delivery in family planning, reproductive health, and HIV/AIDS. At the end of the project’s implementation period, an evaluation identified some unanticipated benefits from the project that went beyond the three target health areas to improve the overall health system.

This technical brief explores the value of integrating knowledge management (KM) into health systems strengthening (HSS) efforts, through the lens of the Malawi K4Health Demonstration Project. It is written for health program designers and implementers to build their awareness of the value of KM and to provide a model of how KM approaches can support HSS efforts.

USAID, CCP, fhi360, MSH