Maria Francisco is a health systems specialist and senior advisor with over 20 years of experience managing, designing and implementing field based health programs under USAID-, World Bank-, and NGO-funded initiatives. Her work has focused primarily on developing approaches to improve local health systems performance, promote greater investment in health priorities and expand equitable service coverage to address the needs of vulnerable groups.
Ms. Francisco is a program director at Results for Development leading health systems strengthening and equity work under USAID’s flagship Maternal and Child Survival Program. The MCSP is focused on building local systems and capacity to achieve sustained quality and coverage of high-impact reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health interventions in priority countries.
Prior to joining R4D, Ms. Francisco served in USAID missions in Kenya and Vietnam as a senior HSS advisor, noted for her technical leadership in health sector devolution, her programmatic guidance to mainstream health systems investments within sectoral and disease focused programs, and her results focus in overseeing PEPFAR’s Sustainable Financing Initiative and USAID/Kenya’s contributions to the Global Financing Facility in support of Every Woman Every Child. As a senior technical advisor to USAID/W Bureau for Global Health, she was a recognized thought leader in child health and community-based programming, working with USAID Missions and host governments to support strategy and program development in a number of countries throughout Africa and Asia. She also served as a USAID representative on various global/regional technical coordination bodies and inter-agency task teams including the Partnership for Maternal Newborn and Child Health (PMNCH), GAVI Health Systems Strengthening (HSS) and Community IMCI. She has further served in director and/or senior advisory roles for health systems strengthening programs, including bilateral projects in Cambodia and USAID’s Quality Assurance Project.
Ms. Francisco holds an MHSc from the Johns Hopkins University’s School of Hygiene and Public Health and a BS from Duke University.