Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has exposed long-standing fragmentation in health systems strengthening efforts for health security and universal health coverage while these objectives are largely interdependent and complementary. In this prevailing background, we reviewed countries’ COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plans (CPRPs) to assess the extent of integration of non-COVID-19 essential health service continuity considerations alongside emergency response activities. We searched for COVID-19 planning documents from governments and ministries of health, World Health Organization (WHO) country offices and United Nations (UN) country teams. We developed document review protocols using global guidance from the WHO and UN and the health systems resilience literature. After screening, we analysed 154 CPRPs from 106 countries. The majority of plans had a high degree of alignment with pillars of emergency response such as surveillance (99%), laboratory systems (96%) and COVID-19-specific case management (97%). Less than half considered maintaining essential health services (47%); 41% designated a mechanism for health system–wide participation in emergency planning; 34% considered subnational service delivery; 95% contained infection prevention and control (IPC) activities and 29% considered quality of care; and 24% were budgeted for and 7% contained monitoring and evaluation of essential health services. To improve, ongoing and future emergency planning should proactively include proportionate activities, resources and monitoring for essential health services to reduce excess mortality and morbidity. Specifically, this entails strengthening subnational health services with local stakeholder engagement in planning; ensuring a dedicated focus in emergency operations structures to maintain health systems resilience for non-emergency health services; considering all domains of quality in health services along with IPC; and building resilient monitoring capacity for timely and reliable tracking of health systems functionality including service utilization and health outcomes. An integrated approach to planning should be pursued as health systems recover from COVID-19 disruptions and take actions to build back better…more