April 05, 2012

What the Leaders Think: A Country Ownership Roundtable at MLI

Rosann Wisman is the Director of the Ministerial Leadership Initiative for Global Health. This post originally ran on the USAID IMPACTblog.

The long-discussed issue of country ownership can appear at times to be stuck in the middle of donor-developing country relations. A roundtable dialogue held earlier this year — hosted by the Ministerial Leadership Initiative for Global Health at the Aspen Institute — elicited a candid discussion about what needed to happen to make country ownership much more a centerpiece in the world of development aid.

March 31, 2012

Sharing the MLI story

Rosann Wisman

When I started as director of MLI nearly four years ago, I had very few preconceived notions.  I wanted to keep as open a mind as possible about how MLI could help developing countries follow through on their priorities for the health care of their people.  Today, March 31, 2012, MLI is coming to a close and I wanted to take this opportunity to reflect on the program’s journey.

My initial thought going into the job was that we could help build leadership in health ministries.  But I soon realized that it wasn’t about building leadership--  that dynamic leadership was present but sometimes swamped beneath the enormous pressures of huge jobs with little resources.   MLI looked for ways to support ministry leaders’ efforts and to better position and promote their voices and their priorities to national and global audiences.  And we gained an appreciation for the value of senior ministry leaders supporting, learning, and sharing with each other. 

I soon learned the key to MLI’s future success -- we needed to build trust.

March 29, 2012

Sierra Leone signs agreement with key health partners

Jennifer Magalong

The government of Sierra Leone has taken several steps toward reaching the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to improve the health and welfare of its people – most recently with the signing of a document.

Country leaders signed an IHP+ country compact, the fourth MLI country to do so, following Ethiopia, Mali, and Nepal.

President Ernest Bai Koroma presided over the signing ceremony, in which the government of Sierra Leone and its health partners, including the World Bank, African Development Bank, World Health Organization, and United Nations Population Fund, reaffirmed their commitment to increase aid effectiveness to advance progress towards achieving the health MDGs. The country compact ensures that all health sector partners adhere to Sierra Leone’s National Health Sector Strategic Plan (NHSSP) 2010-2015.

March 20, 2012

Tough economic times may put developing countries in driver's seat

Rosann Wisman

There’s a lot of discussion now about the upcoming federal government budget debates following the Obama administration’s request to Congress. Those supporting global health already have voiced opposition about several cuts in funding for programs.

But funding is only part of the issue.

Finding ways to become more efficient – and saving money -- is also a critical focus of what’s going on behind the scenes. Some of that is a byproduct of a new approach under the administration’s Global Health Initiative: Fund the priorities of developing countries rather than solely the priorities of the donors.

This movement of country-led development has been around for a long time, but it is gaining steam now.  


March 05, 2012

Will performance-based financing survive universal health coverage?

Jurrien Toonen

This blog originally appeared on the blog Health Financing in Africa.

This year’s theme of the 20th Prince Mahidol Award Conference (PMAC) in Bangkok organized in January 2012 by the Thai Government, was: “Towards Universal Health Coverage (UHC) – health financing matters”. The conference included 48 sessions in 5 days – including one on P/RBF. With so much going on, it was  impossible to attend it all, so I will limit myself to some general comments on UHC and what could be of interest for P/RBF in PMAC.

What is hot – and what’s not

Thailand is one of the success stories where UHC has been attained over the last 10 years. There was a high level of “UHC – yes we can” emotions, with UHC promoted as something that can be achieved by all countries. It gave the impression – which was acclaimed by several speakers – that we’ve moved on to the Rio agenda of “development” rather than poverty eradication, and that the MDGs have had their time in the spotlight.