blog
May 19, 2011

Dialogue with Development Partners: Cheikh Mbengue

Nellie Bristol

MLI is conducting interviews with development partners to get their views on country ownership and leadership in MLI countries. This entry is from Cheikh Mbengue with Abt Associates. He is working with USAID’s Health Systems 20/20 to scale up community based health insurance in Mali.

Have you seen greater evidence of country ownership/leadership in Mali, and if so, in what way?

Yes. In Mali, community based health insurance is not under the umbrella of only the Ministry of Health, but the Ministry of Social Development as well. The ministries are collaborating to implement the activities related to community based health insurance. At first, there was no policy and no strategy related to that in the country. There were just some isolated activities implemented by some NGOs, nothing more than that. In 2009, the government created a steering committee and a technical committee to pilot the scale-up of community based health insurance. MLI, the World Bank and Health Systems 20/20 started working with the ministries at that time. Our role has been to assist them but not to do the work ourselves. Officials in Mali made decisions related to the design of the process and there were many, many debates among the main stakeholders in the country. The decision to do the pilot and the selection of the regions was made by the Minister of Social Development and the Prime Minister’s office. The Government of Mali is also in the process of deciding on the level of funds it will dedicate to subsidizing the premiums. If the government does put money in, it will give it more power in the process. Usually the government is weak when the process is fully financed by donors.

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April 01, 2011 (All day)

Dialogue with Development Partners: Dr. Wondimagegnehu Alemu

Nellie Bristol

MLI is conducting interviews with development partners to get their views on country ownership and leadership in MLI countries. This entry is from Dr. Wondimagegnehu Alemu, WHO country representative in Sierra Leone.

Have you seen greater evidence of country ownership/leadership in Sierra Leone, and if so, in what way?

I would say in the last 7-8 years, leadership has slowly been returning to the government and the Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MoHS). They’re exercising their leadership role and making critical decisions on their own. When developing the National Health Sector Strategy Plan (NSSP), 2010-2015, the MoHS led the process with technical support from the World Health Organization. Development partners and other implementing partners including NGOs are supporting the implementation of the strategic plan.

An example: During development of the NHSSP, the WHO helped the government to initiate the process and ensured the necessary facilitation continued while the MoHS developed the plan with the participation of health partners through a series of consultation meetings. There were multiple working groups, each chaired by the relevant MoHS official and focused on different pillars of the health system. All the important meetings in the process of development were chaired by the Chief Medical Officer and the Hon. Minister of Health and Sanitation, so it gave a lot of weight to the level of participation. The President of the Republic himself also officially launched the NHSSP.

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March 07, 2011

Dialogue with Development Partners: Anne Peniston

Nellie Bristol

MLI is conducting interviews with development partners to get their views on country ownership and leadership in MLI countries. The first entry features Anne Peniston, Director of the USAID Office of Health and Family Planning and Global Health Initiative Field Deputy for Nepal. Peniston has worked in U.S. and international public health for more than 30 years as a clinician, researcher and program manager. She has worked with USAID/Nepal since 1997 when she was recruited as a senior technical advisor.

Do you see greater evidence of country ownership and leadership in Nepal, and if so, in what way?

Given the context of Nepal, from ten years of conflict to a transitional democracy which is still writing its constitution, and with changing leadership in the government, it’s been difficult for the Ministry of Health and Population to be able to take full ownership of development assistance and run with it. But I’ve seen good examples of commitment to good governance in the health sector, even in these unstable times. We have some very hard working and committed public servants at the Ministry of Health and Population at all levels who have embraced the idea of ownership. But I think we have still a way to go before we have what I would say is great evidence of country ownership and leadership.

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