blog
December 05, 2010

`We became beggars'

John Donnelly

This is the 12th in a series of posts from the Ministerial Leadership Initiative for Global Health's Learning Collaborative Forum in Ethiopia. On Monday we will post two wrap-up pieces from the conference, and later this week we'll continue with out Motivators series from health leaders in Ministries.

At the MLI Learning Collaborative Forum in Ethiopia, a four-day event that attracted senior officials from five Ministries of Health, one of the most poignant moments came early on the last day in opening remarks by Dr. Francis Omaswa.

Peggy Clark, vice president of policy programs at the Aspen Institute and executive director of Aspen Global Health and Development, introduced Omaswa by not only describing his work as a former director-general of Ministry of Health in Uganda and founding director of the African Center for Health & Social Transformation, but also that he spent five years as a doctor in a remote mission hospital in Uganda nearly three decades ago.

Omaswa, a senior MLI adviser, used his breadth of experience to give a sweeping view of Africa, country development, and the current trend of expansion and progress.

But he minced no words in talking about the difficulties in the past. In many countries, he said, the post-independence era initially went well, but in the 1980s, he said, “it changed.”

‘Africa on its knees’

“We in Uganda had Idi Amin, but even African countries without Amins didn’t escape trouble,” he said. “In decline, Africa ended up on its back and on its knees. 

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December 05, 2010

`We want to be led'

John Donnelly

This is the 11th in a series of posts from the Ministerial Leadership Initiative for Global Health's Learning Collaborative Forum in Ethiopia:

With all the talk in international development about `country-led’ or `country-owned’ programs, and the shift in donor-recipient relations, a seasoned US global health diplomat got right to the point on the matter:

“We want to be led,” Dr. Thomas Kenyon, the country director of the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention program in Ethiopia, told the MLI Learning Collaborative Forum Friday in Addis Ababa. “We very much welcome that. We see our investments go very much further when that is the case, and I’ve had experiences in other countries, not here, where we didn’t have that leadership and our investments didn’t go as far as we had hoped.”

Kenyon, who was the deputy global AIDS ambassador under the Bush administration, helping oversee programs in 15 priority countries, was one of several donors and development partners who spoke about country-led health programs and their experiences with the issue.

A critical factor, Kenyon said, was to create open communications between donor and recipient. After hearing from leaders in the five Ministries about the benefits of countries setting priorities and asking donors to support those goals, Kenyon said it was important for developing countries to clearly define what they wanted from partners and to provide a vision and later evidence on how that would improve health outcomes.

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December 03, 2010

Ethiopia's Tedros: Four steps to owning health programs

John Donnelly

This is the 10th in a series of posts from the Ministerial Leadership Initiative's Learning Collaborative Forum in Addis Ababa.

At the concluding session today of MLI’s Learning Collaborative Forum in Addis Ababa, the representatives from five Ministries of Health heard from one of the stars of global health who detailed how he’s done something many have dreamed about: Taking country ownership of health programs.

“I think this ownership issue is at the center of all of our activities,” Ethiopia’s Health Minister Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told representatives of five Health Ministries gathered in Ethiopia for the forum. “I can see some change. I have myself been engaged actively for some six years and I have seen good progress not only in Ethiopia but also on our continent. Of course, we say it is still slow, but at least things are moving forward.”

At issue is not only the changing dynamic between donor and recipient in the world of international development, but also the effectiveness of the billions of dollars of aid that flows into Health Ministries around the world each year.

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December 02, 2010

Gang of four: Table talk with reproductive health directors

John Donnelly

This is the ninth in a series of posts from the Ministerial Leadership Initiative's Learning Collaborative Forum in Ethiopia.

One has an army of women. 

Another has a president. A third a first lady, and a fourth "all the marbles in place."

Around a table today at the MLI’s Learning Collaborative Forum in Addis Ababa, four Health Ministry reproductive health directors from Ethiopia, Mali, Senegal, and Sierra Leone had a rare opportunity to talk about successes and challenges in their countries.

Pour lire la version française, voir ci-dessous

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December 02, 2010

Ethiopia and the importance of family planning

John Donnelly

This is the eighth in a series of posts from the Ministerial Leadership Initiative's Learning Collaborative Forum in Ethiopia.

It’s a startling number: 5.4.

That’s the average number of children per woman in Ethiopia.

Yemeserach Belayneh, the country advisor in Ethiopia for the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, told the MLI’s Learning Collaborative Forum today that Ethiopia has made great strides in the last decade in reproductive health issues, but still had a long ways to go. The Packard Foundation funds MLI reproductive health programs in Senegal, Mali, and Sierra Leone.

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