MLI Newsletter - April 4th, 2011

April 5, 2011


Minister Tedros speaks to overflow crowd at Aspen Roundtable

"Straight Talk: A Conversation about Tough Questions in Global Health" offered a provocative dialogue at the MLI-hosted Aspen Global Health Roundtable Series. MLI partner and Ethiopian health minister Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, a featured guest, emphasized the importance of a country leading negotiations with donors to "justify why you want to do things, why it makes sense to your country…[what] outcomes you want to achieve…and why it makes sense to [development partners]." Minister Tedros does just this with the Global Health Initiative, according to panelist and Deputy Assistant Administrator for Global Health at USAID Amie Batson. "Minister Tedros continues to be helping us define how [GHI] really translates to a country and its national plan, and how it can support a country in achieving its objectives," Batson said. Minister Tedros also supports leaders across all sectors in Ethiopia. Panelist and Co-director of the O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University and former U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Mark Dybul noted, "What is remarkable about what the Minister is doing in Ethiopia is that he is allowing grassroots initiative and innovation to blossom and then adopting them and growing them nationally."

The three panelists also gave candid assessments of integrated health approaches, the importance of family planning, and the current political environment that threatens funding of global health programs. To hear the discussion in full, check out the video or the recap on MLI's Leading Global Health blog.

Pictured from left: Minster Tedros, Amie Batson, Mark Dybul and Moderator, John Donnelly.

Check out MLI’s newly launched video archive page! Past roundtable events and interviews with MLI partners can now be seen online.

Dialogue with Development Partners: Country ownership a two-way street

Country-driven development requires both government leadership and donor support. Freelance journalist Nellie Bristol has been conducting interviews with development partners to get their views on country ownership and leadership in MLI countries for a new series on MLI's Leading Global Health blog. In both Nepal and Sierra Leone, country ownership was cited as important for improving health services by reducing the number of repetitive projects. Without government guidance, "implementation was fragmented to the extent that development partners were supporting NGOs instead of government health services," said Dr. Wondimagegnehu Alemu, WHO representative in Sierra Leone. Director of the USAID Office of Health and Family Planning and Global Health Initiative Field Deputy for Nepal Anne Peniston shared similar sentiments that without ministry leadership, "there's a lot of duplication of efforts." Peniston spoke to the successes in Nepal that have resulted from donors' support of government led technical working groups in family planning and maternal, newborn, and child health. "As a result, there's been an almost 50% drop in under-five mortality since 1996, and significant reductions in maternal mortality." Support like this, Dr. Alemu said, signals that donors are "recognizing that the government is the leader and that development partners are guided by what policies and directions the government is planning. It's common work that needs to be achieved as one."

MLI has strong presence at health economics meeting in Senegal

MLI joined top African health economists earlier this month in Senegal for the “Toward Universal Health Coverage in Africa” conference sponsored by the African Health Economics and Policy Association (AfHEA). The conference featured five presentations representing work in four MLI countries: Ethiopia, Mali, Senegal, and Sierra Leone. MLI was also featured in a plenary session, “The Role of Leadership and Country Ownership in Achieving Universal Health Coverage." Senegal’s Secretary General of the Ministry of Health and Prevention Moussa Mbaye joined MLI Director Rosann Wisman on the panel, which was moderated by MLI partner Marty Makinen, Managing Director of the Results for Development Institute. Wisman noted, “MLI believes in investing in public sector leadership, because it is key to taking policy reform, in this case universal health coverage, to scale, and ensuring long-term sustainability, equity, and quality.”

Information about the plenary, presentations, and posters presented at AfHEA can be found on the MLI website and featured blog "Synergy - not debate - on Universal Health Coverage."

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