MLI Newsletter - June 7th 2011

June 7, 2011

Lire l'ILM Voices en français.

MLI in the spotlight at the Global Health Council annual conference

At the Global Health Council's annual conference in Washington D.C. next week, MLI's work will be showcased at four events. One key moment will be a reception that formally launches MLI's Call to Action for Country-Led Development on Tuesday, June 14th. This session will highlight lessons learned over the past four years and will attract delegates from MLI's five focus countries, all signatories of the document. An additional high point of the event will be a photo exhibit by acclaimed photographer Dominic Chavez, who has traveled to each MLI partner country. Two days later, senior ministry delegates will talk about the meaning of the Call to Action for each of the five countries. This special session event, held Thursday, June 16, is titled, If Countries Lead, Will Donors Follow? The speakers, who will include Sierra Leone's Minister Bangura, Mali's Salif Samake, and Senegal's Moussa Mbaye, will speak about how country ownership and leadership has improved outcomes in each of their countries.

Other events featuring MLI include the Integrating Health Governance into Health Systems Strengthening session on Tuesday, June 14 that will focus on health governance and feature examples of ongoing health systems strengthening efforts, including a discussion of an MLI-supported management accountability system being implemented at the Ethiopian Federal Ministry of Health. Encompass, MLI's monitoring and evaluation consultants, will hold A Practical Approach to Defining, Supporting, and Evaluating Country-Driven Development: The Ministerial Leadership Initiative on Thursday, June 16, directly after MLI's special session. This panel discussion will illustrate the key elements of a practical approach to supporting and evaluating country-led development.

All four events are open to conference attendees. For more information on attending these four events, contact Sarah Lindsay at Up-to-date information about what is happening at the conference will be available on the MLI website and blog, as well as Twitter.

The Lancet features MLI's approach to country-led development

The June 4 edition of The Lancet featured three pieces with close MLI connections. MLI Director Rosann Wisman, along with the executive director of Aspen Global Health and Development, Peggy Clark, and Senior Director of Partnerships at Synergos, John Heller, write about advancing country ownership in "A blueprint for country-driven development." Pulling from their experiences with MLI and the African Public Health Leadership and Systems Innovations Initiative, the authors propose seven steps for both developing countries and donor partners to rapidly increase country ownership of health programs. The steps, including strategic communications, peer learning, and development diplomacy, can be found here.

Writer John Donnelly chronicles Ethiopia's Federal Ministry of Health's community-based health approach in his narrative, "Ethiopia gears up for more major health reforms." With support from MLI, Ethiopia's Minister of Health Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has implemented the Balanced Scorecard, a strategic planning and performance management tool, throughout the health sector including the Ministry of Health, hospitals, and health extension workers. Donnelly, along with MLI-Ethiopia Country Lead Rahel Gizaw, profile health extension worker Lomita Bekele, who has worked for six years in the village of Shera Dibandiban. By telling Bekele's story, Donnelly and Gizaw give a first-hand account of the successes and challenges of Ethiopia's community health reforms.

Financial access to health services: a new "community of practice"

Communities of practice have gained traction in recent years as a a way to provide opportunities for ongoing learning between technicians and policy makers. Both parties play an important role in advancing policy reform and implementation.  Through the Harmonization for Health in Africa Initiative (HHA), several communities of practice have been established in Africa to do just this.Performance-based financing, human resources and evidence-based budgeting are just some of the topics being explored.  The newest community of practice on financial access grew out of a dynamic exchange of experiences on user fee removal policies at the recent November 2010 regional HHA workshop in Dakar titled “Improving Financial Access to Health Care for the Poor,” and co-sponsored by MLI. The financial access community of practice (FA CoP) "aims to support the development and implementation of policy initiatives to improve financial access to healthcare, and to promote constructive sharing of experiences and expertise across countries." The forum allows for easy gathering and sharing of knowledge among its members across Africa with face-to-face meetings, web-based exchanges, and professional development opportunities and networking. More information on the FA CoP and how it is gaining traction can be accessed in English and French.

Read more about MLI upcoming events.

About MLI
The Ministerial Leadership Initiative for Global Health (MLI) works with ministries of health in Ethiopia, Mali, Nepal, Senegal, and Sierra Leone to advance country ownership and leadership in three inter-related policy areas: health financing to ensure sustainable health care for all; donor alignment to ensure that donors work together to support country led priorities; and reproductive health because the health of women is central to the health and stability of communities and nations. MLI, a program of Aspen Global Health and Development at the Aspen Institute, works in partnership with Results for Development Institute. MLI is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.

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