MLI Newsletter - May 17th, 2011

May 24, 2011

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MLI Blog: Snapshots of Ethiopia's leaders in health

Powerful photographs from Ethiopia are now on MLI's blog, Leading Global Health. Photojournalist Dominic Chavez gives a refreshingly candid account of what he was thinking about when he took photographs during his recent trip to Ethiopia. Through his photography, Chavez captures beautiful images of Ethiopia's so-called "model families," health extension workers, and a weekly staff meeting of the Federal Ministry of Health. All of these pictures feature individuals who are advancing health care, either in their own communities or at the national level within the Ministry. Chavez's Ethiopia photo blog rounds out a series of five posts, which started in the fall. Earlier posts highlighted Senegal's efforts to reduce maternal mortality; Sierra Leone's rollout of free health care for pregnant women, breast-feeding mothers, and children under the age of five; Mali's scale up of mutuelles, or community-based health insurance; and Nepal's efforts to expand family planning services.

Announcing new Ministers of Health in two MLI countries

This spring, the governments of MLI partner countries Mali and Nepal appointed new Health Ministers. Hon. Madeleine Ba Diallo is the new Minister of Health in Mali and Hon. Shakti Bahadur Basnet is Minister of Health and Population in Nepal.

Country activities ramp up

MLI-supported activities in both Senegal and Nepal have accelerated in the past few months. As follow up to a July 2010 leadership training workshop in Senegal, the Ministry of Health and Prevention held an additional training in May. Using the same curriculum, MLI supported a leadership training session that included Hon. Modou Diagne Fada, Minister of Health and Prevention, his advisors, managers and program leaders at the central level, as well as leaders at the regional and district level. Members of the ministry have cited the training as vital to implementing Senegal's 2009-2018 National Health Development Plan (PNDS-II).

In Nepal, the government is creating a deep pool of trained negotiators with a clear goal in mind: Help the country make compelling cases to development partners to support programs that back country priorities. Last month, 20 participants from Nepal's Ministry of Health and Population (MOHP) and Nepal's Administrative Staff College met to strengthen their negotiation skills. The trainers had attended an earlier workshop sponsored by MLI in November 2010 where they learned how to teach negotiation skills to others. A representative from CMPartners, who coached the Nepali trainers, was present at the recent session to provide feedback and support to the team. One great outcome from the April meeting: A team of trainers is now ready to lead future sessions on their own.

Sierra Leone in The Lancet

Two stories on Sierra Leone's Ministry of Health and Sanitation, written by Senior Advisor for MLI John Donnelly, were published in the April 23rd issue of The Lancet, marking the one-year anniversary of the free care initiative. In "How did Sierra Leone provide free health care?" Donnelly's 3,000-word "Special Report" chronicles the key factors that led to free care. He also profiles Sierra Leone's new Minister of Health in "Haja Zainab Bangura: Sierra Leone's tireless Minister of Health." Honorable Bangura took office in December and has been working long hours examining first-hand the country's health systems and services. In the article, Hon. Bangura presses home the point that the free health care initiative needs to be followed by other significant improvements in the health care system. The articles bring prominent attention to the role of country leadership in advancing health care.

Donnelly has been reporting on Sierra Leone's free health care initiative for more than a year, interviewing more than 25 people during two trips there. MLI will soon publish a more in-depth version of the Lancet article to provide more detail on Sierra Leone's successful launch.

Left: Women and their babies in the capital of Freetown on the first day of free care. Photo © Dominc Chavez

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