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MLI Newsletter - November 15, 2010

November 15, 2010

Lire l'ILM Voices en français.

Presidential Prioritizing: Maternal Health in Sierra Leone

When Ernest Bai Koroma, the president of Sierra Leone, took office in 2007, he looked at the long litany of problems facing his country, just five years removed from civil war. Amid the dysfunction, he kept returning to a broken-down health system's most glaring indicator of failure: the number of women who died giving birth. That became his main priority, and in an interview with MLI's blog, Leading Global Health, President Koroma talks about why he made his top priority free health care for children under five, pregnant women, and mothers who were breast-feeding. The interview, conducted six months after the start of free health care, shows the success of the initiative. Koroma sees it, too -- every time he visits a hospital or clinic: “There’s so much difference now…you can see it in their faces. And we have so many more children and mothers coming in, and they are coming in without fear of how they would pay for this. That is different.” To read more about President Koroma's role and his thoughts on health care in Sierra Leone, click here.

South to South Peer Learning Builds Capacity and Ownership

A distinctive element of MLI's approach to build capacity and foster greater country ownership and leadership is south to south peer learning. Using this approach, MLI will host its first Learning Collaborative Forum in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from November 29 - December 3, 2010. The Forum will bring together health ministry leaders from the five MLI countries (Mali, Nepal, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Ethiopia) to share experiences in highly interactive sessions that will address the three MLI policy areas: health financing for equity; donor alignment and coordination; and reproductive health.

Participants will analyze the role that leadership plays within the policy reform context and will identify what level of leadership and country ownership is needed to advance country priorities and achieve desired policy and health outcomes. The Forum will build upon previous MLI peer learning opportunities and allow countries to highlight successful initiatives of mutual interest and strengthen relationships among MLI country delegates and global staff to help meet each country's MLI goals. The program will also help solidify learning partnerships that will last well beyond the lifetime of MLI.

To get daily updates from the Learning Collaborative Forum, follow us on Twitter or read daily posts on MLI’s blog, Leading Global Health.

Gender and Health Statistics to Improve Women's Health

Political will, country ownership, and technical capacity are needed to address gender inequalities in health. Health data collected in many countries are currently gender blind, resulting in data gathered on “households, couples, and children” without analyzing the sex and gender differentiated needs and constraints of women and men or girls and boys. Disaggregating health data by sex and analyzing that data to determine gender related health dimensions is essential to improve the health of women and girls. These themes were part of discussion and conclusions at the Policy Dialogue for Better Evidence to Improve Women's Health through Gender and Health Statistics, organized by the World Health Organization and the Pan American Health Organization and co-sponsored by MLI and USAID. The Policy Dialogue, held October 25-27 in Washington, DC, featured more than 90 international participants including senior health officials and statisticians from the public and private sectors. The outcome of the Policy Dialogue was a Call to Action that offered guidelines to mainstreaming gender at the national level. The meetings were a follow-up to the WHO report Women and Health: Today's Evidence Tomorrow's Agenda, also supported by MLI and the focus of a high level policy dialogue held in March at the Aspen Institute.

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