MLI Newsletter - November 9th 2011
Sierra Leone and Senegal among additions to Obama's Global Health Initiative
The Global Health Initiative, President Obama's integrated global health strategy that strives to take a holistic approach to health care in the developing world, has added 21 countries to its original eight focus countries. Two MLI countries are among the additions – Sierra Leone and Senegal – joining the three other MLI countries, Ethiopia, Nepal, and Mali, that were included in the original eight. The inclusion of Senegal and Sierra Leone reflects an expansion of U.S. government and GHI commitments in West Africa. The inclusion of Sierra Leone was particularly significant in that the United States historically has not played as large a role in development issues in the West African nation as the United Kingdom. The GHI country strategies for Sierra Leone and Senegal, currently under review, are expected to be released later this year and will follow GHI's top three principles: "focus on women, girls and gender equality; encourage country ownership and invest in country-led plans; and build sustainability through health systems strengthening." These principles overlap with MLI's priorities in all five partner countries.
New MLI publication: Improving Country Capacity for Aid Coordination
It is estimated that on average many developing countries receive over 800 new projects annually, host more than 1,000 monitoring missions, and prepare 2,400 quarterly progress reports. The increase in aid and donors has created a new, and largely fragmented, funding landscape for recipient countries to navigate. MLI's new publication "Improving Country Capacity for Aid Coordination: Experiences in Five MLI Countries" explores the management of aid coordination activities within the MLI countries including the ways countries have chosen to define the roles and responsibilities of aid coordination units, and the advantages and disadvantages of these types of arrangements. Donors can also play a role in aid coordination, MLI Director Rosann Wisman writes on Leading Global Health blog, by assisting developing countries in building capacity to coordinate aid. "If donors want to see greater aid effectiveness, they must make stronger commitments to country ownership, strengthen ministry-based aid coordination units, and help countries build stronger systems to monitor and manage aid support."
"Improving Country Capacity for Aid Coordination: Experiences in Five MLI Countries" is available online and provides a number of practical examples for ways that developing countries can turn global principles of aid harmonization and alignment into concrete action on the ground.
MLI countries to present at maternal health technical workshop
MLI is co-sponsoring a technical workshop on the benefits package for maternal health fee exemption policies. The workshop is being organized by the Community of Practice on Financial Access to Health Services, a platform of continuous regional exchange that aims to promote constructive sharing of health financing experiences and expertise across Africa. Participants at the November 17-19, 2011 workshop in Bamako, Mali will include delegations from three MLI countries, Mali, Sierra Leone, and Senegal. Mali and Sierra Leone have both been invited to present their country's experience with fee exemption policies in plenary. Sierra Leone's Director of Reproductive Health, Dr. Samuel A.S. Kargbo, will present Sierra Leone's experience with the implementation of the free care initiative for pregnant and lactating women and children under five. A representative from the Mali delegation will also present during plenary on Mali's experience implementing a national policy on free caesarian sections. Both presentations will provide opportunities for these countries to share lessons learned and challenges encountered. In small group "deep dive" sessions with other country participants, Dr. Bocar Daff, Head of the Reproductive Health Division in Senegal's Ministry of Health and Prevention, will have the opportunity to share Senegal's experience implementing a free delivery and cesarean policy.
The workshop is designed to study and share perspectives of countries' experiences with eliminating fees for maternal health services. It will analyze different strategies and processes encountered in the design, implementation and sustainable integration of fee exemption policies into the health system more broadly.