MLI Newsletter - April 2010

April 23, 2010

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3rd Annual Program of MLI Events at WHA May 17-21, 2010 

MLI is pleased to announce its third annual program of events during the World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland from May 17-21, 2010. MLI has designed an exciting program that will highlight key health policy and leadership challenges that ministries of health are facing.  We would specifically like to highlight the session entitled ‘Political Leadership: Ensuring Health Care for All’ on May 19 from 2:00 – 4:00 pm, to be chaired by Honorable Mary Robinson. This event will provide panelists and participants the opportunity to discuss the essential role that political leadership plays in realizing the right to health for all.  Following the panel, MLI will host its third annual MLI Reception at the Intercontinental Hotel 5:00-7:00 pm where participants can reconnect with MLI colleagues and other honored guests. Other MLI events of note include a communications workshop, Getting Your Story Told” on Tuesday, May 18 from 10:00 – 12:00pm and a  luncheon and meeting entitled “MLI Country Highlights and Technical Session on Financing Reproductive Health” on May 18 from 12:30 – 4:00 pm.

Scaling-up community-based health insurance in Mali

As the next step in its mission to extend health insurance coverage to all Malians, the Ministry of Social Development, in partnership with the Ministry of Health, recently held a 3-day workshop to vet and validate the national strategic plan to scale-up of community-based health insurance nation-wide (CBHI, or mutuelles de santé). Participants included representatives from the health and social development sectors, mutuelles, and civil society from all of the regions, as well as national stakeholders, both political and technical. While Mali has put in place social health insurance for formal sector workers and an equity fund to cover the poorest 5% of the population, approximately 80% will need to be covered through CBHI to attain universal coverage. MLI has supported the development of this national strategy from its beginnings, including support to a diagnostic workshop and a study tour for key stakeholders to Rwanda. Shortly after the validation workshop, the technical committee designated for this policy process synthesized and incorporated the feedback received at the workshop into the national strategy document then, with technical assistance from the World Bank HSO and USAID-funded HS2020, developed and costed a five-year implementation plan.  The strategy, implementation plan, and cost scenarios are being submitted to government authorities for final validation. Scale-up will begin in earnest in late 2010. Please click here to see the workshop materials

Sierra Leone to launch Free Health Care

Sierra Leone is set to launch its free health care plan on April 27th which will abolish user fees for pregnant and lactating women and children under five.  Working closely with Dr. KS Daoh, Chief Medical Officer and Dr. SAS Kargbo, director of Reproductive and Child Health, MLI is providing communications support leading up to and after the launch of free health care.  Sierra Leone’s free care strategy focuses on an essential package of healthcare services that will be delivered free of charge at the point of service to ensure a significant improvement in maternal and child health. This will mean that in 2010 approximately 230,000 pregnant women and nearly one million infants will benefit from free healthcare service, and the entire population from a strengthened healthcare structure.  Click here to read Dr. Kargbo’s recent blog post in the Guardian. 

and Nigeria: Knowledge Sharing for Knowledge Management

On February 9, 2010, MLI facilitated a peer learning teleconference between representatives from the knowledge management teams at the Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) in Nepal and the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA) in Nigeria.  Both groups are setting up knowledge management systems to enhance the use of evidence and practical experience in health policy and planning. The NPHCDA is developing a system to meet the information needs of national, state and local health care leaders, as well as stakeholders in the health care community, that captures and synthesizes day-to-day information from health providers through real time data entry and field interviews.  This on-the-ground information will provide the foundation for a “results center” and drive evidence and equity-based policy making.  The experiences of the NPHCDA offer valuable examples and lessons learned for the team at the MoHP in Nepal during the early stages of setting up a knowledge management system.  Since then representatives from the MoHP and the NPHCDA remain in regular email contact with one another to exchange information, ideas, and experiences. To read more about MLI activities in Nepal, please click here.

Policy Dialogue: Women and Health: Today’s Evidence, Tomorrow’s Agenda

On March 8, 2010, MLI hosted a policy dialogue on the MLI-supported WHO report, Women and Health: Today’s Evidence, Tomorrow’s Agenda.  The report is the first ever to focus on the global status of women’s health from birth to older age and the important role that women play in the health of the entire family.  Held at The Aspen Institute in Washington, DC, the discussion focused on the policy implications of the evidence showcased in the report.   When asked about the U.S. Administration’s increased focus on “women-centered programs”, Dr. Susan K. Brems, Deputy Assistant Administrator for USAID’s Global Health Bureau, emphasized the importance of family planning, and Ms. Michele Moloney-Kitts, Assistant US Global AIDS Coordinator, commented that violence against women must be given more attention since “the data is much more pervasive than any of us really expected – and we knew it was high.”  The dialogue also highlighted the importance of strong political leadership to improve health systems. Dr. Julio Frenk, the former Health Minister of Mexico current Dean of the School of Public Health at Harvard, spoke from experience when he explained that in order for any health reform to be successful, it must ensure that the needs of women and girls are placed at the center.

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