Partners' Forum 2007
17-20 April 2007 | Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
The first session held on April 20th included brief presentations from four representatives of the Ministries of Health in Tanzania, Cambodia, Malawi, and Senegal (Catherine Sanga, Bun Sreng, Chisale Mhango, and Youssoupha Gaye). Ann Tinker and Aaron M. Sangala served as moderators of the open discussion that followed the presentations.
Despite a range of issues and bottlenecks, several challenges faced by all countries were identified in the work to reduce maternal, newborn and child mortality. These issues were pinpointed as areas where The Partnership could concentrate its work to best support country-led approaches:
- To improve harmonization across all levels including across donors, between international and national organizations, and within countries. Catherine Sanga noted (Tanzania) that increasing harmonization across ministries is essential to avoid duplication and to synchronize the implementation of activities. The need to include all constituencies and increase the representation of universities, health care professionals, NGOs, and the private sector during the development stages of national MNCH plans was also stressed.
- To escalate investments in the health care system resulting in infrastructure and workforce improvements. Bun Sreng identified labor force constraints as a major concern in Cambodia where low service utilization rates are linked to low quality of available care. Chisale Mhango similarly commented that wide health care structure reform is needed in Malawi.
- To enable countries to integrate and coordinate health care services. Youssoupha Gaye argued that vertical programs and competing priorities across health care sectors need to be replaced with integrated programs and intersectoral collaboration.
- The presenters also agreed that the coordinated delivery of intervention packages will result in better coverage rates and will reduce the likelihood that key interventions will be missed. In addition, the need for greater coordination of monitoring and evaluation efforts with data collection processes was emphasized as a means of increasing accountability and of assessing progress.
- Generate greater political commitment and the mobilization of resources through effective high-level advocacy plans.
Other issues raised during the discussion to be considered by The Partnership include:
- Greater transparency regarding the process used to select countries for site visits and funding through the PMNCH Gates Grant.
- Clearer distinctions between the roles and activities of The Partnership and the Secretariat.
- A representative regional balance regarding concentration of The Partnership activities and to instigate relationships with regional bodies.
- Increased communication between The Partnership and the outside world, including the dissemination of best practices, and the sharing of positive and negative experiences.
- To focus on strengthening of health systems by re-inforcing what is on-going in countries.