Meeting with African leaders in Ethiopia
5 January 2012 | Addis Ababa - Ms Joy Phumaphi met with Commissioner Bience Philomina Gawanas, African Union Commissioner for Social Affiars, and Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Ethiopia's Health Minister, to brief them on the iERG activities and receive their feedback.
The Commissioner noted that the iERG progress review work should be based on the country context and priorities. She warned against encouraging new initiatives but rather building on already existing ones. Some of these initiatives include: the Commission on Accelerated Reduction of Maternal Mortality in Africa dubbed (CARMA); the Maputo Plan of Action on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights; and the African Charter on statistics, which provides a framework for statistical development and harmonization in Africa.
The Commissioner pointed out that the iERG should encourage harmonization between the UN Global Strategy commitments and global health commitments made at the continent level, in particular under the framework of the African Alliance. The Commissioner highly appreciated the joint WHO-iERG efforts in creating a common database for accountability issues related to women's and children's health.
Dr Tedros raised the issue of country ownership. There are two major questions that should be considered in this connection.
First, it is important to link commitments of the countries and donors that the iERG will be tracking with the idea of country ownership and leadership in defining priorities for action. There have been a number of recent examples where the donors tried to impose priorities on the countries by allocating resources for the action areas different from the priorities indicated in the national action plans. While reviewing the implementation of the recommendations, the iERG should monitor whether the countries lead the process.
Second, there is a need to identify other areas of country ownership, mainly from a political perspective. For example, depending on the political structure of the countries, Ministries of Health may or may not have a political authority to be able to ensure their governments are accountable for improving health standards for women and children stated by the UN Global Strategy and the Accountability Commission's recommendations.
The iERG took note of the expectations and concerns expressed by the African leaders. There was a common agreement that the issue of country ownership in defining priorities and modalities of aid should be addressed in the report.