HP+ Trains Implementing Partners on Budget Advocacy
September 2021 —
Following a request by the USAID Kenya Mission, HP+ conducted a high-level budget advocacy training for all USAID implementing partners (IPs) during the latest USAID Chief of Parties’ meeting. The training was aimed at sharing HP+ knowledge and expertise on identifying key opportunities and bottlenecks along the medium-term expenditure framework (MTEF) process to effectively influence budgetary allocations for priority health programs. It is expected that this engagement will enable collaboration between HP+ and IPs support resource mobilization efforts across national and county governments through the MTEF budget process, thereby facilitating efficient allocation and mobilization of domestic resources to sustainably finance key health programs.
New Videos Promote Investment in Community Health Workers
June 2021 —
Community health workers provide essential healthcare at local levels, but their status and funding are uneven, often sitting outside official health systems. Momentum is building and the case is being made to formalize and fund these essential health service providers as part of national and subnational health systems throughout many low- and middle-resource countries. HP+ teams in Mali and the West Africa Regional office developed videos to support advocacy for formalization and greater investment for this important cadre of health worker. Interviews for The Place and Role of Community Health Workers in Achieving Universal Health Coverage took place during a high-level meeting of health officials hosted by HP+ West Africa in Lome, Togo in 2019, with participation from the World Health Organization, the West African Health Organization, the United Nations Population Fund, and USAID West Africa. In addition, Togolese community health workers provided testimonials on their work in the community. Mali’s video, The Importance of Investing in Essential Care Provided by Community Health Workers, was developed to support stakeholders to advocate for greater support and funding from the Malian government.
HP+ Madagascar Supports Implementation of Reproductive Health and Family Planning Law
March 2021 —
HP+ is working to advance implementation of a transformative reproductive health and family planning law in Madagascar by providing advocacy training to representatives of civil society organizations and government ministries. Twenty-eight participants from 17 civil society organizations and government ministries—including youth and women's organizations and three ministries (health, youth, and population)—attended an HP+-hosted advocacy training from February 24–26, 2021. Using the Advance Family Planning SMART approach, participants developed work plans, budgets, and SMART objectives. Examples of objectives include incorporating a budget line for state participation in contraceptive purchasing and conducting a situational analysis and consultation with persons with disabilities regarding access to reproductive health and family planning services. During the next 12 months, HP+ will continue to provide support and monitor the SMART objectives and advocacy plans developed and adopted during the training.
Malawi Youth Leverages USAID Training into Budget Advocacy
March 2021 —
A Malawi youth is using skills acquired at a recent USAID-funded training to advocate for youth-friendly health services (YFHS) in his home district of Mwanza. He is one of 15 Malawi youth leaders HP+ trained in health budget advocacy with the goal of increasing young people’s engagement in health budget processes. After the training in November, the youth developed an advocacy action plan focused on increased budget allocations for YFHS and presented it to representatives of the Mwanza CSO Network in December. The CSO Network pledged its support, committing to engage a member of Parliament as a strategic partner to strengthen the advocacy community in Mwanza. HP+ will be monitoring the implementation of this action plan for the next nine months.
HP+ Supports Mali’s “16 Days of Activism” Against Gender-based Violence
January 2021 —
A recently drafted law against gender-based violence was the focus of Mali’s “16 Days of Activism” on GBV in November. HP+ Mali provided technical and financial support in the Koulikoro Region to two key organizations—Coordination of Women's Associations and Organizations and Malian Association for the Well-being of Women and Children. Two separate events to advocate for the adoption of law against GBV produced pledges to abandon the practice of female genital mutilation and commitments from the governor of Koulikoro, the mayor of Kati, and local decision makers to support and advocate for the adoption of the law. Youth from the NGO TAGNE (an organization working for the abandonment of GBV) in Kati challenged decisionmakers through a performance of Poetry Slam, requesting they accelerate government actions to support abandonment of GBV in Mali. Koulikoro is the second of seven regions with 15 percent of women reporting having experienced acts of sexual violence at some point in their life.
‘What Women Want: Malawi’ Documentary Garners International Attention
October 2020 —
HP+ partner the White Ribbon Alliance launched a documentary highlighting women’s and girls’ challenges in accessing reproductive and maternal health services through the lens of the What Women Want campaign, which mobilized over 84,000 women and girls in Malawi to voice their requests for high-quality reproductive and maternal health services and outcomes. The documentary has had a wide reach thus far, including a snippet being viewed as part of the September 2020 Partnership for Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health Accountability Breakfast opening video during the UN General Assembly. The documentary will continue to serve as an advocacy tool to advance efforts to meet women’s and girls’ health needs in Malawi.
Catalyzing Domestic Resources for Family Planning Webinar
September 2020 —
HP+ and FP2020 co-hosted a webinar exploring ways to catalyze a shift in domestic financing for family planning. The webinar introduced a new framework that provides a structure for development partners and advocacy groups to work with country governments to identify and implement catalytic interventions for family planning in advocacy, capacity development, policy, and expansion of the family planning market. USAID’s Susanna Baker provided relevant HIV case studies from PEPFAR’s Sustainable Financing Initiative; Martyn Smith of FP2020 discussed the need for such investments; and Kojo Lokko of the “Challenge Initiative” shared experiences on matching funds and other means to raise domestic resources for family planning.
‘Safer Together’ Campaign Focuses on Respectful Maternity Care Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic
August 2020 —
Following an HP+ analysis that showed the potential impacts on maternal and neonatal deaths and stillbirths that could occur as a result of declining maternal health services due to diverted services and reduced coverage indirectly caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, HP+ partner the White Ribbon Alliance (WRA) developed and launched the “Safer Together” Respectful Maternity Care advocacy and communications campaign. The campaign is being used by WRA National Alliances and other stakeholders in USAID priority countries—including Pakistan, India, Malawi, and Indonesia—to convene stakeholders, advocate for joint action, and disseminate joint messages to women, communities, and providers.
Malawi Youth Advocates Establish SRHR Network at University of Livingstonia
April 2020 —
In March, following an HP+ policy advocacy training and ongoing mentorship, two student youth advocates at Malawi’s University of Livingstonia established a Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) club on campus to provide information and referrals for students seeking to access contraceptives, counseling, HIV testing, and information on SRHR. The advocates are now seeking to establish a youth-friendly health services space at the university where students can access information, services, and referrals to the closest hospital and mobile clinic. There are currently 700 students attending Livingstonia University and 64 have expressed interest in joining the SRHR network.
Malawi Youth Trained by HP+ Successfully Advocate for Policy Changes at the District Level
April 2020 —
In Malawi, youth trained in policy communication have successfully advocated for policy changes at the district level. The training, facilitated by HP+ in coordination with partner Population Reference Bureau (PRB) in July 2019, resulted in the creation of policy advocacy plans by youth advocates. Recent follow-up by PRB revealed multiple successes in the implementation of these plans, including implementation of a differentiated care model for antiretroviral therapy service delivery, expanded clinic hours to target youth, and inclusion of youth leaders in local decision-making committees and district structures. These policy changes improve youth access to health services and family planning information, contributing to improved health outcomes across Malawi.
Advancing a Social Health Protection Policy Agenda in Cambodia
March 2020 —
In January 2020, Cambodia’s Ministry of Economy and Finance’s inter-departmental health working group accepted 32 recommendations crafted by the National Social Protection Council. The recommendations, which include expanding coverage to dependents and raising the income threshold for premium contributions, came from HP+-generated evidence aimed at advancing the government’s social health protection agenda by promoting ownership and empowering key influencers to effectively advocate for policy change. The recommendations, which the government will begin to implement over the coming year, could significantly benefit Cambodia’s most vulnerable citizens by expanding social health insurance to 3.8 million family dependents and 3.1 million vulnerable people, who will gain improved access to long-acting and reversible and permanent family planning methods to be reimbursed under the HEF benefits package
Building the Case for Increased Funding to End Tuberculosis in Cambodia
March 2020 —
In Cambodia, the National Center for Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control (CENAT) is using evidence generated by an investment case and recommendations from a joint program review to advocate for greater funding for the tuberculosis (TB) response. HP+ is providing technical support to CENAT to employ the TB TIME model to analyze a variety of scenarios of programmatic impact against potential investment requirements. HP+ found that scaling up active case finding and contact investigation and improving the diagnostic algorithm could result in a 33% reduction in the number of TB incident cases and a 27% reduction in costs borne by individuals from 2019 to 2025.
Nigeria’s Abia State Government Releases Funds for Technology Infrastructure to Support Health Insurance Rollout
March 2020 —
Nigeria’s Abia State government has formally approved the release of US$137,000 as take-off grant to be used for procuring technology infrastructure—a critical need that has delayed the rollout of the state insurance scheme since its official launch in September 2019. HP+ has supported Abia State Health Insurance Agency (ABSHIA) in multi-layered advocacy efforts that resulted in the release of the take-off grant. The release of the grant will enable an effective rollout of the ABSHIS toward providing health insurance for about 200,000 residents—a major leap forward in improving access to affordable and equitable quality healthcare in the state.
Mobilizing Local Financing for Community Health Workers in Mali
February 2020 —
In Mali, three members of the Association of Malian Municipalities (AMM) are independently facilitating advocacy meetings to mobilize local financing for community health workers (CHWs), following a HP+ training in AFP SMART methodology. The AMM has secured funding from the Aga Khan Foundation to advocate for communes to assume financial responsibility over their CHWs, and two municipalities have signed service contracts with 210 CHWs to ensure stipend support. Increasing domestic financing for CHWs will increase access to services for women and children, particularly those living more than 5 km from a health facility.
HP+ Advocacy Prompts Increased Government Funding for ARVs in Cambodia
February 2020 —
As a result of HP+ advocacy support to Cambodia’s National AIDS Authority, the country’s Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF) agreed to significantly increase funding for antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) over the next three years. The annual increases in funding—from the current allocation of US$1.5 million to US$5 million by 2023—will allow the Global Fund to reallocate resources to critical, underfunded HIV prevention activities. The MEF’s decision supports progress toward achieving the country’s national strategic plan directive that 50 percent of HIV response funding be derived from domestic sources by 2023 and sets a new contribution floor for government ARV funding.
Tax Exemption for Contraceptives Integrated into Madagascar’s Finance Law
February 2020 —
In December 2019, Madagascar integrated a tax exemption for contraceptives into the country’s finance law. The exemption, which will remove the 20% value-added tax applied at customs, followed HP+ support to the Ministry of Public Health’s Family Health Directorate to write advocacy messages encouraging key decisionmakers to make contraceptives tax-exempt. This exemption will reduce purchase costs, contributing to operationalization of the new Reproductive Health and Family Planning Law (2018) that promises access to contraceptives for all, and encourage private sector engagement in family planning service delivery.
HP+ Trains Journalists on Fundamentals of Reproductive Health
December 2019 —
A key component of successful advocacy is engaging media to promote issues relevant to a wide audience in order to build awareness of critical issues and garner support for change. To this end, HP+ conducted a training workshop for national journalists on the fundamentals of family planning and reproductive health (FP/RH) and their importance in underpinning the country’s development and future growth. The workshop, held November 12-14 in Antananarivo, brought together 11 national and local journalists from radio, television, and print media to learn about the importance of FP/RH and provided the opportunity to role play interviews with health workers and clients from primary healthcare centers. Moving forward, HP+ will serve as a bridge between journalists and experts on FP/RH in Madagascar, supporting journalists to network with and source their information from knowledgeable health personnel. As a follow up with a stipend from HP+, each journalist will undertake investigative reporting on topics such as early pregnancy, early marriage, barriers to family planning use, access to family planning services, and family planning for homeless people to be published in January and February. These stories on reproductive health will bolster advocacy efforts.
Private Sector Group IMG Commits Funds for Family Planning in West Africa
January 2019 —
Under the leadership of Senegal’s Ministry of Health and Social Action, HP+ West Africa organized an unprecedented family planning advocacy workshop in Dakar in August to secure support and financial commitments from the private sector. The workshop resulted in more than US$630,000 pledged for family planning funding. The International Management Group (IMG), a private company from Cote d'Ivoire that took part in the Dakar meeting disbursed funds for family planning advocacy and clinic services in December 2018. Their contribution provided access to contraceptive pills, injectables, implants and IUDs to 121 additional women on voluntary contraception. This is just a start. IMG expressed a commitment to sustain its engagement moving forward.
Niger Triples Budget for Contraceptives
January 2019 —
The Ministry of Public Health has announced it will more than triple its budget to procure contraceptives in 2019. The budget item jump, from 62 million FCFA in 2018 to 200 million FCFA in 2019 comes as result of USAID-supported advocacy by family planning groups and support from Health Policy Plus (HP+), and promises to vastly increase the country’s capacity to provide voluntary family planning to meet demand. HP+ assisted Nigeren family planning advocates in forming The Network of Champions in Advocacy for Adequate Health Financing (RCPFAS) and, with the Directorate of Maternal and Child Health, provided guidance to its members to make the case for the increase, which meets a pledge made by the government at the Family Planning Summit in London in 2017. HP+ also helped organized a series of meetings with civil society and key Ministry of Health and Ministry of Finance decision makers to secure the commitment and the sign off by the Secretary General Ranaou Abache on November 22, 2018. Read more in our news story.
Conference Gives Youth a Seat at the Table on Health Services
July 2018 —
A national youth conference on HIV/AIDS and sexual reproductive health and rights, organized by the National Youth Council of Malawi (NYCOM) and supported by the Global Fund, was held June 28, 2018, in Lilongwe. The conference provided a venue for youth, government, and civil society leaders to exchange best practices and recommendations in sexual and reproductive health, HIV, and other issues that impact youth under the theme is “Reflect and Act for Improved Youth Participation and Leadership.” USAID through the Health Policy Plus (HP+), supported the participation of five youth champions and five district Youth Friendly Health Services coordinators and held capacity building and leadership strengthening sessions for the youth leaders. As a result of advocacy led by youth at the conference, the U.S. Embassy revised its criteria for youth organization eligibility for PEPFAR’s Small Grants Program and NYCOM announced on July 1, 2018, its new board of directors, which until then had several vacancies in critical leadership positions.
HP+ Mali Presents Declaration Supporting Essential Health Care to National Assembly
January 2018 —
On December 28, HP+ Mali participated in the presentation of the Segou Declaration, in favor of the essential health care (EHC) package, to the president of Mali's National Assembly. HP+ Mali has been integral to this initiative, conducting a pivotal assessment on the funding of community health workers (CHWs) and leading ongoing advocacy in favor of these workers and the EHC package. HP+ provided technical and financial support for a preparatory workshop to draft the declaration and participated in its official presentation. At the event, the president of the National Assembly welcomed an initiative promoting women and children's health, recognizing the role that CHWs have played in reducing malnutrition and managing cases of diarrhea and upper respiratory infections, and the important potential impact on development that these efforts have had. As a result of the presentation, the president encouraged stakeholders to continue to invest in CHWs to build knowledge and capacity, and urged parliamentarians to prioritize issues pertaining to EHC and CHWs in the upcoming legislative session. This public declaration of support is a critical step in promoting the passage of a community health law to regulate and protect CHWs and the EHC program, which HP+ has spearheaded since 2017.
Youth-Specific Standards Incorporated in Pakistan’s National Standards and Guidelines
October 2017 —
Participants in the HP+ Women Leadership activity in Pakistan successfully developed and advocated to the Plan Implementation Unit (PIU) of the Population Welfare Department (PWD) for the inclusion of youth-specific standards in the National Manual on Family Planning Standards & Guidelines. As a result, the manual now has a section on youth-friendly family planning services, which includes a youth-friendly facility description and checklist for all district level outlets where family planning services are being provided. For the first time, district health facilities will have guidance to ensure youth find services tailored to their needs. Using results from the RAPID model , the HP+ Pakistan team developed a video showing the effects of population growth on agriculture, water, education and health, and illustrated the number of unintended pregnancies and maternal and child deaths that will be averted if the contraceptive prevalence rate goal in the Costed Implementation Plan is met. The Plan Implementation unit showed the video during a high-level policy forum on August 11th.
Guatemalan Civil Society Networks Gain Success in Ending Child Marriage
August 2017 —
With the support of the USAID-funded HP+ Guatemala (HEP+) and the successful advocacy of local networks since 2015, the Congress of Guatemala on August 17, 2017, approved a revision to the civil code to prohibit the marriage of minors, with no exceptions. A previous 2015 law established 18 years as the legal age of marriage, but judges could rule on exceptions, leading to marriage for 4,743 minors (13 and 17 years old) between 2015 and 2016. The revised civil code eliminates the loophole. Local organizations, including the National Alliance of Indigenous Women's Organizations for Reproductive Health (ALIANMISAR) and the National Men's Network (la Red Nacional de Hombres), with support from HEP+, used multi-faceted advocacy strategies to bring an end to child marriage. The elimination of the exception in the civil code means a brighter future for girls in Guatemala as it breaks the vicious cycle of "children raising children." The advocacy groups working closely with HEP+ continue to conduct outreach to local judges to monitor enforcement. Check our news article for links to local coverage.
Guatemalan Civil Society Networks Gain Success in Ending Child Marriage
August 2017 —
With the support of the USAID-funded HP+ Guatemala (HEP+) and the successful advocacy of local networks, the Congress of Guatemala on August 17th approved a revision to the civil code to prohibit the marriage of minors, with no exceptions. A previous 2015 law established 18 years as the legal age of marriage, but judges could rule on exceptions, leading to marriage for 4,743 minors (13 and 17 years old) between 2015 and 2016. The revised civil code eliminates the loophole. Local organizations National Alliance of Organizations for Reproductive Health of Indigenous Women of Guatemala (ALIANMISAR) and the National Network of Men (la Red Nacional de Hombres), with support from HEP+, used multi-faceted advocacy strategies to bring an end to child marriage. The elimination of the exception in the civil code means a brighter future for girls in Guatemala as it breaks the vicious cycle of “children raising children.” The advocacy groups will continue to conduct outreach to local judges to monitor enforcement.
Read related news stories:
Côte d'Ivoire scales up postpartum family planning in public and private health centers
August 2017 —
Côte d'Ivoire’s Ministry of Health and Public Hygiene in April 2017 issue new guidance scaling up post-partum family planning to increase women's access to family planning services. The new guidance directs health facilities and qualified service providers to inform new mothers of the full range of family planning methods to ensure free and informed choice of options immediately following delivery. This comes as a result of advocacy efforts by a range of stakeholders. The USAID-funded Health Policy Plus (HP+) provided guidance and capacity development for advocates using the AFP SMART advocacy tool.
Family planning advocates in Nigeria identify investment and advocacy priorities
May 2017 —
Full implementation of the Task Sharing Policy and Funding for Family Planning Costed Implementation Plan (CIP) in all States were among the key issues Family Planning Advocates identified as priorities that need urgent attention to scale up access to voluntary safe and quality Family Planning services in Nigeria. These issues were addressed earlier this month when the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) and the USAID-funded Health Policy Plus (HP+) project hosted a high-level Family Planning (FP) Advocates’ workshop in Abuja that highlighted the urgency and importance of Nigeria’s investment in expanding coverage and uptake of FP services. The event brought together prominent Nigerians from a wide variety of backgrounds to explore the challenges facing Family Planning and to commit to specific actions advocating for increased resources for FP intervention. Participants included religious leaders, elected officials, journalists, and leaders of business associations. Budget allocation; donor dependence; state-level service delivery; and data generation and management were identified as key advocacy issues to prioritize moving forward.