The family planning logistics technical working group in Kenya commended the Ministry of Health’s Division of Reproductive and Maternal Health in July 2022 on significantly improved absorption of budget allocated for family planning commodities. The working group noted that for the first time, the division had absorbed all funding allocated to the family planning budget line, opening an opportunity to mobilize more funds from the national budget. Previously, poor absorption of family planning funds by the ministry had affected forecasting and quantification for the next year, with unspent funds in any year leading to a reduction in allocation for the next year. HP+’s support to track family planning allocation and the transfer of funds for the procurement of essential commodities helped the division locate and spend funding in a timely manner and avoid having the funds reallocated to other programs. At a meeting of the family planning logistics technical working group it was noted that HP+ support also enabled the division to harmonize various funding streams and procure commodities more efficiently.
HP+ and Mali’s National Health Insurance Fund (CANAM) co-facilitated a workshop in December 2021 for government and parastatal agencies on HP+’s analysis of CANAM’s provider payment system. At the workshop HP+ shared its recommendations, which included improving efficiency through new communications processes, reducing inefficient healthcare provision practices, and adopting performance-based management practices. The workshop included facilitated discussions and sought input from participants representing the National Federation of Community Health Associations, the Union of Community-Based Insurance in Mali, the Malian social mutuality agency, the World Health Organization, USAID, and UNICEF. A representative from USAID/Mali praised the efforts being made to strengthen Mali’s health system and increase health coverage. CANAM’s Director General noted that HP+’s recommendations will significantly improve the provider payment system, which will strengthen CANAM’s provision of health insurance for Malian citizens. HP+ is working with CANAM to prepare its team to implement the recommendations.
Guatemala has streamlined the approval process for water and sanitation projects for 19,000 people in 22 communities, reducing the time needed for approval of water project from six months to one to two weeks. HEP+ provided technical assistance to the Ministry of Health and Welfare’s Integral Health Care Directorate, supporting the development of the streamlining proposal and its presentation to the ministry. The approved proposal also includes the creation of a National Water and Sanitation Office at the directorate, which will supervise the work carried out by other water and sanitation offices in the country.
HP+ recently trained Honduran microbiologists on technology that delivers faster and better targeted testing for the COVID-19 virus. The new technology, called TaqPath, incorporates a reagent that cuts the time required for diagnostics from two hours to one, increasing the number of samples that can be processed per lab per day from 500 to 800. In addition, it will allow Honduran scientists to sequence samples that they previously sent to Brazil for further analysis. USAID provided the materials and reagents for the training and processing of 100,000 samples. The May training involved more than 60 microbiologists from four laboratories in Honduras. A training of laboratory supervisors was followed by a seminar series on the use of TaqPath and molecular biology co-delivered by HP+ and manufacturer Thermo Fisher. Learn more about HP+ activities in Honduras.
HP+ helped officials in Indonesia assess their available budget space for family planning and other health interventions. HP+ conducted an initial budgetary space analysis with the Ministry of Finance to validate macroeconomic, provincial, and district government spending as well as key financial projections. The techniques offered as part of the analysis can push policymakers and health planners to identify and tap into additional sources of funding by re-prioritizing health budgets, identifying efficiency gains, increasing health-specific resources, and managing health sector grants and assistance. The fiscal space analysis was followed by development of a manual and a class on the process in early December attended by 50 representatives from the National Development Planning Agency, the Ministry of Finance, and the Ministry of Health. The manual will be hosted on the University of Indonesia’s website, allowing access by all government representatives.
HP+ supported the Guatemala Ministry of Health (MSPAS) in improving the quality, efficiency, and management of public spending through the development a Spending Quality Tool. The tool helps to automate reporting on the use of the health budget. It creates automated dashboards that monitor advances by unit, center, or cost, and type of purchase, among other classifiers, and generates reports. The tool replaces a manual reporting system, helping the MSPAS present financial results faster and saving on personnel costs. Delivery of the tool represents the first stage of HP+’s work; in the upcoming months, HP+ will develop another programming and planning module with budget planning and procurement scheduling functions.
Last week, in conjunction with World AIDS Day, HP+ published a blog outlining recommendations detailing how Indonesia can accelerate its advancement toward HIV epidemic control. Based on their technical assistance experience, the authors explain how changes to service delivery models, populations targeted, and payment mechanisms can reduce costs while improving HIV-related outcomes. The blog was first published by the Infectious Diseases Society of America’s Science Speaks Blog and later cross-posted on Viewpoints.
In August, HP+ facilitated a virtual training for research institutions and government representatives in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda on applying the Activity-Based Costing and Management methodological approach to HIV services. HP+ strengthened the capacity of these institutions and participants to implement data collection; conduct analysis; develop research protocols and data collection instruments; secure ethical clearance; facilitate stakeholder consultations; and develop reports using the approach. Findings from the analysis can help policymakers and partners to more effectively allocate resources, improve monitoring efforts, optimize investments, and drive efficiencies through improved delivery of services.
HP+ is supporting Cambodia’s General Secretariat for National Social Protection Council (GS-NSPC) to implement integrated systems to enable social health insurance reforms. Following an April launch by the Prime Minister of an inter-Ministerial Technical Working Group to oversee linking of health insurance reimbursement systems, HP+ is collaborating with the GS-NSPC and the Asian Development Bank to design an interoperability demonstration project to support harmonization. These efforts to boost effectiveness, transparency, and accountability will improve the operation and effectiveness of the Health Equity Fund, which includes long-acting reversible and permanent contraceptive methods, and National Social Security Fund schemes that cover nearly 5 million beneficiaries.
In Mozambique, HP+ developed, installed, and tested the Apache Superset Data Visualization Tool as part of its support to the Department of Administration and Finance (DAF) to improve financial management. Leveraging comprehensive data from the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Health, the visualizations showcase health sector coverage based on expenditure and allocation data, efficiency of financial processes, and payments made. Currently, 21 local users have been trained and have access to the tool. When fully implemented, this tool will help DAF and provincial directors to achieve greater effectiveness in financial decision making at both national and provincial levels.
The government of Mauritania, on International Women’s Day (March 8, 2018), signed a regulatory decree to implement a new reproductive health law in focus counties. The law was originally passed in January 2017. With the signing of this new regulatory guidance, there is now approval for community health workers to provide birth control pills and injectables. Nurses are now allowed to provide IUDs and implants. This policy advance, which promises to bring efficiency and scale to contraceptive use, comes as a result of advocacy efforts led by USAID and supported by the HP+, FP2020, AgirPF, Stop Sida, UNFPA, and local partners.