For seven years, HP+ has worked with government and partners across Mali’s health system. Results and accomplishments were highlighted Thursday, June 9 with an end-of-project event in Bamako. Over the last two years, HP+ in Mali focused on health financing, health system strengthening, and health equity. Representatives of Mali’s National Health Insurance Fund and Devolution and Decentralization Support Team emphasized the importance of the in-depth health financing analyses HP+ conducted to support Mali’s health system. Analyses have focused on provider payment systems, health finance flows, and efficiency and equity at all levels, and were completed in collaboration with key partners. Also noted at the event was HP+’s role in advancing advocacy for community health worker (CHW) rights and legal status. These efforts led to the recent adoption of a decree enshrining the formal status and rights of CHWs, marking a transformative step toward making essential community healthcare sustainable and accessible for all Malians. In closing her remarks at the ceremony, Director of Health at USAID/Mali Julia Henn emphasized, “Although HP+ is coming to a close, we are still with you and will continue to support the Malian population.”
In a new HP+ blog entry published December 16, Steven Forsythe and Suneeta Sharma discuss the direct and indirect economic impacts of COVID-19 on African economies, including food insecurity, poverty, education, and health. The co-authors provide recommendations to prepare multisectoral responses for a future pandemic. “Health programs cannot focus solely on COVID-19 and must instead also focus on other health concerns that have been affected by COVID-19, including access to family planning and reproductive health services; maternal and child health services; and malaria, tuberculosis and HIV prevention and treatment,” they state. “Thus, health systems strengthening must be a priority not only as a health measure, but also to reduce the economic implications of COVID-19.”
HP+ conducted a costing study in 24 districts across the five major island groups in Indonesia to support the government to implement minimum service standards (SPM) for 12 primary healthcare services. Data from the study has been used to improve existing SPM budgeting and planning tools used by local governments. This will alleviate administrative burdens on districts and support 514 district health offices in better planning to achieve SPM targets by improving allocation of resources for health. HP+ is providing virtual technical assistance on use of the tools and will develop e-modules to strengthen local government capacity to use them.
An original article authored by HP+ in coordination with a research team at Cambodia’s Ministry of Economy and Finance’s General Secretariat for the National Social Protection Council was published in the International Social Security Review. The research, which assesses current coverage potential, gaps, and social equity considerations with regard to the expansion of social health protection in Cambodia, is being used to inform a comprehensive policy proposal to expand coverage to about 5.7 million financially vulnerable people, improve healthcare quality, and strengthen institutional systems within Cambodia.
In Malawi, cervical cancer data management and program monitoring systems are generating crucial data to be used in decision making at national and district levels. With technical support from HP+, the Ministry of Health and Population’s Cervical Cancer Task Force developed quality assurance standard operating procedures, guidelines, and data tools, and trained health workers on how to screen for and treat cervical cancer. The tools have been integrated into the country’s health information system to support evidence-based decision making. Over 180 health facilities have received screening and treatment equipment, and linkages and referrals for specialized treatment and care have been strengthened as a result.
“No other organization supports [the National Health Insurance Scheme] like HP+.” That was the first reaction of Professor Muhammed Sambo, Executive Secretary of Nigeria’s National Health Insurance Scheme last week when reviewing recent results that come in part from technical and financial support given to establish state-level insurance agencies in four Nigerian states. The health reform goal is to reach women and children under five, and to date, Osun state has enrolled over 200,000 participants into their insurance scheme. In the Federal Capital Territory health insurance coverage has been extended to 85,000 formal sector workers and $2.19 million was released to pay for nine months of capitation and fee-for-service. Likewise, in November 2019, Nigeria’s National Primary Health Care Development Agency presented HP+ with an award in recognition of the project’s technical contribution to strengthening the country’s primary healthcare system, specifically for their work in helping states implement Nigeria’s Primary Health Care Under One Roof policy, aimed at improving the quality of and access to care at the community level. More information about efforts in Osun State
Abia State hosted a Legislatures Day Event on September 26, 2019, which featured a special session in the general chamber of the House of Assembly, an orientation focused on state health systems strengthening, and a launch among legislatures and HP+ visitors. The first-time special parliamentary session on universal health coverage at the House of Assembly coincided with the launch of the State Social Health Insurance Scheme and was designed to advance state government understanding and commitment for financing and oversight of the primary health care system. HP+ project director Suneeta Sharma addressed the legislature, where members of the Health & Women, Appropriations, and Public Private Partnership (PPP) committees as well as the speaker of the House expressed their commitment to universal health coverage and the strengthening of the state’s primary health service delivery. The PPP Committee chairman said: “The House will support the primary health care initiative, which will improve the economy of the State because when people are healthy, they can work.” The Abia Legislatures Day Event was an innovative way for HP+ to engage collectively with the House of Assembly on this important topic and to set a model approach for engagement with government leaders in other priority States. Get more background details.
An event hosted by HP+ on June 4, 2019, showcased the synergies between stewardship of country health systems and the objectives of USAID’s journey to self-reliance in building countries' capacity to address their own development challenges. The event, which launched a special issue of the journal Public Administration and Development, “Stewardship and Health Systems Strengthening,” explored the concept of stewardship and its underlying six key functions, as outlined by WHO. The journal special issue was co-edited by HP+ colleagues, Derick Brinkerhoff of RTI and Harry Cross of Palladium. In addition to the co-editors and authors, who delivered their papers, speakers included David Jacobstein, a democracy specialist in USAID’s DRG office and HP+ AOR Linda Cahaelen. In a concluding discussion, moderated by Palladium’s Jay Gribble, Harry Cross summarized that “the road to self-reliance is dependent on the health system…it’s the road to sustainability. By improving stewardship functions, countries can achieve self-reliance.”
On June 25, 2018, Malawi’s Ministry of Health approved the Monitoring and Evaluation Health Information Systems (MEHIS) Strategy 2018-2022. The purpose of the strategy is to provide a blueprint for the Ministry of Health to strengthen Malawi’s health information system, and to ensure that the system can generate and use high-quality data to monitor and evaluate the success of its Health Sector Strategic Plan II. USAID, through the Health Policy Plus (HP+) project, coordinated the development of the strategy, analyzing the implementation of Malawi’s previous health information systems strategy for key achievements, gaps, and lessons learned; facilitating workshops; and contributing to the writing and costing of the strategy. HP+ provided both technical inputs and financial support to the strategy development process, in collaboration with the Bloomberg Data for Health Initiative, the World Health Organization, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Kuunika Project, and Germany’s development agency GIZ. A monitoring and evaluation expert seconded by HP+ to the Ministry of Health’s Central Monitoring and Evaluation Division facilitated the efforts.
The World Bank approved the equivalent of US$105 million in non-reimbursable grants for the Government of Mozambique’s Primary Health Care Strengthening Program‐for‐Results—US$25 million from the Global Finance Facility (GFF) and US$80 million from the International Development Association (IDA). This announcement is due in part as a result of efforts by the USAID-funded Health Policy Plus project. HP+ had assisted the Mozambican government to develop an “investment case” to demonstrate the potential benefits of reproductive, maternal, neonatal, child, and adolescent health investment for the country. The investment case is the result of consultations about priority interventions to help increase service effectiveness, stimulate user demand, and strengthen the health system—initiatives that are needed to improve maternal and neonatal mortality rates while sustaining progress on reducing infant mortality in Mozambique. Read the World Bank Press release.