August 10, 2009

MLI Voice: Ethiopia

Rahel Gizaw

In February of 2009, I traveled from the U.S to begin my assignment as MLI Country Lead for Ethiopia. As a native of Ethiopia and a former employee of the Ministry of Health, I felt particularly suited for this new role. The Ministerial team at the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) had already prioritized the Balanced Scorecard approach as the key area of MLI technical support. They conveyed to me that that the successful implementation of the Balanced Scorecard will be critical to significantly improving performance throughout the health system. The Balanced Scorecard is an important tool for planning, monitoring and managing health sector development activities efficiently and effectively which will, in turn, positively impact health sector goals.

August 10, 2009

Sierra Leone, Health Minister Re-evaluates Plan for Free Health Services

John Donnelly

As published in Global Health Magazine, August 10, 2009.

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone - For a moment last week, Health and Sanitation Minister Sheiku T. Koroma was so optimistic - he would usher in an era of free health care for pregnant women and children, battling head-on the world's worst rates of maternal mortality and under-age five deaths. He planned to make a big splash in a press conference in a few days.

But then donors started blasting holes in the Ministry's plan - it wasn't well-thought through, they said, and it could unleash a wave of mothers and children upon health clinics that weren't ready for them.

And so the Minister punted. He asked a technical committee of donors and Ministry staff to revisit the issue starting today (Aug. 10) and then left Freetown for the weekend. I never had a chance to talk to him about the turn of events.

July 30, 2009

Senegal: Looking inside the Health Ministry

John Donnelly

DAKAR, Senegal - The second-in-command at the Ministry of Health in Senegal said he had many challenges, but one was easy to pinpoint: reducing the number of women dying during childbirth.

"There's a lot we have done but there's much more to this in reducing the deaths," said said Secretary General Moussa Mbaye. "Improving reproductive health is a central issue in the development of this country."

Senegal, which has had a strong record in several health initiatives from HIV prevention to vaccination rates, still has high maternal mortality figures - 410 deaths for every 100,000 births. A Senegalese woman's chance of dying while giving birth is one in 21 over her childbearing years.

As published in Global Health Magazine, July 30, 2009.

July 23, 2009

MLI Voice: Mali

Allison Gamble Kelley

In June 2009, MLI country lead Allison Gamble Kelley traveled to Mali to work with the newly constituted MLI technical team, and to carry out a leadership assessment and work planning exercise. The team includes professionals from the Planning and Statistics Unit, the National Health Directorate, the National Social Development Directorate, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Health’s Directorate of Finance, FENASCOM (civil society), the Ministry of Women’s and Children’s Affairs, and UTM (technical assistance body for mutuelles). There was great enthusiasm for the MLI approach to analyzing and developing leadership capacity while tackling the challenges of equitable financing.