December 22, 2010

What We're Reading

Sarah Lindsay

Waiting for the next post on MLI’s Leading Global Health blog? Here’s what we recommend you check out in the meantime:

Community Health Workers in Nepal and Ethiopia

The Himalayan News Service covered Nepal’s Ministry of Health and Population’s recognition of the importance of Female Community Health Volunteers (FCHVs) in working towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Minister of Health Uma Kanta Chaudhary was quoted saying that “The contribution of FCHV in reducing maternal and child mortality rates cannot be compared to any other services.”

December 20, 2010

Lessons from the Field: Ethiopia’s health extension workers

Gwen Hopkins

Piling onto the bus, it almost felt like a grade school field trip - except that instead of classmates, I was surrounded by high-level delegates from 5 different ministries of health. It was day two of MLI’s four-day Leadership Collaborative Forum in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and we were headed on a field visit to a rural Health Extension Worker Clinic.

The group included representatives from Senegal, Mali, Sierra Leone, Nepal, and Ethiopia – all five MLI countries – plus several senior staff from the Washington, DC offices, and me, MLI’s communications and website coordinator. As the bus wove its way down Bole Road, away from the hotel and out of Addis, I weighed the pros and cons of admitting I didn’t know what a health extension worker was.

December 15, 2010

Mali gains “real momentum toward universal coverage”

Allison Gamble Kelley

In Mali, the barrier to universal health coverage is not political will. The government is determined to scale up and systematize its community-based health insurance programs, or mutuelles. But it lacks adequate technical expertise and capacity for such an ambitious reform,  and yet there is relatively timid donor involvement in health care financing in Mali. Developing a large-scale insurance program involves complex skills, negotiations and institutional reform. That’s where MLI comes in. We’ve been able to connect government officials in Mali with experts who can help them achieve their ambitious goal and mobilize the financial support needed to do it.

December 13, 2010

The Implementation Gap: What is the Problem?

Dr. Francis Omaswa

Last month I participated at the 52nd Health Ministers Conference for East, Central and Southern Africa (ECSA) in Harare, Zimbabwe. At this meeting, the Health Ministers adopted eleven resolutions, the last two of which were to thank the host country and the partners. The other nine called for a lot of work on the part of the countries and the ECSA Secretariat to implement to scale. These meetings take place throughout the year and so many resolutions are adopted. Not only that, there are also laws, policies, and plans at country level that are adopted all the time. This week in my country Uganda, a new National Health Policy and a Health Sector Strategic and Investment Plan have been launched. There are so many resolutions, so many recommendations, and so many plans. Yet most remain in files and on shelves and are not implemented to scale. There are so many proven technologies, so much knowledge of what works and what does not work. Yet coverage rates remain so low. What is the problem?

December 10, 2010

Motivators: Sierra Leone's Amara Koroma and Dr. Samuel A.S. Kargbo

John Donnelly

This is the sixth in a series of interviews with participants at the Ministerial Leadership Initiative for Global Health’s Learning Collaborative Forum in Addis Ababa on motivation – what motivates them and how do they motivate others. This came from a conversation with two senior leaders at the Sierra Leone Ministry of Health and Sanitation: Amara Koroma, 49, director of financial services, and Dr. Samuel A.S. Kargbo, 48, director of reproductive health.

Q: What motivates you to do this work?

Amara Koroma: I will simply give you my story. I came from a very humble background. Things were very difficult, very, very difficult, especially because I had lost my mother early in life. I saw poverty all around me. I have always looked at my background and always hoped to God one day if I make it, I should be in position to help others. That has influenced me greatly. In my environment, secondly, living very close to the ghetto, and I said to myself, I need to break the cycle of poverty in my family. If I can break it, I believe others can.