MLI Newsletter - January 25, 2011

January 25, 2011

Lire l'ILM Voices en français.

MLI in the New Year: Blueprints for Strengthening Ministries

Soon after the New Year, journalist John Donnelly spoke to Rosann Wisman, MLI Director, to get her reflections on MLI's progress and challenges. Commenting on USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah's recent speech emphasizing the need for greater scrutiny of development assistance programs, she talks about MLI’s use of an external evaluator, Encompass, to assess its work and define metrics to measure country-driven development. Wisman also highlights Honorable Mary Robinson's MLI-sponsored visit to Sierra Leone and MLI's work to enhance the ministry's communications efforts. She describes the importance of negotiations training for ministry leaders in Nepal as part of MLI’s work in "development diplomacy." Finally, she emphasizes the need to invest in ministries of health and support the vision of its leaders.

E-Newsletter – 25 January 2011

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All Five MLI Countries Participate at IHP+ Workshop

Representatives from all five MLI countries participated in a recent conference focusing on assessing progress made to better coordinate aid with national health systems and its impact on countries. MLI Senegal Country Lead, Ndack Ly, reported on MLI’s participation in the 3rd Annual IHP+ Country Team Meeting, held in Brussels in December. The conference, sponsored by the World Health Organization and the World Bank, gathered the International Health Partnership (IHP+) signatories to look at the progress towards the application of the Paris principles on aid efficiency in the health sector. Aid effectiveness and donor collaboration are one of MLI’s three major areas of policy focus. MLI countries, Ethiopia, Mali, and Nepal, were early IHP+ signatories and adopters of country compacts. Our other two MLI countries, Senegal and Sierra Leone, signed on to the IHP+ Compact in 2010 and MLI has been providing support in their efforts to develop country compacts. MLI country delegates to the Brussels program discussed the challenges they faced in implementing IHP+ and how the problems were overcome. They considered possible adjustments in country approaches to IHP+ and developed recommendations aimed at improving IHP+ compliance for both countries and technical and financial partners.

Dr. Francis Omaswa: "If a country is clear, donors will come"

It would be hard to find a person with a stronger foundation in health and development then Dr. Francis Omaswa. Dr. Omaswa, MLI’s senior advisor, has the diverse background of working as a doctor in a remote mission hospital in Uganda, as a heart surgeon in Kenya, and as director-general of Uganda’s Ministry of Health in the early 2000s, is not shy on giving his view of development in Africa. He emphatically states that the focus should be country-driven development, a defining principle of MLI. Support for country ownership can not be debated, Dr. Omaswa argues, “Governments have the primary responsibility for assuring that there are effective health systems …These are responsibilities of the state that cannot be delegated.” Increased technology, knowledge and global interest in health systems has created a climate in which reform is possible, however, most ideas and recommendations don’t get implemented. This can change, Dr. Omaswa says, with increased recipient government accountability to donors paired with increased guidance about country priorities, “If a country is clear, donors will come…it is those countries where the governments are strong, they are making the most progress.” Dr. Omaswa works to advance country ownership to strengthen health systems not only through MLI, but as Executive Director of The African Centre for Global Health and Social Transformation (ACHEST) where he strategically promotes and advocates for the use of well grounded knowledge and evidence to strengthen professionals and build institutional capacity that will provide transformational leadership to African communities, countries and the world.

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