Leadership and Governance for Health

Thursday 16 February 2012

Call for Proposals for the second round of Health Policy Action Fund grants

We would like to draw your attention to the recent Call for Proposals for the second round of Health Policy Action Fund grants.  As you may know, IHP+ has funded a small grants scheme since 2010, which has been managed by Oxfam under the name Health Policy Action Fund (HPAF). The HPAF aims to support southern civil society organizations, especially health CSO networks and coalitions, to become more effectively engaged in national health policy processes. The grants are intended to enocourage greater CSO engagement in health planning, monitoring, review and accountability processes with key national health stakeholders.  In Round One, 13 grantees from 9 IHP+ countries received funding over a 12-month period.  In Round 2, the funding period will cover 18 months, from April 2012 - October 2013.
The Call for Proposals is open until 28 February.  Further details, including proposal forms and criteria for selection, can be found on the HPAF website:   www.healthpolicyactionfund.org
We encourage you to circulate this information widely to all potential candidates in your country.  
Kind regards, 
IHP+ Core Team 
(See attached file: HPAF Call for Proposals Advert.FR.final.pdf)(See attached file: HAPF Call_ for_ Proposal_Advert_ENinal.pdf)

Thursday 26 January 2012


As a member of an international consortium (EVAL-HEALTH), HPRG is participating in an international workshop on developing and testing of new methodologies to monitor and evaluate health-related EU-funded interventions in cooperation partner countries. This is under the specific international cooperation action (SICA) collaborative project (small or medium-scale focused research project). This 4-day meeting is taking place in Leeds and is hosted by the Institute of Nuffield Centre for International Health and Development (NCIHD), University of Leeds.  

Sunday 22 January 2012

Commending Enugu State for Starting Health Insurance for Civil Servants

There are many voices today in Nigeria... a consequence of the subsidy removal. Some criticize, some blame, some protest, some destroy... and some others stay out of the streets.
However, some people quietly make impact in ways that promote well being even in the midst of huge national and household challenges.

Enugu state has responded by starting with two very great programmes which are cost saving, long term interventions that potentially have positive and wide impacts on the society.
- Free transportation for primary school children in the State owned red buses which were largely bought from a Local Manufacturer based in Enugu (Innoson Motors)
- Commencement of Health insurance for the state civil servants... we understand that funds for the first quarter of the year have been released.


These two programmes can impact positively on employment, provide support for local industry, save money for households, and also lead to overall improvement in health status of the state's citizens.

While it is understood that majority in the state are not civil servants, we think that the step taken so far is a step in the right direction (one hurdle crossed) that deserves emulation by other states. We also know that the Enugu state government has been working with other organizations to promote health insurance for the informal sector and rural dwellers while it retains its free maternal and child health programme in the interim.

One thing the government should not forget is that it needs to develop clear operational guidelines to guide there relationship with all the actors in the health insurance effort, including explicit monitoring and arbitration systems. Kudos Governor Chime and Team.

Thursday 16 December 2010

Nigerian Government Launches the National Strategic Health Development Plan (2010-2015) on December 16th 2010 in Abuja

Nigerian Government Launches the National Strategic Health Development Plan (2010-2015) on December 16th 2010 in Abuja

The Government of Nigeria through its Federal Ministry of Health on Thursday, the 16th of December officially launched the National Strategic Health Development Plan (2010-2015), as well as signed the Health Compact with Development Partners at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel in Abuja in a well-attended ceremony.

Present at the event were top government officials, members of the diplomatic corps, heads of donor agencies, NGOs, civil society organizations among others.Top Government officials that were present include the Representativ of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria ,Alhaji Yayale Ahmed,the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Shamshudeeen Usman, the Minister of National Planning, Prof. Onyebuchi Nwosu, the Honourable Minister of Health, Hajia Amina Al-zubbair, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on MDGs, among other dignatories.

Alhaji Yayale Ahmed the Secretary to the Government of the Federation signed on behalf of the Government of Nigeria while the Development Partners Group on Health were represented by the Chair, Jane Miller (DFID) and co-chair, Dr Peter Eriki (out-going WHO Representative). The Donor Agencies that signed the compact or sent in letters of support include DFID, USG, JICA, CIDA, EU, GTZ, World Bank, AfDB, WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA, UNDP etc.

The NSHDP document was developed after series of consultations and engagement with stakeholders across Nigeria’s 36 States and the Directorate of Health Planning, Research and Statistics served as the coordinating secretariat. Technical and Funding support were provided by bilateral and multilateral agencies operating in Nigeria as well as the International Health Partners Plus (IHP+) which helped in developing the Health Compact.

The NSHDP which is a successor to the previous Health Sector Reform Program (2003-2007) aligns with health sector component of the newly developed Nigeria’s Vision 20:2020 Policy document. The document which is duly costed incorporates a clearly defined Results Framework with which to measure performance based on the outlined 8 priority areas to be given attention;

  1. Leadership and Governance for Health
  2. Health Services Delivery
  3. Human Resources for Health
  4. Financing for Health
  5. National Health Information System
  6. Community Participation and Ownership
  7. Partnerships for Health
  8. Research for Health

The NSHDP document was officially approved at the March 2010 National Council on Health which was held at Asaba Delta State and it essentially is encompasses the individual State Health Plans of the 36 states, as well as the Federal Plan to be directly implemented by the Federal Ministry of Health.

One major highlight of the NSHDP is the emphasis on Joint Annual Review (JAR) of the state of implementation by the combined evaluation team made up of the representatives of Health Ministry and its parastatals and agencies who were expected to work with a team of Independent Consultants. The first 2010 JAR on the level of implementation of the NSHDP was conducted in six States that were selected from the 6 geopolitical zones of Nigeria between October and November 2010. Preliminary findings from the review were presented to a well-attended stakeholder’s forum at Transcorp Hilton Hotel on Friday, 3rd December 2010, and this would be shared widely during the National Council on Health in January 2011.

At the early stages of the development of the document, efforts were made to get the commitment and political will of the 36 State Governors. To ensure commitment from political office holders, the first Presidential Health Summit was held in Abuja in November 2009 during which Nigeria’s late leader, President Musa Yardua, the erstwhile Vice President, Goodluck Jonathan (Currently the President of Federal Republic of Nigeria) and the 36 State Governors signed a Health Compact; thus committing to provide support and funding for the provision of essential package of healthcare to the citizens of their respective states, nay Nigeria. At the summit the State Governors for the first time, were presented with a league table detailing the health indices of their respective states. In addition, a documentary on the dismal state of health care in Nigeria developed by the DFID-sponsored PATHS 2 Project was presented to the Governors and other stakeholders.

And with the official launch of the NSHDP and signing of IHP+ a major huddle has now been scaled in the drive to ensure alignment and harmonization of efforts between the government (federal and states) and development partners. In essence, the NSHDP is the only plan that would be implemented through the joint efforts of the government and partners, and this will be benchmarked annually using the one results framework and M&E framwork to be conducted by a joint team of government and development partners.

Health Economics and Policy Network in Africa (HEPNet) holds International Workshop in Abuja Nigeria

HPRG hosts Health Economics and Policy Network in Africa (HEPNet) 2010 International Workshop in Abuja 2010

The Health Policy Reseach Group (HPRG) Enugu successfully hosted the 2010 International Workshop of the Health Economics and Policy Network in Africa (HEPNET) for Africa in Abuja, the capital of Nigeria from November 29th - December 1st 2010. Delegates from Nigeria, Ghana, Zambia, Kenya, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Sweden were in attendance. Representatives of Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Health, National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Donor Agencies, NGOs, Researchers, Policy Analysts, and Health Economists participated. The theme for the workshop was on the “National Responses to Communicable and Non-Communicable Diseases in Africa” and abstracts were received from over 20 participants who presented papers at the event.

The 2010 workshop was memorable in several ways. For instance, the meeting coincided with the 2010 Abuja Carnival which through which the culture of Nigeria is showcased in its diverse forms. The quality of papers presented was high and the social events introduced by the HPRG added spice to the program and this helped in strengthening the bond among the members. Participants from other African countries had the opportunity visiting some landmark places in Abuja as well experiencing the best of local Nigerian cuisine, cultural dances and folk drama in an ambient environment.

The international workshop in Nigeria would be the last in the series since HEPNET as an organization would be winding up by the end of 2010 having been active since 2000. HEPNet served as a network that brought together health economists and policy analysts from 37 institutions in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe and it was set up to build in-depth expertise in health economics and health policy analysis in order to improve health systems in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Though HEPNet as a network is winding up in the participating countries, some of its activities would continue in Nigeria. According to the HEPNet Secretariat at the Health Economics Unit of the University of Cape Town, a follow-up project may likely succeed HEPNet which was established through the funding support received from Swedish SIDA to develop local capacity in health economics and policy in the participating African countries.

HEPNet members were encouraged to maintain and sustain the already established networks among themselves, and it is instructive to note that some members of the network from different countries in Africa have started seeking for opportunities to collaborate in research projects in their respective countries.

Saturday 13 June 2009

The World Health Organization recently declared that the HINI virus infection had reached a pandemic status. All countries are therefore expected to maximize efforts at preventing incidence of infection and also controlling its occurence.

It is heart warming to know that an earlier rumor of occurence of a case in Nigeria was later dispelled by the country's health authorities. However, some important questions remain given the way Nigeria's health system is structured and functions. Most importantly, how will the health sector respond if patients begin to show up with the symptoms or cases actually occur? Will interventions targeted at prevention and control be done through the primary, secondary or tertiary health care? How and who will coordinate such efforts and are there functional coordination mechanisms in existence to effectively do this? This questions were unanswered in China prior to the Avian flu pandemic and the country is yet to recover from the devastating effects of that pandemic.

Even if these questions are unanswered, it is worth stating that thesame critical questions highlight the dishevelled nature of the health system which the current health minister has admitted needs to be fixed. Such a situation does not just affect the index pandemic but reflects a fundamental challenge to improving health care delivery and overall health outcomes in Nigeria.

In the mean time, it might only be feasible to wish and hope that the virus does not sneak into Nigeria, and that policy makers, politicians and stewards of the health sector would begin to think deeply and constructively about how to correct current anomalies in the country's health system.

Wednesday 10 June 2009

The interest in health economics, policy and efficient ways of financing health care is growing in Nigeria and other west African countries. A recent conference in Ghana had in attendance several academics, researchers and policy makers from west Africa who work in the areas of health policy and systems. The HPRG Nigeria participated strongly in that conference and has, through its research activities remained committed to providing relevant information for evidence based policy making. It is believed that with the increasing interest and activity in development of appropriate health policies, policy makers, health care providers and the civil society would progressively improve on use of evidence generated by researchers and academics in Nigeria and other west African countries to improve health policies and implementation practices. Individuals and institutions involved in health economics and systems research and learning thus have an enormous task of generating and communicating relevant evidence, and the overrall goal of isolated or collective action should be to make such evidence of high quality and tailored to prevailing political, social, institutional and economic context characteristics of the the sub-continent and indeed the whole of Africa.