The African Centre for Global Health and Social Transformation (ACHEST) built the capacity of 55 members of Civil Society Organization (CSO) leaders together with Health Systems Advocacy partners (HSAP) (27 females, 28 males) from 31 organizations on Global Health Diplomacy.
With funding from the Dutch Government, ACHEST organized and hosted the first Regional HSAP Workshop training on Global Health Diplomacy that ran from 18th to 20th September 2018 at Lake Victoria Resort, Entebbe Uganda. The Training brought CSO participants from five African countries; Zambia, Tanzania, Uganda, Malawi and Kenya who are actively contributing to the components of the HSAP project. Some expert representatives from the UN Women, WHO-Country office, Prime Minister’s Office in Uganda, East African Secretariat, and Netherlands Embassy in Uganda, CEHURD and HSAP Coordinating Centre in the Netherlands participated and made presentations on topical issues at the workshop.
The workshop provided an opportunity and space for participants to discuss selected issues in Global Health Diplomacy that specifically focused on SRHR, Health Work Force: Community Health Systems, Commercialization of health, Health promotion and Access to SRHR Commodities. Presentations and discussions were held on Global Trade and Health for developing countries and the WTO dynamics, (TRIPS), overview and lessons from Uganda Health Financing Facility for RMNCAH, country implementation for SDGs, Regional Progress in Domestication of Convention on Elimination of all forms of Violence and Discrimination against Women.
The need for the training workshop was based on the fact that the field of global health is often thought of purely in medical or public health terms, but there are important geopolitical and policy dimensions of global health that underlie programmatic responses.
The training imparted skills to participants to appreciate; the specific institutions and initiatives that are fundamental to current global health diplomacy activities and functions, and how these influence global health outcomes. It also provided knowledge for participants to be able to understand real-world examples where global health diplomacy either helped or limited global health outcomes, and explained the reasons for those outcomes to gain exposure to basic policy analytical methods for global health.
Ms Judith Adokorach, Policy Officer from the Netherlands Embassy in Uganda attended the meeting and gave an overview of the Health Systems Advocacy Partnership program. She also advised the partners to continue working with other partners funded by the Dutch government in complementarily to eliminate duplication of work, but rather build synergy to maximize impact. “With a mutual and strategic relation in the HSAP partnership, Netherlands Embassy plays the role of knowledge broker by facilitating learning across different groups. Continuous communication is therefore needed for achieve success.” she advised.
Prof. Francis Omaswa, the Executive Director of ACHEST while giving a keynote speech at the workshop cautioned the countries to refrain from referring to health as a consumptive sector, but a productive one. “Keeping people healthy contributes to the economy of the country. Countries need to prioritize domestic funding to the health sector.” Omaswa said.
Dr. Olive Mugisa Sentumbwe, Family Health and Population Advisor at WHO Uganda Country Office while presenting at the workshop said, “Maternal, Neonatal, Child and Adolescent Health are a litmus paper for health systems. If child mortality is to reduce, we will have to improve maternal health by increasing investment in health.”
A training workshop communiqué with recommendations and action points was read out and this will form the next steps for all partners at national and regional level.