Flying COPASAH Flag High in Regional Health Meetings (Uganda)
Sharing of COPASAH's best practices and its experiences at discussions in two significant workshops is helping to implement a rights' based approach to health in four African countries. It is also shaping the creation of a health watch mechanism in the region through the Global Fund.
The two meetings in which I participated in November 2013, (at Lilongwe in Malawi and at Nairobi in Kenya) in my capacity as Executive Director of the Uganda National Health Users'/Consumers' Organisation (UNHCO) and as the regional coordinator for COPASAH East and Southern Africa region, turned out to be brainstorming sessions with different stakeholders on board. Sharing of Innovations and Best Practices The Lilongwe regional workshop focussed on the application of a rights' based approach (RBA) for women and children’s health. The meeting provided an opportunity for governments, United Nations (UN) organisations and civil society representatives from four African countries to learn how to implement this approach in sexual, reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health. All participants agreed upon the further steps to be taken in the countries, like consensus on baseline in a country and what to do after it. UNHCO’s RBA approach was also recognized in the meeting as an innovation. At UNHCO we plan to further strengthen the ‘Patient Charter’ to see how the RBA can be used effectively to improve maternal and child health. The best practices and experiences in community monitoring of COPASAH for improved health outcomes were also shared in the meeting.
A Watchdog for the Global Fund The second meeting in Nairobi was organised by the Kenya-based international Non Government Organisation (NGO) Aidspan. Aidspan's mission is to reinforce the work of the Global Fund to Fight Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), Tuberculosis and Malaria. The meeting focussed on improving the effectiveness of the Global Fund through putting into place a local watchdog mechanism. Aidspan requested the East and South African regions to participate in monitoring of the Global Fund by utilising the lessons and experiences gained through COPASAH. It asked the region to either provide guidance to the Global Fund or conduct the actual monitoring. I volunteered to be in the committee, called Africa Health Watch.
The participants took keen interest in the Agurulude Health Centre case study which has been published by COPASAH. They also wanted to know more about UNHCO’s experience in budget advocacy using text messages for replication.
Members sharing notes during the workshop in Lilongwe, Malawi
Participants brainstorming during the Aidspan meeting in Nairobi, Kenya
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Robinah Kitungi is COPASAH regional coordinator-COPASAH East and Southern Africa Region and is working with Uganda National Health Consumers' Organisation (UNHCO), Uganda.
To know more about the work done by UNHCO, please CLICK HERE.