International Health Partnership: 2008 external review

International Health Partnership: 2008 external review

The International Health Partnership is a relevant response for addressing constraints to the health Millennium Development Goals

This Short-term review of the International Health Partnership (IHP+) was commissioned by the IHP+ Scaling-up Reference Group to assess whether programme partners are adhering to their commitments and to review what progress has been made in implementing an IHP+ interagency common work-plan.

The review was undertaken by Responsible Action and LSHTM between May and August 2008. This report is based on the opinions of 100 key informants who represent a cross-section of partner agencies, civil society and national ministries of health in the initial IHP+ countries and at the international level.

Some of the key conclusions include:

  • The IHP+ has become established as a relevant response to address constraints to the health Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). However, its relevance is not widely understood. There are many who are still question what value this adds at the country level, especially in countries where measures to improve aid effectiveness have already been undertaken for some time
  • Most IHP+ partners have started to improve their harmonisation and alignment, although it is difficult to establish which of their actions could be attributed to their participation in the IHP+
  • Implementing the IHP+ is primarily a change-management process, which most partner institutions have not begun to invest in or to build the necessary competencies for within their organisations
  • Transparency is seen as essential for ensuring accountability which also depends on the availability of reliable information. If well designed, the planned annual external monitoring and evaluation review of the IHP+ could potentially function as the key global accountability mechanism
  • It is still too early to assess what impacts or external effects that can be attributed to the IHP+, although it appears to be adding momentum to improved harmonisation and alignment in some countries, mostly by building on existing country structures and SWAps. As the impacts of the IHP+ are likely to vary between countries, it is important to question whether the changes will be adequate to bring about the phase-shift that is needed to achieve the health MDGs.

The recommendations focus on practical actions for the next 12 to 18 months in each of the following areas:
  • Improving how the IHP+ is communicated and understood, both within partner institutions and amongst external stakeholders
  • Investing in change management processes within partner institutions and through developing people’s competencies to implement new ways of working
  • Operationalising the IHP+ results framework and building in strong transparency mechanisms for mutual accountability
  • Working cooperatively to achieve reforms by partners identifying specific actions that need to be taken, making these explicit to other partners
  • Focusing the IHP+ interagency Core Team’s efforts on the country level to promote and facilitate specific reforms, with suggestions for improved ways of working
  • Giving consideration to the idea of Local Health Partnerships that are underpinned by a People’s Movement for Health, led by civil society.
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